Hunter x Hunter 2011 – 01 Review
“Now Gon, promise me that the next thing you will catch is intelligence”
Episode 1 – Journey x And x Friends
My title for it: Start x Torturous x Journey
Oh god *puts face in my hands*
This episode was as bad (or maybe even worse) than I thought it would have turned out to be.
The episodes starts off with Gon catching the lord of the lake and winning the bet that he had made with his aunt – if he catches the fish, he would be able to take the exam. Gon then leaves the island and boards the ship meant to bring the examinees to the examination grounds.
On board the ship, Gon realises that a big storm is approaching and tells the Captain about it. His prediction turns out to be right and a storm hits the ship.
After taking a look at how the participants are holding up in the holding area, the Captain realises that only 3 people were unaffected by the storm and summons them to the Ship Bridge. He then goes on to ask them their names and what their reasons were for joining the exam. The captain then reveals the fact that he is hired each year to help trim down the batch of examinees. Everyone then explains their reasons for joining the exam.
Leorio then challenges Kurapica to a fight as Kurapica had continuously failed to listen to his warnings of addressing him with respect by calling him Leorio-san instead of Leorio.
During the fight, the storm gets worse and a crew memeber falls off the ship, Gon jumps in after him and Kurapica and Leorio manages to hold onto Gon thus saving both their lives.
The episode ends with the three of them having been deemed worthy of the exam by the Captain.
“Give me a second, I need to concentrate to remember my name.”
(Please note that I have not read the manga and have only seen the original series)
ARGH! Okay, so it has been decided by this episode that this series is going to be more childish and annoying than the original series (which I shall call OS for short).
This first episode essentially rushes through all the character building parts and cramps the first 3 episodes of the original series in this first episode.
Even the lighting in the scenes show the difference in the approach
Gon and the group
The 2011 version of Gon is way more energetic, implusive and enthusiastic than the OS Gon. With OS Gon, he is shown to be capable of being serious and a deep thinker when he wants to be, but with this Gon, he comes across more stupid than innocent. For instance, I could not help but groan in pain when Gon had exclaimed this line in such a happy and enthusiastic voice: “Being a hunter is so great, he was willing to abandon his own kid!” (top left image)
What.The.Hell. This kid is dumb.
You compare that to what OS Gon had said in a serious and pensive tone in the original: “It’s a job worthy to continue even if it meant leaving his child. It must be a great job, to be a Hunter.” (top right image)
It is obvious what sort of show the script writer wanted this series to be like simply by looking at that scene. After all, this episode was written by Atsushi Maekawa who wrote the script for Digimon, Bakugan:Mechtanium Surge and Prince of Tennis. I hope that they will fire him and get a better writer or add another writer to the team.
Madhouse’s response to fans: *silence*
As I had mentioned above, the episode had cut away many scenes and rushed the beginning of the series to get to the Hunter Exam as soon as possible. This meant that many of the character building scenes that were in the OS were cut away and shortened which resulted in an atmosphere that was not as great as the OS. The whole meeting between Leorio and Gon in the OS had help in building Leorio’s character but in this episode, we lose all of that and instead only see Leorio as being a touchy-about-not-being-address-with-respect and a hot headed person.
As for Kurapica, I did not have too much issues with his character apart from the fact that he sounded too much like a girl. It sort of suits his personality but when I had first heard his voice, I thought it was a girl talking (then again, his Voice Actress is a girl). Another VA that I did not really like was the VA for Mito-san. She sounded like a grandmother rather than a lady in her 30s. (Maybe Mito-san is a secret chain smoker, thus the reason for that voice)
I have to say that I like this additional “habit” of Gon’s though I don’t know if it even serves a purpose.
The warming up of the captain to Gon was also terrible. That whole situation seem to only have one purpose and that is to establish how “strong” and “smart” Gon is and how great his Father was. Instead of letting the characters prove that fact for themselves through their actions, they decided to have the supporting cast voice it out blatantly. (i.e., the captain, the people on whale island etc.)
The opening scene reminded me of Fairy Tail, Toriko, One Piece and many others, and that was the first thing that had left a bad taste in my mouth. It wouldn’t be so bad if that was the only time we would see it, but at the end of the episode, the narrator once again appears to get us “excited” over what would happen next. I am praying that this is not going to be permanent element of the series.
The upside to the animation was the color palette, it had a slightly more earthier tone to it than what I had expected. The animation was also decent most of the time but does drop at certain points. There were moments when I went, “that’s nice” and then there were moments (like the scenes on board the ship) where I just could not help but sigh in sadness.
Let me explain what I mean by the ship scene. A storm had arrived and whilst the water is busy trashing against the ship, the ship itself is steady as a rock or simply tilted at a fixed angle or moving slightly up and down in a very steady manner. When the animators realise that they should make the situation look more realistic, they simply decided that they would move the framing of the animation around so that it will look like the ship was unstable instead of actually animating the ship to make it look like it was rocking back and forth in a realistic manner. The nice thing was when they made Kurapica’s vest fly into his face to show how strong the winds were. That was one of the very few nice touches in the animation that I had liked.
The music was another annoying thing. I had thought that the choice of atmosphere music was not too bad at the beginning of the episode when the scene was meant to be lighthearted (I don’t really like the OP too much), but when it got to the part where Gon jumped into the sea to rescue the crew member, I just wanted to cry. It was so “cartoonish” and the orchestra music made me imagine a bunch of guys riding horses or a ‘Tom and Jerry’ chasing scene.
I am hoping that the pacing for the series gets better when the exams starts since it is looking like they are pushing things forward so we would get to that point as soon as possible. I am also hoping that this episode was created to give all the HxH fans a fright, like a bad joke, and the next episode would be more serious and mature, because right now, I would much rather watch the old series instead of watching the next episode of this series.
Episode Rating: 6/10
If I were to look at it from an unbiased point of view, the first episode was not that bad but the show has put itself in such a situation where it is inevitably going to be compared to the original. Sadly, at this point in time, the original is leaps and bounds better than this.