Back to the Vaults: Those Who Hunt Elves

Back to the Vaults: Those Who Hunt Elves

Back when I first got into anime way back in 2002 (Where does the time go? 😅), I did a search on Amazon to see what kind of anime existed. One title that popped up on the first page of the results were the two DVD’s for Those Who Hunt Elves. ADV, who’d licensed the series, marketed it as if it were some kind of hentai title. As such, I wasn’t interested in the series. However, the icon that I use caused someone to ask me if I were a fan of the series. From that, I learned that the series was only mildly ecchi. So I decided to give it a try.

Those Who Hunt Elves

***There be SPOILERS here!!!***

The Story, in Brief

The plot of Those Who Hunt Elves sees three people summoned from Japan to a fantasy world where elves, swords, and sorcery exist. Junpei is a 19-year old muscle man who’s very skilled at karate. Ritsuko is a 16-year old female, military otaku, who’s highly skilled at various military weapons, including how to drive a Type 74 tank. Airi rounds out the trio of humans from Earth. Although she’s Japanese, she’s an American and an Academy Award (Oscar) winning actress.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The powerful elf leader and sorcerer Celcia Marie Claire attempts to send the trio back to Earth, but she gets distracted by Junpei, causing her spell to fail. The text of the spell is fragmented into six pieces and scattered to all corners of the world. As such, this trio of humans must take their Type 74 tank and search every (female) elf to see of one of the spell fragments have tattooed themselves to said elf. Celcia joins them on their quest to find and recover the fragments, though it costs her a lot of dignity when she’s accidentally turned into a weird dog.

Those Who Hunt Elves

Because of the actions of the Elf Hunters (Junpei will often force-strip unwilling elves to try to find a fragment), the elf prosecutor named Judge goes after them. But when it becomes clear that Earth is merging with this fantasy world, the Elf Hunters are given a license to hunt elves and strip them in order to return home and avert the crisis.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The Anime vs. Source Manga

The anime adaptation of Those Who Hunt Elves is taken from the manga of the same title. Because of the episodic nature of the early volumes of the manga, only episodes 2 (chapter 1 & 2 of the manga), 5 (chapter 4), 7 (chapters 8 and 35) and 10 (chapter 5) are adapted from the manga. All of the episodes have been modified somewhat from the source material, usually to pad out the episode. Episode seven is the most radical departure from the source material as it merged two unrelated chapter stories into a single story.

Those Who Hunt Elves

While the anime adaptation of Those Who Hunt Elves does follow the episodic formula, the writers of the anime decided to give the series a bit more of a serial feel. This was accomplished by first introducing the elf sorcerer character Annette, who’s Celcia’s aide and someone who initially thinks Celcia is losing her way. Then the anime introduces the elf prosecutor Judge and the plot element that the fantasy world will merge with Earth if the human trio aren’t sent back.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The other modification the anime does is to remove the actual nudity shown in the manga. Yes, there are sometimes Barbie Doll nudity moments in the anime version of Those Who Hunt Elves, but the manga went ahead and showed uncensored breasts. So I can certainly understand that change.

Those Who Hunt Elves

I can also understand the anime writers wanting to write a story that allows the anime to have an ending (of sorts) after 12 episodes. What I don’t get is why certain chapters were selected for adaptation and others skipped in favor of anime-original stories. I don’t feel that the anime-original stories were better to the skipped manga stories.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The Series, in General

For the most part, Those Who Hunt Elves is OK for what it is. The mostly episodic nature of the series allows for more comedic writing. The majority of the comedy comes from the bickering between Junpei and Celcia. Another portion of the comedy comes from Celcia’s misfortune, such as her getting stuck in dog form after the first spell fragment is recovered and imprinted on her body.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The plot is only a thin element connecting the different episodes. Although we are given a glimpse into why Celcia accidentally summoned the trio from Japan (something not shown in the manga through the 12+ volumes I’ve read), we don’t really know why her spell picked these specific people. We are never told why Ritsuko owns such a wide variety of actual military weapons (which would be illegal in Japan), to say nothing of a T-74 tank. And we really don’t know anything about the past lives of the Earth trio, other than the skill set they bring to the table.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The T-74 tank even becomes a mascot character when the spirit of a cat possesses it. This allows Mihke, as the tank is then named, to be able to travel without the need for fuel.

Those Who Hunt Elves

Although a lack of backstory is disappointing, the characters are very memorable, thanks to their various quirks. For example, Junpei is very over the top when it comes to his dislike of fantasy worlds and his enthusiasm for stripping elves. Celcia tries to be level headed and mature, but fails when she’s around Junpei, often resulting in misfortune for her.

Those Who Hunt Elves

This character stuff goes a long way in helping the series overcome its flaws and weaknesses. That’s why I originally decided to give the sequel to Those Who Hunt Elves a spin.

Those Who Hunt Elves

Sentai Release

Since Sentai was created from the ashes of ADV, it is not surprising that Sentai just took the ADV release of Those Who Hunt Elves into a new, non-ecchi DVD case along with its sequel. The DVD does have both the English dub version and the original Japanese version, with subtitles. The subtitles have no honorifics and at times, are liberal with the translation/adaptation. So, not much change from how things seem to be done today. 🙄

Those Who Hunt Elves

There are no extras to speak of, other than clean OP and ED animation scenes. I think there were a couple of other minor extras in the DVD set. But they weren’t anything I would bother with.

Those Who Hunt Elves

The DVD case is a bigger one, but poorly designed inside (at least the 2009 one with the yellow artwork is bad–can’t say what the 2016 case is like). The left side had packing material (and a Crunchyroll print ad), while the right side had all four DVDs stacked together. I would have preferred both sides be used for a staggered layout of the four DVDs rather than increase the risk of them getting scratched by being stacked together.


Final Thoughts and Conclusion

While Those Who Hunt Elves has a mostly forgettable story, it does have very memorable characters. As such, it is worth a watch, more so as an introduction to the superior sequel.

Those Who Hunt Elves

Update 19-Feb-2019: Added additional information about episode 7.

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2 Responses to “Back to the Vaults: Those Who Hunt Elves”

  1. Carl Ogan says:

    Great Anime! You started watching Anime in 2002 – I started in 1963, I would home from elementary school each afternoon and watch Astro Boy

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      The second series is better. I’ll be writing about that soon.

      As to Astro Boy, I’ve never seen it. I always think I should watch it, since so many people think my name comes from it. (It doesn’t, of course.)

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