My first anime: Hunter x Hunter review

Review: Hunter x Hunter

I'm an anime rookie, but Hunter x Hunter is one of the best shows I've ever seen.
Published: October 5, 2022
A woman holds a remote next to anime characters. The Hunter x Hunter logo. A painted sunset background.
Hunter x Hunter is an anime with a wide array of fantastic characters. The show is available on Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.

I’ve never been into anime, but Hunter x Hunter showed me what I’ve been missing.

After Hunter x Hunter was recommended to me separately by several people, I decided that I’d give it a shot. With 148 episodes available on Netflix, I knew that there was a good chance I’d lose interest and the show would join the graveyard of unfinished shows in my “Continue Watching” section. Instead, I absolutely fell in love.

The show centers around Gon Freecss, a 12-year-old boy who goes on an adventure to become a Hunter in hopes of finding his father. The Hunters Association holds an annual exam to determine if applicants are worthy of a Hunter’s license which is for elite humans with extraordinary abilities. This license allows its holder to go almost anywhere and do almost anything. Throughout the hunter’s exam, Gon meets many other characters – some with better motivations than others.

The characters in this show are incredibly developed. Maybe I’m just a softy, but I got emotionally attached to Gon and his friends after just a few episodes. Gon is friendly, intensely loyal, and always looking to do the right thing- even when in a situation that seemingly won’t allow it. His naivety is endearing, although at times frustrating for other characters.

Four of the main characters in the show (in order), Gon Freeccs, Killua Zoldyck, Kurapika, and Leorio Paradinight.

Gon meets Leorio Paradinight and Kurapika in the first episode. Leorio presents himself as self-centered and materialistic. But, as the show continues, he proves himself to be loyal and sensitive. Kurapika is introverted, stoic, and level-headed, although his righteous rage sometimes takes over. In episode 4, Gon meets Killua Zoldyck. Killua is also 12 years old but is hardened by his traumatic childhood and his family of famous assassins. Through his friendships, Killua shows his loyalty and clear desire to deviate from the path that his family wants for him.

The audience gets a look at all of the characters’ internal monologues throughout the show, including the antagonists. This, in addition to the occasional backstory, helps to create amazing character development that’s hard to beat. In real time, the audience understands why these characters are the way they are.

Hunter x Hunter can get a bit dark. Antagonists can be brutal and vicious, torturing and mutilating their opponents. The protagonists are often faced with problems that have no good solution. Death is a reoccurring character. Without spoilers, all I can say is dark animated shows aren’t for everyone.

Although my anime experience is restricted to Studio Ghibli films and Pokémon, I know that many adamant anime lovers will tell you that it’s best to watch anime in Japanese. However, I chose to watch it in English with English subtitles. With a show as complex as this one, I wanted to make it easier to follow along. The subtitles can be extremely helpful for character names and words that are specific to the “Hunter x Hunter” universe.

The only downside of the show is that there’s not more of it. The last episode came out in 2014 and the manga that the animated series is based on is still unfinished. Its creator, Yoshihiro Togashi, is taking a hiatus due to health concerns.

Hunter x Hunter storylines are detailed and captivating with incredible fight scenes. The characters are interesting and well-developed. The protagonists are lovable. The visuals are stunning. And it’s all packaged in bite-sized, roughly 20-minute episodes, perfect for when you don’t want to commit to watching an hour of TV. But beware, they’re addicting.