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Anime / Witchblade

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"Wars are not caused by weapons. Mankind has fought since prehistoric times. Humans will never be free from war."
Reiji Takayama

Witchblade is an anime series based on the American comic book of the same name. It is an all-new story using the premise of the original with an all-new character and setting. The series centers around Masane Amaha, who was found at ground zero of a catastrophe that destroyed Tokyo with an infant in her arms, a jewel on her wrist, and no memory.

Years later, Masane is on the run from Child Services with her daughter Rihoko. With no one to turn to and nowhere left to hide, she has no choice but to accept when corporate executive Takayama offers her protection and a salary in return for her services in hunting down a series of escaped semi-sentient weapons designed by his company, a task made considerably easier by the bracelet on her wrist, the symbiotic Witchblade.

Of course, this does complicate her personal life a bit...

Witchblade provides examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Father is so polite and friendly that you'd almost forget that he has no trouble at all subjecting many young women to treatments that end in all but certain death in order to achieve his goal.
  • Alien Blood: Transformed Witchblade and Cloneblade users bleed clear crystalline blood.
  • Anime Hair: Generally pretty reasonable, but Maria has some sort of "hair halo" that either requires wires for support or a crazy amount of hairspray to maintain.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Witchblade ultimately breaks down and slowly destroys Masane's body until she goes out in a blaze of glory to protect Rihoko, while Rihoko herself has Takayama to take over Masane's surrogate parent role.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Blade users have extendable/retractable blades attached to their arms. Masane has one, while those with upgraded Cloneblades have two. Masane acquires another one after learning to increase her power using the Witchblade
  • Central Theme: "The true nature of love and family, especially parent and child".
  • Children Do the Housework: Masane is an unemployed single mother and constant slacker who often wakes up late, with her six-year-old daughter Rihoko usually seen performing domestic tasks like cleaning, washing and making breakfast.
  • Clingy MacGuffin: Masane tries to get rid of the Witchblade, even using power tools in the ways that could cost her half of the arm. It doesn't work.
  • Clothing Damage: Subverted in an odd way: in the first few times Masane transforms, the Witchblade's armor visibly covers her body - and anything she was wearing at the time - with featureless, colorless material, before shifting into the infamously-skimpy 'armor'. Cloneblade wielders also transform into similarly-scandalous attire - and all revert without any harm done to their outfits underneath. It's interesting to note that there are a few instances where a weapon (blade, anti-tank shell) visibly strikes the Witchblade/Cloneblade wielder in an 'exposed' area. Instead of the wielder being sliced open/exploding into a fine paste, all the audience would notice is the sound of metal grinding against metal, as if said weapon struck armor...
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Unlike the usual blue-good/red-evil schema, the Cloneblades have blue "eyes" and the Witchblade's "eye" is red.
  • Subverted with Takayama. With his perpetually stern grimace, scar over his right eye, and the way he manipulates Masane into working for him with money at the start, never mind the fact that he's a corporate executive working for a rather shady company to begin with, and he looks like the second coming of Gendou Ikari. Turns out he's one of the more noble characters in the series.
  • Cursed with Awesome: Masane tries to get rid of her symbiont by any means possible. It only notices when she's about to hurt herself. More importantly, hurt IT. When she's trying to gouge it out with a screwdriver or piece of metal, it does nothing. When she goes for more powerful tools that might actually WORK to get rid of it...
  • Deadly Upgrade: Witchblade (and, by extension, Cloneblade) users inevitably become unstable and begin to suffer physical and mental deterioration, eventually disintegrating. However, their power increases exponentially during the breakdown.
  • Department of Child Disservices: The Department of Welfare Services. Not only are they aggressive Obstructive Bureaucrats, but are apparently infiltrated and controlled by NSWF and serve only to further Father's agenda, at least in Tokyo. They also catalyzed the entire plot.
    • Not entirely. It was established by the NSWF, and is rumored to be used for Father's agenda, but we don't actually SEE him taking kids for his nefarious purposes or anything. In fact his GOAL rules out using the genes of strangers, now doesn't it?
      • It also functions in the typical procedures of Child Services. Who would of course be called into action when a child was living with a homeless woman, or the biological mother showed up.
  • Digital Bikini: A strange variant. Witchblade users ordinarily display an inordinate amount of flesh, but in the Japanese release, said flesh is colored black in order to give the impression of a bodysuit. But only in the actual TV airings. In the DVD releases, you see more flesh than you probably see in an actual Witchblade comic.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Cloneblades are mass produced copies of the Witchblade.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: Masane has one just before she uses her powers to destroy the I-Weapons at the cost of her own life.
    Masane: Let's blow some shit up!
  • Harmful to Minors: One of Masane's greatest concerns is that seeing her while transformed may scare or alienate Rihoko. And then Riko reacts to her battle form no differently than she would to new clothes or make-up, and when asked she fails to understand why it could disturb her at all.
  • Heroic BSoD: A truly heartbreaking one when Masane discovers she isn't Rihoko's biological mother. Not so much from the discovery, so much as her Biological Mother requesting her return. And accepting the fact that making her go with Reina probably IS the best thing for Rihoko. The fact of the matter barely fazes her, family is more than just genes. It's the actual absence of Rihoko that reduces Masane to frightening levels of gloominess. Though the way Rihoko charms everyone and their mother within about five minutes of meeting her, she should be labeled a cocaine-level Weapons-Grade Adorable.
  • Human Resources: Corpse + Cloneblade = I-Weapon. X-Cons even retain traces of their former personalities.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: During the first transformations, Masane under Witchblade influence licks a strange substance that oozes from X-Cons and I-Weapons. They're both the result of Witchblade research, so this amounts to eating one's own cloned tissue. In later episodes, she gains control of these urges. Counts twice, considering another component of X-Cons and I-Weapons.
  • Idiot Hair: Masane's pronounced cowlick. Maria has one that looks like a halo, ironically.
  • In the Blood: "Sisters" are obviously obsessive (Reina: self-exploration, Shiori: Reina, Rie: Witchblade research; Maria: her mother, then world domination, Aoi: Maria). Not so surprising, given their ancestry.
  • Magical Girl Warrior: although a downplayed variant, the blade-bearers are all transforming female characters with superpowers, technically also fighting X-Cons.
  • Monster Misogyny: Justified, in that the monsters in question are biologically compelled to hunt Witchblade and Cloneblade users (who are all women).
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The beginning and ending themes change partway through the series, and they really don't match the progressively darker subject material.
  • The Stoic: Michael. Even when he's drunk he barely changes expressions.
  • Super Mode: Masane gets one when fighting Ultimateblade. Her hair turns white and her armor red. Also counts as Deadly Upgrade, since it accelerates the degradation the Witchblade causes.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Rihoko's two mothers can be seen as the adult version of this trope. Masane's more "sporty" and outgoing compared to the more "ladylike" and reserved Reina.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Despite her extremely high intellect when it comes to science and technology, Rie Nishida obsession with researching and gaining knowledge about the Witchblade is what ironically leads to her rather anticlimactic death. She ends up being so distracted by the amount of power the Witchblade could potentially unleash that she didn't even bother to look ahead of her to see the giant I-Weapon barreling directly on top of her.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Several variants. First of all, Takayama specifically said that their dubious creations were made because they're more expendable than human soldiers. Reina in her self-exploration reveals her own inability to relate to "normal" humans, and Masane fears her daughter will see her as less human as a result of her symbiosis with the Witchblade. She needn't have worried.