Oh, boy. Ohhhhhh boy.
This is going to be the big post. Ladies and gentlemen, I am going to be talking about my favourite anime ever. I will do my best not to turn this into a rambling mess, but it’s difficult when the show embodies everything wonderful about its genre and the medium itself.
DAY 2 – FAVOURITE ANIME YOU’VE WATCHED SO FAR
What’s the show?
Of course, I’m talking about Hunter x Hunter (2011). The 2011 part is important. Not because the 1999 anime was bad, because it was wonderful and magical in its own right, but the 2011 anime took the story to new heights and gave it the razzle-dazzle that turned Hunter x Hunter into the standard all shounen anime should try to reach. Hold onto your hats, because I have a lot to say.
I first started Hunter x Hunter back in 2015, after following one of those anime flowcharts. I saw it hyped up all the time, but the synopsis for the show…doesn’t really sell it, to be honest. Take MyAnimeList’s synopsis, for example: “Twelve-year-old Gon Freecss is determined to become the best Hunter possible in hopes of finding his father, who was a Hunter himself and had long ago abandoned his young son. However, Gon soon realizes the path to achieving his goals is far more challenging than he could have ever imagined.”
Okay, so a boy wants to find his dad. It might be heartwarming, sure. But a masterpiece? Nonetheless, I proceeded…and 4 months later I was sat on my bed in tears, whispering the lyrics to departure! to myself as the credits rolled. The synopsis served its purpose. It may not have told me what the show entailed, but it tricked me into thinking I was going to be safe from the feelings, making that impact all the much more greater. I laughed with the characters, I screamed at my TV every single time I had to endure any screentime from Shaiapouf, I cried alongside the characters struggles. I’d never experienced anything like this, with anime or with Western TV shows. Hunter x Hunter was special, alright.
I guess I’ll start with the first thing you’ll encounter with Hunter x Hunter – the opening. Have you ever heard anything so positive in your life?
Of course, as any Hunter x Hunter fan knows, this is extremely misleading, as HxH is not a happy show. But hey, the reminder to ‘smile again’ is encouraging when you’re watching your favourite characters fall into despair!
Which leads me into my favourite, and personally what I believe to be the best part of Hunter x Hunter – the characters. The characters in the show are what really sent me head over heels, alongside the incredible storytelling and world building. Because of this, it’s very hard for me to pick just one favourite. What makes the characters so amazing, and so atypical to the shounen genre is the moral grayness of each and every one. Take the protagonist, Gon, for example.
Have you seen anyone cuter?
Gon, on the surface, represents a typical shounen protagonist. Young boy, with a dream, wants to become the very best at something (in Gon’s case, he wants to become the greatest hunter, like his father). But unlike Naruto, or Luffy, Gon isn’t the lawful good that they are. He’s good, yes. But maybe…chaotic good? He doesn’t think with his head, but his heart, and whilst his intentions may be good, whether his actions always fall onto the moral side is debatable.
The same can go for the villains, for example, Killua’s brother Illumi. Whilst saying too much would spoil major plot points, when you consider that most of Illumi’s actions are carried out due to a (twisted) love for his brother, then can you really paint him as entirely evil?
H-He’s not scary…honest.
And how can I talk about Hunter x Hunter without spotlight on how incredible some of the arcs are? I’ll highlight in particular, the controversial Chimera Arc, considered by many to be the worst, but also by just as many the best arc in all of Shounen. Ever thought you’d cry over an ant? That a fight could last 5 episodes…but be totally necessary? Don’t knock it until you try it.
I could talk about Hunter x Hunter forever, but just in case I have to talk about it again, I’ll leave it at this today. Hunter x Hunter is a masterpiece in its own right, and its transcendence of barriers in shounen should be commended for years to come.
What is everyone else’s favourite anime? Have you seen Hunter x Hunter? What did you think?
Until next time!