Wednesday, 5 October 2011

ハンター×ハンター/ HunterXHunter (2011) - first impressions

A small change in the way I write from today on – I keep writing reviews where I end up awkwardly quoting my first impressions of a series. Now I’m keeping a proper blog, it makes more sense to make an early entry, then expand upon them when I finish watching the show.

And today, something I’ve been quite looking forward to has appeared. The first episode of the new remake of what was once such a huge shounen show – HunterXHunter. And I really, really hope that it runs a long time, even if I doubt that because it’s not really Madhouse’s style. The first episode brought with it some disappointment and a whole lot of smiles, and I think it bodes well for reintroducing the series to an anime fandom that has largely forgotten it.

Madhouse seem to want to make the title light-hearted and almost retro, though. The opening song is very 90s and the art style chosen has the simplicity of Fairy Tail or MÄR rather than the more modern look I was hoping for, more along the lines of their work for Black Lagoon or Claymore. Still, character models are very cute, there was a lot of impressive movement – I loved Kurapika’s clothes blowing in the wind when he and Leorio faced off on the deck of the ship – and after all, the manga starts out light and Dragonball-ish, too, before it progresses to the very strange and brilliant places it soon gets to. On the other hand, they took out Gon’s moments of maturity from the first chapter: he sounded much too cheery talking about Gin.

I was disappointed for a moment when I heard that Takeuchi Junko was not returning to voice Gon – after all, she even appeared as him in the musical adaptations – but that quickly faded when I realised I actually liked the new seiyuu rather more. Puchiko as Kurapika will take a bit of getting used to, but works. I also had a big laugh over Hisoka ‘shining’ in the ED.

The original series lost fans early on with the rather gruelling running sequence that is yet to come. It will be interesting to see how Madhouse deals with that part. I hope the series gets big again, though - it deserves it.

And to think, only a few months ago I was writing off the manga as a mess and the anime as about to be forgotten!

Episodes 1-76: link

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