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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
- 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.
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.|