Witch Hunter Robin Volume 3

It’s hard to believe we’re halfway through Witch Hunter Robin already. Still, twelve episodes in and the series is showing no signs of slowing down. Once again plunging the viewer into its concisely crafted world of occult mysteries and majestic gothic action.

It’s business as usual for the STN-J, and once again we find ourselves following the team as they weed out another batch of super powered bad guys, using their dubious gifts to get up to no good.

In the first episode the team tackle a grisly murder case that may have ties to Robin’s own past. And episode two finds series regular Harry, taking centre stage in a surprisingly heartfelt yarn that fleshes out his connection to the world of witchcraft.

As elegant as ever, volume three of WHR ends the first half of the series in inimitable style. Few series manage to marry substance and style so admirably, but Witch Hunter Robin manages to straddle a fine line between the two, combining brooding atmospheric visuals with a tale of the supernatural that is both pensive and exciting.

Admittedly the episodic nature of the series is threatening to wear thin, but this volume sheds more light on the series-overreaching arc, with the last two episodes in particular, pulling out some shocking twists that will leave viewers in two minds over where the series is headed.

Like any good drama WHR, plays its card close to its chest only allowing the viewer a glimpse of its hand at the most crucial moment. Just when you think the series has exhausted its repertoire of tricks, a new piece of information falls into the viewer’s lap nudging us inexplicably toward the next instalment.

It’s in the first two episodes that this volume comes up short. Myself, I have no qualms with the series’ serial nature – every episode delivers a short, snappy standalone tale that keeps proceedings fresh, each offering a slightly different spin on the established witch hunt formula.

Despite this I can’t help but notice a little deja vu creeping in, the characterisation is as nuanced as ever, Amon is finally regarding Robin as a part of the team lending a feeling of amity to the group, but the monster of the week formula is beginning to feel a little tired.

Thank thy lord then, for the inventive action that peppers the series. And this volume drops one or two super powered showdowns into the mix that manage to keep the series’ head above the water. Robin’s gift allows for some (literally) fiery showdowns, giving way to some sharply executed, exciting action sequences winding up each episode with a stab of adrenaline sure to kick-start even the shortest attention span.

I know that in every WHR review I commit to the web I bang on about the visuals, but the series seems to be doing the reverse of most anime series and is actually looking better and better with each passing volume. One of the series most appealing aspects is the atmospheric background work – all bruised purples and inky shadows – that deepen the feeling of uneasiness the spooky subject matter evokes. Making for one of the most cohesively staged and strangely beautiful series on the market.

In Summary

As the twelfth episode wound down I found myself as captivated by Witch Hunter Robin as ever, the opening episodes on this disc may be textbook Robin, with the slow building scenes of investigation zooming toward another tumultuous showdown. But the closing half of this volume brings with it revelations aplenty, throwing light onto hitherto untouched parts of Witch Hunter Robin’s dark universe, leaving me anxious to see what the next volume has in store.

7 / 10