a.k.a. Elf o Kaoru Monotachi
Out of nowhere, Junpei, Airi and Ritsuko find themselves in a strange land and desperately want to go back home. When Celcia, an elven elder, attempts to cast a spell for them, things do not end up quite as planned. The spell splits into five fragments, each fragment tattooing itself onto the body of a random, female elf. Thus begins the foreigner’s quest to find the spell’s missing pieces.
summary by Eek
Highs: Occasionally hilarious
Lows: Inconsistent; cheap music; dull characters; “elf of the week”
Here is the story: an elf magician screwed up a spell, and now three people have to go around and strip elves to find the pieces for the spell. If that does not sound like a cheap excuse for fan service, I do not know what is.
This series succeeds fairly well on one level, and that is comedy. Almost like a bland mix between Slayers and Excel Saga, Those Who Hunt Elves can pump out quite a few good laughs in every episode because of the sheer absurdity and silliness of the path that it takes. Care for an elven priestess turned into a dog? How about pirates who are actually fish? Or perhaps a Japanese T-74 tank possessed by the spirit of a cat? While it sure does not have everything, this anime contains more than its fair share of oddities to keep things unpredictable and somewhat fresh.
And then it fails on multiple levels. Numerous inconsistencies in the actual execution occur, and while the intention is to get a laugh, these discrepancies are still very noticeable. Plot holes begin to open up here and there, and while the show may want to just keep the comedy rolling, it simply cannot. Where the plot can stretch ultra-thin, there is always some tacky music attempting to cover it up. While I am usually not one to complain, the use of poor electronic music never flows with what is going on in the setting and characters; the pace may suddenly pick up, but the music remains as slow as ever. The music and characters are both of the same quality, which is bad. Care for any background? If you do, then you will not get any here. From start to finish, the main characters are the same static stereotypes that always pull out many of the same lines time and time again. They may be quirky and funny, but there is no reason why you should even have a shred of pity for them and their quest. The “elf of the week” plot sure does not strengthen things at all; characters come, find an elf, strip said elf, the usual comedic routine occurs and they leave in search of more elves. The only saving grace of this concept is that it is kept as simple as possible.
For those who want closure, you will be forced to endure Those Who Hunt Elves II. While the comedy redeems the series somewhat,Those Who Hunt Elves does not pack a very good punch no matter how hard it may try. Leave this one on the shelf.
Highs: Inexplicably fun; likable characters
Lows: Stays skin deep in many aspects; no lasting impact
Probably like most people who first heard of Those Who Hunt Elves‘ storyline, I too was left wondering what kind of weird hentai series I was dealing with here. Yet, a gang of outlaws driving around in a cat-possessed tank stripping elves is not as erotic as it sounds but, thankfully, much funnier.
Expect a light series that will get some chuckles and generally entertain you for twelve episodes and you will get just that. Characters are easy to like, the storyline does not involve a lot of thinking but is original and fun for the whole family… and every technical aspect from artwork to music is decent. Again, it is nothing to get too excited about, with just enough frames and detail to not irritate me with the facial expressions and animation style that confirm you really are watching pure anime.
However, even if used strictly as a way to relax and have a few laughs after a hard day, Those Who Hunt Elves is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. The out-of-the-blue beginning is an interesting approach that doesn’t change the fact you doubt the episode order until halfway into the series. It also flushes character development down the drain and leaves quite a few important elements unexplained for the entire duration of the anime; you will never know why things are this way, but you just get used to them being there.
So, basically, only a few things in Those Who Hunt Elves keep you coming back for more, but you do go back for more… and that is what counts.