is a Japanese anime series created by Sunrise. It follows the STN-J, the Japanese branch of a secret global organization called "SOLOMON" that fights the harmful use of witchcraft, using a database of those who have (or inherited from their parents) the power of witchcraft in order to arrest or eliminate them should their powers "awaken". The series focuses on one of the STN-J's members, Robin Sena.
Robin Sena is a "craft user", born in Japan and raised by the Roman Catholic Church
. She is trained to use her craft (fire) to hunt down witches. Witchcraft is a genetic
trait, dormant within a number of individuals within the human population. Powers can be "awakened" in these dormant human "seeds" at any time. Trained hunters, craft-users or "seeds" themselves, are needed to keep watch over "seeds" and hunt those whose abilities become active, serving in secret organizations, such as the parent branch "Solomon" (and the "STN-J" branch in Japan), as self-appointed witch police to curtail the use of witchcraft in society, and to keep the witch kind in secret from the public. Even the police, who cooperate with STN-J in abnormal criminal cases, do not know what STN-J does.
The series begins when Robin arrives in Japan to gain information for Solomon headquarters about a fabled item that holds the "secrets of the craft", while acting undercover as a new hunter to the STN-J in their efforts to capture witches. It is hinted that she subconsciously understands something of the STN-J's use of Orbo.
Orbo is a green liquid that negates witch abilities. STN-J's hunters carry small vials of it on necklaces as a form of protection against their targets' craft. Hunters also carry air pistols which fire darts or pellets of orbo that dampen witch powers when it enters the bloodstream of the target witch. Hunters who are craft-users or seeds can use orbo with little ill effects (their powers are reportedly diminished while using it). Robin, a craft user herself, says that she will not keep orbo on her because it "disgusts her."
As the series goes on, Robin grows increasingly uncomfortable with her role in hunting and capturing other witches. She begins to question the treatment they receive while incarcerated in the mysterious "Factory". After the discovery of "secrets of the craft," she was entrapped and attacked twice by "witch bullets". Aside from that, STN-J is attacked, presumably for "secrets of the craft" (though as it turned out, the last attack was Solomon's attack to find out what Zaizen was planning).
Robin begins to worry that she will become a target and grows to suspect that her partner Amon would hunt her. Eventually, Robin does become a target of Solomon and labeled a witch, becoming "hunted". In the end, Robin finds out more about her craft and that of witches than she knew at the beginning.
Initially, the series appears to take a "monster of the week" approach. About halfway through the 26-episode season, the characters and the relationships between them are established and the main plot gets underway.
STN-J (Main characters)
- Robin is a soft-spoken 15-year-old girl with a mysterious origin, given that she has power similar to the witches she helps hunt. She was raised in a convent in Italy before she joined the STN-J.
- Robin has pyrokinetic abilities that allow her to manifest varying amounts of fire. In addition, she can channel her energy into shields capable of blocking both solid matter and "crafts", or magical powers, from other craft-users like herself. However, any use of her power causes her eyesight to weaken temporarily, which in turn greatly reduces the accuracy and effectiveness of her pyrokinesis. This problem is easily solved when she begins wearing glasses, given by Amon, who unlike himself, had paid enough attention to Robin to realize that her eye sight fails temporarily. Though good-natured, Robin has employed her gift to the point of lethal force when necessary to either save someone's life or for the good of others.
- Her powers rapidly increase as the series progresses, from being able to light several candles to being able to kill a person by incinerating them. Her abilities get to the point where she is labeled dangerous by Solomon, and is ordered to be hunted as a witch. The hunters sent after Robin are killed by her, usually by incineration via Robin's pyrokinetic ability. At the end of the series, it is discovered that Robin is in fact a "Designer Witch", a Witch created through genetic engineering in a project called "Project Robin". It is also discovered that her mother, Maria, had agreed to genetic manipulation, and she called the unborn Robin "Hope." Robin is also designed to give birth to witch kind, what was once called 'divinities' in ancient history. In episode 12, Robin meets a memory keeper witch, Salem Witch, who could not die unless burned by another witch's flames, for that Robin was chosen. Throughout the following episodes, it is revealed that Robin took the collective memories of the witch kind (origin of "craft"). Accordingly, Robin's powers grow as episodes progress.
- At the last episode, when the Factory collapse was imminent, Robin and Amon were reunited with Karasuma, whom she and all others were trying to rescue from the Zaizen's "Factory." Robin tells Karasuma that thousands of years of witch kind's memories (origin of "craft") given to her would enable her to understand the sadness arising from the conflict between humans and witches. That understanding would allow her to find a way for witches to co-exist peacefully with humans, and that's perhaps why her deceased mother Maria called her "Hope." At this, Amon states that he will stay at her side to see how she creates the new world of co-existence, and that he will terminate Robin if she turns out to be destructive. Robin accepts his role as a watchman by her side (given the suggested trust between the two, perhaps much more).
- Her fate at the end of the series is unclear. However, it is hinted that both she and Amon survived the collapse of the Factory. After the above conversation amongst Robin, Karasuma and Amon, Karasuma alone stumbles out of the factory. Without concerned expression, Karasuma tells Doujima that her own survival was "chance happening" and "don't know" about the survival of Robin and Amon. At this, Doujima states that Robin and Amon must have died in the collapse of the Factory, but she says in a tone (with a smile) suggesting that she does not believe this, but that it would be best for Robin and Amon if they were believed to be dead.
- Amon is a 25-year-old S-class Hunter and is also Robin's partner. Though at one point Robin asks what's Amon's ability, he never answers and is never revealed. Originally, he is reluctant to team up with Robin, as he is told to "keep an eye on her" by STN-J (Japanese branch) boss Zaizen, as Robin is sent from Solomon (headquarters). However, seeing her worthiness in cases concerning highly prominent witches, he eventually accepts her. Later on in the anime, Amon disrupts Zaizen's plan to eliminate or take Robin into Factory. Soon after, Solomon attacks STN-J, and once again Amon saves her.
- After that episode, Amon is not seen in STN-J anymore, but found to be working directly for Solomon. He is ordered by Solomon to hunt Robin, as she has learned the arcana of the craft and her powers have grown beyond Solomon's control. However, when meeting face to face with Amon, Robin fully accepts Amon's decision whether to kill her or not. Amon finds that he cannot kill her.
- It is revealed near the end of the series that Amon's father was a witch and his mother a "seed", indicating that Amon himself also carries the dormant witch trait. Amon fears the awakening of those dormant genes. Amon's mother willingly accepted his father's lead and she "awoke" as a witch and from then on, she no longer recognized young Amon. His fear and hatred for witches originated from that moment, though his behavior throughout the whole 26 episodes is not particularly hateful nor fearful toward witches. At the last episode, when Robin realizes that her role was to make witches and humans live together in peace as "Witch Eve", Amon volunteers to be a watchman who would terminate her if she turns destructive.
- Amon and Robin's survival is not known, but Karasuma was with two of them until the last moment, and she emerges alone. Karasuma's unconcerned answer "don't know" suggests that Robin and Amon escaped safely. The relationship between Amon and Robin has not been any more than a professional relationship. However, Amon breaks up with Touko, Zaizen's daughter. They seemed to be already falling apart somewhat. Touko calmly accepts that and suggests that Amon "changed," suggesting that Amon has become a warmer person to say such things as "suddenly I thought of you and called." While Amon and Robin are never seen in an obvious romantic light, Amon repeatedly goes extra lengths to save Robin, and Robin would trust her life with Amon. There are also quite a few close moments between the two, so their romantic relationship is hinted at, though never spoken of.
- Haruto Sakaki is an 18 year-old Hunter working with the STN-J. He is brash, slightly hot-tempered, ambitious, and supportive. He often rushes into danger during hunts, and this often produces regrettable results. He is the newest member of the group after Robin, and is initially afraid of being replaced when she arrives. Sakaki is not biased about choosing friends however, and welcomes Robin to the crew. As with Amon, Sakaki does not show any superhuman ability. However, he is later hunted by Zaizen, suggesting that Sakaki is an unawakened "seed." He is saved via direct intervention of Robin, Amon, Doujima and Nagira. When that attack on Sakaki fails, they realized that Karasuma is left alone, presumed to be attacked and captured at the same time.
- He later helps Robin infiltrate the Factory to save Karasuma, and provides covering fire while Michael attempts to get an elevator back online. He is confirmed alive after Factory's collapse, Michael mentions that he still hunts witches at the end of the series.
- Michael is a hacker and the technical support expert in the STN-J. He is confined to the STN-J building 24/7 by the director Zaizen after being caught hacking into the STN-J's computer network (the only network he was unable to avoid detection in, as he states to Robin). Zaizen had given him the option of either working for STN-J or being killed on the spot, and Michael had opted for the former.
- Michael somewhat avoids Robin at first, but then begins to warm up to her, particularly when Robin stays behind in the office at night to accompany him. Michael is able to dig up extensive information about various witches, police reports, and the like, all the while covering his tracks. In the end, he is finally given permission to leave STN-J headquarters.
- Karasuma is a 19 year-old hunter with the craft of psychometry, a craft which allows her to touch an object and read strong emotions and thoughts a person had while holding it. She can also sometimes see past events that happened to, or around, an item or place. She uses this power when examining evidence or crime scenes, and through this she is able to relay useful information to the rest of the group. She gives Robin advice on how to improve her control over her power, and also acts like a mentor to her. Though rather young, her level of professionalism and determination to get things done make her seem older. Towards the end of the series, she is captured by the Factory in an operation planned by Zaizen for Orbo testing, and is given the choice to either hunt Robin or die like the rest of the witches. She refuses to hunt Robin.
- Karasuma rejoins Robin and Amon, discussing how he(Amon) and Karasuma herself would rest the future of witches and humans on Robin as a witch Eve, but Karasuma stumbles out of the debris alone safely after the Factory collapses. After that, she tells Doujima that "it was chance happening" suggesting that her survival was a fluke and that she "doesn't know" what happened to neither Robin nor Amon. From those two phrases; "chance happening" and "don't know," Doujima concludes that the two died in the rubble. However, Doujima's smile tells the viewers that Robin and Amon escaped safely and everybody wants to pretend that they are dead for Robin and Amon's own safety. In the end, she takes Amon's place as the team's leader and works as hard as she can to hunt down witches.
- Dōjima is portrayed as as carefree, lazy, vain, and immature; and she would sooner go shopping than go on a mission any chance she gets. She is consistently late for work and rarely does anything around the office, getting much negative attention from Kosaka. According to her, her parents had STN-J act as her "caretakers" and have the authority to get STN-J in trouble. She is a disappointment to the other STN-J members most of the time by doing the most minimal work during missions, and ditching them immediately when her task is finished. Dōjima does not warm up to Robin at first, mockingly calling her "Amon's Girl", but towards the end of the series she begins to take a liking for Robin, calling her "Little Robin". She also begins to do a little more work and proves she has more insight and perception of her surroundings than originally presumed. Revealed to be a Solomon intelligence operative, Dōjima was sent by Solomon to the STN-J to uncover more information about the Orbo. In the end, she escapes the Factory with Nagira, who hid Robin after Amon saves her. After the attack on the Factory, she begins to take the task of hunting down witches more seriously.
- Kosaka is a rather short-tempered man who works directly under Zaizen, and passes on reports of the organization's progress as well as other related information. Not much is known about his work, as he is mostly seen criticizing the employees while they are investigating a case, or not doing work when he thinks they should. He constantly yells and scolds his employees, and he mostly fusses over Hattori and Dōjima. Although he may be an annoyance to the rest of the Hunters, he shows some concern for them. He was originally a member of the city police force, thus, he possesses connections that come in rather useful when the hunters are unable to use the STN-J databases. At the end of the series, it is revealed that Kosaka has become the new administrator of STN-J, replacing the deceased Zaizen.
- Not much is known about Hattori, except that he works with filing and other various jobs Kosaka requests him to do. His attitude towards his fellow staff is somewhat snobbish and uncaring, but around Kosaka, he acts as a suck-up and abruptly halts whatever he is doing to listen to him.
- Zaizen is the administrator of the STN-J and the Factory, and is Tōko's father. It is eventually revealed that he is behind transforming the blood of witches into the substance called orbo, which the Hunters use to stop witches. Suspicion regarding the source of orbo causes Solomon to take action and attack the STN-J for information about the secrets of the orbo. Zaizen is eventually killed by Robin during an unsuccessful attempt to murder her himself, and subsequently fleeing into an elevator shaft that was completely incinerated.
Father Juliano Colegui
- Father Juliano is Robin's former guardian, and is also her maternal grandfather who raised her from birth. He visits Robin in the latter part of the series to inform her about the events surrounding her past. During the times Robin stays with Nagira, he is the one who asks Amon to hunt Robin, for fear that she wouldn't be able to control her powers as they grew stronger. Later, in "Redemption Day" he confronts Robin himself, and sees that she has not changed, nor turned into the monster he feared her to be. He asks her forgiveness and blesses her, giving her the information taken from Todo's journal that will help her choose her path, and entrusts her to her own destiny, knowing she will choose the right actions.
Grand Inquisitor Cortion
- Grand Inquisitor Cortion is an Inquisitor sent from Solomon to perform an inquisition on the craft-user Shiro Masudo in the episode "The Eyes of Truth." Karasuma explains to Sakaki that Solomon uses a human Inquisitor to make the final decision whether a craft-user/witch can be a hunter or not. Amon and Robin escort Cortion to the church he will be staying, and a discussion between the Inquisitor and Robin reveals that he performed Robin's Inquisition. As Cortion is leaving to return to HQ after the Inquisition, he tells Robin they will probably never meet again and alludes to the fact that she has awakened to "the pleasure of using her craft."
- Sestra is a male witch hunter who dresses like a magician, and is one of the most feared witch hunters due to the fact that he avoids of every form of law enforcement and detainment. Even Robin herself expressed fear when he was mentioned in a case. His trademark is to leave origami cranes with the name of his next victim on his latest victim. His own craft involves manipulating the air into projectiles. Sestra is the first of the witch hunters dispatched by Solomon HQ to hunt Robin when they decide she has become a threat. It is during her battle with him that she understands how the Arcana of the Craft works and becomes more powerful.
- Tōdō is Robin's "father", and a brilliant scientist. He researched a new project to repair the conflicts between humans and witches, however all evidence of his research was destroyed by Solomon because of the potential danger it contained, although it was far too late as the project had already reached its final stages. In the last episode, a recording of him is displayed on a computer in The Factory. He explains everything about his project, Robin's past, and the origins of the society's imbalance (much to Zaizan's dismay). Todo entrusts Juliano with Robin's care, after Maria's death, hoping that his gamble will pay off and she will not be destroyed.
- Maria is the daughter of Father Juliano and is also Robin's mother, although not by a standard means of birth. She passed her power of pyrokinesis to Robin, stating that Robin is the "Hope" for the future of the well-being of all witches, as well as the key to solving the struggle of acceptance between witches and humans. After giving birth to Robin, Maria died.
Yuji "Master" Kobari
- Master is the calm and polite proprietor of "Harry's", a cafe frequented by Robin and the rest of the series' main cast. Aside from Episode 10, and towards the end of the series, only one or two hunters from STN-J are ever seen there at a time. His son, Yukata, is revealed to be a witch, and it is strongly hinted that Yuji has "awakened" as well. He usually provides the Hunters with information that he manages to pick up from his customers. He takes a special interest in Robin, looking out for her and preparing food for her when she can't come down to the bar. Near the end of the series, when the hunters from the STN-J meet at Harry's, he informs Robin she has lost weight, empathizes with her troubles and welcomes her "home."
- Nagira is an attorney and is Amon's older half-brother by the same father. He takes Robin in after she leaves STN-J, and he runs a private office with two assistants. He has Robin act as a bike messenger, partly because he does not believe the government is correct in persecuting witches. Throughout whole episodes, Nagira does not do anything but investigate. He gathers information in the streets by means of a man he meets in a pachinko bar as well as a witch in Wall City. Personality-wise, he appears to be the opposite of his brother, as he is talkative, goofy, occasionally lazy, and tends to do things his way.
- Mika is a secretary at Nagira's law office where Robin stays, and she constantly scolds Nagira for being lazy. She has her hair tied back and seems a little pushy and easily annoyed, calling Robin names, but when Robin disappears, she scolds Nagira to bring her back.
- Tōko is Robin's roommate, and also Zaizen's daughter. She takes care of Robin until the raid at STN-J, and expresses interest in Robin by asking her several questions. She appears to have had a relationship with Amon, but he eventually decides to end the relationship. In the middle of the series, a group of assassins tie her up, duct tape her mouth shut, and use her as bait during an assassination attempt on Robin in her apartment. During the ensuing gun battle, she is shot in the back and critically injured. After the gun battle, Zaizen kicks Amon repeatedly, saying "your failure lead to this", suggesting Zaizen is the one who planned the attack, using his own daughter as bait. Others tell Robin that Toko's "physically recovered but the rest is mental", suggesting that Toko is having difficulty accepting what happened. She tells Zaizen to leave Amon alone, when Zaizen visits her in a hospital.
- Performance: Bana
- Lyrics: Hitomi Mieno
- Composition/arrangement: Hideyuki Daichi Suzuki
- Performance: Bana
- Lyrics: Hitomi Mieno
- Composition: Takao Asami
- Arrangement: Taku Iwasaki
The series originally aired across Japan
between July 2
and December 24
on TV Tokyo
, who later broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including East Asia
, Southeast Asia
, South Asia
, and other regions.
The series was licensed for North American distribution by Bandai Entertainment and was later aired across the United States on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim network from February 16, 2003. It has also been aired across Canada on YTV's Bionix block from September 10, 2004.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland the series was broadcast in a daily stripped timeslot on AnimeCentral from January 5 to January 30, 2008, with an immediate rerun from January 31.
In other media
On April 5
, the SciFi Channel released a press release stating a listing of new shows and movies in development for the future, one of which was Witch Hunter Robin
. The press release described the show in development as "Based on a Japanese anime, this series follows a group of trained cops that seek to capture witches. One of the newest cops, Robin, is secretly a witch herself and uses her powers to track down the evildoers." This show was to be live action. The executive producers were Roy Lee
and Doug Davison
, who were credited in the press release as being the producers for the movie The Ring
. No premiere date was given. In December 2005, it was revealed that the live action version developed by Sci-Fi had been dropped from production.
Allusions and references
Zaizen's computer screen at the factory "decrypts" in a manner exactly as depicted in the movie Sneakers
. It also contains the text block, "Hi, my name is **blank**. My voice is my passport. Verify me.", which is also featured in the movie as a product demo and a working mantrap security checkpoint.
During the ending credits, a page from the Malleus Maleficarum can be seen. It is a handbook which was used for prosecuting witches during the mid-16th and mid-17th centuries.
In episode 22, some text is shown quoting the notes accompanying the lyrics to the song Ravenchild, by the English folk singer Maddy Prior:
"With all the associations of darkness and the tricker [trickster] it is easy to lose sight of the softer, more generous side of their nature. They are often to be seen in the wild rubbing beaks and canoodling with their life’s partner, using their extensive vocabulary to “whisper sweet nothing” in a strangely anthropomorphic way."