The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Volume Two introduces several new characters through the hunter training camp.

The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Volume Two
Written by: Yuki Kawaguchi
Publisher: Shueisha Inc.
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: February 14, 2023

Right at the beginning of Volume Two, there’s a scene with Lycaon (the werewolf don), the mayor of Kasoka, and Cinderella (Lycaon’s witch partner). While the discussion starts out talking about the guild and revealing that the mayor used to be part of it, the main emphasis is on “writing a story” and how the mayor “edited the script.” Unfortunately, this is all we get for these characters, because we don’t see them again for the remainder of the volume. Hopefully more will be explained about this concept in future volumes of the series.

After this opening scene, the rest of the volume focuses on the hunter training camp. We meet two new characters, Bonkers and Merriopios, who become roommates with Velou and Tylty after the two newcomers’ previous roommates dropped out of the camp. However, we really don’t get much in the way of character development for either of these characters until the final exam of the hunter training camp is underway. Basically, we get this scene introducing Bonkers and Merriopios, and then there’s a three week timeskip to the final exam. The final dialogue in the scene mentions the three weeks, and then the story just jumps ahead to the exam. While this scene is important, because it’s referenced during the final exam, it comes across to me as a reader that the author just wanted to get right to the final exam because that’s the story they he truly wanted to focus on. As a reader, I thought that the three week timeskip felt a little jumpy. Why make a point of three weeks remaining in the final panel of the scene, and then jump ahead in time three weeks?

The final exam turns out to be a version of the kids’ game “Cops and Robbers.” Debonair (the head of the camp) and Grimm are the “cops,” and all of the students are the “robbers.” The time limit on the test is two hours, and whoever isn’t in “jail” at the end of the two hours will pass. Velou thinks something is off, and by talking with some of the other students, they figure out what’s bothering them about the setup of the test. During the portion of the exam that’s covered in Volume Two, Velou is portrayed as a strategist, which is something we hadn’t really seen much of previously. There are a total of 30 participants at the training camp, but the reader is only introduced to a handful of them during the exam. The biggest highlights during the test reveal how Tytl failed during his previous exam and how it affects his thinking during this one, the talent that Merriopios has, and the backstory for Bonkers.

But with the exam being an altered version of “Cops and Robbers,” there’s plenty of action taking place throughout most of The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Volume Two. When you add in the character development moments, there’s a good mixture of action and story taking place.

Unfortunately, the exam isn’t concluded at the end of Volume Two. Of the 200 pages of this volume, only 129 are dedicated to the story taking place in The Hunters Guild: Red Hood. To pad out the page count, there are a couple of one shots and a “bonus manga” for The Hunters Guild: Red Hood.

The first one shot story is titled, “The Land of Hermit Crabs.” Hermit crabs were growing bigger and bigger in size, until they got to a point where they could occupy and borrow houses, which caused an invasion. The story seems to be set in 2050, and we see a young rich woman losing her new vacation home to a hermit crab. The Kamikanda Crew is called in to demolish the house and exterminate the crab. The young woman constantly shows disdain for the group, which is picked up on by a young man in the crew named Buchi. They don’t entirely get along, but Buchi gives her a communication device in case anything else happens. Well, it turns out another crab decides to claim her mansion, and we see Buchi and the others work at saving the woman’s butler and do their job of exterminating the crab and destroying the mansion.

This was an OK one shot, but it’s likely not one I’d be in a rush to read again. The art style in this story isn’t as strong as the style in The Hunters Guild: Red Hood. You can see the elements and designs that Kawaguchi utilizes for the manga series, but it’s rougher here.

The other one shot is “No Hope, No Pulse,” which is supposed to be a romantic comedy. In the introduction to this piece, Kawaguchi says he can never bring himself to look back over the romantic comedies he’s drawn because it’s embarrassing. After reading this one, I can see why. The basic concept he was going for is fine, but the execution could have been better. The art in this one shot is also rougher than what I’m used to from The Hunters Guild: Red Hood. After reading both this and “The Land of Hermit Crabs,” it’s clear that they were included simply to bulk up the page count for this volume. Neither one seems to have any real connection to the manga series, and Kawaguchi himself admits that he’s embarrassed by “No Hope, No Pulse.”

The bonus short for The Hunters Guild: Red Hood talks about how the Ironworks, the craft they travel on for the hunter training camp, conserves its water. It focuses on Grimm, Velou, Bonkers, and another student named Porschen. It’s supposed to be a gag about Grimm seeming like she’s taking a bath while using a lot of water and then forgetting why she called for these students to see her in the first place. To be honest, I didn’t find this bonus short to be funny or worth my time.

The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Volume Two isn’t bad, but I did have two complaints about it. That three week timeskip near the beginning felt awkward, and it was frustrating that the ending of the main manga story happens so early in the volume that it forces the publisher to have to include unrelated material to pad out the page length. The spot where the main story ends is a good place to end a volume, but perhaps some time could have been spent earlier on introducing and developing other participants in the hunter training camp to fill in some of the time missing in the three week timeskip. If Kawaguchi hadn’t rushed to get to the final exam, perhaps Volume Two wouldn’t have fallen nearly so short on page length.

Outside of these two complaints, The Hunters Guild: Red Hood Volume Two was a decent read. If you read and enjoyed the first volume, then you might also find enjoyment in Volume Two.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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