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DVD Review

Volume 1


Starring (voice): Mamiko Noto, Akemi Kanda, Masaya Matsukaze, Mie Sonozaki, Akemi Kanda and Rikiya Koyama
RRP: £19.99
Certificate: 15
Available 04 February 2008

Sought by the greed of men since the dawn of humankind, but only bestowed upon the woman whose fate it forever scars - The Witchblade. Is it the righteous sword of God, or the hand of the Devil himself? Now a new bearer has been chosen and she must discover the answers for herself. As she stands on the brink of destiny, she is forced to seek the balance between ecstasy and ruin...

An ancient, supernatural, sentient weapon of unparalleled destructive force that also holds a seemingly limitless potential for protecting its bearer, the Witchblade has been coveted and sought throughout history by countless men eager to control it. But for reasons unknown, this fearsome artefact can only be bestowed upon a woman, chosen by the blade itself and one whose fate will forever be scarred by the burden of its power.

Adapted from the hit Top Cow comic book series, that inspired the live-action TV show starring Yancy Butler, the new animated Witchblade series relocates the action from present day New York to a near-future Tokyo, where a new bearer has been chosen to wield the awesome power of the Witchblade.

Volume 1 of Witchblade contains the first four episodes:

Beginning: After being found barely conscious at the epicentre of a devastating earthquake that almost wiped Japan from the face of the earth, single mother Masane Amaha has existed on the fringes of society, constantly on the run from the agents of the Child Welfare Ministry (otherwise known as the NSWF) who are concerned for the safety of Masane's young daughter, Rihoko.

Six years after losing her memory, Masane has returned to Tokyo so that she can start a new life with Rihoko. But after confronting the NSWF and stealing a police car, Masane ends up in jail, while Rihoko is taken into protective custody. Concerned only with retrieving her daughter, Masane is overwhelmed by a force beyond comprehension as the Witchblade reveals itself to its new host.

Confusion: After managing to awaken the powers of the Witchblade, Masane is captured again and used as a test subject by a strange organisation known as Douji Group Industries, which has been watching and waiting for the mythical weapon to reappear. Meanwhile, Rihoko escapes from the NSWF and starts to search for her mother, managing to rope in the help of a freelance photographer, Yuusuke Tozawa.

Opposition: Bureau Chief of Douji Group Industries, Reiji Takayama, offers Masane a job with them that will see Masane using the Witchblade to do the company's bidding. Her first mission, if she agrees to join them, will be to hunt down the machines that are responsible for the recent spate of murders in the city. In return, Takayama agrees to sort out Masane's problems with the NSWF so that she and her daughter can live together.

Movement: The appearance of the Witchblade draws the attention of Furumizu, the leader of the NSWF organisation. Meanwhile, Masane and her daughter start looking for a place to live and Masane discovers that she may not be the only one with special powers.

Extras include A Tour of Top Cow Studios (14 minute look around the offices of the home of Witchblade's American comic title, with Marc Silverstri - the company's artist and owner; Japanese Cast Interview Voice Masane Ahama (9 minute interview with Mamiko Noto, who provides the voice for Masane Ahama in the original Japanese version; Promotional Video (2 min); textless opening and closing titles; and trailers for other releases.

If I had to make one slight moan, it would be that the sound is a little all over the place. The voices are too quiet in places, but if you turn the volume up to hear what is going on you'll have to watch out as the show's music is fairly loud in places.

A promising start to one of the best looking anime series' I've seen in quite some time.


Nick Smithson

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