Yoshihiro Togashi’s Hunter X Hunter is one of the most well-known ‘mainstream’ anime out there. It falls under the typical troupe of a potential-filled main character and his adventures, to achieve a quest (finding his father, in this case) and ‘ends’ with him finally achieving it. And take this perspective, seems to be a more or less generic Shōnen anime, having a predictable rise and fall in the plot.
Although it falls under the Shōnen demographic, there are a lot of heavy themes that have been touched by the series that would easily classify it, though debatably, to that of the Seinen demographic. However, the demographic tag of the series is a whole different debate.
The most striking thing perhaps about the anime is the characterization of the characters. Unlike most Shōnen series, there is a targeted focus on Gon Freecs, the protagonist, and Killua Zoldyck the deuteragonist, and their adventures together till they eventually go their separate ways at the end of the last arc. This allows us to evaluate the experiences of these characters from their own eyes, making it palatable as a series to the audience.
The first impression of Gon i.e. his seeming naivety and simple-mindedness works to disarm both other characters and audiences. This is interesting because due to this initial sense of no threat we get from a character like Gon, the escalation of how twisted his character gets when it becomes obvious in the Chimera Ant arc is sensational. Itt is important to understand that this sense of moral ambiguity has been highlighted since the start of the series.
What Togashi does is he clicks together this moral grayness in the Chimera Ant arc. This is why viewers aren’t thrown under the bus when he has his monstrous meltdown in the Palace while fighting Nefertpitou.
In Hunter X Hunter, We have morally gray, extremely strong antagonists like Hisoka and the entire Phantom Troupe. I may be biased when I say that the Troupe is perhaps among the best ‘villains’ in anime. They are well-written and excruciatingly powerful too.
Also, they have exactly one main arc and one episode in the Chimera Ant arc. And yet, they have been the most relevant group of antiheroes with their looming presence and intricate connections to almost all subplots of HXH.
There are probably very few people who have watched Hunter X Hunter and thought it a waste of time. The series delivers way more than it has promised, keeping us engaged all through the series. The anime has only three filler episodes and this exponentially makes the series worth it. with the escalating psychologically dark themes with each progression and arc.
It is overall a wonderful anime that has provided a space for fans who are in it for the deeper psycho-philosophical underpinnings of the anime. We can only hope that Togashi sensei decides to continue the series after a long, long hiatus.