Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B+

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Info:

  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B-
  • Age Rating: 15 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 188
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0015-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #02

By Eduardo M. Chavez     July 13, 2004
Release Date: February 01, 2004


Those Who Hunt Elves Vol.#02
© ADV Manga


Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yagami Yu
Translated by:Eiko McGregor
Adapted by:

What They Say
Junpei, Airi, Ritsuko, Celcia and Mik, the fully-functional Japanese Self-Defense Force Type 74 Battle Tank, are together again in another slam-bang rollicking adventure. They continue their quest to find wily elves with the fragments of the restoration spell tattooed onto their skin, but their mission is far from easy! A super-powered karate strongman, mysterious plants with elf-like traits and other obstacles stand in the way of piecing together the spell. Will the team be able to retrieve the spell fragments that will ultimately lead them back to Japan?

The Review
Packaging:
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 our four heros in poses that expressing their unique personalites.
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.

Artwork:
Those familiar with the anime 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 Junpei, 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. Its good stuff 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. For those who need to know, there is some frontal nudity in this series (hell, one chapter is full of nekkid Mangrave Elves!!).

Orientation/SFX:
Right to left in a TOKYOPOP sized graphic novel. I have not noticed ADV use this size before but it is definitely taller than the Media Works version. (Actually Happy Lesson is in this size as well.)
ADV does a good job here with the SFX. The are 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.

Text:
The translation is pretty good. There are a couple of issues: an aside is missing and there were a few things changed in the omake manga on page 63. Honorifics are not used at all.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Zany episodes continue as Junpei and Celcia take center stage in volume two. Unlike the first volume the writing takes a serious tone here with longer stories (some being 90 pgs. long) full of character development and the hi-jinks this series is well known for.
Ritsuko, Airi and Junpei have found one of the spell fragments but even with the aide of Celcia, leader of the common elves, the search appears to be a long one. Together, these four have been using all of their resources to search for clues to complete the spell. Unfortunately the odds are completely against them as there are thousands of elves to strip all over this crazy fantasy land.

To help even the odds Junpei takes on the challenge of becoming a sorcerer. With magical ablities the time to complete the hunt will be reduced dramatically (and if luck is on his side maybe he could impress Airi in the process). After all anything is possible in this fantasy world, so why couldn't he be Mahou Shonen (well he is not drinking age yet; only 19). Heck, he already has experience training hard to learn difficult skills (Junpei is an excellent martial artist) so learning magic should not be too far from his reach... Well, magic usually requires one thing - smarts. Junpei may be determined but the guy is a meathead. This guy will have to train his brains out to learn basic spells; being able to win in a battle only using magic should be months if not years away. In this world that very situation arrived the same day he picked up his sorcerers hat. And he got beat.

Physical strength and speed is good enough to defeat most, but adding magic should make a champion invincible. In the first battle, Junpei's opponent Randal Varlant cheated by using magic for defense. Imagine if Junpei could use magic who knows how tough he would be. Without it he was still able to defeat the reigning champion of the world fighting championship in their return match. Junpei's kicks moved as if they were magical as they were easily able to take down the champion twice. Neither a magic shield nor magical statistical enhancement would be strong enough to withstand the kicks of Master Junpei Wizard of Leg Techniques. Sometimes real strength is much more than physical and magical power.

A brief party with Mandrake Elves resulted in the crew finding another spell fragment. Legend states that Mandrakes have been said to kill when pulled out of the ground. Legend of this land means little to those from Nippon and luck brought them right in the middle of an elf village. But almost as soon as they got closer to going home Airi, Junpei and Ritsuko would lose what little they worked so hard to collect. The hunt is on as Celcia has been kidnapped (dog-napped??). And what is this about a tattooed elf in this town? Elf hunting and now missing animals what is wrong with this planet?!?! Maybe an old friend of Celcia can help (make things worse)?

Comments
With long chapters and a lot more continuity this mix of animated and new stories presents a slightly different approach to the Elf Stripping world. Most chapters so far have revolved around a single character singling them out to dig deeper into their personality. While basically the same as their animated version the gang of four seems to act a lot more independently (but the series format might be the main cause of that impression). Mainly relying on sight gags and an interesting mix of action (martial arts, magic and artillery) this "fantasy" takes modern concepts places them in an inside out world adds some elves resulting in a fun read that can be appreciated by most shonen readers. Some shonen readers might be surprised to find a skeleton of possible plot within these episodes and with 40+ page long chapters there is a good ratio of complete contained stories and extended mini-arcs. Did I mention elf stripping?!

For those looking for a fun read this is really fill the bill. Action, comedy, fantasy and fan-service is all present in each chapter. Making the experience even better is the banter between the four wandering heroes (can those three ladies ever get along with Junpei). Improving the fantasy quotient level from the first volume, the latest chapters have a lot of magic, marauding, and a ton of elves.
For those looking for sword fighting, dragons and the forces of darkness around every corner this series isn't like that (most of the time). In some ways I find that really appealing, as these characters stick to the skills they already had rarely improving their situation by learning abilities from their new environment. Those three Japanese "tourists" tend to stick out in this world and they could really care less. Having them in a slash and hack fantasy would be out of character and possibly make for something out of the Vs Knight Ramune series (and boy is that bad stuff.)

While the elf stripping was condensed to one volume pack with naked elves and there were only a few panels with tank turret firing action I have to say this volume has really turned me on to this series again. With a pair of unanimated stories and a shorter version of the Mandrake Elves incident THWE has become a solid fantasy comedy that works those two facets and mixes in some light drama as well. It is really easy to relate to these characters and as Yagami takes his time working on those personalities readers get to experience the quirks of this world he made up. And personally adding all of those aspects up I tend to often come to the conclusion that this series is possibly the perfect mix of characterization, comedy, action, fantasy and pacing for someone like me. While there are plenty of titles out there that have better writing or art, worlds that have more depth and history, and can appeal to a broader audience I cannot think of too many titles that is just as fun.

Recommended.

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