Hunter x Hunter Review & Characters – Possibly the Most Mature Shounen Anime


hunter x hunter wallpaper

Possibly the Most Mature Shounen Anime

  • Episodes : 148
  • Genre : Action, Adventure, Shounen, Super Power
  • Airing Date :Oct 2, 2011 - Sep 24, 2014
  • Producers : Madhouse

Hunter x Hunter Preview / Plot (No Spoilers)

From the storyboards of Yoshihiro Togashi comes an anime that may very well stand just as tall as his other opus, Yu Yu Hakusho. Set in a world where those with the heart to pursue adventure, danger, and fame are celebrated, Hunter x Hunter follows the story of 12-year old Gon Freecss. A boy from Whale Island, he discovers that the father that left him back when he was a little boy is not dead at all, but making a name of himself as a world famous hunter.

Intrigued about a career that his father chose over his own son, Gon sets out to become a Hunter himself. Entering the Hunter Exam, he befriends young Killua Zoldyck, a boy with a gentle heart but was raised as a deadly assassin, Kurapika Kurta, a sole survivor of his clan who is out for revenge, and Leorio Paladiknight, a man who seeks to become a Hunter in order to never witness pain caused by inadequacy again. Together, they aim to become Hunters, elite professionals who take on the world’s more dangerous jobs in the world’s most dangerous circumstances.

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Who does Hunter x Hunter cater to?

Hunter x Hunter is for anime fans that love the shounen genre. If you enjoyed anime like Naruto or Yu Yu Hakusho (which also happens to be written by the same author, by the way), then you will surely enjoy Hunter x Hunter. With story arcs that are spectacular both in scale and in detail, the series becomes an entry into the fighting, adventure, and shounen genre that is a cut above the rest. As a matter of fact, a number of critics and its fans have hailed Hunter x Hunter as a shounen anime almost done to perfection.

What particularly stands out in the series is the characters, as well as the numerous well-developed arcs that the narrative covered. The characters created by the author are not the run-of-the-mill anime stereotypes at all. Both in their backgrounds and their moral standpoints, the characters are not cut from the same block as the typical anime. The arcs in the narrative are very well developed as well. Prominent fight scenes are not dragged down by the pacing of the plot at all. It is an anime that refuses to sacrifice its quality over its length or its pace. Hence, this anime is definitely for people who like watching anime that are very well-written.

What's so appealing about this piece of work.

The writing of Hunter x Hunter is widely regarded by critics and viewers alike as one of the best in the shounen genre. Narrative-wise, it contains arcs that are very well-rounded, with enough twists and turns to make each individual arc engaging, and also with enough plot material to keep the main story going. Evidence of this can be seen in the story arcs when taken side-by-side, they can really be seen a part of a greater whole, and with each episode, the direction and pace of the story never wavers.

Part of this is the fact that the series is adapted very closely to the manga. Hence, a lot of the themes that the author wanted to flesh out were explored more than adequately. In fact, this is probably one of the most appealing aspects of the anime. It is presented almost exactly the way the author wanted it to be presented; and, if there’s anything about the authors of stories, it is the fact that when it comes to presentation, they know best. Hence, though the 1999 adaptation of Hunter x Hunter may be good, the remake is extremely close to perfection.

Hunter x Hunter 2011 English Trailer

Hunter x Hunter Main Characters List

Gon Freecss

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Voice Actor : Junko Takeuchi

Gon, a 12-year old boy (at the beginning of the story) is a young man from Whale Island. Being the main protagonist of the anime, he is an athletic, somewhat rustic, naïve, and extremely friendly boy. Due to his background and his experiences in the island, he has a strong affinity with animals. His senses are very keen too, to the point where his senses of smell, sight, and taste are close to being inhuman.

Gon’s determination is a key point in the series, as his heart never wavers regardless of the strength of his adversary. Due to the strength of his heart, he naturally draws people in, down to people that can be considered as his enemies. He does have notable flaws though, as he has a tendency to become extremely impulsive and temperamental, especially when his strength is challenged. Whenever he does, he goes to extreme lengths just to prove his adversary wrong.

Killua Zoldyck

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Voice Actor :Kanako Mitsuhashi

Killua is also a 12-year old boy who befriends Gon in the Hunter Exam. Quick-witted and kind to those he considers his friends, Killua is presented much like Gon, who he considers his best friend. Though the years of training he received under his family’s tutelage has endowed him with confidence in his abilities, he nonetheless gets easily flustered when his friends compliment him. However, behind his cheerful exterior lies the blood of a Zoldyck, a family world-known for being extremely effective assassins.

Just as he can be cheerful, kind and friendly, Killua can also be ruthless, violent and bloodthirsty. In fact, this very nature cost him his license in his first attempt at the Hunter Exam, as his violent tendencies emerged and unfortunately claimed the life of a fellow examiner. However, regardless of his bloodthirstiness, Killua nonetheless never hesitates to put his life on this line for his friends, often putting himself in situations that put his life in danger.

Kurapika Kurta

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Voice Actor :Miyuki Sawashiro

Kurapika is the only survivor of the Kurta clan, a race of people whose irises can turn completely scarlet when they get emotionally agitated. Being the sole survivor of a massive genocide that claimed his entire clan, Kurapika has taken it upon himself to exact vengeance with the men responsible for the fall of his people.

What is particularly interesting about Kurapika is the fact that he lives according to a set of morals, yet becomes Machiavellan when it comes to his pursuit of revenge. He aims to become a hunter for the sake of exacting retribution, and he is not above stepping over his morals to achieve what he wants.

Leorio Paladiknight

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Voice Actor :Keiji Fujiwara

Being the oldest of the series’ four main characters, Leorio seeks to become a Hunter mainly due to the fact that it is such a lucrative career. His epiphany and his relentless pursuit for financial gain emerged after a dear friend was lost to a disease that would have been curable had it not been for the fact that he could not afford the medical expenses for his friend. Hence, he aims to be a Hunter in order to pay for medical school, to be able to treat the poor for free.

Though his fighting skills are usually outshone by the capabilities of his other three friends, Leorio is nonetheless a formidable fighter, exhibiting great skills in combat. Compared to an average man, Leorio is remarkable in his own right.


Contains Spoilers

Hunter x Hunter Review

Hunter x Hunter may not be the anime that mainstream fans are clamoring about, but trust me on this, this series is one of the finest shounen anime around right now. Initially released in 1999, it was already very well-received. However, the series then was eclipsed by more prominent shows and, despite its good premise, the storylines diverged at times from the manga. As an anime fan, I believe anyone can relate to this. Take a look at Claymore, for example.

It's a perfectly good example of an anime series that diverged very far from the source material just for the sake of creating a series that is complete. As a result, it felt rushed, and ultimately unsatisfying. Viewers of the 1999 series echoed this sentiment up to some point. In fact, in a 2010 poll by Mania.com, Hunter x Hunter was ranked 9th in the list of Anime Series That Need a Reboot.

And what a reboot it received. Simply put, the depth of the story, the excellent development of its characters, its mature dialogue, and its intricate world-building is something that very few shounen anime can match. Indeed, the 2011 remake is arguably the shounen anime to beat when it comes to the sheer quality of the writing. Any viewer would not find it very difficult to engage in a lengthy, satisfying marathon with this anime, for sure.

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What makes the story so well rounded is its variety. The first arcs in the series were fairly typical shounen faire, though they were executed in an excellent fashion. However, as the series progressed, the plot takes drastic turns. In fact, the story explores numerous genres, from fighting tournaments to crime thrillers to virtual realities and even politics. Apart from this, the story was able to accomplish the rare act of making each complete story arc flow smoothly to form a grand narrative. Each arc is already exceptional on their own, but together, the tapestry of the story is displayed in its full glory.

Together with the shifts in genres come the shifts in tone, which are quite remarkable. The series is able to shift from a lighthearted mood to a darker one with ease, and vice versa. An example of this would be the Yorknew and Chimera Ant arcs, possibly two of the darkest, most mature arcs in shounen anime. The Yorknew Arc can be categorized as a dark crime thriller in a big city, almost echoing the darkness of theme in anime like Death Note.

The Chimera Ant Arc, on the other hand, invokes themes akin to Shingeki no Kyojin in the way that it involves the anime’s heroes trying desperately to succeed against a vastly superior foe. As the theme changes of course, so does the story’s background music and color palette. Of course, the characters develop as the plot moves forward as well.

Character development is yet another notable point in this anime, as the characters mature together with the story. Each character has attributes that endear them to the audience, but each also has his or her own flaws that make them very much imperfect. A great example here would be Kurapika, who is initially shown as a boy with morals who is seeking justice. However, he eventually develops into a character that willingly ties himself to the mafia as a bodyguard, despite being fully aware of his employer’s immoral acts. He does this simply because aligning himself with the mafia will take him further into his quest for vengeance. Hence, he develops as a character who will justify his means by the ends that he seeks to meet.

Another particular aspect of the anime that is very notable is that it defies the typical shounen lose-train-win trope, where the heroes lose at first, only to train and overcome their opponents later. Hunter x Hunter is very gutsy in this aspect, as the main character, Gon himself, practically fails more than he succeeds. Despite his training, an underlying theme of growth and potential is included in the narrative, as the story is able to exhibit the fact that its main characters are exceptional and nigh-gifted, they are kids nonetheless, and therefore, have much to learn.

It is themes like this that make Hunter x Hunter such a great addition to shounen anime nowadays. With a nigh-perfect story and the execution to boot, it is one show that any anime fan should definitely never miss.

1. Hunters

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Hunters are the world’s elite professionals, taking on a menagerie of jobs that range from exploring the most dangerous places on Earth to hunting down the world’s worst criminals. In a way, being a Hunter is the ultimate profession, for it provides the individual with the ultimate rewards based on the individual’s chosen preferences.

There are many types of Hunters that were shown in the series, and their variations made the plot so much better. The Hunters alone, as well as each of their unique abilities, make the story what it is.

2. Nen

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Nen is the factor in the anime that makes it cross over to the super power genre. However, one thing that sets Nen apart from the capabilities of the conventional anime hero is the fact that its application and its background is so well-rounded. In fact, the details and thought that the anime chose to put into the concept makes it almost like a science.

Indeed, Nen and its numerous forms and rules are something that is definitely unique in this anime. Its effects and subsequent repercussions in battle is also something that viewers of the show can look forward to.

3. Character Dynamism

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The dynamism of the characters in the anime is also worthy of mention, as protagonists and antagonists alike come alive and evolve before the eyes of the viewer. Each character in the show is so dynamic, the viewer will understand exactly how the character came to be the way he or she is. A great example of this would be Hisoka, the amoral clown that is both tarrying and endearing at the same time.

Few anime can boast of the type of characters that Hunter x Hunter has. In fact, in this sense it is almost a league of its own.


What’s particularly unfortunate is the fact that though Hunter x Hunter is almost a perfect shounen anime, it nonetheless gets eclipsed by more mainstream anime fans around the world. What is particularly unfortunate is the fact that such oversight has already happened to it twice. Though it is something that definitely deserves an audience, it usually gets eclipsed by anime that conform to more standard templates. I believe it is up to us anime fans to take a stand on this show.

This anime deserves an audience. True, it already has its millions of fans that it has garnered over the years, but the fact remains that its quality and the story it wants to tell deserves to be consumed by tens of millions of fans. We anime fans have done it for titles like Shingeki no Kyojin. I believe we can also push this one up.

We know it deserves it.

Peter

Writer

Author: Peter "Virage" de Jesus

In the game of life, the Universe deals us a hand of cards. Some revel in the fortunes they are provided. Others resort to clawing their way up with the bad hand that they are dealt. A number would fold as the years go by. Our existence is a game of chances, and in this game, we all play. I play life in Hard Mode.

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