Twelve years prior to the start of the story, Ging Freecss left his infant son, Gon Freecss, with, Gons aunt, Mito, on Whale Island (, Kujira Shima). Gon, who was told all his life that both his parents were dead, finds out from Gings apprentice, Kite, that his father is still alive and has since become an accomplished Hunter. Gon leaves his home to become a Hunter like his father by taking the Hunter Examination (, Hanta Shiken), a series of brutal tests involving skill, survival, and teamwork. During the exam, Gon meets and eventually befriends three of the other applicants: Kurapika, the last remaining member of the Kurta clan who wishes to become a Hunter in order to avenge his clan and recover their scarlet-glowing eyes, plucked from their corpses by a band of thieves known as the Phantom Troupe; Leorio, a prospective physician who, in order to pay for medical school, desires the financial benefits Hunters receive; and Killua Zoldyck, another twelve-year-old boy who has left his former life as a member of the worlds most notorious assassin family. Among many other examinees, Gon continuously encounters Hisoka, a mysterious and deadly transmuter who takes an interest in Gon. The final phase of the Hunter Exam sees Gon passing the exam in anticlimax and Killua failing after killing another applicant out of frustration. However, it is then revealed that one more secret task is required of the applicants for them to truly pass the Exam. The trio then travels to Killuas home estate in order to retrieve the boy from his overbearing family.
After Killua returns to the group, Leorio and Kurapika depart in order to accomplish their own goals; the four promise to meet again in Yorknew City (, Yokushin Shiti) in September of that year. Gon and Killua decide to gain both combat experience and money at the Heavens Arena (, Tenku Togijo), a skyscraper where thousands of martial artists compete daily in fighting tournaments. There they meet a kung fu master named Wing, who trains them in utilizing Nen, a Qi-like life energy utilized by Hunters to manifest parapsychological abilitiesÃ¢â‚¬â€�also considered to be the final requirement to pass the Hunter Exam. In the climax of the arc, Gon refaces Hisoka in the Heavens Arena in his final challenge of the Examination.
The next story arc reunites the main characters for the worlds largest auction in the sprawling metropolis of Yorknew City. Gon, Killua, and Leorio try different methods to make enough money to buy Greed Island, an extremely rare and expensive video game with Nen-like properties that may help Gon locate his father. Meanwhile, Kurapika starts working as a bodyguard for a mafia members daughterÃ¢â‚¬â€�a teenaged clairvoyant flesh collector who is interested in a pair of Kurta Clan eyeballs being auctioned off. While at the auction, Kurapika crosses paths with the Phantom Troupe, whom are in Yorknew City in order to steal all of the goods from the mafias underground auction. A gang war between the mafia and the Phantom Troupe rocks Yorknew City in the first week of September, eventually forcing the protagonists to all get involved and eventually cross paths. Kurapika struggles with his desires for revenge and his relationships, having to decide whether or not to sacrifice his friends as pawns in order to achieve his own vengeance. Hostages are taken and the climax of the arc results in an exchange between Kurapika and the leader of the Phantom Troupe, Chrollo Lucilfer.
In the final days of the auction, Gon and Killua are hired by a multibillionaire to play Greed Island, a billion-dollar video game created by Ging Freecss that takes place somewhere in the real world. The game, created with Nen, rewards one by allowing them the choice of taking three magical items from the game into the real world. Inside Greed Island, the Phantom Troupe starts to play the game for mysterious reasons, a players alliance becomes dangerously close to completing the game, and an unknown serial bomber has been murdering players in order to clear the game first. Gon and Killua, outclassed by the difficulty of the challenges in the game, are soon joined and trained by an experienced teacher of Nen and kung fu master: Biscuit Krueger. With her help, Gon and Killua begin to take on the challenges of Greed Island in an attempt to get closer to Gons father, with Killua taking a short leave from Greed Island to attend the Hunter exam once more and finally earn his license. In the climax of the arc, Gon faces the serial bomber one-on-one and eventually wins Greed Island. Using two of his rewarded cards, Gon and Killua travel to the location of a player whom they believe to be Ging. However, it ends up bringing them to Kite instead.
Alongside Kite, Gon and Killua briefly work as biological researchers. As they investigate a giant insect limb found on the countrys shores, the group discover it came from a man-sized Chimera Ant queen, an insect that devours other creatures and then gives birth to progeny that inherit the characteristics of the different species it has eaten. The queen washes up onto an island nation called the Neo-Green Life (N.G.L.) Autonomous Region, inhabited by a neo-luddite culture. She quickly develops a taste for humans and builds a colony in order to conceive both an army of offspring and a Chimera Ant king named Meruem. The Chimera Ants proceed to wipe most of the population out before Gon, Killua, and Kite arrive. The queen dies during labor, and the king and his Royal Guards flee N.G.L., secretly overthrowing the government of the nearby Republic of East Gorteau () soon thereafter. Meanwhile, having left N.G.L. for two months following an attack by the Chimera Ant Royal Guard Neferpitou, Gon learns that Kite is being manipulated by the ant and becomes enraged.
Under the guise of the former king of the Republic, Meruem initiates the process of forcibly awakening Nen in the civilians of East Gorteau in order to select soldiers to join his own personal army to conquer the world, and convert the remaining inhabitants to foodstock. As Ants formerly under the queens rule rejoin the king, the Hunter Association mobilizes quickly to stop the oncoming genocide by sending in an extermination team of Hunters. Looking for a way to restore Kite to his normal state, Gon and Killua join the extermination team in order to find Neferpitou. The confrontation reaches its peak during a battle between the Chimera Ant King and Netero, the chairman of the Hunters Association, and a second meeting between Neferpitou and Gon. Netero perished during the fight the Chimera Ant King, but his death was not in vain. After the battle with Netero, the Chimera Ant King had amnesia due to the impact of the fight. The Chimera Ant King came back to the castle and realized that he was missing something important from his memory. Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi tried to hide the existence of Komugi while trying to kill her behind the Chimera Ant Kings back. However, the Chimera Ant King found Komugi and realized that the fight between the humans and ants were meaningless. The battle ended and the Chimera Ant King stayed with Komugi until his last breath.
After the Chimera Ant incident has been resolved, the Hunter Associations top echelons, the Zodiacs, immediately begin the process of choosing Neteros replacement as Chairman, while the other Hunters try to have a new chairman elected by a voting system proposed by Gons father Ging, Killua returns home to ask for his younger sister Alluka to help Gon, who is hospitalized in critical condition after his battle with Neferpitou. However, his family is unwilling to risk losing Alluka or having her dangerous powers used against them, but after evading his older brother Illumis attempts to intercept him, Killua manages to bring Alluka to Gons side and have him fully recovered, before sealing her powers completely to ensure she can have a normal life. After having a brief reunion with his father, Gon meets Kite once more and becomes relieved that beside still living as an ant, he returned to his former self. With the burden of his guilt gone, Gon returns to the Hunter Association where he questions Ging about his goals and discovers the true nature of his fathers quest.
Some time later, Neteros son, Beyond, assembles an expedition to the Dark Continent (, Ankoku Tairiku), the forbidden, vast area outside of the known world, sponsored by the Kingdom of Kakin. Fearing that the expedition may bring disaster to the world, just like it occurred in previous attempts, the worlds five greatest powers accept that Kakin join their ranks in exchange for full authority over its findings. To accompany Beyond and prevent him from doing something unexpected, the Zodiacs decide to watch over him, inviting Kurapika and Leorio to join them, replacing Ging and the former Vice-Chairman Pariston, who assembled their own team by Beyonds request. Kurapika doesnt show any interest in joining Zodiacs at first but shortly after he is convinced by Mizaistom one of the Zodiacs and joins.
Hunters (, Hanta) are licensed, elite members of humanity who are capable of tracking down secret treasures, rare beasts, or even other individuals. To obtain a license one must pass the rigorous annual Hunter Examination run by the Hunter Association, which has a success rate of less than one in a hundred-thousand. A Hunter may be awarded up to three stars; a single star for making "remarkable achievements in a particular field"; they may then be upgraded to two stars for "holding an official position" and mentoring another Hunter up to single star level; and finally upgraded to three stars for "remarkable achievements in multiple fields."
Nen () is the ability to control ones own life energy or aura, which is constantly emitted from them whether they know it or not. There are four basic Nen techniques; Ten () maintains the aura in the body, strengthening it for defense, Zetsu () shuts the aura flow off, useful for concealing ones presence and relieving fatigue, Ren () enables a user to produce more Nen, and Hatsu () is a persons specific use of Nen. Nen users are classified into six types based on their Hatsu abilities; Enhancers (, Kyokakei) strengthen and reinforce their natural physical abilities, Emitters (, Hoshutsukei) project aura out of their bodies, Manipulators (, Sosakei) control objects or living things, Transmuters (, Henkakei) change the type or properties of their aura, Conjurers (, Gugenkakei) create objects out of their aura, and Specialists (, Tokushitsukei) have unique abilities that do not fall into the previous categories. A Nen user can enter into a Contract (, Seiyaku) whereby pledging to follow certain Limitations (, Seiyaku), their abilities are strengthened in relation to how strict they are. An example of this is Kurapika who, in order to have an unbreakable chain that will hold members of the Phantom Troupe no matter what, offered his life should he use it on anyone other than its members.
Author Yoshihiro Togashi explained that one of his hobbies is collecting objects of all sorts, so he was inspired to create a manga involving collecting titled "Hunter". He came up with the final name Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter while watching the television variety show Downtown, in which the hosts often repeated what they said to make the audience laugh. As with his previous series, YuYu Hakusho, Togashi used drafting ink and Kabura pens for his illustrations but began using an eMac to color them. Togashi uses few or no assistants in the mangas production; however, fellow manga artist and future wife Naoko Takeuchi assisted Togashi in adding screentone to single-color pages for the first volume. With the birth of their first son early in its publication, Togashi felt that this personal aspect of his life would be a great influence on his work, particularly the mangas theme of a young boy searching for his father.
There have been several instances in which Togashi has apologized to readers in Shueishas Weekly Shonen Jump for low quality artwork and promised to redraw portions of the chapters for their tankobon (collected volume) releases. In addition, the publication history of the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter manga has been plagued with hiatuses, in which serialized chapters would be separated by extended periods of time. After returning from a two-year-long hiatus in June 2014, and joining the English language Weekly Shonen Jump lineup, the manga went on its current hiatus just two months later.
Written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi, the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter manga began its ongoing serialization in Weekly Shonen Jump magazine on March 3, 1998. Shueisha has compiled most of the chapters into 32 tankobon volumes as of December 2012. Beginning in December 2011, Shueisha began republishing the manga into a magazine-style format. The company published one volume per month for a total of six volumes, covering up to the end of the Greed Island story arc. In December 2012, Togashi wrote a two-part manga titled Kurapika Tsuioku-hen (, "Kurapika Recollection") to act as a prequel to the first animated film.
In April 2005, Viz Media began publishing the manga in English in North America. Viz marketed the series as part of its "Shonen Jump Advanced" line for readers in their older teens and young adults. All thirty-two volumes have been released in North America as of April 2014. On April 22, 2014, it was announced that Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter would be joining Vizs digital English magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. The manga has also been licensed and translated into multiple languages throughout Europe and other parts of Asia. For instance, it was serialized between 2001 and 2005 in Banzai!, a German version of Weekly Shonen Jump.
The first Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime adaptation was produced by the company Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, who had previously directed the Rurouni Kenshin television series. A total of 62 episodes of Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter were broadcast on the Japanese terrestrial television network Fuji Television from October 16, 1999 to March 31, 2001 during the same Saturday evening timeslot as the anime version of Togashis previous series YuYu Hakusho. Additionally, Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter has aired on the satellite television station Animax. Although it closely follows the manga, the violence in the anime version is lessened for younger audiences. Marvelous Entertainment has released all episodes of the series in Japan on DVD in 13 separate volumes between September 20, 2000 and September 19, 2001.
Viz Media licensed the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime for distribution in the Region 1 market, with English voice-work handled by The Ocean Group at Blue Water Studios in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The series was released on four DVD boxed sets from December 9, 2008 to December 1, 2009. Starting with the second set, Viz partnered with Warner Home Video to distribute the DVDs. Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter began airing in the United States on the Funimation Channel in the spring of 2009.
Original video animations
Prior to Nippon Animations television adaptation of Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter, a stand-alone OVA was shown as part of the "Jump Super Anime Tour" of 1998 alongside OVAs Seikimatsu Leader den Takeshi! and One Piece. Produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, it depicts the early events of the manga up to Gons ocean voyage from Whale Island. When the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime covered most of its source material by 2001, Nippon Animation made the decision to end the adaptation rather than continue it with filler. Due to fans unsatisfied reactions to the conclusion of the television series, three subsequent OVAs were produced by Nippon Animation. These carried the plot from where the broadcast left off during the Yorknew City arc and covered the Greed Island arc. The first OVA series was directed by Satoshi Saga and ran for eight episodes in four released volumes from January 17 to April 17, 2002. The second OVA series, Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: Greed Island, was directed by Yukihiro Matsushita and ran for eight episodes in four released volumes from February 19 to May 21, 2003. The third OVA series, Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: G.I. Final, was directed by Makoto Sato and ran for 14 episodes in seven released volumes from March 3 to August 18, 2004. After the original animes initial run on Animax, the OVAs were aired successively. Viz has shown no intention of releasing English versions of the OVAs.
A new Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime adaptation was announced in July 2011. Instead of continuing the story from the OVA series, it restarts the story from the beginning of the manga in an attempt to adapt it more accurately. The series is directed by Hiroshi Kojina, produced by Madhouse, scripted by Jun Maekawa, and character designs were created by Takahiro Yoshimatsu. The series began airing Sunday mornings on Nippon Television starting October 2, 2011. It switched to airing on Tuesday nights from October 8, 2013 onwards. The series ended on September 23, 2014 after 148 episodes. An hour after each episode aired in Japan, American website Crunchyroll provided English subtitled simulcasts in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.
An anime film adaptation called Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: Phantom Rouge, featuring an original story, was announced in March 2012. It was released on January 12, 2013. Toho distributed the film in Japan. It centers around Gon and his friends efforts to retrieve Kurapikas eyes which were stolen by Omokage, the original person with the No. 4 spider tattoo. The film is based on an unpublished story manga creator Yoshihiro Togashi wrote around 10 years before.
The Last Mission
A second film was announced following the first ones debut, later titled as Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: The Last Mission. The film has some focus on Netero, the chairman of the Hunter Association as Gon and his friends discover the dark secrets behind his past. The movie was released on December 27, 2013. The DVD and Blu-ray was released on July 23, 2014.
The background music for the first Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime and three OVA series was composed by Toshihiko Sahashi. A large number of audio CDs for the franchise have been released by Marvelous Entertainment. The three-volume soundtrack for the anime television series contains 129 instrumental and vocal songs. The Original Video Animation Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter Sound Trax for the first OVA series contains 18 songs and the Original Video Animation Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: Greed Island Original Sound Tracks for the second OVA series contains 30 songs. In addition, character-specific and story arc drama CDs and a 17-volume radio drama titled Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter R have been published throughout the anime adaptations release period.
There have been two musicals based on Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter. The first, Musical Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter (), was originally performed during December 2000. It is an original story that appears to take place between the end of the Yorknew City story arc and the beginning of the Greed Island arc. The second, Musical Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: The Nightmare of Zoldyck (), was originally performed during August 2002. It is a retelling of when Kurapika, Leorio, and Gon go to fetch Killua back from his family estate after the end of the Hunter Exam arc. Both musicals have received separate DVD and audio CD releases, as well as a dual DVD release from Marvelous Entertainment. There is also a live-action play titled Real Stage Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: "A Longing for Phalcnothdk ~ A Spiders Memory ~" (), which was performed 16 times at the Theater Sun-mall in Shinjuku, Tokyo during August 2004. The play is a retelling of the Phantom Troupe finale in the Yorknew City arc. It received a DVD release in Japan on December 10, 2004.
There are ten Japan-exclusive video games based on Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter, many of which are either developed or published by Konami or Bandai. They range from role-playing and strategy games to action and adventure games. These include titles for the WonderSwan, WonderSwan Color, Game Boy Color, Game Boy Advance, PlayStation, and PlayStation 2. A game based on the second anime adaptation was released on the PlayStation Portable on September 20, 2012. Characters from the franchise have appeared along with other Weekly Shonen Jump properties in the fighting games Jump Super Stars and Jump Ultimate Stars for the Nintendo DS and J-Stars Victory VS for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita.
A series of three film books based on the first anime series and authored by Nobuaki Kishikan has been released by Shueisha from December 3, 1999 to August 24, 2001. A guidebook to the anime titled Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter Characters Book: World Ãƒâ€” Character Ãƒâ€” Blessing () was published by Shueisha in January 2001. A guidebook to the manga titled Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter: Hunters Association Official World and Character Guide () was published by the company on June 4, 2004. There is also an extensive trading card game by Bandai, action and trading figures, and various other collectables.
The Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter manga has been largely commercially successful; having sold over 60.5 million collected volumes in Japan as of February 2012, making it Shueishas eighth best-selling manga series. This number had grown to 65.8 million copies by February 2013. Several individual volumes have been some of the best-selling manga in Japan during their release week; such as volumes 25 through 29. Volumes 24 and 27 were some of the top-selling volumes for their respective years. Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter was the eighth best-selling manga series of both 2012 and 2013, with 3.4 and 4.6 million copies sold those years respectively. In North America, volumes 23 through 27 have ranked within the top 300 best-selling graphics novels list of sales estimates by Diamond Comic Distributors.
The Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter manga has received much praise for its plot and characters. Jason Thompson, author of Manga: The Complete Guide, described its storyline as "an almost random collection of psych-outs, battles, puzzles, and trickery" that works on both a chapter-by-chapter basis and a larger scale. Thompson elaborated that with all the goals and subplots of each of the main characters, the story could seemingly go on forever, despite being unpredictable enough to hold reader interest. Charles Solomon, a writer for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, admired the moral seriousness of Gon, a quality that gives the protagonist "an appeal his relentlessly upbeat counterparts lack". Publishers Weekly gave a positive review to the first volume of the manga, stating that Togashi "shows a deft touch" with its standard story, calling his artwork "clear and graceful", and mentioning that his characters are "endearing and complex". While Rika Takahashi of EX.org and Claude J. Pelletier of Protoculture Addicts found the art style in Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter to be much simpler than Togashis two previous serializations, Level E and YuYu Hakusho, both reviewers appreciated the intricate narrative and characters.
The first Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime series has enjoyed much more modest popularity than its manga source. Newtype listed it as having a Japanese television rating of 10.5 for the fourth quarter of 2000. The shows viewership was ranked number six among the top ten anime television series in Japan for February 2001. The series was voted as the 16th best anime of 2000 in the Animage Anime Grand Prix, but rose to fourth place the following year. In 2001, the staff of the magazine listed Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter as the 94th most important anime of all time. In a 2006 web poll conducted in Japan by the network TV Asahi, the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter television series was voted 28th best anime of all time. In 2010, Mania.coms Briana Lawrence listed Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter at number nine of the websites "10 Anime Series That Need a Reboot".
Critical reception for the first Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter television adaptation has been generally favorable. Miyako Matsuda of Protoculture Addicts, Carl Kimlinger of the Anime News Network (ANN), and Derrick L. Tucker of THEM Anime Reviews all expressed positive views of the series narrative and characters. Matsuda admired the adventure-filled world of Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter and the practical character qualities of friendship, effort, and victory inserted by Togashi. Beginning with the second Viz DVD volume, Kimlinger summarized, "Togashis plotting is canny and occasionally insightful and Furuhashis visuals inventive yet attuned to the measured pacing of the series. Together they create a shonen action series that is both fun to watch and curiously respectful of its audiences intelligence. A strange combination indeed." Tucker admitted to being "bewitched" by the series mainly due to the remarkable and original characters, especially the interplay between the vastly different personalities of the Phantom Troupe members. Kimlinger gave particular praise to the characteristics of the complex villain Hisoka and the deep, emotional transformation of Kurapika in the latter half of the series. Theron Martin, also of ANN, contrastingly found the plot of the earliest episodes to be cliche, called the protagonist Gon "an obvious Son Goku derivative", and stated that many of the storys aspects have already been covered by other shonen series such as Dragon Ball Z a decade earlier. Martin was also displeased by an alleged lack of character development on the main protagonists parts in the initial episodes.
The art and animation of the Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter anime have also been commended by the press. Kimlinger and Tucker were impressed by the art direction of Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter, the former of whom critiquing the adaptation of Togashis work by Furuhashi as having "understated energy and flair, making the most of the eras (1999) mix of traditional and CG animation to bring Gon and friends physical feats to fluid, exhilarating life." Martin faulted both the artwork and the subtle differences in character design. "The artistry not only shows its age but, in fact, looks older than it actually is," the reviewer commented, "hearkening back to a day when digital coloring and CG enhancements were not ubiquitous and allowances for a rougher look were greater." Opinions of the series sound and music have been somewhat mixed. Martin positively noted the soundtrack as the strongest production point of Hunter Ãƒâ€” Hunter, and was satisfied with both the English translation of the script and Oceans voice overs. Tucker found the music satisfactory and improved as the series progressed, but did not think it lived up to its potential. Kimlinger agreeably felt the musical score to be appropriate in most instances, but criticized the English dub as "a letdown since day one".
Madhouses 2011 adaptation has been met with near universal critical acclaim. While the series as a whole has received widespread praise, the Chimera Ant arc in particular has been often singled out. In addition to being met with rave reviews, the arc has generated considerable discussion and analysis of its themes, symbols, characters and structure throughout and in the aftermath of its run. The arc is commonly viewed as a deconstruction of shonen and action anime; other readings have focused on supposed symbolic parallels with Buddhism and nuclear war. Nick Creamer compared the arc to a Ã¢â‚¬Å“war dramaÃ¢â‚¬?. In a lengthy essay, Creamer read the arc as a study of, and in the end a simultaneous critique and defense of human nature.
Much of the writing surrounding the arc focuses on its villain, the Chimera Ant King. Largely echoing CreamerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s conclusion, Luke Halliday, in an examination of the character, describes his story as Ã¢â‚¬Å“an exploration into what it means to be human.Ã¢â‚¬? In the piece, Halliday describes the Kings development as Ã¢â‚¬Å“one of the most interesting and captivating in anime . . . [the Kings] journey is simply unforgettableÃ¢â‚¬? and states his own belief that the arc Ã¢â‚¬Å“will go down as one of the greatest stories told in animeÃ¢â‚¬?.
Nick Creamer held similar sentiments, writing Ã¢â‚¬Å“the showÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fantastic aesthetics elevate it above almost everything out there Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in direction, in sound design, in pacing, in animation, in basically every relevant aesthetic metric, Hunter x Hunter triumphs. That itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s been maintaining this level of quality for well over a hundred episodes is nothing short of astonishing.Ã¢â‚¬?