Van Von Hunter

Review covers the full series

A medieval fantasy setting is starting to become almost a comfort zone for Manga. It's got to the point where we almost expect it. I don't know why this is. I'd say the popularity of Dungeons & Dragons might have something to do with it, but that's purely a guess. Anyway, Van Von Hunter is set in a medieval fantasy setting. Oh, and it's funny, very funny.

The titular character, Van himself, has a mission in life. He hunts down evil... stuff. If that description sounds a bit silly and vague, then it suits both the character and the style of the book.

Van Von Hunter isn't exactly the deepest comic in the world, but there is a small but interesting subtly to how it works. Rather than focus on character strengths, a hero or a villain's abilities are mostly only used in low-key ways, and people's flaws get the most attention, and drive the plot forward.

While Van is quite strong and good with a sword, most of the fun of the comic comes from the villains plans going wrong of their own accord, with Van and his sidekick hanging around to point out the flaws as needed. Pretty much every character in the series is funny to watch, and very rarely do we run into someone acting as straight guy to everyone else's lunacy.

The printed comic is actually a continuation of the story from the webcomic at Now this is a good idea for a number of reasons. It lets both the webcomic and the books both adapt to suit their medium the best, and it gives fans a reason to both buy the books and read the comics online.

However the story in the books is set after the events in the webcomic, rather than in parallel. And unfortunately as Van Von Hunter has now been discontinued, this creates a large continuity gap in the series. The beginning of volume one and the ending in volume three both reference events that have not happened yet, and will never happen. Recapping is done as needed so it doesn't overly harm the books, but it makes a couple of plot points feel like they were pulled out thin air.

Probably the low point in the series is the second volume. The author also has a habit of skipping ahead in the story slightly from time to time, leaving the reader a little confused. And somewhat randomly there's suddenly a lot of fan service for Van Von Hunter's male fans. Now, I'm a guy and I'm not saying that I don't appreciate it, but when the rest of the series is aimed at both male and female readers it seems a bit odd. How would I like it if I series I was enjoying suddenly started doing man-porn all of a sudden.

But it says a lot about Van Von Hunter that, even if I reviewed each book individually, I'd still give the book I've identified as the weakest my top score. Probably the main reason I liked the comic so much was that it treats time and space as precious. Everything, every character, every event and every detail in the comic is either funny, relevant to the plot, or both at the same time. There's no filler - Van Von Hunter is pure entertainment.

It does beg the question: why can't more comics be like this? A rare few comics manage to be this concise, which is a real shame. More like this please!