I came across Hunter X Hunter a few years back when my friend introduced me to the first anime series. At the time, I was a strictly shounen genre kind of anime viewer. Since it has a familiar feel to it as it shares the generic shounen format, I immediately love watching the series. I didn’t finish the series so when the 2011 version was announced, I knew I had to watch it.
Fast forward today, it’s been roughly three years since its first episode aired. Throughout the 148 episodes, I was thoroughly entertained by the adventures of Gon and Killua. It’s safe to say that each arc has its own uniqueness, different, but at the same time, equally entertaining.
To date, my favorite arc Heavens Arena. One of the reasons why I like this arc the most is because it’s the time how skills in Hunter X Hunter world work is explained. And also because there are some interesting battles going on. But all in all, the series itself have pretty solid arcs. Each arc picks up where the other arcs left off very smoothly. Before the audience knew it, they’re already moving into another exciting adventure ahead.
Each arc is capable of holding my interest. I don’t remember experiencing the confusing what-did-i-just-watch moments. If anything, every episode in this anime version of Hunter X Hunter pieces together puzzles of the series in a linear manner. The transition from one story to another was good.
Story & Dark Side
One of the things I find as the most striking difference between Hunter X Hunter and the rest of action shounen anime (Naruto, One Piece, Fairy Tail, etc) I followed is how dark and frightening it can become. Arcs like Chimera Ant Arc could’ve easily give anyone with a faint heart nightmares. Also, Killua’s abandoned sister, Alluka is one scary kid. Cute, but scary.
Despite its tendency of being extremely dark, the 2011 version of Hunter X Hunter was, in my opinion, well executed. It’s deeply engaging and well thought out.
Besides, its shows significant character growth in a short amount of time. The phases that Gon and Killua went through, it showed us exactly what these two kids had gone through and the person they became out of the experiences. I’m especially fascinated to watch Killua changed from being a snobby kid to be a kind one. I enjoyed watching how he overcame his struggles as he tried to get rid some of his trained mentalities. His changes were more apparent than that of Gon’s. It’s not to say Gon didn’t change at all. It’s, however, safe to say without the devastating “death” of Kite, he probably would still be the Gon we saw the first time. Except for a few new tricks up his sleeves.
As Killua slowly moves forward, away from his past as a skilled assassin, it affects the Zoldyck family too. I’d love to know if the Zoldyck assassins will one day turn good, or at least be less of a heartless assassin. Particularly, Killua’s parents, who seem to have gone softer since Killua met Gon.
Did I mention how interesting some of the “enemies” are? I call them enemies because they’re the bad guys of Hunter X Hunter. Yes, I’m talking about the antagonists. The characters such as the beloved Hisoka, ant king Meruem and a few more. They’re interesting not because they’re super powerful. They’re interesting because there are depths to their characters. They’re not just one facet, which is to be bad like antagonists in shounen series should be. Characters like Hisoka and Meruem constantly made viewers, such as myself, to question their motives and behaviors. Followers of the series know very well that Hisoka is insanely, for the lack of better word, insane. He acts according to self-interest. No one can really predicts what he thinks. And I believe that’s what make the series all the more interesting.
Hunter X Hunter’s Future
Given that the manga has been plagued with hiatuses and is currently on indefinite hiatus, it’s hard to predict if there’s a continuation of its anime. Fairy Tail anime stopped airing temporarily at one point, but had since return to regular schedule this year. While I think the anime has ended on a good note, I don’t mind it returning on screen again. There’s certainly more to tell.
I believe just this 2011 version of Hunter X Hunter anime alone is worth the time to watch. Forget about the first anime series. And forget about the manga. This anime series alone, 148 episodes, is enough to make one a fan of Hunter X Hunter.
Note: I keep saying 2011 version because I can’t really compare between the two anime series. I wasn’t very into the first one as I did the second.