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Hunter X Hunter Fans All Seem To Agree On Skipping The 1999 Series

Anime remains a staple of pop culture, but few have attained the worldwide appeal of "Hunter x Hunter." Based on Yoshihiro Togashi's manga, the series continues to outperform in the United States. In fact, overall audience demand is over 12 times that of an average series in just one month alone (via Parrot Analytics).

"Hunter x Hunter" follows Gon Freecss on his quest to become a hunter and find the father who abandoned him years ago. Along the way, Gon is introduced to a host of characters — both good and evil — who will help him on this complicated journey. A few will even become his best friends, helping Gon to reach goals previously thought impossible. Among those closest to the new hunter are a young heir to a famous family of assassins, a hunter on a mission to avenge his clan's murders, and a character set on becoming a hunter to help pay for med school.

New fans exploring this vast collection of anime episodes and manga might be surprised to learn of a previous anime adaptation. Known as the 1999 version, due to its premiere date, this short-lived attempt at a "Hunter x Hunter" has its supporters and detractors. Many are urging those who haven't seen the earlier series to skip it, and there are a few good reasons why.

A lack of source material in 1999 led to filler

The 2011 adaptation stands out by giving fans a complete story, and a lot of this is due to the amount of source material available at the time of its creation. The 1999 version of the series starts with the Hunter Exam arc and follows through with the Zoldyck Family arc, Heavens Arena arc, Yorknew City arc, and Phantom Troupe arc. The stopping point leaves significant plot points and arcs that came afterward unexplored. Many fans are hesitant about that aspect, especially when the newer series covers more ground and appears to do a better job at sticking to the source material. Reddit user maniacmartial cited how many other fans feel about the series' anime adaptations, saying, "2011 version is overall more faithful to the original and has less flaws,"

With less content at the time, the 1999 version also faces criticism for unnecessary filler. "2011 follows the manga very closely and has no virtually no filler," user Kamyu03 wrote. "99 had lots of filler and changed other things like even the characters personalities in some cases." The choices during the exam are especially prominent, adding details not seen or used in the manga. "The fillers and altered content aren't canon," noted one anonymous user, while user TextureSurprised countered that 2011's version "also does have some fillers and omissions" among its episodes.

2011's adaptation featured a memorable and disturbing arc

Newer arcs like Greed Island, Chimera Ants, and Election, are part of the 2011 series, and each is important to the overall plot — but the events of Chimera Ants make it a must-see for fans. Often brought up during conversations about the series, this arc has become a legend in the genre. "Anime fans who've never watched the series may have heard of it," wrote Polygon's Petrana Radulovic. The arc features Gon's transformation from a somewhat naive and happy young man to someone unafraid to stare down the horrors of the world. 

Chimera Ants also features one of the series's most intriguing and disturbing villains, Mereum. The murderous leader finds little redeemable in the humans he kills — even pointing at the hypocrisy of asking to be spared. "Have you ever spared a pig or a cow as it begged for its life," he tells a victim.

Dualschockers writer Luke Maguire reflected on the impact of this character's move from savagery to understanding after spending time with another character, Komugi. Her appearance and continued presence in his life provide an authentic connection to humans; something Gon loses with each friend he sees fall. By the end, Meruem rejects human death without reason, even during the climactic fight with Chairman Netero. Maguire wrote, "The Chimera Ant arc is a beautifully tragic tale of how Gon lost his humanity while Meruem, the villain, earned his."

A different color palette is a highlight of 2011's edition

The series' look in both adaptations is a hot topic among viewers. Color schemes and lighting often come up in comparisons; 2011's palette utilizes lighter tones and a more vibrant mix. Theories for this change vary but Reddit user Awan_Moonlight thinks the answer is much more simplistic, posting that it could likely be to "make it clearer" which version is which. The decision may also be related to the newer version's push to coincide more accurately with the source material.

The changes in character design between versions have also generated a lot of questions from those unfamiliar with the manga. Many fans have an opinion on the topic, with some citing a split between versions. User Grouchy_Violinist stated, "Character art wise I think '99. Colour palette wise 2011" when asked about the differences. "Machi 2011 is the only style I like more than the 1999 style, although there's a lot I like equally," stated Just_some_dude5.

The series has different approaches to Kite

Not everyone agrees that 2011's adaptation is the better of the two series. One of the biggest arguments stems from the earlier version's treatment of an important character, Kite. In the manga and 1999 anime, the hunter was introduced to Gon years before the young hunter would take the 287th Hunter Exam. In the 2011 version, viewers first see the vital character in the Chimera Ant arc — where Kite meets a brutal fate at the hands of Neferpitou. 

Kite is given less of a build-up in the 2011 version, with the series only offering a few episodes where the experienced hunter and Gon share the screen — a different approach to the source material. For some, it could be confusing why Gon's emotions become so strong for someone he barely knew. 

Reddit user Bluu_Ash sums up many of the concerns, saying, "not only makes gons reasoning for being mad at Kite's death weird, it also removes a big chunk of Gon's reasoning to become a hunter." User Morphix_Rift went further, stating, "2011 didn't alter Gons past with Kite, they simply didn't show it," with user Wispnt adding, "he was just and admirable acquaintance of Ging as far as Gon knew."

Regardless of whether "Hunter x Hunter" fans think Kite should have made an appearance at the start of the 2011 adaptation, the overall consensus remains that it's the better version of the anime. Now it's just a question of whether fans will ever get a seventh season of "Hunter x Hunter."