The Hunters Guild: Red Hood is a (sadly) short-lived manga series by Yuki Kawaguchi, which ran from June 28th through November 8th, 2021, totaling three volumes. The original one-shot, simply titled Red Hood, first appeared on September 19th, 2020 to great praise. While the series was canceled, it did receive a proper, apparently somewhat ironic, ending, and it is well worth a read. Viz Media recently published it in English so we took the opportunity to dive in.
The basic premise of a girl wearing a red hood and cutting open a werewolf was taken from Little Red Riding Hood, specifically the Brothers Grimm version of the 17th-century European folktale. The main character of The Hunters Guild: Red Hood, the busty hunter in the red hood, is actually named Grimm to further highlight this connection. There is also an antagonist named Cinderella, The Ashen Witch. That is where the connection between the traditional fairy tale and this manga ends, however.
The story begins with Kasoka Village in the midst of a werewolf attack. All the able-bodied men were already killed, and young Velou, whose parents were killed by another werewolf years ago, takes up his rifle to fight this one. He’s just a boy, and the Mayor had already sold most of his worldly possessions, including his house, to hire a hunter from the Hunters Guild to fight on their behalf. However, the hunter who shows up doesn’t quite look dangerous enough for the task at hand.
It’s a brief moment of humor in an otherwise serious chapter. This also highlights one of Grimm’s inhuman abilities, as funny as it is. Velou teams with her to take on the werewolf, and despite his small stature, he proves an asset and affirms his conviction to carry on the Mayor’s desire to protect everyone. The series largely revolves around Grimm and Velou working at the Hunters Guild to fight monsters, and the first chapter does a perfect job delivering on that premise.
In a moment that was both somewhat funny in that it also directly pointed at the Brothers Grimm version of the folktale, and also quite creepy, the werewolf of the chapter, who took on the guide of the Mayor’s wife Granny, quoted The Little Red Riding Hood directly: These are not the folktales we grew up with. Velou joins Grimm’s guild to become a great hunter like her and the Mayor, seeing the two, and their comrades, fight increasingly dangerous and malicious enemies as the series progresses.
The art style in Hunters Guild is impeccable. The world and characters have something of a gritty look, lending to the dark and violent nature of certain scenes, such as when the werewolf Grimm and Velou are hunting appears. The story isn’t entirely dark and violent, there are moments of levity as mentioned above. The artist also doesn’t shy away from drawing attractive characters, as seen with Grimm’s adult form as she walks away from her coup de grace move that finishes the werewolf:
There’s also another character named Debonair Diamond that fans of awesome women can look forward to. The action pieces in Hunters Guild are incredible, as you have seen above. Even Velou, the young partner of the story, has his own moment where he badly damages the werewolf in a scene that would fit in with anything Hollywood is putting out.
In a good timeline, we would have gotten many more chapters with top-tier action scenes with hot ladies taking down giant monsters.
As I said at the beginning, The Hunters Guild: Red Hood was canceled, and there are only three volumes. It has been speculated that Shonen Jump canceled the series due to low sales. As unfortunate as that is, the mangaka Yuki Kawaguchi did not take this in stride, and her ending felt a bit rushed and ended with actual references to the cancelation in the manga’s storyline.
The Hunters Guild: Red Hood is a unique and action-packed take on old tales. The characters are incredible, the action scenes are close to perfect, and in an ideal world, this series would have taken off like Attack on Titan, just with a far less grim tone. I do recommend people at least read it, even if they know the ending will come quicker than they would like.
RED HOOD © 2021 by Yuki Kawaguchi/SHUEISHA Inc.
Anime Corner received a review copy of Viz Media’s release of the Dandadan manga for review purposes.