Hunters are specialized in a wide variety of fields, ranging from treasure hunting to cooking. They have access to otherwise unavailable funds and information that allow them to pursue their dreams and interests. However, being a hunter is a special privilege, only attained by taking a deadly exam with an extremely low success rate.
Gon Freecss, a 12-year-old boy with the hope of finding his missing father, sets out on a quest to take the Hunter Exam. Along the way, he picks up three companions who also aim to take the dangerous test: the revenge-seeking Kurapika, aspiring doctor Leorio Paladiknight, and a mischievous child the same age as Gon, Killua Zoldyck.
Hunter x Hunter is a classic shounen that follows the story of four aspiring hunters as they embark on a perilous adventure, fighting for their dreams while defying the odds.
Hunter X Hunter is a Shonen adventure series, yes, but there´s actually a lot that differs from your typical shonen-show. In a good way. I´ll explain why gradually through the review, let´s begin.
The story is good, but not really anything mind breaking. It´s about Gon, a 12 year old boy, trying to become a hunter so he can find his father who left him as a child. A hunter is basically a person with a hunters license, and the concept of hunting can be almost anything. As long as you complete the difficult and deadly Hunters exam and get your license you can do whatever
you want with it, so naturally there´s all kinds hunters, everything from hunters who hunt criminals, hunters who ARE criminals and hunters who tries to master the art of cooking, for example.
So in the first part of the series it´s about the exam and you follow Gon and his 3 companions as they try to survive the exam. What you´re going to notice is that the story involves very little fighting, and yet it´s really intense. In the third exam for example they have to fight against dangerous criminals, but instead of beating up all of them with super-lightning attacks they introduce different kinds of simple methods, like janken, and make it really interesting. This is executed very nicely and feels refreshing if you´ve watched other Shonen-series.
The show does not end after the exam though, it continues with the celestial tower arc and the yorkshin auction arc, and especially the latter is extremely entertaining.
Yes, it is quite old and some people might not like it. Personally I didn´t mind though, both art and animation were smooth, and even if you don´t like older art you´ll probably find it acceptable.
The openings and endings were nothing special, but I personally loved the BGM! The songs really fit well in the athmosphere and I actually came back to some parts just because the music was so good and fit the whole show so perfectly. The voice acting was also really good, and I didn´t really notice anything to complain about. Voices fit characters really well (I watched the subs).
Here is when the series really start to shine! The characters are great, and unlike too many other shonen shows they are actually both memorable and they don´t feel forced in any way, this without 12 episodes from their pasts. They also get developed a lot in the show and you find youself just enjoying to watch the characters together.
Even if the first 7 or so episodes are a bit slow, once you get into this show it´s never boring. It´s not slow paced and there´s always something new and interesting happening in every episode (there might be some exceptions, but I can´t think of any just like that). It´s actually one of the most enjoyable series I have ever seen.
On of the best shows out there, watch it now! Even if you normally dont like shonen shows, this might still entertain you! It´s not slow paced, there´s more focus on plot than fighting and it actually ends (even if the ending is very open). I recommend this to everyone and especially if you like other shonen shows, then you will love this one, it is the best typical shonen adventure anime out there.
First off, for the sake of simplicity I'm going to cover all four series (one TV series and three OVAs) in one review, since they actually form a single continuous story.
Generally I approach shounen titles with care, since many of them strike me as a bit shallow and vacuous. Hunter X Hunter, however, sounded quite interesting. On the strength of one solitary review, I gave it a watch.
I'll begin with a brief summary: Hunter X Hunter revolves around a ten-ish year old boy named Gon who discovers that his permanently absentee father, Ging, is, in fact, one of the most famous and respected Hunters
in the world. Hunters hunt various things, from criminals to recipe ingredients, depending on their individual talents and preferences. It seems to Gon that the only way he is going to have access to the resources to find and finally meet his father is to become a Hunter himself - so he cheerfully sets off to take the Hunter Exam. The four Hunter X Hunter series document Gon's attempts to become a Hunter and find Ging, punctuated by various distractions that result from the myriad troubles of the friends he makes along the way.
After two or three episodes, it seemed pleasant enough but uninspiring. By episode seven or so, when the Hunter Exam starts in earnest, it begins to become more interesting. Before long, I was completely absorbed. Unlike many shounen series I've glimpsed, Hunter X Hunter doesn't rely too much on fighting (except for the Celestial Tower arc - the weakest of the lot, but necessary to everything that follows it) and actually has engaging characters who I ended up sincerely caring about. That's a rarity for me in any form of TV/film, but particularly in anime, and very particularly in shounen. In this case, I actually almost wept a single sorrowful tear when the final episode of the final OVA ended, so attached had I become to the central group of characters.
One of the great things about Gon as a 'hero' in a shounen title is he isn't the most powerful character, nor does he want to be. He wants to be good enough to qualify as a Hunter and find his father, but that's all - and he often fails to triumph in difficult situations, whether in combat or a battle of wits or a game. He is surrounded by stronger, faster, cleverer characters; in particular, the mysterious and repellent Hisoka is leagues ahead of anyone else in the series in sheer power and skill.
Again, though, combat is not as prominent as one might expect in Hunter X Hunter. It does occur, but it slots smoothly and naturally into the flow of events rather than feeling crowbarred in, as is so often the case in anime of this type.
One of the strongest points of the whole thing is the interaction between the core characters. It's hugely enjoyable simply watching them together, seeing their friendships develop, shift emphasis, come apart, and take on new dimensions. And every single one of the characters has more depth than I thought was possible in shounen.
Now to the negatives. They are few, but worth mentioning.
The first thing to mention is this series does take some time to get going. The first half a dozen episodes meander along quite sedately as though they're little more than a travelogue. After that, everything is fine up until the Second Test of the Hunter Exam, which really irritated me. I'm not going to say why, since I want to avoid spoilers, but quite how none of the characters stabbed anyone in a fit of rage is a mystery.
The first major low point, though, arrives during the second arc, when some of the characters undertake a stupidly DBZ-like weight-training regime. I nearly took my head in my hands in despair. Fortunately, it was over fairly quickly.
The most sustained of the poorer points of the series is the aforementioned Celestial Tower arc. Fighting tournaments do little for me unless I'm participating (I mean Mortal Kombat etc, not actual, real fighting. Good grief, what do you take me for?). The major developments of this arc are pivotal to later events, but it was still a bit of a chore to sit through the duels - except the all-too-brief outings for Killua, who is always entertaing to watch in confrontations.
One of the things that unsettled me about Hunter X Hunter as I went along was the change in tech. The first plot arc is all sailing ships, bows and occasional scraps of near-ruined modern technology (with the notable exception of a motorbike in Gon's photo of Ging), but each arc increases the tech level until, by the time we reach the York Shin arc, cars, automatic weapons and the internet are commonplace. This is somewhat jarring at first, but the more time is spent in York Shin, the less noticable it becomes.
One more thing I'd like to mention is the music. The reviews I've read of the several Hunter X Hunter series all claim that the music improves as the series progress. While I concede that some of the music in G.I. Final is good, I actually preferred the early music. In particular, I rapidly grew to pine for the melody I think of as 'Gon's Theme', which is rarely heard outside the first story arc.
I'll end my poorly-structured rambling there (listening to this month's Terrorizer cover CD isn't conducive to coherent writing) with a high recommendation. Hunter X Hunter is among my top three anime. Fans of harem anime or fan service may want to avoid; fans of good character, interesting plot and colourful action with the odd touch of the strange and sinister should watch at the next opportune moment.
OK : There are two versions of HxH. The 90s version is FAR better than the 2011 version. Whilst its missing two arcs and two spotlight characters. The facts remain this version is superior when comparing the arcs each has.
Story: A young child, Gon, sets out on a journey to find his missing father. To do so he joins an organization affiliated known as Hunters. Hence the title, Hunter x Hunter. Along the way he meets interesting friends, villains, & teachers who help challenge him. Both versions follow this narrative. However, the 90s version handles it way better and in terms of art, music, &
The art direction is simply beautiful. Nearly every detail is used to deliberately set moods in characters, fights, tones, themes, etc. Whilst in the 2011 version art choices don't enhance specific moods, characters, nor direction for episodes or stories. It looks beautiful. However, it doesn't do anything profound or moving until the chimera ant arc between Meruem and Komugi.
Character retrospective: Killua. In the 2011 version Killua appears as a quirky kid who is the son of a famous assassin family. Killua quickly befriends Gon, has no issues killing, and has no open moments into his psyche... until later its revealed his family is abusive, and has a brother who is very controlling. However, we were never presented hints of this. This updated version neglected to examine the psychological impact on Killua beforehand nor used time to build up Killua's character.
In the 90s version Killua is deeply impacted by family issues, killing, & has deep seeded trust issues. There is a scene of Killua looking at his reflection showing us a different side of himself. The lighting is dark and the music creepily climbs as Killua talks to sides of himself. A ruthless killer & a frightened child. Killua in his introduction is distrustful, standoffish, to Gon & others. While he may have befriended them he was withdrawn and slightly rude. Early on we see how Killua's family relationship has damaged him. To the point of having mental breakdowns, being distrustful, having a lack of identity, and having very little empathy. Art decisions, music, script, as well as some other details set Killua up better than the 2011 version. : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urP2D1DVEz8&t=614s Start at 9:26 to see the scene.
Character retrospective: Gon. In the 2011 version Gon's character is rushed & skipped. It neglects an introspective look at Gon's investment in family, love of animals, sensitivity, emotional fragility, and empathy. All this is rushed making Gon feel like an empty naive character. Thus when we see his rage later on it leaves less on an impact. HxH 2011 doesn't pace out time to throughly examine characters in the beginning and it screws itself later.
In the 90s version Gon is fleshed out. The creators use scenes & dialogue choices to reveal why Gon is extremely sensitive, overly friendly, & kindhearted. Gon has a ridiculous kindness towards others because of abandonment pain he harbors. Gon is likable & understood from the very first episode. Thus, right away you are extremely invested & care about Gon's adventure to find his father. Watch the first episode for proof : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxAHNp_Wiio
Character retrospective: Kurapika. In the 2011 version Kurapika's past, personality, etc. is extremely rushed. The buildup is handled poorly. Thus, when an emotional climatic encounter happens it leaves less of an emotional weight for the audience.
In the 90s version right away we're molded inside Kurapika's mind. Kurapika is shown having a hallucination of sinking in chains under water. The coloring is darkly lit black and red, music haunting. Signifying more than enough how this character thinks. Kurapika even has an introduced dynamic between Leorio as a sort of fatherly figure. That was absent in the modern version. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvNUkqHni6o Beautiful.
Character retrospective: Leorio. OK In the 2011 version everything about Leorio is skipped. Its near disrespectful as his past is only mentioned in a brief chat. This character is forgotten about.
In the 90s version Leorio is fleshed out showing him undergo painful flashbacks. Leorio being so distrusting, protective, rude, & money hungry are logically explained through his background. The audience cares and roots for Leorio to become the best doctor! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OlRuNRCbTR0&t=4s Start at 9:18 for evidence.
Character retrospective: Hisoka. In the 2011 version...OK I have gripes with the music theme of Hisoka's character. It makes him come off as silly entertaining than terrifying. The theme is a Spanish hit and its not befitting at all.
In the 90s version Hisoka is mysterious, threatening, horrifying, charming and captivating. Its a blend for total unpredictability. The theme music for Hisoka is a creepy piano that rises in intensity. The 90s version captivates Hisoka's sick pleasures in killing & how its nearly impossible for him to control it. This makes Hisoka more captivating, interesting, tragic, and terrifying all in one. This version adds significant depth to the character by far. Ex: During the Hunter exam Hisoka is shown having a psychotic break trying to control himself from killing. By digging nails into his skin as the moons edge glints into his eyes. The dark theme climbing. Meanwhile the modern version just shows him looking creepy.... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hvdIE8jRA-k&t=2s This is amazing.
Final Character retrospective: Chrollo. In the 2011 version Chrollos theme music is terrible. The piece is a loud opera hit that is very cheesy. The theme represents how they handled the character.
In the 90s version Chrollo is far more interesting. Chrollos music theme is a soft creepy humming hymn. THIS captures who the Chrollo is. Chrollo is not a grand show. Chrollo is a blissful smiles while a harmonic music plays over deaths by his orders. It is madness but in Chrollo's eyes its harmony as everything is following determined outcomes. Its a shame the character is ruined in the 2011 version from bad music & art choices. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkJxKPEIGeo&t=231s flawless scene so much depth to it.
Overall: The 90s version has selective choices that are befitting of each character. Its beautiful, artistically unique, creative, has dynamic interesting characters, psychological themes, innovative fights, great writing and adds LAYERS upon LAYERS that are absent in the 2011 version.
No matter the version, HxH is my favorite shounen series of all time. This adaptation is my favorite despite lacking the new story arcs (:
HxH is categorized as a shounen in the database, but you better not start thinking about the latest episode Naruto n friends. This is far beyond any generic shounen trash. I've heard people describe it a disguised seinen, not gonna take cred for thinking of that but I totally agree. HxH doesn't constantly bullshit you, it's too real.
At first glance, the story might look extremely generic; boy trying to find his father yada yada, but don't judge the book by its
cover, you'd be doing yourself a disservice doing so in this case. It features some of the best storytelling that has ever come out of the medium, clearly much thought was put into it. It's a story I can happily wait 2-3 years between volumes to read, because I know it'll never disappoint.
So it might be looked at as as seinen disguised as a shounen, which you can tell by how little fighting there is. The fights in are sparse and short, but extremely memorable because of how they're built up and executed. The show builds up for some of these fights for several episodes, and the payoff is always so satisfying despite sometimes being short. Even when they seem the most pointless, you'll grow to appreciate them.
The characters are hella good too; Kurapika, Leorio, Gon, Killua, Hisoka, Chrollo and even the smallest of characters have strong presences. They each have their own unique motive and also their own hurdles to tackle.
The characters is a point where I think the 2011 version is lacking comparatively. The first arc of the show is double the length in the original series, and they take that time to make you feel more connected with the characters. You get to see them interact more with each other in ways not shown in the 2011 version. You also get to see key plot points which were neglected in the remake in favor of speeding it up to the more actiony parts. It's the biggest reason why I think people who only watched the 2011 adaptation should consider watching it, at least the first arc anyhow.
Now you might say something in the likes of: "Eww old art, unwatchable". If you don't like old anime, that's fine. HxH's art can definitely be off-putting to some, the color scheme tends to be very dark, and the animation is really wonky at times. But for the rest, you can enjoy one of the most atmospheric anime shows ever, in terms of both story and visuals.
In terms of animation, the actual characters are poorly drawn at times, especially in the first arc, but the show gets more consistently good art and animation as it progresses. Toward the end, I think the art is very well done and nice-looking. I much prefer the character designs of the 1999 version, they don't look so over-the-top as they do in the 2011 adaptation.
The animation itself one of the reasons for my 8/10 score. It pales in comparison to shows like Rurouni Kenshin and YuYu Hakusho which aired years before Hunter.
The soundtrack is awesome. It fits perfectly with the show's atmosphere. It truly is one of those soundtracks I can listen to all the way through without skipping.
I even went back to certain parts where nothing remarkable was happening, but the visuals and presentation made it awesome.
HxH has some of my favorite intros and outros, especially the second and third intros. The second in particular I consider to be a masterpiece, as it conveys what the main character of the arc goes through perfectly, and with such a distinct and neat style.
The sound effects are funky sometimes, like when Hisoka strangles Gon a balloon scratch effect plays, and you can totally tell it's just a guy scratching a balloon :_:
The animation and sound effects don't distract from the enjoyment for me, it's still a definite 10/10. There's hardly ever a dull moment in this show, especially when you take the time to invest yourself in the story.
TL;DR - Good story with solid characters, dope ass soundtrack and awesome settings with a dark and gritty atmosphere.
There are considerable differences between the adaptations, so you should watch both this, the OVAs and the remake. The OVAs continue the story where he 1999 series left off.
For many Dragon Ball fans, Master Roshi is an absolute legend! He's one of the coolest and most colorful characters in the Dragon Ball universe. However, this old man has a roaming eye that's easily distracted by the younger ladies, which can lead to more problems than simply a nosebleed.