Witchblade Review: The Expected Adaptation That Never Was
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All the followers of the Witchblade comic, which started to get published in 1995 with the Marc Silvestri-led Top Cow company in Image Comics, had a ray of hope when we knew about the anime adaptation that was about to see the light of day in 2006. All of us were waiting to see the adventures of Detective Sarah Pezzini control and use the powerful Witchblade weapon: a supernatural device with superior intelligence and great power; that chooses women with great capacities and willpower as bearers to accomplish its wishes of war and bloodshed.
Although it was a little-known comic in the past under the Image and Top Cow banners, the people that read it made Witchblade a cult favorite and one that had a very strong fanbase, with the likes of Marc Silvestri, Michael Turner, and others creating some of the most exciting comics in somewhat recent times (and I would definitely love to cover the comics someday on this blog).
Therefore, when we were waiting for the new Japanese version of Witchblade, our expectations were high and we never thought that the original storyline wasn’t going to be part of the adaption. On the contrary, a new story was created with a new bearer, new characters, and a completely different plot to the Sara Pezzini saga.
What Is The Witchblade Anime adaptation?
The Witchblade anime begins with a brief introduction to the artifact. Someone said that it’s the weapon of God and also the hand of the devil, which kills all the men that wish to have it by force and gives a destine filled with war, battle, and conflict to every woman that becomes its bearer, giving said women ecstasy and destruction as their only gratification.
Contrary to the version of the comics, our bearer this time around is Masane Amaha, who is a woman that happens to lose her memory after the events of the Great Quake in the city of Tokyo, thus finding a baby in her arms in the aftermath and believe that said baby is her daughter.
Six years later, after multiple different events, Masane goes back to Tokyo with the little girl that she believes is her daughter and tries to live her life in the best possible manner, but she finds herself in a war between a large company and a government entity, which quickly sets the stage for her and the weird artifact on her wrist, which she suddenly discovers at the beginning of the anime that is the Witchblade weapon.
What About The Story?
If you are a big fan of the Witchblade comics, I can totally understand your hesitation to watch this anime just for the mere fact that Sarah is not the wielder of the Witchblade, but I have to say that this anime was actually very decent and it gave me a positive impression, considering that I am very stubborn when it comes to respecting the source material.
There’s no doubt that it differs completely from the original comic because this new bearer is completely different from what we were used to. Witchblade, despite being an entity with its own intelligence, has always been captivated by the personal motivations of the owner; and although in the first iteration of the Witchblade we had Sarah, who was a lover of the fight for justice and who was constantly wanting power to any cost, here we have Masane, which is a major contrast, mostly because all that she wants is to protect her daughter, Riko, and give her a promising future.
As the story progresses, we see the evolution of the main and secondary characters, in addition to the discovery of secrets related to the artifact and the enemy organizations that wish to obtain it. For those who only watch anime, the plot may be insufficient and the battles a bit vague.
What About The Animation?
I think the animation is fine and to the point, but considering that the comics had the tremendous art done by Marc Silvestri and Michael Turner, you are expecting something a bit more visually appealing and detailed, but I understand that this was a big risk in terms of adaptations (after all, American comics don’t usually get an anime adaptation) and it does a decent sense of justice to the source material.
In this regard, don’t expect groundbreaking animation or a very experimental approach to the visuals of this anime. This is a bit by-the-numbers kind of animation and it does its job well to get your attention. I personally would have liked something a bit more ambitious, but I understand that department is something that is strongly linked to budget and resources of a similar ilk.
What Does It Represent?
All of us were waiting for better animation and a better adaptation as a whole and while it has a solid storyline, I would argue that the anime is fairly enjoyable, but considering the type of material they had to work with, it could have been so much better and I think that’s where the problem lies: the knowledge and certainty that what was just good or decent could have been excellent.
Witchblade is an anime that people like me would only see once and I recommend it to those faithful followers of the Top Cow Universe because they are going to have a much more complete understanding of the franchise’s mythos and they can enjoy the story of a new bearer, with her own personality and dreams, just like Sara Pezzini captivated us, to begin with.
It’s certainly an entertaining anime, but those who are accustomed to Shonen and their epic battles, will not find that degree of excitement with Witchblade because it’s a series that has a bit of everything and that’s why it can’t be classified in a specific genre, which may actually play as a pro to some of our readers who perhaps are not big Shonen fans.
However, despite having a lot of fan service (as you might expect from a Witchblade adaptation), it’s a very emotional series, that deals with a lot of the problems of a single mother who goes the extra mile for the sake of her little girl.
And a lot of superpowers, of course.