If you’re unfamiliar with the video game Monster Hunter, this series is about a world where monsters and people somewhat coexist. In order to keep populations down when they threaten villages, hunters are tasked with defending the people. A monster hunter guild is in place to rank all the monsters to ensure newer hunters don’t take on missions that are too hard for them and all hunters dream of settling down and protecting a single village. This series is all about three young hunters who are trying to build up their skills so they can one day reach glory and maybe even settle down.
Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter Vol. 3 (Viz Media)
Having accomplished tough missions and gained new skills, Raiga accepts a request from a mysterious old man to investigate some strange occurrences in Pokke Village. When Raiga and his party arrive at the village, someone is waiting for him–the very Hunter who inspired him to become a Hunter himself…
Why does this book matter?
Volume 1 was great, so there’s no reason to believe writer Keiichi Hikami and artist Shin Yamanoto can’t keep it up. The monsters look great, and the protagonists are varied just enough–and new enough to the whole monster thing–to create an interesting dynamic. It’s the hero’s journey, just with a team.
This is a strong volume due to strong character building that deepens the complexity of our characters. Raiga must face an elder named Bexel that he looked up to who also gave him the inspiration to become a monster hunter, but strangely the elder ignores him. We learned in volume 2 something strange happened to him and then he up and vanished, which increases the mystery between them. While Hikami doesn’t offer a lot of answers, they do end up having a conversation that sets Raiga into an emotional tailspin.
Raiga’s teammate Keres also gets some much needed backstory, which actually increases the dynamic he has with Raiga. It’s a clever bit of writing as it kills two birds with one stone, but also makes their bond more than just friends but maybe, eventually, family. Though Torche doesn’t make an appearance till later in the volume, she supplies much needed info on monsters and a few comedic moments too. Here’s hoping we get more backstory on her in volume 4.
The monsters continue to be a highlight of this series rendered in incredible detail by Yamamoto. The armor the characters wear is also developing nicely, getting more complex and interesting to look at. Raiga also acquires a new weapon that’s pretty flipping cool looking. The action continues to be fast and intense and Bexel may just steal the show in that department. He has some kind of shadow attack that looks quite cool as it rips up monsters.
Speaking of monsters, Hikami continues to introduce a new monster in nearly every chapter of this volume, further building out this world. There’s a clever way of introducing even more in this volume that involves a monster that eats monsters (he’s right there on the cover). After each chapter we get a small summary on a topic which further fleshes out the world too.
The lack of attention on Torche is a bit disappointing. While she does exit the story for a good deal of this volume (maybe Hikami is doing that to work on other characters for now), she’s certainly not getting as much attention as the other two main protagonists. So far she’s really the only female character who commands respect and it’ll be nice to see her used more in the future. As of this volume she’s more there to chime in about monsters and then exit for the boys to do all the work.
Good character work, fantastic monsters, and impressive detailed art makes this world vivid and fun. Like a good TV show, you’ll never want to turn off Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter.
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