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Those Who Hunt Elves I
Reviewer: Rowena Lim Lei 01/26/2002

Airi, Junpei, and Ritsuko have a problem. They're stuck in a strange world, and their only hope of going back to Japan lies with a hot-tempered elven sorceress named Celcia. But as Celcia begins to recite the spell that would send them back, she gets distracted and the spell explodes into six fragments -- tattooing themselves on the bodies of six different elves. And so Airi, Junpei, Ritsuko, and Celcia have no choice but to search for the fragments, stripping the clothes off every elf they come across... until they become known as Those Who Hunt Elves!

Getting mysteriously transported to a strange world has always been pretty much an anime staple. I can name more than a few titles with this kind of theme from the top of my head -- from popular and almost classic favorites like "El Hazard: The Magnificent World" and "The Vision of Escaflowne" to more recent works such as "Dual! Parallel Trouble Adventure" and "Strange Dawn". The whole concept of getting stuck in another world is by no means original, and ultimately it all boils down to how it's pulled off.

Those Who Hunt Elves opens with a situation in a rustic fishing village. A group of pirate fishmen are hunting for the elf called Emily, who happens to be something of a patron elf of that village. Emily lives peacefully with the villagers, and in turn she assures them of bountiful harvests from the sea. While the fishmen try to do their dirty work, three mysterious figures observe from the background -- Airi, the award-winning actress who now uses her talents in their search for the spell fragments; Junpei, the musclebound martial artist who happens to be Airi's no. 1 fan; and Ritsuko, the schoolgirl turned weapons expert who drives the T-47 tank that happened to materialize with them in this world. The three remain in hiding, waiting for the perfect time to strip Emily, and check if she has one of the spell fragments. This is pretty much how things go for the group. They move from place to place, stripping elves in the hopes of finding a part of the spell. The elven sorceress Celcia joins the three after a couple of episodes, transforming herself into one funny-looking dog so her fellow elves won't find out she's helping the outsiders.

The plot itself is quite simple, but how Airi, Junpei, Ritsuko, and Celcia go about their quest is what really makes this series. Those Who Hunt Elves possesses the perfect combination of quirky characters and absurd situations, and almost every episode practically guarantees a laughing good time. Despite being only 12 episodes long, Those Who Hunt Elves manages to provide excellent characterization. Certain episodes are focused on specific characters, allowing them to reveal a bit of themselves each time. If elf-stripping sounds a bit ecchi (or kinky) to you, you need not worry as delicate parts of the anatomy are never really shown. Those Who Hunt Elves concentrates more on the elves' hilarious reactions rather than the nudity, and everything is done with a light touch that's never offensive (to us non-elves anyway).

The art and animation are excellent. The characters are made to look funny when needed, but everything is drawn beautifully for most part. I simply didn't find any flaws with the visual aspect. Another thing that struck me was the outstanding Japanese voices. Seiyuu Michie Tomizawa (perhaps best known as Sailormars in "Sailormoon") heads the cast as Airi, and Sailormoon herself Kotono Mitsuishi plays the fiery Celcia. Kotono truly outdoes herself this time, and I find her superb portrayal of Celcia her best performance to date. The music is quite good too. Just about Those Who Hunt Elves' only real flaw is its senseless conclusion. I can't explain it further without giving away spoilers, but you'll see what I mean once you watch it. Other than that though, this is definitely one of the funniest and most entertaining series I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

The Thinpak contains both seasons of Those Who Hunt Elves, totaling 24 episodes.

Those Who Hunt Elves I
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Review Title:
Those Who Hunt Elves I
Alternative Titles:
Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi
300 Minutes
General Rating:
4.5 out of 5 stars
Suitable For:
Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy
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