Episode One-derland: Those Who Hunt Elves

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Plot: Junpei, Airi and Mitsuko have been brought to a strange world of magic, odd creatures and elves. In order to get back home to Japan, they have to hunt down elves and find parts of a spell that are marked on certain elves in manners very similar to tattoos. With Junpei’s strong fist fighting skills, Airi’s trickery and disguises, Mitsuko’s skills with artillery, and their signature tank, they travel the lands as Those Who Hunt Elves in hopes of one day finding their way back home.

Breakdown: Let me say that this show is just a nostalgia bomb. The music, the art style, the storytelling style – all of it just screams late 80’s…….which is a shame because this show was produced in 1999.

This show’s first episode is a bit messy. The first half is almost entirely serious and then we get comedy peppered into the second half. The plot is set up in a flimsy manner. I had really no idea where much of the episode was going in terms of whole-series plot until we got near the end, and even after watching the whole episode through I still found myself a bit confused.

I get that they’re from our world and this is a different world of magic, strange creatures and elves, and they’re not hunting elves to kill them but to find five specific elves who have magic spell tattoos that, when combined, will somehow bring them back home. However, I have no clue who the people behind the crystal ball were, why they’re trapped in this world, why and how they have a tank from our world with them or why elves are so valuable in this magical world.

For a magical world, it’s also not very fantastical. The enemies in this episode were a bunch of fish men, and they look exactly like the first image that popped into your mind when I said that – merely anthropomorphic fish with their leader being a hammerhead shark man.

The targets of the search being elves also isn’t very imaginative, and we didn’t even see really any magic come from these elves.

Speaking of the elves, remember how I said they’re looking for five elves with tattoo-like markings? Yeah, they have to get the elves to undress to see if they have the mark, and Junpei’s a massive pervert.

Story-wise, for this episode, it’s something that has become somewhat commonplace. A village is under attack by thugs who want something valuable that the villagers are hiding. The main characters come from out of nowhere to defeat the thugs insanely easily so we know how badass they are, and the villagers take them as foretold heroes of legend.

That’s not to say the series is a complete loss. Junpei is a brute, but he can be pretty funny, especially when he’s pissed off. Mitsuko seems like she’d get pretty badass over time. Airi’s the only one that I think will be a lost cause as she seems to be useless in this episode, considering she never got a chance to actually go through with her plan, and she seems like a big tease who manipulates Junpei to get him to do what she wants. Other side characters can also be funny. For instance, I smiled once or twice at the fish men.

The art is very dated, but, like I said, it’s very nostalgic. I just can’t help myself – I love the old art styles even if they do look like crap sometimes. The animation is just okay.

The music is catchy, but really dated as well. It’s very much stuck in the 80’s.

All in all, I was on the fence about this one, bouncing between undecided and no….but I’m gonna say no. It seems like a perfectly fine show, it really just doesn’t seem to offer enough incentive to make me want to come back.

Verdict:

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