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.
At first, when I read the synopsis of hunter x hunter (2011) (for the rest of this review will be called hxh as abbreviation) I could not quite deduce the rationality of this show being scored and reviewed with such praise as it receives on a daily basis. I am sure many of you ,who are planning to pick up this show sometime soon, are thinking the same as I did before watching this show and I will do my best to change any contravening opinions towards this series.
As you all have likely read the synopsis of hxh, it certainly stands out from most other shounen ever made. There is a kid that decides to go on an adventure, for a particular purpose, meets friends, becomes stronger and eventually defeats powerful opponents. It doesn't come off as a very complex or intriguing story/plot, nor is there a generic/forgettable cast and an amassed other facts that would remind you of how forgettable this show probably is. Believe me it's not.
Beyond the first few episodes which this generalised speculation derives from, you will see that hxh differs from most shounen in terms of intelligence (strategic battles, clever arcs and plot) and the pacing of the whole show throughout each arc is outstanding. The absence of fillers throughout the 148 episodes ( excluding recaps) makes this show that much less frustrating to watch.
You may have heard an arc in particular, that the MAL community keeps on raving about: the Chimera Ant arc. Without throwing any spoilers in this review, the hype is worth it. This arc is, by most fans of the franchise, seen as a masterstoke and with good reason. The previous arcs create a substantial build-up to the C.A arc which makes the emphasis and usefulness of the arc that much more prominent.
However, the only factor that prevented my rating of a 9 to a 10, was the slow start and the half-open ending; while it not bad and was a good conclusion to the show, left the viewer rather unsettled with the whole experience.
Where hxh really shines is in the shows' magnificent cast. As stated in my introduction, typically, most shounen do not have the best cast of characters that anime has brought out to the community, and more often than not defeat their enemies using the all-mighty force that is 'the power of friendship(!)' which brings sweet victory and joy to the protagonists of the show. Forget this ever existed in anime when watching hxh, as the sincere friendship that is witnessed between the main cast is nothing short of magnificent. It is realistic and evolves over a long period of time.
What makes the characters of hxh further at a stand-point, is that the antagonists are (for the most part) just as likable as the protagonists. Every character is very well developed ( every = any character that mattered to the story) and therefore does not make you want to spurt out the words " Wow, this character sucks " , with the exception of the bomber which, when watching the series, you will notice that had no real purpose for doing things to the extent that he did.
Finally, I will talk about my three favorite characters of the series:
I love Gon. At first he seems like your everyday generic protagonist that has no potential to evolve as a person. He comes across as useless and annoying.Then along the way something happens to him; something that is rarely in a protagonist like him. This is called ' Character Development '. The development that Gon receives throughout the series is fantastic and will make you love him until the end. He truly is desperate to find his father and the audience can see how he never throws in the towel.
There's something really likable about white-haired guys in anime and Killua does not fall short in this aspect. He has a broad and complex backstory, and again, like Gon, significant development, which is seen to play a phenomenal role to how realistic the friendship between Gon and Killua is. His background as an assassin and his scarring childhood coupled with his raw talent and one-of-a-kind personality makes him a lovable and three-dimensional character.
Without spoiling much, Meruem is truly an unbelievable antagonist. At first you envision he is ruthless for no purpose, and comes off as a cliche and rather irritating being. With the meeting of another character you see how he evolves and how his facade in his personality makes him one of the best,if not the greatest character in the series.
Art and Animation: 10
When watching an anime that has a plethora of episodes such as hxh, one would expect a decline and rise in animation from time to time. However, Madhouse did a terrific job at keeping the animation and art as consistent and fluid as possible. The amount of money that was spent purely on budget really surprised me and the animation only gets better as the series progresses. When entering the C.A arc, you will see that Madhouse used their best animators to produce stunning images intertwined
with outlines, shadows and fluency that serves as 'eye-candy' when watching the series. Battle sequences are as well a proof of how much effort is poured into this show, as the studio does not tend to cut corners, e.g using the same background over and over again.
The opening and endings' animation improves significantly st time progresses, which blows my mind when comparing the differences in appearance. That is to say, the animation was brilliant at the start of the anime as well.
The opening: 'Departure' is used throughout the entire anime although it switches between two different versions of the song, as well as changing the animation sequence each time, and this amazes me as every opening suits the anime perfectly! I did not skip the opening even once when watching the series; instead I stared smiling and singing along to the music.
The endings are all fantastic in my opinion, and I love all the songs that are presented to the audience at the end of each episode. The order for me goes
1>4>2>3>5=6 (5 & 6 are different sections of the same song) but I love them all nevertheless.
The ost of the anime is one of the best I have heard in any anime. My personal favorite is ' A kingdom of Predators'. It consists of a great variety of orchestra (mostly in the C.A arc) and lots of violin and piano that can be heard as well. However, sometimes the ost is not played at the most appropriate moments which prevents a score of 10 being given.
Monumental credibility must be given to the voice actors, and for Gon in particular, which is seen especially at episode 116, the mere brilliance that is spurted as 'emotions though words' is extraordinary. The only complaint that I sometimes hear arriving from people is that the narration in the C.A arc ( for around 10 episodes) is irritating and overwhelms the episodes, making them seem extremely slow-paced. I tend to disagree with this argument , as the pacing seems to only benefit by the narration of those episodes, as it was a crucial moment in the series where narration was essential. I hope you won't find this narration an issue, since I certainly didn't.
Wow what a joyful ride this was. It keeps you hooked from early on and urges you to watch the next episode after experiencing the wonderful ending of each arc. The enjoyment factor, of course, originated from the entirety of the show. If any of the above were to be done poorly, the show would not come out to be nearly as enjoyable as it was. I not once felt bored during this series, and I believe that the pacing is fabulous. There's not a single moment that leaves the viewer wanting to skip ahead or fast-forward. As a result, I am almost certain that you will watch this show, engulfed by the brilliance of this anime.
Believe me when i tell you this: this show is a near masterpiece; as close of a masterpiece as a show of this genre gets. Don't be fooled while watching this anime, and drop it due to its slow start, as you may miss out on a truly miraculous experience.
Thank you for reading my review of Hunter x Hunter (2011). Have a great day. RedInfinity out.