Day 27 – Hunter x Hunter Ep.1 Set-up
This is a series I’ve seen before but I stopped right before where apparently it begins to take a more mature turn and I’m kicking myself for that. It’s a great story with a wide variety of plots and characters and I think it deserves a deep analysis.
Breaking down Episode 1’s is always a favorite as you can learn a lot about the art of the set-up from them. I will be doing this summary from a technical perspective rather than give emphasis to the “feels” or typical reviewer style.
I recommend watching the episode before this (it’s all on Netflix) but it’s by no means mandatory.
After the intro theme song – we are greeted with the ambiance of a small fishing town and along the docks at (presumably) the fish market on a beautiful sunny day. Flute music kicks in as the crowds bustle along.
The first line in English spoken by a townsperson: “Is Gon still trying to catch the lord of the lake?” (A very very large fish that hasn’t been caught in 20Y)
This line sets up the determination of our protagonist as it switches back and forth between talking and Gon perched in a tree with his fishing rod.
An orange haired woman named Miho gasps at the mention that Gon’s father caught the fish at the same age – a gasp overtakes her.
What I takeaway: This is the initial scene set up only but immediately we see the journey begin in a few minutes. We go from pure peace to catching on through behavior that there is a challenging family dynamic here as one mention of his father and the emotions shift.
This makes the viewer want to know more, what’s up with his father? Why did she gasp – shouldn’t a person be proud of those accomplishments?
Within a few minutes and one behavior – the drama begins. We are still in peace but do you see how quickly a writer is working to introduce and entice? Everything I’ve written happens less than 3 minutes into the episode.
We know our protagonist is hardworking and determined to catch a big fish (he’s been at it for a week). We know Miho is connected to Gon in some meaningful way as the townspeople ask her for updates. Our protagonist is actively on his first quest, wastes no time meandering. He is just a boy but out to catch the biggest fish in the lake.
Do you see how much is happening in just a minute or two? When a book doesn’t captivate someone more likely than not the writer is starting too slow. That doesn’t mean it has to go barreling into action but rather – just keep it snappy. Your reader can handle all of it, it’s the mark of a good story.