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ADV Films presents
Those Who Hunt Elves #1: Ready, Set—Strip! (1997)

"Even if it means tearing the clothes from every elf out there, we will return to Japan!"
- Junpei (Tomokazu Seki)

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: November 28, 2001

Stars: Tomokazu Seki, Michie Tomizawa, Yuko Miyamara, Kotono Misuishi, Andrew Klimko, Jessica Calvello, Rozanne Curtis, Kelly Manison
Other Stars: Tomoko Kawakami, Eriko Kawasaki, Motomu Kiyokawa, Cha Fu Rin, Joe Jaworski, Rene Rivera, Phil Ross, Lew Temple
Director: Kazuyoshi Katayama

Manufacturer: IFPI
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (12+ for elven nudity, mild language)
Run Time: 02h:18m:36s
Release Date: November 13, 2001
UPC: 702727014321
Genre: anime

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Okay, this will be the shortest review I have ever written. Three travelers go from town to town stripping elves. The end. What more could you possibly need to know?

Oh alright. Those Who Hunt Elves is a 12-part, late-night TV series featuring character designs by Keiji Goto (Sorcerer Hunters, Nadesico), based on the 1995 manga Elf o Karumono-tachi by Yu Yagami, which was serialized in Dengeki Comic Gao. Three humans are transported from Japan into an alternate dimension ruled by elves and their sorcery. In order to return them to Japan, the high elven priestess, Celcia Marie Claire, must conjure a great and powerful spell that she must bind to her body due to its complexity. Unfortunately, things don't work as planned and the spell is broken into fragments and dispersed to the corners of the realm—binding to the skin of five other elves, but who, and where they all are is a mystery. The quest by "Those Who Hunt Elves" is on to locate the missing pieces and send the Earthlings back, but in order to locate the fragments, the team must examine all the female elves—by getting them to strip naked.

Now, no ordinary elf is going to just shed their clothes for a group of human strangers, but they aren't up against just any old people. First is Airi Komiyama, a brilliant and celebrated movie actress, whose intuition is pretty bang on, and her acting is impeccable. She is also a master when it comes to battle strategy, and is not easily fooled by the deceptions of others.

Next is Junpei Ryuzoj, a hulking brute, and master of the martial arts. He is pretty much unbeatable in hand-to-hand combat, but big on brawn does not equal big on brains. He and Celcia rarely see eye to eye, but he worships Airi, though a bowl of rice curry can easily divert his attention from anything. He is the one member who has little problem with his elf stripping mission.

The third member is Ritsuko Inou, an unassuming young girl, until her skill as a weapons expert comes into play. Oh yeah, she also drives the tank—I forgot to mention that? Yes, along from Japan came a T-74 tank, which is now Ritsuko's best friend. Rounding out the team is Pochi, who is actually Celcia in disguise. She felt guilty for messing up the teleportation spell, so decided to help out incognito—it wouldn't be cool for the high elven priestess to be stripping her own people, would it?—but that wasn't the only magic that backfired on her, as she has now converted herself into a dog, and now can't get back to normal until all the pieces of the puzzle are found! Oops...

Our team scour the countryside, stripping elves left and right in search of the missing spell pieces, and run into all sorts of characters along the way, from bizarre fish-headed pirates to a huge psychotic teddy bear. Each episode unveils a bit more of the back story, which makes the first episode a little disorienting, but works as things progress a bit more. It follows somewhat of an elf-of-the-week format, but mixes things up enough to make this interesting, especially considering that one of their recurring tasks is figuring out how to get an elf naked. This series is pretty hilarious, and reminds me of Sorcerer Hunters in terms of overall style, less the repeating transformation sequences. I wouldn't exactly call the animation high art, but it does a great job of telling the story, with lots of hyper bits that enhance the show. ADV has given us six episodes here, making only two discs for a complete set. There is a sequel series (Those Who Hunt Elves 2) which has been hinted as coming, but for a short and very funny adventure, Those Who Hunt Elves is hard to beat. Just be glad you're not an elf—unless you're an exhibitionist!

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Image quality is great on this one, aside from some really minor aliasing, and a bit of rainbowing in the opening credits. There is very fine grain, but it only becomes noticable in dark blue regions, which is pretty typical. Colors are even and vibrant. Another winner.

Image Transfer Grade: A


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Japanese, English, Spanishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Stereo audio is well presented, with no technical deficiencies on the Japanese track. The soundstage is not overly expansive, but the extremes do get used to some degree in places. Both English and Spanish tracks are also available, and the English dub has some good points to it, with a few Americanized jokes thrown in, though some have noted that the effects track is slightly out of sync in places.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 30 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
6 Other Trailer(s) featuring Soul Hunter, Sorcerer On The Rocks,Spectral Force, Sorcerer Hunters, Blue Seed, Legend of Crystania
Packaging: Scanavo
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Clean credits
  2. Character Scetches
Extras Review: With six episodes on the disc, we don't get a lot in the way of extras. Clean opening credits are included, containing the original Japanese logo, which is replaced in the main feature along with the episode title screens with new CG English ones. I do wish that the practice started on Original Dirty Pair would get adopted on more anime, where the original Japanese artwork is left intact via alternate angles if you watch that version. At least the main title art is included here.

A set of 29 concept art stills is also included, set inside a nice sand motifed frame. This covers designs for all the characters and some of those who are episode specific.

The disc features a new ADV promo clip at startup and simple, themed motion menus. I found navigating the audio menu a bit strange, but everything else worked as expected. The insert card has the chapter listing on one side, and artwork for the first three VHS releases on the other—not a ton of stuff there, but I do like the inclusion of the cover art, since on DVD this will only be a two disc set. I hope this feature shows up more often.

Previews this time around include Soul Hunter, Sorcerer On The Rocks, Spectral Force, Sorcerer Hunters, Blue Seed, and the Legend of Crystania OVA.

I did note a couple of spelling mistakes in the subtitles.

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

For those who enjoy elf baring fantasy comedy, with only two discs to own the entire 12 episode series, this is a modest investment for hours of elf stripping fun. Jump in your tank, and head down to your local anime store. Those Who Hunt Elves is a must have.


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