What They Say
Young Gon dreams of following his father’s path and becoming a Hunter, an elite class of adventurer with legendary skills. But to make the grade he’ll first have to pass the extremely difficult and dangerous Hunter Qualification Exame. His journey leads him on the shared path of the Hunter’s exam, to lands beyond imagination and to friends who grow closer with each new trial. As the difficulty of the challenges mounts, will Gon and his friends prevail or will they wash out like so many others?
With audio in both English and Japanese, the sound quality for this series is impeccable regardless of the language. Voices come through clearly, and the sound effects are booming but not loud enough that it creates a disparity between the voices and effects. The blending is excellent. What’s more, both the dub and the sub are well-done, with great dialogue that flows smoothly across the tongue, and voices that are an accurate portrayal of the various characters.
As expected of a bluray video, the quality is above and beyond anything that can be produced by DVD or streaming services. True 1080p. Lines were crisp. Colors were clearly defined. It is hard to complain about the quality found within this series.
The bluray comes in a sleeve that easily slides off. The front of the sleeve depicts Gon in front of a map, along with the title and a section in the bottom corner letting you know that this is volume 1. The back shows the four main characters and gives you the blurb detailing what this volume is about. The use of an earth tone map in the background presents a strong contrast to the colorful characters in front, which makes the characters stand out. It’s a visually pleasing aesthetic. The case inside of the sleeve has a pastel background, and the front doesn’t show just Gon, but also the other three main supporting characters, though Gon is the only character whose entire body is shown. The others are mostly just heads hidden behind him.
Each menu lets you play, setup the audio and subtitles, and select which episode you would like to watch if you don’t want to start from the beginning. While disc 1 doesn’t have any extra features, disc two offers several extras.
There’s an art gallery that has some concept art and character designs, the clean OP and ED theme songs, trails for Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan, and an interview with the English voice actors for Gon and Killua.
Content: (Please note that this portion of the review may contain spoilers):
In a world where monsters rampage, ancient ruins with buried treasures exist, and criminals with a massive bounty on their heads run rampant, one young man dreams of becoming a Hunter. This is the story about Gon, a young boy of 12 who’s heading off on a journey to follow in his father’s footsteps. Seeing how this is a story about a young boy with dreams of becoming X, you can easily deduce that, just like Naruto and One Piece, this series is the epitome of what it means to be a shonen anime. From episode 1 to the end of this volume, I was given a pretty accurate showing of what I have come to expect from the shonen genre.
This isn’t a bad thing.
Hunter x Hunter does an excellent job in creating the setting and characters. We learn in episode one that Gon, our main protagonist, wants to set off on a journey to become a Hunter, which is an elite fighter who travels the world doing awesome things. Gon is an immediately likable character. He’s rustic, friendly, and athletic. One can’t help but immediately enjoy his characterization, which strikes you as simple-minded at first, though this proves to be unfounded as the story progresses. While he is, indeed, rather simple, he’s not dumb. His most outstanding feature outside of being unnaturally friendly is his keen insight and observational abilities. All in all, he makes an excellent main protagonist.
There are three other characters who, while not main protagonists, play a strong supporting role as Gon’s party.
Killua soon becomes Gon’s best friend. We don’t meet him until several episodes in, but he and Gon form a strong bond right off the bat. I think part of the reason is because they’re both 12. Seeing how no one else is the same age as them, it makes sense they’d want to stick together. The other reason is, I believe, because Gon is so friendly and upfront. He takes everything Killua says at face value. What’s more, while both are strikingly different in personality and temperament, they share many similar traits as well.
The other two main supporting cast members are Kurapika, the last survivor of the Kurta clan, and Leorio, a sarcastic doctor who constantly gets in rows with Kurapika. Both have their own back story that gives them a strong standing and presence within the series. Because Gon’s main bond is with Killua, these two form what I call HxH’s greatest comedy duo. Their constant bantering presents a contrast to how well Gon and Killua get along. However, despite how they banter, it’s easy to see that they trust each other a great deal. When the going gets tough, they can pull through for each other in a pinch.
Several other characters are introduced, but none of them are really expanded upon. This leaves many of these characters open to interpretation. The one who shows the most personality outside of the main three is Hisoka, a man who dresses like a clown and uses cards to fight. Despite looking somewhat silly, it’s easy to tell that he will be one of the antagonists for this series—at least in part. His personality and attitude are dark and he seems to take pleasure in causing pain. While he hasn’t been expanded upon yet, I am expecting that at some point, Gon will have to face off against him.
This anime so far has a very strong premise, which does an extraordinary job of keeping the viewer’s attention. The artwork and animation are, likewise, impressive. Perhaps the greatest aspect of this series is the smooth flow for the animation. The movement used is all very smooth, and while some shortcuts are taken during the animating process, the use of short cuts is done well enough that you wouldn’t notice unless you were specifically looking for them. We’re given a glimpse of several other characters who might become future antagonists. Several of our protagonists also display traits that make me think they aren’t everything they appear to be. This has the makings of a great series, though I am a little disappointed with how it ended.
Volume 1 doesn’t complete the Hunter Exam Arc. The first few episodes detail Gon, Leorio, and Kurapika as they journey to where the exams are taking place. The rest of the volume details the first three exams, which include an endurance run of about 100 kilometers, a cooking exam, and an exam that involves reaching the ground floor of a massive tower while fighting off inmates from a jail. A good deal happens, but it is over yet.
Content Grade: B+
Audio Grade: A
Video Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Menu Grade: B+
Extras Grade: B+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: October 25th 2016
Running Time: 299 minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen
55″ Class AQUOS HD Series LED TV LC-55LE643U, Xbox 360 DVD player