Hunter X Hunter (2011) Review

Hunter X Hunter is by far one of the most well-written, creative, and original anime I’ve ever watched. It is and will always be one of my all time favorites. This show is incredibly fun to watch, very high quality, and is quite beautifully written as well.

Hunter X Hunter takes place in a world where an individual can become what is called a Hunter. Hunters are strong people who take on exceedingly dangerous and difficult jobs that an ordinary person would die doing. Being a Hunter not only requires a person to possess super human strength and overall fitness, but they must also be able to use nen. Nen is the ability to manipulate ones aura to enhance their strength, senses, and create unique abilities. The main character, Gon, is a 12 year old boy who has a seemingly limitless potential for growth. Growing up, Gon’s father, Ging, was not present. Ging is a world class Hunter and incredibly mysterious man who was traveling the world during the entirety of Gon’s childhood. Once Gon is 12 he sets out to become a Hunter, the same age Ging set out. Gon’s motivation to become a Hunter is to find Ging and understand why being a Hunter was so captivting to his father. While taking the Hunter exam (the exam is incredibly difficult to even find and many people die taking it), Gon meets friends Killua, Kurapika, and Lerorio.

Gon and Killua are the same age and have similar capacities for potential, so the show more heavily focuses on them. Gon and Killua’s relationship is great. Their personalities compliment each other very well. As they experience new things in the world of Hunters, the show’s tone changes, quite a bit actually. The show went from the adventure of a curious boy to “holy shit, that’s actually pretty goddamn dark”.

One of my favorite things about this show is the characters. When it comes to the protagonists, we see them change as the story progresses, generally becoming more serious and having a harder time dealing with the harsh and often dark world around them. Gon and Kurapika experience the most change, but Killua goes through a lot as well. The only one of the main characters that does not change much is Lerorio, but he is not in the show nearly as much as the others.

Gon is a great main character. On the surface, he seems rather simple. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. He is actually quite interesting and develops significantly during the progression of the show. Gon is an incredibly straight forward and stubborn boy. This is a combination of his personality type and the fact that he’s kind of stupid. He’s also a bit crazy. Some of the tactics he’s used in battle have terrified his adult, battle hardened enemies because no sane individual would try them, let alone a 12 year old. Another interesting thing about Gon is that he has basically no morals. He generally doesn’t think about things in terms of right and wrong (with cold blooded murder being the sole exception). When he discovers something, he is only focused on learning. That might not seem bad, but this is actually very dangerous and becomes a huge problem toward the end of the series. An event occurs during the ladder half of the series that changes his character almost entirely for the majority of an arc. He becomes hyperfocused on his blinding rage and need for revenge. The changes Gon experiences during the Chimera Ant Arc, as well as the changes that arc’s antagonist goes through in comparison, is absolutely fascinating. So much so that I could do a post on this topic by itself.

I love Hunter X Hunter‘s antagonists just as much as I love the protagonists. Most of the antagonists in the series are truly evil. They beautifully display just how dangerous a malicious individual with overpowered nen can be. My favorite antagonists in the series are The Phantom Troupe and the chimera ants. The Phantom Troupe, led by Chrollo Lucilfer, is a group of thieves and murderers who also happen to be some of the strongest nen users in the world. They take what they want and indiscriminately kill anyone in their way. My other favorite antagonists are the chimera ants. Chimera ants are a type of creature from a place called the Dark Continent that somehow made it into the Known World. The Dark Continent is the area that surrounds the Known World. Very few people know about the existence of this place. Monsters roam the Dark Continent freely. When chimera ants eat a creature, they are able to produce offspring with the traits of the organism they consumed. The chimera ant King, Meruem, and his Royal Guards are true monsters, in terms of both power and personality. For example, in one of his opening scenes Meruem eats a child and says it tastes bland. Meruem believes it is his right to rule the planet, and for good reason: he is by far the strongest being in the series. The parallels between humans and these seemingly heartless, bloodthirsty beasts are insane. The Chimera Ant Arc is probably my favorite arc in all of anime. I can’t fully explain why without spoilers, but it’s practically art. The entire arc is essentially asking “who is the real monster, them or us?”.

Hisoka is an incredibly interesting character that we are introduced to early in the series. Hisoka is a very bad person, but in the context of the show, he’s not necessarily a bad guy. However, he’s most definitely not a good guy either. Hisoka loves fighting and murders strong people for fun. Because he is fully aware of their potential, Hisoka is priming Gon and Killua (and even Kurapika to a degree) so he can fight and kill them once they grow older and much stronger. Fighting quite literally turns Hisoka on. He is an adversary, but also an ally from time to time. His relationship with both the protagonists and antagonists is very interesting, and I’d love to see how he continues to develop as the series goes on.

Hunter X Hunter has pretty great pacing. Unlike many other popular anime, the main characters are never the strongest. During the Yorknew Arc, we are shown just how weak Gon and Killua are. If you think the boys progress too fast, well, you’re half right. Gon and Killua are only 12 years old, yet they outclass most pro hunters and continue to grow at an exponential rate. However, this is addressed in the show several times. They are able to grow so fast because of their innate potential (why they have such extreme potential is explained as well).

Another thing that I really like about Hunter X Hunter is that strength is not everything in this show. Because of the nature of nen battles, you can sometimes beat an opponent several times stronger than yourself. Basically, nen battles aren’t straight up brawls, they’re fairly intricate. The creativity of nen abilities and the ways in which they are utilized in combat is really impressive. They can completely turn the tables in a one-sided battle. However, this is only possible for those with lots of combat experience and intuition.

This anime’s music is good and fits well with the show. There are a handful of tracks that I really love, but overall it’s nothing to write home about. However, I need to say that the second ending, Hunting for your Dream (above), is probably my favorite anime ending of all time. That or Black Clover‘s second ending, Amazing Dream.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about this show. I cannot recommend watching this anime enough. It is great for those who are new to the world of anime and veterans who somehow have not seen it yet. If you watch Hunter X Hunter, there is absolutely no way you will not enjoy it, I guarantee it.

Published by SFjello

Bay Area nerd with an overactive brain and too much free time...

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