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on March 1, 2010
"When I saw the pictures and the explanation of the story, I thought it was a coarser, scarier and darker anime. But once we started, I realized it had less violence and more heart." - Mie Sonozaki


Before anything else, you need to understand the following: Witchblade is, first and foremost, a character-driven drama, rather than an action series. It has some fighting, yes, but the vast majority of the episodes are spent focusing on character development. Everything else comes a distant second. At first the suggestion is that it's going to be a The Devil Lady, 'monster of the week' type, but that isn't the case.

Whoever decided to market Witchblade as a violent, fan-service heavy title wasn't too bright. Likewise, the person who came up with the idea of taking the title of a popular American comic and then creating an entirely different story, with an all-new cast, didn't make the wisest of moves. By attempting to pass-off a slow-paced, heartfelt and very human drama as a generic action title with added boobs, all Gonzo achieved was getting the wrong type of viewers; pushing away the types who would appreciate a family drama about a mother loving her daughter with all her heart and being willing to do anything for her.

Judging the series based on the revealing Witchblade forms and boob sizes, it's hard not to expect an utterly tasteless anime. But you know what? Sex only occurs ONCE during the entire series, and NOTHING gets shown--the two involved kiss and then it's the morning after. That pretty much sums Witchblade up: there's a lot of cleavage but, that aside, Witchblade is surprisingly tasteful. In truth, there isn't even a huge amount of action once series gets past the introduction period.

:: Story :: 6/10

Six years prior to the start of Witchblade, Tokyo had been left devastated by a catastrophic earthquake. Two people were found alive at the ground zero of the quake: a 17-year-old woman (later named Masane; her having lost all of her pre-disaster memories) and a baby (Rihoko). Only the maternity diary held by the woman pointed towards them being related...

Once the series gets going, the two are heading back to Tokyo on the run; desperate to stay together and not be separated by the child welfare organization (created after the quake, to 'help' children). As jobless Masane struggles to keep Rihoko, she encounters the 'monster' responsible for a string of nasty murders, and that's when what had been sleeping within her for six years awakens--the power of the 'Witchblade'; something that has existed since the beginning of time, selecting its (female) hosts and forcing its hosts to give into their lust and destructive urges. Masane then gets caught between two organizations who seek the Witchblade, ending up working for one (Douji: a major weapons supplier) to support her life with Rihoko and hunted by the other (NSWF: in charge of the child welfare organization and with links to genetic research).

I'll be honest here: the story of Witchblade is full of anime silliness, ranging from fat men disguised as killer microwaves, genetic experiments, and women who use 'Cloneblades'--lesser, copied versions of the ever mysterious Witchblade. It's never explained why the weapons Masane hunts target random females, or why the Witchblade only selects women as 'hosts'... or what the Witchblade actually is. And I couldn't help but see most of the twists coming in advance; the writers actually intentionally spelling out how the series would end in order to impact on the viewers' feelings progressively rather than shock them.

While it does have a B-movie sort of entertainment factor in its favour, if I were to score Witchblade based only on its story, it wouldn't be very flattering... But this is where the negative ends because, like I've already pointed out at the start, the characters are where it's at. The story is no more than a means to an end; the backdrop for lots of excellent drama.

:: Characterization :: 9.5/10

Masane (nicknamed 'Melonie' because of her boob size!), the lead of the story, has nothing going for her apart from her six-year-old daughter, Rihoko. She isn't incredibly sharp, has no skills of note and, really, only has her love for her daughter. The child welfare organization try to separate them; Masane's ability to transform into a scantily-clad, sexulized version of herself (thanks to the mysterious Witchblade attached to her wrist) puts her in danger and powerful corporations involve her in their troubles, but, no matter what stands in her way, she fights to protect and give a better life to the one she loves the most.

Loud, simple-minded, direct type of characters tend to be hard to like and easy to hate, but Masane is very endearing. There are many simple things that made her into a likable character, such as when she went into a blind panic after learning that her daughter had been hurt; Masane ending up running out of her apartment barefoot. She's often called a primate by her 'boss', Takayama, because of how she acts without thinking and says what's on her mind, but that's what's so lovable about her: her honesty, maternal instincts and selflessness. It's little surprise that she eventually wins over even Takayama with her natural personality as the series progresses - she's just impossible to not like and respect.

The supporting cast backing up Masane aren't too shabby, either. Rihoko basically 'mothers' her own mother by shopping, cooking and caring for the more absent-minded Masane, and her being so mature at such a young age makes her have instant likability. Takayama plays the role of Masane's stern and somewhat awkward middle-aged boss, giving her orders to hunt down rogue 'weapons' for money, and it's his banter with her that provides much of the comic relief--the two later also becoming much closer; the writers doing a wonderful job of humanizing him and showing his softer, caring side as the series progresses. The rest of the cast are less developed and involved than the main three but all play important roles; the residents where Masane and Rihoko live, though never getting much time individually, are responsible for the 'family atmosphere' always being in the air during the more relaxing periods, for example.

:: Art / Animation + Sound:: 8.5/10

The first thing that made me think, 'Wow, Witchblade might not be so horrible, despite the title and fan-service!' was its opening. I watched/listened to the opening by chance, and as soon as I heard the fast-paced, exciting beat and saw the visuals that accompanied the music, which included a close-up of Masane's eye and a tear coming out of it, I just knew I had to watch it. The first opening is THAT good--even the 'GIVE ME YOUR XTC!!!' lyrics going with the show itself. Gonzo went on to regret changing it halfway through since they replaced the far less impressive second opening with the first for the final episode.

In terms of the overall art and animation, the best word to use when describing it is consistent. Why? Because Gonzo are known for running out of budget and forgetting to animate towards the end. That wasn't the case with Witchblade, though, since the final episode featured fluid animation; Gonzo not being reduced to showing movement through lines on the screen and actually showing the characters running. Aside from a few instances of laziness where there wasn't animation and a few stills were linked, it was great to watch. Even Japan's obsession with breast jiggling got attention throughout! And, though I can't say Masane's HUGE, could-suffocate-with-ease breasts appealed to me personally, overall the art did look pleasing.

As for the soundtrack, I have to say: it's excellent. One track that stands out is one used for action quite frequently; a track with an eerie edge and... a woman breathing in an 'erotic' manner in the background - the track having an action-oriented beat. I was ALWAYS pumped for the action - my attention focused - simply because of the music. Towards the end, I recall drums starting beating after what had been a nice 'family life' sort of episode, and I just knew some sweet action would be coming my way. If a soundtrack is good enough, it can make something great into something even greater, and that's the case with Witchblade.

:: Overall :: 9/10

Witchblade has its flaws: the story isn't anything special, Gonzo appeared to run out of ideas at the death and just ended it, and the near enough naked girl-on-girl battles might be off-putting for some. However, the good by far outweighs the bad, and the characterization is at such a level that, if you're anything like me, you won't give a toss. Once the introduction was over and time had been given for attachment to the characters to form, I was too engrossed in their struggles to concern myself with negative thoughts about a robotic monster with the head of a bug and the like.

To sum it all up: If you go into Witchblade expecting nothing, you might just get everything in return. It's always rewarding to find a gem, and in my eyes Witchblade is a gem that deserves to have more people look at it. Do yourself a favour and watch it!
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on November 16, 2008
I have passed over this Anime many times, because I don't like the American comic. I only gave it consideration because my brother in-law recommended it.

Well saying "I don't like the comic" is unfair... I'm sure the writing is good and Top Cow is known for producing quality products (high quality graphics, paper, toys, etc... etc...) But, the Witchblade logo reminds me too much of the Thundercats logo. And additionally I don't like the American style art that original source material has. Just MHO.

I'll stop talking about that before I find someone at my doorsteps upset with me for bashing the most popular new comic of the last decade. New is relative... considering franchises like Superman have been around for 60 plus years I think.

THIS Version of Witchblade However... is stunning! The story is deep and valid. It is the classic heroes journey, and it is absolutely fantastic!

Watching this immediately makes me think of one of my other absolute favorite anime franchises... Elfen Lied. Just like Elfen Lied they contrast hyper-violence with powerfully moving relationships... Beauty and the Beast wrapped into in one person then pumped up on "sexy-violence steroids" to end up with a really high contrast product.

The women are outrageously sexy and usually that just doesn't do it for me when it comes to anime. Sometimes I'm put off when the fan service levels are this high. See my reviews on Misuki Chronicles and you will see that I'm just saying this.

The fan service is REALLY REALLY high on this, almost to the point of ridiculous. But the content of the story and the high impact action just makes that something that has to be overlooked.

This is another keeper for the collection... and I feel it is a must own. Dare I say the success of this could set a new trend... I can see that many other comic producers would want to jump on this bandwagon the same way they did with "digital comic painting" back in the early 90's when Image Studios launched that boat for the first time.

Top Cow apparently gave Gonzo/Funimation creative freedom on this because it is remarkably different from the American version. In my opinion that is good...

The only constant is the Witchblade. Which really demonstrates the thinking of Top Cow... The Witchblade is a great tool for telling many stories... very clever... and remarkably strategic in the market place.

Should you own this? I would say... Sell what ever you gotta sell to get this into your collection... The images are so stunning, and the story is so powerful you would be crazy to pass on this one... (Like I did for quite a while.)

I regret not getting this sooner because I have picked up some pretty mediocre anime lately and that money would have been much better spent on this title at twice the price.

In summary:
The Action - Rivetingly Awesome. Complete edge of your seat stuff.

The Fan Service - Super sexy but not offensive.

The Story - Very compelling. (My wife and I watched the 4 DVDs that have the story on them in just 1 sitting. We pulled an all-nighter on the couch to watch all of this... it is that good.)

The Production Quality - Really high... very little in the market place is better today. (Perhaps the folks that did the new Appleseed might have higher production standards.)

The audio quality - Superb. I don't like the opening song but the audio is normalized well so you don't have to keep adjusting the sound when action changes to dialog. It is very easy to clearly hear what is being said. And the rest of the music is really good for the show...

The artwork - The quality of the cover art is not as good as the anime and the box cover art is pretty high quality. The overall artistic rendering during the animation is very clean and will likely stand the test of time. (Again I'm not real big on American Comic Style Art)

The box quality - This is pretty good. I would have to say this, while excellent, is the weakest link. The fold out thingy has some great artwork on it that is clearly a different artist than the cover artist.

Overall 5 stars but I wish I could give it more.

You will like this I'm 100% sure of it.
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on August 16, 2008
The Good Things
*Has good video and sound quality.
*Comes with a number of extras; making-of featurettes, interviews, textless songs, trailers, and outtakes. It is all allocated on disc five, while the rest of the show takes up the first four discs.
*Comes in a nice slim box, with all of the discs on a fold-out thing and all associated booklets in its own envelope (just like with the complete box set of "Burst Angel," "Speedgrapher," or "Samurai 7"). Has a lot of cool artwork.
*Good amount of exciting action and fighting.
*Very good animation style and quality.
*Very good production desgin. The characters look phenomenal, the settings look interesting, and the Witchblade weapon itself is incredibly awesome.
*The main character has some very service.
*Aside from that, the protagonist is a great character who shows compelling emotion and awesome wickedness. The other characters are great, and their drama is very immersive.
*Storyline is great, especially since this rendition is much more sci-fi and fantasy orientated.
*Look out for one or two inside jokes.

The Bad Things
*Don't know how accurate it is to the original comic book. It is certainly different than the 2001 live-action TV show. But this version is still quite enjoyable.
*Not for kids; rated TV-MA for bloody violence.

This anime version of the comic book "Witchblade" definately makes for some awesome anime. It is exciting, and a good story with good characters. There is hardly anything dull about this show, and is probably one of the best to have come out in recent years. Highly reccomended to any anime fan, and probably to most fans of the comics.
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on June 4, 2015
Witchblade, aka Not a jack of all trades and definitely a master of none, except for Heavy Metal Music

Witchblade is a example of trying to do too many things at once and ends up failing on all of them. The only thing that was Flawless was the relationship between the main character and her daughter. I actually wish that they removed all the action, the metal, fanservice, and any reference to Witchblade. It would have been a much better pure and dark drama with romance. Heck they could have turned it into a K-drama. In that way they can focus on what they actually got going for them and flesh everything out. Since they are juggling with everything it comes out "so so" and towards the ending it reflected that because it was rushed. I know it means more episodes and less profit, but hey. We got to do what we got to do if you want to be praised for creating a wonderful anime.

Here is my reasons for saying that. The action was quick and short with one hit kills. It was nowhere near as good as a staple shonen action. With sometimes zero explanations of some of the characters powers and/or strategy when they are fighting.

Next reason, art design/fanservice looks good. Yet certain parts of the artwork looks like it doesn't get drawn out to the full extent and then when the fighting starts the drawing just gets sloppy. It seems like they still censored it a little even though it was suppose to be edgy or it was just bad frame rate and drawing during action scenes. By the way, the box art is censored. The original one shows most of Melony's bottom. Come on guys, use that rating MA for something.

Final reason, relationships between characters are sometimes under develop. For example it would have been nice to see more between Rihoko and Reina. Romance wasn't edgy at all and isn't as entertaining like staples such as Mars by Fuyumi Soryo. There is a sex scene but you don't see anything. At least give us more romance scenes, build up, tension, and we can let the cheap sex scene slide.

The things Witchblade did right was the heavy metal music, skimpy art design, then lastly Masane's and Rihoko's relationship. Which I adored and thought it was very cute how they looked out for each other. The humor will be a hit or miss if you like dirty jokes. The final battle was rushed and some people might not accept the ending.

Marketing team didn't give this anime justice either. I recommend you see a Witchblade trailer on youtube and you'll see what I mean. The trailer which looks somewhat similar to the opening credits is action packed with heavy metal in the background. Then you look at the fanservice on the box art and your like "OH YEAH! I'm going on a psychotic journey!" No, you are not. They should have just did a trailer similar to "Iron Man Korean Drama Trailer."

To be honest, this anime would have been amazing if they were able to pull all of this off. A lot of pro reviewers over rated this anime. If you want to watch some anime done right that mixes genres very well or share similar ones to Witchblade. Then I recommend; Elfen Lied, Kaleido Star, Gantz. I'll go ahead and throw S Cry Ed in there because when Melony in Witchblade gets a power up, it is so similar to how Kazuma gets his in S Cry Ed. On top of that it will show you the right way to do decent action.

Metal music hit the spot.
Masane's and Rihoko's relationship was cute.
Art design was creative.

Plot was good but had holes.
There was some funny moments, might be a hit and miss for some people. Ain't that right "Melony?"
Ending, some people might not like the outcome of the ending... and I won't blame them. They dropped the ball on so many other things, so people are going to be less acceptable to the ending.

Rushed Ending, more episodes needed.
Drawing got sloppy in action.
Company completely marketed this wrong.
Seems kind of censored despite edgy nature.
Needed to flesh out more of the action, romance, relationships with other characters and even the drama aspects. Because of not doing this and doing some poorly, made anime less than stellar.
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I actually have a few of the comics of the Witchblade from the 90's and also the live-action show so after seeing a few episodes of this series I decided to get this as well. The shows main Witchblade holder is a woman by the name of Masane Amaha who also has a young daughter she loves deeply by the name of Rihoko Amaha when Masane unwittingly becomes involved in the Witchblade agendas. Apparently their are certain factions that have been searching for the reemergence of the Witchblade after a faction had it stolen from them and it was later lost though. After an episode or two you find out Masane is the recent holder of the WB and is pretty much kidnapped by one of the factions to control the new WB holder and its power. The series is hard-core with plenty of action and bloody violence so it's definitely not for younger kids. There are also sexual undertones but not anything to r-rated so don't worry about any true adult scenes if teenagers watch this. The characters they made for the show are extremely entertaining Masane is a kind loving parent but seems at most time to somewhat of a ditz and the character of Reiji Takayama(One of the scientist from the faction that firsts kidnapped Masane) is also a nice character for the show. I like how Renji who after having been betrayed before by someone is at first stoic and just professional to Masane seeing her as just an experiment but after opening up to her more becomes a more caring and loving person again especially after meeting her daughter. The series is dramatic but has its humorous scenes kind of like Bleach a little bit. The video is wide-screen and clear and sharp so no problems with that. The audio is also great and the voice actors both for the English and Japanese cast did an incredible job for their characters. So if you like the hot action warrior women with plenty of fighting and a touch of sci-fi this series might just be a good set for your library....
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on August 18, 2014
This is a pretty good series heres my reasons why

Plot and Characters: (minor spoilers only) The story begins with a mother and daughter, the mother named Masane (nicknamed Melony) and her daughter Rihoko are moving (back like they lived there then moved away then moved back it was never fully explaned) to Tokyo to start a new life, when they get there they see the old city is destoryed because of an earthquake 6 years ago, and at the of the earthquake center of where the earthquake was both Masane and Rihoko, Rihoko was only a few months old and Masane holding her except her memory was erased. One day Rihoko was taken by the NSWF aka child warefare because Masane couldnt house Riohko right, Masane was taken to jail. While in jail a guy/machine breaks into the jail wanting to kill Masane when her wrist tattoo lights up and transforms Masane into the (lack of a better term or the fact they never named her other form) Witchblade Master. She fights off the machine and learns she is the keeper of the Witchblade which is the most powerful weapon in the world. Threw this series it show her efforts to fight these machines and learn more of the Witchblade.

Pros: The story is written. I love how much they pushed the whole "you don't need to be blood releated to be a family" because in the end (end being figure of speach) it seems like all the good guys in the show are all one big family. The fights are pretty good at times. Also I love how they use such raw emotions to make you feel so much for the characters even tho it may just be the first episode you're watching.

Cons: To me (and maybe just me) I feel like the information of some of the story was never really told as much as it could have been, like the Witchblade it self for instance, all they say is who ever has it (Anime Stereotype: only women) is the most powerful person in the world but it comes at a price. They never really say who made it or gave any back story to it at all.

Cons part 2: If you are one of those people who dosnt like nudity then this series MAY or may NOT be for you, by that im meaning when Masane transforms into the Witchblade Master or some of the Witchblade copies called Nerogenes, the women are just barly clothed, their downstairs privet parts are just covered by a tiny black cloth but their ass is fully shown. Just warning you.

Overall: I like this series! its a good series! BUY IT!!!
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on November 22, 2009
The Series was not particularly deep, but it was sexy and fun. It was pretty cool visually, with heavy innuendo (e.g., cleavage, crotch shots and the morning after scene) which led me to wonder about the intended audience. This could cause some adults to think twice about using this as a stocking stuffer.
The storyline provided a relatively good time, providing just enough intrigue to keep the viewer wanting to know what lied ahead for our heroine. Kudos to Funimation for the presentation. If there were anything lacking (in my estimation), I'd say it would have been the lack of supplemental material typically offered with boxed sets. If you're a fan of the series or you enjoy scenes with scantily clad women, dispatching a variety of villainous types, this would definitely be worth purchase or a rental. At $57.00, the set is a bit pricey. A quick search on Amazon could save the potential buyer nearly half off the list price (if you don't mind used goods).
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on May 30, 2016
The voice acting's pretty good. Anime style's good. Story's alright. But I remember this show was rated tvMA when i watched it on cable... but all they do is tease. There's no real nudity in this at all. I watched the dvds through and through and not one fully exposed breast. They may as well have taken full advantage of the rating if they were going to get so close to showing full nudity. But it's pretty good if it's you're first time watching. If you watched every episode on tv or through other means then you're not missing much on the dvd. Just extras and special features that's all
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on April 20, 2016
Saw this back on Netflix and had to have it along with the comics and show that aired in 2006. Witchblade is an amazing anime. The struggle between mother keeping her daughter while fighting bad guys for her sake all while trying to figure out what exactly the red bracelet on her right wrist is in all actuality. But the mighty weapon able to command the world. Don't miss out on this, its a great story along with plenty of comedy.
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on May 19, 2013
I read a lot of comics and I know the history behind the Witchblade and its relationship with the Darkness, Angeuls, and the rest of the entire Top Cow universe. This series decides to go off on its own and try to create its own mythos. I'm not opposed to a different bearer than Sarah, I'm not opposed to the idea of clone blades, I am a little opposed to a weak character bearing the Witchblade, but what I can't condone is a series that totally misses the point of the base material. The Witchblade is part of a carefully created universe that is full of the Angelus, the Darkness, the Magdelyna, and about ten other artifacts. Its amazing to me that Mr. Marz ever green-lighted this project, but it appears he did.

Okay, my feelings about the general Top Cow universe being ignored aside, this is a watchable series. This has some very creepy characters and real feeling of danger at some points. Although, the conversations between the mother and daughter seem inane, as do most of the conversations. I personally prefer character development over action and this tries to deliver on that, but it feels so poorly written and sometimes delivered even worse.

Everyone in this series seems to deliver their lines with almost no emotion at all. When people die in these episodes its almost no big deal. Everything about this series seems flat and uninspired.

So, there you go...
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