Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi is an anime based off of a Yagami Yu manga. The anime adaptation was handled by Group TAC. Yes, the studio behind Arashi n Yoru ni & Shinigami no Ballad. It came out in the mid 90s and has been largely forgotten. I’ve actually seen this one before and, from what I recall, there’s a good reason for that. So, I’ll re-watch it and go over the tawdry details.
Our tale takes place in a fantasy world where a trio from our world, Ritsuko the high school girl with a bunch of gun, karate maniac Junpei & the actress Airi. After a ritual to get them home fails, they find themselves looking for the fragments which have made their way to the bodies of various elves. Naturally, this means they have to strip attractive elven ladies to search for them. Because class is something completely foreign to this series.
Now, I could point out the obvious flaws with the narrative. Like that they know a respected elf elder and could easily organise a non-obtrusive screening to find the fragments or that Ritsuko shouldn’t have a bunch of guns and tank since she’s Japanese, not American and the Japanese don’t sell that shit at the nearest Wal-mart for “hunting varmints.” But it’s a comedy and the obvious response to that would be “who cares if it’s funny?” Therein lies the problem. This series isn’t funny. It’s humour is based around three things. Yagami indulging his fetish for elves being stripped, rampant stupidity & lamp shading the tropes that they use that are characteristic of terribly written fantasy. The first just comes across as juvenile & crass. The second as juvenile and the third is just terrible writing. Lamp shading can work when it’s paired with some kind of intelligent critique or strong parody but this series wouldn’t know intelligence if it danced in its face and its parody aspect is, at best, the vague “this is a thing that gets used sometimes” type. Consequently, it fails at that variety of humour as well.
The cast in this is just a bunch of dull, one-dimensional archetypes. Which, to be fair, could work for a comedy if they meshed well together for comedic purposes. Unfortunately, this series can’t be bothered. Their interactions mostly consist of “how do we strip this elf?” “let’s do this thing” and some petty bickering that’s not entertaining.
The obvious issue with the artwork is the heavy emphasis on Yagami’s fetish. That, however, isn’t the only issue. The action sequences are slow and boring. The attempts at exaggerated comedic expression are just obvious and over done. I guess I can give it some credit for the character designs being decent, but that’s about it.
The series did get some good actors. Mitsuishi Kotono, Tomizawa Michie, Miyamura Yuko & Seki Tomokazu are the major characters. So, we’ve got Moon & Mars. But their performances in this are decidedly of the “barely competent” variety. Which, to be fair to the actors, is kind of inevitable when you have characters who just have nothing to them and the direction demands comedic exaggeration for humourless drivel. Then we have the music. This is the one area where I can give the series some actual praise. The opening and ending theme tunes are genuinely good. The incidental music is just mediocre but those theme tunes are worth checking out by themselves.
There’s one scene where an elf thinks that Ritsuko & Airi are trying to hit on her because they’re checking her out in a bath house but that’s about it.
Elf wo Karu Mono-tachi is trite rubbish. It’s designed to appeal to young, heterosexual teenage boys who don’t know any better and people who have an elf fetish and can use the supposed comedy as an excuse to indulge it. If neither of those describes you, I can’t recommend it. Just look up the theme tunes. I give it a wag of my finger and a 2/10. Next week, Cowboy Bebop.