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Hunter x Hunter vol. 2 (a J!-ENT Anime on Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Hunter x Hunter” is an improvement over the first series and is respectful to the original manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi but also features a more action-driven storyline with much more violence.  So, it’s not as child-friendly as the first series from 1999-2001 but this newer “Hunter x Hunter” is a series that I found entertaining and full of action!  Recommended!” a try!

Image courtesy of © POT (Yoshihiro Togashi, 1998-2011). All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Hunter x Hunter vol. 2

DURATION: Episodes 14-26 (300 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English and Japanese 2.0 LPCM, Subtitles: English

COMPANY: Viz Media

RATED: TV 14

Release Date: February 28, 2017


Originally created by Yoshihiro Togashi

Director: Hiroshi Koujina

Series Composition: Atsushi Maekawa, Tsutomu Kamishiro

Character Design by Takahiro Yoshimatsu

Art Director: Mio Isshiki

Executive Producer: Seiji Okuda

Producer: Akira Shinohara, Manabu Tamura, Naoki Iwasa, Tetsuto Motoyasu, Tomoko Yoshino, Toshio Nakatani

Anime Production: Madhouse


Featuring the following voice talent:

Megumi Han/Erica Mendez as Gon Freecss

Keiji Fujiwara/Matthew Mercer as LeoRio

Kanako Mitsuhashi/Cristina Vee as Killua Zaoldyeck

Miyuki Sawashiro/Erika Harlacher as Kurapica

Akio Ohtsuka/Patrick Seitz as Mizaistom Nana/Uvogin

Aya Endo as Komugi

Ayumi Fujimura as Neferpito

Chisa Yokoyama as Biscuit Krueger

Cho as Bonolenov

Daisuke Kishio/Ray Chase as Hanzo

Daisuke Namikawa/Keith Silverstein as Hisoka


In the Fourth Phase of the Hunter Exam the participants must steal ID badges from each other—and anyone without enough badges at the end of one week fails! It will take trickery, unexpected alliances, and careful negotiations for Gon and his friends to succeed. In the Final Phase, the remaining Hunter candidates are matched up for one-on-one battles—but the only way to win this fight is to lose! After the exam, Gon discovers that Killua has gone back home, so he and his friends head to the Republic of Padokea to find him.


The “Hunter x Hunter” series is one of the most popular and long-running manga series in Japan.  Written and designed by Yoshihiro Togashi (creator of “Yu Yu Hakusho’), the manga series began in 1998 and is still ongoing to this day with 33 volumes published.

As for the animated series, the first series premiered in 1999 through 2001 and lasted 62 episodes.  A 30 OVA episodes then was released from 2002-2004.  And then nearly a decade later, a 148-episode TV series which was shown on NTV which ran from 2011-2014.

And now, the recent “Hunter x Hunter” TV series will be released on Blu-ray courtesy of Viz Media.

This new series is a reboot of the anime series and is based on Yoshihiro Togashi’s “Hunter x Hunter” manga and this time is produced by Madhouse and is directed by Hiroshi Kojina.  The new series also features an all new voice talent (both for the Japanese and English dub).

The new series revolves around Gon Freecss, who finds out that his father who was thought to be dead, is very much alive.  Having been brought up by his aunt Mito,  Gon finds out that his father is Ging, the legendary “Hunter” and now Gon, wants to follow his father’s footsteps by passing the “Hunter Examination” and one day, to be reunited with his father.

On his path to become a hunter, he meets Kurapika (who wants to become a hunter to hunt down the Phantom Troupe, who massacred his clan) and Leorio (who wants to be a hunter for the money).

In the first volume, the three arrived at Zaban City and take part in the first three phases of the Hunter exam venue.

In the second volume (episodes 14-26), the applicants arrive at Zevil Island for the fourth phase of the exam.  Each person draws a number to find out who their target is and the goal is to steal their opponents ID tag.  Each applicant must collect six points in order to pass the fourth phase.

Gon finds out that his opponent is the murderous Hisoka and thrives on near death experiences.  Leorio finds out his target is Ponzu (who specializes in traps and poison) and Kurapika’s target is Tonpa.

As the two form an alliance, they are now stalked by Hisoka.

The second volume also features the final phase of the Hunter Exam, where winners lose and the losers advance. Will Gon, Kurapika or Leorio pass the Hunter exam?

And also is included are the beginning episodes of the Zoldyck Family Arc (starting with episode 22) and Gon and friends go to Kukuroo Mountain to visit Killua.  Meanwhile, we learn about Killua’s family and childhood.


VIDEO:

“Hunter x Hunter” is presented in 1080p High Definition and the animation from Madhouse is no doubt respectful to Yoshihiro Togashi’s manga series.

As expected with a TV series, there is a slight hint of softness but for the most part, colors are vibrant and overall animation and fighting animation is done well.  I didn’t notice any major issues with artifacts or banding.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Hunter x Hunter” is presented in LPCM Japanese and English 2.0.  Both soundtracks are done quite well and dialogue and music are both crystal clear through the front channels.

Subtitles are in English.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 features the clean opening and ending songs, trailers and ending credits.

EXTRAS:

“Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 comes with three post cards.


“Hunter x Hunter” is an adventure, action-packed anime series that will attract anime fans who are willing to invest their time in another popular anime series that has lasted for over a hundred episodes.

Similar to “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Dragon Ball Z”, “Hunter x Hunter” has been a popular manga and anime series in Japan and with the original series feeling that it was aiming for a younger demographic, this recent series has a more darker feel as the violence is more evident and people do die.

Having watched the original series, this latest version is quick to bring Gon and his friends to take the Hunter exam, while the original put a lot of character development into Gon and how Gon is different from other hunters since he was raised by a loving relative and lived in a village where there has not been much strife or conflict, so he is a bit naive about the world around him.  In fact, his motivation in becoming a hunter is so opposite of what other hunters are wanting it for.  But Gon’s pure and positive attitude seems to have an effect on the people that he meets.  In some ways, the original series reminded me of the character Naruto in that aspect.

But Gon is still an entertaining character to watch.   Gon has the ability to communicate with animals like his father and carries a fishing pole that acts like a weapon and helps him swing to different areas.  He is also learning more and more about his abilities as he continues on in his hunter training with his friends.

Kurapika is intelligent, a balanced fighter and also is a conjurer and specialist with the ability to materialize objects with his imagination.  He is a character that is on a mission to become a hunter to hunt down the Phantom Troupe, who massacred his clan.

Leorio is a man with a hot temper but has a good heart.  He seems to want to be a hunter because of money and he is a great fighter.

The second volume shows how this friendship grows among the three but also introduces Killua Zoldyck.

But the big focus with this second volume is more focus on Hisoka, the 44th applicant who has a lust for blood and kills his opponents and it led to his failure in last year’s Hunter exam.

As for the anime series, the Blu-ray release features a solid lossless stereo soundtrack and both Japanese and English soundtracks are well-acted.  Animation is also very well-done by Madhouse and while there is a hint of softness, the anime series is quite colorful and looks great in HD.

While special features are the usual clean opening and ending theme, trailers and credits, “Hunter x Hunter” vol. 2 comes with three collectible postcards.

Overall, “Hunter x Hunter” is an improvement over the first series and is respectful to the original manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi but also features a more action-driven storyline with much more violence.  So, it’s not as child-friendly as the first series from 1999-2001 but this newer “Hunter x Hunter” is a series that I found entertaining and full of action!  Recommended!

VIZ MEDIA ANNOUNCES THE PREMIERE OF HUNTER X HUNTER ON ADULT SWIM

April 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Reboot Of Fantasy Adventure Anime Series Based On Bestselling HUNTER X HUNTER Manga Launches With A Brand New English Dub Cast On Leading Animation Network April 16th

San Francisco, CA, April 14, 2016 – VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), the largest publisher, distributor and licensor of manga and anime in North America, excites action/adventure fans as it announces the launch of the all new HUNTER X HUNTER anime series on Adult Swim’s Toonami.

The first episode of the action-packed, supernatural adventure series will premiere on Saturday, April 16 at 1:00 a.m. EST/PST, with future episodes to air each Saturday. Toonami is the anime programming block on Adult Swim, Turner’s network offering original and acquired animated and live-action series for young adults.

This latest anime property to join the VIZ Media catalog was produced in 2011 by the famed animation studio, MADHOUSE, and was broadcast in Japan on Nippon TV. The series reboots the popular HUNTER X HUNTER manga series created by Yoshihiro Togashi. For the North American debut, VIZ Media has assembled a fresh cast of talented voice actors that includes Erica Mendez as Gon Freecss, Cristina Vee as Killua Zoldyck, Matthew Mercer as Leorio, Keith Silverstein as Hisoka, and Erika Harlacher as Kurapika.

In the original HUNTER X HUNTER manga series, which is also published in print and digitally by VIZ Media (rated ‘T’ for Teens), Hunters are a special breed, dedicated to tracking down treasures, magical beasts, and even other people. But such pursuits require a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Those who do pass gain access to restricted areas, amazing stores of information, and the right to call themselves Hunters.

In the HUNTER X HUNTER anime series, abundant riches, hidden treasures, fearsome monsters, and exotic creatures are scattered around the world… Gon departs on a journey to become a Pro Hunter who risks his life in search of the unknown. Along the way, he meets other applicants for the Hunter exam: Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua. Can Gon pass the rigorous challenges of the Hunter exam and become the best Hunter in the world!? His wild and epic journey is about to begin!!

“HUNTER X HUNTER is a fast-paced fantasy adventure beautifully animated by studio MADHOUSE and we are pleased to debut the series on Adult Swim’s Toonami with a first-ever English dub that adheres very closely to the storyline depicted in the original manga series,” says Charlene Ingram, Senior Marketing Manager, Animation. “We invite audiences to immerse themselves in this action-filled anime series and catch a new episode broadcast premiere each week!”

VIZ Media is the official North American distributor of the HUNTER X HUNTER anime series and holds the broadcast rights, digital streaming rights, home video rights and merchandising rights to the series.

For more information on HUNTER X HUNTER and anime titles from VIZ Media, please visit www.VIZ.com.

About VIZ Media, LLC
Headquartered in San Francisco, California, VIZ Media distributes, markets and licenses the best anime and manga titles direct from Japan. Owned by three of Japan’s largest manga and animation companies, Shueisha Inc., Shogakukan Inc., and Shogakukan-Shueisha Productions, Co., Ltd., VIZ Media has the most extensive library of anime and manga for English speaking audiences in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. With its popular digital manga anthology WEEKLY SHONEN JUMP and blockbuster properties like NARUTO, BLEACH and ONE PIECE, VIZ Media offers cutting-edge action, romance and family- friendly properties for anime, manga, science fiction and fantasy fans of all ages. VIZ Media properties are available as graphic novels, DVDs, animated television series, feature films, downloadable and streaming video and a variety of consumer products. Learn more about VIZ Media, anime and manga at www.VIZ.com.

About Nippon Television Network Corporation (Nippon TV)
Since becoming Japan’s first commercial broadcaster in 1953, Nippon TV has become the country’s undisputed ratings champion and finest producer of all genres of programs. One of the biggest successes for Nippon TV is its format Dragons’ Den, which has been sold in over 26 countries and regions. With well-established companies that deal in a broad range of businesses from movies, animation, events, to fitness clubs, Nippon TV is leveraging its ideal platform to expand into new realms. Recently launching a channel in Southeast Asia named GEM through a joint venture with Sony Pictures Television Networks, and taking a stake in the SVOD market through wholly-owned subsidiary Hulu Japan, Nippon TV is steadily solidifying its presence and brand as a global media powerhouse.

HUNTER X HUNTER DVD Box Set Volume 1 (a J!-ENT Anime DVD Review)

November 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

“A fun anime adventure series that features a lot of action and a lot of heart!  For those who enjoy adventure based series such as ‘Blue Dragon’ and ‘One Piece’ will find satisfaction with ‘HUNTER X HUNTER’.”

BUY THIS DVD

Cover Image: HUNTER X HUNTER is a copyright of (C) POT (Yoshihiro Togashi) 1998 – 2008
(C) NIPPON ANIMATION / SHUEISHA

DVD TITLE:  HUNTER X HUNTER DVD Box Set Volume 1

DURATION: 300 minutes (3 DVDs)

DVD INFORMATION: NTSC, Region 1

COMPANY: Shonen Jump Home Video, VIZ Media

Released on December 9, 2008

GENERAL DIRECTOR: Kazuhiro Furhashi

DIRECTORS: Shinpei Miyashita, Shunji Yoshida

SCRIPT: Nobuaki Kishima, Yoshiyuki Suga, Masashi Sogo, Ryota Yamaguchi

CHARACTER DESIGNER: Takayuki Goto

ART DIRECTOR: Nobuhito Sakamoto

BACKGROUND ART DIRECTOR: Goichi Kudo

COLOR DESIGN: Mari Miyashita

MUSIC: Toshihiko Sahashi

SOUND DIRECTOR: Takuya Hiramitsu

ORIGINAL COMICS: Yoshihiro Togashi

PUBLISHED BY SHUEISHA INC.

PRODUCED BY NIPPON ANIMATION CO. LTD.

Based on the popular HUNTER X HUNTER manga series by Yoshihiro Togashi (also published by VIZ Media), this new fantasy action series introduces audiences to Hunters, a special breed of adventurers dedicated to tracking down treasure, magical beasts, and even humans. But such pursuit requires a license, and less than one in a hundred thousand can pass the grueling qualification exam. Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations. Despite his aunt’s protest, Gon decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a legendary Hunter.

The journey begins on the long, arduous road to the Exam Hall, where he meets Leorio and Kurapika, two applicants with the same determination. Gon and his two companions must now prove their worth and earn the right to call themselves Hunters!

The HUNTER X HUNTER DVD Box Set Volume 1 contains the series’ first 15 episodes on 3 discs.

The ‘HUNTER X HUNTER’ series is one of the most popular and long-running manga series in Japan.  Written and designed by Yoshihiro Togashi (creator of ‘Yu Yu Hakusho’), the manga series began in 1998 and is still ongoing to this day.

As for the animated series, the 62-episode TV series which was shown on FUJI TV began in October 1999 and ended in March 2001.

As the series is celebrating its 10th Year Anniversary, it’s fitting that finally one of Japan’s beloved anime series makes its way to the US with a 15-episode vol. 1 box set courtesy of Shonen Jump Home Video.

The first volume focuses on a young boy named Gon who is rescued by a hunter, Kite.

Kite is looking for another fellow Hunter named Ging Freecss.  A man that Kite served as an apprentice for who has a gift of being able to communicate with animals but also a reputation of being one of the greatest hunters ever.

Kite learns that Gon has the same abilities as Ging and wants to learn more about this young boy and discovering that Gon, may be the son of the well-known hunter.

Gon was told his father died long ago but learns that he is still alive and immediately wants to follow his father’s footsteps by becoming a hunter and also hoping he can find and meet his father.

A hunter is a person who is granted special privileges in the world. They can roam in areas that the public is not allowed to visit, they can go to establishments without having to pay for it, they have a license to hunt and do other jobs that are only specific to those who have a hunter’s license.

But not everyone can become a hunter.  Only a few become hunters and in this case, only one hunter can be chosen.   Also, to make it more challenging, only a few make it past certain tests.  But for Gon, he is determined to follow his father’s footsteps and will do what it takes to become a hunter.

Gon is different from other hunters since he was raised by a loving relative and lived in a village where there has not been much strife or conflict, so he is a bit naive about the world around him.  In fact, his motivation in becoming a hunter is so opposite of what other hunters are wanting it for.  But Gon’s pure and positive attitude seems to have an effect on the people that he meets.

As for Gon, he has the ability to communicate with animals like his father and carries a fishing pole that acts like a weapon and helps him swing to different areas.  He is also learning more and more about his abilities as he continues on in his hunter training with his friends.

Along the way, he meets three others who will be taking the hunter exam and the four form a friendship and become a circle of friends helping each other out.  Gon befriends:

Leorio – Gon meets Leorio, a man who wears a business suit and sunglasses who has a hot temper but has a good heart.  He seems to want to be a hunter because of money but why he wants the money is explained in this first volume. Leorio is a great fighter and if his hunger is full, he exhibits tremendous strength.

Kurapika – Gon meets Kurapika while traveling on ship to another island.  Kurapika tends to get at odds with Leorio in the beginning because both have different reasons for wanting a Hunter license.  For Kurapika, his motivation to get a hunter’s license is for revenge and it is explained during his storyline on volume 1.  Kurapika is intelligent, a balanced fighter and also is a conjurer and specialist with the ability to materialize objects with his imagination.

Killua Zoldyck – The fourth member of the team is Killua, a mysterious boy that finds Gon’s purity interesting and thus immediately, because of how Gon is, Killua immediately becomes friends with the three.  Killua comes from an upbringing of an assassin and is a trained killer.  He somewhat has a split personality.  He can be seen as a happy, young person intrigued by people but when in battle, he can turn and become a deadly individual who enjoys the thrill of killing.  Killua is learning to control himself and his weaknesses as shown in this first volume.

The first volume is literally an introduction to the four friends who want to become hunters and during their adventures of traveling to a variety of islands and areas, are faced with immediate and deadly challenges that they must be prepared for.  You learn of their motivations of becoming a hunter but how they learn to help each other in achieving success during their long training.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

The animation of “HUNTER X HUNTER” has similarities to Togashi’s other popular work “Yu Yu Hakusho” in terms of character designs.  Also, with the series created back in 1999, you expect to see quality of a TV anime series created in the 90s completely different to the digital colorful quality of anime TV series of today. So, you do get noise on the video as would be expected from an older animated TV series.

But for an anime TV series created in the late 90s,  you get a lot of shading through the backgrounds and dungeon areas.  You get to see the luscious backgrounds painted.  The cool aspect of “HUNTER X HUNTER” animation-wise is that the main characters are continually on the  move, so you get something different with each episode in terms of scenery and backgrounds.

I watched the series in both Japanese (with English subtitles) and via English dub.  Both voice acting tracks are well done and as for the English dub, I’ve always felt that VIZ media are typically on top of their selections for voice actors with series like “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Death Note”.  The same can be said for “HUNTER X HUNTER”, the voice actors for Gon and friends are well done.

I typically dislike children or teenagers who sound too much older than they are in anime series but I’m happy that the voice acting was well done for Gon and the others.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

There really isn’t much in terms of extras.  You get a trailer for Shonen Jump Manga, Shonen Jump Home Video but fortunately you can find the production storyboards (a total of 15).

I suppose that the theme of a young boy and his friends trying to get a license can be compared to a series like “Pokemon” but with “HUNTER X HUNTER”, there are no monsters being caught and although Gon is a young guy, pure-at-heart, his friends are trying to overcome their own personal issues from their past.

But what makes “HUNTER X HUNTER” a fun series is the fact that you have four individuals who are so different from each other, they learn about themselves and about others through their friendship.  Having to work as a team during their training and their adventures and knowing that not many people make it far in their training.

The first volume focuses more on the character development on each character and their team dynamics.  But with so many episodes still left in the series, you can only expect that the adventures will become more difficult, challenging and that the storyline will continue to get even more wilder and interesting as it progresses.

With the odds against them, instead of working as individuals, the four work as a team despite their differences and with a storyline that features a good balance of humor, action but also some seriousness, “HUNTER X HUNTER” is an enjoyable adventure-based anime series thus far.

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