Reviews: Witchblade

Great Potential builds towards a hollow finale

The Witchblade anime is an interesting series- weak in some places you'd expect it to be strong, strong in many places you'd expect it to be weak. I personally found the more important fight scenes in the series to be harder to follow, and I had a hard time ever getting a beat on how good Masane was supposed to be at fighting. Other times an episode would cut away from the start of a fight and then come back to Masane having her ass kicked like "Yeah, you knew she sucked at fighting, right?"

Despite that, the show's characters shine. Departures from the main plot to follow Rihoko and the inhabitants of Masane's apartment block never felt forced or unwelcome. The cast feel pleasant and familiar. I'm not usually one for corporate politics but I found the Douji characters- Takayama, Wadou, etc. to be fun and well played (Japanese audio). Takayama in particular I felt was played with a nice degree of subtlety appropriate to his character.

Then there's the plot. I don't know anything about the Witchblade comics, so I'm taking the series purely on its own merits. The plot starts off with a fairly generic Monster of the Week setup, there are X-Cons, Masane must smash them, before beginning to reveal the more interesting plot points; Neo-Genes, Father, Reina, backstory relating to six years ago, Maria, etc. These are all exciting elements that I was keen to find out more about...

Hhhhhowever I never really felt any of them got great payoff. Of the wide cast of "bad guys" all of them are killed in rather anticlimactic fashion, regardless of how strong they are presented as being. Maria is the most egregious example, spending a large chunk of the series building up her character for the finale... where she just gets killed in short order because she wants her mom, contributing very little to the plot.

This is the problem that makes the ending ring hollow for me; so many plot elements feel irrelevant in the ending. Riko being a candidate for the Witchblade? Barely relevant. How Masane survived and got the Witchblade six years ago? Never fully explained, never important.

Ultimately the ending is a foregone conclusion that you could see coming from episode 6, which is massively disappointing. This series is still good and worth watching, but prepare to be disappointed by the end.