“You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.” The final, closing words of Ging Freecs ring through my mind for hours on end as the credits close and Hunter x Hunter comes to an end. One of the strongest, most consistently well-written and designed series of all time has finished, and so I must sum its existence as best as I can without running on for too long. It’s going to be hard. For the last three years, every week I’ve watched Gon Freecs and his friends and antagonists travel the world and show us things we’d never seen, and would be lucky to see… and then mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi blows our minds by showing us all that Gon has seen only a small, small sliver of the world. Capping it off with Ging’s words, our wide-eyed hero, along with us watching, sit mouths agape as the screen fades, knowing that the story is over.
Yes, of course I know that its manga is still running, but seeing as how it’s only about 10 chapters into a new arc from where this arc ends, and Togashi is unhealthy, this is about as much as we’ll get for a long time, and it’s hard to believe it’s over. I certainly wish Togashi-san a speedy recovery not only so he can return to Hunter x Hunter, but so his brilliance can continue on and he can remain one of the best mangakas of the last two decades. Hunter x Hunter will forever stand as a testament to doing what shonen manga and anime do best, then completely changing the game time and time again. The Hunter Exam arc, the Greed Island arc, the Chimera Ants arc; all of these are templates that shonen manga have used for years to grow their characters and help them be catalysts for young readers to look up to. But Togashi has taken every single cliché that other series have done with these ideas and completely made standalone, new twists to them to help them remain timeless and remarkable, for years to come.
Let’s talk about the closing episodes of the Chimera Ants arc. In what should have been a world-rattling battle between Netero and Mereum, Togashi completely mesmerized all of us and pulled the fight to an entirely different level and had Netero risk the world’s existence to stop Mereum. *Sorry to spoil it for those who haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but it’s been a long enough time by now, you should be aware of the ending.* In what is an apparent nod to the hydrogen bombing(s) of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Togashi takes the time to educate viewers and readers to what truly transpired and the effects it has and had on the people who lived afterwards. Netero sacrificed himself in hopes of eradicating the Ants and Mereum, and as a result, he’s a martyr, but (and this is just my opinion) I feel Netero came out worse as an individual as a result.
The Chimera Ants arc was about humans versus the Ants, initially, but as the arc grew and we learned more and more about the Ants, and they’re evolution has gotten so progressively amazing in such a short time, that they make almost better humans than humans themselves. Again, this is my own interpretation and ideas, so bear with me, but Netero risking the destruction of the planet shows how ignorant humans actually can be in trying to accomplish their goals. Yes, Mereum’s initial goal was to wipe out the human race and make sure the Chimera Ants were the dominant species, at first, but by the end, after his battle with Netero, his eyes were opened and he evolved, he grew, and he learned. This was a cut-and-paste battle like Naruto or Dragonball Z where the villains refuse to learn or grow other than to get stronger and are only out for power. No, Meruem was able to look beyond his petty desires and focuses on his limited time remaining and spend as he saw it right: with Komugi and playing Shogi until they both fade away.
It’s a heartbreaking moment; an unexpectedly heartbreaking moment that causes you to feel for someone who dominated every single person that tried to stop him. Netero was the strongest Hunter that could stand toe to toe with Mereum and even he was unable to defeat him with his own means. By any means necessary, Netero tried to bring Mereum down, and although it was for naught, it helped Mereum realize that there were more important reasons for existing, and helped close the Chimera Ants arc with a solemn, ever-ringing, whisper. Despite its finale being over 3 months ago, the Chimera Ants arc reigns as one of the finest creations in shonen manga ever. Even at its one-year length, it was a stunning arc to experience, and show Togashi’s ability to create world that not only is a breathing, livable world, but is fully explored and shows in great detail. He’s not showing only one side of the fight; he’s willing to go to all lengths to show what every single character is willing to do to survive. There’s never a wasted moment, and it’s sad to say it’s come to an end.
With Netero gone, a new chairman must be selected and so an election is held. Taking a break from knuckle-busting action, this arc focuses on the Hunter’s election proceedings, along with Gon’s recovery. Now, I’m usually not a fan of politics, and they tend to be boring, bureaucratic laborings, but once again, Togashi shows that he’s more than capable of making Hunter x Hunter accessible and entertaining no matter the subject. The Election arc is a short one, and it’s damned distressing too, as the end of the Election arc means the end of Hunter x Hunter. The anime, anyway. Yes, Hunter x Hunter has finished its nearly 3-year run as a rebooted anime, and although the manga still exists (on hiatus currently), what will my Tuesday evenings consist of now? Hunter x Hunter was my addiction; that one series I could always rely on for unfailingly quality creation, and now it’s over. Since my starting with Hunter x Hunter in 2011, countless other series premiered and ended, but I could always count on Hunter x Hunter on being there for me. Even when it changed its lineup from Sunday to Tuesday, I knew I’d be getting more every week. It’s childish to even think it could run forever, and I prefer it didn’t turn to filler to buy time for Toagashi to write more content, especially at this rate, but Hunter x Hunter is just that good, that its lack of a presence every week will leave a void that will be hard to fill.
If you follow me on Twitter, I was always at a loss for words with Hunter x Hunter (particularly as the Chimera Ant arc reached its climax), and as I learned the finale was looming closer and closer, I readied myself as much as I could as I loaded up episode 148 for the first time. I expected it to be a laid back episode, I anticipated it be a bit of a recap episode, and I knew it would focus on Ging and Gon as they finally got to talk to one another face-to-face ever since Ging left Gon 12 years ago on Whale Island. Ging imparts some advice on Gon that succinctly sums up the last three years of watching Hunter x Hunter: ”I’m enjoying the journey. So if our paths happen to cross in the future… You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.” Ging, a man who deserted his son who was only two, is clearly speaking to us, through Yoshihiro Toagashi, and he reminds us that’s it’s not just where you’re going, it’s also what you accomplish on your way there, along with the friends and life achievements you are rewarded with as you’re getting there. It’s an old adage of ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the journey’, but with Hunter x Hunter, its message bears repeating. Gon has grown so much in the short time we’ve known him, and has made some of his best friends in his otherwise small goal of finding Ging. It was a hell of a journey, and ultimately worth it, and I enjoyed every blasted second of it.
Hunter x Hunter has run its course and there’s no telling if we will ever get a series like it ever again, but much like Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, or any other series that transcends traditional barriers and allows anyone to be a fan of its content, Hunter x Hunter is a series that will go down in history as one of the finest, well-crafted and honed anime series of the last decade, if not of all time. I cannot recommend it enough, even with its near 150 episode length; you will never have a wasted moment or be bored while watching, so please do yourself a favor and check it out if you can. I started my “You Should Be Watching’ series here at Geekenstein almost one year ago, and it was with Hunter x Hunter. Covering the first one hundred episodes, I never expected to go further than that, but the show remained damned great, and I had to continue sharing my love for it. Here we are, almost 50 episodes later since then, and I want to tear up, I want to weep because of how marvelous Hunter x Hunter truly is and how it really is a show you should be watching. The majestic tale that is Hunter x Hunter lives on and there is a few sites that hold it for viewing: Netflix holds the first 100 episodes (hopefully with the rest coming soon) and Crunchyroll contains everything, from start to finish, so go marathon one of the best animes out there. “You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want.”