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Hunter x Hunter


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I have not been reading for several weeks.  Instead got involved in some real life matters, and then got caught up in an anime I watched at crunchyroll.com .

The anime is called Hunter x Hunter (pronounced as if there is no "x"), the newer and more complete 2011 version.  The primary two protagonists are Gon and Killua, 12-year-old boys who as the series develop become extraordinary "hunters" (super-powered in western terms).  Although classified as "shonen" (eg Dragonball, Naruto, One Piece), it tends to break and make loving fun of numerous shonen tropes.  There are 148 episodes at this point in time, the last episode airing a little over a year ago.  The author of the manga has health issues and it is not known if there will be more.  The anime does have a satisfactory ending, however, with numerous plot points ripe for further exploration.

It is one of the best episodic shows I have ever seen, and one of the arcs has a villain, Meruem, who truly rivals Darth Vader as the greatest fictional villain of the last 50 years.  He appears in the Chimera Ant arc, the longest of the series, and he undergoes amazing character development.  You end up rooting for him instead of the protagonist (not Gon nor Killua) who ends up fighting him.  That's pretty amazing considering Meruem starts out by murderng allies and human kids.

Yeah, it gets pretty dark.  The Chimera Ant arc can be considered a war story, with the whole horror of war.  Hunter x Hunter doesn't start out that way, but as characters develop you begin to feel for them.  So when the really bad sh*t does start happening, you're fully invested.  Characters you really liked die, and it hurts.

The whole thing is amazingly written, and some episodes, even some of the best ones, having quite  a bit of direct exposition.  Some reviewers have been turned off by this.  Heh, one reviewer said that he started out hating all the exposition, but as he began to realize how much it added to the story, changed his mind completely and ended up loving it.  (I agree with him, well, except my "hate" period was very short.)  Major characters disappear for dozens of episodes, characters you thought were minor or even comic relief show up later to play important roles, and the only constant is the deep friendship (not sexual) Gon and Killua have for each other.  The second-best villain of the series is Hisoka -- imagine a perverted and gay Joker with super-powers.  Even he becomes a protagonist at times, helping Gon and Killua.  Hisoka's goal seems to be to allow Gon to achieve his full potential, then kill him after breaking his soul.  Nice guy.  ;)

The version I watched at CrunchyRoll had subtitles, as do most of the series there.  I believe there is an English-dubbed version available elsewhere, but I had no problem reading the subtitles.  (American dubs sometimes censor some of the content for American mores, which might filter out Hisoka at his most outrageous and tone down some of the violence.)  I am a subscriber and could thus watch the series in high definition with no ads.  If you don't mind low def and ads with each episode, you can watch for free.  The ad-free episodes are about 23 minutes each, and you can shave about 3 minutes of that by using the slider to skip opening and closing credits.  Note though that the theme music is good and you'll want to watch some of the full openings as closings, especially as the series switches to a new arc.  Also, there is usually a pre-opening-credit intro, and a post-closing "next week" peek at the end.  Anyway, averaging just over 20 minutes view-time per episode, the series can be binged fairly quickly.

A subscription is only $6.95/month, which includes not only the high-def, ad-free animes, but numerous on-line manga and Japanese live-action shows as well.  They begin streaming a new program an hour after it appears on Japanese television, in addition to their huge catalog of past shows.  Crunchyroll will offer a two-week subscription trial, and you could probably watch the entire Hunter x Hunter series in that time.


Brush your teeth.

unripe fruit



Edited by Wyatt
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