Anime: Witch Hunter Robin
SOLOMON, or STNnote
, is a group that hunts "witches
" — that is, people born with specific genetic superhuman abilities associated with magic
. The opening credits' Fauxlosophic Narration
implies witches may have been a culture or civilization which ruled over man until they were somehow deposed or otherwise self-destructed (as opposed to just a Witch Species
). Into SOLOMON's hunt enters the newest member of Japanese branch STN-J: the eponymous Robin Sena, a witch herself with the ability to conjure and control fire.
The main theme of Witch Hunter Robin
involves the moral responsibility of a witch's powers — and how many witches become consumed by their own power
. Other themes include isolation and persecution, as witches have a hard time assimilating and living among humans while controlling their dark urges. The second half of the show reveals that even innocent witches live in fear of being killed or disappeared by SOLOMON if their powers are discovered, and Robin herself battles with the fear she will one day become drunk on her power and become a target.Witch Hunter Robin
had a notable format: the first half of the series runs near-entirely off the Monster of the Week
trope (replace "Monster" with "Witch"), while the second half turns into a longer arc which explores the depths of SOLOMON's desire to destroy witches.
Witch Hunter Robin contains the following tropes:
- Death Faked for You: Dojima's official report states that Robin and Amon died when the Factory self-destructed.
- The Doll Episode: One witch had the power to animate dolls.
- Doing In the Scientist:
- Some witches use symbols that can be recognized by other unrelated witches, which implies that there is a a coherent system in use among them. One witch even contacted her sister's ghost for a revenge plot with a ritual that Robin recognized.
- Just five years pre-series the STN used anti-witch bullets with carvings to ward off evil, and someone in the main narrative still does.
- Also, See Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors below.
- Doing In the Wizard: 'Witch' powers are actually caused by genetics, not magic, although the science is downplayed for magic and religion as the series progresses.
- Dressing as the Enemy: The Factory's use of Faceless Goons finally comes back to bite them in episode 25, to the benefit of our heroes and particular misfortune of one Factory assault team.
- Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors: A number of witches have elemental powers, and Robin's fire powers are even blocked once by a water rune drawn on the ground. Didn't know what that symbol stood for? It's All There in the Manual.
- The Empath: Miho Karasuma, though she uses psychometry, is notable because her power is useful when used.
- Equivalent Exchange: The power of a witch who can save one life by taking another. Notable for being the first witch that's A Lighter Shade of Grey and thus bringing a more complicated morality than what had existed earlier.
- Faceless Goons: Employed exclusively by the Factory, from their hazmat-suited crime scene techs to their scary dark-grey soldiers.
- Robin sleeps naked but it's pretty low on the fanservice-o-meter, since all the times she sits up she holds the blanket quite high.
- The waitress outfits in "Separate Lives" leave little to the animation.
- Also subverted in an early scene where a prelude to the ostensible Shower Scene reveals a dripping-wet Robin... fully-clothed and scrubbing the floor of the shower.
- Fauxlosophic Narration: Robin waxes poetic at the start of every episode in Purple Prose. It's never fully explained, but her lines are related to the events of the episode and serve as a preview.
- Final Solution: Towards the end of the series Zaizen is revealed to be working towards one of these. He wanted to use Orbo to empower normal humans to hunt witches. Until then the organization was forced to use witches to hunt other witches, but with the enhanced Orbo that would no longer be necessary, and he can systematically wipe them out with the aid of the STN's database. In his eyes, all witches are afflicted by madness born of their power (or will be eventually), so he sees himself as justified.
- Fish out of Water: Robin was raised as a nun in another country, and doesn't always understand what's happening with her Japanese teammates. Despite popular stereotypes, she is relentlessly tidy and self-effacing, which almost makes her one form of an ideal Japanese woman.
- The Glasses Come Off: Inverted. Robin's aim isn't that great at first. Then, she visits the optometrist and it turns that out her powers make her eyesight temporarily worse. Whenever you see her with glasses on, something's gonna burn.
- God Is Good: While the head honcho himself doesn't make an appearance, Amon has this to say: "God doesn't forsake any of his children." The Big Bad is more of the opinion that Good Is Not Nice and that God struck down the witches long ago.
- Good Shepherd: Father Juliano comes off more as this despite the generally dark religious tone. He genuinely thought witches were dangerous but despite that he couldn't kill Baby Robin, even though he know what she was. Instead he raised her as his own and admitted that his fear of witches (the emotion driving the Big Bad) is a weakness of his own heart, and no fault of the witches.
- Freudian Excuse: Nagira asks Amon if he hates witches because his mom awakened as one and, in doing so, ruined their relationship. Amon says 'yes'.
- Government Conspiracy: The STNJ is set up as a police force for witches but it's true purpose to develop ant-witch weapons for the Final Solution outlined above.
- Hot Blooded Sideburns: Nagira is a aversion; he has them but isn't hot-blooded.
- Hunter Of Her Own Kind: Robin, who doesn't give it much thought until she gets called out on it by an ancient witch with the power to share memories.
- Ill Girl: Robin's late mother, Maria, who's never seen on-screen except for in a photograph.
- Implied Love Interest: Amon and Robin are this to each other.
- Improbable Hairstyle: Subverted, Robin's hairstyle seems improbable at first glance, but it's shown to be held in place by a number of hairpins and hair ties. The rest of the cast generally has realistic normal hair.
- Kansas City Shuffle: Amon does this by directing Robin to burn a hole in the STNJ's wall before sending her down a secret entrance in the floor, making their pursuers think she escaped through that hole and not follow her.
- Karmic Death: While this would appear to be the case with Zaizen using the perfect Orbo he captured innocent witches to make, he doesn't die from its use... though he might have if Robin's flames hadn't reached him first.
- Kill Me Now or Forever Stay Your Hand: Robin pulls this on Amon after learning he was assigned to take her down. She even closes her eyes. He lowers the gun and almost smiles.
- Knight Templar: Zaizen is revealed to be this at the end. He commits atrocities without flinching, convinced of his own righteousness, refuses to listen to anyone or anything that contradicts his plan, and at the end even believes he has a Mission from God. Naturally, he's a villain.
- Lady and Knight: Amon and Robin play with the trope. Robin looks like a victorian lady in her usual dress and is seen as the Dark Lady by many because of her heritage and some of her actions are brutal considering what the rest of the team does, but at heart she's a Bright Lady trying to do what's right. Amon ultimately betrays both Zaizen and SOLOMON to protect Robin from danger and is seen as a Dark Knight who's gone rogue, though he wavers back and forth. Robin herself calls him her "watch dog" because he will make sure she survives unless she loses herself to her power. At which point he will kill her himself.
- Liquid Assets: Applied thoughtfully in the episode "Faith."
- Loners Are Freaks: Amon thinks so. "Witches are loners. It's part of their nature." But not really. One witch was an engaged businessman and even the witch that spent all her time alone in her apartment had living dolls to keep her company.
- Lonely Doll Girl: There was a witch with multiple personalities manifesting through her dolls; personalities which considered any slight to her as "Unforgivable!"
- Lovable Rogue: Nagira, the pachinko-playing lawyer layabout, is a great ally to Robin.
- Madness Mantra: "You soiled, you soiled, you soiled..."
- The Men in Black: STN, operating under an organization named Solomon.
- Modesty Bedsheet: Robin sleeps in the nude, which is surprising considering she was raised in a convent.
- Monster of the Week: Follows the format for the first half of the series, before progressing to the formal storyline proper.
- Nice Hat: Sastre wears a wide brimmed hat of crimson red.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sastre's actions, though depending on your perspective it might be a case of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - destroying the Fragment of Wisdom awakened Robin to the realization that her true power was within her all along.
- No Sell: In the series' prologue, Amon takes a witch's psychic blast without flinching and says, "Your powers don't work on me." Justified because Amon has a Power Nullifier on his neck.
- Not a Morning Person: Robin. Her insomnia is even alluded to in the ending theme ("Falling into a light sleep...").
- Not So Different: Discussed by Karasuma: "A witch who kills people that soil her world, and witch hunters that capture them for soiling the human world."
- Oh, Crap: Sastre when Robin No Sells his best shot.
- Only One Name: Amon. It might be his first name. It might be his last name. It might be an alias. It's all you're getting.
- Personality Powers: Noteworthy in its aversion. Since powers are tied to genetics and spiritualism, the writers had every excuse. However, Robin is shy and demure, in contrast to the typical personality that one would expect from someone with her powers. Karasuma, by contrast, probably would've been an insightful person even without Psychic Powers.
- Playful Hacker: Michael Lee. He says he had fun going places just because he wasn't supposed to and never damaged their systems. The most he would do was open a back door to make it easier for him to come back.
- Playing with Fire: Robin's powers.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: Expected in a series about hunting witches, but the specifics are refreshing. Orbo, the magical green juice that protects the STN-J members, is painfully extracted from previously captured witches, even those who have never used their powers for evil.
- Power Nullifier: Orbo, bane to witches everywhere. Their powers are limited or totally useless against people wearing it and bullets filled with it can negate their powers.
- Power at a Price: The downside to Orbo is that it weakens the hunters using them as well. The original version causes a 30 percent decrease in efficiency and improved versions actually hurt them.
- Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: The conflict between inherent witchcraft and manufactured Orbo, complete with a Byronic Hero love interest and neo-Victorian costumes, just in case anyone failed to notice the Victorian atmosphere.
- Salem Is Witch Country: In episode 12, "Precious Illusions", Robin meets a witch called Methuselah who is over 400 years old and survived the Salem Witch Trials. The witch tells Robin of the various Witch Hunts over the centuries and talks about the motives behind them.
- Sinister Minister: Subverted and then defied.
- Subversion-The Inquisitor is more of an official than a minister and less "sinister" than playing the "bad cop"
- Defiance. Father Juliano, Robin's guardian and grandfather tried to be this trope but raising Robin mellowed him out. Instead of condemning her, he blesses her.
- Super Human Trafficking: The Japanese branch deals in the bodies of witches.
- The Stoic: Amon doesn't express emotion and goes about his business in a calm and efficient manner.
- Team Mom: Harry for the STN-J. The members go to his cafe for emotional support and guidance. He makes special tea for them when they're sick. After the Wham Episode he hugs Robin and says "Welcome home."
- Took a Level in Badass: Robin, after "Loaded Guns" gets an overall magic boost when she realizes she is the true Fragment of Wisdom.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Michael loves food in crinkly aluminum bags. (The diet comes standard with the computer, apparently.) Robin's poor sleep habits are supplemented by large amounts of coffee.
- Ultimate Job Security: Dojima comes in late, leaves early, takes extra-long breaks, and spends most of her time looking at fashion magazines, plus she was only hired because of who her father is. Subverted in that she's really there as a spy for the parent company, which is suspicious of the new procedures instituted by the Japan branch - she acts like a slacker who owes her job to nepotism, but this may just be her cover.
- Umbrella of Togetherness: Robin sees Touko and Amon sharing an umbrella and subsequently thinks they're lovers.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Burn the Witch!! Wait, the witch is a Salary Man who hasn't even jaywalked? ...Oops?
- Villainous Break Down:
- Sastre when Robin burns his hat.
- Big Bad Zaizen, when the truth concerning witches and humans is revealed. He goes from denial to contradicting himself, screaming louder and louder all the while... and this from a guy who was the epitome of composure the entire series.
- Wham Episode: Loaded Guns. Robin is declared a witch and goes into hiding. Amon disappears and is possibly dead. Zaizen's Evil Plan is revealed.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: It was a recurring joke when it aired on [adult swim] for the bumps to question what was so scary about the witch hunted in the first episode whose power appeared to be tripping people. He still almost wiped out the STN-J.
- Witch Species: Witch powers are genetic, and following this logic, twins have the same powers.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
- Along with Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers! and Transhuman Treachery, this is the reason Solomon and the STN-J hunt witches. All witches in the Monster of the Week episodes (and many afterward) are insane, criminal, or criminally insane. It turns out that this isn't even a majority of the witches in existence. Most witches are nice and law-abiding people who happen to have powers, and they are the victims of Van Helsing Hate Crimes by the STN-J and Solomon.
- Made explicit in the backstory of the witch and partner to Amon that Robin is replacing. She knew she was losing control and went rogue rather than be captured. Amon had to kill her.
- Again in an episode when they tried to capture another witch, who was relentlessly bullied and eventually gave in and killed his tormentors.
- Again in the episode where Robin is befriended by a mixed marriage of a witch and human whose innocent teenaged daughter was kidnapped by the STN-J.
- Capping it off is the episode where a centuries-old witch uses an Exposition Beam to showcase just how thoroughly humanity has been persecuting the good and bad witches even long before Salem. Really, humanity got lucky that there was no Witch Magneto to lead the oppressed witches in a revolt against the muggles.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: Robin says one when she discovers the secret behind the Fragment of Wisdom. "I can see it... The inner secrets of the craft... I can see his element of air. You burned the fragment to ashes. I see...This is the true craft. The power derived from the elements, lying dormant in my body, not captured in some "fragment of wisdom". That's why you attacked me. Tell me, what makes you think I am a witch?
- Younger Than They Look: Robin's fifteen. It's easy to forget that because she sounds, looks, and acts nothing like her age.