Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B+
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: ADV Manga
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 194
  • ISBN: 1-4139-0063-1
  • Size: Tall B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Those Who Hunt Elves Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 05, 2004
Release Date: June 01, 2004


Those Who Hunt Elves Vol.#04
© ADV Manga


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

What They Say
The elf-hunters are back! Stripping elves left and right, they lumber through a bizarre alien world, searching for the fragments of a mystical spell that will lead them back to Japan. When the hunters reach a town full of fortunetellers, they decide to use this hotbed of supernatural talent to locate the missing spell fragments. However innocent this town may appear, though, there is the work of evil afoot, and the order for mischief is dictated by an elf with a terribly wicked agenda. Before you know it, Junpei, Airi, Ritsuko and Celcia are taking her on to save the world!

The dangerous and thrilling adventures continues with the slam-bang action you've come to expect from Those Who Hunt Elves!

The Review
Packaging:
Packaged in a tall B6, this series is presented in its original right-to-left format. On the cover of this volume is Junpei living large with his new favorite Celcia t-shirt. This is presented under ADV's strange looking logo. They use their DVD logo, which uses spirals for "O"s and places spirals in the "s"s. In some ways, it is more creative than the original logo but it still rubs me the wrong way.
The opposite cover features a framed image of a freaked out Kilica, the elven elf hunter, above the large volume blurb. Inside, ADV includes a color volume header, omake - "making of..." notes for each chapter, and two ato-gaki: Media Works' intro to Tokyo titled Tokyo Perfume, and a short on how to perform a rain dance in your own manga studio/apartment! Nice. This volume also has ads for the Those Who Hunt Elves anime from ADV Films.

The printing for this series is off and on. In general, it is a little dark, but where this volume really suffers is the alignment. This series was originally printed in a book size a few millimeters smaller than ADV's tall B6, so the images have been blown up a bit. Unfortunately, some images are too large and art has been cut off, some pages have text boxes getting really close to having the same experience. I wish they would keep the original size aspect as they did for Gunslinger Girls, Seven of Seven, and Full Metal Panic!

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 it is 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 because 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. With the main theme of this series being striping one should expect to see a little variety in that area and Yagami-sensei does a good job here. Even the main characters tend to use different costumes here ever so often (IE Junpei has a new shirt at the end of this volume). This volume raises the background art level again, as the world these characters are in plays a larger role in this first arch of the series. The layout takes a slight step back to give the background art more flexibility, with simple panel placement but keeps the pacing high and perspective varied. Action scenes are also very good and in this volume, we get some intense individual battle scenes along with large army scenes. This volume starts to turn this series into a new direction overall and Yagami makes sure that almost every aspect of his work is running at its best.

SFX/Text:
ADV does a decent job here with the SFX. They are subbed and the translation of SFX is improving with experience. But there are occasions where SFX are overlaid in situations where subbing would compromise art due to subs being too large for some panels. The translation appears to have returned to the level it was at the start of the series. After a hiccup in volume 3, I found an excellent translation job that keeps the drama and tension in context. There is still some slang here and there, but it doesn't affect the context as much as it did in the previous volume. I appreciated that as this title has taken a more serious tone in this volume.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With Celcia's friend/rival Rebecca on the run with three spell fragments the search has become even more complicated. Having used up their resources, the gang has found themselves in a situation where they need to rely on the help of others. What a better place to start than a town full of fortunetellers. Not only could they possibly find leads through these "pros," but they can also use their tools to collect data from around the globe.

As they about looking into tealeaves, horoscopes, the constellations and other forms of spiritual readings, all of them were given a message from a higher power. Instead of finding information about the whereabouts of elves shared through the wind spirits of the supernatural information agency, they found out something horrible in this town. An elf, named Dawn Baxton, took advantage of the city's history, as a center for the supernatural, by collecting the mold of the millions that passed through her clinic. With these molds - the life force that connects the spirit and the physical body of an organism - she was able to manipulate the lives of millions. Mold can be analyzed from any little thing: a finger nail, a stand of hair, a drop of blood, a single leaf. Like DNA the mold of each individual is different and therefore they could be manipulated for medical purposes or for destructive purposes. Dawn Baxton in this case uses this knowledge to conqueror this world, by taking fifty million hostages. And to prove her place in history, she decided to manipulate eight million of them into spontaneous combustion!

Now the search for information has turned away from finding elves with fragments to finding an elf named Dawn. Even more importantly, the gang will have to figure out just how far the power of the mold goes. They know it can control the life force of humans and elves. They find out about fauna the hard way. However, do aliens to this world, like Junpei, Airi and Ritsuko, fall under the same laws as everything else in this world? Are they a part of this bigger universe of mold? Either way they will be fighting their way out! All they need to do is hunt down one elf, before she gets to them. The hunt is on!

Comments
After three volumes of character development and setting creation, Yagami finally takes his cast into their first major arch and it is a good one. The Mold Arc takes Ritsuko, Junpei, Airi, Celcia, Mike, Pizzi and all of their acquaintances along the way into a state that has never been seen in this fantasy world. As witnesses to a proclaimed conquering of this world our heroes are experiencing a force far beyond the few magical elves and mindless strongmen they have met through the first thirteen chapters of this series. Before their eyes they see a sample of the death and destruction which is occurring worldwide and they fear they may be under the control of "the mold". After so much work focused on returning to Japan, Those Who Hunt Elves must now figure a way to survive in this strange world's new world order. Which direction these rule breakers will go with this is up to their collective wills, but there is no doubt they will keep on making an impact no matter how much this world changes around them.

By using concepts of religious and spiritual beliefs Yagami has created a fascinating take on creation. His characters try to analyze it as if it were an additional level to DNA, but by keeping the fantasy nature of this series there is that level of the supernatural that they cannot control (and quite possibly they cannot be controlled under). Now that we know the roles of the main cast and the positions played by the characters they have encountered Yagami has started to tie up plot lines and old relationships for something much bigger than the reader may have initially assumed possible. Thus, making a small community at his disposal to bring back in to the story. Personally, looking back at this series I would not have seen it coming, but I really glad it is finally here.

What was already an entertaining title when it was mainly forty page long self-contained episodes, is now one of the better fantasy stories available in North America. This arc that was not animated brings all of Yagami's work through the first three volumes and starts his main cast in a completely new direction where their combined strength will be challenged in a way they never believed possible. Personally, having read this title before I could not wait for the time to arrive. I loved the character development early on, and the fantasy-based comedy was enough for me, but going into a new story line has brought this series up another level. Elves, tanks, action, stripping and now preventing global domination... this is why Those Who Hunt Elves, despite being a popular franchise, is one of better properties in manga.

Highly Recommended

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