The Nihon Review - Anime Reviews & Editorials

Hunter X Hunter

Title: Hunter X Hunter
Genre: Action/Drama
Company: Nippon Animation
Format: 62 episodes
Dates: 16 Oct 1999 – 31 Mar 2001

Synopsis: “Hunter,” this is a name given to those who seek out riches, glory and power. Every year a massive test is held to choose the people who deserve such a title. With thousands of applicants, the examination is lengthy, rigorous and often deadly. Despite all these tribulations, a young boy called Gon enters this competition and gambles his life in search of his long lost father.

The Highlights
Characters: Unexpectedly deep.
Story Arcs: Fun to watch but long-winded.
Animation: Unacceptably poor.
Ending: Nonexistent.

As a long time fan of the manga, I have spent many hours tracking down and watching Hunter X Hunter. After viewing the series, I can honestly say that the producers did a good job capturing the essence of the original while adding a few tidbits of their own. Friendship has always been the central theme for manga artist Togashi Yoshihiro, and this anime grasps this concept with its endearing cast of characters.

The show starts off as a stock shounen anime, full of stereotypical, super-powered characters. The main protagonist, Gon, is a typical naïve character cliché who has as an ardent desire to meet his father. With such trite fanfare, the series boasts little potential until the other major characters enter the scene. Killua, Kurapica and Leorio are all tragic characters that are attracted to the uplifting charisma of Gon who superficially manages to deal with his neglected childhood. In truth, all the characters are haunted by their pasts, and they use one another as emotional cruxes. The show masterfully evolves these characters from strangers into best friends while using superhuman action and light comedy for intrigue.

While this show does not suffer from being a banal shounen action anime, it does have its fair amount of blemishes. Simply put, the animation resembles something from a prior decade. Frame rates are low, while reused cels and panning are common. This normally would have been acceptable, but Hunter X Hunter is an action series, thus the animation is a major element to the overall experience.

I, however, could have easily overlooked the subpar visuals if the series had moved at a brisker pace. Simply put, the series could have been half its length if it weren’t for all the time consuming gimmicks so common in shounen anime. There may be no fillers but only a small handful of events are truly meaningful in each episode. While the show never stops being engaging or entertaining, it also could have been far more succinct.

Despite some wasted time early on, the final stretch manages to rectify much of the faults. Due to the cliffhanger ending, viewing Hunter X Hunter OVA will be an obvious choice after this show. With good music and a fun premise, Hunter X Hunter shows the competition how a good shounen action anime should be made.

The Rating: 6

Reviewed by: Shadowmage

Top of page