Hunter x Hunter is one of those shows that I’ve come back to in the last year, and realised how much I’ve grown since I was watching the ’99 version in 2011. I loved the original so much back then that when I was first hearing about the reboot around the same time, I was against it even though I hadn’t seen any of it. But recently, I started to figure it would be silly not to give it a go, at least. Little did I know you could read so many more meaningful messages into my old favourite characters now they’d been built up again. I was too busy worrying that they wouldn’t be as I remembered them.
God knows where from, but I’d picked up the idea that the reboot was aimed at a younger audience. And I mean, kiddy young. What an image, eh? Still, I was picturing a Saturday morning cartoon Hisoka I dreaded coming face to face with, and I was so relieved to be proved wrong. My magician was back, but as the series went on, I found he was even better than my memory of him. The subtle, pained and mournful layers of his portrayal by Daisuke Namikawa have made him someone I want to channel in standing out from a crowd and overcoming suffering, in emanating iridescent waves of confidence and poise. He’s at the top of my cosplay list as I fully recognise and accept my fangirl self, because I want to step out with that atmosphere surrounding me, and rebounding from everyone who watches me walk by. The more I watched him, and the characters surrounding him, the more I realised his deep transformation was in them too. And a couple in particular have been teaching me more about that courage I want to reflect.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Gon and Killua as a pair in the classic anime, but separately I much preferred Killua. Gon I usually found a little annoying when I wasn’t just disinterested. But with the reboot his complexities have become heartbreaking, the shadows behind the search for his father shown up in delicate strokes of fury and loneliness. He’s already been put through more pain than any child should, and that’s without all the harm he invites upon himself through the will to protect his friends. His aura of innocence despite it all brings me to tears. The only way I can put it is that, in seeing him again, I’ve been opened right up to the rarity of his joyous, adventurous soul.