"I see now... Yes... I see... You had me in checkmate from the start." - Meruem
Hunter x Hunter 2011 is incredibly well appreciated within the myanimelist community, however it never managed to grow a fanbase as large as the ones from other popular Shounen Series like Fairy Tail, Naruto, Bleach... Maybe it's because the series is much younger and I sincerely hope that one time HxH will be as popular as Naruto, because it just deserves it so much. I’ve never seen a better Shounen Series, no a better Anime series before. Hunter x Hunter deserves every single praise it gets. It takes Shounen to a whole new level.
At first glance, I wasn’t too excited to watch Hunter x Hunter, in fact I even wanted to drop the Series after 3 episodes. Everything seemed like your stereotypical Shounen with an annoying protagonist in a scenario, where everything is happy throughout and the fights being overly predictable all the time. Oh, how wrong I was.
As I’ve already mentioned, the story of HxH looks like the one of every single Shounen and it seems, that it won’t offer new elements and topics. My thoughts were completely vanished before the tenth episode. Although the main idea of the young boy Gon trying to become Hunter and finding his father is very simple, the story gets incredibly deep and complex from time to time. The writing is spectacular throughout, the path’s taken by the main characters to achieve their goals are incredibly creative and unpredictable, every arc offers new topics and even new genres, which couldn’t be attached any better. In conclusion, HxH is the most marathonable Anime I’ve seen so far.
The fighting system “Nen” is very complex and offers near to a thousand different possibilities to fight. There are almost no emotion based Power-Ups in this Anime, most fights are decided by pure tactics, which makes the fights so interesting, at least for me.
The story is divided in many different story arcs, like almost every long running Shounen. As I’ve already mentioned, almost every arc sets up things differently. For example, the first arc “Hunter exam” and the “Greed Island” arc have much of an adventure feeling, while arc the fourth arc “Yorknew City” emphasizes much on thriller elements. Most of the arcs take a while to get things set up, for example the “Chimera Ant” arc takes a while to get things set up perfectly, to finish in the most epic way possible with the best use of the genre “Drama” I’ve ever experienced.
The pacing in Hunter x Hunter is very fast in general. Just compare the amount of chapters the Manga has in comparison to the amount of episodes. That means no fillers at all (if you don’t count the two summery episodes near the beginning), no stupid fanservice, just straight forward Story, which is perfect in my book.
The Animation is nearly perfect, that just shows how good Madhouse Animations are in general. The consistent Animation throughout this long Series seriously amazes me. Characters Design is top notch, backgrounds fit the scenery and atmosphere almost every time and facial expressions are done right. I don’t know what specifically is criticize able in this section.
Concerning the Sound, HxH offers a variety of different soundtracks, with true masterpieces in it. Soundtrack wise the Series offered nothing really memorable in the first episodes, but it got better and better when the story progressed, with scenes which couldn’t be accompanied with a certain soundtrack any better. The voice actors did a very good job overall, especially the ones of Gon and Hisoka, which just fit their character perfectly in every scene.
Besides the perfect writing, the second big strength of HxH are the characters and especially their development. Starting with the main character, Gon, his development is absolutely impressive in any way. In contrast to almost every other protagonist in a Shounen Series, Gon fails more than he succeeds and learns from his mistakes. The second main character, Killua, is written perfectly and his backgrounds, intensions etc. are very interesting. The other two members of the starting crew are Kurapika and Leorio, both having their own intentions, good development and understandable backgrounds as well.
However the biggest strength of HxH character wise are the antagonists. They’re written so perfectly and unique, you just can’t hate them. You won’t find another Hisoka, Kuroro or Meruem in another Anime, they’re just too unique and likeable.
Overall, I have to say I’m simply impressed by Hunter x Hunter in every regard, it’s definitely the best Anime I’ve seen so far and it won’t be easy to fill the void after the Series ended. If you look for a Shounen, which is outstanding in terms of writing, story progression, character development and uniqueness, you have to watch Hunter x Hunter. While it has some weaknesses and rather mediocre episodes from time to time, those little mistakes can easily be overlooked due to the overall extremely high quality of all the other aspects.