Hunter x Hunter (2011)
Appropriateness Rating: Don’t Miss It!
Entertainment Rating: Awesome
Hunter x Hunter is a Japanese Anime about a young boy, Gon, who wants to be a Hunter. Gon in 12 years old and lives on a quiet Island in a land where there are strange creatures and mysterious powers. The reason he wants to be a hunter is so he can find his father. He also wants to find out what is so great about being a hunter that his father would choose to abandon him when he was only a child in order to go and live the hunter life. While this is his motivation the show is really more about the adventures he has along the way and the friends he meets. He is the main character, but his friends also get a lot of depth and time to tell their own stories and have their own adventures. It’s a great show for the whole family to enjoy together with some minor issues that should be forwarded through. Also, while it seems really childish and cheerful there are some arcs and episodes which are very scary so you should be careful watching it with very young children.
Warnings: swearing, very inappropriate clothing for some minor characters, inappropriate attraction, etc.
The biggest problem in this show is the recurring character Hisoka. Hisoka is a creepy villain that keeps coming up in the show, but in some later arcs he ends up temporarily teaming up with Gon and his friends to achieve a mutual goal. Unfortunately, Hisoka is “attracted” to other characters he thinks are strong or have potential to become strong, so a very disturbing aspect of the show is the fact that he is basically a pedophile being attracted to this 12-year old kid (Gon) while fighting him. It’s very creepy, but I almost forgot about it when starting to write this review because I did such a good job of skipping those parts. Definitely pre-watch any Hisoka episodes so that you know what to skip with your kids. Even though he is a bad guy that doesn’t prevent children from thinking he’s “cool” and that sends a terrible, terrible message.
One of the main problems with the show is the swearing. Many of the characters, even the “good guys,” swear and will at some point or another during the show use words like b*stard and damn and so on. If you are able to preview the episodes and forward these when you know they are coming this will be good for your children. Otherwise, it is very important to have conversation with them about the use of such words and how it is inappropriate. With the prevalence of swearing in today’s society some kids may not even realize that these words are bad since they hear them all the time.
Another issue is that some of the minor female characters have very inappropriate outfits. It is quite ridiculous as they are supposed to be “hunters” but they walk around wearing outfits that most resemble bikinis, not something someone going out to fight and look for monsters and so on would wear. Thankfully it is only a couple of characters that dress like this. The first one that comes up in the show is Menchi, who is one of two examiners administering part of the hunter exam. Actually, I would suggest you skip that entire part of the hunter exam as it is just a “cooking challenge” designed to show off this character’s body from different angles as she samples the cooking. It’s completely unnecessary and has nothing to do with the rest of the show.
The second character who dresses inappropriately is Pakunoda, one of the Phantom Troupe members. She wears a “business suit” outfit where her entire front of her suit is basically unbuttoned. For this character you can generally fast forward the worst of her scenes, there are not too many of them as I recall.
Once you reach the Chimera Ant Arc there are MANY characters, both male and female that go dressed in really strange and inappropriate outfits, this is aside from the fact that they are supposedly ants and/or animals so it makes no sense for them to have such human-like sexualized dress. As this arc is pretty slow you can either skip the offending episodes or just forward the scenes with those characters. You will not miss anything. Be wary of the episode where the phantom troupe fights the ant Zazan.
In the final arc, the Chairman Election Arc there are a few other hunters shown that are badly dressed. They are side-characters and don’t stick around for too long, but still, you might want to forward their bits.
Speaking of the Chimera Ant Arc, another issue with this arc is that it has a lot of violence and gore unlike the rest of the show. Again, you should discuss this with your kids and skip the very gory scenes or, if they are young, skip the arc altogether.
Finally, the excellent character Leorio, one of Gon’s friends has a couple of bad scenes. In his fight against the prisoner in the final phase of the hunter exam he faces a female prisoner who decides to use her body/sexuality and his “lewdness” to defeat him. Please skip that entire battle, there is nothing good about it and it is very disturbing to see such a good character ruined like this. Leorio also talks about drinking a couple of times so you should discuss that with your kids.
It sounds terrible from these detailed descriptions, but if your kids are watching any anime then Hunter x Hunter is actually one of the least harmful ones compared to other popular anime out there such as Naruto and so on.
There are a few good messages in Hunter x Hunter like friendship, teamwork, perseverance, trying hard, and so on. One of the most moving things about the show is the friendship between Gon and Killua and how that makes Killua into a much better, more caring person. There are also quite a few great family and friendship moments in the chimera ant arc such as the friendship between Killua and Ikalgo, Knuckle and Shoot, and the loyalty and protection shown by Colt.
Overall, if your kids are into anime already then you might want to introduce Hunter x Hunter and watch it together, making sure to skip the inappropriate things. If they are not anime-obsessed already or they are a little young or you don’t have time to watch together then we would recommend sticking with safer options like Myazaki’s movies. See my reviews of Castle in the Sky, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and check out his other movies as well.