Hunter X Hunter is an engaging story with a diverse cast of characters and plenty of action. Mangaka Togashi inserts subtext and draws character comparisons to add intricacy to the plot and to emphasize central themes. This narrative translates well in anime, and the 2011 reboot takes the story to even greater heights. Overall, it has garnered largely positive reviews, but a few episodes fall short. By seeing the highs and lows of their favorite show, fans can learn a lot about it. Here’s a look at the best and worst episodes of Hunter X Hunter’s 2011 Anime.
At its best, Hunter x Hunter shines for its storytelling and rich character development. The highest-rated episode, according to IMBD is “This Person × and × This Moment” from the “Chimera Ant Arc.” This episode saw Meruem complete his development from a one-dimensional villain into a fully realized character. It also laid the groundwork for what will happen to Killua and Gon, even though both characters are absent from this episode.
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Meruem began to show the effects of the rose bomb’s poison after his battle with Netero. Knowing that he had a limited amount of time, he sought out Komugi. When he arrived at Bizeff’s lair, he discovered Palm. Recognizing her, he asked her to accompany him on his search for Komugi. Palm remained silent; she did not recognize the creature in front of her and didn’t know how to respond. Meruem admitted that he has evolved and that he no longer intended to kill mankind; instead, he simply wished to be with the person he loved the most. The King then knelt before Palm to demonstrate his sincerity, forcing her to cry for him to stop.
People typically fail to recognize their enemies as whole people. It’s much easier to demonize them than to extend empathy. Palm’s reluctance to see the King as a person capable of change only adds to this general consensus. However, having gone through a transformation herself, Palm relented and agreed to help the King, highlighting her character growth. She can now show compassion to a foe who has altered her against her will and takes him to Komugi. It’s a far cry from her wild behavior in the previous episodes.
Meruem and Komugi decided to play one last game of Gungi together now that they’ve reunited. Meruem recalled that Komugi had inquired about his name, and he introduced himself as Meruem. She addressed him with an honorific once again, and he requests that she treat him as an equal. He’s not the same person he used to be.
Komugi became emotional when the King comes close to defeating her during the game. She wondered aloud how a person like her could have experienced so many wonderful things. The King then informed her of his deteriorating condition, warning her that the poison may be contagious and that she may die if she stays with him for too long. She ignored this and stayed by his side and the game progresses. She tells Meruem that she believes she was born for this exact moment.
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There are several bittersweet moments in this episode that will tug at your heartstrings. Before they can finish the game, Meruem’s En faded. He grew weak and had to lie down. This scene mirrored when Komugi is injured and the King tended to her. Answering the King’s kind gesture, Komugi stayed with him until she too slips from this world. Their decision to die together is a call back to when Killua tells Meleoron that he is committed to Gon and prepared to perform a shinjuu, which translates to lovers’ suicide.
Togashi creates character parallels by repeating a scenario and letting it play out differently for each set. Unlike Meruem and Komugi who grew towards each other and finish their arc as equals, Gon and Killua drifted apart. While Killua matured, Gon remained ignorant of many things which causes a lot of trouble for Killua. He broke their promise to stay together and faces death alone. As shown throughout the series, Gon is still a child who wants nothing more than to have a father. This is the source of their friendship’s fracture and propels his character arc throughout the series.
On the other end of the spectrum, Hunter x Hunter falters when it becomes too repetitive. The two lowest-rated episodes by far are Episodes 13 and 26. They consist of Aunt Mito reading Gon’s letter which recapped the previous episodes. The next lowest episode scores 7.3 out of 10 on IMBD and 4.9 out of 10 on Crunchyroll. Not exactly a bad rating, but for the sake of this analysis, here’s a closer look at Episode 78: “Very × Rapid × Reproduction.”
This episode follows a basic plot: the queen ordered Colt and the other soldier ants to bring her more humans to eat. She’s particularly interested in the newly discovered “highly nutritious specimens,” that will help her give birth to a strong king. The scene shifts to a village with Colt’s troops approaching. Terror breaks out as people run for their lives, only to be easily captured by the soldier ants. It’s a hard sequence to watch.
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The audience also learns more about the Chimera Ants in general. According to the narrator, Ant Queens travel around until they find an appropriate site to nest. She then gives birth to a big colony of carpenter ants, who build her a nest. The king and squadron leaders will depart the nest at some point, but the queen will stay until she dies.
The narrator goes on to suggest that once Chimera Ants have reached two meters in length, humanity is doomed since they’ll be able to start preying on people. The episode has Gon and Killua conducting research alongside Kite and his team. Given the large arm Kite found, they suspect the worst and look into missing person reports or any indication of a broad-scale attack. Gon and his companions are attempting to catch up on information that the audience already knows, which may come across as tedious.
The episode ended with a scene of Colt’s mother from his former life. Still traumatized by the disappearance of her children, she set her table for three. She made an offering of food to a deity to bring her children back and then she sobbed. It’s disheartening to end on such a bleak note. While all of this is beneficial to flesh out the plot, the grim outlook is discouraging. The episode’s generally slow pace juxtaposed with the uncontrolled terror felt by innocent victims may tempt fans to take a break from the series.
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Kristen is a Features Writer for CBR. In addition to writing, she also paints. For her art and random musings, you can follow her on Instagram @KristenLopezArt
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