As someone who adored watching anime throughout my childhood from the likes of: Pokemon, Yu Gi Oh, Beyblade and those episodes of Sailor Moon that are now lost in memory, I’m not so hesitant to delve into this realm of vibrant, creative and original series that many refuse to even try. Why are there people so reluctant to? Perhaps anime to those who have not peeped into the many hundreds that are out there consider it not appropriate for serious adult viewing, and it can be treated as children’s fodder compared to the mainstream television shows. (Much to the dismay of the millions of fans out there.) Just as many prefer not to watch foreign subtitled films, the same explanations could apply to anime which as popular as it is still remains a niche market for television in the broad worldwide sense.
Now, I’m a relative newbie to anime so I don’t know the details of anime genres and that extensive world out there but I can still appreciate a wonderful story and series when I see one. For those who have never entered into the world of anime consider it just like you would with mainstream television. Dragon Ball Z and The Gundam Series stand alongside Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The X-Files in the Cult Classic category. Naruto and Attack on Titan are among the most popular much like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. You’ll even find sports anime, and a wide range of different genres that appeal to a multitude of audiences. From that huge variety, I chose along with my sister to watch Hunter X Hunter.
Now, place yourself into a world where to be at the epitome of your chosen career path it is likely you are going to need to become what is called a Hunter. These people are ranked frankly as the cream of the crop as they have endured the most physically and mentally challenging exam that can also lead to certain death if you don’t make the cut. Protagonist Gon, is a talented and passionate twelve-year-old who enters the Hunter Exam in order to find out why his father Ging abandoned his paternal duties in favour of his Hunter career. This is where the fun begins.
For the Hunter Exam, even finding the starting line can be a difficult task and Gon’s genuine kindness and enthusiasm soon provides him with friends among all of the other partakers, and he quickly learns that there can be many different reasons for taking the exam. Kurapika, the last of the Kurta clan who were murdered by the infamous Phantom Troupe is seeking the qualification to exact revenge, Leorio is in desperate financial need that a Hunter licence provides and Killua…is just there for the challenge. These four unlikely friends are just a few of the colourful characters that are highlighted in this series and the original, creative designs are what stands out for me in this overshadowed anime.
The plot is addictive and downright fun, journeying through the gradually intensifying exam levels with these characters on often perilous terms is thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. The villains are what they should be, villainous, with no tragic back story in sight and that is what I have grown to love in the perfect antagonist. Why does a villain need a tragic reason to be bad? Let them simply bathe in the pit of evil and wreak havoc in a vision of pink and white. In this case I am talking of Hisoka…
Fun Fact: Yoshihiro Togashi, the creator of Hunter x Hunter is married to the creator of Sailor Moon, Naoko Takeuchi. Look hard enough and you’ll find some Hunter X Hunter Easter Eggs in Sailor Moon.
Just when you believe that the concept cannot develop and become as interesting as what unfolded in the first season, the second and the other seasons to follow all contain different but equally as exciting story arcs that produce compelling character development that did cause me to shed a tear or two I will not be ashamed to admit. The friendships are endearing, the characters are well-rounded with clear strengths and weaknesses, and with little focus on romantic liaisons this series is a breath of fresh air.
I’m sure that fault can be found, enough digging and anyone can find problems in any film or television show but this anime is so unassuming, stylistically appealing and simply fun that I cannot recommend it enough for both beginners and veterans of the genre.
You can watch Hunter X Hunter on Netflix, websites such as Crunchyroll (which is where I found the latter seasons) and like most anime this series is adaptation of the manga if you wish to read the original material.
What are your thoughts on Anime? Do you have a favourite? What would you rate as the Top Five best anime series? Are there any out there that I should be watching? Let me know in the comments! For updates and general television goodness you can also check out my twitter @bingebox. Thanks for reading!