Well fuckin' A! I just finished watching the Witchblade Blu-ray boxset and some of the extras which totaled to about 10 hours in the last 3 days (just shows how much time I have on my hands while at school). Here's what I got for y'all...
I of course have to start off with the animation. It looks great on the Blu-ray if you ask me. The Witchblade anime has a style all its own that Gonzo really brought to life in a way American animation could not. Nothing against the Witchblade comic of course as it looks good but standard comics haven't interested me. I noticed there was a consistent flow between detailed and less detailed animation for the characters based on their distance from the screen and whether they were the focus point of a scene.
Next are the characters. The single mother Masane Amaha is a good place to start. She is the current bearer of the Witchblade. She has no memory of her past and lives only to protect her daughter, Rihoko Amaha. She isn't the brightest but her determination and will make her a formidable opponent. Not to mention she can drink like no other and eat more than necessary and still keep a shapely figure. Her flaws and how she comes to terms with owning the Witchblade and working with Douji make her story all the more tragic and heroic. Rihoko is a cute little girl who always takes care of her mom. She was found with Masane along with documentation stating she was her daughter (later to be found false). Riko is also a good cook and goes everywhere by herself (dangerous). For being so young she deals with losing both her mothers
(her biological is Reina Soho) and finally ends up with her father. Then we have the freelance photographer, Yuusuke Tozawa. This guy has it rough driving various characters all over Tokyo while working on his big scoop (the real deal behind the murders and Douji and the NSWF). Pretty sure he had feelings for Masane (or, Melony, as he called her in reference to her large breasts) and he always went out of his way to dig up information and help the Amahas. Next is Reiji Takayama, Douji Group's Research Director (he later quit the company). This man evolved as the series progressed. He went from strong and demanding to caring and realistic. His hook up with Masane was funny and satisfying as he affirmed he would do his best to fulfill his role as Riko's father. Lastly, I cover the Neogenes, who are in fact inbred to be each other's mother, daughter, grandmother, and aunt (the same man's genes were used to create each one). These women or "sisters" get tested and fitted with Cloneblades in order to create the perfect woman who can wield the Witchblade. Despite how messed up their stuff is they are all damn good looking. Oh, I'll mention the Ex-cons and iWeapons since they are created with the bodies of the deceased (makes me think of an extreme version of Universal Soldier).
On to the story I guess...The comic revolves around a New York City Detective named Sara. Other than that I don't know much as I haven't read the comic. Now, the anime has a completely different story. In the 22nd century Douji Group and the NSWF were working together on their research of the Witchblade in order to copy its power. This ended in the Witchblade releasing its power and destroying much of Tokyo while killing countless people. The Witchblade was lost for 6 years until Masane Amaha showed up. Masane becomes employed by Douji and works to destroy rogue Ex-cons. Sometimes she even has to fight Neogenes as they attempt to capture the Wtichblade. The story becomes tragic as you learn that anyone with a Cloneblade or the Witchblade will be consumed or killed and turn to dust/liquid as death is the only escape from their bonds. The anime story works very well for itself and the Witchblade franchise as the Witchblade has been around for untold generations and moves from host to host causing destruction. Gonzo choosing this particular story was a good move and made the Top Cow creators very happy as the lead is damaged and has to deal with the consequences of her actions.
The Witchblade story originates from the founders of Top Cow Productions who all left Marvel Comics because they were fed up with not getting recognition and no longer wanted their creativity to be stifled. Thanks to this bold move the Witchblade comic was born. The anime came around a while after the comic as the creators wanted to do something new to expand the Witchblade franchise. And what better way than anime?! Top Cow gave Gonzo large reign over the Witchblade anime project. Well, except for an 8 page document stating there was to be no nudity (so that's why I'm kind of disappointed) and the lead wasn't to be raped or have tentacles and so on and so forth (sounds to me they were afraid it would become a hentai (which it could)). When Gonzo finished their work the creators were actually surprised that the franchise was sexed-up with a very different story but found it very good as they understood Japanese culture and enjoyed a lot a Japanese work themselves. Another interesting feature of the Witchblade Top Cow didn't consider that Gonzo added in was the mixture of pleasure and pain while fighting (like a form of masochism).
I certainly liked the series and I'll probably buy it sometime (I borrowed the boxset from a friend) but with the sad ending and no idea what will happen with the rest of the cast, the Neogenes, and the Witchblade I feel like there is a gaping hole in an otherwise different story. Again, I'm also sad there wasn't any nudity since the rating is TV-MA (only for language and violence). In closing I'll say thank you Top Cow, Gonzo, and FUNimation for this different and interesting story featuring a female lead and a mysterious weapon that knows not good or evil.