‘Hunter x Hunter’ Retains Place as Iconic Storyline


Photo By Hunter x Hunter wiki/Hunterpedia

This image encompasses most of what the first season of ‘Hunter x Hunter’ entails. These are the faces of iconic characters that captured the hearts of many people over the years, and with the current absence of ‘Hunter x Hunter’, that feeling is even more potent. Photo courtesy of Hunterpedia.

By Reagan Babbitt, Reporter

Hunter x Hunter Mega Review Part 1: Season 1

On March 16,1998, Yoshihiro Togashi’s manga series Hunter x Hunter debuted in the Weekly Shōnen Jump manga magazine. The series continued with multiple hiatuses until it came to a halt with its latest chapter being released on Nov. 26, 2018. Hunter x Hunter follows Gon Freecss and his friends Killua Zoldyck, Leorio Paradinight, and Kurapika as they encounter many different threats and new adventures while trying to accomplish each of their own goals. The series was adapted into an anime on Oct. 16, 1999, but was adapted again in 2011 to create a more accurate adaptation of Togashi’s original vision. The 2011 anime ended in 2014, but fans anticipate a return. This review will serve as a guide throughout the entirety of the 148 episode show. 

The Hunter Exam Arc – Episodes 1-21:

The Hunter Exam Arc is very cute in retrospect, but on it’s own, it is a fantastic start to the series. These episodes start with Gon embarking on a journey to find his father, meeting new friends, and making his way through a series of challenges and tests to obtain his very own Hunter’s License, which gives the owner the ability to travel anywhere and do anything they want. This arc does a good job of setting up the rest of the series. It gives our four main characters their own goals: Gon wants to find his dad, Killua wants to stay with Gon and get away from his family, Kurapika wants to avenge his fallen clan and search for unique scarlet eyes, a family-specific trait considered one of the most beautiful in the series, and Leorio wants to get rich and become a doctor. 

These characters are all fantastic in their own way, and this storyline gives them a means to work together. It also sets up two important characters; Hisoka and Illumi, who are connected and/or interested in both Gon and Killua, but will be fleshed out later down the line. The soundtrack is immediately iconic from the very beginning. The opening Departure! will always come to mind, and there’s a reason why it remains the opening of all six seasons. While the opening theme of the series is always a treat to sit through, some of the background music introduced in this arc are some of my favorite tracks in the series, specifically Gon’s theme; The World of Adventurers, Hisoka’s theme; Kijutsushi no Baire, and Boys, Be Courageous! The music tracks in this series set each scene appropriately, and can sometimes hint at character development, such as how Gon’s theme, which conveys an attitude of youthful innocence and desire for adventure is played less and less throughout the series, suggesting that Gon is losing his innocence as the series continues. My only problem with these episodes is that you can kind of tell that this is the beginning of the series. While I do think that this is a great start, it’s obvious that the whole concept of Hunters traveling the world established in this narrative kind of takes a backseat later on in the series, due to many more important concepts being introduced in the next season. Overall, the events of The Hunter Exam are memorable and set everything up well for what is to come next in Hunter x Hunter.

The Zoldyck Family Arc – Episodes 22-26:

While I mostly have positive things to say about Hunter x Hunter’s second story, I think The Zoldyck Family Arc falls short in comparison to what the rest of the series has to offer. Following Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio as they try to rescue Killua from his family, it explores what the Zoldyck Family thinks of Killua, and what Killua thinks of them. While The Hunter Exam Arc sets up the rest of the show, I feel as though this storyline most significantly sets up the relationship between Gon and Killua, the next season, and the rest of the series. These episodes do feel a bit forgettable compared to the rest, with the most memorable things being the trials Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio have to go through, the unique family members of the Zoldyck Family, and the four main characters splitting up at the end to go on their own ways before they meet up in the beginning of September in Yorknew City. Remember that, as this will take place in season three. It’s clear that while the events that take place here are less memorable than the plot of the rest of the show, the setup for Killua’s character later down the line is the main focus here. The soundtrack in this arc is mostly the same as the previous storyline, other than introducing the iconic Ansatsu Ikka no Yakata, or Zoldyck Family Theme, which is instantly recognizable. Overall, this arc isn’t the best, but just like The Hunter Exam Arc, it serves as a great setup for the rest of the series.

Revisiting and discussing the beginning of Hunter x Hunter was more fun than I expected, especially after finishing the series. While later arcs and even seasons are much better than The Hunter Exam Arc and Zoldyck Family Arc, these first two little stories are a lot of fun. While I think both of these stories are perfectly fine, it’s clear that I will always have fonder memories of the first 21 episodes. I still remember when I finished watching this season, and not being able to wait for what was to come next. The upcoming season was monumental for the entire series, and would change the course of Hunter x Hunter for years to come.

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