Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #2 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Friday, February 22, 2002
Release Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2002
What They Say
Martial arts expert Junpei, Hollywood superstar Airi, and machine gun toting tomboy Ritsuko (also known as Those Who Hunt Elves) continue their quest to find their way back to their native world. To do that, however, they'll have to locate the fragments of the spell that sent them to the land of elves in the first place - and it's hidden as tattoos on the bodies of five female elves!
They'll strip every elf in the land in order to find what they need; and, despite the protests of her newly naked subjects, the elves' elder, Celcia, continues to help in the search. Because the naked truth is if the elf hunters aren't sent back home soon, their world and the world of the elves may both cease to exist in a bang of cosmic proportions.
It's strip or be vaporized as Those Who Hunt Elves comes to its explosive conclusion.
The second half of Those Who Hunt Elves continues what was started in the first volume, which means we laughed quite a bit and found ourselves enjoying the adventures of this group.
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.
Also much like the first volume, the use of the recently remastered Japanese video shines through here with a solid looking transfer with practically no cross coloration. The only thing we saw that even slightly bothered us was a few blue night sky sequences that showed some minor blockiness. Otherwise, this is a great looking transfer for this series.
Airi and Celcia get the cover nod this time in their great looking costumes and subtle smiles. The back cover goes a bit more for the humor side while providing some animation shots along with a synopsis of the series overall design. Features and extras are clearly listed though they don't really push the whole six-episode aspect of the show hardly at all. As seems to have happened with at least the first pressing, no inserts were included with this release.
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)
For the first half of this disc, we get more adventures in the vein of the first disc, with the foursome of Junpei, Airi, Ritsuko and Celcia traveling around on the now-alive tank Mike. The opening adventure is a mixture of just plain creepy and then hilarious as it talks about a race of elves that are tiny and live in the ground like carrots, with a flower coming out of their head. The original tale of what they are is truly creepy, but once you see dozens of one foot tall elves running around with their flowers bobbing up and down, it just turns into laughter.
There's also a very amusing episode with an elf who begs to be stripped, which puts Junpei's skills as well as everyone elses to the test. This particular elf is enclosed in a suit of armor that can't be removed. It's so stuck to her that she can't even take the swords out of her hands, leading to her having some amusing nicknames from Junpei.
Junpei manages to have quite a bit of fun throughout these episodes, as he continually ridicules the fantasy genre for being predictable and doing certain things certain ways. Airi corrects him on occassion, but Junpei's got it figure out for the most part.
The series does work towards a conclusion when it becomes apparent that the group of four is being tracked down by someone powerful. With more and more complaints coming in across the land from Elves being stripped, those in power start making their moves to end the problem, which means taking care of Celcia since she's aiding them. Poor Celcia though. Throughout these episodes as they capture more spell fragments, her body gets painted in such bad ways that it's impossible not to laugh at her.
Those Who Hunt Elves was a real surprise. It's a one-trick wonder that manipulates that one-trick masterfully and keeps it entertaining for twelve episodes of this first season. It's also a rare show that I was able to sit down and watch all six episodes on this disc in one sitting without getting antsy at some point during it. If you enjoyed the first volume, you'll enjoy where things go here.
Japanese Language,English Language,Spanish Language,English Subtitles,Character Sketches,Textless 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: 15 & 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