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HUNTER X HUNTER -- AV Mods' Roundtable

How do you guys and gals feel about the end of Hunter x Hunter? Check out what our experts have to say!

Hello everyone, I'm Taka with three of our Hunter x Hunter veteran Vicers who will share their opinions on the franchise as a whole and then shed some light on its latest arc, 13th Hunter Chairman. Taichokage (manga and 1999 anime only) and RubberLuffy will be your guides on that. Finally, we wrap it up with a recommendation for folks who haven't tried Hunter x Hunter by Marshal Victory (anime only).

  • How did you feel about the anime and its latest arc?
Chimera Ant Arc is a favorite among fans
Chimera Ant Arc is a favorite among fans

Rubberluffy: Well, I'll consider the current Election arc as sort of the epilogue of the Chimera Ants, and as a whole, the Chimera Ants arc is probably my favorite arc in both manga and anime. Just for me personally, though. I found its themes really well presented and an interesting subversion of the kinds of things you usually see in shonen manga. It doesn't sugarcoat things, but it's not relentless in the "look how dark and horrible this world is". If you sit and think, the world of HxH is a messed up place, where the mafia runs the economy, WMDs are commonplace because countries refuse to disarm, being a Hunter is seen as a respectable job, but the exam kills like 50% of its applicants each time. The home belonging to a family of assassins is a tourist destination (where you can be killed by a giant dog).

Taichokage: To be honest, I barely watched any of the new anime (2011). I watched the 1999 anime.

  • Will you be watching the anime or manga after its hiatus?

Rubberluffy: Yeah, I've been keeping up with the recent manga chapters, and hoping that Togashi releases enough for Madhouse to consider coming back to the series. Not really holding my breath, though.

Taichokage: I've actually been current in the manga since before the 2011 anime started. I caught up to the manga in the latter half of 2009. This is the reason why I haven't watched the 2011 anime. I had watched the older series twice and read the manga before it ever came out. I do intend to follow it as long as it will go on.

  • Where do you feel Hunter x Hunter perform well?

Taichokage:

I think Hunter x Hunter is an amazing Shounen. After seeing and/or reading many dozen Shounen series, Hunter x Hunter is for sure in my personal top 10. I think that Hunter x Hunter provides a good deal of depth to the characters. Even some of the low occurring characters have a story. It is on the darker side as far as Shounen series go. Regularly yet not frequently, there are relevant character deaths of both protagonists and antagonists.

The fight occurrences are not typically as frequent as battle-heavy series like Naruto or Fairy Tail but when they do happen, the sense of danger is very high. Hunter x Hunter is not an incredibly powerful series as of currently. Much like in real life, a slight mishap in battle will result in death or defeat as the vast majority of characters can't soak up damage like many Bleach,One Piece, Dragon Ball etc. characters. I think that the world building is decent, not like One Piece, but there is foreshadowing for immense world building for the future.

Rubberluffy:

I think Togashi's has a fantastic writing ability, and is great at establishing distinct character personalities, even if they are new to the series. It makes their decisions and such much more believable, or at least understandable. He has created an interesting world, where a lot of things are still in the background, but noticeable even without focus. Examples would be dictators, secretive countries that produce drugs, internal politics screwing up important operations. There are so much going on, and it all feels connected, and there's a whole part of the world that is still a mystery, even to most of the characters. Madhouse has done a fantastic job with the anime post-Killua's family arc, but the production values have been above average for almost the whole run.

  • What are the flaws in the Hunter x Hunter franchise?

Taichokage:

Example of Togashi's Lax drawing
Example of Togashi's Lax drawing

As for problems, I have 2 primarily that are not actually reflections of the story itself. The first is the art. Even though the author Yoshihiro Togashi has proven more than once that his art ability is impressive, he seems very lax most of the time and many fans are disappointed in this. Honestly, it can sometimes look unprofessional while other times it will look above the typical Shounen art caliber. I would prefer more consistency with the art work.

Secondly, I would say the hiatus' are the big problem. Again, this does not directly take away from the story itself, but it does take away from the experience. The longer you are with Hunter x Hunter, the more you will feel the void. The author, Yoshihiro Togashi, has taken as long as 27 months off at a time during the last 5 years that I have been caught up. Aside from those 2 issues, I can hardly be critical of Hunter x Hunter. Recently, a few abilities have been a trifle over the top, but not ridiculously so.

Rubberluffy:

A fan's hiatus chart
A fan's hiatus chart

For negatives, the anime has had problems with music placement and early censorship, but they've a lot better as the series went on (the newest episode was really bloody). For the manga, yeah, the hiatus problem is the big one. We've barely even gotten 10 new chapters since the last one ended and already there's going to be a 2 week break because of something being wrong with Togashi's health. I admit, I am worried because of the secrecy of the Japanese when it comes to health concerns, that Togashi might have a serious or chronic condition, or maybe even a degenerative one. I'd actually prefer him just being lazy to that. The art in the recent chapters has been great. The magazine releases for pretty much everything near the end and after Greed Island were pretty much rough sketches at best, with fixed up versions for the book releases. The new chapters actually look mostly better than the redone chapters. When it comes to the '99 anime, I can honestly say that while it had good atmosphere, animation and music, it really fell apart when it came to the characters, sometimes just focusing on certain aspects of the personalities, instead of their whole range. Not a fan of its character designs, either.

Since Marshal Victory hasn't read the manga, he will cover the franchise from his own angle on the anime.

Marshal Victory:

  • Would you recommend this to new fans of Shonen anime or anime in general?

As anime in general, it would not be in my starters list of anime. But after someone is well versed in anime concepts or interested in shonen. Then, yes I would. Main reason being that shonen is aimed at a younger age demographic. Though by and large, the genre plays well to an older audience. But to start someone off on shonen series even deeper shonen series as this it could cause some misunderstanding that anime is just for kids.

  • Which anime series (1999 or 2011) would you recommend?

2011 is basically a reboot but more based on the manga as I understand it. So 2011 would be the version I would recommend of the two. Personally, I would put it up there with some of the longer running modern shonen series.

  • Do you believe Shonen anime series is successful if they wait until a manga is over and be faithful to the source material? Or do you believe an anime should air during the manga's ongoing period? Which is a better method to stall anime's progress, hiatus or fillers?

I always prefer honoring the source material. As faithful as possible, it seems to have far more success than just using the intellectual property in name only. Would prefer them to do seasons with hiatus between them than relying on filler. This way, a shonen manga series that is still ongoing can have an anime, but not lose to the confusion of filler. Bleach would be a good example of filler confusing story.

Closing Remarks

Taichokage: I would recommend Hunter x Hunter to most any anime fan. If you are a fan of series like Naruto or Yu Yu Hakusho, you will probably enjoy Hunter x Hunter with it's slightly darker twists.

RubberLuffy: All in all, I would rank HxH as one of my favorite anime and manga, and for Togashi series I put it ahead of Yu Yu Hakusho (which I love) and Level E (which I have only seen a few episodes of, but seems great).

Marshal Victory: Hunter X Hunter is hard to compare to other shonen series as its different feel and use of games and death. While it fits into shonen genre, I can not say it's a traditional one. It has more sub plots than Fairy Tail by episode count but grows the cast at similar rates. Its focus is not always about the games or the hunt or even the mechanics of how the powers work.

It has the shift of main characters even to the point of the villains taking center stage every so often as the main characters. Sure, it has tournaments, but it just does not compare well with tournaments in other shonen series. As those are just games in the way Hunter x Hunter plays out. It is not all about fun and games. Hunter become prey and prey becomes the hunter in the series. For me, it has a unique story and that it just does not fit into other shonen styles.

About the Authors

RubberLuffy is a fan of anime particularly One Piece, Hunter x Hunter, and Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. He is one of the biggest experts in Anime Vice on the subject of Jojo's Bizarre Adventure and its culture, music, arts, and the like.
Taichokage is an avid manga reader who enjoys debating in the battle forums and wiki editing. His top wiki contributions are in these projects: Toriko, Magi, and D. Gray-Man. He has won recognition as December's Best Battle User of 2013.
Marshal_Victory is a long time anime fan of all genre and an artist. He spends his time on the new and current anime discussions in the #Anime Vice Discussion Forum. Check out his artwork in Anime Vice's Artist Show-Off Thread.
takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 25, 2014 at 12:44 p.m.

I wanted to thank Tom Pinchuk for allowing us to post the roundtable and thank Taichokage, Marshal Victory, and RubberLuffy for doing this. I wasn't a Hunter x Hunter fan yet. I still try to start up roundtables on series that are popular in Anime Vice just to provide a different angle.

I did make a mistake. I thought the anime had ended when I asked my three teammates. It turns out it didn't ended yet. Ep. 148's date is September 23, 2014. Thoughts and final impressions will change when the anime ends in September 2014. Consider this article a preview of what's to come.

Edit:

I should have made the word art a bit darker since you can barely read the word on the front page. Sorry guys, I still have yet to improve on making good banners.

Donwunon Aug. 25, 2014 at 1:13 p.m.

Good job getting this together Taka and all. Sorry i couldn't participate on your earlier invite to speak on this as well but just been too busy with work n stuff but rubberluffy pretty much covered everything i would have said on the matter

This show is definitely not a good choice as an anime starter but amongst the shounen selections it's certainly a refreshing change on alot of tropes and expectations. However where the manga currently stopped at the end of the election arc was a good place for me to part ways with the franchise as it really is dragging on in terms of a story.....which in some cases this is not but more of a overall character exploration piece with various characters in my mind....which is fine.......but for me it's kind of like one piece without the treasure one piece with better characterization and darker story elements

oh and i did my own review on YT a couple weeks back if anyones interested

again...good writeup / discussion guyz

Marshal Victory is online on Aug. 25, 2014 at 9:44 p.m.

@Donwun: Posted a reply there but have to agree from the video review that Hunter X Hunter is a acquired taste. Only thing would note would be fairly sure during the training part in the ants arc Killua Zoldyck found out Gon Freecss was older than he thought. If memory serves he was 13ish an had already had dates. Um was when Palm Siberia wanted to go on a date with Gon Freecss.

As far as if it should be shonen or something else. If it was put in that gene in Japan thats good enuff for me. Think of it this way yes its supposed to cover from elementary school to high school, most shonen plays to a much older audience. Sure it can be used to describe the main cast age to, which would fit. But it does play much more mature than other shonen titles in every way but character designs.

takashichea moderator is online on Aug. 25, 2014 at 11:48 p.m.

@Donwun:

No worries, your comments help support the article. I still need to watch or read Hunter x Hunter myself. If you have ideas for future topics, let me know. I'm just aiming for shows that are popular in Anime Vice by reading trends in the forums.

I do agree with you that HxH is not for new Shonen fans. They need to build their Shonen background with traditional ones then start on HxH. It's like watching Madoka Magica for magical girl themed shows and then watching Sailor Moon.

I actually did that myself. It was a weird experience I had compared to the other folks who did it Sailor Moon first.

@Marshal Victory:

Sometimes, anime in Japan that meant for kids aren't really for kids. Case Closed had some stuff that are family friendly. Same for One Piece and their hour glass and big boobs. In America, I bet you moms and dads won't let kids watch time skip Nami.

Marshal Victory is online on Aug. 26, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.

@takashichea: American side an animation you can go back to The Flintstones an it had stuff for kids an then stuff for adults built in. But that was a different time an different social values on what a kid should an should not see. Same for Japan as what is socially acceptable for that age group. It just will vary region to region. Just as in each region will have different cultural an social on when some one is a adult or not.

Hunter X Hunter I will say is in all aspects other than character design ( how they look) is probably the most adult of any that claim the shonen gene I have seen. Is it possible it was shoved into that gene because of the main characters age? Possible. Is it possible the story was put in as shonen to cause a controversy an gain publicity? Nope cause of all hiatus in its making thats highly unlikely.

It is generally times when other factors change what a animes gene is that I object to. Like some sites making a show a harem... when it not. Or how some sites will list Fairy Tail as ecchi that kind of thing. Second hand labeling so to speak. Thats not to say the original tag line , summery an list of genes in the show can not be wrong. But Hunter x hunter was published in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weekly_Shōnen_Jump an their target is young male readers.

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