"Hunter x Hunter" is the anime adaption of Yoshihiro Togashi's manga of the same name, and is also a reboot of the original anime adaption from 1999.
This review will contain very few spoilers, and will not break down the story arcs, rather it will analyse the show as a whole and give my overall opinion of the entire show.
So is "Hunter x Hunter" worth watching? Let's see shall we?
"Hunter x Hunter" has a very interesting and well set up premise, that is simple to to follow from the get-go. The story follows Gon Freecss, a 12 year old kid from Whale Island, who's spent his life becoming one with nature and honing his reflexes and skills, excelling in activities such as fishing and things like that. He's an outdoor kid. He has but one goal in mind, to become a "Hunter". Despite the name, Hunters are not guys who go around hunting animals, but are elite members of society with great power and influence over the general population, and are a part of the Hunter Association, which are an organised group who regulate Hunters and are a powerful organisation who help maintain the world and its standards, under the V5 government.
To become a Hunter, one must prove themselves in the "Hunter Exam", a difficult series of tests where only the most elite people can pass. But Gon does not seek glory, or treasure or fame, he seeks one thing: his Father, Ging, who left him on Whale Island as a baby. Ging happens to be a Hunter, and Gon wants to become a Hunter himself so he can seek out his Dad, follow in his footsteps and find out why he chose being a Hunter over raising his own son.
And really, that's all I can explain without giving away a ridiculous amount of plot points and spoilers. "Hunter x Hunter" is a vast tale, told in such a way, that summarising the general story in a mere paragraph is frustratingly difficult.
Sure, it sounds like your typical shounen stuff that we've all seen before, but there's many things if has going for it that no other series of the same demographic has.
First of all, before I get to the main point here, The source material - the manga - is written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi the author of "Yu Yu Hakusho", which is one of the greatest animes ever made. Togashi's been doing Manga a lot longer than most of the other popular Mangaka's of today (with the exception of Hiro Mashima, but "Fairy Tail" isn't particularly great right now) and his experience really shows with "Hunter x Hunter".
But what really separates "Hunter x Hunter" from it's peers is not it's status, but the execution of the plot itself, which single-handedly deconstructs the entire Shounen demographic and creates a unique series where the viewer is constantly surprised by unexpected plot twists, which not only create an emotional response within the viewer, but end up leaving an endless amount of questions and mystery to keep us sucked in.
"Hunter x Hunter" is just so well done, in that it leads the viewer into a false sense of security. Many newcomers to the series dive into it and expect your average on-going Shounen, but after the initial episodes, these initial impressions are quickly shattered. There are countless times where it seems like the conventional thing is about to happen, when suddenly what one thinks is about to happen is trashed and something completely unforeseen happens instead. It takes advantage of Shounen cliches by appearing to set them up, only to do something innovative every single time, and never follows them through, which provides a unique take on what is becoming a stale, cut and paste genre, whilst keeping the elements that make the demographic so appealing in the first place. It's just so well done. You could almost call it artistic.
Despite being a long running anime series that is 148 episodes in length, with the potential to hopefully come back one day, "Hunter x Hunter" is very well paced, especially when one compares it to "Naruto", "Bleach", "One Piece", and even "Fairy Tail". Something happens in every episode, with no story elements, plot points or developments ever feeling slow, boring, or padded at all.
Several people complain that the Chimera Ant Arc is too long, and that the exposition in this arc fucks up the pacing to unforgivable levels. I disagree with this statement, and think these people are fucking morons who don't fully comprehend the arc or the genius of its exposition. This is an anime where stuff happens all the time.
There was never a moment where I felt like I wished the pace was quickened, and the Story Arcs themselves are just the right length to keep them interesting enough to watch the whole way through, including the Chimera Ant Arc.
Despite the anime's somewhat daunting length, this Anime flies by really fast.
There is also no filler in sight, due to adapting the entire Manga from 1997.
An important aspect to mention about "Hunter x Hunter" is it's take on the fighting side of things.
"Hunter x Hunter" is different in the way it executes fights, in the sense that the fights themselves are almost never purely about raw strength, brute force, or who can take out the enemy with the biggest and most powerful nuclear fart. Instead, the battles are all about strategy, tactics and ingenuity.
For example, the main character Gon isn't all that strong to start with, yet his speed, agility and keen senses give him some edge in battles. He can quickly avoid attacks due to his size and speed, and his senses and adaptability allow him to analyse his opponents and devise some kind of counterattack.
Strategy and smarts are the key here, and everything is so well set up that it works every single time.
As said before, the battles are never purely about the characters overpowering one another. Victory does not come from kicking the crap out of each other, rather, it comes from using the best of the minimal abilities one has. This isn't like "Naruto" where the characters have hundreds of different signature moves that they can pull off one after the other. Instead, the characters have a very limited set of abilities, which they are forced to utilise in ingenious and creative ways in order to achieve victory. On top of these lingering limitations, the fights themselves also normally have some kind of gimmick or strict condition making victory very specific. For example, in one arc, the battles aren't won by knocking the opponent out, but are instead won by landing 10 physical hits on the opponent, regardless of the level of damage or severity of the hits. It is this creative energy in each battle, along with these conditions, that make "Hunter x Hunter" a show that is truly superior in every aspect, compared to its fellow kin.
And yes, the battles are almost never one sided, if at all, to the point where you can't even be sure who'll win.
And yes, the series ends perfectly, with more or less everything resolved. The Manga is actually still on-going, and the Anime had to stop due to Togashi being ill and on hiatus, something he does far too often. Despite this, the series ends at a point, where everything wraps up nicely. It could almost be considered a "Part 1" of the series.
Will it return? God I hope so. We need this shit to come back and save Anime!
What makes "Hunter x Hunter" stand out, even more so than it's amazing plot, is it's characters. Here are some detailed below:
Gon Freecss: Gon is the main character of "Hunter x Hunter", and is typical happy go lucky protagonist who will do anything and everything to achieve his goal of becoming a Hunter and finding his Father. Gon is interesting as far as main character goes, because of how he is. His actions are unpredictable, simply because his personality is unpredictable. Gon does what he wants where he wants.
One thing that makes Gon particularly likeable, is his lack of angst and broodiness. He's no Naruto or Ichigo, he's an entirely different class of character because he just gets shit done and does it right. Even when Gon loses or fucks up, he just smiles and tries again until he succeeds. Gon doesn't view failure as a bad thing because in Gon's eyes: there's no such thing as failure.
It may sound simple, and maybe even a little cliche, but Gon is just interesting to watch, and his development is especially something to note. While he begins with a slow start, Gon develops dramatically, from a simple minded kid, with no experience, to a fast learning, powerful and incredibly strong individual. He is determined, stubborn and downright awesome. Gon has the one trait that most Shounen heroes are lacking these days and that is personality. He is unpredictable. He's just such a likeable and believable main character, without any flaws or stereotypes to be found in sight.
And don't even get me started on his incredible character development and well handled morality during the Chimera Ant Arc, which is by far the most well done fall from grace I have ever seen in any piece of fiction, let alone Anime.
Killua Zoldyck: Killua is a young 12 year old boy that Gon meets during the Hunter Exam, and despite the mysterious air about him, and an obvious hostile nature, he and Gon become best friends in a flash.
Killua is a member of the famous Zoldyck family, a family of Assassins, and from an early age was exposed to a life of murder, torture and slaughter. Due to this, despite his appearance, and child-like nature, Killua is actually a cold blooded killer, who revels in blood and enjoys slaughter, making him a sharp contrast to Gon. He is very intelligent for his age and is well versed in various assassination techniques and has agility and stamina on the same levels as Gon does.
However, without saying much, Killua is easily the most interesting and well developed character of the series, solely because of his transition from a dark, psychopathic monster, into Gon's best friend and almost blood brother. The development of Killua is simply incredible, as it is not sudden, but is instead a gradual process that happens over time.
Killua is what holds the series together for the most part. He is the most interesting character, and serves almost as Gon's "better" half. He's my favourite character of all time.
Kurapika Kurta: Kurapika is another protagonist, and befriends Gon and Leorio as they travel together to the Hunter Exam Site. Kurapika also desires to become a Hunter, in order to gain the power and knowledge to avenge his clan: The Kurta, who were slaughtered by an infamous band of thieves known as The Phantom Troupe, who murdered them for their Scarlet Eyes, which are said to be priceless and beautiful.
Yes, Kurapika was the inspiration for Sasuke Uchiha in Naruto and the Kurta Clan massacre was the inspiration for the Uchiha Clan Massacre. It's not even funny how Naruto blatantly copied this show in some areas.
Kurapika is all about revenge and vengeance, and although he mostly appears calm and collected, he is quick to anger, and can be fierce when provoked, especially when it involves his clan or the Troupe. when angered, his Scarlet eyes show themselves, and enhance his abilities to their maximum potential.
In terms of development, Kurapika is also well developed. While he starts off as an emotionless, angsty guy who simply cares for nothing but vengeance, as the series progresses, he comes to terms with reality, and realises the people he still has matter more than his revenge. He would rather protect his friends than kill fucking everything ever because he's a well developed character unlike Sasuke Uchiha.
Leorio Paradinight: Leorio is the final member of the main protagonists and is more minor than the rest.
He claims he wants to become a Hunter solely for the immense amount of money they can acquire and due to the social status and perks that come from being a Hunter, but in reality he has a noble reason behind what he is doing, and merely puts on this front to avoid talking about it.
Despite having the appearance of a middle aged man, Leorio is actually a teenager of 16, yet he acts on a level of maturity equal to that of his appearance. He is easily the least skilled fighter of the group, and isn't too bright either, but he possesses great stamina, determination and an almost unbreakable will that makes him so likeable. He's a very righteous character, who always looks out for others. He also serves as the comic relief character, and tends to do really stupid shit.
His backstory at this point isn't well explained, and his goal has a ways to go, and therefore Leorio has yet to develop much, but his overall development is still there and is very gradual considering how little screen time he's gotten to himself.
Leorio is easily likeable, and remains an interesting character due to having the role of the "big brother" of the group. He keeps everyone together, and it's nice to see.
And don't even get me started on Gon and Killua's friendship, which is by far the most believable and emotion enducing friendship ever conceived in the anime medium. It'll pull at your heartstrings.
In regards to the stories villains, they are just as well developed and grounded as the protagonists, from the perverted, sexual deviant, yet cunning and incredibly powerful Hisoka, to the mysterious and ever onimous Phantom Troupe, the villains are always shadowed in mystery, and are just downright interesting.
They do unexpected things, show up when you least expect it, and more than anything, most of them are a lingering force, with hardly any of them getting beat and going: "That's it. I'm done with this." From what I've seen, the majority of the villains who have survived, are still doing bad shit and will probably come back for more in future arcs. I hope.
The villains are also interesting due to them being more complex than your average Anime villain. While recent shows, such as "Akame Ga Kill" and "Fairy Tail" have villains who are irredeemable and swimming in an endless sea of black morality, the villains of this show are another matter. They are evil yes, but they also show compassion for one another. They treat each other like family, and often act the way they do for reasons other than "because I can". The Chimera Ants break this trend later on because they aren't human but the main antagonist of the arc, actually becomes the best written morally grey character of all time and as such, this is completely excusable.
All in all, after a lengthy explanation: the characters of "Hunter x Hunter" are simply perfection. They are all interesting, unique, well developed, and more than anything else, they help quench the thirst for those viewers who want to see mysterious and interesting shit happen. It's just a pleasure to watch them all, be they heroes or villains. Everyone is interesting.
Art and Animation:
Hunter x Hunter was animated by Madhouse, who along with Production I.G are considered (by myself at least) to be the gods of animation when it comes to anime. The production values for this show, especially considering it's a long running anime, are simply incredible.
The art is unique, with each character being uniquely designed, brightly coloured, and detailed as possible. The locations in which the show takes place are also well done, with detailed backgrounds and colourful and vibrant environments. It's pure eyecandy, and it's gorgeous to look at. The vibrant and detailed art of the world really captures the sense and atmosphere of adventure that the show is trying to create, and in doing so, the show succeeds at it.
The art contains such amazing attention to detail, that everything from the characters to the locations are just beautiful to gaze upon.
The animation itself, is excellently done, with every frame captured beautifully, be it movement, combat, or just plain sitting and talking. Nothing is jumpy or jittery. Nothing is staticy or lazy. It's just all perfect. Naruto, Bleach and Fairy Tail should really take example from this show, because it's just done that much better.
The animation only increases as the show carries on each year.
All in all, the art is breathtaking.
The music of this show is perfect. I have absolutely no issues with it, and find the themes to be fitting, epic and well produced. I listen to it all frequently.
The opening theme is, surprisingly for a long running series, the same one the whole way through and is called "Departure". I personally love it. I play it in my car every time I drive. It's catchy, upbeat, and really captures the atmosphere of the series. The lyrics themselves are even symbolic of the series and its complex themes, almost hinting at the series dark undertones. The accompanying opening sequences are always really great too.
The Ending themes are also really great. The first one, "Just Awake" is a strange, yet catchy one. I loved it. The second ending, "Hunting for your dream" is excellent and is epic as hell. There's just this really amazing feeling when it plays at the end of each episode. Then, there's "Reason" which is again, excellent, and has a very calm and soothing feeling to it. Again, I loved it. Finally, there's "Hyori Ittai" by which is fucking amazing as hell!
The voice acting is solid. All the characters are voiced appropriately. Gon sounds like the little kid he should, Hisoka sounds like a sexual deviant with a lust for blood... Everyone sounds perfect.
The sound effects are great. There's lots of banging, clanging, and everything else. They feel real, and they give the impact they should. They give what's happening on-screen more life.
On the surface "Hunter x Hunter (2011)" appears to be nothing more than a typical Shounen stereotype we've grown accustomed to, but after taking one short look and diving into the unique world that Yoshihiro Togashi has constructed, it single-handedly decontructs the entire genre and provides a unique viewing experience with a well written and complex plot with unexpected developments at every major turn, interesting and well developed characters, breathtaking art and animation and a well done soundtrack with excellent voice acting and accompanying sound effects.
Yoshihiro Togashi has reminded us why he remains one of the greatest Mangaka's of all time. "Hunter x Hunter" is the greatest Anime ever conceived. Even if you dislike Shounen, I implore you: give it a chance.
You will fall in love with it. You will be sucked into it. And most importantly, you will never look back.
And now, it's verdict time:
The Best Episode/Moment:
There are far too many amazing moments in this series for me to select a specific episode or moment, however, if I were to pick where I believe the series had its highest moment of all, it would be the overall conclusion to the Chimera Ant Arc - Episode 135. It is quite possibly the greatest arc ending and emotional climax in all of Anime.
A shout-out also goes to the ending of Episode 147, the penultimate episode, for some real heartbreaking yet beautiful stuff.
It's difficult for me to pick a "worst moment" in a series that has virtually no flaws or problems, but if I had to select my least favourite, it would be the entirity of the Zoldyck Family Arc. The arc was still amazing, but it was probably the least interesting and important arc.
Premise 3/3 - Interesting and unique, and sets up a lot of promises and plot elements
General Plot 2/2 - Perfectly written, with twists and turns everywhere
Pacing 3/3 - Well paced, with no breaks from the main progression
Conclusion 2/2 - One of the most satisfying conclusions I've ever witnessed in Anime. It brought me to tears
Artwork 3/3 - Colourful, detailed and lovely to look at. Simply amazing
Character Designs 3/3 - Every character is unique in appearance and looks different. The detail in them is astounding
Animation 4/4 - Productions values are high, and the animation is simply superb
Personality 3/3 - Characters are all a joy to view, and interact well with each other
Development 3/3 - Insanely well developed to the point it's crazy. Especially Killua
Uniqueness 4/4 - Every character is completely unique with no stereotypes. Cast is also brimming with variety
Voice Acting 4/4 - Nothing to fault here
Music 4/4 - Music captures the mood perfectly, tracks are catchy, openings and endings are addictive and immersive
Sound Effects 2/2 - They bring stuff happening to life and they sound crisp and nice
An absolute masterpiece! Why aren't you watching this?!
- World Trigger: Probably the closest Shounen you're ever going to get to this series. Lik this one, it has a lot of deconstructive moments, great theme exploration and character development and the battles are full of tactics and intellect.
- Jojo's Bizarre Adventure: Also a recent Anime based on a Retro and ongoing Shounen/Seinen Manga. It has a very similar but over the top style of storytelling and is full of unique and creative powers.
- Naruto: A lesser version of this show with a whole bunch of ideas and concepts lifted straight from it. Still a very good show for the most part (just avoid fillers).
This is the remake of a cult shonen show from 1999, which still remains a top favourite for thousands of people who followed it throughout the years. It was taken out of the spotlight as soon as Naruto and Bleach came around because its merits were always hinted, the artwork was very weak (manga included), and the story was left incomplete. But for many it is still a much superior show for its kind, since it is not direct in its themes and definitely not one of the same shonen stuff.
I was not thrilled when I found out the director of the show would be Koujina Hiroshi. He has a lukewarm roster (Grenadier, Kiba, Nougami Neuro, Rainbow) and for a show so famous they could definitely have found someone with more interesting titles and experience to handle things. You can easily find many sloppy scenes and I can only blame the director for that. But it’s not like I hate it either; I just found it not as professional as it deserved.
The basic story is simple in overall, and trust me when I say it will not improve much. It never feels too epic and blood boiling. This does not make the show boring but rather unimpressive for those who expect complicated plots.
- The first arc (episodes 1 to 20) is about the adventure of the main heroes, as they try to pass a dangerous line of challenges in order to be given the title of Hunter, someone who can do all sorts of dangerous professions and is considered an elite agent. Each one of them wants to be a Hunter for different reasons; one is looking for his father, another to protect the world from threats, and a third just to get rich. Very basic stuff and eventually full of needless bull. You will facepalm at how pointless most of these challenges are after you realize that they do not reward skill but rather survival. That means, it’s fine as long as you can stay alive long enough (and preferably using Nen powers). Since the heroes have the typical uncanny shounen durability of withstanding everything, they mostly breeze through the challenges, while everybody else is thrown out with a few punches. Some of the situations will be rather interesting but in all, this arc serves mostly as introduction to the characters than anything else. And seriously, how hard is it to tell these people not to participate if they don’t have Nen powers?
- The second arc (episodes 21 to 25) is about Killua, one of the heroes, being mistreated by his family and the rest going for a house visit. So yes, all they want is to see their friend again and so risk their lives numerous times just for that. Not exactly exciting, is it? It is less exciting when you realize that they barely fight anyone important in that place before their friend is allowed to go see them. There is a line of super powerful opponents waiting for them, they have a hard time getting through the main gate and the butlers, and then it is all over. This arc serves to flesh out one of the characters and even that not by much. Short and kind meaningless.
- The third arc (episodes 26 to 36) is about the heroes taking part in a fighting tournament (yeah, here we go again) as means to improve their fighting skills. Get ready for boring long training sessions with the duels serving as nothing but practice for what they learned. It sure makes the whole Hunter exam to feel like it was there for kicks. I mean, if a Hunter is supposed to be an elite agent, anyone who hopes to pass should already be someone with lots of experience. But no, turns out that it was just rewarding survival and every person who passes needs to become strong AFTER he is nominated as an elite agent. Weird huh? Feels like the story escalates in reverse, instead of getting more epic along the way? Trust me, it gets worse later on. In the meantime, this is the part they introduce Nen, which is this show’s version of ki/reiatsu/chakra/power level/whatever. Unlike most versions where it is used as a single statistic through elements or volume, over here it is seen as four different aspects of the same principle (defence, attack, cancel, and willpower). This makes it feel somewhat more variant than simply say “My icicle attack is powerful but your weak flame shield blocks it” kind of Pokemon-style battles. They also introduce the six character classes to further make the whole thing feel like a videogame. This arc serves to establish superpowers based on a person’s characterization, and has a few interesting fights. Half the time though it’s just a long preachy training session.
- The fourth arc (episodes 37 to 58 ) is about an underground auction where Gon tries to raise money in order to find his father by… arm-wresting. Isn’t it weird how we went from fighting in a tournament to that? Anyways, it is actually more about his pal Kurapika getting all crazy and hunting a bunch of super killers who wiped out his family (this is something Kishimoto stole in Naruto with Sakuke and his Uchiha clan). It is by far the most brutal arc yet and has some extremely well done battles in it. It fleshes out Kurapika and several secondary characters considerably, and is very suspenseful. In fact, it is one of the best arcs you can find in any shonen in general. Thumbs up!
- The fifth arc (episodes 59 to 75) is about the characters hunting cards inside a videogame that can kill them. And yes, you are free to make all the Sword Art Online and Yugioh jokes you like, because the story downgraded further from arm-wrestling to playing videogames. It is rather disappointing after the amazing previous arc, since it now feels like the whole show is promoting videogames to kids. I mean the Nen system is pretty much a basic RPG statistics screen and here is where it shows better than ever. Another disappointing element is how the surviving villains from the previous arc seem to just be in this one for kicks. The whole revenge thing is completely gone and they degraded to cartoony bad guys. Also the Bomber villains of this arc lack charisma and are fairly forgettable. In fact, this whole arc is forgettable; it doesn’t offer anything once it’s over. It’s literally playing a bunch of deadly games with a children’s card game, and doing some really risky gambling here and there which leads to nothing of particular interest.
- The sixth arc (episodes 76 to 135) is about the characters hunting bugs. Yes, we moved from playing videogames to hunting bugs! Ok, actually these bugs are huge, powerful, and extremely deadly. And I mean that; they kill half of the secondary characters of this show. There is a lot of death and violence in this arc, and is also full of mind games and psychological warfare. It feels like the whole thing is ideas taken from Dragonball, (the king of the bugs is a Cell imitation and his minions behave like those of King Picolo) mixed with lots of Kaiji-level mind games. It is great as far as suspense goes but still has several hiccups, such as the pacing slowing down to almost Bleach levels, as well as several secondary battles being there to just stall time. There are also some really terribly handled asspulls towards the end of it to offer a convenient resolution that really damage the overall (aka, the Rose Bomb and Gon’s power up). As a whole though, the characters steal the show for being in a constant conflict with their emotions and goals. Another great arc but not as solid as the one with Kurapika from before.
- The seventh and last arc (episodes 136 to 148 ) is about elections. Yes, we moved from hunting bugs to voting; how exciting. Basically the Hunter Association is looking for a new leader and they ask all their members to vote for one. To the most part the plot is about the candidates ass-kissing each other and forming alliances so they can increase their vote, which is sort of fun, but completely retarded once you realize it was all pointless. Seriously, dozens of episodes were spent for nothing. This arc also introduces the strongest Hunters and instead of feeling thrilled to see these characters in action, you are just eye-rolling with their designs. THESE ARE NOT PEOPLE; THEY ARE POKEMON! Along with the pointless election intrigue and the Pokemon designs, we also have Killua trying to heal Gon from his injuries from the previous arc. And the way he wants to do that is by wishing to the Genie of the lamp. Oh, I’m sorry, I meant his sister/brother/something which was asspulled into the story. EYE-ROLLING! And of course there are lots of rules that need to be upheld for the wishes to become possible, but once again it’s all pointless since the ass-pulled sibling can grant an infinite amount of wishes because she/he/it loves onii-chan. EYE-ROLLING! Oh, and that gay clown goes around killing dozens of Hunters with the rest not giving a damn because they are busy trying to decide which Pokemon to vote for. EYE-ROLLING! And they are actually voting a lot a guy who has no idea of what to do with the association and just wants to help Gon. EYE-ROLLING! And Killua’s family are the worst handled characters in the whole show, since they are just standing there doing nothing when they are the strongest people in the world. EYE-ROLLING! And Kurapika on his quest of revenge against those cool assassins is completely forgotten by now. EYE-ROLLING! And Gon’s father finally stops trolling and appears, making this the highlight of the arc but after all this bullshit I just didn’t care much. Seriously, this arc is Naruto Ninja War level bad.
And then the show ends because Togashi is bored with his manga with his back pain excuse getting old years ago. Supposed he is making some dark continent arc now which is about exploring a place full of strong monsters. But really, what is there left to show now? Gon found his father so WHY IS THERE ANOTHER ARC? I am really not interested in seeing the Pokemon Hunters fighting more bugs; I just want to see a final fight where the Phantom Troupe, the Zoldyck, Kurapika, and the gay clown do a Battle Royale with Gon watching while eating popcorn next to his dad.
Do yourselves a favour and never expect much out of the plot. All the objectives are weak; they are poorly presented plot devices. Leorio never has a purpose in the whole series, Kurapika and the Spiders gang get forgotten, while Gon’s father is a total troll. I mean, really, he keeps giving missions to his son from afar with the promise of finding him but he keeps fooling him so he will keep looking. Yes, it is an excuse for Gon to continue becoming stronger but it is still one big troll and a lazy excuse to keep the plot going.
Instead of the story, focus on the main attraction of the series, the character traits; as well as how each one uses his special skills to overcome a challenge. And by skills don’t try to imagine fire breathing, creating copies of yourself, or flying. The powers in the show were to the most part far more basic and down to earth that that, such as heightened senses, use of psychology, and detective deduction procedure. The main hero for example uses a fishing rod as his main weapon. Sounds silly but he does all sorts of sneaky attacks with it by trying to outsmart the enemy with a lure and then hook him when he doesn’t expect it. So unlike most shonens, half of this show is not about raw power and delinquents blowing up mountains with their glowing aura, but brains and strategy. The ways they find to overcome a challenge are tactical and cunning. Of course this changes completely in the last arcs where everything becomes a clusterfuck of broken powers and asspulls, where mountains do blow up and characters are defined by their Pokemon appearance.
But until this awful degradation takes place, this show is good because it’s far from cool. Since the average shonen fan would expect amazing action, all this talking, plotting, and back stabbing will surely feel dull and will make many to be bored fast if they only want action. Those who manage to focus on the tactical part though will find it to be a far more elaborate and mature specimen than your silly average action show.
- It is not about dumb teenagers with superpowers kicking the crap out of each other.
- It is never trying to impress you with pseudo-romance, fan service, or poser special attacks.
- It seems to have the usual theme of trust and teamwork all shounens share and up to a point they indeed overcome most challenges based on that. At the same time though, each character is far more selfish that those in similar shows and thus it is quite easy to get mad with something and leave the team to go seek some crazy thing on his own. Thus you get far more unstable heroes, who don’t always blindly follow the group leader.
- At the same time the villains are not generic evil dudes who hate everything and plot amongst each other. You see they care and are willing to risk their lives to help their comrades.
- It is also one of the very few rare cases where there isn’t a single girl following the dudes around just for the heck of it. It’s only the males doing all the work as always, so who needs those useless token chicks that exist only for kiddie romances and fan service? To hell with them, this is a man’s world. Imagine how cool it is in the second arc where they plan to save a strong boy who has killed dozens of people without feeling a thing instead of some frail damsel in distress who always nags and cries. Or in the fourth arc where you literally have a female agent who dies without even making use of her powers. That stuff are one of a kind. The fifth arc has a very powerful woman but she is there as a short term mentor and not as a comrade.
It is true though that its merits are hard to spot, since it is subtle with the presentation. In the first two arcs the violence is quite childish and the mental breakdowns of the characters are done in a very light manner when they would easily be far cooler if they were looking crazier. The characters also follow the typical shonen silliness of yelling each others’ names all the time, even in situations where they don’t need to, as if they don’t want the audience to forget how they are called. They also do that annoying thing of explaining their strategies to the enemy, as if the audience is too dumb to get it. It is very commonplace as an exposition method in shonen but it still feels dumb to see it happening. The pace also makes the duration of a dramatic event to last too little in the early arcs and too long in the later. It’s weird to get into it.
Another indirect problem which prevents the show from becoming a smash hit is that it doesn’t have a gazillion immortal characters and most mysteries are answered rather fast. Unlike the so called Big Three of shonen, there is very little to talk about what may happen in the future or how the characters may develop later on, or even to have a huge variety of archetypes to choose your favourite from. That sort of crap are what made the Big Three so damn famous, even if in all honesty they are just shallow excuses for hyping caricatures that eventually don’t develop or have any important role in the show in general. HxH doesn’t go for that bait; it has a rather small cast and several of the characters die soon after they are introduced. It is what again makes it feel superior as it is not trying to cater everybody’s tastes and never promises things it will never deliver a decade later.
It is a very good shonen and I recommend it. It is by all means not a serious or complicating story, as it is just some youths trying to win in tournaments and play videogames. Each character is basically a bold stereotype (the idealist, the materialist, the kind one, etc) yet the way they interact is both smart and doesn’t drag the most basic actions for 10 episodes. It degrades into mediocrity towards the end but the journey is to the most part great.
Furthermore it is interesting to see how many of its ideas were later on copied by Naruto, so in a way it partially deserves the credit THAT silly ninja show got, which otherwise has nothing to do with ninjas and went under when it was all about Gaysuke. And anyways, all modern shonen are now all shit, One Piece included (animation is a joke and pacing is a snail). It is a great way for younger anime fans to see how more mature a decade old shonen was and how shitty all recent ones are (I am looking at you trollish Bleach, babish Fairy Tail, borish Ao no Exorcist, pissish Beelzebub, aimleish Toriko, coocooish Hitman Reborn, haremish Index, as well as all the rest of you). It is also a proper remake and not a lulz DBKai dried up re-airing with lesser context and incomplete story.
Despite my positive words about it, I must clarify that it is not a masterpiece. It is supposed to be for kids and has lots of childish violence even when it involves mass deaths of people, both benevolent and innocent (it’s not just generic evil henchmen that die). Hundreds of people are constantly dying in cartoony yet still horrible ways; it looks weird. Thus most situations feel too silly no matter how dangerous they appear to be and that takes out a lot out of the suspense the anime COULD have if it was more graphical in its violence. But it’s not like it is holding back a lot either, since each arc get progressively more violent than the previous ones. It also treats many of its objectives like a joke and has Pokemon designs, so it never manages to be taken seriously either.
HxH = Best anime I've seen (along w/ Fullmetal Alchemist)
The story follows the main character's journey to become a Hunter and find his dad, but this plot is deceptively simple: It hides a much bigger story about the world that HxH takes place in. Although this story never gets a chance to shed light on the world-building, it suceeds in hinting that there is so much more to H x H than any particular character or place.
In fact, we don't get to the foreshadowing and world-building until the second to last arc of the series, which also happens to be one of the best arcs of the series.
Beyond the plot or story, Togashi and MadHouse have created a beautiful and horrifying world: Greed Island, Whale Island, and the "Dark Continent"... Watching this show made me feel like an explorer who discovered the fountain of youth. Everything is pretty fascinating.
It looks childish, but that makes the world even better. By making everything seem childish, the animators make us see the world of HxH through 2 children's eyes---and we slowly come to realize that this world is dark, much darker than we initially expected.
I personally prefer this to immediate gore/darkness because it offers an element of surprise and discovery when the true nature of the world becomes apparent to the audience.
The bright colors and details are also superb--MadHouse has done it again!
Perhaps the most memorable thing from Hunter x Hunter was its soundtrack.
I loved the music so much that I searched up the entire OST playlist and downloaded them! The music is very good at setting the mood---and the nostalgia hit hard when I heard these songs after the anime had ended. :')
While not unique or revolutionary like the soundtracks of Durarara!, Hunter x Hunter's OST offered a sentimental feeling that permeated through most of the series. Ah, the tears are coming again.
I watched this show on a whim, and the characters made me fall deeply in love with Hunter x Hunter. From Hisoka to Meruem, the "villains" are so intensely interesting that it's somehow hard to truly dislike any one of them. And the main characters? They are even better! The character development of Hunter x Hunter is groundbreaking to me.
I posted this review on my Facebook, so I figured why not post it here too...
A brief review of the Hunter x Hunter reboot upon completion:
Let me start by saying that experienced a great amount of enjoyment watching the show. The characters are more often than not likable, the themes are good ones (friendship, adventure, loyalty etc.), and the story was a good one.
Like other long running shounen shows, HxH takes a lot of liberty with a simple concept and applies it to a series. Much like Naruto's "ninjas", One Piece's "pirates", and Fairy Tail's "wizards", HxH is about "hunters." All of these shows having the concepts right, although taken in a different direction. Hunters are people in pursuit of a variety if things (treasure, gourmet food, archeological finds) that must first pass a test to become cerified Hunters. These characters are similar to other shounen characters in their wode variety of abilities.<div>
The story centers around Gon who begins his life with a great adventure in mind, finding Ging his elusive Hunter of a father. The friends he makes along the way and the battles he has to fight are satisfactory.
The series goes over the material in the original series as well as things it didn't cover, so there is no need to watch it. I did before checking out the reboot, and I can say if you want to check it out watch it first. The pacing is much slower in the original series.
As far as the episodes go there are only two filler episodes that recap what has happened. The rest of the episodes are loyal to the manga. Each story arc was easy and enjoyable to watch with one exception. Each long running shounen show seems to have at least one token "this was alright but the other arcs were noticably better" arc, and unfortunately for HxH that arc is the longest arc in a comparatively short show. The semifinal arc runs over sixty episodes and has some dry spells. The arc isn't terrible though, it redeems itself with awesome fight scenes and some new characters that I fell in love with.
Overall I give the show a 9/10 and would recommend it to people who like shounen shows. The entire series is on Crunchyroll and the first 100 episodes out of 148 are on Netflix.</div>
Hunter x Hunter starts out with a fairly simple straight forward premise with compatible backstories overshadowing into the life of Gon. As one of the characters described him, he never judges other peoples actions no matter if they are good or evil, yet he gets angry when someone is hurt or at least a friend or perhaps even a child. So his character is quite perplexing and inconsistent. Maybe his motives or his stance on right and wrong adapt to whatever situation he is in or who he is with. The world he lives in seems to be no better and equally indifferent to life innocent, evil, good, or corrupted. Frankly, it is difficult to get a firm grasp on. Many of the story arcs and characters from the first 50 or so episodes often murder countless lives and wind up not answering to any kind of justice or law for it but befriending the main characters as if life itself were some sort of joke. This wouldn't feel so awkward if Gon was consistently indifferent like a Joker character or dispassionate observer type to all life but oddly, he often gets mad for others being hurt like in the Greed Island arc when he got mad at Genthru, so his character is as inconsistant as the moral and ethical codes of the cultures found within the show. They style is a bit quirky but still pretty fun to watch. Characters are a virtual jigsaw puzzle mixed with a random die roll or the pull of a slot machine on how they behave regarding good or evil or legal or illegal activity. The reason some of this moral ethical ground work is so troubling, confusing, and inconsistent is at other times the very same characters or culture seems to frown on actions they seem to praise or not care about.
One of the most unbelieveable story arcs is the chimera 'mimic' rip off ants that adapt to humanlike shape and intellect by somehow eating humans as if that somehow transfers memory, data, personality, or souls. These creatures clearly display an extinction level threat yet are later ignorantly forgiven and humans carelessly walk among them as if there had never been any threat? LOL. Is that a joke? If so, it is not funny. If a story portrays a threat of such magnitude they can not back track it so easily as they did in this story arc like all the human lives were no big deal or none of the disturbing scenes of children and entire familes being murdered and eaten or even some of the previous seasons most likeable characters meeting similar distasteful ends. This arc kind of p*sses me off a bit by treating morals, ethics, important characters, and sentient lives even more lightly than the ridiculous murder fest hunter exam. At least, the exam more or less fit the story and you did not see things like children or families outright murdered for food. Are the writers, B horror movie scripter drop outs? Besides that, these creatures are essentially cannibals, and I do not mean what the King did, by eating humans, they are cannibals because the ants already said they have human blood. Though the idea by receiving genes through ingestion is a bit far fetched once they do that they now become cannibals and realize their actions are wrong but do it anyway. They must have also from this same process of gaining knowledge understood what humans find right and wrong? This makes them evil and criminals long before they start hunting humans for more than food. The concept of such beasts seems a tad far fetched to fit within the story but I can accept it however, acting like it means nothing, becoming cannibals, knowing right and wrong but stll causing all that, and not eradicating them completely after expressing what a extinction to humanity level threat they are, I do not understand or accept. The power Mureum gains after his fight with Netero is fleeting and inconsequential given the cost to his elite guard and the very short life span he had to pay to get it. Comparing the ease with which Gon using an ultimate ability to skip time was able to take one down, you could make an argument that he, Netero, or one of the other 5 strongest elites, could have taken down even the powered up Mereum in their prime. Mereum likely has quick learning skills because of his accelerated growth rate and therefore more likely than not, exceedingly short life span that even without the cost the fight with Netero gave him, would not have permitted a life far surpassing that cost anyway. That is a theme often circulated within the story, the greatest powers a nen user has, comes at some great cost and risk to themselves.
*** Potential Spoiler end***
Characters other than Gon are equally confusing. Child butlers tortured and as strong as hunters but treated like slaves or servents to some medieval king or tyrant as if they have no rights. A woman who appears to be about 25 minum dating Gon who never had a girl friend yet or shown intrest seems a bit of a stretch.
*** Potential Spoiler *** Killua's sibling appearing to be stronger than him and taking over one of the slots of a certain group later on, while his family were acting as if he were somehow special and more powerful than any? Umm huh? *** end ***.
Character wise and to some extent story and plot wise there are too many contradictions that they are hard to keep up with this provides some mega plot hole possibilities.
The brutality of the violence and extreme and graphic nature senses shown or implied or so vulgar at times that I can not recommend it for anyone less than 18 years old. Watching children mutilated, beheaded, and/or eaten in front of parents or watching parents brutally murdered and eaten in front of children are not things you can take lightly regarding children who should not be watching this. Take note of this observation, although I am not partial go gor or gross violent scenes, it takes alot to make me even twitch during such things, but the graphic gore shown in this series especially the chimera arc, even made me at times a little hesitant to watch, though that was actually slightly more do to the contradictary nature and story writing rule violations than the actual gore but the kind of gore can make even hardy movie gore watchers shudder.