In this time of quarantine and unease, I've discovered the joy of Hunter x Hunter and if you haven't had the chance to jump into this Shonen series, now is definitely the best time to do so. If you're unfamiliar with the series, the anime follows the story of Gon, a young fisherman on an isolated island who ventures out into the world in an attempt to find his father. His father is a "hunter", a profession that is earned by undergoing a series of insane trials, and because of this, Gon enters to become one as well in order to find him.
In his quest, he comes across new friends during the initial trials in the forms of Leorio, Killua, and Kurapika! With the villainous, and creepy, antagonist of Hisoka setting his sights on the young fisherman, the anime became one of the most popular Shonen series and with good reason!
Why Did I Jump Into It?
So I had been watching episodes of Hunter x Hunter here and there throughout the first major arc of the Hunter Exams, but it wasn't until the end of this storyline and the beginning of the Heavens Arena arc that I was dragged into the series that was originally created by Yoshihiro Togashi. This storyline, which is the one that I'm currently blazing through, focuses on the introduction of "Nen", the "chakra" or "ki" for the world of Hunter x Hunter. The battles themselves are somewhat reminiscent of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure wherein the heroes don't simply see who can punch the hardest, but rather, have to use their inner strength in unique ways to claim victory. It's an interesting premise to be sure and the changing story arcs keep you on your toes!
Gon isn't going to win any awards for being the best anime protagonist of all time, but the collection of bizarre characters in this series manage to offer something different from what can be found in other franchises. Killua, for example, might be often thought of as the "rival" character, akin to the likes of Vegeta, Sasuke, and Kaiba but there's something else bubbling beneath the surface there. Raised by a family of assassins and attempting to hold back his bloodthirsty nature, Killua and Gon are locked at the hip and play well off one another, offering the series an emotional punch when it comes to the adventures documented within.
What a delightfully devilish antagonist. Hisoka takes a liking to Gon early on during the Hunter Exams, barely able to hide his blood lust while seeing the young boy progress and become more powerful as time marches forward. Hisoka is far and away a force of evil but his reveling in said horror is almost contagious, making fans of the anime clearly gravitate toward this "killer clown". If you're looking for a series that has a strong villain for the heroes to overcome, there's another reason why jumping into Hunter x Hunter would be a good choice!
It's Long But Not Too Long
While the quarantine is keeping a number of us inside, Hunter x Hunter has a good deal of content to catch up on for new viewers with an episode count of 148 episodes, but that is hardly one of the biggest anime franchises around. The likes of Dragon Ball and One Piece have hundreds of episodes to their name, with fans having to put in a real time investment to catch up on the adventures of Goku and Luffy. With Gon's journey chronicled over a manageable 148 installments, devoting time to watching a few episodes a day could have the series be finished for a viewer in under two months!
It's Extremely Bingeable1comments
With each episode of Hunter x Hunter, the story remains breezy with the adventures of Gon and his friends tackling unique challenges and joining into fighting tournaments to exhibit their new abilities. Gon specifically may be a determined character, but he's an optimistic and good spirited one as well, and during this time, we could certainly use some optimism when it comes to the fiction we consume.
While I'm still fairly early in the anime, I'm going to attempt to rock through the remainder of the episodes of Hunter x Hunter and I hope that you give it a shot as well if you haven't yet. The series is currently available on Netflix, Hulu, and Crunchyroll if you want to give it a shot!