In the commentary on Disc One of El Cazador de la Bruja, the chief cast members and staffers that worked on the show describe the series (and I paraphrase) as “a buddy film.” Those words couldn’t have been more accurate… El Cazador de la Bruja is an anime version of American classics like Lethal Weapon and Boondock Saints; an action-packed romp that leaves the viewer smiling while the guns fire off every episode. This is the core of Cazador, and it’s featured in every single episode.
El Cazador de la Bruja centers around the journey of two young women named Nadie and Ellis through an unnamed Latin American country in search of something that Ellis feels “in the south.” It’s in the south of this unnamed country that the pair believe they will find some shred of Ellis’ past, a background that she herself cannot remember due to amnesia. As the series progresses, we come to learn that Ellis has incredible supernatural powers and the two women grow ever closer throughout their entire trip.
Although the plot continues to evolve in each episode, there are only a handful of recurring characters besides Nadie and Ellis, most of whom fit the archetypal roles: the cute child, the silent and gruff gunman, the smooth-talking villain, and a turmoil-ridden two-faced character who can’t decide which side she’s on. Still, even with the relatively small cast, the crew at FUNimation did an outstanding job infusing each character with enough background (often linked with one of the two main characters) to really give these in-and-out characters quite a degree of spark.
In fact, the story of Cazador is perhaps one of the major selling points in the series. Chris Bevin, the director of the domestic release, does a tremendous job translating the story into a solid contemporary tale for North American viewers, wrapping our familiarity with our southern neighbors (and our own government in some cases) around a wonderfully Japanese take on our older mythologies and secret government operations.
That said, Cazador isn’t the most well-illustrated anime of its kind. The animation can, at times, really stand out, especially when the action is centered squarely on the two women or on their constant enemy, L.A., but it’s often average or even subpar. There truly isn’t much difference between Cazador and some of the older, similar shows like Trigun or others of its ilk.
Additionally, the score of Cazador isn’t exceptional or evocative either, but it doesn’t need to be with the excellent performances of nearly all of the voice actors throughout the series. From the smallest young girl (who doesn’t really speak… only squeaks and squints) to the almost lineless supernatural supporting cast, every member of the Cazador cast turns in a fantastic set of lines.
There really isn’t a lot of meat to Cazador, nor is it as action-packed or adult as others, like Burst Angel or Black Lagoon, so you really have to be into the action/comedy genre or looking for a more light-hearted romp before you smack down your hard-earned cash. Still, for those that do want to take the plunge into El Cazador de la Bruja, it’s definitely worth the time and money spent. That may sound a bit hypocritical, but there really is a gem in this slightly rough-looking series.