Manorexic’s Anime Sampler – Hunter x Hunter

Posted on Nov 09 2011

You gotta love when they take an old anime and revamp it to make it cleaner and more canon. I know I do. My favorite example of this has to be Hellsing Ultimate, even if it takes a year to make a single OVA. But this article isn’t about that, it’s about another ongoing revamp: Hunter x Hunter.

Many were expecting this show to take place after the OVA, but this is a complete do over to try and make the show more manga-accurate. Now I’m not one to do my homework, so I didn’t go read the manga and fact-check to see if they accomplished this, but I have heard from consultants that they did a good job with the canon. Really the only problem I have with the show on a technical scale is the opening is so ridiculously cliché that it seems like it got the storyboard from an “every anime opening ever” type video.

Like many good shows, Hunter x Hunter has something people like to call “backstory.” This is given to us here in the form of narration. We now know that hunters are incredible people who hunt for the mysterious and mythic. Next we jump to a boy wearing leaves sitting in a tree fishing, as boys tend to do. In town two men talk to Mito (it isn’t said, but this is Gon’s aunt) about how she promised Gon he could take the Hunter Exam if he could catch the Lord of the Lake. Who says Asian parents have high expectations?

So Gon catches the fish in what I would think is the single most intense reeling in ever, combining fishing, acrobatics, and some form of martial arts. But the thing that impresses me most is the assumed hundred pound fish being dragged on a line wrapped around a tree that never snaps the pole. Seriously, he must me using an adamantium fishing pole or something there. After he returns to town we find out that catching the Lord of the Lake is a pretty big deal, especially since a twelve year old did it when five men couldn’t. So Mito lets Gon leave for the exam, and they make a pretty intense pinky swear that goes something like this:

Pinky swear made. Whoever breaks their promise has to swallow a thousand needes. Sealed with a kiss.

Sending off your nephew whose parents either died or abandoned him onto a boat full of vicious strangers to take the most intense test on the planet. Seems legit. This boat has a few dozen very colorful characters, but only four really stick out. Now here’s a basic anime rule: If the show cuts away to two insignificant to the current scene characters, they’re gonna be important later. Here we see just that, with two cut aways to Kurapika and Leorio. We also meet the picked-on clumsy deckhand, Katsuo, and the drunkard captain.

I don’t know when you learn that cracking your nose increases your smelling sense to that of a blood hound, but Gon did at some point. He is able to tell a massive storm is coming with his super sense. During this storm, the boat gets tossed every which way, and like anyone, the captain rides up the hundred foot wave and over it. Gotta love anime physics. After all this the only people not unconscious or sick are our five notable cast members mentioned before, surprise surprise.

The captain calls Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio into the helm for a little interview. He asks why they want to become hunters, a question to which Leorio and Kurapika refuse to answer. After revealing his boat ride is the first part of the Hunter Exam, Kurapika reveals he is the remaining member of his clan and wants to kill the gang who killed his clan and Leorio answers that he’s in it for the money. Leorio is angered by not being spoken to with an honorific by Kurapika and threatens to kill the last of his “filthy clan,” to which Kurapika follows him on deck to fight.

The ship is headed towards a giant waterspout and the crew members try to lower the sails to avoid it while the other two fight. Because they’re awesome, the notable five are completely impervious to the effects of giant waves and sideways boat. But before the fight begins, a huge gust knocks the deckhands off the sail’s rope and Katsuo is left to dangle in the wind until he is thrown overboard. But it was a deus ex machina wind so he was blown between the two fighters who reach overboard to try and catch him but miss. So Gon jumps over as well, grabs Katsuo, and the other two grab Gon. Being awesome has its perks.

Nothing brings friends together like saving their lives. Kurapika and Leorio forgive each other, and the captain is so impressed with their teamwork that he instantly passes them and agrees to drop them off at the port nearest the next part of the exam. Thus ending the episode in a bright and optimistic mood. That is, until the narrator talks again and says

And so begins Gon’s journey to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a Hunter.

rant Really? Now this is gonna sound very ignorant, but why do we say this is the beginning of Gon’s journey? Did we totally forget about Kurapika and Leorio? Why not say “And so begins Kurapika’s journey to avenge his murdered clan” or “And so begins Leorio’s journey to get the money needed to live the life he always wanted,” or maybe they’re all starting one collective journey. Just saying, it makes it seem like every character in this episode is never going to be heard from again and it’ll just revolve around Gon’s random encounters. /rant

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