Sunday, June 18, 2006

Witch Hunter Robin - Better In Japanese

Jamie and I were rewatching Witch Hunter Robin recently (among other things), and this time we decided to try it in Japanese rather than the dub. I usually prefer to enjoy Anime in English, but that's not a generalization. I tend to get around to watching series that I like in both languages eventually, and it's more accurate to say that I find many dubs to be as enjoyable as the Japanese dialog - though some companies do better dubs than others. For instance, ADV tends to use the same voice actors over and over and over and over and over again (and they tend to employ actors that have a rather narrow acting range at that) so after you've seen several ADV dubs you start to get a little weary of the same voice potrayal showing up time after time after time on different characters. Of course, it's cheaper for them to do it that way, and if anyone has become cheaper than a nickle when producing Anime...but I digress.

Witch Hunter Robin is much better in Japanese than in English. In English, you loose many plot subtleties, like the fact that Robin has trouble sometimes speaking good fluent Japanese. The Japanese voice acting is also much better, so much so that it creates a different atmosphere for the drama.


The creators of WHR obviously set out to make one of the most stylish Anime series ever seen in the 'goth' genre, and certainly achieved their goal (though in my mind nothing will ever out-do Vampire Hunter D). Unfortunately, the story they created is a little lite on real drama, a little too heavy in seriousness, and a little short on substance. Pacing is also a major problem, but this does not mean it cannot be an enjoyable experience. The series is usually categorized as Action/ Horror genre, but I think 'Supernatural Drama' offers a better characterization. The ending, while not a train wreck, was not how I would have wanted to see it wrapped up, and (in classic Anime style) leaves a great deal of loose ends. The eluded too (and hoped for) chemistry between Robin and Amon does not materialize, nor does the ending satisfy many of your 'who, what, where, and why' questions created in the earlier episodes.

Bottom line is that if you have previously only seen the series edited on Adult Swim, it's still worth a look uncut on DVD, but make sure you view it subtitled in the original Japanese dialog if you want to see WHR give you the best it has to offer.

Note: I have not intention of wasting anyone’s time (or my own) blogging out Anime reviews here - there are about a 100 million better writers out there than me (like Flash Gordon) to have at that. If this post resembles one in any way, it's purely a coincidence. :-)

No comments: