After watching the 1999 version of Hunter x Hunter, it was only right that I watch the 2011 version especially considering that has all the hype. What do you call a boy who admires a man actively trying not to have a relationship with him? Gon Freecss, you call him Gon Freecss. The 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter for the most part kind of assumes that the viewer watched the 1999 version or is at least aware enough of the arcs that the 1999 version covered so, it serves as detailed recap until the Chimera Ant arc. In that time Gon leaves his aunt’s house only to occasionally return as he’s too busy being caught up in shit that shouldn’t really concern him but hoping that it will somehow lead him to his dad.
There are some differences between the telling of the story in this version and the 1999 version, I think the most obvious difference is that this version doesn’t take itself as seriously and can be extremely whimsical. I did some research and it turns out that some people feel that the 2011 version of Hunter x Hunter captures the spirit of the manga better than its 1999 counterpart. The 1999 version of the show takes viewers from the Hunter Exam up to the Greed Island arc and personally, I feel that it does a better job than the 2011 version because of the detail and the darker direction. There’s a lot to enjoy with this version but when looking at the direction of Gon, Killua and Kurapika, it makes sense as to why the ’99 version might be considered better. The aesthetic of the ’99 version really helps the Yorknew arc to shine, especially when considering that Kurapika loses his calm demeanour and commits murder which honestly left me wondering what would have happened if it had covered the Chimera Ant arc. That being said, there were moments that the 2011 version did capture better than the 1999 version such as Hisoka getting off to Gon’s potential during their fight in the Heaven’s arena, Uvogin’s requiem and the volleyball match on Greed Island (especially when you take in the fact that Lil B the BasedGod sampled the ost to make a legendary tune).
Despite my preference for the 1999 telling of Hunter x Hunter, that doesn’t mean to say this version of the show didn’t do a good job. It did an excellent job. The animation was stand out from the first episode, I couldn’t believe how good it was and then I saw that Madhouse covered the production which made sense. For me, this was basically watching the continuation of a great story, I could have started at the Chimera Ant arc but watching the arcs that came before made it come together better. Anything I could say about the portrayal of who the main character was, I feel was already said when I wrote about the ’99 version of the show. It was something that the series continued to do well, the feeling of believing that everybody in the story was important.
The Chimera Ant arc was definitely the main event of this version. Before watching, I saw that it was highly rated so I avoided reading why it was great so that I could make my own conclusions. The stand out character of the arc was Meruem who really felt like the main character most of the time he was on screen. I enjoyed watching Meruem gain a sense of humanity and essentially abandon his destiny, due to the respect he gained for a supposed lower life form. To see a character who was born with everything ready to be taken by him, throw it all away for the simplest of reasons had me wondering where he was going to go. I think part of what made Meruem so interesting is that he couldn’t understand his growing humanity and in the end, still didn’t seem to understand it but was able to decipher what was important to him. There truly was never a chance of him being out and out defeated in a fight but as the arc went on, he seemed like less of an enemy and more of a possible friend who desperately wanted to understand himself. Meruem easily had the most touching moments and it was made better by the fact that there was a clear positive growth in his character.
Gon also stood out for something that came back to haunt him. Throughout the series, Gon was never shown to be the strongest character but he did have a lot of ingenuity which helped him especially early on. The only time I can really think of where Gon’s weakness was so clearly shown that he could only come to resent it before the Chimera Ant arc was when Hisoka grabbed him during the first stage of the Hunter Exam and he struggled. Outside of that, Gon had always found a way to manage. Having overcome so many obstacles, only for his weakness to be displayed before him without him even getting the chance to do something about it left Gon in a bad way, but as the arc went on it became clear that the weakness he felt was a plague in need of a cure. At first I didn’t really get it but then I had to think about it and it made a bit more sense. Gon as a character has always been extremely concerned about protecting those he cares for; Gon also wants to meet his father who keeps putting obstacles in his way, I felt like Gon may have felt unworthy of completing his goal when his weakness was shown to him. Unfortunately, Gon went down a similar dark path to Kurapika’s, allowing himself to be consumed by the negative feelings before ultimately acting upon them. Gon’s selfishness really prevailed in this arc, before the Chimera Ant arc, Gon was selfish but it was more understated. The crazy part was that it was satisfying to see Gon take the burden of his weakness all on his own just so that he could nearly throw away his life for a little bit of redemption. The best part in all of it was how Gon’s potential was shown, however, he never got rid of the weakness and it served only to hold him back further in the end.
When it comes down to Hunter x Hunter, it’s clearly a matter of preference as both tellings of the story are good and both will leave you wondering when the manga is going to continue. There isn’t much for me to say that isn’t already out there.
- Meruem gave out so many free pimp slaps, he deserved to be king.
- A very important lesson from the Chimera Ant arc. DON’T TAKE OUT LOANS!
- Some may say the moral of Meruem’s story is not to trust these h*es…
- Netero went out like a boss.
- The narrator really talked too much during the Chimera Ant arc.