Over-used tropes: bounty hunters and episodic odysseys, as seen in El Cazador de la Bruja

When most people think “bounty hunter,” they might think of Faye Valentine:
fayeGun

But in fact, it’s surprisingly easy to over-use the “bounty hunter” trope, because it imposes very few restrictions on the writers.

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The “bounty hunter” trope has been done so many times that the cameraman might feel obliged to turn the camera upside down just to keep it fresh.

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I used to think that Cowboy Bebop was entirely ground-breaking; but then everything changed when someone pointed out specific stories, such as Lupin, that had been seminal to Cowboy Bebop. I believe Cowboy Bebop was about as original as television can be, but I admit that its use of a four-person group of bounty hunters was a way of updating Lupin‘s four-person group of gentleman-thieves.

lupin-iii

I am not very familiar with the Lupin franchise, so if you want a serious comparison, you should read the musings of someone more erudite than I am.

http://vraikaiser.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/play-the-bebop-blues/


El Cazador de la Bruja doesn’t strike me as original in any respect. It’s got some semi-psychic super-powers, as seen in literary fiction since Journey to the West, if not earlier.

It’s got some rocking tunes from Kajiura Yuki and Nanri Yuuka that sound a lot like their work on dot-hack, plus some other workmanlike music from bands like Fiction Junction and Savage Genius.

It’s got classic Western shoot-’em-up action set in the modern world of internal combustion engines and computers, basically updating the formula that has served Hollywood well since The Wild Bunch.

Although I might try to draw comparisons with Cowboy Bebop, I don’t think that would be fair; it’s a very different assemblage of some similar and some dissimilar tropes; it’s not a Cowboy Bebop knockoff. It is like Cowboy Bebop insofar as it uses the tremendous freedom of fictional bounty hunters to allow the characters to go on an odyssey of episodic adventures, mostly uninhibited by realism.

I do have one definite complaint about the first two episodes: the killings are far too bloodless and pretty. The mood is far too light, and too much like a PG-13 Hollywood movie.
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It’s a 26-episode series; possibly the writers saved the serious angst and drama for the later episodes. Even Cowboy Bebop oscillated between a light-hearted mood of explosions-without-consequences and a grim-and-gritty mood of “oh, this gunshot wound is bleeding badly and I can’t move my legs.”

In a way, El Cazador de la Bruja is the polar opposite of Michiko to Hatchin. The former is a very comfortable little story where the heroines never seem to be inconvenienced; the latter is a terribly depressing story – not as bad as TeXnolyze, not as clumsy as Now and Then, Here and There – but depressing. Both of them use some vaguely “Latino” window-dressing – Mexican for the former and South American for the latter. I might try watching episodes of these shows back-to-back; I might get whiplash from the contrast.

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