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Hunter X Hunter, Vol. 2
VIZ // Unrated // April 7, 2009
List Price: $49.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Viz has released the second volume of Hunter X Hunter, an anime series based on a manga series created by Yoshiro Togashi, the man behind Yu Yu Hakusho. Just as fun and lively as the first set, these shows enjoyable for otaku of all ages. The program actually advances quite a bit in this set of 15 shows, bringing the Hunter exam to a conclusion. Not only do we get to see who passes the exam, but also who fails.
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.
As we left our group last time they were in the middle of the third test, finding their way to the bottom of an immense tower in only 72 hours. Their first confrontation inside the tower nearly derails their hopes as they loose 50 hours as a penalty. With only a few hours remaining and a long way to go, they group starts fighting amongst themselves when they can least afford it. It's only Gon's quick thinking that allows them to advance.
There's several trial still left however. They're next left on an old battleship that has been turned into a luxury hotel. It seems as if they're going to have some time to rest and relax, until they discover that a storm is headed their way that will totally destroy the beached ship and everyone on it. Everyone will have to work together if anyone is going to survive.
The next round is just the opposite, pitting each would-be Hunter against the other applicants. In this challenge everyone's badge is the prize. Your own badge is worth 3 points, you're given a target and their badge is worth 3 points, and every other badge is worth 1 point. At the end of a week left on a deserted island, whoever gathers 6 points advances to the next, and final, round.
The Hunter exam finished up in this set, which was a nice surprise. I thought for sure that they'd prolong it at least another half dozen episodes. As it is the test wraps up rather nicely without too much padding. (Though there is a little of course.)
This show is still very enjoyable, even though it's aimed at kids. Yes, there are some typical Shonen Jump-style aspects to the program, Gon's refusal to give up the chief among them. It's still different enough to keep your curiosity piqued though. The battles are relatively short (unlike Yu Yu Hakusho or Dragon Ball Z where one battle can last several episodes) and the characters have a bit more personality than your average kids show. While there isn't as much imagination as in One Piece, the program does come up with some nice plots and twists and the fun characters take care of the rest.
These next 15 episodes are presented on three discs that come in a fold out book housed in a nice attractive slipcase.
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.
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.
There isn't much in the way of extras. The set also comes with some storyboards, a few trailers and some manga pages.
While this is still aimed at younger audiences, I found the show a lot of fun. Gon's positive attitude is infectious and the wide assortment of characters are fun and enjoyable. No, it's not deep or meaningful, but if you want some fun, mindless entertainment this is just what the doctor ordered. It earns a high recommendation.