I’m excited to review the latest Hunter x Hunter home media product. Being a shōnen anime, Hunter x Hunter always delivers peak entertainment. It adds a little of everything and the fact that it’s a longer anime series makes watching the journey unfold a pleasure to watch. It has become highly regarded, and continues to leave fans in awe. So how is this Hunter x Hunter volume the benchmark of what I’d call the gold standard in anime?

This latest release has episodes 51-75 and ends right before the Chimera Ant Arc. Fans will get to finish both the Yorknew City and the Greed Island arcs. I didn’t think I’d appreciate that fact as much as I do, but that becomes a plus for the product. The third volume ended in the middle of the Yorknew City story, which wasn’t the best way to end a volume. It lost Hunter x Hunter some momentum because of where it ended. This latest volume gives off a complete feel that should satisfy fans.

It was great getting to see the finish of the Yorknew City arc, as fans are given a shot in the arm with episode 51. The Phantom Troupe are out for blood and massacre a ton of mafia members out of the gate. It was pretty gruesome to watch, but the beauty of the scene was not lost. The Phantom Troupe are upset that Uvo died at the hands of Kurapika and they want to create a “symphony” for him in the afterlife. The classical-sounding music fit the tone perfectly. Add it all together, and you have one of the best episodes of Hunter x Hunter. The rest of the arc was exciting as well, giving it a must-see feeling. Fans are treated to a ton of moments that show why Hunter x Hunter is so popular. I have raved about the Yorknew City arc before, but I forgot how riveting it was, thanks in large part to Chrollo Lucilfer of the Phantom Troupe. We see him fight both Silva and Zeno Zoldyck (Killua’s father and grandfather) after the mafia hires them, resulting in  a battle that seemed epic (even if it was quick). We also see how Chrollo’s steals opponents abilities and saves them in a book, which is one of the more bizarre abilities I’ve seen. With Chrollo involved, Hunter x Hunter tends to get exciting.

The arc felt even more enjoyable since all of the previous moments occur before Kurapika has his final showdown against the Phantom Troupe. Thanks to his reckless actions, Gon and Killua were captured with Chrollo involved. Their latest capture felt direr with Chrollo’s involvement. However, with some planning by Leorio and Melody, Kurapika was able to capture Chrollo and save his friends. It made the cat-and-mouse game between the Troupe and Kurapika look like it was between two equal parties.

Normally, I’d expect the Phantom Troupe to be able to survive any ordeal easily, but Kurapika adds a foil that I don’t think people took seriously until this arc unfolded. It became a chess match, where Kurapika was able to save Gon and Killua, kill another spider (Pakunoda), and lock Chrollo’s nen so he couldn’t use it anymore. However, now the Spiders know who Kurapika is (but not his weaknesses) and it will lead to a bloody encounter once the Phantom Troupe can recover their losses. It’s this type of storyline that can encourage people to stay invested in the series, and the Yorknew City arc does a fantastic job of it.

After the gang was able to survive Yorknew City, Gon and Killua go back to their original mission, acquiring the Greed Island video game to locate Ging. They weren’t able to bid on a copy, due to how high the prices went in the auction, but the two boys were able to offer their services to the benefactor who bought multiple copies and they played the game for him. In Greed Island, Gon and Killua learn that they have to collect 100 specified slot cards to win. Of course, it isn’t just those cards you can gather. There are all kinds, including items, monster, and spell cards. It’s up to the boys to collect as many cards as they can while stopping other players from stealing theirs. However, that wasn’t the only issue our heroes had to face. There’s a player killer called the “Bomber” who would blow up players (using his nen), killing them. The boys have to be on the lookout to not only clear the game but to stay alive.

Before, I thought that Hunter x Hunter story arcs got better the further along you went. Sadly, coming off of the Yorknew City arc, Greed Island felt like a downgrade, Mostly because of how highly regarded the Yorknew City arc was. This must be because the “Bomber”, Genthru, didn’t feel as intimidating as other villains. That isn’t his fault, since he’s sandwiched between the Phantom Troupe and Chimera Ants. It’s an impossible task to try and make someone as evil and scary as those two groups. As much as Hunter x Hunter wanted to build him up, it wasn’t enough to make it seem like there was anything to worry about. Even after Genthru exploded Gon’s left arm off (which was gruesome), or when he killed his team after he revealed who he was, I didn’t think the main cast had much to worry about. You can see how quickly both Biscuit and Killua handle the bomber’s lackeys at the end. The bomber’s primary objective was to collect cards and collect 50 billion jenny in the process. It didn’t feel as compelling as Hunter x Hunter can be.

Collecting cards wasn’t a fun objective to watch. It seemed rather silly that Gon and Killua’s lives were on the line. However, seeing some of the obstacles to getting the cards were fun, such as the athletic meet against Razor’s team. The dodgeball match was an absolute treat and was easily the best part of Greed Island. But moments like that didn’t happen throughout the entire arc. We saw a lot of training montages with Gon and Killua collecting cards in the process. There seemed to be more of a lull than I thought there’d be, which was disappointing.

Despite feeling Greed Island was a step backward, I give credit with how it handled all the training. Looking at other popular shōnen, whenever you hear the word “training,” you always feel like you are in for a boring time. Instead, Hunter x Hunter made watching Gon and Killua train to use nen better than what I’ve seen in other shōnen shows. But I think a lot of that has to do with adding Biscuit to the show. She made things a lot more interesting. She was a fantastic teacher who didn’t play nice with the boys (leading to some funny moments). The training she put them through was fun, as they were able to convince a criminal to turn himself in and Killua finally got his hunter’s license.

The main English cast continues to impress in what I think is the best English dub available (as of now). However, other actors had a chance to shine with the added screen time they received. Robbie Daymond does Chrollo Lucilfer justice, as he has the cadence and tone down pat. He does a great job matching the intensity Chrollo exudes when he’s locked in an intense situation. But when sounding distraught over the potential loss for his teammates, he didn’t miss a beat. Tara Sands also had great scenes, cast as the lovable Biscuit Krueger. Sands was able to nail the aggravation that she often felt when talking with the two boys (Gon and Killua) and was able to flex a wide range of emotions. And there were a few bit parts that stood out to me were Todd Haberkorn (Genthru) and Jalen K. Cassell (Abengane). Besides that, the main cast continued to excel the more we get to hear from them. Both Erica Mendez and Cristina Vee should be applauded for the work they did for portraying Gon and Killua.

In this release, VIZ Media has a few extras in store for fans. There are clean openings and endings, trailers, as well as ending credits. However, if you get this volume on Blu-ray you get an art gallery and four cast interviews. Those include Erica Mendez, Cristina Vee, Keith Silverstein, and Tara Sands. The box itself is a standard Blu-ray case with a cardboard slipcover. If you buy the from Rightstuf you will also get a gift with your purchase, so if you want even more Hunter x Hunter goodies I’d suggest going there.

The story is  a little over fifty percent completed with Hunter x Hunter. With both Yorknew City and Greed Island taken care of, we now wait for the Chimera Ant arc. It’s hotly anticipated, and I’m sure fans cannot wait to get it. Even though many cannot wait for it, I don’t think fans will overlook what volume four has to offer. Both arcs have their strengths, and I’m sure people will enjoy how the story continues. Hunter x Hunter is the gold standard of how an anime should operate, and it gets even better the further we go along.

Rating: 8.5/10

Pros: See the completion of both Yorknew City and Greed Island arc; made a training arc less annoying; Biscuit Kreuger; the dodgeball match; learning about Ging; easy to watch multiple episodes in a row.

Cons: Greed Island arc is a bit of a downgrade from Yorknew City arc; collecting cards was a boring objective; Genthuru was a lackluster villain.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. Feel free to follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris