Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
By:Eduardo M. Chavez
Review Date: Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Release Date: Monday, December 01, 2003
Translated by:Eiko McGregor
What They Say
Elf stripping, but for all the right reasons!
An actress, a martial arts expert and a military specialist are magically transported to a strange land, filled with magic and mystery. Obviously, they have to get back to Japan, but how can they when the return spell has been cut into pieces and tattooed on the bodies of six female elves? Even with a battle tank for transportation, Airi, Junpei and Ritsuko clearly have their work cut out for them -- there are lots of female elves out there, and they're going to have to start stripping!
Once again ADV's titles continue to have the original cover art on the front and back of the graphic novel. The front cover has an image of all the main characters in their most comfortable poses. Airi is in the foreground right giving an Oscar winning look, Ritsuko is aiming her handgun at someone off cover while Junpei practices his martial arts kicks. Behind them is Celcia in her dog form on top of Type 74 armored tank Mike. The back cover has a nice an image of a stripped elf framed in a ring above the blurb on a blue background.
Logo Check!!! (2003 Megs).... the logo used by ADV is from their anime release. It's a funky looking font with spirals use in or as some of the letters. It looks okay and personally I like it better than the original (big 3D block kanji/kana) but I think they could have thought of something smaller.
Inside the manga includes the color volume header and contents page.
The printing very dark here. Compared to the original you really its like night and day. Tone just blends to black and whatever lines that were there are usually lost in the blur. Its kinda funny but even with the larger book size (see below in the Orientation section) ADV ended up losing some of the art on some pages as they would scan the pages larger resulting in images that would be cut off the page.
For those familiar with the anime you might be thrown off a little by the character designs. Yagami's designs are a lot longer and they look very lanky. Airi and Ritsuko have waists that cannot be more than 16 inches in circumference. They look very lean and long and its consistent from head to leg. Even beefy Jumpei, who in the anime has a big upper body and skinny legs, looks much smaller and should have lower back issues cause his chest area is still massive on top of his tiny abs. If he has a six-pack it must be of mini 7-Up cans. Faces look very familiar though and for you Celcia fans out there she looks exactly the same.
Costumes in this fantasy can be pretty interesting. Considering that the concept of this series is to take them off you should expect to see a little variety in that area and Yagami-sensei does a good job here. Even "Those Who Hunt Elves" tend to use different costumes here ever so often (IE Ritsuko has a cape with breast and shoulder armor in some chapters).
The backgrounds are just as good and also have that same fantasy look. It is detailed to the point where buildings are full of brick, masonry, wood and tapestry. The panel layout is pretty simple but with some decent action and nice background art the flow is still good.
There is a little frontal nudity in this series (its a manga about stripping female elves!!!) but you'll have to wait til the end of each chapter to see it.
ADV does a good job here with the SFX. They have subbed them and the translation of SFX is improving with experience. But there are occasions where SFX are overlaid in situations where subbing would compromise art.
The translation is okay. A few things have slightly questionable context issues and there is a little more slang here but it's not bad. Where I did feel a little funny was in chapter 5 where a short old elf talks like Yoda from the Star Wars series. In the original he uses semi-standard speech with a few little "oji-san" (grampa/old man) nuances. I think the idea was funny but that was completely random and not at all in context. There are a few errors here as well. One that has been mentioned in these forums is on page 100. The famous "emphasize cheek" mistake where a translation note was typed into the text. It happens ever so often but this situation was so dramatic with Airi at her toughest and there was that error. Ouch!
Stuck in a fantasy world three strangers, Airi, Ritsuko and Junpei, await the completion of a spell that could send them back home. Fate would prevent that (or was it their attitude?) breaks the spell and sends fragments of it across the land tattooing them on the bodies of 5 elves. Sounds like a fantasy story, well it’s more like a fantasy nightmare for these three. Finding the spell fragments will not be easy but right now these strangers are ready to go stripping and nothing is going to stop them from going home.
Months go by without a sighting. And the three are still looking for clues. The odds are against them as there are hundreds if not thousands of elves out there and they can only depend on their skills to hunt them down and strip them. Now known as "Those Who Hunt Elves" Airi, Ritsuko and Junpei are not giving up but with are starting to wonder when they will see home.
They are not the ones. Celcia the head of the Common Elves of Carmagan is also concerned. She was responsible for the spell that is now broken. As someone of authority and honor she feels its her duty to help these strangers back to their homeland. So she disguises herself with magic, shape shifting into a dog, attempting to share information with TWHE whenever she has a chance. While her body may not look the same she cannot hide her personality and her identity is soon revealed but she hangs on with the three assisting them on their quest. Finding elves is not a difficult but finding the five elves they are searching for is. They have no clue where they are but with Celcia's help they might have better odds. Getting them to strip is not easy either but when negotiations fail brute force is always there to lend a hand.
While most of the 30 to 40 page chapters are self-contained elf stripping episodes readers will find a chapter here and there that will take our heroes away from their "profession" and into a more personal setting. We get to see Komiyama Airi, the Oscar winning actress, show off her stuff in one chapter as she plays the roles of tough gal, romantic interest and upstanding person. Up to that point Airi was just around as the brains of the group. You knew she brought something special to the team but you do not see it until you get to this chapter. Really nice stuff that has set a tone for her in the future. We also got introduced to Mike - the wandering cat spirit. His chapter shows off the youth and compassion of Ritsuko. It can be tough to see that when she picks on Junpei and acts like a military freak but she really is just a teen and her new life is not one that most teens could handle easily.
Even the elf stripping chapters bring something to the table. Yes the objective is nudity but the writing has continuity, good character development and ever so often some good action mixed into the comedy. And everyone knows there is more than one way to strip and elf so the possibilities are endless.
Elves, tanks and curry I really do not need anything else. I could love this series if they would only present an image of each individually on every page of this graphic novel. Knowing that there is a good cast, some nice funny stories and an etchi premise is all the more reason to pick this up. Those familiar with the anime will find a lot of the same here but getting to know the characters a little more is one reason to stick with it. I know I will. I just hope ADV can fix a few issues here and there.
Good Stuff but needs some polishing in its production
Mania Grade: B-
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B-
Age Rating: 15 & Up
Released By: ADV Manga
Orientation: Right to Left