Hunter × Hunter (Japanese: ハンター×ハンター Hepburn: Hantā Hantā) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine since March 16, 1998, although the manga has frequently gone on extended hiatuses since 2006. As of October 2018, 380 chapters have been collected into 36 volumes by Shueisha. The story focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss, who discovers that his father, who he was told had left him at a young age, is actually a world renowned Hunter, a licensed profession for those who specialize in, but are not limited to, fantastic pursuits such as locating rare or unidentified animal species, treasure hunting, surveying unexplored enclaves, or hunting down lawless individuals. Despite being abandoned by his father, Gon departs upon a journey to follow in his footsteps, pass the rigorous Hunter Examination, and eventually find his father. Along the way, Gon meets various other Hunters, including main cast members Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua, and also encounters the paranormal. The original inspiration for the manga came from Togashi's own collecting hobby.
In 1999, Hunter × Hunter was adapted into a 62-episode anime television series produced by Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The show premiered on Japan's Fuji TV and ran until 2001. Three separate original video animations (OVAs) totaling 30 episodes were subsequently produced by Nippon Animation and released in Japan from 2002 to 2004. A second anime television series by Madhouse aired on Nippon Television from October 2011 to September 2014 totaling 148 episodes, with two animated theatrical films released in 2013. There are also numerous audio albums, video games, musicals, and other media based on Hunter × Hunter. The manga has been translated into English and released in North America by Viz Media since April 2005. Both television series were also licensed by Viz, with the first series having aired on the Funimation Channel in 2009 and the second series premiering on Adult Swim's Toonami block since April 16, 2016.
Hunters (ハンター Hantā) are licensed, elite members of humanity who are capable of tracking down secret treasures, rare beasts, or even other individuals. They can also access locations that regulars cannot access. 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 (念) is the ability to control one's own life energy or aura, which is constantly emitted from them whether they know it or not. There are four basic Nen techniques; Ten (纏) maintains the aura in the body, strengthening it for defense, Zetsu (絕) shuts the aura flow off, useful for concealing one's presence and relieving fatigue, Ren (練) enables a user to produce more Nen, and Hatsu (發) is a person's specific use of Nen. Nen users are classified into six types based on their Hatsu abilities; Enhancers (強化系 Kyōkakei) strengthen and reinforce their natural physical abilities, Emitters (放出系 Hōshutsukei) project aura out of their bodies, Manipulators (操作系 Sōsakei) control objects or living things, Transmuters (変化系 Henkakei) change the type or properties of their aura, Conjurers (具現化系 Gugenkakei) create objects out of their aura, and Specialists (特質系 Tokushitsukei) have unique abilities that do not fall into the previous categories. A Nen user can enter into a Contract (誓約 Seiyaku) whereby pledging to follow certain Limitations (制約 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.
The story follows a young boy named Gon Freecss, who was told all his life that both his parents were dead. But when he learns from Kite, an apprentice of his father Ging Freecss, that he is still alive and has since become an accomplished Hunter, Gon leaves his home on Whale Island (くじら島 Kujira Tō) to take the Hunter Examination (ハンター試験 Hantā Shiken) in order to become a Hunter like him. During the exam, Gon meets and soon 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 that were 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 that Hunters receive; and Killua Zoldyck, another twelve-year-old boy who has left his former life as a member of the world's most notorious assassin family. Among many other examinees, Gon continuously encounters Hisoka, a mysterious and deadly transmuter who takes an interest in him. After passing by many trials together, Gon and his friends end up passing the exam except for Killua, who fails after killing another applicant due to being controlled by his brother, Illumi, and runs away to his family's estate in shame.
After Gon and the others convince Killua to rejoin their side, Leorio and Kurapika depart temporarily for their own personal reasons, while Gon and Killua set for the Heavens Arena (天空闘技場 Tenkū Tōgijō), a skyscraper where thousands of martial artists compete daily in fighting tournaments, seeking to improve themselves, and gain monetary rewards. There they meet a kung fu master named Wing, who trains them in utilizing Nen, a Qi-like life energy used by its practicers to manifest parapsychological abilities, and is also considered to be the final requirement to pass the Hunter Exam. Sometime later, Gon and his friends reunite again in Yorknew City (ヨークシンシティ Yōkushin Shiti) where they have a clash with the Phantom Troupe. During the occasion, Two from the band of thieves are killed by Kurapika and he is forced to give up the chance of hunting down the rest. In order to rescue Gon and Killua, who were captured by them, but not without succeeding in sealing the powers of their leader Chrollo Lucilfer.
A few days later, Gon and Killua achieve their objective and begin playing Greed Island, an extremely rare and expensive video game with Nen-like properties following some clues about Ging's whereabouts. While exploring the game, it is revealed that its scenario is actually set somewhere in the real world, created with Nen by none other than Ging himself. Outclassed by the difficulty of the challenges in the game at first, they are soon joined and trained by Biscuit Krueger, an experienced teacher of Nen and kung fu master. With the help of Biscuit, Gon and Killua train their Nen and learn to shape their abilities to their traits. During their stay on Greed Island, Killua takes a short break to apply for the Hunter Examination again, this time passes with success. The trio then complete the game together against all odds and Gon obtains the right to choose the artifacts from the game necessary to reunite with his father.
However, Gon decides to have Killua accompany him to meet his father using the artifacts, but they send them to meet Kite instead. The duo then decide to help with Kite's research, and upon discovering a giant insect limb the group discovers that 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, where she quickly develops a taste for humans and builds a colony powerful enough to overcome the population, especially after her offspring learn the power of Nen after consuming some Hunters. Upon facing the Royal Guard of the Chimera Ants, Kite sacrifices himself to allow Gon and Killua to flee and alert the Hunter Association. After weeks of preparation, the Association sends a team of some of their most powerful Hunters, including Netero, the president of the Association himself to defeat the Ants and their king Meruem, whose subjects secretly overthrew the government of the nearby Republic of East Gorteau (東ゴルトー共和国) as part of their plan of subduing all of mankind. Despite losing to Meruem in combat, Netero ends up killing him with a bomb implanted in his body that poisons him to death soon after. In the occasion, Gon has a showdown with Neferpitou, the Ant who killed Kite and despite having exacted his revenge is hospitalized and in critical condition.
Author Yoshihiro Togashi explained that one of his hobbies was collecting objects of all sorts, so he was inspired to create a manga involving collecting titled "(something) Hunter". He came up with the final name Hunter × Hunter while watching the television variety show Downtown, in which the hosts often repeat what they say to make the audience laugh. The "×" in the title is silent. As with his previous series, Yu Yu 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 manga's 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 manga's theme of a young boy searching for his father.
There have been several instances in which Togashi has apologized to readers in Shueisha's Weekly Shōnen Jump for low-quality artwork and promised to redraw portions of the chapters for their tankōbon (collected volume) releases. In addition, the publication history of the Hunter × 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 another just two months later. The series returned from this hiatus, which has been its longest to date, on April 18, 2016. However, just over two months later, Hunter × Hunter began another hiatus on June 4, 2016, until resuming serialization again on June 26, 2017. Just over two months later, on August 31, it was announced the series will go on hiatus again, with plans to return by the end of the year. The series returned in the 9th issue of Weekly Shōnen Jump on January 29, 2018, before entering in hiatus again on April 9, 2018. The manga returned on September 22, 2018, and went on hiatus again in November after issue #52.
The Hunter × Hunter manga has been largely commercially successful; having sold over 60.6 million collected volumes in Japan as of February 2012, making it Shueisha's eighth best-selling manga series. This number had grown to 66.3 million copies by 2014. Several individual volumes have topped Oricon's list of the best-selling manga in Japan during their release week; such as volumes 30 through 36. Volumes 24, 27, and 30 through 34 were some of the top-selling volumes for their respective years. Hunter × 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 manga has sold over 72 million collected volumes in Japan as of December 2018.
TagsBased on a NovelActionFantasyDramaSuperpowersMature ThemesViolenceWarMysteryRomance
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