Length: 26 Episodes
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, Supernatural, Yuri Subtext
Without spoiling much, the story centers around a teenage girl named Ellis. Ellis’ only remaining memory of her past involves witnessing a murder that she may or may not have committed. After having a bounty placed upon her, Ellis finds refuge with an older woman who used to be referred to as a witch. Ellis then gets the urge to blindly head south and discover the truth regarding her past. Nadie, a bounty hunter, eventually locates Ellis and gets the older woman’s blessing to protect Ellis on her journey. The duo set off to discover the secrets of Ellis’ mysterious past. They ultimately find themselves caught up in a far-reaching scheme with dangerous implications for everyone involved, as well as the entire world. While the backbone of the plot may be somewhat of a cliché, there are enough twists and turns to keep things from becoming too stale and predictable. There is also some comedy strewn throughout, which prevents things from becoming too dark and serious, which is a huge plus in my book.
Things aren’t all fine and dandy however, as the story unravels a bit too slowly for my liking. To me, twenty-six episodes seems like a little much and things could’ve been told in a more concise manner with fewer episodes. It’s not an egregious thing, as the story doesn’t really feel like it’s stretching things for no reason, but it would’ve moved things along a little more briskly. Overall, the story is still competent enough to keep you involved until the end and make you care about the fate of the characters.
Nadie: Nadie is a veteran bounty hunter tasked with protecting Ellis from the various individuals trying to reap the bounty placed on her head. She’s a scantily clad femme fatale who often travels from place to place seeking her next payday. Nadie’s been unlucky in love and holds some resentment towards men, saying that they can’t be trusted. She tries to impart this to Ellis on multiple occasions.
Ellis: Ellis has spent most of her life in a laboratory being the subject of a number of tests and experiments, so she has very little real-world experience under her belt. Ellis is naive, childlike, and seems ditzy to the point that she often ends up putting herself in precarious situations. Much like Nadie, Ellis usually finds the time to do something that’ll make you smile in those situations, which makes her all the more adorable.
Whether it’s the deranged obsessiveness of LA, Rosenberg and his manipulating ways, the secretive and cunning Hayward, or the desperado-like Ricardo and his pint-sized companion Lirio, there are plenty of colorful characters to be found. Other than Lirio and her tiny cowboy hat, my personal favorite had to be LA. He’s a pretty messed up character, but upon learning of his upbringing and all that it must’ve entailed, his actions seem a little more understandable. Not justified, but you at least see the root of his problems and how he isn’t solely to blame for them. Big props to Mamoru Miyano for really bringing him to life, by the way. In conclusion, the cast is fairly well-rounded with several characters that leave a lasting impression on the viewer.
“El Cazador de la Bruja is an amazing visual feast that sets a new high water mark for all future anime.”, said no one ever. It doesn’t look bad per se, it just doesn’t do much to stand out. To be fair, the show is somewhat dated, so expectations should be tempered a bit. On a more positive note, the show sports a wide palette of colors that add some pop to the visuals. At the end of the day, it’s a solid, if unspectacular effort that doesn’t do anything to turn off those interested.
While El Cazador might not set the world on fire in the visual department, it makes up for it with a fantastic soundtrack. From the haunting chorus of “Maxwell’s Witch“, to the melancholy wistfulness of “Walk Down to Your Freedom“, to the intense beauty of “El Cazador“, the original aoundtrack is uniquely diverse and eclectic. I haven’t yet mentioned the OP and ED, but they are further examples of the excellent tracks that the series has to offer. Yuki Kajiura did some outstanding work here and further stakes her claim as one of the most talented composers in the industry. The voice acting is also well done and maintains the show’s high aural quality. Overall, the audio is the series’ strong suit and it does a good job of adding to the overall viewing experience.
Although there sadly isn’t any direct yuri to be found in this series, there is enough subtext if one uses their yuri vision accordingly. Nadie and Ellis grow closer throughout their journey together and become practically inseparable before it’s all said and done. What initially started out as a business arrangement for Nadie quickly shifts into something more, as she develops an affinity for Ellis and vice versa. While Nadie’s feelings aren’t necessarily romantic, there is an undeniable kinship the two share that can definitely be interpreted as more than just being friendly. Ellis is a little more transparent in her approach than Nadie is. It’s the little things like overreacting to Nadie & Ricardo’s friendly relationship that outs Ellis as someone who harbors deeper feelings for her female companion. A caveat I should mention is that the majority of the subtext takes place in the second half of the series, so it’s a bit of a longer wait to see things progress down the yuri route than one would prefer. If you’re only interested in the yuri elements, that might end up being a disappointment for you.
It’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but with interesting characters, a memorable soundtrack, and enough subtext to keep yuri fans content, El Cazador de la Bruja is a mostly enjoyable romp through Latin America that might just make you sing the Amigo Tacos song in delight.