published in Empire No.77, Sydney
By combining single mother custody battle with DNA mutation and renegade cyborg battles, Witchblade’s somewhat unlikely premise is rendered acceptable and captivating, Masane and her pre-school daughter are the sole survivors of a mega-catastrophe which persists in anime, this time levelling Tokyo and half submerging it into a series of inlets and islands. Unbeknown to Masane, she is the reincarnated spirit of a warrior woman lineage, which unbeknown to everyone causes havoc when she is crossed with wiring designed by the metro police force that reconfigures her into a formidable and unstoppable destroyer of renegade robot hybrids.
In some sense, Witchblade is a schizophrenic series. When Masane transforms, she turns into a mega-busty salivating sex-machine in red skin-tight attire. She drools at the thought of killing her enemies, and seems to be afflicted with a delirious appetite for destruction. One wonders if this is symbolic of the frightening sexual force of the feminine power simmering beneath the composed mask of the Japanese working mother. Witchblade tantalizingly hints at an undertow of dark currents which rip through the story as it abruptly redresses itself from light domestic drama to eroticised pulp action. Ensuing volumes of the series are likely to drag you out to sea if you so desire. And I do.