In a move that might have been inevitable, NTV is switching Hunter X Hunter to late nights. This Sunday’s broadcast will apparently be the last 10:55 AM new episode premiere – starting 10/8, H x H will air at 1:29 AM on Tuesday nights.
In some ways, this is perfectly understandable. I’ve certainly commented on many occasions how shocking it is that Hunter X Hunter has gotten away with some of the stuff they have in a Sunday morning time slot, especially since the “Chimera Ant” arc began. Content-wise, I can’t say this is an incorrect decision. But it still saddens me, because the show was a real success at that slot, drawing far higher ratings than it ever will at 25:29.
In addition to higher ratings of course, there’s also higher ad revenue in a Sunday morning slot – and it’s hard not to speculate that advertisers could have had an impact on this decision. In the end this feels like a demotion – H x H will certainly be less of a cultural presence airing as just another late-night anime. It certainly won’t sell any more Blu-rays at that slot, and with no new manga to cross-promote, there seems to be less incentive to try and extend the popularity of the brand (though there is the second movie due this December). I don’t think the show will be ended before the adaptation of the rest of the manga (though that is a legitimate and serious worry), but whatever prospects it might’ve had beyond that seem somewhat cloudier now.
Hunter X Hunter has always been a series that’s had a big-time disconnect between first visual impressions and content. I can’t tell you how many people have said that they won’t watch or read it because it’s “kiddie” – a term I hate in the first place, but one that sure as hell doesn’t apply to H x H. This move may in the end be an acknowledgement of that disconnect, as I don’t think the show would ever have aired at 10:55 on a Sunday if it didn’t exist. As to whether this means the anime will have even more of a free hand to depict the extreme darkness in the “Chimera Ant” arc, I suppose it must – though frankly, I haven’t seen much in the way of hands being tied as is.
As for me, I’m not thrilled because Hunter X Hunter has been a part of my Sunday routine for almost two years now, and I’ll dearly miss it. This show is my top priority as a blogger and it’ll continue to be – I’ll still prioritize getting it covered as soon as the episode is available and I have the time. If there’s a silver lining it’s that Tuesday late-night isn’t as especially busy time on the anime calendar, so nothing that looks as of now to be a likely blogging candidate is going to be delayed in order for me to blog H x H immediately.