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El Cazador De La Bruja: Part 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

January 5, 2010 by  



From the creators of “Noir” and “Madlax” comes the third and final installment of their girls and guns series.  This time instead of a story of being the hunters, the female duo become the hunted as they try to find out clues about a murder while on the run from bounty hunters.  A series full of action and humor, “El Cazador De La Bruja” is a series worth checking out!

Image courtesy of © Gosho Aoyama/Shogakukuan-Yomiuri-TV-Universal Music-Sho-Pro-Toho-TMS. All Rights Reserved.

DVD TITLE: El Cazador De La Bruja: Part 1

DURATION: (Episodes 1-13) 325 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 16:9, English 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound, Japanese Stereo, English Subtitles

COMPANY: FUNimation Entertainment

RATED: TV MA

Release Date: December 15, 2009

Directed by Koichi Mashimo

Series Composition by Kenichi Kanemaki

Screenplay: Hiroyuki Kawasaki, Kenichi Kanemaki, Satoru Nishizono

Music by Yuki Kajiura, Yuriko Kaida

Character Designs by Yoko Kikuchi

Art Director: Tomomi Kato, Yoshimi Umino

Mechanical Design by Kenji Teraoka, Seiji Koezuka, Tadashi Koezuka

Sound Director: Toru Nakano

Producer: Mamiko Aoki, Shigeru Kitayama

Anime Production by Bee Train

Featuring the following voice talent:

Ai Shimizu/Maxey Whitehead as Ellis

Shizuka Itou/Trina Nishimura as Nadie

Aya Hisakwa/Clarine Harp as Jody “Blue-Eyes”  Hayward

Fumihiko Tachiki/Bob Carter as Ricardo

Kenta Miyake/Ian Sinclair as Douglas Rosenberg

Mamoru Miyano/Jami McGonnigal as L.A.

Marina Inoue/Monica Rial as Lirio

Shinichiro/Christopher Bevins as Heinrich “Heinz” Schneider

All they have is each other.

Ellis is an amnesiac with a bounty on her head, and Nadie’s trigger finger is the only thing keeping her friend from falling into the wrong hands. They’re looking for pieces of Ellis’s past, and every mile of open highway brings the girls closer together – but their special bond is bound to be tested.

At the dusty border crossroads where ancient spirits and modern science meet, a storm of conspiracy is brewing low in the desert sky. Someone out there can explain the hazy mysteries of Ellis’s past. If she and Nadie just keep moving south, the Hunter and the Witch will get their answers soon enough.

In 2007, the 26-episode TV anime series “El Cazador de la Bruja” was featured on TV Tokyo.  Animated by Bee Train (“Tsubasa Chronicle”, “.hack” series, “Noir”, “Madlax”, etc.), the series would be the final installment of Bee Train’s girls with guns trilogy which followed “Noir” and “Madlax”.

The series was directed by Koichi Mashimo (director of the various “.Hack” series, “Tsubasa: RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”, “Dirty Pair: Project Eden”, “Noir”, “Madlax”) and series composition by Kenichi Kanemaki (“Glaxy Angel”, “Ai Yori Aoishi”, “Hell Girl”, “Negima!?”).  Character designs are by Yoko Kikuchi (Noir”, “Macross Plus”, “Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”) and music by Yuki Kajiura (“Tsubasa RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE”, “Mobil Suit Gundam Seed”, “.Hack” series, “Baccano!, etc.)

The series revolves around a bounty hunter named Nadie who works for Jody Hayward (who is an agent working for the Central Intelligence Agency’s accounting department who is keeping close watch on the antagonist Duglas Rosenberg, a director of the CIA).   Nadie is hired by Hayward to protect a fugitive named Ellis who is suffering from amnesia.  It appears that Ellis is a person with supernatural powers and has “Witch DNA” that gives her powers to have supernatural strength, levitation and the power to freeze or heat objects.  But it can only be activated when she is feeling desperate and she and Nadie are in harms way.

Ellis is a suspect in the killing of Dr. Heinz Schneider’s murder and as other bounty hunters are after her, including a young man named “L.A.” who is supposed to kill her but somehow has become obsessively in love with her.  It is not known what kind of bond he has with Ellis.

Meanwhile, Nadie and Ellis head towards the south (in an area that is like Mexico) in searching for the truth of what happened to Dr. Schneider, a man who was in charge of developing and researching Project LEVIATHAN and caring for Ellis and each village/household they stop at, trouble is looming nearby.

“El Cazador De La Bruja” features the first 13 episodes on two DVD’s.  Here is a spoiler free summary of each episode:

DISC 1:

  • EPISODE 1: A Woman on the Run – Nadie goes after Ellis and both end up traveling South.
  • EPISODE 2: A Woman Who Waits – Nadie and Ellis work at a cafe owned by a female bounty hunter.
  • EPISODE 3: A Woman Rained Upon – L.A. appears and tells Ellis that he is watching her.
  • EPISODE 4: A Woman with an Angle – Nadie and Ellis try to hide in a convent and running from two bounty hunters.
  • EPISODE 5: A Woman Who Puts It On – Nadie and Ellis’s belongings are vandalized from the jeep forcing them to stay in a village, while a bounty hunter goes after Ellis.
  • EPISODE 6: A Man In Love – As the two travel south, Nadie encounters an old acquaintance she once care about named Miguel.
  • EPISODE 7: A Man Who Works – The girls arrive at an expensive hotel and hope they can get some needed rest.  Meanwhile, Ricardo keeps a captive L.A. and try to teach him how to control his obsession.

DISC 2:

  • EPISODE 8: A Woman Who Lies – While Nadie goes out to buy some food, she is shot.  Ellis uses her supernatural powers on Nadie.
  • EPISODE 9: A Woman Who Digs – Nadie and Ellis hide inside an abandoned silver mine and meet a woman who has been mining for years for the Silver cross.
  • EPISODE 10: A Man Who Lives with An Angel – The girls go out for tacos and is taken in by a man who tells them a story about his former job.
  • EPISODE 11: A Woman Who Conjures – Nadie and Ellis go to a town in which the people in the town worship a fake witch.
  • EPISODE 12: A Man Who Shoots – Nadie and Ellis encounter a man named Ortega who collects weapons and gets them into deeper trouble.
  • EPISODE 13: A Woman Who Conceals – Nadie and Ellis end up in an town which was abandoned due to an outbreak of disease but discover gunmen wearing protective suits.

It’s important to note that the second part of “El Cazador De La Bruja” was released on DVD the same day as part one, so one can own the whole series right now.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“El Cazador De La Bruja: Part 1” is an anime TV series that puts a lot of emphasis in character designs and the action sequence.  The fact that you have the director Koichi Mashimo who was involved with “Noir” and “Madlax” in this series, you can expect a good amount of emphasis on the action sequences.  Character designs by Yoko Kikuchi are pretty solid and artistic backgrounds  feature plenty of old-style homes and buildings with good detail and shading.  The series features a good amount of color, vibrant during the daytime, scenes that feature a lot of earthtones and blue hues.

As for the audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby Digital and Japanese stereo.  Voice acting on both sides are well-done, with my preference being the Japanese dialogue as I do enjoy Ai Shimizu, Shizuka Itou and Aya Hisakawa’s voice work but Maxey Whitehead, Trina Nishimura and Clarine Harp do a good for the English dub.  Dialogue is clear and understandable with special effects utilizing the front and surround channels.  My preference for the series for both audio versions is to have audio set on home theater with stereo on all channels for a more immersive soundscape (esp. if you have a 7.2 or higher setup).

Subtitles are featured in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

El Cazador De La Bruja: Part 1” comes with:

Disc 1:

  • Audio Commentary for Episode 2 “A Woman on the Run” – The following audio commentary features Christopher Bevins (Director and voice actor for Hans Schneider), Trina Nishimura (voice of Nadie), Maxey Whitehead (voice of Ellis).  The three talk about hair color, the episode and casting the voice actors for the series.

Disc 2:

  • Textless Opening and Closing Songs
  • FUNimation Trailers

“El Cazador De La Bruja: Part 1” is an intriguing anime series much different from “Noir” and “Madlax”.  Where the protagonists tend to be more of the characters that do the attacking or hunting, for this series, our two heroines are the ones being hunted. Where Nadie is the character known for her feisty-ness, ability to fight and most importantly her ability to use a gun, the first part of the series introduces a supernatural element with Ellis.

So far the series has been entertaining.  Each episode is obviously building up to something that I expect to be quite intense for the second half of the series.  The first half is just more or less establishing the characters and we see how Nadie and Ellis, who are very different from each other, becoming closer as friends during their trip to the South.  Meanwhile, you get a sense that the character L.A. who is obsessed with Ellis, definitely is going to be a twisted character in the second half of the series.

For those who are expecting a much darker series like “Noir”, “El Cazador De La Bruja” appears to be a lighthearted series thus far but definitely has the potential to get darker.  So, it’s going to be interesting to see how the second half wraps up the series.

Overall, “El Cazador De La Bruja” has been an entertaining series featuring a good amount of action and humor.  I do feel that the first half are episodes focusing more on character development and that the series will obviously get much deeper in the second half.  If you are a fan of the Studio Bee anime series such as “Noir” and “Madlax”, definitely give “El Cazador De La Bruja” a try!






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