ARROW IN THE HEAD REVIEWS

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Witch Hunter Robin #2: Belief (2002)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Shukou Murase

Starring:
Amon
Robin
Karasuma
Dojima
PLOT-CRUNCH
Cutie-patootie craft user Robin, silent yet deadly Amon, and the rest of the STN-J crew continue to hunt down the witches and warlocks of Japan. Will you dare tackle the second volume of the popular and, dare I say, exceptional Japanese Manga? YOU BETTER!
THE LOWDOWN
"We have the same powers" --- Robin

"Robin Witch Hunter – Arrival (Volume 1)" stimulated my genre buds heavily and "Robin Witch Hunter Belief (Volume 2)" locked the deal and turned me into a hardcore, stark raving mad fan of the series. I just can’t get enough of this enchanting show and I’m anticipating the next DVD (which I hear will be the last) like a pimp waiting for his broads to return to the fold on payday.

Granted, these episodes (numbered 6 to 10) were a bit redundant (we get it, children can be creepy) and only slightly took the substance established in the first disc further, but I easily forgave the show for that. I was more than chipper in getting yet another shovel full of what I adore about the series tossed my way. You just can’t go wrong with poignant drama, tight action, wooing dark atmosphere, charming characters, insane visual style and gripping tunes. You just can’t! As for the “new” juice seeped my way, it confirmed the show's overall aim for quality and solidified my “now” obsession with it.

Of the “new stuff”, I was transfixed by the growing relationship between Amon and Robin and was glad to see it take a step forward. Amon seemed to accept the gal now (It’s about time! Lighten up, dude!) and their attraction for each other became stronger. I can’t wait to see what comes out of the chemistry that sizzles between these two crazy kids! Then there was sweetie pie Robin herself, who thankfully became a more well-rounded character. Not only did she display added confidence in herself as a person, but she also showcased a firmer grasp of her special “fire” power (the glasses sure helped) making her a “bad girl” to be reckoned with. More good news: the comic relief that rubbed my knob the wrong way in the first 5 episodes (yes Kosaka, I mean you, tough guy!) was toned down considerably here. Muchos gracias for that! Lastly, many of the side-players were fleshed out more and new potent narrative directions were strongly hinted at. What’s up with The Company and Robin? I smell big trouble guys…BIG TROUBLE…YIPPEE!

So on the whole, although this disc didn’t take the “Robin” storyline to the level I thought it would reach, it still blessed me with yummy doses of depth-filled gothic candy and enticing glimpses of what’s to come. The shite will hit the proverbial fan in the last volume. I KNOW IT! ROBIN I LOVE YOU!
GORE
Although these episodes were violent, gore was not on the menu unless you count somebody lit on fire to be red grub.
ACTING
I watched the show with the English dubbing again and it was, once again, on the money. I’m pleased to report that the translations went down smoother this time around, giving way to less corny lines.
T & A
None of that lollipop here! This is not a “Hentai”, you perverts!
DIRECTING
Shukou Murase lived up to the slick display that were the first 5 episodes by, once more, delivering an uber stylish, sadness stricken in its mood and simply gorgeous series to look at. Kumiko Takahashi's stand out character designs also helped make this one a visual treat.
SOUNDTRACK
Taku Iwasaki returns with his poignant score and yes, we once more get the catchy Shell for the opening credits and the touching Half Pain for the end credits. Both tunes are performed by “Bana”.
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: Bandai Entertainment

IMAGE: We get a glorious Standard Full Screen - 1.33:1 image.

SOUND: We get an impeccable Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and a Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound option. English subtitles are also on hand.

EXTRAS:

We get STNJ EQUIPMENT FILES (image gallery of the weapons and equipment the team uses), MAELIFICA COPENDIUM (notes and descriptions of the spells at use in each episode), as well as TRAILERS and DVD CREDITS.

My only disappointment with these discs thus far are their lack of weighty extras. I’d love to hear from the creators of the show (writers, artists, director) or the actors that do the voices for the characters (Japanese and English). Where’s the beef?
BOTTOM LINE
"Witch Hunter Robin – Belief (Volume 2)" continued to serve up its healthy power mix of “The X-Files”, “La Femme Nikita”, “Fire Starter” and “The Crucible” with high class at that. Sporting a storyline and characters that oozed of pain and emotion while displaying a coating made of flawless animation, quality tunes, kinetic directing and dead-on character designs, you just can’t lose when taking Robin out on the town! Sure, the show might be too slow paced for some, but that’s not my problem now, is it? I heard that episodes 11 to 26 break away from the “stand-alone” structure of the 10 first episodes to become a “serial” which punches us in the heart with a surprising turn of events. I simply can’t wait for “Witch Hunter Robin - Inquisition"! Till then, hit the “Arrival” & "Belief” DVDs and thank me in the morning with a cup of rum and your sisters dressed in bunny suits. Man, this show rocks!
BULL'S EYE
Kari Wahlgren is the voice actress who provides the voice for the English Robin.

Witch Hunter Robin DVD 3 'Inquisition' will be Released on February 17, 2004.
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