Mania Grade: A
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- Audio Rating: A
- Video Rating: A-
- Packaging Rating: B
- Menus Rating: A-
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 12 & Up
- Region: 2 - Europe
- Released By: Beez
- MSRP: 19.99
- Running time: 125
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Witch Hunter Robin
Witch Hunter Robin Vol. #6
By Bryan Morton
April 07, 2006
Release Date: February 27, 2006
Witch Hunter Robin Vol. #6
What They Say
In our society, there are creatures with paranormal power known as Witches. For years, a secret organisation known as "Solomon" has been hunting them down. This organisation, based in Italy and run by priests, has a branch in Japan - the STN-J. Robin, a 15-year-old girl, joins this organisation where her talents for manipulating fire prove to be very useful... But the STN-J has very precise plans for the captured Witches, and they do not hesitate to conceal information from Solomon...
22 - Family Portrait
23 - Sympathy for the Devil
24 - Rent
25 - Redemption Day
26 - Time to TellThe Review!
The truth behind Zaizen's plans & Robin's origins are revealed, as Witch Hunter Robin comes to a close...Audio:
All four audio tracks are presented in 2.0 stereo. I listened to the Japanese track for this review, and it continues to be of the high standard set by previous volumes, with no obvious problems. The atmospheric soundtrack and good use of direction make this a joy to listen to. I spot-checked the English track at several points and found it to be equally good.Video:
Presented in its original full-frame 1.33:1 format, the video quality on this release is again excellent, with very good use made of backgrounds and detail to bring atmosphere to the story. Even during darker scenes it's very easy to pick out the details in the animation. Subtitles are clear and easy to read, although a slightly larger font would have been nice. This continues to be one of the best-looking series I've seen recently. Packaging:
The front cover of this volume sports another image of Robin, unusually with her hair down, which makes her look quite different. The usual episode summaries, screenshots & tech info can be found on the back cover, while production sketches and info on the Orbo handguns appears on the reverse side.Menu:
The menus stick with the same style that's been used on previous volumes. The various disc options are arranged around a circular montage of clips from the show with the series logo flashing in & out in a similar way to the text used in the opening credits. An instrumental version of the opening theme plays in the background. Extras and trailers are available through the Data menu. Other than the background video clips, there are no menu animations or transitions, so it's all very quick and easy to use. As before, the menus are available in four languages.Extras:
Extras with this release include more interviews with the Japanese cast, along with a few "final thought"-type clips from after recording had finished, and a Bana concert video featuring live versions of the opening and closing theme songs.Content:
(please note that content portions of a review will contain spoilers)
As the series draws to a close, things begin to fall into place. Nagira's investigations lead him and Robin to a diary left by a Solomon researcher, which contains information about a genetic manipulation programme he had been working on " although a number of pages have been torn from the book, leaving the projects goals a mystery. Zaizen also has an interest in the researcher's work, although he's tackling it from a different angle " he's come into possession of a series of data files, and has been using the information recovered from them to progress the Factory's work.
Zaizen's aim is to do away with the need to use witches as hunters. The key to that is Orbo, which is what Factory was set up to produce, and the information in the recovered data files is helping him to refine the Orbo extraction process and make it as pure as possible. The initial tests of the new, pure Orbo have had mixed results " while it's very effective at suppressing a witch's power, it has some unfortunate side effects on its users that are causing continued problems.
These episodes finally put Zaizen and the Factory into the frame as the real villains of the piece, although there's so much subterfuge going on that it takes a while for it to become clear who's working for who and where everyone's allegiances really lie. There are also one or two fairly significant revelations that just appear to have been pulled out of nowhere. I always think it's a kind of cheating when a surprise is thrown into a series without any sort of foreshadowing " it's nice to be able to think back a bit and realise that something that maybe seemed innocuous, with hindsight can be seen as a pointer towards later events, but that doesn't seem to be the case here. Fortunately, the earlier episodes on the disc also give the various characters an opportunity to come together as their common enemy becomes apparent " with the STN-J members having been almost neglected for a while, it's definitely good to see them brought back into the centre of events again as the series moves towards its climax.
Another area that's dealt with quite well here is Robin's history and origins. Like seemingly everyone else in this series, there's more to her than meets the eye, even after her powers are taken into account. It's something that Amon in particular finds troubling " he's clearly aware that there's something unusual about Robin's heritage, he's just not sure what, and he's determined to find out even if that means ignoring his orders to hunt her. The first hints to her past come from Nagira's investigations, and with the appearance of Juliano we finally get the full story.
Away from the scheming there's a more action-oriented side to the story, as Solomon decide Zaizen should be shut down and take steps to make sure that happens. An infiltration by the STN-J crew, with the intention of recovering one of their members who Zaizen has targeted, provides one option for doing that, and it's this operation that leads to the series finale, as Robin's true nature is revealed, the secrets of Orbo creation are uncovered and Zaizen's plans begin to unravel.
The raid on the Factory provides a good combination of suspense, action and a few surprises, and is the sort of genuine team operation that hasn't been seen since the series' earlier days. The final "confrontation" when it comes is maybe a little on the disappointing side, with a lot of talk and not much else, but then Witch Hunter Robin has always been heavy on the exposition and it does mean that most of the series' mysteries get a proper explanation and that no-one can claim not to know what was going on.In Summary:
Right up to the end of the series, Witch Hunter Robin manages to keep the attention with a story that has so many angles to it that there's very little chance to get bored. The final episodes draw the various threads together, explain everything in a believable way, and ties up the story with an ending that just feels right. This has definitely been one of the better recent UK releases, and is well worth checking out.
Japanese 2.0 Language,English 2.0 Language,German 2.0 Language,Italian 2.0 Language,English Subtitles,German Subtitles,Italian Subtitles,Dutch Subtitles,Interviews with Kyoko Higami (Dojima); Takuma Takwaka (Amon) and Yuuki Hiro (Michael),Messages from the Cast,Bana Concert
Panasonic TX-W28R30P 28" widescreen TV; Pioneer DV-626D player; Acoustic Solutions DS-222 5.1 speaker system.