Those Who Hunt Elves 2 Vol. #1 (of 2) (Mania.com)
Review Date: Sunday, August 31, 2003
Release Date: Tuesday, August 26, 2003
What They Say
When the spell to return them to their home goes terribly awry, judo-jerk Junpei, Airi the actress, and rifle-ready Ritsuko must rely on the egomaniacal elf Celcia to help them return home. Once again, they're forced to strip elves to find the magical tattoos that will teleport them back to earth. So join the elf hunters as they swim with sharks, search for tattoos and toilet paper, and brave both obnoxious bears and falling stars!
With the first season being quite the success, another twelve episodes of elf-stripping fun is served up in this second season.
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.
Originally airing back at the end of 1997, this series was one of the many that was being done at the beginning of the end of traditional animation and the shift to digital. But at that time things were done so well that it’s a great looking show and the transfer brings out a lot of that. Colors are rich and vibrant and pretty much free of cross coloration. Aliasing only shows up in a few areas in a minor way and mostly due to motion, such as the bouncing movement of the tank. Some of the nighttime sky sequences show more grain and pixellation than the rest of the print, but it’s pretty minimal. Overall, this is a nice solid release that builds upon the first series nicely.
With a scantily clad elf on the cover, this one will generate extra sales based on that alone. This is built on with the image of the tank and her crew coming up being Celcia, who is also petting an interesting addition to the group. The back cover provides a number of shots from the series and an amusing shot of everyone on the tank from later in the series. The summary does a good job of bringing things up to date with the premise and the discs features are clearly listed. While no volume numbering is available, the back cover does provide the episode numbers and titles that are on this release. The insert has a nice shot of Airi up close and the others in the background while the reverse side has some smaller shots and a list of the chapters for each of the episodes.
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 bottom. 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. The opening and ending sequences are done in textless form and we also get a collection of ADV done trailers for the series.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Coming after a year and a half hiatus from the first season, the second season of Those Who Hunt Elves becomes a massive bargain for fans of the show with it being a new show being put out pretty much at catalog title pricing. While the show itself is a few years old, getting it brand new here in the US at 12 episodes on two discs is just surprising.
Even better, the show is just as hilarious as the first time around, and for dub fans its not as dated as that script was. The show again revolves around the trio from Earth; Airi the actress, Ritsuko the schoolgirl and Junpei, who is simply best classified as The Man. In addition to them, there’s a tank that’s possessed by a cat and Celcia, the elven mage who has caused all of their problems. Well, the big ones at least. Not only is she the cause of their being in this world, but she’s also the one that messed up the spell in the last season after they collected all the spell fragments. The fragments are once again free in the world and they’re all off searching for them with the backing of the Elf Investigation Committee.
As such, they travel about the land looking for elves as they may bear the mark of the spell fragment, which would then lead to Celcia performing a simple spell that takes it from their body and transfers it to hers. Of course, most of the time the elves either don’t realize they have a fragment on them or aren’t exactly ready to show it. This brings in Junpei’s real specialty, which is elf stripping! He at least apologizes most of the time for it.
With this formula, each episode stands alone nicely here and contains a simple yet generally rather funny storyline or situation where everyone gets involved in some form. While they’re episodic, they also build nicely upon each other to provide some interesting types of continuity to the series, usually at the suffering of Celcia.
This volume contains a number of solid episodes. Right from the start it’s easy to remember why this show is so much fun. Celcia’s suffering from dreams of mermaid elves which ends when the group ends up at an island where they believe they’re close to their home. There’s some hilarious moments regarding the rules of the beach since it’s a fishing park, but in the end we have everyone crossing down and into the home of the mermaid elves. Their lives are being threatened by a huge man eating shark, and they’ve agreed to strip if the group will help them. Cue Junpei as bait and then provide the image of the tank being the actual fisherman with the string tied to its cannon and you end up with a series of bizarre but comical scenes.
Quite possibly the most disturbing episode though is the second one, entitled “Those Who Wipe”. I would never have believed that they could focus an entire episode around Junpei having to have a bowel movement, but they pulled it off here. One of the differences between the two worlds is that in Celcia’s world, only the royalty use toilet paper. Ritsuko had managed to secure a stash of it before for the tank and their journey, but they’ve now run out and Junpei is starting to freak about it since he’s got to go. Their arrival at a new town causes him to try and find a bathroom to do what he has to, but amazingly, none of the places he goes actually has a bathroom. His frantic nature leads him off into the wilderness of the mountain that the town is at and has built a wall around.
Junpei comes across an extremely cute little bear-type creature in the woods and realizes that he’s as soft as toilet paper is. This goes into so many bad directions as he tries to use him and the others, and then the tables get reversed, is just priceless. His expressions play out great as hordes of these little creatures size him up. Add in the second plotline about a mysterious treasure hidden in the mountain and it’s just so wrong yet so funny. The addition of one of these little creatures to the party brings out comedy in later episodes as well.
There’s just so much to all of these episodes that made me laugh. Celcia gets screwed over nicely in this volume. She managed to avoid being a dog for a while after getting trapped in that form in the first season, but she’s not going to stay an elf for too long in this season either. Her change is great and the resulting chaos from it only adds to it. With her being cursed to a new form and dealing with the various spell fragments that she’s re-acquiring onto her own body, she’s turning into a punching bag for this season, something that usually falls to Junpei.
With six episodes, there’s a great amount of comedy and fun here, never mind the elf stripping. I had forgotten just how much I enjoyed this series during the hiatus and am definitely glad to be getting more new material for it. Add in the new and more authentic dub script and excellent performances there and this one is a winner all around.
Japanese Language,English Language,English Subtitles,Clean opening and closing animation
Toshiba TW40X81 40" HDTV, Panasonic RP-82 Progressive Scan codefree DVD player, Sony STR-DE835 DD/DTS receiver, Monster component cable and Sony speakers.
Mania Grade: B+
Audio Rating: B+
Video Rating: B+
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