Today we are reviewing one of the best shounen anime series called Hunter x Hunter.
Our main character Gon Freecs has the desire to become a Hunter a Type of professional fighter that travels the world completing exciting and deadly tasks. ‘Why’ you might ask. Well, besides the fact that he is very good at that sort of thing, he wants to be able to see his father, who many years prior left him behind to pursue his own hunter carrier. And Gon hasn’t heard from him since. Though this part of the plot is not entirely decisively unique, I liked how it was a core motivation for him. That wasn’t brought up constantly, but still had a presence.
According to the story, in order to become a hunter, one must complete the requisite hunter exam- a series of impossible looking practical tests that are meant to test your mind. Now, due to his rather naïve and innocent nature, Gon quickly become fast friends with three other perspective hunters. They are:
• The medical student Lelorio
• The last survivor of the mysterious clan Kurapika
• The childish kid assassin Killua
All whom attempt to pass the hunter exam together, something, which is believed to be impossible for such a large number of test-takers. The initial arc takes of the show’s first 20 or 21 episodes. But, in the next arc and in the arc after that is where it starts to get really remarkable. The first thing you might notice is that how the show likes to layout its’ story search. It’s not like the author of the article has a massive amount of experience about how this type of long shounen is usually structured.
But to be honest, it is quite obvious, in long shounen shows that the characters must always get stronger, learn new abilities and eventually bigger fights need to happen. But, in the end the general feeling remains constant. Hunter x Hunter is this weird combination of many different shows with each new arc being unique from the last.
Arc orientation of Hunter x Hunter:
One arc could be shown as a traditional tournament arc, but the next is a crime thriller. And then the next is kind of small-scale war. You never know, what kind of series hunter x hunter is going to be next as all of the arcs are so decisively different from one another.
To me, this variety is one of the show’s greatest strength. Because if I have to seat here for 150 episodes, then yes. I would like to see a little bit of variety to keep me interested. Same kind of plot line can only remain interesting for so long. And I rather not try to keep my eyes wide open as I am falling asleep after predicting everything that is about to happen in the show.
The other thing that you may notice is that the tone of the series is an incredibly slow-burn. What do I mean by that is, well at the start the show was very light and very friendly. I would even go so far as to say that it seemed like the show was attempting to be marketed towards a fairly young audience.
Necessary Violence in Hunter x Hunter:
Yes, there was violence. But, nothing overly graphic or disturbing for kids that most people would object. And then eventually at a pace that you might not even notice until it’s too late. The show starts to go steadily downwards. It goes from ‘Happy kids’ adventure show’ to arcs about genocide. It’s not a tone shift as drastic as in Madoka Magica, but it is still worth noting. Thankfully along with the whole tone-shifting bitterness, nothing in this show is really solved just purely with the power of friendship. Don’t get me wrong, the friendship that exists between our main casts is truly an amazing thing to witness.
But, that isn’t the reason behind of their success. Instead they had to truly work for their victory. And that is what we truly liked that about the show. Well, except for Lelorio in the Hunter exam arc. We are still salty about the amount of bullshit there. He deserved nothing. If he hadn’t just so happened to win the friendship lottery by meeting Gon and his friends, he would have got the wrong bus and we would have never seen him again.
Characters of Hunter x Hunter:
As a character Lelorio is likable, don’t get me wrong. He is a great guy. But, his luck stat is way too high. The last thing that I want to mention about these characters is the secondary characters. Not any individual secondary character but all of them as a whole. I loved how the Hunter x Hunter was able to very quickly show us who all of these people are.
It gives us an idea about what they are like and actually give them screen time. Even though as has what happens in most cases we will never see them again after the next episode or so. We can get back-story upon back-story about these second characters that honestly are not all that important. But they are all written well enough so that we care about them, even if it’s just for an episode or two.
This is one of the benefits of having so many episodes because they have the time to sit down and tell us the stories of these characters that might otherwise just not even be mentioned, if there was a smaller episode count. Now, this does mean that because we are spending a lot of time on some of these secondary characters.
At times the plot may feel like it’s going nowhere. For example there is an episode where it’s just 20 minutes of them running down a very long dark tunnel. But it is the spice of these bonus characters that just make Hunter x Hunter so much more interesting to watch. For what it is, the series has some great art and animation and they aren’t in particular for just how uplifting it feels more often than not.
The earlier adaptation of Hunter x Hunter:
The original adaptation of Hunter x Hunter, that came out much earlier than this, back in 1999. That adaptation has quite muted and darkish feeling but this 2011 version is a much different take on material similar to how the shows tone is a slow burn. The bright colors of the art help to continue along that upbeat atmosphere at the show sometimes tries to use to cover the more dark elements of the series. And I think it worked out rather well. The animation was better than I expected- especially considering that I expected with almost 150 episodes that the budget for this show would have been skimmed to hell and back just giving this overall mixed feeling!
Animation of Hunter x Hunter:
It is not exceedingly amazing in every single frame, but the overall average animation quality of the show is much higher than we expected it to be. Some fight scenes especially were rather amazing. I would almost say that the animation got better as the show progressed which is actually kind of opposite from the norm.
The animation for this show might actually make me consider removing my calves. Yet when I usually talk about good animation and I say well it might have good animation but it’s not as good as Ufotable or Kyoto animation or madhouse on film budget. Because this is madhouse and it isn’t a film budget but it does look amazing. Granted it’s not as amazing as some of the things that madhouse has been able to do on film what got pretty close.
Music of Hunter x Hunter:
The soundtrack was this weird beast to me because as I was watching the show I always had this feeling that there needed to be more music. I felt like I kept hearing the same tracks over and over and over again. It wasn’t until I looked up the soundtrack for this series that I realized that there were several hours of unique music for this show. It just doesn’t feel like it, because of the many hours of the show you have to watch. Yes, there is a lot of music but its spread out over a much longer episode count than normal. In those hours of unique music there is much that is quite remarkable.
Though I personally think, that most of the really good stuff doesn’t start kicking in until the aforementioned tone shift starts also kicking it. Because, the darkness of the show really allows some of these pieces to make their mark. Not that happy music is not good, though. One of my favorite tracks from early on is the ‘World of adventures’. It’s this really upbeat track that was kind of used as stinger music for a lot of episodes early on but I never got tired of it. It actually made me excited to watch the next episode even though I was kind of forcing myself at that point.
The same opening song:
The other interesting song for me was actually the shows intro and that’s because it never changes like ever. The animation for the intro changes constantly. But the song is always the same song which is really off to me like I was expecting them to change it every new arc. But they never did. This is weird because it’s always been a thing with these linger shows to swap out openings every 12 or even every 24 episodes which is why shows like Bleach and One piece have like dozens of intros for their respective series. Not to say that this intro is bad or something. But honestly, I wouldn’t have minded the variety if it was given to us.
Negative thing about Hunter x Hunter:
The worst part or what I consider to be the worst part about this series is twofold and I have to reiterate them for anybody that hasn’t watched this show. However, considering it first the shows intro episodes like the first three or four are horrible and I am quite sure many people will agree with me on that. Those first few episodes do not really give you a sense of what this show is actually about.
Even in the first couple of arcs nothing really digs deep into meat of this show, so if you are considering trying out this show, make sure you commit yourself to good amount episodes to give it a chance. Get a decent way into the Hunter exam arc before you make your official solid judgement. It might not be the best arc in the series but it should be enough to get you interested and maybe even slightly interested.
Second is that the amount of episodes of this show has is not a cakewalk if you’ve done it before. So take your time. I watched this show in two and a half weeks. Most of the people I know who have actually watched this show watched it when it was airing that took them two and a half years. So please do not feel like you need to rush. I did and I wish I didn’t. Why did I wish this? Well, that’s because of the third problem.
It’s over, but at the same time it’s not.
The anime for Hunter x Hunter may be over but the story continues in manga. And the manga has this history of taking forever to come out with new chapters to put this perspective only ten chapters of hunter have been released in the past two years. Therefore, that is about a hundred and ninety pages and if you read manga at even half the speed that I do that is nothing for two years like, fans of the series do not refer to this as hiatus for no reason.
If you have not noticed, though I do not have many true negatives for this series. Yes, it is long – yes. It has a slow start yes it is over but there are more so warnings for the new watchers rather than actual negatives.
I suppose that if I really wanted to nitpick I could get into this weird use of background music some strange sounds occasionally throughout the show but this is not something that’s extreme noteworthy there’s also this weird dip in the show is paced around episode 89. But really the small number of episodes that suffered because of that and the only two recap episodes that Hunter x Hunter has are of little consequences in my humble opinion.
This series may have a slow start the remainder of the series far makes up for it. So, if you feel like you can handle the 148 episode marathon, I recommend it just not all at once though save your sanity.
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