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read a review of Witchblade
live-action TV series.
February 2008 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Witchblade volume one
voice cast: Jamie Marchi, Carrie Savage, Robert McCollum, Mark Stoddard, and Christopher Bevins

director: Yoshimitsu Ohashi

100 minutes (15) 2006
MVM DVD Region 2 retail
[released 4 February]

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by Alasdair Stuart
Six years ago, something levelled Tokyo. Six years ago, Masane Amaha was found at ground zero of the event, completely unscathed. Six years ago, a baby was found with her, cradled in her arms. Now, Masane and her daughter Rhioko have returned to what's left of Tokyo... But they're not alone, and the jewel attached to Masane's right arm is both the prize, and the decisive weapon, in a war that will make the destruction of Tokyo look like a minor exchange...

Based on the Top Cow comic series and produced with their cooperation, this take on the basic concept (woman struggles with control of supernatural weapon that nefarious forces want) manages to be entertaining whilst managing to embody every single stereotypical element of the original and wrap it in a nice new coat made of the average person's perceptions of anime. Nudity? Check. Perverted villain? Implied but certainly check. Familial angst? Check. Interminable shots of our heroine's cleavage and bum? Checkity check check. This is exactly what it looks like, the story of a woman in control of a supernatural weapon that causes her to become demonically violent, to say nothing of horny whilst her daughter and friend, a photographer, are caught in various dramatic situations.

If it sounds like I'm being disparaging it's because I am. Don't get me wrong, the production values are top notch here, with Studio Gonzo turning in some great work but there's nothing, at least in this volume, remotely original. The closest you get is the idea of the 'Cloneblades' - women derived from the same genetic template who are potential Witchblade bearers, but even this is buried beneath absolutely off the shelf anime tropes (evil corporation, technological weapons gone out of control, post apocalyptic society). Like the comic that it's inspired by, this seems to be a series with the potential to be genuinely great which time and again, resorts to its heroine effectively flashing the viewer to move the plot along and that's a genuine shame. When it's on form (and the relationship between Masane and Rhioko is genuine and poignant throughout) there's something special here, it just never fights its way past the utterly average.

If you like semi-clad anime heroines and explosions then this one's for you. If you want something different, try somewhere else.

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