Posted by psgels on 28 June 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews


It’s strange… the more I experiment with my new series rating-system, the more annoying the old system becomes…so that’s why I’ve decided to stop using this old system. In any case, the reason why the next old anime-review this time is partly because I had other things to do, and also because Hunter x Hunter has 62 episodes. And to think that after the series, I still need to watch three OVAs that came out after it, but those are for another time.

Hunter x Hunter starts out as a classic shounen-series. It takes a group of people with special powers (Bleach has shinigamis, Naruto has ninjas, Hunter x Hunter has… hunters), gives them a number of different powers and specializations, creates a number of large organizations and picks a generic young male to be the main character. Of course, with such a huge amount of episodes, I was redundant to check out this series, but ten episodes in, and I was hooked. This is everything a shounen-series should be.

Hunter x Hunter is basically divided into two halves, with an incredible difference between them. The first half feels like a huge game, where Gon (the main character) and his friends need to overcome a number of challenges in order to become hunters. It’s a standard shounen-plot, but its charms come from the cast of characters. It’s so much fun to watch not only the main characters, but also the side-ones as they try to become one of the hunters, and on top of that, the main villain stands miles above his counterparts in series as Naruto, Dragonball Z and Bleach.

This series only really sets itself apart from the rest of the genre with its second half, though. It starts out pretty bad, admittedly. The Zoaldyeck-arc is pretty much the worst arc of the entire series, only to be followed by yet another dull training-arc, but afterwards the series slowly unfolds into a story about the mafia, that for once isn’t about destroying/ruling the world. It’s here were Hunter x Hunter introduces real jobs, such as being a body-guard, and interesting ways for hunters to make money.

The problem with lengthy shounen (at least the ones I’ve seen), is that they get duller and duller as they go on, usually thanks to some kind of training-arc where the creators abuse their powers a bit too much in order to god-mode their main character beyond the point of believability. Gon indeed gets powered up a bit too much, but what I like about this series is that he still is nowhere near the power of the strong guys. Heck, even the main villains aren’t the strongest characters in this series. The creators also make use of the fact that Gon is just a child: it unconsciously lets his enemies spare his life, instead of killing him.

One major annoyance with this series (apart from the training arcs, that is), is that during the times of building-up, it’s got the “everyone who isn’t strong is an idiot”-mentality. Whenever Gon is facing weaker enemies than himself, they’re always portrayed as cocky idiots without any brains or tactical knowledge, and things like a one-in-ten-million talent are pulled out of the creators’ sleeve in an attempt to explain his superiority. Thankfully, there are enough characters with depth to them. Especially Kurapica is someone to watch out for, because the character-development he goes through is truly memorable.

Also, this series has avoided one more subtle pitfall of shounen-series: wounded characters remain hurt, and don’t get magically healed in the next episode. When characters get punched in the face, it remains swollen until it gets a logical reason to heal. The overall animation isn’t anything special, but I really appreciate details like that one. The soundtrack is also really effective for a shounen-series.

Overall, in terms of seriousness, Hunter x Hunter is definitely my favourite shounen-fighting-series. Overall, it still doesn’t match up to the humour and fights of the Law of Ueki, but it easily takes second place. The thing that worked against it the most was its main character: Gon. He does have a number of really memorable moments, but the creators waste way too much time in trying to make his power catch up to the strong people, and he often takes away the screen-time of the much more interesting characters. It’s a thing that unfortunately every series of its kind has. The rest of the cast is rock-solid, though, and especially the second and final quarter of the series deliver. I’m curious whether the three OVAs that came out afterwards will keep this same quality, or fall horribly like nearly every other show of its kind.

Storytelling: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 7/10
Setting: 9/10

22 Responses

  1. Wind says:

    Too generous on the production values.

  2. Paj says:

    To tell you the truth I also love this series. . .And I don’t like the mafia arc but I guess you do. I like the training arc in this series because I get to see Gon’s and Killua’s growth being flesh out. My favorite OVA is Greed Island.

  3. psgels psgels says:

    Whoa, fast.

    Wind: Point taken about the production-values. I’m still trying to get used to that rating-system.

  4. shirokiryuu says:

    Back when shounen was my favorite thing, I love hunterxhunter. Until, the whole ant-alien arc thing. I felt too “DBZ”-ish, and I didn’t really feel the sort of charm that HXH had before.

  5. Patrick Monti says:

    HxH is one of my favorite series in its genre too. I liked the kurapica arc a lot (just before the ovas), but the rest is still very good for being a shounen.
    It takes a little time to get used to your new rating system, don’t worry about that.

  6. Denizen says:

    I’m surprised you hadn’t already seen this, though you rate it up with Ueki, so you must have liked it.

    I have to say, HxH is a VERY GOOD shounen, and it’s very enjoyable and involving.

    The OVAs are okay too. The first OVA is still in York Shin, but then it sort of branches off into an RPG world which you may or may not like.

  7. ZokiE says:

    I too find HxH to be one of the better shonen series out there, i still read the manga… whenever the author decides he wants to draw some , the 1 year gap between 10 chapters is quite painful.

    I also have to say that i think you should keep including a link to the reasoning behind your scoring system somewhere visible, sure, now its still on the first page in clear view, however, since it differs quite a lot from many rating systems (ie. 2/7 is still a decent show)it will confuse new readers on the blog…. jsut a pointer

  8. upie says:

    my favorite shounen series! I’m also surprised you hadn’t seen this before. But i guess it’s because it’s not as mainstream as Naruto or Bleach, though it’s quite popular among shounen fans.

    The characters basically drawn me into the series as well. Kurapica was the most intriguing character for me. I loved the york shin (spider) arc the most.

  9. Wyrdwad says:

    I think I like your old ratings system better. The stars are probably better for you, but the percentage grade is better for the reader. With the stars, there’s too much “wiggle room”… is it a high 5-stars, or a low 5-stars? With a set percentage grade, we know EXACTLY where you stand. (And it doesn’t matter if you don’t use all the percentages available to you – it’s like grades in school, where 70-79 is passing but not great, and anything below that is a D+ or below, which is basically failure!)

    I guess the problem is, you can’t really make numerical judgments like that and have them stay constant from one day to the next. I know for me, there are days when I’ll like one anime considerably more than if I were to watch it on a different day… and I guess for that, the stars are a bit clearer.

    But still, I find the percentage grade a lot easier to digest overall.

    -Tom

  10. psgels psgels says:

    Wyrdwad: I see your point. Another reason I had to move away from the number-system is that everyone seems to have a different interpretation for these numbers. When I rate a series 7/10, it means that I sortof liked the series, but it had a lot of flaws. Someone else, however, may think that the series with a 7/10 rating is actually pretty good, and others might think it’s utter crap. That’s why I went with my own system: at least there’s less room for misunderstandings this way.

    I agree with you on the “wiggle-room”-part, though. I now realize too that within those categories, a difference should be made between high 5-stars and low 5-stars… Perhaps if I append a small “+”-sign at the end of the ratings of those high 5-sters… hmm, time to experiment a bit mor…

  11. Archer says:

    i have to say that this is maybe my favorite shounen anime,Gon may be a typical main character sometimes and even if he is not my favorite character in the series i like him,he is if i can say quite realistic for its age in that world,once Gon starts his journey and meets with Leorio, Kurapica and Killua it is very hard not to continue watching and Hunter x Hunter is probably one of the most enjoyable anime to watch,there are also many interesting side-characters like Hisoka,Kuroro
    the art is not fantastic but i can’t say it is that bad either,the music is ok i especially enjoyed listening almost every time to the 1st op song so overall a very good anime and now i still need to get used to the new system :D but overall the your review is very good and psg you might like the Greed Island and Greed Island Final OVA’s since you are into the RPG series

  12. Kim says:

    Quite honestly the star system confuses me because I am not sure what the maximum number of stars a series can get is. I liked your old system much better although I understand numbers can be misleading I mean is there really a big difference between an 84 and an 83?

    My suggestion would be to use letter grades. I think they are easily understood and you can easily add + or – to them.

    So and A would be better than an A- but an A- would be better than a B+ and so on.

  13. cody says:

    yea is 10 the max for stars?

    Not sure how this works…I honestly liked the old system better. 70s and up were all solid shows and as long as you keep the rating system explanation along with the reviews it should be fine

  14. cody says:

    btw I would check out the ovas if I was you. First one clears up the york shin incident, and the next ones are about greed island. The 2 last ovas have improved production values as well btw. Nothing fantastic but it’s nice to see a bit of an upgrade.

    Btw the manga is on hiatus right? I would REALLY like a continuation for the HxH anime. Great great show. Love how significant battle wounds carry over, the lighthearted combat in the show, and the characters.

  15. yoshi927 says:

    I was actually pretty interested in the training arc. But I really just love every aspect of HxH. You know… it’s “that series” for me. (In other words, I think that if Osamu Tezuka were an anime, he’d be this one)

    To put it succinctly;
    stfu n00b
    hxh pwns
    if u dont think so u must be stupid

  16. john says:

    the hunterxhunter training arc was actually pretty interesting. but i liked the fact that the hunter x hunter training arc was interesting because it didn’t only focus on training it shows other parts as well unlike the naruto training arcs

  17. Machi says:

    What you never watched Yorkshin arc O.o it makes Kurapica and the Spiders, especially Pakunoda, even more awesome~. Its funny how because of side characters like Kurapica the Gon and Killua pair just seem like a hindrance when you just want to watch the side characters. In any case I don’t know if you’ve watched it yet but you should definitely check out the Yorkshin Arc OVA, which is pretty much just a continuation of the TV series in the first place but like I said it definitely peaks the Kurapica arc.

  18. jessie says:

    I just finished watching this series and it left me with a very good feeling. the feeling of contentment yet open to have some more, and enjoyment but sad that it’s over.

    As we can notice, the main characters have their different personalities that make you wonder how they did that effect that they seem to suit each other so well though they are far different from each other. This made the series very interesting in a way that you wanna discover more things about them.

    The series , in my opinion, is actually complicated but was delivered with simplicity in it. and I love every part of it. there were some events in the middle (that made it so cool especially the York Shin part) but then in the end, the real goal was shown — the goal to find his father.

    the ending in G I final was so good. they didn’t let us eat everything and was somehow hanging yet it fully wrapped the entire anime.

    Two thumbs up for Hunter X Hunter! I am really hooked!

  19. Comorv says:

    I disagree with the rating you give to this series, especially when you put it side by side with The Law of Ueki (I agree that Ueki was enjoyable), but, I believe, overall, that HxH is better, pretty much in every single aspect.
    Start with something simple, like the date, HxH was aired in 1999 while Ueki came on 2002, still, you cant find MUCH better graphics on Ueki’s production than HxH (Hell, Ueki even has some scenes where faces look really weird).
    The Storytelling in HxH by far exceeds most other Shounen animes and mangas, especially if you dont bring stuff like “World is gonna end, SAVE US PEGASSUS”, still, you gave it an 8… at least a 9 man.
    The characters, how many shounen anime do you see and enjoy?, if you go for Naruto or Bleach, you’ll never find development like Kurapika’s; you wont find a story so well made where the main character (Gon) develops like he does in this series and STILL is not enough to face the bad guys.
    The Production-Values, omg, you gave a 7 to HxH production… have you noticed how you tend to pay more attention to old slow moving anime more than this one (because it’s a shounen), by all means, I invite you to rewatch HxH and pay attention to the little details, even as it’s a 1999 production…
    The Setting, yes, I’ll accept that the setting deserves a 9/10
    So, I would go for a highr rating overall on HxH:
    Storytelling: 9/10
    Characters: 10/10
    Production-Values: 9/10
    Setting: 9/10
    Hunter x Hunter Score: 92.5 (at least).

    Thank you.

  20. Shinigami says:

    The new OP and ED for HunterXHunter that will begin October 2 are announcedd!!!

    http://shinigamilist.com/2011/09/16/hunter-x-hunter-theme-songs-announced/

  21. Matej says:

    Comorv – I agree with your assesment.

    This show is just so good.
    Lead charachter is very good and he keeps on changing- neutral, flawed, human, not moraslistic or judging. Unlike one piece- pure repetition and strenght of will …bla bla bla…sanji fights….zoro fights then luffy who wins by his great will. No it doesn’t work that way – they loose and change. I love gon but i don’t like naruto, ichigo or luffy. My favourite animes are last exile, berserk, 12 kingdoms, kinos journey, hikaru no go, monster, Trigun, Bebop,FM Alchemist and hunter x hunter…all should be 90+

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:34 PM)
    @Bam: They’d never allow bringing in toys/games/comics back when I was in school, they thought bringing in such things would make the kids of lower income families feel bad for not being able to afford things.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:31 PM)
    @Mario: He’s actually not a big fan of Iranian cinema, he told me before that he found most of it overly depressing.
    Now what you’re talking about there sounds like my kind of film.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:30 PM)
    @Bam: I’ll get back into the mainstream blockbusters thing as much as I used to be someday. someday….
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:28 PM)
    @Bam: Well, I guess I more brought up the being accused of hipsterism and contrarianism referring to the type of hypothetical person who would never be satisfied with how well you’d defend your opinion.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:25 PM)
    Thats the awkward thing though, when casting a superhero role, its difficult to find someone who can get both identities correct.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 01:23 PM)
    Bah implying toxic avenger and Italian spiderman aren’t the best superhero films OmO hahaha!
  • SuperMario
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 08:50 AM)
    Hey Bam, I remember attended a preview on one of an upcoming Iranian animated feature called The Last Fiction. it was inspired by the poem “Shahnameh” and from what I had seen so far, a very stylish, confident and “bloody” work. Expected to be complete in the end of 2017 thou.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:37 AM)
    Comic books were super rare and expensive in Iran, being banned and all. Rich kids in elementary would bring them to school to show them off, along with their Ninja Turtles action figures; they looked so cool and I was hella jealous. Me and my brother only had the bootleg Toxic Crusader figures lol
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:34 AM)
    @K-off: I didn’t read the comics either. I watched that weird 60s show, and Spiderman and the Amazing Friends, which had Firestar and the ice guy. I know his personality was quippy and kind of a wise-ass, and McGuire looks kinda like a rape victim of sorts. It was a lot better in costume, I admit.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jun 29. 2016 06:29 AM)
    I mean if we use the term fanboy for whenever someone feels strongly about something, then what’ll we have left for people who LARP and insist to be called by their WoW character names and dress up in gear and persistently speak in fake ‘Ol English?

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