Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #1 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2001
Release Date: Tuesday, November 13, 2001
What They Say
No one knows exactly how Junpei (a strongman), Airi (a Hollywood actress) and Ritsuko (a teenager), and their T-74 Tank found themselves marooned in a strange world populated by a wide variety of elves. But when a magic spell cast by the elf's elder CELCIA, designed to send the strangers back to their own world, splits into five distinct fragments (that now appear as tattoos on the bodies of five young female elves), the stage is set for an epic quest by this mixed trio!
Their mission new mission: track down and examine every female elf they can lay their hands on until they find the missing pieces of their ticket back home.
Three people from Japan are stranded in a sword and sorcery world. To get back, they have to find five elves who've been marked with a fragment of a spell somewhere on their body. It's elf stripping time.
For our primary viewing session, we listened to this disc in its original language of Japanese. Being one of a batch of shows that had a run elsewhere in the world, ADV had access to the Spanish language audio, so they've included that as well as the English and Japanese tracks, giving this a nice bit of variety. We spot checked the other two tracks and didn't notice any problems with them, but the Japanese track was our main focus. There's a fair amount of directionality with some of the gunshot/cannon sequences, but for the most part the effects and music use the left/right channels fairly well. Dialogue is clean and clear through the center channel with no noticeable distortions or dropouts.
With the region 2 having come out not too long ago, ADV managed to acquire the new masters for it, and it looks soooo good. Just in watching the textless opening in the extras section, I was quite surprised to see such great looking animation. The show itself features a solid level of animation just below the opening (which is normal), but still looks great. There's no grain, no cross coloration, no macroblocking, solid colors that look spot on and an overall great looking transfer. The quality of the show just doesn't quite raise it up to that level though. Visually, this is a very pleasing disc.
This is a solid package all the way around. The front cover has the great picture of a girl in half-camo, big guns, nice chest and a big tank behind her. It's not being subtle, and it's pushing it's strengths right from the start. The back cover gives a great SD style picture of Junpei in his boxers eating curry on the tank, with a decent summary of the show and information about the disc. Production credits are clearly listed as well. The only downside is no volume numbering and no episode numbering/episode titles. This is only a two disc release, for all twelve episodes, but it'd be nice to know what to expect. The insert on the main side provides a nice shot of Celcia and chapter listings for all six episodes. The reverse side presents the original VHS cover artwork for the first three tapes as well.
The menu layout is fairly simple, with an image of the tank rolling along on the top with music playing while a larger version of the tread runs along the corner. Episodes are quickly selectable, moving between menus is nice and fast and everything is laid out in a good logical way as well as looking good.
With six episodes, the extras are a bit light, but we get some good stuff here. The first is about 20 screens worth of conceptual artwork showing off the various character designs of the series. The second is the previously mentioned great-looking textless opening sequence. I've had that thing running several times already.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
I'd never seen any of this show before, but had heard all the elf-stripping jokes about it for years. After finishing this disc, I cannot wait for the next one. This show was just a blast from start to finish.
The premise is simple, though parts aren't told until several episodes in. Through some magical accidental means, Junpei, Ritsuko and Airi are literally dropped into this magical sword and sorcery world. The person who brought them there, Celcia, is the high important elf in the world and has taken it upon her to find a way to send them back to Japan. This, of course, is done through a magic spell. But it goes awry, and the spell gets imprinted on five elves across the land. So to do the spell properly, they need to reacquire these fragments.
So the gang goes off to hunt elves. Get it? Those Who Hunt Elves? Oh, and don't forget that when the trio was brought through, they also for some reason had a tank drop through with them. So they're rolling around in this world with that bad boy, which is pretty much owned by Ritsuko. She's the tank otaku of the group and takes it seriously (as well as finding the fruit that produces gasoline). Junpei's their obvious strongman, something of an amusing mix of intelligent yet always says the wrong thing on purpose because it's what he wants to say. Airi is supposedly some sort of famous actress, which allows her to use all kinds of particular looks and smiles to get what she wants from whomever she's dealing with.
The six episodes here were a lot of fun. Each one is pretty much self contained, with the group finding the next elf that they're looking for, and then find some way to get them to strip. Sometimes they just rip the clothes right off, sometimes they get involved in a local issue and end up rendering services for it. Though in the end, it seems like it's always Junpei demanding that they take their clothes off.
Frankly, that's a line that needs to be said in more anime and live action shows.
To my surprise, I found each of the episodes to be pretty strong with no weak ones in the batch, a real rarity. A particular favorite had to do with the local police who had a female elf as their person in charge. After an invading army of skeletons made inroads into the city, Junpei made the deal that if they took out the enemy, she'd have to strip. All her subordinates nodded along with that mentally I'm sure. She agrees to it, and the gang goes and starts banging the skeletons out. During the battle, a huge dinosaur sized skeleton arrives and the elf panics. She takes the potion that Celcia had that enlarges people, so we've now got a fifty foot high blue haired female elf.
Of course, they played it out realistically; the clothes didn't grow with her but simply shredded. So we've got the huge naked elf. All the kids pointing and yelling "big boobies!" over and over was hilarious. The reactions of everyone was hilarious.
This disc is a no brainer. Six episodes, trilingual, decent extras and a hilarious series of episodes. And naked elves. Have we mentioned the naked elves? Isn't that a selling point? There should be bright pink stickers on these proclaiming that. Now that would help sell more than listing it as PS2 compatible.
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Character Sketches,Tetless Opening
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Skyworth 1050P Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: A-
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B+
Menus Rating: B+
Extras Rating: B+
Age Rating: 12 & Up
Region: 1 - North America
Released By: ADV Films
Running time: 150
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Those Who Hunt Elves