Kurapika became a Hunter to take vengeance on the Class-A crime group Phantom Troupe who massacred his clan for their unique eyes. The eyes of the Kurta clan turn scarlet in times of anger or emotional agitation and are considered the most beautiful treasures in the world. Kurapika continues to pursue the Phantom Troupe but an unknown party has stolen his “scarlet eyes”. With the help of Gon, Killua and Leorio, Kurapika’ s life was saved. However, the Phantom Troupe shows up before them and blocks their way. The true identity of the one with the No.4 spider tattoo is about to be unveiled.
There’s not a lot of action going on in the film. The anime series is known for its tactical and intellectual action scenes but these kinds of sequences are not found in the film version. The fight scenes in the movie are mediocre compared to fight scenes in the anime series. There is nothing spectacular about the film’s animation and it doesn’t really standout compared to other anime films. Overall, the animation is basically the same with the anime series. You can see some CGI in some of the scenes but they don’t really add that much appeal. Hunter X Hunter: Phantom Rogue is not really impressive but fans will appreciate seeing their favorite characters on the big screen for the nostalgia it brings.
The whole film’s story revolved for kurapika regaining his eyes so to speak. Many of the fans would expect that Kurapika would have the spotlight in this film although the film mostly revolved to both Gon and Killua. Killua probably had the most characterization in this film as he can’t still forget his dark past as an assassin and his brother Illumi’s word that in the end he would kill his own friend. As weird as it is, this have become one of the most focusing theme in the whole film. Gon is still the typical naive but lovable kid we mostly get to see in the TV series and so he didn’t get any development in this film at all. Kurapika is still the same as ever and we did get some background during his childhood along with his blind friend pairo who would only serve as a plot device in this film. Leorio, probably the most forgettable protagonist out of the four, is still forgettable in this movie as usual. He is just there to help his friends and nothing else. Yet even through the sheer negatives and the mediocre elements I can still see Togashi’s true vision for the storyline. He envisioned a tortured past coming back to haunt Kurapica. He envisioned a nemesis who was a brother who sought the power to make his sister immortal, only to be corrupted by that power.
Overall, I thought it was an entertaining movie for fans of the series. Since I am not a fan of the series, this one will be graded slightly lower. What separates this movie from Road to Ninja: Naruto the Movie and One Piece Film: Z is the story and that is the downside when the original creator of the manga is not involved or doesn’t have any creative inputs. Since this is the first movie for Hunter × Hunter, I understand that writer Shoji Yonemura wanted to show the “core” of the whole Hunter × Hunter journey which is about “friendship” but tha manga has been around since 1998 and it’s very disappointing that I didn’t see any major character development from any of the four protagonist and Leorio is totally forgettable in this film too. Just keep that in mind, and enjoy it for what it is.