Witch Hunter Robin Soundtrack (of 1) (Mania.com)

By:Lauren Goodnight
Date: Friday, June 25, 2004
Release Date: Tuesday, October 07, 2003

What They Say
In a world where witches abuse their supernatural powers, a special team is tasked with hunting this new threat to society. This organization is known as the STN and comprises of several highly skilled craft users and experts in covert operations. But their most powerful craft user is a young woman named Robin. Her mysterious gift to summon deadly flames will determine the fates of her colleagues and lead her into a dark world of mystique and witchcraft.

The Review!
Content: A+
Audio: A
Packaging: A-
Extras: n/a


Bandai Entertainment gives the buyer of their Witch Hunter Robin box set something to look forward to. Inside is this simple, elegant disc with the title of the work on the cover and the track listing on the back (as well as a red silhouette of Robin). Featured on the cover is a glowing rendition of Robin's pendant. . .looking almost as though the red glass was broken and replaced by glowing fire. It captured my interest right away and keeps with the color scheme of Bandai's marketing campaign for the series. Upon opening the cover, I was greeted by the track listing again, as well as Romaji and translated lyrics for the OP and ED, both of which are included on this disc in their TV-size versions. Four obscured pictures of Robin grace the booklet, and small-yet-easily-readable credits for everything on this disc except the vocal tracks are included (they are performed by Bana, who is/are very hard to pin down). The picture on the cover of the CD is also of Robin, but as seems to be the case in many of these anime discs, the screen printing on the CD itself seems poorly aligned, giving the image a "dirty" or amateurish look.

According to Bandai representative Jerry Chu, Bandai is not looking to release many of its pack-in soundtracks separately. This is a shame, as this soundtrack is really something special that the listener need not be an anime fan to enjoy. I'd love to see this on store shelves, because it is just that lovely. This soundtrack is easily worth the rest of the grossly expensive and difficult-to-find box set, especially for music lovers.

And you get a shot glass. Score.

Er, forgive me. "Beverage glass". Silly Bandai!

Music Review:

This is the American release of the first Witch Hunter Robin Original Soundtrack. There were, I believe, two of these.

This is a long disc, with 23 tracks. I've thought it through and decided it'd be more appropriate for the long, largely instrumental discs to simply choose the best three and worst two tracks, as well as fill you in on any vocal tracks. Finding two "bad" tracks here proved very difficult for me. As usual, a summary follows.

The Best

1. Robin
The student who sits in the front of the class gets noticed. The piano and strings in this track lift the listener to someplace that is both enticing and forbidden. Some beautiful male choral strains are woven deftly into the track, which uses a bassline introduction about a minute that sent a chill up my spine. I loved the way the composer used both reedy synthesizer melodies and a nice orchestral layout to pull the listener into his world. The track ends as it began, reminding me of the ending to Nine Inch Nails' "Closer", but without the malicious intent.

This is a simple piano tune supported by light bass-oriented strings. One of the most pleasant tracks, Harry's feels like a piano bar favorite, something relaxing after a very hard day at work. What impresses me most about this track is how it stands out, even among the other piano-heavy tracks. By being almost mundane, it distinguishes itself.

Flame has a slightly Celtic feel to it, and keeps the "church-bells-and-strings" motif high in the mix, even as electric guitar (thank you, Shuji Nakamura!) and a rock drum beat enters the track. I kept closing my eyes during this one and feeling swept into a crowded room, sweaty and exultant, maybe even nervous or running. I'm in the story with this track, even though I'm as far from the story as I can be in real life. This is perfectly placed in the mix of tracks as well.

The Rest

As I've already stated, finding two "bad" tracks was very difficult. These are here because of extremely minor gripes.

14.Dancing Type
I didn't like the placement of this track in the overall mix of songs. However, the placement makes sense in that it introduces the listener to a harder three-song section of the disc. The electric guitar and 1980's synths feel superfluous here. It's barely a complaint.

I started laughing when I heard this track, because it reminds me so very much of the music for the ubiquitous Harry Potter films. In fact, the melody of the track is so similar that my fit of giggles broke the mood of the disc. This didn't stop me from enjoying the very repetitive track, and upon repeated listening, it becomes less Harry and more Robin.

Vocal Round-up

23.Shell (TV Edit) - Bana
Bana's intense voice helps this painfully short track along. Out of the two vocal tracks, I wanted to hear more of this one. This is a song about loneliness and having your heart lose its way, and from the emotion Bana gives to the song, the translation is almost unnecessary.

24.Half Pain (TV Edit) - Bana
I didn't like this as much as Shell, but that's not a strange occurrence with me. OPs are often more gripping than EDs, and that is the case here. This seems more manufactured, especially in the face of the evocative Shell.

In summary, this is one of the best anime soundtracks I've heard in a long time. The Japanese version might still be in print, and many knockoff versions are in print with the same track listing. I don't support buying knockoffs and bootlegging, but I support the pursuit of good music. I will support any campaign to get Bandai to release this domestically, separate from the box. I'd also like to see the second volume, if at all possible. It also makes me look forward to the Read or Die (ROD) TV Soundtrack that is on its way to me?Taku Iwasaki is the composer of both this work and ROD TV. This is a true five-star release.


Review Equipment
This CD is only available as of this writing with the limited edition DVD release of volume one of the anime.

Age Rating: All
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Bandai Entertainment
Aspect Ratio: N/A
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Witch Hunter Robin