Episode in general- I'll start out by saying... overall it was alright. Maybe even better than I was bitterly prepared for. I enjoyed it and made me feel giddy and nostalgic in a weird way... but (you had to know that was coming) I did have a few ticks that still just did not make it live up to the original. I will also say I realize this is still only the first episode so I am not stupid enough to base too much of how the rest is going to turn out or how I am going to feel about it by the end.
Let me start out with one of the most obvious. Animation. Overall it was pretty decent. It has a big budget for being a remake of one of the biggest Japanese manga right now which helped so let's hope that it doesn't dwindle by the end. I also still have a very stubborn view on how well Cel movements all used to be compared to the dare I say lazier digital animation of today so usually I don't hold that against anything... However, the Greed Island OVA proved this before to be no problem for HxH. So First I will say overall the animation was quite on. Fluid movements, only a few noticeable animation errors definitely not too shabby so far for a new TV series but definitely still did not look at good to me as the animation in the older series. The color however... though not necessarily in normal cases bad but to me was definitely not nearly up to the level of beauty that was the original and the OVAs. It was honestly one of my favorites things about the original, especially when you got up to the GI ovas. The color was always so bright, intense and vivid to me... almost to a daring level and it always helped make the animation look amazing even for it's time. I have already noticed some odd character design changes that bother me slightly.
And example of the color comparison-
Now while looking at this remember that the ones on the left are from classic cel work from a series over 10 years old.
Some character design comparisons that have me a little worried about what we will get the deeper we get into the series-
Now I have been reading and watching for a good 10+ years and maybe I forgot or missed something but... was this really how it was supposed to be? I don't remember any particular manga colors of Menchi but it just doesn't seem as right to me. (and that's coming from one who's favorite color is green so it's not just a personal preference entirely)
Second biggest problem I noticed was a very CLAMP OVA effect. In the fact that it was so chopped up and rushed that I can't even imagine someone who hasn't read the manga or watched the original series could have even begun to grasp what was going on. I realize not drawing things out can be good sometimes but where did all that Togashi development go??? It literally barely even gave time to explain what a hunter was, what it had to do with them getting on this boat, and where it was going. Now if you are like me and have been reading since chapter one and watched since it was possible to start watching you already know but for someone completely knew I can't see it leaving anything but a "Wait... what? The hell just happened? and Why?" feeling.
Gon- Megumi Han impressed me immensely!! It still wasn't quite the same and I noticed obvious hints here and there of how she is still relatively new but the amount of effort she put in was amazing. It really shocked me and definitely gave me a lot of faith for any of her future work. She is a little sharper and high pitched than Junko's unique sound but I think by the middle of the series she will be handling Gon just fine. That's not saying Junko won't still always, ALWAYS! be my Gon but this was damn close enough and worlds better than anything I could have expected. She kept the spunk and personality as best as she could too.
Mito- Where the hell did you go? It only showed her and that's literally it. Her entire bond, story, attachment it wasn't there at all. No mention of Kite, Ging??? It was another poor example of the lack of development that always helps really attach you and bring you in to Togashi's stories and characters.
I thought Keiko playing her was an adorable touch though.
Kurapika- Since when did Kurapika become a 12 year old girl from Reborn? I really could not just stop looking at how odd his design looks now. It almost looked like someone had just pasted him in from a totally different series. This is probably definitely what bothered me the absolute most. He just really looked far too feminine and moe... which is pathetic when you think about the fact that it's Kurapika I am talking about so for him to be "too much" so is just bad. His voice was definitely probably the least pleasing as well. It sounded more so like a female just trying to sound a little deeper than normal rather than an actual young male speaking. The accent lack killed me too. There was a whole personality put in to Yuki Kaida's voice when she played him that Miyuki Sawashiro just could not capture and unlike Han or Fujiwara I am finding it hard to imagine it getting any better without more direct influence. I won't even start with how the eye color bothered me because I've already dealt with enough debating on that end already.
(It honestly felt more like I was watching Haru Miura in cosplay)
That particular comparison on Kurapika also adds to another thing I noticed in the detail of the backgrounds. Even though it's a different episode and moment in this particular case but there is still a very noticeable difference in the detail put into it.
Leorio- His very first line or two he really didn't sound bad at all but his accent I noticed seemed to trail off more and more the longer a line was. It was definitely not as natural as Hozumi Goda and I did have a little trouble getting into it. It felt really off. Whether it was the lack of intensity in his accent or just stubbornness of the fact that to me Leorio practically is an animated or drawn out version of Goda to me we shall see. His reactions were pretty on with the character though. He definitely held on to that sassy spunk as well as he could. I don't think he will hit it quite as well as Han might later on but I do think he will also get closer the more he goes along.
Now while Gon and Leorio kind of made me a little more hopeful, the way Kurapika felt to me however, made me even more scared about those I had already worried about much more than him. Let's just pray I don't actually end up holding a grudge against Ise, that Namikawa gets enough help from Hiroki and that whoever they may cast for those like Shalnark, Illumi or Silva try to stick more to the determination that Megumi Han and Keiji Fujiwara seem to have. I am definitely not holding my breath or getting my hopes up in the slightest though.
Overall I would say it was not disappointing. It passed enough to give me the joy and excitement of feeling like I really got my favorite Anime back after so many years even if the characters feel like they are only half there. Let's just hope it can continue to do so or even in a more hopeful sense develop into leaving those little missing/empty feeling bits out.
tl;dr - Definitely not nearly the glory of the original so far but it definitely could have been worse.
My true trying to not be a good fan by trying to look on the bright side though would be a bit more honestly like that of dear Carl's over at ANN.