Archive for the El Cazador Category


The Great “Girl With Guns on the Run” Trilogy Rewatch

December 23rd, 2016

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I’ve finally done something I promised to do years ago. I rewatched Noir, Madlax and El Cazador de la Bruja back to back.

And it was good. ^_^  (From Sean G, a link to concise, amusing summaries of the main characters.)

I said as I began El Cazador de la Bruja, “If Noir is a knit narrative, then Madlax is crochet and El Cazador is macramé. Each successive iteration of the elements has more holes.” Upon reflection, though, I’m not sure I was right. 

Noir spends the most time building the story. More happens in the first episode of Madlax, than happens in the first 6 episodes of Noir.

It’s not that it’s killing time, but Noir is filling in all the details very slowly and carefully, with a lot of time spent in simply watching Kirika and Mirielle function as hitmen. Their relationship is built through this action, rather than through speaking. In fact, of the three series, this one has the most silences. 

The music here is a cue mostly only to that they are again in a shootout. It’s awesome music, though and worth re-hearing. And, by the time Kirika and Mirille’s full history is filled in, we kinda guessed already. ^_^ The climax of the series is satisfying and Soldats just ends up looking stupid and ham-handed.

In the end, I realized that I think of Noir, not as Kirika’s story, but as Mirielle’s.

Madlax starts with a completely different pace than Noir. There’s an obvious initial almost-schizoid split between episodes with Madlax and Margaret. Nonetheless long before Margaret goes to Garth-Sonika, we’ve figured out that there’s some connection between the two.

Where Noir takes place in identifiable places in our world, Madlax takes place in places that seem familiar, but are wholly fictitious. Nafrece might be France or England or Japan, but it’s not. This gives the story a lot of leeway to adding fictive elements, like a arms-dealing conspiracy driven by magic and the desire for more magic and allows for the entire climax to happen in a place that isn’t even of the world at all. 

Friday Monday is still a stupid bad guy with a ridiculous name.

Although Noir probably still wins for overall body count, there’s more deaths of people we cared about in Madlax than in Noir. In fact, I was pretty surprised to realize how dark Madlax was. Dark and dense. It was slow going, with so many storylines that had to converge. 

The music in Madlax is practically a character, it plays such a significant role.

El Cazador de la Bruja almost feels like a reaction to the intense darkness of Madlax and Noir. While there’s still a lot of shooting, the overall body count is much less. Nadie mostly shoots to disarm. And the general tone is much lighter and cheerier.

We’re back in the “real” world for this series, in an American Southwest-ish. There’s a President and a White House and Taco chains, but there’s also magic that works visibly.

This is the only story of the three with a deranged stalker who won’t take no for an answer.  Where Nadie and Ellis help each other to become more human, LA ends up being more and more a wounded animal who needs to be put out of his misery. To accomplish this, even some of the initially silliest plot elements end up fitting into the apparently hole-filled puzzle by the end. In fact, as I watched the final episodes tonight, I was surprised to find the climax much more tightly scripted than I remembered.

The music is purely window dressing, without much meaning as it was in the first two series. Rosenberg was a delightfully horrible bad guy whom we will not mourn.

While all three series end with a journey renewed,  El Cazador de le Bruja wins for the utter sappy wonderfulness of the ending, which could leave no doubt as to the fact that the main characters are incontrovertibly a couple. Squee.

Top characters of each series for me: Noir – Mirielle, Madlax – Rimelda , El Cazador de la Bruja – Jody “Blue Eyes” Hayward. So Hisakawa Aya beats Mitsuishi Kotono 2-to-1. ^_^ 

Still three of my favorite series, with some of the best music I’ve ever loved.

Ratings:

Noir – 10

Madlax – 9

El Cazador de la Bruja  – 10

This was a long time in coming, but it was loads of fun! I’ll do it again in another 10 years. ^_^

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El Cazador Manga

April 30th, 2010

When this manga came out, I put two conditions upon myself – I would not buy it for full price and I would not read it with a chip on my shoulder.

These might seem strange to those of you who don’t pay attention to the Japanese imprints under which the original manga are published, but to those of you who do, the fact that this is a Champion Red manga says all you need to know. Champion Red, as I have mentioned many times, harbors a strong dislike for women which manifests itself through the constant demeaning of all female characters. This was the home of the appalling Mai HiME and Mai Zhime manga adaptations.

I confess that upon learning that the manga adaptation of El Cazador (エル・カザド) was to be a Champion Red comic, I was disappointed and a little sick to my stomach. Of the three “Girls with guns on the run” trilogy by Mashimo and Bee Train, El Cazador de la Bruja was the most light-hearted and the most easy-going. Knowing that this manga was going to pull Ellis’ underwear down and stare at her still makes me taste bile.

The manga is exactly what I feared. It has lost all the good-natured banter, the strong female characters, the sense of a dire fate that can be avoided and a journey at the end of which the destination never need be reached. Instead, it has traded this all for the obsessive and very nasty leering at the secondary sexual characteristics of all the female characters – even the nuns. It’s…sad.

It’s extra sad when you think that there was an audience for this. “Why yes, I would prefer this cheerful, happy anime rendered into a series of demeaning quasi-sexual positions, thanks!

So I knew going into it, this was not going to be good fun, unless demeaning women is your idea of good fun.

The only Yuri was Nadie and Ellis walking off into the sunset holding hands.

Ratings:

Overall – 1

Anyone want this manga? It’s yours. Tell me *why* you want it and the least honest person wins.

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Yuri Anime: El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 2 Disk 4 (English)

January 29th, 2010

El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 1El Cazador de la Bruja is magic.

In the final few episodes, we learn the significance behind the name and the agenda of Project Leviathan, come to understand and perhaps sympathize with LA more than we could have expected. We learn to like “Blue Eyes” and feel affection for Ricardo and his foster daughter, Lirio.

We watch Ellis change and watch her change Nadie.

Above all things, we watch them come to understand that they are far more than traveling companions to one another.

The climax of the show is ridiculously trite and overdone and sappy, and we don’t care. Why don’t we care? “When you have that sparkle in your eyes, that’s the Nadie I love.”

Ellis FTW.(I mean that in the old-school biker usage, not the new fan usage.)

El Cazador de la Bruja FTW. (This time I mean it in the fan way.)

What a great series. Now I finally have all three of Bee Train’s “Girls with guns on the run” series. Time for a mega-marathon. ^_^

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 9
Characters – 9
Yuri – 8
Service – 2

Overall – 9

One more time with feeling – thanks to Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for sponsoring today’s review!

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Yuri Anime: El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 2 Disk 3 (English)

January 15th, 2010

El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 1Disk 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is when it all happens. Everything that was building up to a climax is shifted around and everything we thought was important is set aside.

Disk 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is when the things we never noticed become the things we stare fixedly at, and the things we thought we noticed stare back at us, challenging us to deny their existence.

Disk 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is about one conspiracy becoming less important than we thought and another, even more obscure conspiracy, stepping in to take it’s place.

Disk 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is about love. Tough hitman Ricardo loves his little adopted daughter Lirio, who clearly loves him back. We learn that Ellis loved the professor who ran tests on her, and that LA, as far as he’s capable in his cracked and broken way, loves Ellis. We learn that even Rosenberg, as selfish and miserable a man as he is, is capable of inspiring love. And above all, we can see that Nadie loves Ellis, even if she can’t quite see it herself – and Ellis loves Nadie enough for the whole world to see.

Disk 3 of El Cazador de la Bruja is about myths come to life and fantasy and scifi stories that are real.

Above all things, Disk 3 is when we realize that we will be singing the Amigo Tacos jingle for weeks on end and will never get it out of our heads.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 5
Service – 3

Overall – 8

And again, our sincere appreciation goes to to Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for sponsoring today’s review!

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Yuri Anime: El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 1 Part 2 (English)

December 28th, 2009

El Cazador de la Bruja, Volume 1The second disk of Volume 1 of El Cazador de la Bruja is where it all changes for Ellis, Nadie, Jody…and us.

For Ellis, she’s come to recognize that her relationship with Nadie will be far more than that of a bounty hunter and her bounty. She’s starting to tease and poke Nadie gently and makes no bones about her admiration for her “partner” to other people. When they meet a happily married couple, Ellis compares her and Nadie to them without reserve.

For Nadie, the truth about Ellis’ past brings a renewed sense of protection and affection for the girl who is not a girl at all.

And for Jody “Blue Eyes” Heyward, full understanding of Project Leviathan brings about a determination to keep Ellis and her power under her care, even when the rest of the witches disagree. And she gets some smokin’ henchwomen. :-D

For us, the series shifts into a more well-worn pattern with our heroines encountering faceless drones bent on killing them, while they change lives by being Ellis and Nadie.

I remember being totally squicked when the series began that Ellis and Nadie might become a couple, but by this 2nd quarter of the series, the idea no longer bothered me. It’s obvious to me that Ellis, in her innocence, naivete or because she likes jerking Nadie around, is leagues ahead of Nadie in sensing what they already mean to each other and where that might lead. Nadie is slower than Ellis in this one thing and that works just fine, keeping their relationship totally organic and not at all rushed or fake feeling.

Ratings:

Art – 7
Story – 8
Characters – 9
Yuri – 3, growing slowly, but steadily
Service – 2

Overall – 8

Once more, my sincere gratitude today to Okazu Superhero Amanda M. for sponsoring today’s review!

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