Anime 101: Hunter X Hunter (2011)

33 collected volumes, 148 episodes, two movies and 366 hours of my life on one hell of an adventure!

Mild spoilers

For a few years I’ve had people recommend to me Hunter X Hunter purely based on my love for Dragon Ball. Because of this I put the show down as a copycat of Dragon Ball and never made the effort. Over the course of a week my opinion radically shifted from ‘Dragon Ball knockoff’ to ‘This is the greatest show I’ve ever seen’, and the best part was that I was only just scratching the surface of what the show was really about.

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Left to right: Kurapika, Gon, Killua and Leorio

What is Hunter X Hunter?

Hunter X Hunter is a major ongoing manga series created by Yoshihiro Togashi. The series has been serialised in Weekly Shonen Jump since 1998 and has been adapted into two anime TV shows: the first produced from 1999 – 2001 by Nippon Animation and ran for 62 episodes, the second produced by Madhouse Studios and aired from 2011 to 2014.

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Left to right: 1999 and 2011

The story in its most basic form focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss as he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. It’s worth noting from the start than Gon lived his life to this point believing his father was dead, when in actual fact his father abandoned him to live his life as a Pro-Hunter. Hunters are licensed professionals capable of carrying tasks such as… well, hunting: hunting criminals and treasure, just to name a few.

 

To date 33 volumes of Hunter X Hunter have been translated into English and published by Viz Media. The 2011 anime series is available to stream on Netflix and Crunchyroll.

What separates it from the crowd?

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Killua & Gon

Where Hunter X Hunter truly excels is with its cast of well-developed and memorable characters. I found that I enjoyed and cared for 90% of the characters in the show–this is made more possible by having the characters not follow already existing tropes in shonen anime–the absolute highlight being the friendship between protagonists Gon and Killua.
The relationship between these two characters is well-developed and made believable by how they treat each other, as well as through their interactions. An example of this is the characterisation of Killua Zoldyck, heir to the Zoldyck family of assassins.

 

When it comes to antagonists, Hunter X Hunter delivers them with as much development and characterisation as its protagonists. We spend enough time with each villain to realise they’re not justifying their actions because they’re just straight up evil; each one is made relatable and interesting. My favourite example of this is shown with Yorknew Arc where we’re introduced to a renowned gang of thieves known as The Phantom Troupe.

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The Phantom Troupe

Final thoughts

As I mentioned at the start, I went into Hunter X Hunter with little to no expectations and was completely blown away. At no point did the show feel like a chore to watch; both the story and characters were engaging and well-paced. The soundtrack is nothing to scream about, but it does the job of expressing tone and emotion when necessary. The animation is very well done, but it’s not without its faults as the childish style gives the wrong impression to newcomers and may put people off. Hunter X Hunter is a beautiful show with a strong story and memorable cast to match it, and is worthy of the praise surrounding it. This is a show that deserves to be watched.

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Hunter X Hunter is available to stream on Netflix & Crunchyroll.

Written by: The Covert Coot

Edited by: IvyM

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