The Witching Hour

When an anime not only entertains but also leaves you with a catchy song to add to your favorites list, it is well worth the sticker price.

I like “Witch Hunter Robin” a lot from the opening song, “Shell” by Bana to the uncertain ending. My only complaint is that we don’t get into the real story arc until after a dozen or so episodes featuring witches targeted by Robin and the gang.

The show begins with 15-year-old Robin Sena arriving at the headquarters of STN-J, which is the Japanese branch of the SOLOMON organization. Robin is an orphan raised in Italy and trained by the church to fight witches by conjuring fire. She knows nothing of her parents or her family. She was sent to Japan reportedly to replace a member of the STN-J.

Being a witch is frowned upon in this society and anyone deemed one has their name in SOLOMON’s genetic database. It is the task of SOLOMON to deal with witches gone bad but we later find out that witches who awaken to their powers also get into trouble with the STN-J whether they did anything wrong or not.

Unlike the other members of SOLOMON, the STN-J hunts witches using orbo, a greenish liquid that counteracts witches’ powers. The source of orbo doesn’t get revealed until nearly the end of the series.

Robin’s partner is the brooding Amon, who like all serious, moody anime heroes wears black all the time. He doesn’t think much of her skills and would often say something dismissive. But he has a change of heart as he gets to know her and as she grows in power.

She later uncovers her past and finds out the secret of orbo. The former witch hunter now becomes hunted by the very group she once served. There are double dealings and hidden agendas aplenty in this show. Apparently trust is a rare commodity among these folks.

If you squint hard enough, there’s a faint Amon and Robin pairing. Some fans point to the animation in the opening sequence as an indication that Robin likes Amon. Well, she’s hugging a television set showing his image and says something to the screen. But who wouldn’t swoon over Amon? Other fans insist she’s sweet on Michael, the STN-J computer expert and hacker who was “persuaded” to work for the group after he was caught hacking into their system.

The romance is not that clear cut in the show so don’t come crying to me later.

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