Fine Print: The Details of Witch Hunter Robin
WARNING: The following content contains spoilers for the series "Witch Hunter Robin." Read at your own discretion.
Witch Hunter Robin (which I will call WHR from now on) is probably one of my favorite series. For the plot, yes, but also for how artistically displayed it is. I've watched the series probably five times now and as such I've come to realize certain things about the series. There are hints throughout the entire thing, right from the beginning. I'm not talking about allusions; they're more like foreshadows. A first-time watcher might miss them but finding them brings a whole new level of appreciation. I'd like to point these things out. Please keep in mind that these are just my theories about the points and in no way are they totally concrete. I will also say that there is a possibility that I've not caught all of the "secrets" in WHR. In that case, I invite you to point these out. Let's begin.
1) Pay close attention to the dialogue. Right from the beginning, Amon and Zaizen have conversations about orbo, the strain between HQ and the STNJ, and other major plot points. Watching the series two times in a row really helps. Watching it the first time, the dialogue seems fairly casual and unimportant but all the time it's referencing to things to happen later on in the future.
2) In episode 1, when Robin has lunch at Harry's, there is a scene of the table where she was sitting that shows her dishes and an unlit candle. She gets up to leave and has an exchange of words with the owner of Harry's. After she leaves, the owner looks around and, noticing something, says, "That girl...." and never finishes his sentence. It cuts back to the place where Robin had been sitting. So what does he mean? Watch the scene again and you'll notice that all the candles in the restuaraunt are lit.
3) The horoscope guide that the man at the front desk of the STN-J is reading in episode 1 and episode 15 has "SUNRISE Publishing INC" in small print on the cover (only seen in episode 15). Sunrise produced WHR.
4) This one is fairly obvious but it is hinted at the Robin is working for Solomon HQ from the first episode. She writes messages in her compact (to Solomon) when she is let into the STN-J and again when she finds the Fragment of Wisdom. It's also hinted at in the first episode, when she is talking to the owner of Harry's and he asks her how long she'll be staying. She replies with, "I don't know. I'm not the one who gets to decide that."
5) In episode 10, there are two instances where the water in the pillars of Harry's bubble slightly and the owner pays particular attention to it. This confused me for a long time. I finally realized that it is a display of the son's powers. The first at the beginning of the second scene. Hence later when the son says, "I take it you received the message I sent you?" The second one, which occurs after the son's death, is like a message saying that he is "okay" in death, giving the episode a sort of warm feeling at the end to a fairly depressing plot. My evidence for this theory? The flashback of the awakening of the son's powers where the pillar of water is shattered. (Thanks to K. for pointing this out.)
6) This one is another fairly obvious one. Right before the commercial break in episode 14, there is a scene of the apartment door where Robin and Touko live--and the sound of flapping window shades. It's hinting at the break-in of the the apartment.
7) At the very end of episode 14, there is a scene of Robin sleeping in the office. She wakes up, blinks a few times, then rolls over and goes back to sleep. It then cuts to the scene of the well in the courtyard. Obviously the well is pivotal in the following episode but what really is important is the sound. There is the sound of the howling wind throughout that scene. This alludes to the existence of the secret passage in the well, where the wind is blowing through.
8) This should make the RobinxAmon fans happy. In the prologue of episode 22, there is a scene where Zaizen is looking at one of his computer screens in his office at the Factory. You get to see the screen but it fades in and out of focus so you can't really tell what it's saying. Pause it, however, and you can read it. It is as follows:
Am I a person?
Or am I a Witch?
...No. I am Robin.
Witches are the new mankind. People are the oldman. People hate witches and Witches hate people.
Can't we just love each other?
Am I "Joan of Arc?"
No, I am not. I love Amon.
I believe we can understand each other.
I can fight, because I believe.
>>>With all the associations of darkness and the tricker it is easy to lose sight of the softer, more generous side of their nature. They are often to be seen in the wild rubbing beaks and canoodling with their life's partner, using their extensive vocabulary to "whisper"
And that's all you see. This is huge to the plot. For one, it confirms that Robin is in love with Amon. Even Robin's own voice actress didn't think that Robin actually was in love with Amon. She said that she (Robin) more looked up to Amon as a coworker. This completely destroys that idea. However, this isn't to say that her love is requited, as much as we'd like them to be a couple.
However, this brings up a lot of unanswered questions that could lead to different conclusions. For example, when was this message written? It's probably safe to say that it was before the attack on the STN-J because she'd likely want to avoid contact with Solomon if she was being hunted. However, the fact that she references to herself as a Witch makes me think that she sent the message after her contact with Methuselah, who got her thinking about her power and how she is labeled. Another part that makes me think this is the fact that she asks if she is Joan of Arc. In the Methuselah episode, they talk about martyrs and define them as people who are betrayed by their followers. Yet this would suggest that the message comes after the attack because there is no other reason to refer to herself as Joan. The message also seems to make a hint at Todo's own conclusions about Witches being the heirs to mankind, unknowingly to Robin, of course. There is a whole connotation to the word "fight" as well. Fight what? Fight witches? Fight Solomon? Who knows?
The second part of the message could mean a few different things as well. It could be something that Robin wrote herself, or perhaps it is a reply message from Solomon about something she had sent earlier that we do not see. This is suggested by the ">>>" It would seem that the passage is about crows. But why would that be in the message?
9) This is rather self explanatory but there are scenes scattered throughout the series that hints to deeper plot points, carefully crafted not to show anything. This is especially true when dealing with scenes of the Factory.
10) A random thing that isn't really important to the whole of the plot: Michael is probably American. First of all, his name is (obviously) not Japanese. Secondly, if you watch it in Japanese, he randomly speaks in English.
I will admit that there are things that aren't and perhaps cannot be explained. The part that stands out most clearly in my mind when I say this is in episode 10 where Amon is sitting in his car, talking to Touko on his phone and he suggests that they break up. She says, "I was wondering when you were going to say that....Can I ask you one thing? Do you--?" And then we are moved to outside of the car to follow Robin walking towards it. We never know what the question is or what Amon's reply is. This happens in another phone conversation between the two at an earlier time, when Touko leaves a message on his phone, saying to ignore the previous message. What was the message about? Of course, there are the other open questions at the end like the replacement that shows up and has an uncanny resemblance to Robin herself and also one that I always wondered about was why the STN-J continued hunting witches after all that they had seen. Perhaps only the creators know.
WHR is a spectacularly crafted series that takes full advantage of silences and small details. We may be very frustrated with silence because we want to know everything but it's very realistic; there are things that we will never know. The story telling is fantastic and very artistic. It's so complicated and tightly woven together it makes me wonder:
Did they construct this series backwards?