It’s crazy to think that Hunter x Hunter (2011) has been on the block for a year now. There was an enormous amount of hype surrounding the show when VIZ Media announced that an English dub was in the works. Right after clips were being shown to convention attendees, Toonami gave fans a huge smile with the series set to air on their block. At first, people thought it was a prank due to it being announced on April 1st. However, it finally premiered, and fans have received many chances to see why this franchise is beloved thanks to Toonami.

It seemed rather odd that a popular series like Hunter x Hunter was only available subbed for so long. An earlier adaptation back in 1999 was dubbed (which was licensed by VIZ Media as well). It was getting great reviews (the 2011 series) and had the elements to become a huge hit in the U.S. Companies continued to stay quiet, and it left many fans in the U.S. wondering if it will ever be dubbed or even released for home media. Then VIZ Media once again dropped a bomb for fans by announcing that the dub was in the works at a convention. This announcement lead to an even stronger push to get this show on the block.

It was due to Hunter x Hunter (and to a lesser extent JoJo’s Bizarre Adventures) that fans were worried about the long-runners taking over Toonami. This mindset ran rampant when Toonami had more long-runners airing on the block. Some worried that the block would become stagnate with how there weren’t as many slots for more shows to join the lineup. Some questioned whether this series would be able to hold interest with the always changing viewer market. Especially considering it would take at least three years to finish. For me, it made sense for Toonami to pick this show up even with the daunting episode count. Toonami shouldn’t focus on how long or short a series is (although it’s important to keep it in mind). The biggest question should be if fans plan to watch it continually? If it’s good, the episode count doesn’t matter. In fact, having more episodes gives fans more time to spend with a franchise they grown to love.

Safe to say, that Hunter x Hunter might have become Toonami’s new darling, one where fans want it to air earlier and earlier. It’s been able to hold viewers attention and have them beg for the next episode. Fans were going crazy at the suspected change that it would air at 2 a.m. when Tokyo Ghoul was set to join Toonami. Thankfully for them, Hunter x Hunter is still at 1:30 a.m. and it looks to stay there for a while.

It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for the series considering it did move down 30 minutes (it moved several times actually but not much later) during its first year. While it had a strong premiere, the ratings for the show have fluctuated from time to time. Some fans point to horrible lead-ins like Gundam Unicorn and even JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. And with newer series set to join in the future, I do see a bump for Hunter x Hunter’s future. Especially with predictions like Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans Season Two, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Blue Exorcists Kyoto Arc, and Mob Psycho 100 on the horizon (NOTHING CONFIRMED, JUST GUESSES). With the potential additions to other shows, it certainly makes me think that Hunter x Hunter might drop to 2 a.m. That isn’t the worst thing in the world considering these episodes are dub premieres, but it would be cool to have it earlier. Still, it’s best to not worry about something that hasn’t occurred.

What have fans been able to see through this first year? Fans were taken for a wild ride during the Hunter Exams, seeing a legendary family of assassins, the exciting challenges at Heavens Arena, and are now witnessing one of the darker arcs in York New City. These arcs all have their strengths and weaknesses, but due to the pace and how well all of the elements come to together (animation, music, choreography, etc.) watching this story unfold has been one of the best things on the block. They’ve been enjoyable, and captures what this genre does best. It takes viewers on an adventure, one that fans would love to go on with our main heroes.

What I believe is Hunter x Hunter’s greatest strength is the characters. We see Gon as one of the better lead characters in shounen. While he picks up things quickly and has the potential of someone like LeBron James, he’s one of the more down to Earth characters you’ll meet. He has the raw talent to pick things up, but he isn’t a Gary Stu type lead like Kirito. We watch him grow and learn how to become stronger as any other person in this world would have to. It’s been a huge treat this past year. Not to be outdone, fans also get to see how Hisoka is one of the creepiest/best antagonists in anime. He’s strong, gifted, and evokes the kind of emotions you want a antagonist to evoke. Very few elicit that, Dio being another that comes to mind, and with how great Hisoka has been, it’s not surprising how Hunter x Hunter has been succeeding on Toonami. Having a great protagonist and antagonist does wonders, and Hunter x Hunter has both in spades.

It also has to be said that the cast for Hunter x Hunter has also done a terrific job so far. An English dub cast will always have the added pressure of measuring up to the Japanese cast, and I see no difference from their performances. I am still in awe at how well Erica Mendez (Gon), Cristina Vee (Killua), Matt Mercer (Leorio), Erika Harlacher (Kurapika), and Keith Silverstein (Hisoka) have done with their characters. I do not believe anyone else could play them better, they have been perfect matches. Fans probably agree too, with how much they tweet about performances (like when Hisoka is especially creepy, or when Erica Mendez had to pretend she was choking). Tony Oliver also deserves praise for his work as the ADR Director. It’s been a fantastic team and one that should continue to impress as the episodes go by.

As of now, two volumes of Hunter x Hunter are available for fans to purchase on Bluray or DVD (they encompass the entire Hunter Exam Arc). So if you have been enjoying this series (like I have), I suggest picking those up. Hunter x Hunter is now hitting its stride in story arcs and a darker setting that will easily stay a fan favorite for the rest of its tenure. I think the fear of Toonami ever dropping this series should be put the rest because the series only gets better as it moves on. The stakes are raised, and fans get to learn so much more as we continue to watch Gon and the others fight. So congrats Hunter x Hunter for airing for a full year, and hopefully it will continue to please fans for a few more.

C.J Maffris is and editorial writer for He has enjoyed Hunter x Hunter’s run on Toonami and hopes other fans have too. You can follow him on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris