The first two shows to air this fall that weren’t related to cute cephalopod girls with delusions of grandeur were a mixed bag. One was pretty entertaining, if nothing too special, and the other was pretty damn special. I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one’s which.
As the token remake of a well received adaptation of a long running, well received shounen manga, the new Hunter x Hunter anime has a lot of expectations weighing heavily on its shoulders. Having no prior experience with the series, this is my first foray into the rich and colorful world that the Hunters inhabit, and so I will be basing my expectations off what I’ve seen here in the very first episode.
Most shounen anime that I’ve seen have a few recurring traits that make them blend together into one indistinguishable, amorphous multi-colored blob. Of course damn near all of them have a teenage male as the lead character, a villain intent on destroying the hero’s lifestyle for vague reasons, and the villain’s subordinates that get incrementally stronger to match and eventually be surpassed by the hero. The themes of friendship, loyalty, bravery, etc. are almost invariably present. As such, shounen series tend to be entertaining, if formulaic.
Because of its usual adherence to formula, I mostly steer clear of shounen anime unless I can marathon it, the series tending to be as deceptively addicting as they are simplistic. From what I can tell from the first episode, Hunter x Hunter embodies all that is good and shounen, but feels somewhat prototypical in how it does so. And considering the age of the source material, it makes sense for it to be so.
While series of its ilk usually concern themselves in some way with angst, from what I can tell Hunter x Hunter is on the far end of the optimism scale, almost sickeningly so. Concerning itself with a spiky haired boy with an abnormally powerful physique and his journey to become a Hunter in order to understand in some way why his father left, it appears to be nothing but pure adventure. Sometimes, a good adventure story is just what you need to inject some whimsy in your life.
The animation, while a step up from what I’ve seen of the original adaptation, retains the same simplistic, cartoonish designs and general happy aesthetic. While I overuse the word charming to describe shows, that’s exactly what this is. While nothing particularly innovative or noteworthy, its straightforward story and characters, coupled with a soundtrack worthy of the grandest of adventures, makes Hunter x Hunter one of my picks of the season, and I hope it won’t let me down. Unfortunately, knowing next to nothing about the rest of the series, I have nothing else to say.
On the other, much less positive end of the spectrum is C3, a show that made such a bad first impression that anybody who sits through it is likely either part of the Borg Collective, or a prisoner forced to watch it A Clockwork Orange style. C3 suffers two shots to the knees right out of the starting gate by having the three main characters shake up the magical girlfriend genre with their completely original archetypes: The milquetoast male lead, the tsundere primary love interest, and the tsundere childhood friend.
From the premise, I expected a BakaTest clone with more emphasis on the ecchi elements, but that’s quickly let down since the entire episode just has the weird box girl doing stuff around town. While this probably means she’ll be coming to school with Boring Male Lead #847274.63, I have the greatest doubts about how this show will get off the ground. Definitely the second biggest bore of the season so far, and worth nothing but eternal scorn and shunning. The only thing that made this worth watching for me were the monumentally horrid subtitles, that often distracted from the horrible quality of the rest of the show.
By handling the first impressions in this dual format, I hope to blaze through the stock of less important, less entertaining upcoming shows by the end of the week. Stay tuned as I give my thoughts on the absolute worst, and the absolute not worst.