Written by Shiggins
Hunter X Hunter, the famous series written by Yoshihiro Togashi (also well-known for creating YuYu Hakusho), is an epic Shonen series that was first released in 1998, and is about famous Hunters who travel the world for treasure or adventure or money. It has earned itself a reputation over the years as a classic, and yet I constantly meet anime fans who have never properly sat down to watch/read this series or found a real reason to do so.
So I’m going to do my part and give the reasons to both like and dislike this series by talking about certain categories: Story, Characters, Dialogue, Action and Others.
Note: Minimal-spoilers ahead. Nothing too serious though.
|No, I don't know why it's called that either. (I do have a theory though...)|
To be honest, this is actually really difficult to discuss without going into detail but for the majority of the series, the main focus is about the central character, Gon Freecss, finding his father Ging Freecss. He plans to do this by becoming a Hunter, who are basically elite members of humanity who get money and access to things that the filthy commoners like you and I couldn’t. Along the way of this journey, so many other things happen that the search for Ging becomes almost a subplot, which is why it’s difficult for me to keep talking about it.
|It would take far too long to explain this arc so just smile and find out for yourself.|
I do love the plot though. Every arc is filled with twists and turns and has something uniquely interesting to it; from exploring inside a video game to fighting mass murdering gangs to mutated monsters. My personal highlights being the Yorknew City Arc and the infamous Chimera Ant arc. Trust me when I say how much I wish I could discuss in full length about these arcs but I’m trying to keep this article somewhat spoiler-free. (We can talk spoilers in the comments though so meet me down there!)
|Must... Not... Discuss!|
It isn’t a perfect plot however. Some arcs such as the Zoldyck Family Arc or the Heavens Arena Arc seem to end too soon and there are a lot of moments that feel unnecessary or like filler before the really great stuff. However there is no such thing as perfection and even with these flaws, I still consider it one of the best series I’ve ever seen.
In every series, characters are the first thing I care about. If a plot is awful, the characters will redeem it and make me not want to shave my skin off with sandpaper. If the plot is brilliant, the characters need to be good enough to deserve to exist within it, or I won’t care enough about the plot. And in my opinion, the characters are Hunter X Hunter’s strongest aspect.
|All those characters... in one epic arc!|
And below I’ve decided to mention the five most important characters, but rest assured that there are so many other genius creations in the series you must discover and learn. (I wish I could talk about Meruem or Kite in great detail here…)
You know that little annoyance who keeps grinning like an innocent idiot and you want to smack him because of it? Admittedly, that is what Gon is like at the beginning of the series. His cheery disposition, his constant kindness about an asshole who abandoned him when he was a baby, and just the way he always has an answer despite not being smart is extremely annoying.
|Don't you make that face at me, you little shit!|
It wasn't until the Yorknew City Arc (4th arc) where Gon became more likable. He started using his actual brain, not being a happy-go-lucky idiot anymore and actually growing into a sensible man. Out of all the main characters, he is sadly my least favourite but considering who his competition is, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Killua Zoldyck, the middle child of the family of freaky assassins, is just the best. He’s clever, he’s cute, he’s funny, he’s moody and he has an amazingly scary dark side. A skateboard-riding, sweet-loving white-haired son of killers is enough to make anybody take some interest in this series, but there is so much more to it than that.
|With cuteness like that, how could Gon resist?|
gay love deep friendship for his best and first ever
friend Gon is unstoppable, and his most endearing aspect throughout the series.
It influences every action he takes and helps him develop his personality and
morals. We've seen him laugh, cry, cheer and worry over Gon, and we know that
we never want to see these two ever separate because in my opinion, the series
should be called Hunter X Hunter because it’s about the developing relationship
Before Sasuke Uchiha made it unbearable to hear anymore, Kurapika was around to want to avenge his red-eyed clan for being wiped out by criminals. Of course, some things about Sasuke and Kurapika are different. Kurapika is blonde. There is more to it but that’s the biggest difference for me.
|Seriously, Masashi Kishimoto... How much did you take from Kurapika?|
Extremely intelligent, fearless, ruthless, determined and cold whenever he needs to be, Kurapika has probably the least amount of time to show-off in the series out of the five but every scene he is in makes an interesting impact. The surviving member of the Kurta Clan, Kurapika wants to destroy the Phantom Troupe organisation for stealing his clan’s eyes so they can make tons of money. With red eyes to enhance his abilities and senses whenever his emotions take over, Kurapika is easily one of the most dangerous forces to be reckoned with and despite my initial feelings about him, I do eagerly await his scenes now.
He’s not creepy. He’s a teenager. He looks like Hughes from Fullmetal Alchemist but he’s not actually that old. Anyway, Leorio is one of the funnier and less serious characters of Hunter X Hunter. He’s a prideful man who can hide any insecurity through false-selfishness but most of the time will instead speak up and refuse to let disrespectful punks treat him the way they think they can.
|The stress people like me and Leorio go under when we try to be funny.|
He also wishes to be a doctor, which is his sole reason for becoming a Hunter. It’s a surprisingly grounded and realistic reason in this series, which does actually make it more enjoyable. Among all the chaos and madness, one man just wants to be a doctor because his friend died. I personally think that the simplicity of that is quite powerful.
Rapist clown who is interested in little boys! If you’re still reading this paragraph after I said those words, then Hisoka is one of the biggest mysteries of the series. We know nothing of his past, his reasons for being who he is, or just how he became so strong and skilled. All we know is he’s supremely strong, terrifyingly creepy and he has no problem being naked whenever he feels like it.
|With glowing like that, how could Gon resist? ...Wait.|
Hisoka is the main villain of the series. There are many antagonists in every arc, but none of them last as long as he does or affects Gon and his friends as much as Hisoka does. He has never shown signs he is even trying and yet, he manages to cause so much madness and determination in the characters that it’s almost baffling and this is what makes Hisoka is, in my opinion, easily one of the greatest villains ever.
You’re probably surprised to see me mention this one but trust me, it’s really important. The dialogue in this series is so unusual but amazing. Line after line of well-written dialogue and exposition is one of the most prominent things within the series, and in the manga you can spend page after page just reading two characters talking to each other about tactics or strategies. It’s clever and precise and never talks down to you, but is always clear and informative.
The characters share moments and ideas, being intelligent or idiotic depending on whom they are. Obviously, this causes many scenes to be a lot longer than they need to be but with so much logic and ideas and plots being talked about, as well as the reasons behind each little step in their own strategies, it does help to appreciate just how much is going on. (Ironically, I’m not going to talk about it that much because you need to see it to believe it.)
One thing I always dislike is when action is stupid and makes no sense. When they literally ignore their own rules of the series without an explanation or when it just happens to end due to a lucky coincidence. If a show writes its own rules and abilities, they should remember it and somehow figure out how to make clever and visually impressive situations with it. Does Hunter X Hunter achieve that?
|A picture that answers that question with zero words.|
Yes, it really does. Hunter X Hunter created the magical ability known as Nen, and then divided it into 6 groups for a wide range of ideas and uses, which are only restricted by the writer’s imagination. We’re really lucky that the writers are creative then because some of the battles and twists during the story can be nearly jaw-dropping. A personal favourite of mine involves a character named Meruem fighting Hunter X Hunter’s equivalent of Hashirama from Naruto and if you’ve seen the 2011 series, you know exactly which battle I mean.
I fear I may have given the wrong impression and made you all think Hunter X Hunter is perfect. It’s not however. Yoshihiro Togashi has an infamous reputation for hiatuses and when it comes to the manga, this is easily his biggest flaw. I hear it’s because he has a medical condition and I also hear it’s because he likes Fire Emblem so much. I’m not sure of the reason but if you catch up on the manga, prepare for small hiatuses.
|From what I hear, this arc took 3 years to to finish because of all the hiatuses during it.|
The designs are great and extremely imaginative. Every location or creature might not be as imaginative as some series but it is definitely memorable enough to keep your attention. Almost all the characters look memorable and appealing as well, although I do remember disliking a few characters for their ultimate goofiness that made them look unbearably stupid.
Speaking of things that look really bad, the manga has another major flaw. The manga drawings tend to be utterly awful! I’ve seen some truly horrendous panels in a manga series that I do consider brilliant. However, this problem has actually been recently fixed by the new and currently ongoing 2011 reboot of the anime. If that’s not enough to satisfy you, his drawing has improved in the most recent chapters. Does that help? Please?
|If you're wondering about the fanservice, this is the only true scene really...|
Watch the 2011 anime or read the manga. Either way, stop wasting time and get started. Seriously. Hurry the fuck up.
|I'm just gonna leave this here. Let you decide what to think about it.|
Shiggins enjoys many strange forms of communication, especially those including cosplayers or presents or videos. However, until that wonderful day comes when people care enough to give him things for being him, you can contact him on his Skype; shigginsishere. He can also respond to you if you contact him through GMails at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you can find out about him or ask him stuff on ask.fm/shigginsishere.