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  • I discovered Witchblade when I happened to catch the first episode on IFC while channel surfing one Friday night. I have been watching it ever since and have seen all the episodes that IFC has shown so far. Witchblade has some stereotypical anime elements to it, but anyone who likes a good drama/action series should look into giving Witchblade a chance.

    To provide a little overview the show is set in a future Tokyo and its title comes from the mysterious artifact which is bonded to the show's lead character, Masane Amaha, who doesn't remember anything about her life before an earthquake that devastated Tokyo. Six years have passed and Masane and her daughter Rihoko return to a rebuilt Tokyo to start a new life. It doesn't take long though for numerous incidents (serial killings, interference from a government welfare agency, and subterfuge from mysterious corporations) to converge and reveal to Masane that the artifact is actually an ancient magical weapon, which when danger is near transforms its bearer into a powerful warrior.

    Although I like the show so far I have to admit that Witchblade has a few stereotypical anime elements, most obviously that Masane and most of the adult female characters are quite buxom. Though the Japanese writers of Witchblade at least seem to have a sense of humor about this common anime predilection, as the early episodes have more than one in-joke about Masane's looks. Such as when she is at a clothing store looking for a bra and told that the store doesn't carry any big enough for her, and Masane's nickname 'Melanie' comes about when another character takes note of her rather pronounced curves. Of course the criticism of lead female characters being almost impossibly good-looking is certainly not limited to anime, and plenty of live action American movies do the same thing when they cast an Angelina Jolie or Jessica Alba as the lead. Other aspects of the show deserve a bit more criticism though, like the rather complicated storyline and somewhat convoluted plot twists (common to many anime series) which can make Witchblade somewhat difficult to follow for those who don't watch all the episodes. Then there are the instances of characters suddenly acting just plain silly, for no apparent reason other than because the writers wanted to create come additional action in a particular scene (thankfully the silly scenes become less frequent as the series progresses).

    Episodes of Witchblade also tend to be somewhat formulaic, generally consisting of some mother/daughter drama with Masane and Rihoko, along with some comic relief from either them (using the tried and true 'daughter is more mature than mother' conceit) or other characters, then some scenes involving the mysterious corporations, and of course one or two fight scenes usually involving Masane in her transformed Witchblade warrior form. In these fight scenes the opponent is typically either a mechanized foe of some kind or a female enemy who has the super powers (and of course the curves) to match the Witchblade transformed Masane. The fight scenes are pretty over the top, too. Not only is there plenty of violence in them but sometimes also sexual overtones (in a not so subtle attempt by the show's writers to compare the thrill Masane feels in battle to sexual excitement), and then there is the outfit of the Witchblade transformed Masane (and the similar outfits of her female enemies) which leaves little to the imagination. There is no nudity in Witchblade, but the fighting outfits of Masane and the other female characters are definitely skimpy (the show was actually censored for Japanese TV to have the female characters' fighting outfits revised to cover more, but the show is in its original uncensored form on DVD and in its U.S. release on IFC).

    Somewhat surprisingly though, while the show's creators doubtless intended scenes of a super powered heroin fighting in a barely-there outfit to be the show's signature feature, such scenes have so far taken up just a few minutes in each episode. This is probably just due to the practical limitations of an animated TV series (where the constraints of a weekly TV schedule prevent long complexly animated fight scenes), but whether by necessity or design it leaves more time per episode for story development, and more importantly for the relationship between Masane and Rihoko. It is this mother/daughter relationship that really gives the show a dramatic center and elevates Witchblade above the usual anime fair. After all, lots of anime shows have battle scenes and curvaceous heroines, but eye candy alone isn't enough to keep a viewer's attention if the characters are shallow and the story boring. This is what makes Witchblade a special anime show, that it stays fun to watch even outside of the scenes where Masane is kicking butt in her over the top Witchblade costume.

    Witchblade may not change the minds of those who don't like anime, but it definitely hasn't been boring so far, and I am sure many of those who give it a chance will be glad they did.
  • This anime is just beautiful! The animation is very clear and smooth. It is a joy to watch the characters walking around in this anime. Also there are a lot of likable characters in this series. I promise you will laugh. The relationship between Masane (the woman who carries the witchblade) and Rihoko (Masana's daughter) is a special one. It is obvious that they love each other very much! And it seems that Rihiko takes care of the mother who is a bit of a wild one (maybe as a consequence of the witchblade,we don't know). And at the end we are witness of some change in Masana's character. She has to mature in order to provide the best care for her daughter. It is touching to see how strong the bond is and that it doesn't matter what obstruction and misery comes their way. Because of their love for each other they will overcome it. Maybe it sounds too much like a soap opera. But in my opinion there is nothing wrong with a bit of drama now and then. Especially when it's done like in this anime. This show doesn't contain as much action as one would think. But that is primarily because this is a plot based anime with some action in it. The action scenes that are shown are fun but not real special. Only the sexy outfit,the big boobs and other features keep popping up to add some flavor. Probably done to tease the male viewer (I think). The last episode gives enough closure,although we never get to learn about the origin of the Witchblade and how it chooses it's wielder. But since the focus wasn't about the Witchblade it doesn't matter that much. Overall this is a nice, fast paced anime with beautiful animation and great characterization.
  • This Japanese anime is loosely based on the American comic book of the same name. The setting is some time in the future in Tokyo, after a large disaster that has left the city in some disarray.

    Presumably, Sarah Pezzini of the comic book, and American TV series is long gone, and the Witchblade has chosen a new bearer, Masane Amou. She's a young, scatter-brained, single mother trying to look after her daughter Rihoko. A governmental child welfare agency is after Masane because they claim she is an unfit parent and want to take Rihoko away. They may have more in mind than the welfare of the child, however.

    Masane must also learn to control this new force whose origin is unknown to her.

    This is an interesting addition to the Witchblade saga and should be well-liked by most fans of action animes.
  • glowhomer1 July 2011
    This series is on par with HBO's Spawn:Animated series. The story is well told, the relationships of the characters are strong. The central mother/daughter theme is simple, powerful, and elegant. I enjoyed all the characters, and the changes they go through, because of a mother's love. For me, most anime is almost senseless, due to my ignorance of Asian culture. I don't care much for giant robots they crush cities and everybody seems to be fine with it. That silly mech. But the machines in this series are relevant, if cannon fodder. The fights were often anti- climatic, ending too soon in one way or another, but easily over-looked when taken into context. No sex, lots of bulbous bosoms (yay!), not much violence against humans and what little there is, is shown off screen or implied in some way. Anyway, worth watching.
  • I think my biggest gripe with the Witchblade Anime series might be that because of its style (ie: supple and typically barely covered female anatomy), many potential viewers will be quick to write it off as nothing more than a peep show. While it may be true that Witchblade does contain fanservice en-masse, the story is what is truly remarkable here.

    The trials and tribulations the lead characters endure from beginning to end brought me to tears several times throughout. The characters are lovable, the action is intense, and the characters reactions to the events that are unfolding around them are exceedingly well done.

    Yes, there will be moments where the series drags its feet and to that I say, what series hasn't? No media can go full bore all the time without becoming mindless (At least in my opinion). Still, even through the slower moments of Witchblade, the story gradually progresses, until reaching a conclusion that still has me begging for more.

    I could honestly go on for quite some time about how much I truly, and completely enjoyed every bit of this series. However, at risk of getting into spoilers and potential tirades, I leave you with this: If you like anime, and enjoy a great story with fantastic characters, and great action, give Witchblade a try. You won't be disappointed.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is a solidly entertaining sequel/re-imagining of the American comic book series, Witchblade, created by Top Cow. I'm a big Witchblade reader myself (she's probably my favorite super-heroine, or is it Painkiller Jane? I really can't decide), so I know that when I heard there was a Japanese animation show titled "Witchblade," I just had to see what Japan had to offer on a cult-classic comic book title.

    Top Cow did have a hand in this Japanese production of their most famed supernatural super-heroine, but "Witchblade" somehow or another remains a uniquely Japanese production that contains a lot of the usual elements of most animation from Japan, not limited to sexy females, troublesome, hard-to-follow story, and big corrupt corporations.

    Set in Tokyo six years after a catastrophic earthquake, well-endowed single-mom Masane Amaha returns to the city with her cute six-year-old daughter Rihoko. Masane is well-meaning but somewhat childish and immature, so Rihoko often seems like the mother, cooking, cleaning, shopping, taking care of the house, and is otherwise taking care of her mother instead of the other way around. For the longest time, it's just been the two of them, but child-welfare services has been after Masane for some time now, since she has no job, no income, and no way to care for Rihoko.

    If this is starting to sound like some Lifetime family stuff, hang on for just a minute longer because I'm getting into the meat of the story. Masane is also the wielder of the mystical Witchblade, a powerful sentient artifact of extraterrestrial origin that grants her a vast array of supernatural powers that she uses to slice-and-dice the rogue Ex-Cons (shape-changing humans who have the ability to morph into killer machines) that have been responsible for several mysterious murders around the Tokyo area. In the meantime, Masane, of course, keeps her double life as a monster-smashing super-heroine secret from her daughter, fighting to protect her at all costs, even her own life.

    As I said before, while "Witchblade" bears the name of the American comic book super-heroine, the Japanese have their own spin on the material that differs greatly from its source material. Pretty much, the only elements that remain the same from its American counterpart are the title, the fact that the protagonist is a woman (a well-endowed woman, at that) who understands little to nothing about what it is she has gotten herself into, and that the Witchblade always chooses a female as its host. In "Witchblade," many of the supernatural themes, fantasy and horror elements of the American comic have been largely done away with, replaced with the typical aforementioned elements of Japanese animation and science fiction. The most significant addition, I think, are the Clone-blades, which as they might sound like, are cloned versions of the Witchblade. They are also in abundance and prove to be more-than-worthy adversaries.

    But many of these changes work. In addition, there is also some crazy comedy here and there, and touching family scenes between Masane and Rihoko that make them really stand out and you believe that they're mother and daughter. More characters are in abundance, like the residents of the apartment building Masane and Rihoko come to live in, none of whom are cardboard cut-outs but add a lot of dimension, drama, and humor to the story. In essence, these societal losers are the perfect family!

    However, about halfway through the series things suddenly take a much darker and more somber tone as we come to realize that mother and daughter may not be mother and daughter, and the fact that the mother may not live to see this thing through, and the series ends on a note of pessimism as it is. That's really tragic since you've sat through 24 episodes of seeing these two together only to realize that they may not live happily ever after with one another. Also, the confusing back-story (as is typical of most Japanese animation) tends to be a bit of a unwarranted distraction in a series that at least manages to keep you watching.

    Anyway, "Witchblade" is a more-than-suitable addition to a great supernatural comic book mythology. I still question whether or not this will see a second season, though.

    (Americans can see "Witchblade" on IFC at 11:30 p.m. on Friday nights.)

  • *note: I do intend to play the devils advocate here in light of all these positive reviews. I'm just stating how i feel about this series*

    A co-production between American comic book company "top Cow" and anime company Gonzo, Witchblade is loosely based on the famous supernatural genre graphic novel series of the same name. In retrospect, "loosely" might be giving this series way too much credit. As a whole, "Witchblade" feels like a completely un-related anime series with the "Witchblade" title slapped on it just because it happened to feature a gauntlet-like object that binds to a woman thus granting her supernatural powers while replacing her clothes with an overly skimpy combat outfit. Other than that, it has absolutely NOTHING ELSE in common with the comic book it is based on.

    Whatever intriguing supernatural detective story or down-to-earth characters that are easy to relate to has been thrown out the window and replaced with cliché upon cliché, staple to many science fiction Japanese anime.

    Our story is set in future Japan. A couple of years ago, a giant disaster ravaged Tokyo leaving one Masane Amaha and a little girl the only survivors at ground zero. Now Masane and the little girl Rihoko, whom she adopted as her daughter, have returned to Tokyo and get involved in A string of events that culminates in an encounter with a strange and dangerous biomechanical creature leading Masane to discover that the little jewel on her wrist is actually "the witchblade", a legendary artifact. Now Masane has become caught in the middle of a power war between the NSWF organization and the "Douji" group, each with their own bio-engineered super soldiers and each desiring to possess the Witchblade for their own ends.

    Though the characters are tried and tested stereotypical anime characters, their interactions come across as very genuine. Masane and Rihoko especially play out their mother/daughter roles very realistically, thanks to an excellent voice cast both in the original Japanese and the English dub tracks. Both are extremely likable even though the whole "mature young kid" and "bumbling but kind hearted immature adult" stereotype is nothing new in the world of anime.

    Sadly after a rather promising first few episodes, the series starts to falter. The subsequent characters introduced to the series tend to be rather one dimensional and set firmly in stereotypical roles of "the tough guy protagonist", "sadistic female assassin", "comedy relief gang" etc. The story pacing also takes a nosedive. It feels like a 12 episode story stretched into 24 episodes. There is a bit of Comedy, but comedy is a good thing when played right, not when it is awkwardly written and badly placed.

    Awkward also translates to the animation and art style. It would be easy to criticize this show's overly sexualized portrayal of Masane and the other "clone-blade" users. On almost every young adult female character, it is either the butt or the.....chest or both that is disproportionately emphasized. Fanservice is at an all time high with scenes of scantly clad blood-lusting females duking it out with blades and bouncing "melons". Even the "bloodlust" is quite literally a "lust"; all in a bid to titillate the male audience. Characters are drawn off-model sometimes with Masane's body proportions seemingly changing size in-between scenes. The animation also suffers in the long run. Only the still shots and close-ups look passably decent but disappointingly stiff. Action shots and many scenes involving movement cause the level of art detail to drop quite a bit.

    The mother/daughter drama between Masane and Rihoko might have been the saving grace of this series but sadly it is also stretched to breaking point over the course of the 24 episodes (again due to horrible pacing). The story gets more and more convoluted as the series passes into its second half while the art and animation sort of settles into a low-to-medium budget look and feel as the production constantly cuts corners by using one too many animation short-cuts.

    For all the advertising Funimation and Top Cow did on the Witchblade anime, this series is an utter disappointment. Instead of building on the more original mother/daughter dynamics and character drama, the series decides to play the "sex sells" card and deliver one fan-service laden combat sequence after another, complete with jokes about the main character's over-sized breasts. Lacking even the coherence and cleverness of the original comic books, Witchblade may satisfy those hot blooded young male viewers who love to be teased by anime females in states of semi-nudity. Other than that, it is mediocre fare not worth the time or money, compared to other better series out there.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I honestly thought this anime was pretty good. I thought involving a young woman (who is the same age as me) who has secret of turning into a badass monster and bringing up a young girl who wasn't even hers, was pretty inspiring. I really did think that Masane was such an incredible character for bringing the child up and fighting to save the world. However in the end, I badly wanted Masane and Rihoko to interact together one last time before they both went their seperate ways. At least Rihoko did have a family who cared for her and loved her just like Masane did.

    I actually agree with one reviewer here that this deserves a second season like it would be great for Masane and Rihoko to be able to bond again!

    This deserves a 8/10 rating!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The show about Masane and her daughter Rihoko who return to Tokyo and been follow by Police and Child welfair who taken away her daughter. But something happen to Masane because she have power on her right arm and turn into Witchblade herself but Masane met Reiji Takayama who let her to join Douji Group to look X-cons and find Rihoko. But NSWF creating Cloneblades who coming after Witchblade

    Witchblade is a perfect anime superhero series meet Mavrel Superheroes, but this show is NSFW and TV-MA

    Jamie Marchi is the perfect Witchblade and she did great job, Witchblade is pretty mature female superhero character and acting like nasty, taste, and acting likes crazy/mad
  • Warning: Spoilers
    /(/(/(/(/(possible spoiler alert)/)/)/))/ Hello i'm a big Witchblade fan and I've always wanted it to go for a second season and im currently trying to save the show with my Facebook page and its a Fan club and petition as well here is my Facebook page

    and i think it was a good show and it made me cry at the end and the show is what made me a Anime fan and it is what made me make my page and also i like the Witchblade girl she is one hot woman lol i'm drawing and making Witchblade stuff it surly has made a impact on me and hope it makes a impact on you to and i'm going to end by saying that its 100stars and more to come.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This series, loosely based on a US comic of the same name, takes place in Japan six years after a devastating earthquake. Protagonist Masane Amaha woke up after the quake without any memory and with a strange amulet on her wrist; she was with a girl she assumed to be her daughter; Rihoko. Now she is moving to Tokyo so she can better support Rihoko. Around the same time there has been a series of brutal murders; it turns out the killers are malfunctioning creations of the Doujo Corporation and they are drawn to Masane's amulet… the legendary Witchblade of the title.

    Soon Masane comes to the attention of Doujo's bureau chief Reiji Takayama and finds herself working for him. She is employed to destroy the companies creations; in doing so she meets others similar to herself; the Cloneblades. These wear devices based on the Witchblade but inevitably aren't quite as powerful. When she isn't fighting Masane and Rihoko live with an amusing bunch of characters including a freelance photographer who discovers her secret when he photographs her as she fights one of the Cloneblades.

    I nearly didn't buy this series as the DVD box art suggests it is going to be fan service heavy and involve demonic women fighting… it isn't really like that at all though. When Masane and the various Cloneblades fight they do transform and their costumes leave little to the imagination but for the most part Masane is dressed normally and looks like an ordinary woman; the only think about her that could be considered fan-service are her rather large breasts and they are a cause for occasional humour and are usually well covered. The story has a good plot and likable protagonists; the relationship between Masane and Rihoko is beautifully portrayed and quite emotional at times; especially when it looks as if they might be separated. The villains are suitably dangerous but even they have some sympathetic characteristics which make them more interesting. I liked the character designs; they were fairly distinctive meaning it isn't likely that one would confuse them with each other. Over all I'd heartily recommend this to anybody wanting a series with plenty of action and a good emotional core… don't be put off by the box art!

    These comments are based on watching the series in Japanese with English subtitles.