The 2nd Dimension

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Viewing Journal: Witchblade (complete)

Series Overview
DVD Info

Overall= B-
Story = B-
Video = B-
Audio = B-

In 22nd-Century Japan, Masane Amaha, one of the surviving catastrophe that destroyed Tokyo becomes the latest in an ancient line of women-only warriors to wield the mysterious sentient weapon known only throughout history as "the Witchblade". Protecting her little girl, she will face her worst fear .... (Source: ANN)

Based on a US comic known for it's well-endowed and scantily clad main character; the Witchblade anime has the same kind of "fan service" and violence as the original. On top of that it adds a good amount of creepy non-too-subtle innuendo in the form of rogue weapons called X-cons and -- of course -- Masane's own lust for battle (complete with erotic moaning. Yip!).

And as disturbing as that may sound, it certainly makes the show more interesting because on top of just being creepy, it also seems to be an attempt to symbolicly show (in the way only a genetically-altered human-weapons experiment can) the differences in what "lust" means for men versus women. Unfortunately though, the X-cons story arc only last for a few episodes, and once their part is over she show looses much of this "creepy" factor.

Once that X-con part is gone it's mostly witchblade-wearing-women versus other witchblade-wearing-women. And instead of symbolically contrasting men and women, the general theme for this part focuses more on what it means to be a woman -- specifically what it means to be a mother.

This is why I think this is the best example of a Japanese adaption of US material that I have seen recently. It uses the concept from the original comic, but it doesn't feel compelled to stringently adhere to its storyline. So it not only has unique characters but it also employs some original themes in creative ways. You have US material with Japanese sensibilities applied to it; which is the kind of mix that fans would want from this kind of anime.

The show also balances out its dark, seedy, and violent side with a bright, comedic side as well as some drama involving Masamune's struggle to keep her daughter.

Another unique element is how the Masamune's daughter is the more mature one of the two -- and it's more like the daughter takes care of the mother instead of the other way around.

Of course, if you think all that analysis is BS and just want to see T&A with violence and action; then there's plenty of that to go around too. And it's all supported by some nice colorful decent-quality animation. The art does an especially good job of establishing darker tones when Masamune is in Witchblade form, and lighter tones when she and her daughter are just goofing around.

So overall, I would say that this is worth picking up, especially if you are a fan of either warrior-woman type of shows, or of the original comic. It has unique twists on both and has a surprising amount of depth and drama in addition to good old-fashion bloody battles.

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