Monster Hunter: Flash Hunter is a manga serialization of the popular game and novels by Keiichi Hikami. The story centrally features a somewhat dimwitted but very exuberant young man who wants to become a master monster hunter. He’ll fight all kinds of fearsome beasts, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses, as he works to create his own team. Monster Hunter may be a bit of a ‘monster of the week’ type of manga but that shouldn’t be too surprising since it is based upon a battle game. This first volume delves into the origin story of how Raiga got his team.
Story: Young Raiga idolized a hunter from his village and decided he would also protect people from monsters when he grew up. Several years later, he is still a bit of a rookie but finds a great team to join and from whom to learn the skills of the trade. When they break up right after he joins, however, he finds himself paired with a testy gunner hunter named Keres and journeying to a far off land in order to create a new team. But the two young men have unknown skills and no one is willing to take them on as a team. When chance pairs them up with a female hunter with a poor reputation of getting her teammates injured, the beginning of their great team is born: Raiga’s boldness, Keres’ strategy, and Torche’s knowledge.
The artwork is very busy and at times can be hard to follow. Each panel is crowded from end to end, which can be a bit disconcerting to figure out the who is doing what. But this is an action/battle series so readers can pretty much get the gist of what’s going on; certainly, the intensity of the illustrations lend themselves to depicting the size and might of the monsters.
Raiga, Keres, and Torche make a dysfunctional but highly effective team by the end of this first volume. The stage is set here not only for the monster battles but also conflicts and challenges from other monster fighting teams. Those already invested in the game or novels will enjoy Yamamoto’s artwork bringing them to life. Those not familiar with the series may be a bit confused at first but it all becomes clear by the end. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.