Hunter X Hunter (2011)
OK, so Hunter X Hunter is an Anime that was recommended to me a long time ago, but I never got to watching it at the time. Since then a new series was released back in 2011, re-telling the story, and reportedly staying closer to the Manga than before.
While flicking through Netflix for a new Anime, it pops up with 5 seasons available (many not having more than 1 or 2) so I think, why not? I was not disappointed.
Granted, it starts feeling very familiar, with a kid wanting to set out on a journey to prove himself, and to find out the mystery of why his Dad left him at such a young age. He is naïve, friendly, and wants to do right by pretty much anyone he comes across. You start to think, “Is this kid going to be this annoyingly nice the entire time?”
Well, even though the answer is, pretty much, you quickly learn that this is ok, because it’s exactly who his character is. There are other sides to him, and you will discover just how deep some of those sides are, but he lives his life very much like Goku from Dragon Ball.
I make that comparison now, as there will be some glaring likenesses you will see as the series progresses, despite the stories being very different. This is in fact on purpose, as the creator of this series was a big Dragon Ball, and Dragonball Z fan. So every time you think, “Is that based on…?” the answer is likely, “Yes”.
So we have a Young Goku…erm, I mean Gon Freeces, setting out on a journey to become a Hunter. Hunters are pretty much the be all and end all of this universe. If you have a Hunter’s License, you pretty much have a passport to do what you like. Any country (more or less) will let you in, you can get jobs by showing your credentials, you are essentially in the Elite of the world, and by passing the Hunter’s Trials, and holding a license, you prove this to anyone you encounter.
Gon sets off to take part in these Trials, pitting himself against hundreds of potential candidates, all ready to put themselves up against challenges designed to push their mental and physical capabilities.
I found myself suddenly very invested, caring about the characters and how things were going to progress. Gon makes a few friends along his journey, and it’s the backstory and complexity of these characters that really help Gon grow himself as a person, and to help him understand the greater world outside the small island village that he sets out from.
The Animation style is very nice, beautifully rendering fight scenes and successfully setting the mood with light and colour throughout the series. Some characters look overly simple at times, but even these characters you start to vaguely care about, and you realize that a lot of thought has gone into each of them.
Hunter x Hunter is one of the few Anime I’ve seen which uses pretty much the same Theme song for every series. They do vary slightly between two sets, but they are essentially the same song with a different arrangement. And that’s ok, because it’s actually a pretty nice piece of music that will get stuck in your head. The ending tracks are a little hit and miss, but for the most part are pretty cool.
The series ends with a bit of a cliff hanger, though it does wrap up all existing story lines and has a satisfying feel to it. The Author got sick for some time and decides to halt the Manga (which went a fair bit further) so they knew to wrap things up, but they allude to something more, something beyond their current world that they plan to shoot for. I’ve heard the Author has decided not to return to Hunter X Hunter, so we are likely to never see this extra story, so what we have is everything. I would still highly recommend watching though as the entire thing is a well-rounded trip that tells a brilliant story.
So as always, I leave you with the opening Sequence!