Out of all the shonen mangas that exist one of my personal favorites is Hunter X Hunter. For me it defines what a shonen manga should be. Unfortunately we Hunter x Hunter fans have had a hard time. The series has been plagued with many hiatuses. The manga has just recently come out of yet another hiatus and Yoshihiro Togashi is plugging away at it again. While this is going on Madhouse has just started a brand new anime adaption of the series. I feel it's important to address the fact that Hunter x Hunter has already seen one anime adaption from Nippon Animation back in 1999. While I don't think it is fair to compare the two shows I think it must be done so to not misinform people. I will start out by stating a firm reminder to those out there, Mad House's adaption of Hunter x Hunter has nothing what so ever to do with Nippon Animation's 1999 adaption of the series. It shares none of the same voice cast, does not continue the story where Nippon Animation left off, and has all new music, character designs, and writers. Do not confuse the two shows or think they connect. They are two different adoptions of the same material and that's it.
If you're not familiar with the story of Hunter x Hunter then I'll try to gleam over it as fast as I can and give you a little summery. Hunter x Hunter takes place in a fictional world not too different from our own. At first the world may seem more fantastical. But as the series progresses the main character Gon will make his way into the mainland (instead of the bizarre world of the Hunter Exam or his old fashion home of Whale Island) and it will become apparent that this world is pretty much just like that of our own. The biggest difference is the Hunters.
Hunters are a class of their own. They are the elites of the world. By getting a Hunter license you can go anywhere and do anything. They are the highest ranks of people in this world. To become a Hunter is not an easy task. You must pass the Hunter Exam, a grueling test of your wit, spirit, and strength. If you can pass then you will be able to join the Hunter Guild and the world will truly open up to you. Gon Freecss a young 12 year old boy leaves his home in a pursuit to become a Hunter. Gon's father Ging was a Hunter as well and left him when he was just a baby to pursue his own goals. Gon now wants to know why; what's so great about being a Hunter. He finds himself thinking about this nonstop. So he leaves on a journey to become one himself and maybe even find his father. Throughout his journey Gon will met many new friends and enemies alike and face a lot of challenges. But it becomes apparent rather quickly that Gon is quite the unique boy who may just be able to rise to the occasion.
Overall I liked this new anime. I had a long list of fears about how it'll work out but I think it was good. It has some nice animation for the most part and the music is rather enjoyable for me. I think it was my favorite thing about it. The Opening song is nice but the ending song was just okay. I feel that this is a good show and think people should enjoy watching it. The episode moves at a brisk pace and covers a lot. We watch Gon leave his home, met two of the main characters and watch them even pass a trail of the Hunter exam without even really realizing it. Now here's the part where I'm going to play the jerk. This show is great for people who have not experienced the manga or the prior anime. I can see them really liking it. It is a Sunday morning show that I think will attract a lot of the younger audiences.
That said for us older fans it may leave a different taste in our mouths. It's pretty obvious to me that this show wants to cover a lot but just may not have enough episodes to do so. That or the staff at Madhouse is afraid that they will bore people by taking it's time with the events previously covered in Nippon Animation's adaption. So this show kind of rushes things and skipped over plot points. What was covered in Episode 1 of this anime took Nippon Animation about 3 maybe 4 episodes to cover. Madhouse had glossed over plot points and I feel that this rushed pace has ruined the subtlety of the writing from the manga. Things about Gon's fishing pole being a gift from his father where skipped. Heck they even cut out the scenes with Kaito! How do you do that? He's kind of an important character.
I don't know about this brisk pace it just isn't something I'm a fan of. Looking at the next episode preview the pace seems to continue. Besides that the new character designs are jarring for someone like me. They fit with the manga and they look alright but I'm so used to the character designs of Goto Takayuki that these new more chibi designs are weird for me. Now I'm sure some things they skipped over may come back some way or another. I can imagine Kaito being shown at least through a flashback or something.
It's very hard for me to judge this new Hunter x Hunter show. I am of two minds about it. Because of that I decided that it may just be best if I give it two scores . If you're brand new I think you will like this show. It seems well made so far and I can't really find too many problems with the show alone. I enjoy the new voice cast. Granted they are not the original actors who I have known and love but they are doing a good job so far.
The direction is pretty alright. I'd say it's standard. I'm not a fan of the brisk pace but really the show does a good job of disguising it. If you don't know any better you won't think the pace was all that fast. Which is good, I guess. It means the story shouldn't feel too rushed. But it also means that really you're getting an abridged version and it kind of made the story seem less original and rewarding to me personally. This is all my opinion here now but I felt that the emotional level of Gon leaving his home was suppose to be a sad thing that took him a long time to decide. This anime was just kind of like "Hey Gon you sure you want to leave?" "Hm Yeah I'm going now, see ya' later! ^_^" I just feel like the show may miss out on the more emotional levels of Nippon Animation's adaption and the manga. But to play the devils' advocate there is a pay-off it seems. We may finally be able to get the later arcs not yet animated by Nippon Animation, animated in this adaption.
If you're a Hunter x Hunter fan already though you may get frustrated with the changes and it honestly might just be best if you stick with Nippon Animation's 1999 adaption. Being open minded is key for this show. As you can tell from above I have my opinions about this all. But really I don't think there's too much to worry about. Perhaps the only real concern that we'll just have to wait and see about is the tone of the show. It's hard to judge now since Hunter x Hunter starts out a pretty happy show. But later on the show can and will get dark. This new anime is being aired on Sunday mornings (a popular time slot for Japanese kids. Think of it like Saturday morning cartoons in the US). I don't know how this may affect the more harsh actions, concepts, and violence in the series. We'll have to wait and see.
For new fans I give this show a 4/5. It seems off to a good start and I think it'll be fun for newer fans or a younger audience.
For already established fans I want to stress the need to be open minded. That said I'd give the series about a 2.5/5. It's an okay series if you're already a fan but there is a long list of problems you may have with it that prevents you from liking it more than that.
So with that out of the way I'll give the episode a score in between those two and rank it at about a 3/5. For me I plan to keep watching. Like I said I like this show. I do have problems with it but I actually like this show and think it's worth watching at least a little more. Hunter x Hunter (2011) is being simulcasted by Crunchy Roll every Saturday Night at 8:30 PDT. If you're curious as to the quality of the subs I found them to be pretty good myself. Crunchy Roll does not have Nippon Animation's adaption of Hunter x Hunter though; only this new show.
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About the reviewer
I'm nothing more than just a poor college student who still lives with his parent. I'm interested in anime, manga, & video-games but I have other interest besides those three. If anyone wants … more
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