What They Say:
Gon, a 12-year-old boy, fulfills his promise to Mito-san, the woman who raised him, in order to receive permission to set out on a journey to take the Hunter exam and become a Hunter like his father was. While sailing to the examination site, Gon meets Leorio and Kurapika, who are also trying to become Hunters. But the three of them get off to a rocky start…
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
If there’s a show that feels weird going back to, it’s definitely Hunter x Hunter. After being intrigued by the property after getting very into the creators other work Yu Yu Hakusho years ago, I ended up reading the manga that Viz Media put out until I burned out on manga in general. And then they released the collections on DVD of what was animated back in the 90’s, which was sadly incomplete. The show was one that I definitely liked, even with its tried and true Shonen Jump style designs and structure, because the cast was fun and the nature of the show allowed it to have a lot of room to breathe and grow. With nearly thirty volumes of manga to work with, which had some hiatus time over the course of its run, Hunter x Hunter is the kind of show that can definitely cover a lot of ground.
The world of Hunter x Hunter is pretty varied when you get down to it, as it’s a world where there are so many unexplored lands, so many mysteries to be had and so many unexplained things that it’s quite open ended. The show revolves around people at this stage who want to become Hunters, specially licensed operatives of a wide variety of specialties that go after all manner of things. While there are a number we do follow as it goes on, the lead character is that of Gon, a twelve year old boy who wants to head off from home in order to take the Hunter Exam. He’s a gifted child when it comes to how he can react as well as align himself with all things natural, giving him a definite edge. Combine it with youthful enthusiasm and you’ve got a nice kid with an outgoing and fun personality that wants to succeed on the merits of who he is and his skills. Even at this young of an age, he’s someone that you could put out there as an inspiration and someone to idolize a bit.
Like most shows of this nature, it does a good job of showing the solid family foundation he has at first in his home village, where the residents love him and his aunt that’s raised him is very sad to see him go, but knows he has to because it’s in his blood through his father who was a Hunter as well. It’s a welcome change to have someone who supports the child like that rather than trying to keep them at home, safe and sound. Gon’s trip to the Hunter Exam has him with a number of others on the boat that’s taking them to the location and that in itself is a test, as well as a way for us to get to know some of the other people taking it such as Leorio and Kurapika.
The show takes a fairly relaxed episode here and gives us a clue early on that it’s not all about fighting. Being a Hunter doesn’t mean constant battles or tournaments (though there are elements of that in the series), it’s about using your head and having creative puzzles to solve. When the primary characters that are introduced here realize that the trip to the Exam is also a part of the Exam, it adds a nice flavor to things while also bringing in the youth and naiveté of Gon as we see part of it through his eyes. It’s not without an element of danger though and that lets Gon and the others show off their skills, making it for a fun episode that sets some of the basics while not throwing us head first into standard Exam style storytelling.
The opening episode is one that is by and large rather relaxed and smartly chooses many scenes to be without any music, letting the silence or the sounds of the moment fill it in a way that makes it feel less forced and more real. The pacing and style of the episode may throw off what some expect from a show these days since it’s adapting something that’s from the late 90’s which had a different sensibility about introductions, but it’s something that’s definitely welcome. Bringing Madhouse on to handle the show has them dealing with the original designs well, keeping them very close, but with a sense of color and detail to it that keeps it fresh and appealing to look at. It’s not a frame by frame remake of the original by any stretch but it uses what’s come before and tells its own story from different perspectives and angles. The opening episode isn’t a barn burner by any stretch, but it’s a solid episode that made me smile and has me completely on board for the ride to see how it’ll grow and change.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70″ LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.