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The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part II)

April 28, 2010

Well here’s number 8 & 7 of my personal Top 10 Shounen series – for number 9 & 10 head to Part I.

8. Hunter X Hunter

Hunter x Hunter is probably the most recent addition to this list – I only finished the TV series and OVA’s last October and have been following the manga weekly since it returned from hiatus in January I believe.  The fact that it’s quite fresh in my mind probably has a lot to do with why I’ve placed it above Rurouni Kenshin, however I also think that HxH is one of the best examples of how to do shounen cliché’s right.  You name the cliché, HxH has probably got it – but damn if it isn’t done brilliantly.

I picked up HxH on the advice of a friend who expressed shock I hadn’t seen it yet.  Truth be known I had always avoided the show as the character design and colour palate didn’t really appeal to me (and I had tried a few chapters of the manga waaay back when I was a bit clueless about everything and wasn’t fussed).  Not to be dissuaded, my friend insisted that I would enjoy HxH and so I gave it a whirl………and completed the entire thing in about 2 weeks.

I’ve said shounen has an addictive quality, and that’s definitely evident in HxH – I couldn’t tear myself away from Gon’s adventures!  The journey the characters go on over the run of the series is excellent, the character development is well paced and believable – I really cared about the characters and got completely sucked into the whole world.  My favourite arc is probably that of the 1st OVA – the Yorkshin arc…it was just brilliant.  There were a lot of dark elements mixed into that arc, yet it didn’t feel out-of-place.   In spite of the bright colours and Gon’s usual happy-go-lucky personality, the world of HxH is not all sunshine and butterflies; the series doesn’t shy away from killing off characters (and they stay dead!) or dealing with the dark side of human emotions.  It was very refreshing to watch.

It’s the characters that probably attracted me to HxH most – Gon, Killua, Hisoka and Kurapica easily made it into my extensive favourite characters list. Voice acting helped a lot, the anime adaptations were very well produced.  The animation quality in the anime was excellent – weirdly I preferred the animation of the original anime to the shinier Greed Island OVAs, those were just a bit too bright for me, especially after the very dark tone of the Yorkshin OVA.

All in all Hunter x Hunter sits at #8 because it’s still entertaining me – the manga’s artwork is a bit hit or miss, but the story is still exciting (even if this current arc has been a touch over long)…….I do find myself missing some of the older characters though – testament to their appeal really.  So yeah, I’d really recommend Hunter x Hunter if you havent seen it – one of the best shounen series currently out there.

7. D.Gray-Man

Now D.Gray-Man is a series where I jumped on the bandwagon right at the beginning (well about 10 chapters in) simply because the art style and setting really appealed to me.  I enjoy the fact that DGM is quite dark and serious, but the characters are quirky enough that there’s also a good bit of lightness and comedy – its got a pretty good mixture.  What mainly attracts me to the series is definitely the style.  Hoshino’s art style has changed dramatically since the beginning of the series – comparing the artwork in my volume one to the latest chapter, it looks like a completely different series!  However the characters are distinctive enough that you can still instantly identify them – I really love the character designs.

The characters themselves have undergone major development over the course of the series – Hoshino seems to delight in dragging them into the worst situations imaginable just to see how they’ll fight their way out!  As with HxH, she doesn’t shy away from killing off characters or depicting the dark side of humanity.  I love the fact that the poster-child of the bad guys is the ridiculous looking Millenium Earl, who’s goofy appearance just makes his moments of true menace all the more disturbing – the dissonance between appearance and actions is probably more frightening than anything else.  On the good guy’s front, Hoshino never paints them as completely pure – the Black Order has its fair share of corruption and twisted individuals who will go to any length to secure victory over the Earl.  The shades of grey in the depiction of characters makes them all the more interesting – even Allen has his moments of doubt and darkness.

The anime adaptation was riddled with filler, but once it hit its stride it was excellent.  I really can’t praise the soundtrack and animation enough!  If there is one thing that’s annoying about the manga art, it’s that it’s so detailed its sometimes difficult to pick up on the action.  In this respect, seeing the action scenes animated was just brilliant – it was a show I was excited about watching weekly and I was gutted when it ended.

However it was completely understandable why the anime ended – it had basically caught up to the manga.  Due to Hoshino’s ill-health, the DGM manga is plagued by hiatus’ and ultimately the series has been switched to a monthly release rather than a weekly one.  This has kind of dampened my enthusiasm for the series – not much, but some which led to it slipping down the list to number 7.  Still DGM remains one of my favourite shounen series due to its style and setting – well worth a look.

So thats 7 & 8 down – 6 & 5 coming next week!

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. mefloraine permalink
    April 28, 2010 8:56 pm

    D. Gray-man! I also hate the delay between chapters for this series (because it’s so good, of course), but I guess it is also better to consider the poor mangaka’s health. Hoshino has spun a brilliant story in this one.

    • April 28, 2010 9:00 pm

      It is excellent, you can clearly see that Hoshino has the whole story mapped out and is keen to get it out there – its a real rollercoaster. I don’t think there’s been an arc I havent liked!

  2. April 29, 2010 11:53 am

    I also find D.Gray highly overlooked. Yet it is so full of design and style and boasts a really enjoyable cast of characters. But I have to say I found the Lulubell arc to be terribly dull in the anime and it was what led me to drop it and just stick with the manga.

    • April 29, 2010 6:07 pm

      Oh the Lulubell arc was pure filler – the anime filler was really quite bad unfortunately.

  3. April 29, 2010 12:50 pm

    Uh, here I’m surprised. I expected it to be atleast in top 5, as no Bleach/Naruto/ did as good job throughout the whole Anime. Quality was average all the time, but without lazy and unnecessary PC graphics like in Naruto Shippuuden. Fillers were short, and the action at the end was awesome. Plus the character, plot are really compelling, not like in most shounens crap about friend going emo or getting stronger to beat main badass. Of course, the last one is important to D.Gray man, but in that case it’s more about finding out about characters, which are a great mystery all the time. Oh and D.Gray man presents best badasses of all time in Shounens – Clan Noah. They’re funny, eccentric and not necessarily full-evil.

    This time I have to disagree, but that makes me wonder – what the heck is in top 5 then!

    • April 29, 2010 6:14 pm

      See I like the whole emo friend, ridiculous power-ups, stupidly god-moded villians and other silly overused tropes that embody the genre…….its all so simple, yet addictive and entertaining – which is all I really want from the genre……my top 5 will mostly reflect that 😀

  4. April 29, 2010 3:16 pm

    The reason I hook up on DGM is because of the art especially after it got back from the hiatus. Just look at how bad ass Allen looks now compared to earlier in the chapters.

    I just wish it goes back to be a weekly manga

    • April 29, 2010 6:16 pm

      I’m also really liking the current style Hoshino is using – its a really good looking series. Its a pity its not weekly anymore, but I’d rather have it stick to a monthly schedule rather have the manga-ka get ill again and go on another lengthly hiatus

  5. April 30, 2010 2:47 am

    I loved the HxH anime through the end of the OVAs. The manga, on the other hand, looked lazy and sloppy to me. Granted, I only read the manga from the end of the OVA. I heard it was better before that. I hope the sloppiness is due the author’s health (or whatever’s causing him to go on hiatus), and I hope he gets better soon.

    • April 30, 2010 8:01 pm

      I only picked up the manga from the end of the OVAs too. The artwork is very inconsistant, sometimes it looks like rough sketches than anything polished. The story is still good though, and I also hope the manga-ka’s health issues are resolved soon so the art evens out.

  6. Sabrina permalink
    May 4, 2010 7:04 pm

    Never got into Hunter x Hunter, but D-Gray is brilliant!!

  7. May 6, 2010 4:24 am

    Sadly, the anime pretty much ruined the manga for me. I should have never even watched the anime.

    I mean, I breezed through the first 25 episodes of D Gray Man, but the next 20 were just so bad that I had no choice to drop it.

    Everyone says the manga is better, but whenever I try to read it I’m just reminded of the shitty D Gray Man anime.

    • May 6, 2010 12:38 pm

      The anime was unfortunately full of shitty filler in the 1st half – its so much better in the 2nd half – almost like a different series! Manga is always better than anime though – tis a pity the shitty filler soured your opinion of the series as a whole 😦

  8. Brandon permalink
    June 25, 2013 6:18 am

    I read some of the D Gray Man and thought it was pretty cool I should read more of it :). Hunter X Hunter is one Anime I really need to spend my time on.

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  1. The Top Ten Series: Shounen (Part III) « Caraniel's Ramblings

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