Last year was a great excuse for me to finally go back to reading manga and catch up on so many anime I have had on my "Need to Watch" list. Some of which I will probably write about at some point, like Akatsuki No Yona. This past week though I binged on one I have had my eye on for quite a while, but kept wondering if it would take me too long, Hunter X Hunter. Surprisingly, it only took me about a week to binge on all of it, granted, it was hard to stop the obsession once I started. It was so good and felt so old-school it had me feeling like I was a kid again. So much so I even watched the 1999 version I remembered right after just so I could get more of it… and possibly answer some questions I had along the way. It did not answer those questions, but it was fun to watch still. The older one was a real throwback, though.
Hunter X Hunter is the embodiment of some of the archetypes of anime I love most, with great characters and character development, fun villains, budding friendship and camaraderie, broken characters that are able to become better versions of themselves, and surprise: shitty parenting to rule them all! LOL. I hate Ging. Sorry, but I do. I also love Hisoka so much I cannot stand it. It feels sort of wrong, but man, the animation and character design when he is on screen? (chef's kiss). There are so many screenshots and gifs I could use to prove my point. From showering Hisoka to bathing Hisoka… to evil Hisoka… to silly Hisoka. The animation is really superb and I just could not help but get swept up in it during most of the episodes- along with the music and flow of the dialogue.
After watching Dragon Ball as a kid, I still get flashbacks when anime storylines seem to be taking too long and I start to panic, hoping things do not go the same way. At some points during Hunter X Hunter, I feared it would go that route- especially during the Chimera Ant arc, but thankfully it did not. It surprised me how well it ended up tying together. It also made me realize how much time is dedicated to the villains in anime and understanding where they are coming from. While I sometimes just want to hate them, Hunter X Hunter was successful in making us feel for some. I almost cried with the Meruem and Komugi ending. I definitely did cry with Kite and Kite.2- I was just too sad and then too happy to contain it.
I mentioned how character development was one of my favorite aspects of the anime. Gon, Killua, Leorio, and Kurapika have become part of my Anime Best Boi pantheon. Seeing how Killua changed, to how Gon changes all of those around him. It always gets to me. There was not a single character I did not like–each of them played their part in teaching our heroes something useful in their journey. I was equally interested in knowing about each new ally that was introduced during the road. I have a special place in my heart for some of them though, like Bisky, Kite, Morel, Knov, Palm, and Knuckle… even some of the Chimera Ants that had joined them as well. Hell, I even got invested in the Phantom Troupe no matter how much I sort of hate them still.
That said, there are a few things I do need answers for… like seriously, I need more. I am curious: did Chrollo's nen ever get exorcised? Did Hisoka get to fight him? I am curious how Kurapika got all the eyes, too. Will Neon get her power back? This one is not as pressing as some of my other questions, but I do want to know at which point did Leorio get to find his true power? I loved Leorio and I wish I could have seen more of him and Kurapika during some of the other arcs. I also wanted to see more Hisoka and Illumi. I hated the Zoldyck family, but I wish I could have seen more of them, too.
Also, my last thing: Ging. Can we take a pause and talk about how shitty of a father he is/was? At first, it bothered me but I understood Gon wanting to know more of his dad and why being a Hunter was more important than being a dad. I understood why he made the excuses. However, at the beginning of the Greed Island arc is when my being bothered turned to hate. Like… If you are really ashamed and cannot look at your son in the eye and do not want to meet him, why would you make his existence about you and finding you? That was such a shitty thing to do. "Okay son, I don't want to meet you, but if you really want to, then you gotta' find me!" Okay, First off, go f**k yourself Ging. That was a cruel mind-game to play. But I guess there were just as many hunters who hated him as those who seem to love him. I have to say, my favorite part was seeing Leorio call him out on his bull-shit and getting nominated to be the leader after that– my absolute favorite scene was Leorio punching Ging. Iconic. It was fun to see everyone turn against him for being shitty. However, even after I hated him so much, I really loved seeing Gon finally meet his father and then getting to spend time with him sharing stories. I guess now I only have the manga and movies to catch up on.