Survivor: We're going to die here, aren't we?
No. Because as long as I'm here, they
are the prey...and I am the hunter!
There is a group of beings that The Hunter hunts. Maybe it's because of a traumatic event in their past
, maybe it's been passed down through the family
. Often, it's because those they hunt remind them too much of themselves, or the possibility of what they could become
The prey of The Hunter tend to be criminals or supernatural monsters. Whether The Hunter is a good guy depends on the alignment of said prey, although almost all Hunters have to wrestle with fanaticism
. If they fail to control that fanaticism, they'll eventually discover what happens to He Who Fights Monsters
The most common kind nowadays are Vampire Hunters
, though Demon Slayers
and Vigilante Men
who target criminals are also common. The Witch Hunter
is the least sympathetic variety. The Dragonslayer
, however, is almost never a subtrope of The Hunter. Some other non-supernatural varieties are the Serial-Killer Killer
and the Nazi Hunter
The Hunter's motivation is usually one of the following:
- The creatures are a danger to humans (or innocent humans); the desire to protect others is what drives The Hunt.
- The creatures are tortured souls who Cannot Self Terminate. The only thing you can do is to put them all out of their misery.
- A supernatural authority says that some being shouldn't exist—or the individual believes that it says so, based on personal revelation or scripture—so he becomes a Church Militant on a Mission from God.
- The Hunter has suffered a terrible loss of some sort at the hands of the creatures, and now seeks revenge. This style of Hunter usually has a specific individual among the creatures who he regards as his personal enemy (usually the creature responsible for the wrong in question), and is particularly vulnerable to He Who Fights Monsters.
- Just good old-fashioned prejudice or Fantastic Racism. Maybe there is just one type of monster with a bad rep that is the target, maybe The Hunter hates everything that is Not Even Human. Even if the character is justified in hunting certain creatures, lumping all of one kind together may blind him to the fact that some of them are Friendly Neighborhood Vampires, leading to the commission of Van Helsing Hate Crimes.
- The Hunter is part of a special government agency dedicated to keeping the country or the world safe from these beings.
- The Hunter is a Blood Knight who sees these beings as perhaps the ultimate challenge and test of his or her skills.
- They are themselves supernatural beings or human killers who are a Hunter of His Own Kind.
- Just plain old profit. The character is a mercenary who hunts the target because it pays well.
- Pleasure. It was once acceptable for the Great White Hunter to kill tigers, but today they are too endangered for that. So why not start hunting a creature that is just as dangerous as Hunting the Most Dangerous Game, but is much more ethical to kill?
Occasionally parallels Bounty Hunter
, although for the Hunter, this is always very
personal. (They don't always mind taking money for the endeavor, though. After all, equipment is expensive.)
A Hunter with no fixed home
is probably also a Knight Errant
. Depending on the Hunter, may end up committing Van Helsing Hate Crimes
. Not to be confused with a zombie using the same name.
See also Mary Sue Hunter
for the Sue-killing
For actual animal
hunters, see Egomaniac Hunter
, who hunts for the hell of it
, Evil Poacher
(who hunts endangered animals), and Great White Hunter
(the Victorian ideal of hunter-as-Gentleman Adventurer
). Any of these tropes may overlap with this one, however.
See also Occult Detective
, whose occupation is to investigate supernatural mysteries. May be a Blue-Collar Warlock
if he uses magic. For groups or organizations that specialize in killing monsters, see Creature-Hunter Organization
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Anime and Manga
- Vampire Hunter D hunts vampires, mutants and demons in a post-apocalyptic future. He is the son of none other than Dracula himself.
- Vampire Princess Miyu fights the Shinma (God Demons) as her job and her fate. She is more antiheroic than many Hunters due to her use of humans to trap the Shinma, and sometimes hunting humans as well.
- The SOLOMON organization, a.k.a. STN-J from Witch Hunter Robin, is an organization dedicated to hunting down witches, people born with superhuman abilities that many associate with magic, in order to keep these abilities from being used to hurt others. Robin is a witch who uses her powers in the service of the organization while trying not to fall into insanity like the witches they fight frequently do. Unfortunately, it soon becomes apparent that things a lot more sinister are happening behind the scenes, and even witches who have never used their powers for evil have reason to fear the group.
- Venus Versus Virus focuses on a group of two girls who fight The Virus, an evil spirit that steals people's souls.
- This pretty much describes the position of Spirit Detective in YuYu Hakusho. After returning to life, Yusuke is hired to solve various supernatural cases, and all of them end with deadly fights against the perpetrators. The trope is abandoned during the Dark Tournament saga as he and his team are busy fighting other teams to death. Resumed once again in the Chapter Black Saga when a major conflict will test the characters' physical and intellectual skills in order to stop the fissure that threatens to bring demons from the Makai. It's also revealed in this latter arc that Shinobu Sensui was a Spirit Detective in the past, and in fact he had been killing demons in self-defense since he was a very small child; Koenma just gave him some structure, and then moral relativism and confrontation with human evil broke his brain and he decided to Kill All Humans. Finally in the Three Kings saga, the concept of demon hunters and detectives is scrapped entirely for the rest of the main series (and not seen again until Poltergeist Report).
- Subversion: Those Who Hunt Elves (in a T-74 main battle tank, to strip them naked).
- Subversion: Seishirou from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle hunts a certain set of vampires because he wants to become one.
- Claymore: half-demons hunting full-demons.
- Kamui in the Dot Hack series; Haseo, the star in the later G.U. series, is also a hunter of Player Killers.
- Many of the "monsters" in Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga are hunting humans, in revenge for their near-extinction.
- Hellsing begins as a series about vampire hunters (with the subversion being that two of the main characters are vampires themselves), but the manga plot eventually becomes a war story whose entire opposition just happens to be made up of the undead. And/or robots.
- The Flame Hazes of Shakugan no Shana hunt down the Guze no Tomogara in order to protect the balance of the world.
- Quent Yaiden from Wolf's Rain hunts wolves to the point of obsession. However, we feel sorry for him because of Blue, his constant companion and Empathy Pet, and the fact that his wife and child were killed by wolves. Later on, it is revealed that his family was actually killed by Darcia's soldiers, and the wolves had only been driven to his home because they were caught in the middle. It's an understandably tragic misunderstanding, especially considering that it has long become his only reason for living. When Blue gains the ability to use a human disguise, he does not believe her when she tries to straighten things out. Nor does he (or any of the pack) enjoy Toboe's constant attempts to make peace between parties. And if you take it the right way, this leads to Toboe's death near the end of the series.
- Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist has dedicated his life to killing every state alchemist and singlehandedly defeating the nation of Amestris, to avenge their genocide of Ishval. Towards the end of the 2003 anime version, the Elric brothers take it upon themselves to hunt down and destroy all the homunculi.
- The cast of Gantz are alien hunters. They don't know why, hell, they don't even know what they're hunting half the time.
- After the Eclipse from Berserk, Guts becomes the Black Swordsman, dedicating himself to hunting down the demonic Apostles of the Godhand and putting them to the sword. He also seeks revenge upon Griffith for the betrayal that led to having the Brand of Sacrifice put on his neck and the utter destruction of his last group of True Companions, not to mention his lover being driven insane.
- Kurapika from Hunter × Hunter is dedicated to hunting down the Phantom Troupe/Genei Ryodan (also known as The Spider, each member being a leg), the villainous True Companions who are responsible for making Kurapika Last of His Kind. His vendetta kills about two of the twelvenote of them dead and puts their leader out of play for a considerable period. We visit them beating up a splinter group of the Big Bads of the arc-after-next just because Togashi wanted to play with them and their powers more. He has a tendency to bond with his villains.
- Kuroe Kurose from Blood Alone was one of these before the series began, and it's something he tries not to bring up, especially considering his living with a vampire.
- The Exorcists in D.Gray-Man, or anyone in the Black Order, including scientists and Finders, all joined the Order at one point or another mainly for personal reasons, usually because their relatives died from Akuma attacks, or they embody Innocence and want to put it to use. Occasionally some members of the Black Order have other goals, but the first two are most common.
- In theory, this is the central responsibility of shinigami from Bleach, freeing the tortured souls that have become Hollows so they can reenter the cycle of reincarnation and stop killing and eating people, but what with their having been at war basically since actual shinigami characters started to be introduced, we haven't really seen them do much of it.
- Shinigami of Yami No Matsuei are the government-bureaucracy version of this; they manage to combine cop-show tropes with The Hunter tropes, and also all those frilly shoujou tropes. (And in the manga, This Is Your Premise on Drugs tropes. Matsushita's mind is strange.)
- In Lyrical Nanoha, one of the original duties of the Wolkenritter was hunting mages or other magical creatures and stealing their mana from their Linker Cores. This process was not deadly and the victims eventually recover after some period of time, but gathering mana meant collecting pages for the Book of Darkness. If all 666 pages are complete, the ultimate destruction begins. Fortunately, Hayate Yagami, the last master of this book, breaks the cycle and has overwritten the the system of the book and the four Wolkenritter don't have to collect pages anymore.
- Tokyo Ghoul has the Commission of Counter Ghoul (CCG), a paramilitary law enforcement organization charged with enforcing the laws concerning Ghouls, primarily through hunting down and killing them. They handle all cases suspected to involve Ghouls, investigating them and sending out Ghoul Investigators to actually handle killing the targets. Many employees are simple office workers and pencil pushers, but the highly-skilled Ghoul Investigators are trained to battle Ghouls using Quinque — specialized weapons created from Ghoul corpses. Many of these Investigators were children orphaned by Ghoul attacks, taken in by the organization and "encouraged" to pursue a higher calling. The Ghouls refer to them as "Doves", referencing the organization's symbol, and most greatly fear them.
- Comic book/movie example: Blade (who also shows up in Spiderman), a half-vampire hunting down full vampires and other supernatural creatures. His reasons are a serious combination of a few of the above mentioned ones.
- In The Tomb of Dracula, where Blade was first introduced, there's also Quincy Harker and his band of vampire hunters working occasionally alongside Blade.
- The Punisher relentlessly hunts after all criminals. He's an equal opportunity Vigilante Man and One-Man Army.
- Ulysses Bloodstone was the premier monster hunter in the Marvel Universe. Following his death, the mantle passed to his daughter Elsa.
- Graveyard Shift from Scare Tactics is a church sanctioned organisation of vampire hunters.
- The Hellblazer John Constantine, who hunts down normal or supernatural badguys either to protect his beloved London, or just for his personal gain. Gods are no exception.
- Mordecai Chalk from Astro City. A cyborg monster hunter whose missing body parts were destroyed by occult creatures, Chalk makes quite an impression for a character who was only 'on screen' for a handful of panels.
- The Hunter in With Strings Attached. Downplayed in that his name is actually Jim Hunter, implying that Jeft chose to use him as a character because of his name. If he hunts anything specific (besides forest animals), we don't find out.
- In Mongoose and its two sequels Harry was obsessed with killing vampires after one turned Ginny and he was forced to stake her.
- When there's something strange in your neighborhood, Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters. Except that they don't fight ghosts because of a traumatic event, mission from a higher power, or because they are afraid of becoming ghosts themselves. They fight ghosts because, well, they need money. Also, For Science!.
- Robert Morgan, the protagonist from The Last Man on Earth, spends his days hunting and staking the mindless, photophobic monsters known in-universe as vampires. Unwittingly, he's also been depopulating Los Angeles of people that could be reasoned with despite being infected by The Virus, since they, too, are nocturnal.
- The Boondock Saints are Vigilante Man Hunters who hunt down and kill the scum of the earth, combining this with a Mission from God.
- A lot of Dracula adaptations turn Abraham Van Helsing from an aged professor of Medicine into this sort of character. The Hammer Horror Dracula films are arguably the main culprit, and Van Helsing follows in the tradition.
- Blade, as in the comics, is a half-vampire who hunts full vampires.
- Hans is the titular character in The Troll Hunter.
- General W.R. Monger from Monsters vs. Aliens, who heads a secret government program to capture monsters and lock them away so that the public doesn't have to worry about them and get on to more important things, like paying taxes. He is more sympathetic than most versions, as he doesn't seek to destroy them, and eventually grants them their freedom in exchange for battling the Alien Invasion.
- At the end of Lesbian Vampire Killers, Jimmy, Fletch and Lotte vow to become lesbian vampire killers.
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
- Holtz embodies this trope.
- Highlander: The Series features an organization called the Hunters, an evil offshoot of the Watchers dedicated to hunting down and killing Immortals.
- Dean and Sam Winchester from Supernatural and a large part of their supporting cast. The series places a heavy emphasis on how much the life sucks, to the point of deconstruction: hunters typically make money by hustling pool and poker and credit card fraud, often end up with criminal records, generally end up emotionally traumatized to some degree due to the things they've seen and experienced, and when they die, which they probably will sooner rather than later, there's a good chance no one will know how to dispose of their body properly (if it's even recoverable) but other hunters.
- Pretty much the deal with the Argent family in Teen Wolf. They are part of a larger community of such people as well.
- Eric van Helsing in Young Dracula.
- The protagonist of Werewolf.
- Sylar on Heroes hunts down and kills superhumans to take their abilities.
- And now Volume 4: Fugitives will have a character actually named The Hunter, a U.S. Government Black Ops leader whose job it is to hunt down Superhumans for Uncle Sam to send to Super Guantanamo.
- That's the official plan, but Danko is also perfectly happy to use lethal force in liberal amounts too.
- Dexter for killers not otherwise brought to justice.
- NCIS: Leroy Jethro Gibbs is like that. EVERY time he is tracking a criminal It's Personal. When one of his own team is endangered of course Its Really Personal
- Van Mcnulty from the Smallville episode "Extinction". He hunts and kills anyone with superpowers, not caring if they are good or evil. Immediately after discovering Clark's secret and heroic career, Van attacks him with kryptonite bullets. After Clark defeats him and sends him to jail, he is murdered by two superpowered foes Clark had defeated and jailed earlier in the series.
- Technically they weren't jailed, they were thrown in the loony bin.
- The Auzora (Blue Sky) Association from Kamen Rider Kiva is this to the fangires and to a lesser extent the other monster races. How extreme it is taken varies between members though. Some are content to allow fangires to live as long as don't feed on humans whereas others will kill all fangires on site. Almost all of them warm up the half-fangire protagonist though.
- The Grimm are people with the strange ability to see Wesen for what they are. Additionally, they also have enhanced strength, reaction, and senses that allow them to fight the Wesen on an almost-equal footing. Most Grimm tend to actively hunt Wesen, usually by following up on strange stories or newspaper articles. They also keep journals with pictures of the Wesen's true appearance as well as the best ways to kill them (typically, beheading does the trick, which is why they were called "Decapitare" in ancient times). Nick is a rare Grimm who doesn't actively hunt Wesen. He also doesn't reflexively kill every Wesen he sees, only doing so when he has no choice, and actually has a number of friends who are Wesen (a vegetarian Blutbad named Monroe, a Fuchsbau named Rosalee, and a perpetually-nervous Eisbiber named Bud), as well as a Friendly Enemy relationship with his Da Chief, who's a half-Zauberbiest.
- Witch Hunters hunt witches. Well, more like are the last bastion of humanity against an overpowered magical force, but the routine is still to hunt single witches.
- The Ranger character class in Dungeons & Dragons is stereotypically The Hunter. Their "favored enemy" class ability gives them bonuses to finding and killing a specific category of creature. It is possible to subvert this trope by choosing favored enemies for reasons other than those of The Hunter.
- In the original AD&D, all rangers had goblinoids and giants as their enemy, owing to the roots of the class, but with the advent of Second Edition, one could choose which kind of enemy their ranger was dedicated to taking down. One could even have a human ranger who had certain kinds of evil humans as a favored enemy, such as pirates, brigands or slavers, or in the case of Drizzt, a drow ranger who rebelled against his own evil kind. The original 3E removed restrictions on alignment, but you could not choose your own race as a favored enemy unless you were evil, which was thrown out for 3.5.
- Ravenloft has Rudolph Van Richten (an Alternate Company Equivalent of Abraham Van Helsing in concept), a herbalist turned monster hunter after his son was sold to (and turned) by a vampire, who later killed his wife in revenge. Not only does Van Richten personally go after these deadly evil creatures, but had several books published detailing the results of his research to give others the needed edge to kill the things. And on other monsters he met and had to fight in process, such as werewolves and liches.
- Depending on how the campaign is run, the Player Characters could also fill this role.
- Hunter The Reckoning, an Old World of Darkness RPG by White Wolf where all the player characters are monster hunters who've been granted mystical powers and are driven by a new urge to protect mankind from the supernatural beings that live among us. They also have a tendency to be driven insane, and a lot of them (especially those of the Avenger creed) aren't fussy about whether the supernatural beings they hunt deserve to be slaughtered or not.
- While Reckoning is the main oWoD Hunter game, there are other hunter groups, many of whom come to the hunt for their own reasons and have their own avenues of power: the Inquisition, the Arcanum, the Benandanti, the Shih, Strike Force Zero, government agencies, criminal organizations, religious groups...In a world as supernatural-heavy as the oWoD, there are a lot of hunters.
- In the historical Dark Ages setting, the Shadow Inquisition, predecessor to the modern Inquisition, is the primary hunter group, tasked to hunt the supernatural on behalf of the Catholic Church. Each of its constituent groups has their own set of supernatural knacks... and drawbacks.
- The New World of Darkness has Hunter: The Vigil, which draws more on the oWoD's secondary hunter groups. In HtV, player characters are generally bog-standard humans who become Hunters after some sort of incident breaks The Masquerade for them (although some have some supernatural heritage, others can call on some form of magic, and yet others have supertech developed to fight various types of monster).
- The Witch Hunters of Warhammer go after their prey (witches, vampires, heresy, the forces of Chaos...) with little more than their weapons, their unshaking faith in Sigmar, and of course their hats. Some are accompanied by a rabble of zealous henchmen, others work alone.
- The Inquisition of Warhammer 40,000 is this (on a much larger scale. Here the Inquisitor can essentially requisition entire planets, regiments of Guardsmen and even Space Marines if he so chooses (Though he is usually polite about it), and often the dangers they hunt require that kind of firepower to destroy. The Inquisition is divided into many groups or "Ordos" specializing in various prey, but only three have any real clout: rooting out traitors and heretics (Ordo Hereticus), dealing with Chaos Daemons and incursions (Ordo Malleus), or learning about/shooting aliens (Ordo Xenos).
- The children of Little Fears are often driven to this on account of the fact that once they realize the monsters are out there, the monsters become aware of them, making it a matter of kill or be killed.
- The game Monster of the Week is all about monster hunters of pretty much every stripe that go forth and hunt down the supernatural.
- The Hunters in Weregeek believe Tabletop RPG players are a menace to society, to be stamped out with deadly force.
- Both the Vatican and the Norse "Æsir" churches field specialist troops to hunt down and exterminate immortals in Cry Havoc.
- Abner Van Slyk, professional vampire hunter of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. Bad news for Conrad.
- In Errant Story, the elven rangers are this, hunting down half-elves because the elves believe they all inevitably go murderously insane. It's suggested, though, that some rangers will let them go if the half-elf in question isn't a danger.
- Parodied with Tiffany Winters of Eerie Cuties and Magick Chicks. Being an expy of Buffy Summers, she's dedicated to slaying vampire main character Layla DeLaCroix, who in turn is completely unaware of this fact. Her attempts to stake Layla usually end abruptly, due to being easily distracted and because of how well they get along, as they share a lot in common. Hence, why it was almost inevitable that they eventually became best friends. Sorta.
- Jordan in Head Trip is a Furry Slayer -in-training. Or at least wants to be.
- L.A.W.L.S. comic has Autumn, The Slayer—more specifically, Furry Slayer.
- Girl Genius has Vespiary Squad, an elite team specialized in hunting Slaver Wasps and containing (or killing revenants if anyone is already infected. From what we saw, they're very good against wasp warriors—established to be formidable even as battle constructs go—but mediocre against experienced human opponents. They have the characteristic Hunter attitude and even habitually strap skulls of Hive Warriors over they helmets.
- In RWBY, the continent named Vytal trains teenagers into becoming Hunters of the Grimm. They aren't directly called Hunters, however: it's "Huntsmen" if male and "Huntress" if female.
- Nightbane, of the Whateley Universe, hunts supernatural monsters: vampires, goblins, what-have-you. She's currently trying to kill Carmilla. Only one problem: Carmilla is one of the heroes in this universe.
- First Gillecomgain and Duncan, then the Canmore family, from Gargoyles are dedicated to hunting down and exterminating the titular creatures.
- Valerie Gray from Danny Phantom who's under the delusion that all ghosts are evil—her job originally started with her getting revenge on one who ruined her perfect life.
- There's also Skulker, who generally hunts rare ghosts. During his first appearance, he made a comment roughly along wanting "to hang [Danny's] pelt at the end of [his] bed".
- Also Danny's parents, who are professional ghost hunters, and also happen to unknowingly supply him with all of his ghost hunting equipment.
- In The Venture Bros. there's Jefferson Twilight, blacula hunter, dedicated himself to the elimination of black vampires after his mother was raped by a group of them when he was 10. He breaks off their fangs to add to his necklace before he kills them. He even has a "blood eye" that allows him to detect the presence of blaculas despite not being magic in any other significant way. Keep in mind, the eye only works on blaculas- vampires of other races are not his quarry, and so he can't magically detect them.
- Jet from Avatar: The Last Airbender. He gains an intense hatred for people of the Fire Nation after his village is destroyed and his parents are killed in a raid by the Rough Rhinos, spending most of his onscreen appearances attempting to kill or expose firebenders.
- Crosses into He Who Fights Monsters when he attempts to massacre an entire Fire Nation village, men, women, children, elderly, bender or not.
- In Mary Shelley's Frankenhole, it's a drunken redneck named Joe. He's mostly a Vampire Hunter but has Fantastic Racism for most creatures.
- Gutner Van Halen from Frankenstein's Cat. Van Halen, the "Monster Man", is a monster hunter who, as he puts it, "dedicated his life and limbs to their destruction", which is saying something, as he has sustained a few scars in his career; he lost his left arm whilst capturing a Two-Headed Transylvanian Zombie and lost his nose to a Giant Blood-Sucking Leech of the Black Lagoon. How he lost his left eye and his right leg are not known.
- American Dragon Jake Long has the Huntsclan, a whole and fairly large organization of people dedicated to exterminate magical creatures. The strongest ones are easily recognized for their helmet, AKA the skull of the first dragon they slayed.