Hey there!! Idk if you've been asked this before, but I was wondering what was your opinion on HxH 99? I watched it until episode 7...And I find it sort of hard? It has some real different vibes from the manga and I just can't get into it hahaha
Ahaha, I’ve… gone off on 99 a few times on this blog before. I wish I could point you to some of those posts, because I don’t want to sound like a broken record to everyone following who’s lived through my griping about 99 in the past lol, but yeah, I also dropped it. It’s no surprise but I’m really not a fan of the original anime.
There’s definitely some merits to it, but I think it really depends on what your interests are and what enjoyment you derive out of the series. For example, there’s much more filler, usually comedic in nature, so that appeals to some people. There’s also more Leorio and Kurapika, plus added subtext between them, so some people enjoy it for that. It also adapts the first chapter of the manga (somewhat faithfully) where as HXH 2011 totally skipped over it, so that’s also a plus.
My main grievance is that the characters were reduced to OOC tropes in order to neatly fit into typical shounen cookie-cutter molds. I’ve given this example numerous times, but the first phase of the hunter exam is just not adapted well at all and the characters really suffer for it. In the manga and in 2011, Killua introduces himself to Gon first. As we later learn, Killua is desperate to make a friend, and this desperation is what Illumi takes advantage of when manipulating Killua at the end of the exam. However, for some reason, the writers of 99 chose to make Killua more aloof and “cool” and therefore had Gon introduce himself to Killua instead, and even made Killua refuse to introduce himself in response. This small change has MAJOR consequences for our understandings of these characters!
Gon was also reduced to a plucky, innocent shounen protag. While he obviously has moments like that in the manga and 2011, all of his interesting moments where he displays gray morality and cunning were inexplicably removed. One example is how, instead of taking Ponzu’s badge after she passes out, 99 had Leorio do it instead. Again, a small moment with major implications. All of these small moments matter, as Gon’s atypical sense of morality and justice are crucial to his character and also what makes him much more interesting and unique compared to other shounen protags.
I also want to clarify that I am not anti-filler or against any and all changes to the manga – they just need to be thoughtful and consistent from a world building and character development perspective. For anyone who’s only seen 2011 and hasn’t read the manga – did you know that the penalty time spent in trick tower was entirely anime-original filler? It fits perfectly within the narrative, so chances are, it probably didn’t scream “DISCLAIMER: this is original filler” to you. The penalty scene in Trick Tower is an example of GOOD filler because it’s actually purposeful and enhances our understanding of the characters – we have Tonpa call out Leorio’s failings when gambling against Leroute, and Leorio reflecting on it as well, which contributes to the tensions between them at the end of the exam phase. The tension is also heightened by all the idle time spent in the penalty room – it gives you a sense of just how much time was lost. Just skipping over it, like what happened in the manga, makes it seem insignificant.
Sorry for the long post, but I think this basically sums up my feelings on 99 and why I regard 2011 as the superior adaptation. I’ve heard other people on this blog comment that the hunter exam is handled poorly in 99 but that York New is handled well. I haven’t seen the 1999 adaptation of the Yorknew Arc so I can’t really comment on that but I wanted to make sure I mentioned it.