Original Airdate: October 2nd, 2011
Toonami Airdate: April 16th, 2016
Hello everybody, and welcome to the first of many weekly recaps of Hunter x Hunter! This will be the third series I’m recapping for this site, and unlike Akame ga Kill or Dimension W, I actually know what I’m getting into, since I watched the show subbed before it aired on Toonami. And I’m just going to say this right now, I love the heck out of this show, so expect consistantly positive reviews from me as opposed to the “starting out somewhat positive, then getting more and more negative” structure of the Akame or Dimension W recaps. Anywho, let’s get on with the show!
The episode starts by explaining what hunters are. Essentially, they’re this world’s equivalent to bounty hunters, tackling dangerous tasks like going after criminals or exploring uncharted lands for treasure. After that bit of exposition (by the way, we’re going to see that introduction at the beginning of each episode for the next 12 or so weeks, assuming Viz doesn’t cut it in favor of a full OP), we cut to Whale Island, where we see our main character, Gon, trying to catch a giant fish known as the Master of the Swamp, since his aunt Mito promised him that if he was able to catch it, she would allow him to take the Hunter Exam and become a hunter. After many hours of fishing, Gon was able to catch the Master of the Swamp, which means that Mito now has to let Gon take the Hunter Exam, despite how much she doesn’t want him to go. Later that night, Mito tries to talk Gon out of taking the Hunter Exam by telling him about how his dad left him at an early age to become a hunter and how being a hunter is a dangerous job, but Gon is still set on becoming a hunter because he wants to know why his dad became a hunter and possibly find him. Knowing that she won’t be able to convince him otherwise, Mito allows Gon to leave Whale Island and board the ship to the location of the Hunter Exam.
While on the boat, Gon senses that there is a storm coming because of the scent and the seagulls in the area, and what do you know, there is a storm later that night. Nearly everyone on the ship is sea sick, with Gon helping everyone else get over their sea sickness. The only other two who aren’t sea sick are Kurapika and Leorio, who will also play a major part in the series later on. Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio are then asked by the captain to introduce themselves and state why they want to become hunters. Gon gladly states that he’s becoming a hunter because he wants to know why it was important to his father, but both Kurapika and Leorio refuse to state their reasons for becoming a hunter. The captain threatens to drop them from the exam if they don’t state their reasoning, so after some hesitation, Kurapika explains that he wants to become a hunter so he can capture the Phantom Troupe and avenge his clan, which they had wiped out. While Kurapika’s motives for becoming a hunter are fairly complex, Leorio’s motives are much more simple. What are his motives, you may ask? Well…
After Leorio explains that he’s just becoming a hunter for the money, Kurapika makes a snide comment about how Leorio lacks any class, and he replies by making a rather offensive comment about Kurapika’s clan. The two are now at each others throats, and they proceed to walk away. Soon after, the storm starts to get worse, with a large water spout popping up. While Gon is trying to help the navigator raise the flag, Kurapika and Leorio get into a fight over what was said earlier while they’re on the deck. One of the men falls overboard, and when Gon reaches out to save him, Kurapika and Leorio help to bring him in by holding onto Gon and pulling him in while he’s holding onto the man. After working together to save Gon and the man, Kurapika and Leorio decide to make up, and the captain decides that Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio all pass his test, which means that he’ll be taking them to the dock closest to the Hunter Exams, which brings this episode to a close. Also, the first 26 episodes’ ED is preformed by none other than Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, who you may know from Parasyte‘s OP and, for something a bit more low-profile, Kaiji‘s second OP. As you can tell, a certain someone isn’t happy about that…
Ah, this episode takes me back to when I first started the show late in 2013. I was still relatively new to the anime scene back then, so I didn’t really know what to expect out of it at the time. My 15 year old self was hooked by the time she finished that episode, and I’ve been a fan of the show ever since. And as an 18 year old nearly 2 and 1/2 years later, this first episode still holds up really well. It does a very good job at setting up the premise of the show and the characters, and despite there not being that much action, the episode is still fun to watch because of the characters. Speaking of, the dub sounds really nice so far. In particular, I’m really impressed with the vocal preformances of Erica Mendez and Gon and Matthew Mercer as Leorio. The only problem I have is not with the dub itself, but with the Japanese version as well, is that Kurapika is voiced by a woman. Don’t get me wrong, Erika Harlacher did a fantastic job voicing him, but it’s always sort of bugged me that a 17 year old boy has the voice of a girl. You’d think that puberty would’ve hit him like a bag of bricks by that point, but I guess he’s a bit of a late bloomer (either that, or that doujinshi of him portrayed as a crossdressing girl is actually canon). Despite that, the dub is still fantastic, and I hope the actors continue doing a great job. Overall, this was a pretty solid start for what will turn out to be something really amazing. I give it 8 giant fish out 10.