2009 TV Series (episodes 1-13 and 14-26). Director: Kouichi Mashimo. 325 minutes (each). DVD, bilingual, $49.98 (each). Distributor: Funimation.
Ellis is an amnesiac who exudes eccentricity. From her obsessive love of the “taco” song to her supernatural powers, this young girl is special. So special, in fact, that there is a bounty on her head, and no one knows why. To find the answer, Ellis must travel the dusty, Spanish roads south. With Nadie, the bounty hunter that has supposedly caught her, these two girls will shoot their way to revelation!
Now you don’t need anime to tell you that travelling south of the boarder these days is somewhat like entering the wild wild west, except now with machine guns and drug cartels. Even my trips to TJ and Baja have ceased – and I do miss that slow cocktail at the long bar in the Rosarito Beach Hotel. But in a refreshing change of venue, El Cazador de la Bruja does something like that. This series takes us to the undeclared environs of Mexico and South America. The road Ellis and Nadie travel is filled with Mexican food, mariachis, hustlers, and gunslingers. But no, this ain’t the 1800’s. The modern world, advanced technology, and even intelligence spooks are alive and kicking. They’re all just a flight or phone call away. And everything is called to duty in the hunt for Ellis.
El Cazador is a unique blend of western dust and clean science.
Basically, you’re looking at a classic buddy flick. While Nadie and Ellis travel the road for answers, they meet a host of interesting characters that have stories to tell. The series runs essentially like many television shows current and past. Of course, our girls get caught up, and these stories are told. But the main story arc, i.e. Ellis’ identity, is always kept in sight. Even better, nothing ever seems to feel like a crappy filler episode. So, El Cazador is a big win, if you like road flicks scattered with strongly written characters and gun-wielding action. It’s consistent, straight to the point, and holds your attention.
And who doesn’t like girls and guns????
Perhaps the only flaw is the ultimate story around Ellis’ identity. It begins with high science, but is then reduced to a simple combination of DNA and witchcraft – I’ll leave it at that. And what exactly the American intelligence operatives, who instigated the bounty hunt, have planned for her, is a bit loose and unresolved. Someone clearly had complex designs for Ellis, but then got lost in the action, adventure, and freedom of the road. Frankly, I don’t blame them. The success of this series will depend on exactly that adventure.
While not compelling or even groundbreaking in character or content, I did enjoy the show. El Cazador de la Bruja is friendship and crazy times induced by gunpowder.