Newest Reviews
Life at the Top
Whoopee Boys, The
Set, The
Cyrano de Bergerac
Death Walks in Laredo
Gemini Man
End of the Century
If Beale Street Could Talk
Raining in the Mountain
Day Shall Come, The
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Newest Articles
Godzilla Goes to Hollywood
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
  Witchblade appetite for destructionBuy this film here.
Year: 2006
Director: Yoshimitsu Ohashi
Stars: Akemi Kanda, Mamiko Noto, Masaya Matsukaze, Mie Sonozaki, Nana Mizuki, Rikiya Koyama, Shinji Ogawa, Shizuka Itou
Genre: Horror, Animated, Science Fiction, Fantasy, TV Series
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Created by Mark Silvestri and Michael Turner, the comic book Witchblade tells the story of Sara Pezzini, a comely police detective who becomes the latest in an ancient line of women-only warriors to wield the titular, mystical super-weapon. Popular among comic fans for wearing little besides skimpy cyber-lingerie, yet strongly written enough to be hailed as a feminist role model, the sexy superheroine graced a lacklustre live-action television show starring a miscast Yancy Butler and is set to become a more ambitious movie. Sanctioned by the original creators, this anime adaptation made by otaku favourites Studio Gonzo follows the basic concept but with all-new characters tailored for a Japanese audience.

In 22nd century Japan, single mom Masane Amaha and her precocious, little daughter Rihoko try to start a new life in, now partially submerged, Tokyo. A survivor of near cataclysmic earthquake six years ago, Masane has no memory of her past but bears the Witchblade that periodically transforms her into a sultry, battle-bikini clad superbabe able to slay demons with energy tendrils and liquid blades. Stern, but handsome scientist Reiji Takayama recruits Masane into the shadowy Douji Corporation, whereupon she battles X-Cons, strange bio-mechanical monsters killing innocent people across the city, and Neo-Gens, a group of super-amazons out to claim the Witchblade for their outwardly benevolent patriarch, “Father”.

Curious as to why the Witchblade chose Masane, “Father” despatches several Neo-Gens to test her limits: Reina “Lady” Soho, an old flame of Takayama’s with an interest in young Rihoko; Shiori, an impulsive youngster driven insane by her own Cloneblade; Norma, an icy blonde warrior who almost kills Masane; and psychotic cheerleader Maria, who dresses like Christina Aguilera in her “Dirty” video and behaves like a less rational Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction (1987). Meanwhile, Rihoko looks after her boozy, wayward mom and wins over their new neighbours with her gourmet cooking, including elderly hipster Chou who is fixated with Masane’s big breasts, sullen Naomi a fortune-telling goth girl, Mariko the frumpy, foul-tempered (frankly irritating) landlady, and nosy reporter Tozawa. Tozawa eventually learns the truth about Masane and the pair discover the X-Cons are really gene-altered human beings, tortured by past memories and remorse. The most recent instalment concludes with a shock revelation (although guessable) about Rihoko’s parentage.

The mother-daughter dynamic and psychosexual undercurrents to the Witchblade persona make for a curious fusion, as the show switches between wholesome drama and erotic horror. It’s as if someone spliced bits of David Cronenberg and H.R. Geiger into an episode of Gilmore Girls. Nonetheless, these remain the most compelling elements in an anime hampered by its haphazard pace and a plot that takes several episodes to get going. Gutsy, strong-willed Masane is a worthy heir to the Witchblade mantle, prone to alcoholic binges but a caring, vulnerable soul whose relationship with wise beyond her years Rihoko is warmly drawn. Characterisation is something this series does very well (highlighted in a scene where Masane and Tozawa bond over their experiences during the earthquake), although this sometimes results in bizarre non-sequitors (Naomi in a bunny suit; prolonged drinking sessions) that constrict the plot flow. The action, when it comes, is slick but often abrupt as Masane repeatedly kills X-Cons with a single blow or is swiped aside by Neo-Gens with worrying frequency. For example, the amply built up battle with Shiori concludes without Masane doing anything particularly heroic. Character designer Makoto Uno renders the Witchblade Masane and Neo-Gens into striking Amazonian creations, but leaves the intriguingly written X-Cons visually uninspiring.

On the flipside to the family drama is the Witchblade, driven by an almost sexual urge to fight monsters, signalled by heavy panting (incorporated into the opening credits), licking her lips and near orgasmic excitement (“It’s coming! Something powerful!”). Masane giggles while under attack and her opponents cry out when struck as if in mid-coitus (“You’re amazing!”). As the pre-credit voiceover declares the Witchblade “brings pleasure and destruction to those women destined to wield it.” The show edges near phallocentric anxieties over a powerful nymphomaniac female, tempered by Masane’s maternal need to protect Rihoko.

So far the series - now on its third DVD - seems to be developing well. With the added threat that the Witchblade slowly destroys its owner and only comes off when they die, its best episodes may be yet to come.
Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2163 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton


Last Updated: