21 CommentsHunter X Hunter / By Shinmaru /

Hunter x Hunter 1 – Let’s Have an Adventure!

I definitely wanted to blog the Hunter x Hunter remake from the start, especially since I ended up enjoying the original series so much, but I didn’t want to make definite plans before watching the first episode — however, Madhouse has done exactly what I hoped it would do with the premiere, so here I am! I’m hoping to stick with Hunter x Hunter for as long as it goes, whether that’s 60 or (god forbid) 600 episodes from now!

Now, while I enjoyed Hunter x Hunter, I have to admit I wasn’t that fond of the early portion of the series. I can respect that it’s a bit slow for the purposes of character development — you get more insight into Gon’s decision to become a Hunter, Mito’s relationship with Gon and why she is reluctant for him to become  a Hunter, Gon’s affinity with nature, and so on. There’s also a bunch of stuff skipped with Leorio and Kurapika that develop their characters a bit more and doesn’t make it feel quite so random that Gon is thrown in with them on the way to the Hunter Exam.

But at the same time, I can live with skipping that stuff, because it’s still very standard shonen-type stuff, and what makes Hunter x Hunter stand out is that it’s a very twisted, dark tale masquerading as a lighthearted shonen adventure. The shonen trappings, at least from what I gleaned in the TV series, are the creators priming the viewer’s expectations and then putting the screws to all these lovable shonen archetypes. Gon’s the plucky, adventurous kid; Leorio is the goofy lecher; and Kurapika is the serious kid seeking vengeance. They all get put to the test eventually, though. (By the way, Kurapika is a dude. Miyuki Sawashiro is just a touch more feminine here than Kurapika’s original seiyuu, haha.)

So I hope Madhouse is able to burn through the less compelling material at a solid rate without making everything too confusing or anything. I watched this first episode with Emily and Vuc last night, and neither has seen nor read Hunter x Hunter before, but both seemed to get the basic gist of what was going on, which makes me confident in Madhouse’s ability to condense the early material in an understandable way. That’s definitely the danger with burning through story at a crazy pace: You don’t want to leave the viewer behind and have them thinking, “what is this I don’t even” the whole time. Good thing there’s not too much jargon and shit when it comes to Hunter x Hunter‘s world building.

As for the actual content of this episode . . . pretty solid. Again, definitely standard shonen stuff: Gon wants to go on a fuckin’ adventure and become a Hunter because that is some badass fuckin’ shit, yo. You’ve got Leorio and Kurapika demonstrating how awesome they are, and immediately developing a connection with Gon because he’s awesome like that. You’ve got the Hunter Exam beginning in earnest. We’re off to the races, people. The music is definitely more bombastic and adventure-like than the original series. Not sure if I like it more, but it’s not unwelcome.

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I’m definitely going to miss this track, though. Such a perfect punctuation for the super dramatic scenes. Love the hell out of this song, man. LOVE IT.

But, yeah, my spirits are lifted at seeing a solidly put together debut episode. Really looking forward to how Madhouse approaches the parts I enjoyed most in the original — there’s one fight in particular I REALLY want to see, because I can’t imagine how anyone could top its presentation in the first series. But I’m approaching it with an open mind!

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  1. Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I shall look forward to following you with this series! <3 This first ep certainly hit all the right spots and since it's been so long since I've even watched it it did a very good job in making me remember what's what and with who.

    maybe that's part of their plan. just throw in enough stuff for people to remember and enough stuff for the new peeps that are viewing it to understand everything. it's working so far :D

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Yep, I’m thinking that when the show gets to the good stuff in the Hunter Exam, then things will slow down again, and the show will be allowed to breathe. That shit is just too awesome to not let it have a bit of time behind it.

  2. Ando
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    >Kurapica is a dude
    Strictly speaking this has never been explicitly verified and is still the subject of vicious debate (together with Nefelpitou and Caruto), but most people think he’s a guy.

    I’m liking the new anime so far. I’m glad they updated the character designs because I didn’t like the way they looked in the original series.

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Haha, really? I didn’t know that. I just assumed, since I didn’t think the original series made Kurapika sound particularly androgynous at all . . .

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      (together with Nefelpitou and Caruto)

      Curse Togashi and his godly traps!

  3. Marow
    Posted October 2, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Nice that you will cover it, looking forward to it :D
    I hope they keep this pacing until the real exam, which should be only two or three episodes away?

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      The exam could probably start in earnest in the next couple of episodes.

  4. Posted October 2, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    That track is so epic I just can’t imagine how anything can top it. It’s like a signature of the original series.

    This episode went better than I expected, and I had relatively high hopes for the remake because it was going to try and follow the manga as faithfully as possible. I agree that the first series dabbled on some unnecessary things in the beginning so it’s nice to see this series speed through that, but only if it means they’ll came back to it later.

    Man, I’m just so hyped for this series hahaha!

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      One thing I’m curious about is if Madhouse will keep any of the anime-original stuff or if the studio will add anything of its own … or whether the series will be a straight-up FMA: Brotherhood-style manga adaptation.

  5. Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    This was surprisingly enjoyable. I am glad you said that this show has darker theme because that’s what I strive for (or at least expected based on my friend’s recommendation).There’s hope then that Madhouse will do this show justice

    And that ED! Gosh awesomeness!

    • Posted October 2, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, the darker stuff starts coming to the forefront at the beginning of the Hunter Exam, and by the final round it gets pretty crazy.

  6. Posted October 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m going into this cold, but I found the first episode understandable and enjoyable. I’m kind of glad we didn’t get more of Mito, as she was kind of depressing. Let’s adventure!

    • Posted October 3, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      lol, Mito is less depressing the next time she shows up.

  7. Aray
    Posted October 3, 2011 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    After reading the first and second chapter of the manga, I’m quite surprise how faithful Madhouse was on its first episode remake, the only thing notably missing was Kaito, then it was almost a panel by panel adaptation of the manga. This gives me great hope that the production is going to do a great job.

    HxH is the only anime so far that I’m planning on following this season -have to check out Chihayafuri and the two Noitamina. I’m glad that your covering this. :D

    • Posted October 3, 2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I’ve heard after the fact that there was actually a decent amount of material added to the original anime. It’s blended in seamlessly, so I didn’t really think anything of it. I haven’t read the manga, so the original anime is basically my canon, haha.

  8. Posted October 3, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    I was pretty OK with everything except for that horrid ED theme and the fact that I didn’t see Kaito. It’s been quite awhile since I’ve read the early parts of this manga, but I’m pretty sure Kaito made a very important appearance near the beginning of this series.

    For me I hope they don’t rush things too much. With FMA: Brotherhood I could understand the quickening of the pace because it hadn’t been that long since the original anime aired and it covered the early part of the manga quite well. But I don’t think there’s any need to rush with this series. The anime adaptations have been around for quite awhile and are rather disjointed in that it’s spread across TV series and OVA’s. I’d prefer to enjoy my first animated viewing of Hunter X Hunter slowly, so that I may savor the fine shounen masterpiece that it is. *sips Earl Grey*

    • Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Yeah, now that I’ve watched the first anime, this might be the series I’m most hyped about this season. Going to be so awesome!

  9. Matt Wells
    Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Read the manga twice in four weeks when I was 15, never saw the TV anime. Hunter x Hunter ranks up there with One Piece as my all time favourite Shonen manga series, and that’s precisely because of the darkness so prevalent in it, as you mention. It might even have been higher if Togashi hadn’t dragged his feet on it for the last decade, but we’re finally getting some stoy progression.

    Togashi’s always testing the boundaries of what you can publish in Jump, even as far back as Yu Yu Hakusho, and especially in Level E. H x H has the sense of wonder and adventure, with genuinely nasty stuff to back it up. The Chimera Ant arc in particular is near Seinen in content: cannibal ants taking on the personalities and powers of the people they eat, all for a genocidal breding program to create the perfect organism. Scary shit.

    Since I never saw the first TV series, I don’t know how much they added and how well it complimented the real story. Yu Yu Haksuho managed to pull it off, and Level E only lost a bit of fat in the translation to screen. The new series is off to a solid start so far, going by the manga we should reach the main exam arc by episode 3 or so. Can’t wait for Killua’s first fight! Heart stopping stuff (lousy pun aside).

    Have you ever seen the Greed Island OVAs? They cap off the Auction storyline and get into the next arc, though as an adaptation they were pretty poor. Low budget animation and a lot of story got excised in there. The new series should, if we’re lucky, go all the way up to the present manga storyline. No filler!

    • Posted October 4, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I heard that even the original series is quite sanitized compared to the manga — and the first anime is pretty damn crazy! I can only imagine how nuts the manga is!

      I’m watching the first Hunter x Hunter OVA right now, and then after that I’ll watch the Greed Island OVAs, even though I have heard VERY mixed things about them.

  10. Posted October 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Read the manga, Shinmaru. There’s really no good substitute for it.

    Even though I’ve never actually watched any of the animated adaptations, ahaha…

    I thought that this newest adaptation did a pretty piss poor job of capturing, as you said, the dark, edgy atmosphere of the first. The overblown music and acting really doesn’t help. I guess there’s a chance that they’re going to go the Madoka route and do a complete 180, but seriously. People out there think this is fucking KID’S show, out of all things. Well… at least audiences that are younger than the typical Shonen Jump audience, which are kids anyway…

    I’ve never watched the original anime though, and your post on it has really made me want to watch it. What you say in it, I think, captures very well the essence of what makes HunterXHunter different from other shonen fighting series out there. And if you can get that impression from just watching the anime… it makes me think that it must be worth watching. If it can capture that trademark HxH tone.

    Again though, you really should read the manga. And blog about your impressions! I’ve never watched the Greed Island OVAs, so I can’t really comment on them, but the manga arc is really one of the best arcs in the entire series. (Use the tankoubon scans though, to avoid the infamous sketchy art. I think they’re available on MangaFox.)

    • Posted October 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think the story really develops a dark, edgy atmosphere until it gets into the thick of the Hunter Exam, though … although, to be fair, this is just my experience from the first series. If I read the manga, it probably won’t be for a while, since I am not much of a manga reader in the first place.

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