- Mangaka : Kawaguchi, Yuuki
- Publisher : Viz Media
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Shounen
- Published : Dec 2022 - Present
We’ve been seeing manga adaptations of popular novels for ages. That is especially true for fantasy light novels from Japan. What we rarely see, however, is manga adaptations of folk tales from other parts of the world. The last well-known manga from this niche category were Magi: The Labyrinth Of Magic, which loosely adapted a bunch of different Arabic folk tales, and Snow White and The Red Hair, which loosely adapted the fairy tale of Snow White.
Fortunately, we get a new addition to this rare category. It’s called The Hunters Guild: Red Hood. And as you might surmise from its title, it is loosely based on the story of Red Riding Hood. So let’s see whether this new manga can live up to the same level of quality as its predecessors through this brief review.
In the world of Red Hood, creatures from fairy tales, such as giants and werewolves, live secretly among humans. And while giants tend to mind their own business, werewolves are a real threat because they love preying on humans. What makes it even worse is the fact that werewolves can transform into humans, which makes them especially hard to locate.
The story begins in a tiny village in the middle of the woods called Kasoka Village. There have been multiple deaths caused by werewolves here. Unable to bear this terrible condition any longer, the mayor decides to contact the Hunters Guild and request a hunter to be sent to their village. Hiring a hunter from the Guild is extremely expensive, but they are the only professionals who are trained to hunt werewolves and other rogue non-human creatures.
It doesn’t take a long time for the hunter to arrive. But to everyone’s surprise, the hunter is just a tiny girl named Grimm, clad in a red hood, with a mysterious suitcase on her back. A local boy named Velou is understandably upset and feels ripped off by the Hunters Guild.
However, after seeing Grimm blasting and hacking through the massive werewolves, Velou has nothing but respect and admiration for her. What’s more, Grimm even invites Velou to join the Hunters Guild and become a hunter like her. So begins their perilous journey through this treacherous fantasy world.
1. An Interesting Take on the Old Fairy Tale
There are three main characters in the original Red Riding Hood Story: the red hooded girl, the hunter, and the wolf who disguises itself as the girl’s grandmother. The Hunters Guild: Red Hood somehow manages to weave the essence of the original characters and story of Red Riding Hood into the manga, while still presenting a unique story of its own at the same time.
In this manga, the wolf is actually a bunch of werewolves, which is why they can transform into humans, and love to prey on them. Not only that, but the girl in the red hood is actually the hunter who comes to kill the werewolves. And the plot thickens from that point on.
So in a way, Kawaguchi Yuuki uses a modified version of the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, and then expands the story so that it can become a proper shounen action/adventure. Add to that a dark, horror atmosphere, some new quirky characters, and fascinating world-building, and we get a really interesting take on this familiar fairy tale.
2. Fascinating World-Building
The early chapters of the first volume focus heavily on Kasoka Village. At this point, apart from what is explained through the exposition, there’s little to no world-building going on at all. Which is understandable. After all, the goal of every good mangaka is to hook the reader through the first few chapters of their story, because this is the place that will determine whether a reader will follow the story or not.
However, once we go past those early chapters, then the whole new and strange world suddenly opens up for us. A wooden carriage pulled by a giant crab, a multi-story building that moves on top of a railroad, a lumbering giant that strolls across the sea while carrying a massive tree on its shoulder… there is new information about the world that you can see as you flip through the pages. That is fascinating world-building, and we can’t wait to see what this world has to offer next.
1. An Inferior Demon Slayer
The story of The Hunters Guild: Red Hood revolves around Velou, a boy who lost his family and everybody that is dear to him due to an attack by a supernatural being - in this case, it was the werewolves. So he decides to be a hunter to get rid of every werewolf in the world who has killed and hurt humans.
Now, change “Velou” into “Tanjirou” and “Werewolves” into “Demons”, and we get the premise of Demon Slayer in our hands. However, unlike Demon Slayer, which manages to entertain us through its exceptional action sequences and heartwarming moments, The Hunters Guild: Red Hood is filled with walls of text, with some occasional good fighting scenes in between. It’s obvious that this manga was inspired by Demon Slayer, but it is also clear that it only manages to become an inferior copy of its idol.
The Hunters Guild: Red Hood offers an interesting take on the old Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Not only that, but the world is also filled with wondrous things and there are some good action sequences in this first volume as well. However, based on its story progression, this manga is also obviously an inferior version of Demon Slayer. So hopefully it can get away from the influence of its famous predecessor and present something that is unique to itself in subsequent volumes.
Have you read The Hunters Guild: Red Hood? If you have, what do you think about it? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.