The Hunt Is On by Nie Jun is a Chinese comic book modernising some traditional folktales into one big story. The illustrations are charmingly ancient looking, the colours are in those warm reds we associate with Chinese opera and the story is not as simple as might first be thought. While this is only a first volume that ends with a cliff-hanger we are given enough to hope for the classic epics featuring many twists, betrayals and complicated love triangles in this chase for fortune, land fertility and eternal life.
I really liked the illustrations and are the very reason I started reading the volume in the first place. I like their pastel tones, and folkloric look. They really look like a traditional monkey king mural or tapestry and the whole book felt like holding a traditional piece of art.
The main character is deceptively one dimensional at the beginning, but we are given the hope that this is going to change, in fact, some of his simplicity might just be a mask to keep around him what he holds dearest: family.
There is a not so subtle message about protecting nature, and valuing it, which might be more present in the following volume. This makes me want to recommend this comic to people who liked the manga Nausicaa… after all why not start a collection of ecological magical books, it would be fun to read!
Without having read the whole work it is a little difficult for me to really know what I think about this comic. The ending is often essential for me to know if the read was really worth it. But this first volume was pleasant and a nice introduction to Chinese folklore.
The Hunt Is On, volume 1 is coming out in March 2021