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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Hunter X Hunter, Vol. 4
Hunter X Hunter, Vol. 4
VIZ // Unrated // December 1, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted December 31, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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The Series:

Hunter X Hunter set four finishes out the series. These last episodes don't really wrap up the show in a very convincing way, they just tie up the current story arc in a very rushed fashion and leave all of the other plot lines, including Gon's search for his father, hanging. When all is said and done, this show doesn't quite hit the mark. It's trying to be a juvenile adventure show along the lines of One Piece or Bleach but it quickly splinters into several competing stories leaving the characters underdeveloped (even for a Shonen Jump series) and the plot hard to follow. The fact that it was cancelled before it's time isn't anything to lament.

Series Background:

Gon is a young 10-year-old orphan living with his aunt. He's always been a bit of a loner and spends most of his time exploring the wilderness around his house. One afternoon Gon gets into some trouble and is rescued by a "Humter" named Kite. They start talking, and Gon discovers to his amazement that not only is his father still alive, but he's one of the greatest hunters ever, Ging Freecss. Kite also tells Gon about the yearly test that has to be passed in order to become a hunter (a vague title that is never defined very well...) and the young boy decides that he's going to become one of these licensed adventurers and find his missing father.

Armed only with his father's fishing pole (an object that he employs to snag treasures, tie up baddies and even to catch fish) and his innate ability to talk with animals, the kid leaves home to become a hunter.

Gon soon meets a few friends. Among them are Leorio, a well-dressed man wanna-be Hunter with some medical background and, Kurapika, a young boy who is very driven to become a Hunter. They're soon joined by Killua, a quite boy who comes from a family of assassins. Together they all start to take the Hunter test.

This set:

After resting at Gon's home for a while, and hearing a tape from Gon's father where the elder hunter tells his son that he does not want to see him, ever, Gon and Killua head to a large auction in York New City. There they hope to bid on an obscenely expensive video game that will contain a clue to Gon's father's whereabouts. Why the newly licensed Hunter wants to find the guy who abandoned him before he was even born is still a mystery and something the show never addresses.

Meanwhile Kurapika is hired to protect a mafia boss' daughter while she travels to York New City for the world famous yearly auction. Things get difficult when the Phantom Troupe breaks through the extremely high security surrounding the auction, kills everyone in attendance, and steals the items to be sold. Needless to say these are some seriously powerful people. The mob sends out their elite enforcers, the Shadow Beasts, but only one member of the Phantom Troupe is able to take out four of the Beasts, even after being paralyzed from the neck down.

The rest of the show deals with Kurapika protecting his charge while going after the Phantom Troupe (the group that killed his people). At the same time Gon and Killua try to raise money for the upcoming auction, assuming it will still take place.

These last shows illustrate why Hunter X Hunter isn't the show it could be. The main character, Gon, doesn't get into a fight (aside from arm wrestling some people for money) and never even pulls out his fishing pole. There's an episode where he and Kurapika go antiquing. I kid you not. Nothing says rock-em sock-em action like going to a swap meet.

The story gets rather convoluted too, with talk about different powers that various people have mastered, Nen, Ten, and the like, as well as trying to keep several competing storylines straight. This wouldn't be too much of a problem if there was a pay off, but the action scenes are too few and far between (though the fights involving the Phantom Troupe were very good) and some of the main characters will disappear for episodes at a time.

The DVD:

These final 16 episodes are presented on three discs that come in a fold out book housed in a nice attractive slipcase.

Audio:

This show comes with the original Japanese audio track or an English dub, both in stereo. I alternated tracks as I often do for the first few episodes and found both languages to be very good. The actors on both sides of the Pacific did a good job bringing the characters to life and making the show fun. There wasn't any distortion or other common defects.

Video:

The full frame image looked good but not outstanding. The lines were tight and the detail fine, but the colors were a bit muted in parts and there were a couple of spots on the print. There was a slight amount of digital noise in some scenes but it was never distracting. Overall a nice looking image, just not reference quality.

Extras:

There isn't much in the way of extras. The set also comes with a few trailers and some manga pages.

Final Thoughts:

While I enjoyed the earlier sets, this final collection left me cold. The plots started splintering off into countless competing stories and the action scenes (especially those involving the main characters) were too infrequent. The series ends rather abruptly too, with a group of baddies being beaten off screen in the last minutes of the show to wrap up the storyline. It was cheap and a disappointment. I thought the previous set ended on a better note and the series should have stopped there. If you've stuck with the show this long, rent the final installment.
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