In a world where anime is bigger than ever… one woman hasn’t actually seen much of it.
Can she successfully piece together the premise of a popular series based on knowledge she’s absorbed from being online? Or will she endure the shame of believing that there is a talking dog which merely turns out to be an extremely hairy man?
Placing a poll on Twitter dot com, she puts her fate in the hands of the many. Whatever show they choose, she is honor-bound to describe what she thinks she knows, watch several episodes, and compare her knowledge to the cold truth.
ok gang, it's once again time to choose my fate. i'm gonna write about one of these shows i've never seen, which will it be?
— merritt k (@merrittk) June 26, 2018
This is… Expectations Vs. Reality. (Previously known as “What Do I Know About…”)
And this time, she’s faced with her greatest challenge yet: the titanic force known only as Hunter x Hunter.
What I Think I Know
Here is an exhaustive list of everything I know about Hunter x Hunter:
You pronounce the "X" in Hunter X Hunter pic.twitter.com/5iYMeNlIck
— Tray (@tray790x) May 15, 2018
Not a lot to work with, so I’m going to have to go full Mind Palace on this one.
Hunter… Hunter x Hunter… to me, that implies multiple hunters engaged in direct competition with one another. Are they fighting? Or are they competing to literally hunt some other entities?
Regardless, I assume we’re dealing with a boys’ adventure story, in which the characters go on a journey through a series of challenges to accomplish their goals or realize something about themselves. I expect this involves a lot of training, fighting, and dramatic plot arcs.
Looking at the characters on the cover art, I like the tall guy in the suit—partly because he reminds me of Lupin and partly because I like any character who wears a suit regardless of practicality. I bet he’s kind of a dick, too, because he’s the only character who isn’t smiling and facing forward.
Lastly, a number of my friends were excited when Hunter x Hunter won the poll, and given that my friends are mainly degenerates and shippers, I’m assuming there’s some intense emotional moments, unusual characters, and romantic tension. A few of them have mentioned a smirking, sexual clown. Unsure how he fits into all this.
And the Truth Is…
Gon, a plucky little boy and our protagonist, lives in a world populated by magical creatures, filled with lost treasures, and suffused in mystery. Who investigates these mysteries? The titular hunters, of course! Living on the sleepy Whale Island, Gon dreams of following in his fathers’ footsteps and becoming one of these hunters.
It’s clear that the woman who raised him, Mito-san, didn’t want him running off to live this dangerous life. But when Gon catches a huge sea creature in a thrilling fishing sequence, fulfilling their bargain, she decides that she doesn’t understand his lifestyle but supports it. And so Gon heads off on a ship to take the Hunter’s exam.
I have to stop here to say that the score for the first episode alone is incredible—it’s all dramatic swells and cheery tunes that feel distinct from the heavy rock or pop fares I’ve come across in a lot of anime, and it perfectly sets the mood for a boyish adventure story.
Anyway, aboard the S.S. Sailor Tropes, Gon meets two people who could not be more different—Kurapika, a quiet, incisive boy, and Leorio, a brash, aggressive man. Leorio wears a suit and wants to become a hunter for the money. I love him.
They get into some oceanic trouble but the three of them persevere, coming out as the only hopefuls who will be allowed to proceed to the testing area. From there on, they face a number of obstacles on their journey, most of which they solve not with direct confrontation but in unexpectedly creative ways. For example, when they’re confronted with shapeshifting, razor-clawed creatures, Gon is able to tell two of them apart. This shocks the beasts—who turn out to be husband and wife—because humans can rarely distinguish between individuals of their kind. I love Gon! My sweet son!
There are a Lot of episodes of this show, which cover a series of arcs that you might expect from the genre—training, challenges, and confrontations with evil forces. But it’s so creative and charming that despite the daunting backlog, I’m tempted to keep watching. There’s so much I love here: the simple but appealing character designs, Gon’s fishing rod tricks, and the fact that he seems like a sensitive kid who isn’t at all fazed by the fact that his father abandoned him to run off and be a hunter. I can’t help but wonder if he’s hiding his pain behind a facade of cheeriness. If the show gets into that, oof, hachi machi, that’s gonna be a tearjerker.
There are 148 episodes of Hunter x Hunter available now on Crunchyroll. If you jumped on the My Hero Academia! train, I hope you’ll give this show a shot—I think you’ll find a lot to enjoy. Also, come on. We gotta know what the deal with that sensual murderclown is.