Noir mark 3, also known as El Cazador de la Bruja. Studio Bee Train messes a little weenie bit with the exact same premise and throws it out supposed as a different anime we should regard differently. I dislike this subgenre as it is just fan service, in the form of half-naked women, killing hundreds of criminals with big guns. I prefer more sophisticated stories than this silliness. But this time they tried little bit more with the whole «chicks with guns» and offered a somewhat different feel to it, a somewhat twist to the formula by being more character-focused and not very kill-anything-that-moves. Still, such a deviation is a step forward to a more emotional and realistic series but also a step backwards to a more boring one as well.
Unlike Noir and Madlax, El Cazador never managed to make that much of a sensation when it first came out. The reasons for these vary but it basically comes down to the three major ones that follow:
1) The formula started to get boring and repetitive to sell as much anymore.
2) Unlike its predecessors, it came out during a time when the market was full of great anime.
3) It is far less action/plot/emo oriented, three major hooks of the earlier shows.
So although the visuals improved a little bit more and the characters felt livelier, the completely easy going nature of the show failed to grab the attention of most, since back then most were still busy on the latest hits, such as Death Note, Code Geass, and Haruhi. Not that there is something wrong with the production values here; the artwork is simple but elegant, voice acting and music themes aren’t memorable but are decent. It’s just that there isn’t an over the top amount of fan service and battles, so most of the fandom didn’t even bother with it. It is pleasing to watch and listen to but not great in any way.
The story had some potential but as usually it is greatly overlooked. Shy girl is the daughter of a murdered scientist, butchy girl is willing to protect her from criminals, who are after her father’s research. And yes, there are shoot-outs. And yes, there are mysterious powers going around. And, yes, yes, yes, there is a half-nude scene in almost every episode. On the bright side, none of the above is that far-fetched. The action scenes are kept at reasonable levels and quite far apart from one another. Most of the duration of the series is actually character immersion rather than pointless gun fights. Yes, it is mostly talking, traveling to various places, learning about peoples’ lives, exploring ancient mysteries and occasionally showing some leg and boobs. Nothing extreme in all. So, I loved the development of the characters. Although terribly stereotypical, they are colorized in wonderful ways and become quite likable. Plus, none is a superhuman that kills a 1000 people with a 6-shooter. 5 normal people at the most, using generally realistic body movements and light ESP powers.
Still, this doesn’t change the fact that this is a series with a terrible main story, very slow development and quite unimportant events. The people are mostly standing still and talking, which will get boring for most. Even the wonderful character coloring falls short before 26 episodes of light action and traveling around the world. A movie summary of this series by the way would be a blast.
There is no value in this anime, since Requiem for the Phantom is the nth remake of this formula and the best of its kind (although I am no fan of emo chicks with guns and by no means fan of that series). As one described it, such Bee Train shows are basically long moody music videos and not good action/mystery series. So no, I don’t really recommend it. Hear the soundtrack and skip the rest.
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 5/10
Analysis: General Artwork 1/2, Character Figures 1/2, Backgrounds 1/2, Animation 1/2, Visual Effects 1/2
SOUND SECTION: 7/10
Analysis: Voice Acting 2/3, Music Themes 3/4, Sound Effects 2/3
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Analysis: Premise 1/2, Pacing 0/2, Complexity 1/2, Plausibility 1/2, Conclusion 1/2
CHARACTER SECTION: 8/10
Analysis: Presence 1/2, Personality 2/2, Backdrop 1/2, Development 2/2, Catharsis 2/2
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Analysis: Historical Value 0/3, Rewatchability 0/3, Memorability 1/4
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Analysis: Art 0/1, Sound 1/2, Story 0/3, Characters 2/4