For a new season, I write about the first episodes of most of the anime that air. That doesn’t mean I’m necessarily going to blog them. I don’t decide what I’m going to blog until the second episodes air. It’s a way of covering my bases so I don’t end up with a stinker that only impressed during it’s first episode.
With that out of the way, onto the first impressions of generic shounen #523652 (the remake).
When they announced they were going to make another Hunter X Hunter anime, I assumed that it would be a sequel. I hadn’t seen the original, but I had heard it followed the manga pretty closely and only stopped airing because it ran out of material to adapt. The author had health problems, so the manga slowed to a crawl in updates. But after 10 years since the original series ended, I assumed there must finally be enough new material for a sequel. So I started watching the original in preperation…well, when I say started, I only got through the first episode. It wasn’t bad, but it also didn’t seem to have anything unique going for it that warranted further exploration. I probably would have watched more, but then the new season was announced to be a remake so I decided not to bother.
So what’s changed since my single episode excursion? The animation has been updated for the new age, but it doesn’t necessarily look any better. It just means the characters move about a bit more when they’re standing on the ship. The entire first episode of the original series focused on why Gon wanted to become a Hunter and his growing up and leaving home, but the remake condensed that entire scene into about 5 minutes, which isn’t really that much of an improvement either. The music has gotten a massive upgrade though. I haven’t a clue what the music sounded like in the original (aka it was forgettable dribble), but in the remake it sounds like a cross between Pirates of the Caribbean and Classical Marching Music. I really suits the adventure feel of the series, especially since they spent most of the episode on a boat. It sounded like the kind of music I want to hear from the Last Exile sequel. But my problem with the series, as was my problem with the original, is I can’t see anything that makes this special.
[Insert male lead’s name here] is a young boy with spiky hair, energetic and good-natured, who wants to become a [Insert Fighting Profession of the day here] just like [Insert Inspirational Figure here]. He bids a tearful farewell to [Insert motherly figure here] and goes off on a journey, meeting a rag-tag group of companions, including the joker and the angsty character seeking revenge.
There’s nothing here that you can sell Hunter X Hunter with. “It’s a shounen, but with ninjas/pirates/grim reapers/pokemon/bread etc“. What are Hunters? They are the generic fighting adventurers who fulfil the tasks a shounen lead needs to have. Every single other shounen has something you can sell it with. Something unique that’s immediately apparent in it’s first episode. One Piece has the unique goofy art style and mad world it inhabits. Bleach has the dead people coming back as monsters and you have to put them to rest with your giant sword. I mean sure, maybe I need to watch more to see what unique selling point this one has. And I will continue watching more for now, because it’s not like it’s bad. But it needs to have some interesting feature to it, or else it will just breeze past me in a wave of generic shounen tropes and stereotypes.