Let's start off with a confession..
I only listened to the intro music during the first episode and during the second, I may have tried playing Dear Maria Count Me In by All Time Low to see how it syncs up. It turns out fairly well, I'd give it a 7/10
If you've no idea what I'm talking about then you're likely not on TikTok LOL
I guess whilst we're on the topic of soundtracking, the outro music for Season 1 gives me hybrid Area 11 vibes between their old and new music. The more synth heavy first album mixed with the screamo vocals of newer tracks.
Speaking of, they did a collab with Netflix Anime just recently, check it out:
Back to HxH and the music straight off the bat has that uplifting spirit and grandure that says "This kid can do literally anything he sets his mind to and it's going to be a fun ride!" similarly to One Piece's origins.
The visuals match that same sentiment at the moment too with a more minimal color pallet throughout and simpler character designs (likely dictated by the manga and being a product of nearly a decade ago) which makes the whole show feel more youthful, I guess in a similar way to things like Pokemon and Yugioh which were gems from my childhood.
I did notice the occasional bit of depth blur and gradient glows to bring warmth and focus to certain elements but they were sparingly used. I can imagine as the story gets potentially more moody and gritty, these will be leaned in to more.
IT'S ALL ABOUT RESPECT
I've been learning Japanese this past 60 days and one of the lessons I had covered the topic of formal / polite and informal language, particularly when speaking to elders.
The whole idea of "I'm older so I'm right" has never sat well with me and Kurapika challenges that notion too, much to Leorio's dismay but this is a such a perfect micro-conflict given Leo's very traditional Japanese Worker appearance. By the end of the first episode they recognize one another as equals and I'm excited to see what other topics and traditions the show might tackle.
On that same note, there's the ever present none-present father role in the story but instead of treating them as a 'he who must not be thought of' or there being a resentment, Gon flips that on its head and is like "My dad left us to become a Hunter, it's got to be pretty great right? I'll do it too!" which is wonderfully optimistic but crushingly sad at the same time.
EVERYBODY CAN SMELL?!
Maybe I've fallen in to the green pocket on the roulette wheel with this but we're now 2 for 2 during AniMAY of the protagonist having an inhuman sense of smell. Is this tied to some kind of old Japanese mythology or currently held beliefs about warriors? It's got to be right?
Anyways, Gon is great. It's nice to see a protagonist in an anime that has the innocence of a kid leaving their starter town but they're not an excessively loud / screamy character like Naruto, Luffy or Asta. Sure Gon has his moments but his volume usually only scales up for celebrations and a gleeful "YATTA!!"
There's some nice breadcrumbing even in the first episode about Gon's potential with not only his physical abilities mirroring his father's at that age but also his unique perspective on most situations. His compassionate side always leading the way, whether it's launching himself off a boat with no real plan to save a man overboard or stewing in the morale dilemma of which person he'd save in a life or death situation.
Gon is so pure and that worries me...
Unless they mature Gon's outlook on things via some kind of timeskip later in the series, the other alternative is going to be heartbreak / devastation which for now, I can't bring myself to think about!
I'm not even going to try and flesh out note to make it more readable, here is verbatim what I typed in to a Notepad file whilst watching:
"Gon's main weapon at the moment being a fishing rod is the most MMO shit I've ever seen. This kid's look would be complete with a level 99 cape and that's that"
Omfg... Can we all agree right now to just burn the Kiriko's with fire? What in the Pokemon hacked rom are they?! They're already creepy enough as it is but for them to then also harness shapeshifting, human speech AND they can fly? Nope. nope.. nope
I won't lie though, I did enjoy the brief Pokedex entry factoids from Kurapika about this enemy and it makes me optimistic that there's going to be a REALLY vast array of enemy types throughout the series each of which require different solutions. Before the title music even hits, the show's first words are "Fearsome monsters... Exotic creatures" which I hope back up my theory for what's to come.
Now monsters are one thing but other humans, they'll be a whole other ball game. Kurapika has already expressed his goal of revenge and other exam hopefuls have already spoken about booby trapping the route. That combined with the glimpses of action in the title roll have me really intrigued.
A quick question: How gorey is that action in this series? What other anime could you compare it to? (from what I've witnessed so far, it feels like it might be a little light)
I'm a little strapped for time today but after only 2 episodes, I can confidently say that I will DEFINITELY be giving this series some attention post AniMAY and I can't wait to watch more!
From potentially the oddest travelling trio I've encountered in anime, to the distinct extra characters like rudolph the red nose drunk cap and flickers of deep combat analysis (like the tattoo recognition), I'm anticipating a lot of laughs and curve balls.
As always, here's our list for the rest of the month:
Tomorrow, we switch gears and watch something I've absolutely never heard of before..
Bofuri: I Don't Want to Get Hurt, so I'll Max Out My Defense
(We're going to see a few titles like this throughout the month. They read like an RTGame video title haha)