Red Hood Chapter 1: Werewolf Hunting – Jump Time

Screenshot from Red Hood Chapter 1

The beginning of a new week can only mean one thing: time for new Weekly Shonen Jump! This is where Jacob investigates the latest and greatest in the magazine, telling you what’s worth your time and what’s not. You can find coverage of other series under the tag Jump Time. Here’s The Hunters Guild: Red Hood chapter 1.

Now that Hard-Boiled Cop and Dolphin is done and dusted, it’s time for a new series to take its place. Relative newbie Yuuki Kawaguchi makes a pretty good impression in Red Hood chapter 1, living up to his association with another successful Jump author.

That’s right: for those not in the know, Kawaguchi previously worked for Kohei Horikoshi as an assistant on My Hero Academia. The time frame is not exactly clear, but he somehow found the time to submit the original Red Hood one-shot as part of the Golden Future Cup last year: he eventually won, granting him the right to a serialization. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he chose to continue with the ideas presented in his one-shot.

It should also not come as much of a surprise that the world and characters of Red Hood are heavily inspired by western fairy tales. One of the main protagonists is called Grimm, for crying out loud, and her design is very reminiscent of Red Riding Hood. Even so, wearing your influences on your sleeve isn’t such a bad thing, and it is at least part of the reason why this first chapter feels so fresh and original. After all, MASHLE can get away with it.

Red Hood Chapter 1

Here’s a very basic rundown: Red Hood chapter 1 follows protagonist Velou as his small woodland village is beset by werewolf attacks. Six people have been eaten this year alone, leaving the mayor with no choice but to call in someone from the ‘Hunters Guild’: an elite group of mercenaries who specialize in hunting monsters. Grimm arrives soon after, although not all is as it seems.

Considering that everyone and their dog seems to have indulged in social deduction games as a way to hang out with friends during the pandemic, Red Hood chapter 1 may have some rather suspect connotations. Yet, the comparison that is most worth drawing here is the one with The Promised Neverland: not only are the low fantasy settings similar, the werewolf designs take a leaf out of Posuka Demizu’s book in terms of making them look more monstrous and less like actual wolves.

Screenshot from Red Hood Chapter 1
Is it me or do the werewolves look just like the Man-Eating Demons?

As a result, the werewolves make much more of an impact when they eventually do appear, but the influence of Kohei Horikoshi on Yuuki Kawaguchi is clear most of all in Red Hood chapter 1. Everything from the line work to the world-building is reminiscent of the best parts of My Hero Academia, including the way that this first chapter sets up for the future of the story: there are so many questions left to explore, from why Valou was able to defeat the werewolf at the very end to what the true role of the hunters really is.

Indeed, this last part speaks to My Hero Academia’s newfound moral complexity, so hopefully Red Hood will get the time to expand on this. Based on chapter 1 alone, I’m pretty hopeful.

You can read Red Hood chapter 1 for free via VIZ Media.

Shueisha via VIZ Media
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