Finding a dope new anime is akin to discovering a fire new cuisine. For someone to label a new cuisine as flames, one would need to be able to revisit that kind of food on numerous occasions, without getting bored or feeling like things are getting bland. Food needs to be filling. Anime needs to have substance. Food needs to have ingredients that are versatile and enticing. Anime needs episodes that progress and gel, but feel fresh and exciting. Hunter x Hunter has all of these things in spades and I want to tell you about the moment I realized this.
Ok lemme set the scene for those who haven’t peeped the show yet, and bring our veteran Hunters back to the moment this anime series went from potential banger to surface of the sun levels of flaming hot magma. Hunter x Hunter is about Gon, who lives on Whale Island, dreams of becoming a Hunter like his father, who left when Gon was still young. In this world, those who are capable of becoming Hunters are highly skilled individuals who enjoy great benefits and acclaim due to their licensed profession. But first Gon must pass the notoriously difficult and dangerous Hunter Qualification Exam. It is in this journey, Gon overcomes many obstacles, while making new friends and even, enemies along the way. He is also ever closer to understanding his father, why he left and the legacy that is left to him.
Season one is all about the Hunter Exam. Our protagonist Gon, he’s trying to pass the exam to become a Hunter, alongside his homie Killua. Every player had a numbered tag they had to protect, but also had to collect the tags of others (AKA knock them out or deliver the fade) in order to pass that round. Our main character has to retrieve the tag of the show’s powerful antagonist, Hisoka, or it was a wrap. He trains for hours on end, and completes his mission, but ultimately fails because of his lack of awareness and laser focus on getting Hisoka’s tag. Ashamed of his weakness, he’s broken, which is only magnified when Hisoka throws him the tag needed to pass the exam. Of course, he refuses and Hisoka claps back at the kid with that “get cha game up” venom!!
“Right now I’m letting you live and I’ll continue to keep you alive until you’ve grown enough to be worth killing.” Then Hisoka snuffs Gon with the Lil Mac/Balrog superman punch of disrespectful doom and says, “I’ll only take it back when you’re able to punch me in the face like that.” then mic drops and bounces to the finish line! Gon is livid, but also knows he gotta hit the hyperbolic time chamber to train for their next fight, and boyyy did that young buck flex when he finally got back in the ring with his nemesis!
So, Gon and Killua basically enter the Tournament of Power to train and make money. They both fight to move up to the 100 levels quickly, where the real competition awaits. Gon eventually gets his shot and the anticipation was on some Gaara vs Rock Lee shit.
Gon started off by utilizing his biggest advantage, speed, and feigns a bunch of attacks that left me hitting the Rick Flair WOO a few times! That boys quickness would make Kid Flash raise an eyebrow. He throws a flurry of punches and kicks that Hisoka blocks and dodges with ease. Gon keeps the momentum up but Hisoka a stone cold killa that ain’t about to let the young gunna start feeling himself, and begins to counter Gon’s attacks with his blows of his own.
Luckily the boy is able to block them or take the hit, but realize he’s outmatched and will have to take some unorthodox risks. Gon latches onto Hisoka’s leg but misses a big elbow, then Hisoka goes on the offensive. Joker x Orochimaru starts to toss the hands and Gon avoids damage for a few, until Hisoka catches Gon with a lovely fist to the face!
Come and Get it
The kicker though!! Hisoka’s bravado after he decked Gon was like Bad Boy in 97, homeboy really stood there and gave the prodigy that hand wave come at me son move!!
I was inconsolable. Gon was focused. Young Goku with the power levels had a plan and the skill, and executed his move to perfection. Gon dug into the arena floor and ripped it out the ground with ease then hit it with the Ryu hurricane kick (Tatsumaki Senpukyaku if you nasty) sending debris Hisoka’s way. The pint-sized beast concealed his presence, hid his body behind a large chunk of floor then snuck up on Hisoka like a veteran shinobi and punched him in the face so hard I felt the earth tremble for a quick second and lost my shit!!!
That boy Gon Freecss went from sweet-natured boy to unworthy opponent to the most delectable prey Hisoka has ever set eyes on! Hunter x Hunter has quickly climbed up my list of favorite anime, and so much of it is because of the beautifully fleshed out, straightforward characteristics of Gon and the complex, insatiable hunger that Hisoka possesses. They have an amazing dynamic together, but Gon alone has unbelievable captivating power. Now I’m in the middle of season 3 and constantly find myself hype for the next moment Gon will amaze me and my anime watching homie.
Stream Hunter x Hunter on Crunchyroll, Hulu and later of this month, Netflix.