Hunter x Hunter: That one series that looks like it’s going to be too childish and cliché but then you start watching it and you’re like WOAH. (I really couldn’t think of a better way to describe it).
In A Nutshell
In a modern world rich with technology, a hunter is a fighter who travels the world to defeat threats to humanity. Gon, 12, leaves his home on the task to pass the Hunter exam and find his father, whom he has never met. During the exam he befriends Killua, Kurapika and Leorio, who will help accompany him in his adventures.
Meet the Characters
Gon is the main character. He is the typical shonen main character: optimistic, happy, energetic, impetuous and emotional. However, it should be noted that he is extremely young: only 12 years old. Despite being that age, he is quite mature and ends up becoming a very strong fighter by the end of the series.
Killua is also 12 and he is Gon’s best friend. He comes from a family of assassins, the Zoldyck family. Despite being a professional killer and having mad killing skills, he doesn’t like the family business and prefers to go on adventures with Gon. Because he has never had another friend due to his dark past, he cares about Gon a lot, although he tends to be more analytic and cold than his friend.
Just like the others, Kurapika meets Gon during the Hunter exam. Kurapika is in a quest for revenge for his old clan. Despite implying that he is male during the series, many people first asumme he is a female due to his appearance and referring to himself as ‘watashi’ (Japanese formal pronoun more commonly used by females). Kurapika is very intelligent and always analyses every situation before taking action, although he can get a bit emotional when it comes to his clan. He is somewhat introverted and would rather focus on his goal and go on his own.
Leorio comes off as the least capable to becoming a Hunter at first. He is a bit selfish and not as sharp and determined as his companions. He reveals that he wants to become a Hunter because he wants to have a lot of money and live a comfortable life. However, Leorio later proves how useful he can be. As a matter of fact, he trains to become a doctor. His personality often collides with Kurapika, although they deeply care for each other.
A Brief History of Hunter x Hunter: The When, Where and How
Hunter x Hunter is a manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. The series started being published in Weekly Shounen Jump in 1998 and the manga has frequently gone on hiatus since 2006. To this day, it is still unknown whether the manga is officially over or not.
A 62-episode anime series with the same title started airing in 1999 and a few OVAs were released as well. Madhouse readapted the series in 2011 covering more episodes from the manga and staying away from filler episodes. Two anime movies have also been released: Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge (2013) and Hunter x Hunter: The Last Mission (2014).
The franchise also has a lot of merchandise, vieogames, musicals and even a theatrical play. The 2011 version has been more acclaimed than the one from 1999 due to narrowing the episodes down to the main plot and including the ‘Chimera’ Ant arc, whichwas very controversial for hiw war-related themes, brutality and working as a deconstruction of shonen and action anime.
Why It’s Awesome
Hunter x Hunter works because of one simple reason: the author knows how to write the best elements of shounen while introducing new original themes and a wonderful and unpredictable execution.
One of the things that stood out the most to me was the fact that, despite being a series about fantasy, super powers and adventure, it is set in a modern world where you can use cellphone to call your friends or Google your enemies. This is certainly very different to other animes we are used to like One Piece, Naruto or Fairy Tail. Far from taking away from the adventure, little things like changing your information on the official Hunter website or being able to enter a videogame make the stories even more exciting and innovative.
As a matter of fact, this series is full of arcs that could even be separate series. Even though some of them could put you off because it seems like they are not related to the main story, they all add new elements, characters and mysteries that make the story even more rich. As a result, each saga manages to feel fresh and relevant and stand out for its uniqueness.
I mentioned at the beginning that this series often comes off as too childish, mainly because of the character designs but please DO NOT LET THIS FOOL YOU. I kept pushing back this anime for months due to this reason but I am SO glad I finally gave it a chance. All the character designs are unique and original and, even though some of their outfits might be weird, the story and wonderful animation make up for it. Characters that start up being all innocent and cheerful will keep growing and maturing over the story until you no longer feel you are watching a kids show anymore. Because seriously, who saw that coming?!