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.
No matter the version, HxH is my favorite shounen series of all time. Each iteration have its pros and cons, and when taking those into account, this one is definitely my favorite, despite it lacking the newer story arcs.
HxH is categorized as a shounen in the database... don't let that fool you! This is far beyond any bs throwaway Naruto clone. I've heard people describe it a disguised seinen, and I couldn't agree more with that. Some parts of the show tackle some really complex moral issues, such as family problems, sorrow and hell it even goes into gender a bit. There is much thought
put behind the story of HxH, which is evident by the way it's excecuted and portrayed.
At first glance, the story might look extremely generic and boring; boy trying to find his father yada yada, but don't judge the book by its cover, especially in this case. You'd be doing yourself a disservice doing so. It features some of the best storytelling that has ever come out of this medium.
As I said, it might be looked at as asSeinen disguised as a shounen. This can be told by how little fighting there are in this show. The fights in HxH 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. Even when they seem the most pointless, when you take the time to realize what the fights actually mean, you'll appreciate them so much more.
But what's good fighting, if the characters doing the fighting aren't interesting? The characters is where this series shine as a true masterpiece. Kurapika, Leorio, Gon, Killua, Hisoka, Chrollo and even the smallest of characters have such strong presence. They each have their own wants and desires, their own hurdles to tackle, and their stories to share.
The characters is a point where I think the 2011 version is worse. 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. This is the biggest reason as to why I think people who solely watched the 2011 adaptation, should give the 1999 version a try.
I always hear people saying: "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 I admit the animation is 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.
But as I said, the animation can be wonky at times. The actual characters can be poorly drawn at times, especially in the first arc, but the show gets more consistent with the art as it progresses. Toward the end, I think the art is very well done and nice-looking. I very 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. Sometimes it's happy and sometimes it's really dark and insidious. 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 really, 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 can be really funky at times.. Like when Hisoka sorta strangles Gon, this balloon scratch effect plays. It's repeated several times through the series, and it's really strange. It just feels so out of place, and you can tell that 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, superb soundtrack and awesome settings with a dark and gripping 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.
Art: 7,5 - would get higher if it were consistently awesome
Hunter x Hunter is your typical Shounen, Action, Adventure anime with the usual plot-devices but with a pretty unique concept of “hunting”. This series may not adrenaline filled action sequences but it is still highly enjoyable, with plenty of tension.
HxH start of about skilled individuals trying to become professional hunters for their own individual reasons. The story follows a young boy (Gon Freaks) on his quest to become hunter, in order to find his hunter dad. The beginning is just about candidates undergoing treacherous tasks and challenges, whilst forming bonds during the long hunter exam. Some, including me, may be bored by the lackluster beginning
but sometime into the hunter exam arc the series picks up and become very interesting and captivating to watch. The following arcs manage to up the level, bringing so much to the unique story but it’s a shame that it never finishes within the TV series.
The characters of HxH are the usual batch of protagonist and antagonist found in shounen anime and each of them manages to fit the bill. They all are interesting and unique in their own way. They develop so much throughout the show, even though most of the time it revolves around Gon. Gon himself is what you’d call a typical protagonist and even though his ideals are somewhat annoying, he can do astonishing things that will surprise anyone. Not to mention the other main characters: Killua, Kurapika and Leorio who all manage to bring something astounding to the show.
The first thing that may come to your mind with the animation, is how dated it looks however when you put that aside you can easily take the animation for its merits. The art style is great and there are plenty of fluid fights but they can be a little fast paced. The music is pretty good, as it can help build up the tension and can just as easily release the tension with some upbeat tunes. Nonetheless the music itself feels more dated than the animation.
Overall HxH is a very entertaining Shounen, Action, Adventure but with an intricate plot and concept, which develops as the story goes on. There’s plenty of stupid comedy to enjoy, plus a lot of major developments and intense combat. The series may not focus entirely on fighting but the methods of fighting actually evolves later on in the series, into something more diverse and complex (Nen). It’s a shame that the TV series doesn’t resolve anything and the OVAs don’t provide much resolution either. Other than that this is definitely a shounen anime series worth watching, if you're in this kind of thing.