Sorcerer Hunters vols. 1-2

Sorcerer Hunters vols. 1-2
 Mike Toole  rates it:    

Ever since this series came out, everyone knew that it was bound for video shelves in the United States– I mean, look at the thing! The main characters are leather-clad bondage queens, intent on punishing evil and everything else that moves, and otherwise looking ready to pop out of their outfits by mistake. It was no surprise that ADV grabbed this series, and the remaining time has been spent waiting impatiently while the company bought 10,000 other titles and worked on them instead. But the wait’s over.

The Sorcerer Hunters are a team of warriors assembled under the aegis of a certain Big Mama, an entity who wishes to see the tyrannical rule of sorcerers put to an end. To that end, she has her familiar, Dotta (like “Daughter”, get it? Ha ha ha! Get it?!) dispatch the Sorcerer Hunters to various exotic locations on the Spooner Continent (that’s right– the Spooner Continent) to do battle with these wicked magic-users.

As for the heroes themselves, there’s the ass-whomping tough guy, Gateau Mocha. (He’s more of a beefcake than a mocha cake.) There’s the androgynous pretty-boy, Marron Glace. Much more noticably, there’s the sisters Chocolate and Tira Misu– Chocolate is feisty and aggressive, while Tira is quiet and shy and wears glasses with lenses so big you could set fires by accident on a sunny day. They may seem like ordinary girls at first, but they turn into fetish gear-wearing vixens straight out of a Russ Meyer flick at the drop of a hat– shy Tira turns into a very extroverted whip-wielder, and Chocolate goes from being cheerfuly mean to even meaner, and with a wicked garotte to boot. And at the center of these brave and skilled heroes is Carrot Glace, brother of Marron, clumsy wielder of a sword, and completely irredeemable pervert. Not surprisingly, Carrot is out to jump the bones of anything that wears a dress– except, of course, for the Misu sisters, who both happen to have a huge crush on him.

Hear that? That’s the sound of sparks flying. But that’s not the only character appeal of the show. It seems as though all of the heroes have a dark little secret, some personality quirk that turns them from mighty heroes into a circus sideshow. Gateau, for instance, is a terrible egoist and exhibitionist– he likes nothing better than showing his brawn off for girls. And if girls aren’t around, there’s always Marron, whose sexual orientation seems completely impossible to discern. Chocolate, for her part, is very overtly determined to get Carrot in the sack with her, and Tira has a tendency to occasionally turn incredibly violent, usually at the prompting of one of Carrot’s idiotic schemes to meet girls. And Carrot? Well, Carrot is a really, really, really nice guy. That’s right, he’s a perfect gentleman, and very chivalrous, despite his lewd intentions.

But I do have reservations about these first six episodes. So far, Sorcerer Hunters is lacking something that all great anime series’ have– focus! The big-picture objectives of our heroes are fairly clear, but there’s no great enemy to fight, and no greater goal to work for. What’s going to happen when all of the sorcerers are wiped out? I don’t know. What’s going to happen if the hunters fight an opponent that they can’t face head-on? No idea. There are plenty of skirmishes with baddies in these episodes, but the wheels don’t seem to be moving this show forward just yet, and I’m getting impatient. Despite that, they’re good episodes– I particularly like the second volume, because it makes clear just why Tira and Chocolate are so bonkers over Carrot, a character who at first glance seems to have no redeeming features. Volume two depicts Carrot as a great character, nearly on the order of Justy “irresponsible captain” Tylor on the scale of likeability.

I prefer the subtitled version of this series, for one reason and one reason only: Megumi Hayashibara. As Tira, she does her typical routine and proves that no, she is not overrated, that she pretty much deserves to be the most popular Japanese voice-actress going. Very nice indeed. The dub is also pretty good, though– I enjoy most of Tiffany Grant’s work, and as Chocolate, she does well– she’s good at being tough, angry chicks, as seen in Evangelion and Cutey Honey. Brett Weaver, fresh off his brilliant turn in Ushio & Tora, is also not bad, but his voice just doesn’t seem quite suited to the character. Nonetheless, he has a manic energy that keeps his portrayal believable. Tamara Lo is very good as Tira when she’s in leather-clad battle mode, but when she’s supposed to be quiet and reserved, it sounds to me like she’s artificially pitching her voice way too high and mumbling… I dunno.

Altogether, I want to like this series. It really needs focus, a driving plot element to push to story forward, but the first two volumes are highly enjoyable fluff. With its scantily-clad females and memorable male characters, Sorcerer Hunters manages to be both bawdy and sweet. I’m getting a little impatient waiting for something to happen, but I’m willing to go in on the third volume based on the strength of the first two.

Added:  Tuesday, October 07, 2003

Related Link:  ADV Films
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