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Manga / Hunter × Hunter

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From left to right: Kurapika, Gon, Leorio, and Killua
“Fearsome monsters.. Exotic creatures... Vast riches... Hidden treasures... Evil enclaves... The word “unknown” holds magic. And some incredible people are drawn to that magic. They are known... as Hunters!”
Opening speech of the 2011 anime

Hunter × Hunternote  is a Dark Fantasynote  adventure manga series drawn and written by Yoshihiro Togashi, who began working on the series in 1998. It's known for many things- its long hiatuses, its large and engrossing world, its colourful cast of surprisingly deep characters that often have as much screentime as the four heroes and a heaping helping of rather extreme darkness that can make it fairly grim for a shonen series.

In a world much like our own, but with more danger and more mystery, a young boy named Gon Freecss, raised since infancy by his aunt, discovers from a traveling stranger his father's true identity: Ging Freecss, a world-famous Hunter.


In this world, you see, there are elite mercenaries known as Hunters. And Hunters truly are elite: among other benefits, they get access to world-class amenities and exotic locales that are off-limits to ordinary people. Of course, the life of a Hunter is also dangerous, for Hunters make their living taking on some of the most dangerous missions on Earth. Some scour the world for treasures or exotic goods, while others are Bounty Hunters who track down the world's most dangerous criminals. Gon isn't so much interested in riches or fame, however: he wants to be a Hunter so he can track down his father.

Just becoming a Hunter is an adventure in itself. During the incredibly difficult and incredibly dangerous "Hunter Exam," Gon faces peril both natural and man-made. He also acquires a circle of friends, such as Leorio, a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who wants to become fabulously wealthy so he can become a doctor and open a free clinic; Kurapika, a blonde Bishōnen who is last of the Kurta Clan, which was hunted into near-extinction by those who sought the Kurta's "Scarlet Eyes", which turn a fetching shade of red when emotionally excited; and Killua Zoldyck, the middle son of a Dysfunctional Family of notorious assassins.


The series is notable for having many long hiatus breaks during its run, one of which continued for a grand total of 1 year and 20 days! It returned in 2010 Weekly Shonen Jump Double Issue #5-6, and ran for 20 chapters. It then went back into a year long hiatus since 2010 Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #26, but has finally returned again in 2011 Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #35-36, for 30 chapters then it went on a break again on Issue #16, 2012. It seemed to have settled into a system where we get one tankobon (single volume collecting ~10 chapters) every 6 months, instead of every 2 months; this puts Hunter on par with mangas that get a new chapter each month, instead of each week. Its last run was on June 2017, although it returned in January 2018 and again in March of the same year before eventually going back into hibernation for most of the year until returning in September. The series hasn't seen new content since then, going on three years at the time of this writing.

In 1998, a short OVA based on the first two chapters premiered at the Jump Super Anime Tour. An anime adaptation later premiered in 1999, stopping midway through the Yorknew City arc in 2001, with OVAs later covering the rest of the Yorknew arc and the Greed Island section before catching up with the manga in 2004. Seven years later, it was given another adaptation in 2011 which covers nearly all the series up till the Election arc in 2014, since the manga's hiatus meant the Dark Continent arc was on and off.

In 2008, the original anime was licensed by Viz Media, but had various alterations to the DVD release, without informing the fanbase, causing sales to tank.

Weekly Shonen Jump's double issue #35-36 in 2011 ultimately confirmed that the series would get a complete anime remake, disregarding the previous animated series and OVAs by Nippon Animation to start from the very beginning of the story; it was animated by Madhouse with Studio Live and directed by Koujina Hiroshi, the character designs handled by Yoshimatsu Takahiro.

Two movies for the series were also released. Surprisingly both in the same year of 2013: Phantom Rouge and The Last Mission.

The 2011 anime was one of the most requested shows for Toonami on Adult Swim, and fans finally got their wish when Viz Media announced that their brand new English Dub for the series would premiere on the block on April 16, 2016 at 1:00am EST, taking over Parasyte -the maxim-'s slot once that show ended its run.

Late-Arrival Spoiler warning: Beware of major unmarked spoilers for the first few arcs below!

Hunter × Hunter provides examples of:

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  • Ability Mixing: Most of the advanced techniques of Nen manipulation consist of using multiple basic techniques at the same time. A technique for focusing 100% of the user's aura into one part of the body, for instance, is described as a combination of the techniques for releasing, shaping and suppressing aura.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The end of the Hunter Exam Arc implied that Pokkle and Hanzo were going to be important to the story sometime later, but the former was killed off in the Chimera Ant Arc, but the latter seems to be playing a part in the Dark Continent Arc. Of course, it's still possible that Pokkle could return as a Chimera Ant.
    • There are a number of arcs that feel like Togashi simply got bored with it and dropped it at the earliest possible time. The Heaven's Arena arc sets up an entire 251 floor skyscraper for Gon and Killua to fight their way up, only for the duo to quit partway through and move on. The Yorknew arc also includes Gon and Killua learning the ins and outs of auctioneering so they can raise money to buy an ultra-rare Greed Island game, only for it to all come to nothing when someone else buys every available copy.
  • Accidental Suicide: Subverted. After Gon, in his rage and desperation to kill Pitou, unknowingly creates a nen pact to release all of his current, latent, and future nen ability to do so. This ages him up and turns him into a One-Man Army, whose power, Pitou notes, rivals that of Mereum, a Dark Messiah Physical God and killer of Netero, the leader of the Hunter Association. At the end of the fight, Gon is a literal husk of a person on death's doorstep. It takes Killua's sister Alluka, who has a Make a Wish nen ability via Nanika that allows her to warp reality, to heal him. But even then, it's not enough to restore Gon's nen abilities.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Killua in the first anime is given a more mature look, including slanted eyes, a more older-looking face, and noticeably taller build than fellow 12-year-old Gon; in the 2011 reboot, Killua is given a more "cute and younger" design, with large and round expressive eyes, a height deduction, slimmer build, and age equivalent face. Just look.
    • Some of the Weekly Shounen Jump magazine issues featured chapters composed mainly of scribbles and character designs lacking in detail making the anime renditions more attractive; all of the chapters though were redrawn afterwards so that doesn't hold true for their Tankobon release.
    • Pakunoda has a prettier face in the 2011 anime and even wears lipstick, in contrast to the manga and 1999 anime, which depicted her as more plain-looking.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: The 2011 adaptation cuts out Kite's appearance and any mentions of him in the story and his backstory with Gon isn't focused as much aside from showing that he saved Gon from a foxbear attack. In the manga, Kite became a father figure to Gon, is the one who revealed the truth about Ging, and is the reason why Gon wants to be a hunter to find Ging, which Gon repeatedly mentions in the story. Gon and Killua joining Kite and his team for 1 month exploring the Kakin Fauna is even removed so Gon's seemingly powerful attachment to Kite and rage over his death looks like it came out of nowhere in the anime.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: Killua is an Anti-Hero in all versions of Hunter × Hunter; however, in the 1999 anime adaptation, there are more allusions to his dangerous Creepy Child nature from the get-go.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • The 2011 version of Katzo, the crewman Gon befriends and saves during the boat ride to Dolle Harbor, is frailer and a wimp compared to the 1999 version where he is more of a ruffian and can hold his own in a fight.
    • Some of Leorio's strength feats in the manga and first anime are removed in the 2011 version, presumably to emphasize that he is the Badass Normal.
  • Aerith and Bob: Names such as Gon, Razor, List, and Biscuit are quite odd in real life. Considering this is a completely different world that's to be expected, however, there are also plenty of normal Japanese names like Nobunaga, Menchi, and Kikyo to name a few. There are also some relatively normal western names, such as Isaac and Benjamin. Averted if you use the official spellings (see Spell My Name with an "S" below), in which case all names become positively bizarre at least when written down.
  • Affably Evil: Hisoka, at times; at the very least, his demeanor is very calm and courteous for a bloodthirsty murderer.
  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Averted. Chrollo can steal others' Nen abilities through a convoluted process involving a book, but he can generally only use one ability at a time even after developing a bookmark to allow him to use two, as some techniques require both hands to be used. There is some room for maneuver in the case of abilities that get stronger when the original owner dies, which offer more possibilities as they can keep other abilities active even if said ability's page is closed. Also, the effectiveness of the techniques Chrollo uses are based on his own skills so they're only as effective as his own natural proficiencies allow.
    • There is a subversion involving Ging, who can imitate other people's Nen abilities involving physical contact, as an innate skill.
    • Yet another aversion concerns the Chimera Ant Squadron Leader Leol, who can conditionally steal other users' Nen abilities; he has to see the ability first and then stores them in his mp3, which prints a little receipt that he then rips apart, allowing him to perform the ability once for one hour. However, he cannot use the ability if the subject has died, and he needs to do a "favour" to said person before being able to use the skill.
    • A straight example would be the Chimera Ant King, who gains the ability to use Pouf's and Youpi's abilities after consuming a large portion of their bodies.
  • Alternate Character Reading: In typical shonen manga fare, many attack names are given separate names as alternate readings for Rule of Cool / Rule of Symbolism purposes (such as "Bungee Gum" actually being the 'reading' for "Elastic Love", with the latter being meant to be only written down and not pronounced). However, one particular example stands out which is often (incorrectly) cited as a mistranslation or poor adaptation in the 2011 anime: near the end of the Chimera Ant arc, a dying Netero tells Meruem that he knows nothing of humanity's "infinite potential for evolution/malice"; the manga renders the word "evolution" (進化) above "malice" (悪意), implying that the word is meant to be read out loud as "evolution" with the hidden meaning of "malice", as is appropriate for the context of the scene. As such, the word that's spoken out loud in the anime adaptation is "evolution", with the "malice" part implied via the context and dark, haunting visuals. Interestingly, the English dub chose to use "malice" as the spoken word instead ("You know nothing of the bottomless malice within the human heart").
  • Alternate History / Never Was This Universe: The setting appears to be a bizarre mixture of the two. Japan is a country that exists in the setting, and the map we see of the known world has many continents from our world but in a different configuration. And there are references to people and events from our world (Judas and his betrayal of Jesus gets briefly discussed for instance). But that said, most of what we see of the world is clearly alien to the real world. And the aforementioned map is of the known world, there are continents that haven't even been explored yet in Hunter × Hunter's world. And this isn't even getting into all the fantastic creatures and other things that the setting holds.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The official data book lists Alluka as male; two of Alluka's brothers (Illumi and Milluki) refer to Alluka as their brother. Killua, the person closest to Alluka, specifically states that Alluka is a girl and refers to Alluka as his sister multiple times. So Alluka’s biological sex may be masculine, while Killua's interactions show that Alluka’s self gender-identification is feminine.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Alluka is referred to as a girl by Killua and dresses like a shrine maiden. The rest of her family, who barely consider her a person, refer to her as male and in a flashback it's shown she wore more androgynous clothes as a little kid, implying she's transgender.
  • Anachronic Order: The actual Invasion during the "Chimera Ant" arc hops between multiple scenes happening simultaneously.
  • An Arm and a Leg: A very recurring type of injury to the point where it borders on Author Appeal. To wit: Kite's right arm, Netero's left arm and right leg, both of Hisoka's hands (on multiple occasions) and right foot, Meruem's left arm (self-inflicted), Gon's right arm and (on a different occasion) left hand. All of these except Netero's were restored in one way or another.
  • And the Adventure Continues: How the 2011 anime ends: Killua travels the world with Alluka, Leorio is still studying to become a doctor and Kurapika seeks out the remaining scarlet eyes. Except for Gon, whose adventure (meeting Ging) seems to now be over.
  • And Your Little Dog, Too!: The mafia community tries to pull this one on the Phantom Troupe. It doesn't work:
    Mafia guy: You are all dead. The community will kill you and your family. Torture and cut them to pieces. Give them the suffering of Hell.
  • Animalistic Abomination: Three of the Five Threats humanity was forced to bring back with, the gaseous lifeform Ai, the two-tailed snake Hellbell, and the human-keeping beast Pap are beasts capable of killing humanity all by themselves and are more dangerous than the Chimera Ants.
  • Animation Bump: The 2011 anime is generally very well animated, but it really ups the ante for particularly emotional scenes or important fights. Some examples of the latter are Gon vs. Hisoka and Netero vs King Meruem.
  • Anti-Climax: The Zoldyck Family arc. Most of the arc's buildup suggests that Killua is being held against his will by his family and is being tortured for daring to make friends, and that Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio will have to fight his incredibly powerful parents and siblings. Eventually, it's revealed that this whole conflict, punishment included, was a fairly mundane family argument that only looked scary because everyone involved is a world-class assassin (c.f. the morbid inclinations of the Addams family). When Killua hears that Gon and company have come to the Zoldyck estate for him, he just breaks his chains and walks out with them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Unless you're a main character. But even major supporting ones can bite the dust if the author so chooses to emphasize how dangerous this world's setting is. Heck even Gon comes dangerously close to death at one point, only being saved by a reality-bending wish.
  • Art Evolution: Even disregarding the infamous low quality art chapters published during serialization, the series' art can change a lot depending on which volumes you're reading, with certain characters looking very different during certain points of the series.
  • Art Shift: This is more in lieu to the author's hiatus, but one can see he was really rushing at the end of the Greed Island arc. The artwork looks on par with that of a sketchbook and yet SJ still published it. Togashi's sketches in the chapters around the beginning of the Dark Continent arc are also very erratic, with some character designs dramatically changing following hiatus (like he was trying to perfect their designs) and quality bouncing between highly detailed and very rough (in some panels, Kurapika doesn't even have a nose).
  • Asskicking Equals Authority:
    • The Chimera Ant hierarchy.
    • The Hunter Association roughly follows this, though there's actual politics behind it. Presumably, badassness is a consideration in voting.
    • Subverted with the Phantom Troupe. Chrollo Lucifer is their leader, but he is nowhere near the strongest combatant in the Troupe. As a matter of fact their rank has very little to do with their abilities, though they do keep an informal tally on who's strongest in different areas like actual combat and arm wrestling.
  • Author Avatar: He even makes a cameo appearance as a plushie in the background of the manga.
  • Author Filibuster: Killua's rant in Chapter 230 about despotic governments.
  • Avenging the Villain: What the Phantom Troupe want to do to Kurapika for killing Uvo, Pakudona, and sealing their leader's abilities so that he's powerless. This also seems to be Chrollo's new motive now that Hisoka has betrayed the Phantom Troupe and killed Kortopi and Shalnark as a parting shot.
  • Award-Bait Song: The fourth ending of the 2011 anime, Nagareboshi Kirai, which takes place during the emotionally-heavy Chimera Ant arc and has a much more low-key sound than the previous three ending themes.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The contractual nature of Nen can easily result in this:
    • Kastro has the ability to form a duplicate out of Nen. It seems impressive at first, but it requires proficiency in the exact opposite categories of his innate ability, and is complicated enough that he can't learn anything else, and once the ability's weakness is found, he is killed by Hisoka.
    • Kurapika's Nen ability manifests as chains on his fingers, with a unique power for each, which are meant to kill the monstrously powerful Phantom Troupe. He also has another ability, "Emperor Time" that breaks the rules of Nen by allowing him to use any Nen category at 100% efficiency. There are some steep drawbacks to these abilities. Emperor Time exhausts Kurapika while in use, and consumes his life span. As for the chains, one can only be used on Phantom Troupe members or Kurapika will die, two can only be used during Emperor Time, and the other two are strictly support abilities.
      • Kurapika also learns to manually enter his scarlet-eye mode, which turns him from a Conjurer into a Specialist with absolute mastery over all of his abilities and all forms of Nen, but it takes a serious toll on his body, exhausting him in short term, and taking off years of his life if he stays in it longer than a few hours.
    • The En technique qualifies. It allows the user to extend their Nen in order to sense everything within a certain area, generally a sphere, making it useful for tracking and detection. Unfortunately, getting useful results out of it requires prohibitive amounts of Nen, and unlike most sensory techniques, it can easily be detected by experienced Nen users.
    • Welfin's Nen ability consists of him triggering four missiles mounted on a band around his waist. Though it's fearsome looking, Welfin has to ask three questions for the missiles to actually shoot and seek their target. If the questions do not satisfy Welfin's conditions, the missiles would be shot and explode, but it doesn't work if Welfin is not able to ask the questions or if the target moves from the location in which Welfin estimates they are, meaning that they won't work blindly. As such, the ability is mostly for show.
    • Cheetu has this tendency with everything he comes up with, best shown with his ability, which traps his foe in a Nen room, requiring them to catch him to be able to escape. His opponent, Morel, realizes that the conditions for the imprisonment have huge logical gaps: "pursuing" the Ant is NOT mandatory, and Cheetu cannot actually attack him. Moreover, Cheetu is far too impatient to pay attention to an idle target. Thus, Morel lies down for a long time, setting a trap which easily catches Cheetu by surprise.
      • Cheetu then spontaneously creates an ability that conjures a crossbow on his right arm. Though Morel is impressed at his creation of a weapon on the spot, he notes that the weapon is slower than Cheetu’s innate abilities. Frustrated with his failure, Cheetu lets Morel leave.
  • Back for the Dead: Pokkle and Ponzu from the first Hunter Exam return in the Chimera Ant arc only to be brutally killed by the ants soon after.
    • Kurtopi and Shalnark didn't even get past one chapter of their debut comeback before they're brutally slaughtered by Hisoka.
  • Battle Aura: Specific applications of Nen allows users to minimize damage to body parts covered by it.
  • Battle Butler: The Zoldyck household is chock full of them.
  • Battle of Wits: Many of the battles are like this.
  • Battle Tops: Gido tosses tops infused with Nen. When hit, the main character remarks that they hit like a sledgehammer. If the opponent gets too close, Gido can then spin like a top.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: This is the basis of Alluka Zoldyck's Nen. If you grant three of her requests, she'll grant you one wish. But the wish often has unintended consequences, and the bigger it is, the more severe her requests become (to the point of asking someone to give her their organs). Whoever denies four consecutive requests dies on the spot, along with the person they care about most, and a number of other people in the closest degrees of separation from them (the number depending on the last wish's severity). However, this is all completely averted for selfless or compassionate wishes, which just make Alluka sleepy and bypass the entire request system.
    • Apparently the rules don't really apply to Killua, but he might be the only exception. He doesn't need to fulfill Alluka's three requests before being granted a wish. All he has to do is ask nicely.
    • It's been revealed that Killua can even order Nanika to do things instead of asking as well. Such as sending Illumi home.
    • In the Yorknew City Arc, Nostrade lackey Squala argues that he would not spill any information to the prospective bodyguard candidates, so Femme Fatale Baise plants one on his lips. Her Nen ability turns Squala into a masochistic slave for three hours(on the Animes, she stomps him in his face; on the Manga, she even stomps him on the groin, much to his pleasure), removing all resistance from him.
  • Bee Bee Gun: Ponzu, a competitor in the first Hunter Exam.
    • Though not bees, the chimera ant Ikalgo can shoot weaponized bullet-shaped fleas through his air rifle. The flea hits prevent the victim's blood from clotting, which would induce death by blood loss.
  • Bequeathed Power: Pakunoda gets afflicted with a curse that causes her to die if she talks about anything related to her attacker. She makes her way back to the organization she works for and uses her powers one last time, to insert what she knows about her attacker into their memories so they all have detailed information about this assailant.
  • Best Served Cold: Kurapika dedicates his entire life to punishing the members of the Phantom Troupe who killed his entire clan.
  • Beware the Superman: The Phantom Troupe. The Chimera Ants. And it certainly isn't unheard of among regular hunters.
  • Bishōnen: Chrollo and Hisoka, despite the latter being a Monster Clown. More typically, Kurapika and Shaiapouf.
  • Black Magic: On, as compared to Nen. While Nen is more of a neutral force that can be used for either good or ill, On draws explicitly from hatred, corrupts or poisons anyone who doesn't give themselves completely to the power, and requires steep contracts of its practitioners, such as the female user whose power activates only when she commits suicide.
    • The succession contest arc of the series also appears to invoke this, with the entire affair using elements of the kodoku, a Japanese curse that places a number of poisonous insects in a jar, forcing them to kill and devour one another, until the sole remaining one and its poison are then used as a curse. The ceremony that begins the war utilizes an urn, and the nen beasts that are created as a result are sometimes referred to as “worm toxins.” The Black Whale ship where the contest takes place is implied to be the “urn,” with some statements suggesting that the entire ships population might be part of the spell.
  • Bland-Name Product: Happens with the in-universe internet, e.g. Uoggre instead of Google.
  • Blind and the Beast: The Chimera Ant King and Komugi.
  • Blood Knight: Hisoka again. The only reasons he's helped out the main characters is because he wants to fight them once their powers are fully developed. Ditto his involvement with the Phantom Troupe, except he wants to fight Chrollo.
  • Blow Gun: Used to shoot a paralyzing dart at Gon.
    • Ikalgo's flea rifle is air powered.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Something of a recurring theme of the series. The Hunter Association, the Phantom Troupe, the Kakin Royalty, and generally everybody in the story shows a very unique set of morals.
    • Gon Freecss turns out to be a complex nested case of this. He charms those he meets with a cheerful and kind demeanor, but, as others come to realize, has little care for morals. Among his most inscrutable actions: parting on such good terms with a serial killer who trained him that the criminal turns himself in; forgiving Tonpa's treachery because his cowardice had unintentionally been helpful; insisting stubbornly on a peaceful resolution with Hanzo, who broke his arm and threatened his life (either not perceiving the threat or not fearing it); responding with sudden fury after one of the Phantom Troupe tearfully mourns the death of a friend, because he had assumed that the Troupe's members didn't understand the pain their murders caused others; and using Komugi, an innocent bystander, as a hostage, even threatening to kill her to ensure Neferpitou returns a precious mentor.
    • The Chimera Ants enter this territory as well, and their king, Meruem, is a masterpiece of this trope. All the experiences he goes through continually shape his moral code, which fluctuates wildly through the arc, due to the mental divide he faces between his ant personality and human nature, turning him from what appears to be an alien antagonist into one of the most deep and interesting villains in Shonen manga.
  • Body Horror: People on the receiving end of Illumi's pins, the people on the receiving end of Neferpito's ability. Gon after the Chimera Ant battle. Even Killua's terrified and he was a career assassin.
  • Body Uploading: Played With, with Greed Island, allegedly the world's hardest-to-obtain video game. When Gon and Killua get access, they are seemingly teleported through a computer system into the game. However, it is later revealed that they were teleported to a real island that runs on video game rules.
  • Bounty Hunter: A possible career option for licensed Hunters. Gon and his friends even give it a try themselves as part of a money-making scheme.
  • Brawn Hilda: Biscuit, at least in her true form.
  • Breaking the Bonds: Gon and Killua do this to show that they're to be taken seriously when taken hostage by the Phantom Troupe.
  • Breather Episode:
    • The Greed Island arc, more or less. Especially since it takes place between two very dark storylines, and mainly involves Gon and Killua training and exploring a virtual world that's actually real while finding items to return home. Things don't get too serious until the end, and while Genthru is a major threat, he's nothing compared to the antagonists who came before or after him.
    • A sub-plot example: Surprisingly, the Villain Episode with the Phantom Troupe (episodes 96-97) in the Chimera Ant Arc is this. While its placement is early enough to not be in the darkest parts of the arc, it still manages to lighten the mood after the horrific content we've seen, with its campy Monster of the Week, being more action-packed, and the lack of tension compared to what else is going on in the Arc.
    • The Nanika/Election arc. The bad guy turns out to be decent, and the Eldritch Abomination turns out to be a cute little monster. Gon is healed, and finally meets his dad. Considering the Hunterverse, the arc is refreshingly Lighter and Softer.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Gon uses a Deadly Upgrade to kill Pitou. He sacrifices all his potential for one fight, turning himself into an emaciated corpse that the audience isn't shown much of, thankfully. He's later restored to normal, but has been Brought Down to Normal and can no longer use Nen, but it's unknown if he can simply go through the training again or if he's a normal person forever.
    • And Netero stops his own heart to activate a bomb inside of his body in the hopes of killing Meruem. He nearly succeeds, but two of Meruem's Royal Guard heal him soon after...though it turns out the bomb was made with poison powerful enough to kill Meruem and anyone who comes into contact with him for too long.
  • The Bus Came Back: Nearly every previously introduced Hunter appears during the Hunter Chairman election, except for the deceased ones and certain villains.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: The Phantom Troupe wiped out Kurapika's clan. When he confronts them on it, it generally takes a while for them to remember which massacre that they've committed that he's talking about.

  • Calling Parents by Their Name: After finally meeting him face to face, Gon takes to calling his father by his name Ging. While he has a great deal of respect for Ging, he simply doesn't see him as a father-figure. To be fair, Ging doesn't see himself as such either.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Lampshaded:
    Killua: Do you have to yell those words every time?
    Gon: Huh? Sure. Otherwise it's not like a special attack.
    Killua: Maybe... but you're telegraphing the enemy. What if you get attacked while you're yelling?
    Gon: I'll dodge and say it.
    Killua: What if you can't?!
    Gon: I'll still say it.
    • This is partially explained by the nature of Nen, in where a user's familiarity with the activation of their ability will make that ability more powerful.
    • And used to clever effect by Gon to psych out an opponent who knows about Gon's penchant for calling his attacks.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Meruem is able to strengthen his aura by devouring active users of Nen.
  • Cartesian Karma: Possibly subverted when one of the side characters gets kidnapped by the ants, brainwashed and altered to be one of them. She eventually comes to her senses, and as Killua points out, Gon's not one to judge and the Hunter organization isn't going to persecute her just because she's now a chimera ant.
    • Also it's a pivotal point played straight with Gon. Blinded by his rage, he activates a technique that allows him to rapidly age/grow and defeat an enemy vastly superior to himself. Unfortunately after calming down, he's still mutated and puts himself on the brink of death.
    • Also his teacher and role-model Kaito, who is made into a living rag doll for the ants to manipulate that Gon desperately wishes to bring back. The realization that he can't do so, and Kaito truly is 'dead' is what pushes Gon into the transformation alluded to above.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Despite the many characters, each of them have a distinct appearance due to many different faces and hair colors.
  • Cerebus Rollercoaster: The tonal structure of each arc swaps between light and dark tones.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The series had some pretty questionable material to begin with (such as Hisoka being a pedophile) but gradually becomes darker and darker, culminating in the Chimera Ant arc which contains some of the darkest content in a shounen ever. It's so relentlessly dark and oppressive that it more resembles a gritty seinen manga like Berserk or Battle Angel Alita than anything that runs in Shounen Jump.
  • Chain Pain: Kurapika fights using Variable Length Chains made of Nen. He can conjure several such chains with various powers.
  • Changing Chorus: "Departure", the opening theme of the 2011 anime adaptation, has a chorus that changes completely after every verse, save for a consistent rhyme scheme and a few lines of Gratuitous English always being in the same part of the chorus. This allows a different verse of the song to be used every time the series's OP changes.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The four main characters are all able to lift several tons, before learning Nen, due to extreme weight training.
  • Children Forced to Kill: Killua is an example. Being a member of a Big, Screwed-Up Family of assassins, he's taught to kill from infancy, and forced into the life of an assassin without being given much of any choice in the matter. He was murdering people before he turned 6, and by the time he appears in the show at age 12, he's already killed hundreds of people.
  • Chromosome Casting: There are few female characters.
  • Civilians Are Irrelevant: On many occasions, bad guys casually kill background characters in broad daylight, simply for being in the way or saying the wrong things. While the series does frequently point out how messed up these bad guys are for them to have such a nonchalant attitude toward killing people, the general public itself seems to recover from these incidents and go back to normal life remarkably quickly. The Phantom Troupe is the clearest example of this, causing a night-long noisy, messy war against the police and the Mafia all over Yorknew City, and also killing any civilians who have something they want—even if it's just a beer. Rather than the citizens getting into a panic, they just hide somewhere and re-emerge when the conflict is over. It's as if normal humans in this series are so desensitized to people dying in public that they treat it as merely inconveniences rather than tragedies.
  • Closed Circle: The events of Chapter 383 seems to imply this for the members of the Kakin Royal family participating in the succession contest. Kacho and Fugetsu successfully use Melody’s distraction to escape aboard one of the Black Whale’s lifeboats, only attack them. Fugetsu manages to escape, thanks to her nen beast’s ability, but Kacho is killed (her nen beast taking on her form and taking her place with Fugetsu), suggesting that there is something beyond the various security measures and nen abilities that is meant to keep the princes from escaping.
  • Close-Call Haircut: Biscuit's pigtail in the Greed Island arc.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: The first ending for the 2011 Remake does this with the four main characters.
    • Gon - Green
    • Killua - Purple
    • Kurapika - Red
    • Leorio - Yellow
  • Combat Stilettos: Hisoka fights in high heels all the time.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Almost everything Gon goes through in the story is actually his father's way of testing him.
    • Killua's essentially going through the same process, trying to unlearn what his family's been drilling into his head for years and starting to open up to people.
  • Condemned Contestant: As part of the Hunter Exam, a number of convicts are given instructions to waylay the examinees, with them getting a year off their sentence for each hour they take from the examinees' time. In addition, many of the NPCs on Greed Island are actually convicts, including Razor, one of the Game Masters. Since the Hunters themselves are not prosecuted for crimes (up to a certain degree), it seems that they have a sort of free rein over what goes and what doesn't. Anyone not smart or competent enough to acquire their get-out-of-jail-free card prior to breaking the law is hereby given a second chance.
  • Conducting the Carnage: As the rest of the Phantom Troupe goes on a vengeful rampage, Chrollo mimics a conductor, describing the event as requiem to their late member, Uvogin, whom they didn't expect to perish at the hands of Kurapika. It helps that the background music playing as he conducts his requiem is Mozart's "Requiem" piece.
  • Conviction by Counterfactual Clue: When the Phantom Troupe starts suspecting that they may have a traitor, Chrollo quickly handwaves the notion away saying that a traitor would be driven by the lust for money or fame, and no Troupe member would be interested in something so trivial. He completely ignores the possibility that the said member could be interested in something else, which was precisely the case with Hisoka.
  • Cooking Duel: One of the tests in the Hunter exam is all about this.
  • Continuity Nod: During the Chimera Ant Arc, Killua tells a villain that he mastered the game of darts when he was six (or seven, he can't remember). During a flashback in the 13th Chairman Election Arc, Killua is seen to be about that age, talking with his parents about Alluka and (very masterfully) playing darts.
  • Convection Schmonvection: Averted with Feitan's power Rising Sun, which creates a miniature star that does exactly what you expect it to do: It produces tremendous heat and thus quickly and violently burns down everything within a perimeter of several dozens of meters.
  • Covers Always Lie: The early tankobon covers are deceptively lighthearted, featuring a lot of giant cartoony animals. Eventually, when the Yorknew arc starts up, the covers get darker and more representative of the series, but Togashi occasionally throws the audience a curveball, like a cover of the Phantom Troupe as adorable chibis (followed by a cover of Gon and Killua as very vicious-looking chibis.)
    • The same thing goes for some of the opening themes, specifically the 1999 anime's first theme and the theme to the 2011 reboot. Both have a cheery, upbeat tone and lyrics that can be quite misleading.
    • Unrelated to the tone, but the first and second North American DVD volume cover for the 1999 anime shows Gon using the "rock" part of his Jajanken hatsu, and Killua using his Godspeed hatsu. Viz Media didn't license the Greed Island OVAs, where Gon and Killua develop their hatsus.
  • Crapsack World: Terrorists kill 110,000 people in one event. The mob runs the world. Parts of the world are inhabited by demons.
    • The 110,000 people thing? It's not even an actual part of the plot. It was just a throwaway remark.
    • Oh, and that "parts of the world are inhabited by demons" thing? It's just a drop in the bucket compared to the Dark Continent, a Death World so nightmarish it makes those of Warhammer 40,000 look like quiet urban parks. Said "continent" is actually the 95% of the world that is outside the "Known World" (its map, which includes all the continents of Real Life Earth in a different configuration, in fact represents a small archipelago in the middle of a "lake"), and Chimera Ants are actually one of the tamest calamities that are known to come from there; meaning, something potentially powerful enough to wipe out humanity in the Known World could potentially pop out at any time.
    • Nen-using psychopaths like Hisoka and the Phantom Troupe can cause as much mayhem and murder as many people as they want with immunity, especially if they're Hunters, and the only people capable of stopping them are other Nen users/Hunters. The most a normal person can do is run away or hope to die a quick, painless death.
    • A family of assassins who put their own children through Training from Hell to make them more efficient killers is not only wealthy, but seemingly revered by the general public (at least enough for there to be regular tours around the mountain where they live).
  • Crapsaccharine World: A charming world full of funny creatures - and unfunny creatures, and bad, bad people. At first sight, both the manga and the anime seem like a standard shonen series. While there are a couple of dark moments from time to time in the early parts of the story, it isn't until the Yorknew City arc when it becames evident how dark and messed up the Hunter x Hunter world actually is.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Komugi is the best Gungi player alive by a large margin, but this has left her severely lacking in all other aspects of her life; she is timid, fragile and borderline stupid. As she argues, playing Gungi is the only thing that prevents her from being either destitute or even dead.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gon vs. Pitou.
    • Killua vs. every Hunter Exam applicant when he takes another shot at it.
  • Cute Bruiser: Subverted in Biscuit. The cute little girl form she has isn't her true form... And that one is not pretty.
  • Cute Monster Girl: Hina is an Ant and also pretty cute.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The Phantom Trouple killed the Kurta tribe, so Kurapika killed Uvogin, so Nobunaga wants Kurapika dead...
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique:
    • When Gon asks Netero how did Killua accomplish his Rhythm Echo technique in the Midnight Ball Game, Netero simply says that there’s no need for Gon to need or use something like that.
    • Kurapika puts conditions on his Nen to increase its power, but it will kill him if he doesn't follow the strict code.
    • Gon forcefully ages his body to increase his power, causing such trauma that his life will be shortened, and he may even lose his Nen powers.
  • Darker and Edgier: The whole Chimera Ant arc.
    • And before that, The York Shin arc. The series was dark before, but it's the first time it goes into truly grim territory.
    • The whole manga really, when compared to most Shonen manga. Each arc is filled with its fair share of gore.
    • It's arguably the darkest of Yoshihiro Togashi's works.note 
    • It's also a deconstruction of Shōnen manga and anime.
    • In regards to adaptations, the 1999 TV anime has a much more somber and moody tone than either the original manga or 2011 remake for the most part. It also amplifies the focus on Killua's moodiness and Kurapika's PTSD.note  Though the 2011 adaptation eventually gets even darker than that with its adaptation of the Chimera ant arc, completely devoid of its previous infamous censorship, showing the full uncensored extent of the manga's gore and violence, muting the previously bright colors to dark levels, and incorporating an epic and dark soundtrack and more mature character designs.
  • The Darkness Before Death: Meruem ends up suffering from radiation poisoning in the aftermath of barely surviving a Fantastic Nuke. After recovering his memory and remembering the existence of Komugi, a little girl who was the key towards his character development, he seeks her out in order to enjoy playing games with her until he finally succumbs. He explains to her that the poisoning is highly contagious, and Komugi will pass away soon as well. She is happy to be with him, so she doesn't mind. It is implied that his vision began to fade, as every few seconds he would ask:
    Meruem: Komugi, are you there?
  • Deadly Euphemism: The Phantom Troupe's "requiem" to their fallen comrade Uvogin is less a musical piece and more a ballistic rampage on the streets and execution of any unfortunate mafioso that enters their line of sight.
  • Death World: The Dark Continent.
  • Deliberate Injury Gambit: Gon versus Genthru.
    • Hisoka versus Kastro; the former voluntarily allows both of his arms to be cut and he still wins.
    • A subversion is the fight between Isaac Netero and the Chimera Ant King Meruem. According to him, Netero's loss of limbs does not make him any less of a threat. Even though he delivers his ultimate attack, he still is not able to inflict any significant injury to the King, so Netero decides to pierce his own chest to stop his heart, triggering a weapon of mass destruction to finally destroy the King. This deathly final act does bring the King to the brink of death, but he is revived by his Royal Guards. The King and his Guards would not die until hours later from a poisoning agent embedded in the bomb.
  • Designated Bullet: Kurapika's ability Chain Jail can only be used on members of the Phantom Troupe.
  • Dirty Coward: Tonpa. Not only does he admit that he's a lying, cheating son of a bitch, but that he also gets his kicks from watching men in their prime fail and die horrible deaths in the Hunter Exams. Sometimes, he'll even sabotage his team's efforts to win if he gets far enough.
  • Dispel Magic: Finding a Nen user capable of this to help their leader becomes the goal of the Phantom Troupe following the Yorknew City arc.
  • Ditch the Bodyguards: Meruem’s Third Act Stupidity undermines his own guards on several occasions:
    • He behaves like a spoiled child and complains that Neferpitou’s aura is grinding on his nerves (so could Neferpitou please disable it inside the castle?);
    • He tears his own arm off so Neferpitou has to stitch it back together, doing which makes her disable her all-seeing aura for several crucially important hours;
    • He directly orders Neferpitou to stay in a fixed position away from him when two top-level assassins arrive to kill him, and willingly leaves the other two of his royal guards.
  • Dodgeball Is Hell: A sub-arc of the Greed Island arc involves Gon, Killua, Bisk, Hisoka, and some minor characters in a dodgeball game. The players on the other team throw the ball with sufficient force to break bones.
    • The players on the heroes' team, however, are battle-hardened people with lethal superpowers themselves. The captain of the opposing team, Razor, is so powerful that he inflicts The Worf Effect by his mere presence and is the first person in the series to genuinely put Monster Clown Hisoka on edge.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: After his memory loss Meruem also gains some addition abilities. To stretch the plot suspense a little longer, he agrees to enter a contest of sorts with his royal guards and not use these abilities too often. Same with how he wasn’t inclined to attack Netero at first.
  • Dramatic Red Samuari Background: This is used in the anime adaptation of the Greed Island arc. When Battera tearfully describes his lover, the screen jarringly turns red and black when he mentions that she was in a fatal accident.
  • Drama Queen: The Chimera Ant officer Pike borders on the Tsundere towards Zazan; the Royal Guard Shaiapouf often has tirades of ballet dancing and violin solos, and Kikyo Zoldyck acts this way towards her son Killua.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Kurapika is very feminine looking. It doesn't help that he's crossdressed on more than one occasion as a disguise. Up until Word of God confirmed it for the Philippine dub for the 1999 series, Kurapika's gender was a topic of speculation; he's all boy.
    • Kalluto is more or less always in female clothing.
  • The Dutiful Son: Illumi, Milluki, possibly Kalluto.
  • Dwindling Party: The group of bodyguards working for the Nostrade family during the York Shin arc. Only Kurapika, Melody, Linssen and Basho survive.

  • Early-Bird Cameo: The first introduction for the 2011 anime ends with a group shot featuring the silhouettes of various major hunters from over the course of the series.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: In the Hunter Exam Arc (before Nen was introduced), Gon used a fishing rod as a weapon, Kurapika had a set of batons, and Kite used a katana. Once the characters started using Nen, their starting weapons were dropped. Another small example of weirdness was that Killua used to have a skateboard.
  • Easing into the Adventure: The first episode shows us Gon's hometown and family, and his motivation for wanting to be a Hunter in the first place.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dark Continent is somewhere between this and Death World. It is unfathomably larger and more hostile to human life than anything in the Known World. It is enticing to human explorers since it contains many strange materials with amazing properties, but it is infested with horrendously dangerous fauna, some- like Ai (heavily implied to be the species Nanika belongs to) possessing inexplicable reality-bending powers that may or may not even be Nen-based at all. Among the sapient life forms native to the Dark Continent is the mysterious "Guide" who allows entrance to the place, but curses humanity by sending them some local atrocity each time an expedition ends in failure / near-total decimation of all participating explorers (which is to say, all documented expeditions to the Dark Continent so far).
  • Election Day Episode: Not only an episode, but an entire Story Arc devoted to the Election of Chairman of the Hunter's Association. It shows off a very interesting power struggle, even the most good and honest characters are forced to retort to morally ambiguous tactics in order to increase their popularity, every movement (even the fights)is calculated to get more voters and support, and the masses are constantly swayed away by the candidates' showy propaganda, pompous speeches and shady promises instead of their actual arguments or background. And, for the most prominent characters, the election ends up being another game to test their skills against each other.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: Gon transforming into Adult Gon right after Pitou tells him they are going to kill him. Not that Gon was listening to Pitou.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Hisoka to Chrollo.
  • Ephebophile: 22-year-old Palm Siberia and 12-year-old Gon Freecss go on a date, much to Killua's horror. It doesn't end well.
    • When Killua asks Gon whether he has been on a date before, Gon tells him that while on Whale Island, he was taken out by passerby women from docking ships as an escort and that they "taught him things", much to Killua's surprise.
    • There's also Hisoka's unusual interest in Gon, which does include him leering at the poor boy's backside during Greed Island. Killua doesn't approve of that either.
    • Gon isn't the only boy Hisoka's interested in. It seems like both the 12-year-old protagonists aren't safe from his fascination.
  • Establishing Team Shot: The Thirteen Spiders get this during the York New arc.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The very reason Colt betrays the Chimera Ant King. As such, Colt retains the memories of a human boy that was tasked by his own mother to protect his sister Reina. This is why Colt tries to preserve the Queen's legacy and structure, albeit unsuccessfully, not only as her son, but as her second-in-command too.
  • Evil Luddite: The citizens of Neo-Green Life reject any technology newer than agriculture. While they seem to do this because they feel strongly about preserving nature, their extreme take on the ideology is quickly shown to be impractical and dangerous—having medical implants is a capital offense, and no one in NGL would try to stop an epidemic, for example. The country's founder is later revealed to have created NGL because he had a hellish upbringing and wanted to ruin other people's lives on a grand scale.
  • Evil Versus Evil:
    • In the Yorknew arc, the Phantom Troupe goes against the world's major mafia families and eventually the Zaoldyecks, with the main cast caught in the middle.
    • In Chimera Ant arc the Phantom Troupe (again) goes against one of the scattered Chimera Ant squadron leaders — Zazan. The Troupe are portrayed as being the more heroic in this scenario as they're really just defending their home from predators.
    • Hisoka's battle against Chrollo, and the ensuing grudge they harbor towards each other after the match.
  • Exact Words: One of the first tests in the Hunter Exam is a seemingly straightforward question with only two possible answers: bandits have kidnapped two of the candidate's loved ones (eg: mother and wife, or son and daughter) and the candidate can only save one of them, so which one should they save? The candidates are told that they may only choose one of the two people as an answer, and any other answer will result in disqualification. The solution? Remain silent and give no answer, because there isn't a correct one.
  • Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name!: A variation using the franchise's trademark "x"s: The first episode of the 1999 series is called "A Boy Setting Out for a Journey × Leaving Behind the Sound of the Wind".
  • Expo Speak: A lot of detail on the world is woven through the series explaining how the setting is a Crapsack World.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Many of the combatants during the assault on Meruem's castle are top-level fighters and used to operating at scales of minutes, if not seconds and microseconds. So there happens so much during the opening moments of the battle that entire episodes are required to convey it all.
    Narrator: Approximately three minutes have passed since the mission began.
  • Eye Scream: The Phantom Rouge movie manages to be chock-full of this despite said eye-trauma being magic-induced and bloodless. Only dolls and corpses are ever shown with empty sockets, but there's just something unsettling about knowing that one (and later two) of the main characters is wandering around with their eyes pulled out.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Chimera Ant King and Komugi.
  • The Family That Slays Together: The Zoldyck Family are a family of assassins.
  • Family Theme Naming: The five Zoldyck children. From oldest to youngest: Illumi, Milluki, Killua, Alluka, and Kalluto.
    • The Freeccs family too to a lesser extent: Gon, Ging (whose name is rendered "Jin" in Japanese) and Don, all short one syllable names that end with an "n" sound.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Most deaths in this series, and there's quite a bunch of them.
  • Fantastic Fragility: The raw power of a Nen increases if you add weaknesses and conditions.
    • E.g. Shizuku's and Coltopi's powers don't work on living beings; Genthru's main ability won't activate until he explains it; Kurapika will die if he uses Chain Jail on someone outside of the Phantom Troupe (in order to avert He Who Fights Monsters). On a different note, Kurapika learns from Mizaistom that the person who holds the Kurtas' eyes, a Prince of Kakin; as he is not in the Phantom Troupe, this poses a quandary to Kurapika's powers.
    • This also explains why Gon calls out his attacks (see Calling Your Attacks above). He has subconsciously put a condition on his Nen attack, meaning he has to say the attack out loud, otherwise it wouldn't be as destructive, or even activate.
    • Killua was conditioned by Illumi to retreat every time he faces an enemy he doesn't know he can defeat. Though it's long argued that his training led him to be conditioned, Illumi's influence is entirely artificial, as he put a Nen needle in Killua's brain.
    • The chimera ant Meleoron explains that his abilities render him and anyone he touches effectively invisible and imperceptible, but they are still wholly vulnerable to damage.
  • Fat Bastard: Tonpa. Look at the entry for Dirty Coward above.
  • Fictional Board Game: Gungi, a two-player strategy board game native to the country of East Gorteau. While the game doesn't go into too much detail about its mechanics, the game is played in a 9x9 board and the goal is to get the opponent's King into checkmate. This game becomes an important plot point as the Chimera Ant King begins to get attached to East Gorteau's Gungi champion, whom he cannot seem to beat.
  • Fictional Document: During the epilogue of the Chimera Ant arc, there is a peculiar scene where Ming Jol-ik (the real one, not the body double who was killed by Meruem in the story) quotes a profound speech cited as being from a book called "The Creature Called Man" (published by "Minmei Publishing") by one "Masao Kikuchi". The very high-level Japanese used in the speech combined with the strangely specific citations given seems to suggest that it's taken from some piece of obscure Japanese literature, but no such book, author or publisher seems to exist in real life or the series' world, suggesting that the prose was written by Togashi who used "Masao Kikuchi" as a pen name of sorts. This is also a Shout-Out to Sakigake!! Otokojuku which quotes fictional books from the very same "Minmei Publishing" in a similar way.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: A giant guard dog with a cutesy name guards the Zoldyck household. Even Gon is afraid of it.
  • Forbidden Zone: The "Outside"/Dark Continent, the original home of the super-sized chimera ants, quite possibly all magical beasts, and special types of humans. The land has been called "Humanity's most immense taboo" and all attempts to go there throughout history resulted in disasters. 200 years ago, the five greatest nations in the world agreed to outlaw any further exploration attempts. Doubles as a Death World, as the forbidden area is actually the vast majority of their planet. There are four things needed to travel there: authorization, means, qualification, and a contract...; likewise, whenever creatures from the Dark Continent cross, it means disaster to the human world and the ensuing disasters are barely contained.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the raid on the Chimera Ant Palace in East Gorteau, Morel decides to test Gon and see if he's really able to come onto the team. Gon then thinks of Kite's butchering at Pitou's hands and gives an extremely unnerving Death Glare, before powering up one of the most devastating Ja-Janken's seen yet. This is a major hint that Gon is not mentally well during this arc, and it further hints at the fact that Gon's hate for Pitou will give him immense power.
    • Adding on to this, after the Zevil Island phase of the Hunter Exam, Gon confides in Kurapika that he feels frustrated and scared that he couldn't do anything to defend himself from Hisoka. These feelings will not go away anytime soon.
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: The palace invasion part of the Chimera Arc simultaneously focuses on all the plot threads set up: the three Royal Guard's skirmishes against Morel's team, Gon and Killua's actions regarding Pitou and the resulting fallout, Killua's fights after leaving Gon, Meruem and Netero flying out to fight, and the rest of the Chimera Ant encounters. There's so much chaos happening that a narrator is needed to convey every moment and keep track of time to not confuse the viewers. Here's a video simultaneously showing what's happening in the first three minutes of the invasion alone.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Gon is Sanguine, Killua is Phlegmatic, Kurapika is Melancholic, and Leorio is Choleric.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: The four main characters are very close friends, but despite what many pieces of official promotional art would have you believe, it's actually very rare to see all four in full formation; in fact, the most recent time it canonically happened was during the Yorknew Arc in the series' early half. This is mostly due to Kurapika being an Aloof Ally who actively ignores phone calls from the rest of the group, but even Leorio generally focuses on his own life and only reunites with Gon and Killua if there's a crisis going on. Later, even Gon and Killua went their separate ways after finding Ging.
  • Functional Magic: The various "nen" powers seem to be a mix of Inherent Gifts and Rule Magic: there are specific ways of using Nen, but each Nen user tends to specialize in and develop a specific ability based on one of the six forms of Hatsu (specialized Nen usage): enhancement, emission, manipulation, conjuration, transmutation, and specialization. Furthermore, one can impose limits on their own powers in order to enhance them. Another way of looking at Nen (literally: Mind Force) is a mixture of aura and will. Thus, Nen is essentially a physical manifestation of one’s will which is why there are ultimately no boundaries to the possible forms that it can take (imagination being the only limiting factor in that regard). Subsequently, Nen powers are affected by their user’s mental state and might not work properly if he or she is scared, undetermined, and so on.
  • Fun with Acronyms: It's eventually revealed that 'Greed Island' is an acronym, consisting of the first name of everyone involved in its creation.
    • Well, sort of... One of the characters involved in the creation of Greed Island had his name changed by the protagonist's father to make the acronym work, which appears to be a sore spot for him to this day
  • The Gadfly: Tonpa during the Hunter Exam arc, mostly to Leorio during the Third Phase. He consistently pointed out how much Leorio's opinions stood out from the rest of the group, as well as blamed him for the 50 hours they lost during his gambling session with one of the prisoners in the tower. It's not only for his own amusement, either; he's doing it to intentionally sabotage the team's chances of going to the next phase.
  • Gambit Pileup: All of the more serious arcs in this series have multiple conflicting points of interest between the different character groups (and even between the individuals in those groups). This gets taken Up to Eleven in the Dark Continent Expedition arc, wherein every single group on board the ship is scheming against another one. This includes the Zodiacs, Beyond’s Group, the Hunter Association hunters assigned as bodyguards, the normal bodyguards, the Princes, and their respective families and bodyguards, King Hui himself, and even the Phantom Troupe!
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Hunter Association did view the Chimera Ants as an existential threat to all mankind (with good reason), so they resolved to use a weapon whose production is banned by an international treaty and called the "ultimate evil" by Palm Siberia: The "Poor Man's Rose", the Hunter x Hunter universe's equivalent of a nuclear weapon, but in some aspects even more insidious: It is cheap, easy to produce, very compact, can be mass-produced fast and not only causes a big explosion, it also poisons the survivors and lets them even infect others. It is so compact or at least can be built compact enough to be implanted into people: Netero had a Poor Man's Rose with a fail-deadly trigger implanted into his body before going to battle against the ants. When he fought against Meruem the Ant king and saw that he wouldn't be strong enough to defeat him, he killed himself by stopping his heart, triggered the explosion, and mortally wounded the king. Even though he was restored to apparent health by his guard, he and the two guards died of the poison a few hours later.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In Neferpitou’s and Meruem’s cases, the sheer intensity and strength of their aura can be so overwhelming for a regular Nen-user, that even a momentary exposure to it can have severe permanent psychological and physiological consequences. Knov, for instance, who was specifically picked up for the highest-threat and highest-difficulty level mission against Chimera Ants, became almost completely demoralised after seeing just the brink of Neferpitou’s aura at close range and soon after lost almost all hair on his head. Similarly, Welfin rapidly aged and his fur fell out when he felt the King’s killing intent focused on him.
  • Gorn: Has LOTS of it, though much of it is (self-)censored because the manga runs in Jump. The writers of the new anime had gone on record saying they would be in deep trouble once the series catches up with the later manga arcs. The anime writers decided to go Mood Whiplash on the show, so after all the adorable cuteness of friendship and Bloodless Carnage in the first twenty episodes or so, the Phantom Troupe comes in, and the body count spikes, with a side of a big pool of blood, and the nearly dead guy getting sucked up by a vacuum.
    • They did find a workaround about this, using clever camera angles to cover Gon severed hand among others. Some scenes where the brain or internal organs of the victims were shown (during certain battles with Uvogin and Chrollo, The Bomber explosion mass-murder and before the Dodgeball battle) and notably everyone favourite pedo-clown hotspring scene (with Gon and Killua's eyes slowly following the offscreen ... "reaction" of Hisoka) were redone in the 2011 anime so that it doesn't show as much as in the manga.
      • Leol makes an appearance in TV and when the reporter asks him for proof, he proceeds to bite most of her upper body off; this is censored on the series cleverly as a glitch in the transmission as if the camera had stopped working when Leol attacked the reporter.
      • One of the most graphical cases that are only barely censored is when Meruem kills the Body Double leader of East Gorteau. The censorship only moderately shades over the fact that his neck was torn, the back of his head splattered, an arm was ripped off, and his innards (and fat man breasts) were widely exposed in the aftermath of a One-Hit Kill. The anime just gets him turned into a bloody mess and keeps the aftermath off-screen. The dancers in the room at the time thankfully get a Gory Discretion Shot in comparison.
  • Gratuitous English: In The Last Mission movie, TV broadcasts are shown with captions in English, inexplicably avoiding the in-universe alphabet. In those captions, Netero is presented as "President of Hunter X Hunter," producing a strange case of in-house Cowboy BeBop at His Computer.
  • Groin Attack: The series had a secondary female character who could Mind Control people after kissing them. The scene where she demonstrates her ability has her kissing her partner, then making him lay on the floor and having her press her foot to his crotch. Repeatedly. As the guy begs for more and she lets out a shrieking Noblewoman's Laugh.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Chimera Queen absorbs the DNA of anything she eats and gives birth to hybrid children, and the Chimera King can mate with the female of any species and turn her into a Chimera Queen.
  • Having a Blast: Genthru the Bomb Devil's power.
  • Heads or Tails?: Members of the Spiders flip a coin to settle disputes.
  • Healing Winds: The "Angel's Breath" card is an important plot item during the Greed Island arc. It manifests as a beautiful woman whose breath can heal any injury.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Hisoka has the power to make his aura sticky like gum, and the power to change the appearance and texture of thin surfaces. Those are his only Nen abilities. As lame as they sound, the way he uses them makes them overkill. He even named them in a rather cheesy manner, as they come from a chewing gum brand from when he was young.
  • Heroic BSoD: Gon goes into one at a certain point.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gon and Killua are each other's first friends ever, as Killua was not allowed to make friends and Gon lived on an isolated island where the population was not sedentary. Although Killua's been seriously treading the line between this and Ho Yay in the Greed Island and Chimera Ant arcs. Some non-canon materials even blur the line further for example.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Underneath her manic behavior and fearsome appearance, Palm Siberia is a remarkably beautiful woman and a tremendous cook.
    • Tonpa and his group deliberately invoke this trope. While they may seem like clumsy, reckless fools, their main goal is to get other contestants to fail the Hunter Exam and have fun doing it. This really shines through when Tonpa gives Gon's group (and by extension the audience) an in-depth look at how mob mentality breaks a group apart.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: Leorio initially claims he's only in it for the money, but he later reveals that he needs the money to pay for medical school because his dream is to open a free clinic, having lost his best friend Pietro to a curable but expensive disease.
  • Hitman with a Heart:
    • Killua, though he doesn't really get a heart until he quits being a hitman.
    • Also his grandfather Zeno, who takes great displeasure in having collateral damage.
  • Hold On to My Hat: During the Hunter examination arc, Hisoka gives his badge to Gon asking for it to be returned when Gon is strong enough to punch him.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly cruel one during the Chimera Ant arc: after Neferpitou attacks Kite and Killua chooses to knock Gon out and run away, he's deeply troubled over whether or not that was the right choice. In one of the most heartwarming moments of the series, Gon cheers Killua up by assuring him that everything is fine because Kite would never lose to someone like that. The next scene shows the aftermath of the battle. Pitou is relaxing by a tree and strokes Kite's severed head on their lap.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Chimera Ants, though they're more intelligent and not aliens.
  • Hourglass Plot: At the start, Gon is the All-Loving Hero, albeit with some morality issues, who wants to find his father and Killua is an elite assassin not knowing what to do with his life aside from killing. The dynamic between Gon and Killua is turned on its head in the Chimera Ant Arc. Killua learns how to make friends and becomes the Morality Chain for Gon, whose Moral Myopia has him slowly falling into the deep end after Kite's death, culminating with him losing to his rage and killing Pitou. In the end, Gon returned to his idealistic ways but loses his Nen abilities as the condition for his transformation, finds his father but realized he didn't want to exactly meet him and is now the one Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life while Killua becomes more idealistic and now has a purpose of protecting his sibling Alluka.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: And yet the better human qualities, like the ability to learn and change, and the ability to express empathy for others is ultimately what shines through in a lot of cases. By the end, not a single malicious ant is left alive, and even the morally ambiguous ones are looking for a positive goal in life.
  • Human Resources: The Chimera Ants prefer humans as fodder.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A recurring theme near the end of the Chimera Ant arc, that humans can be just as ruthless and horrible as the ants. Especially when they break out the "Rose." Even then, it's possible to interpret the message that humans are at the top of the food chain because of our capacity for horrible things, and that it's through doing these horrible things that we evolve as a species. It's no coincidence that Meureum isn't defeated through brute human strength, but rather a nuclear detonation and its subsequent radiation poisoning- what one could potentially argue as being one humanity's greatest weapons of all time, one powerful enough to subvert any individual's personal strength.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: This is the default attitude most Nen users have towards their powers. Many fighters go to great lengths to keep their opponents (along with anyone who might be observing the battle) from getting a proper understanding of what their particular Hatsu is and how it works, as doing so reveals the Nen's limitations and vulnerabilities. Being willing to reveal your Nen to another is either a gesture of complete trust or a sign of your confidence in your ability to use your Nen, despite your opponent knowing how it works (e.g. when Hisoka explains his Bungee Gum to Gon). As a consequence, many fights in the series are much more cerebral than your typical Shonen series' battles as the fighters spend much of the fight trying to figure out their opponent's Nen while trying to make use of their own without giving away its limitations.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The X 2011 Anime X Episodes.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Chrollo’s achievements and battle prowess indicate high intellectual potential. Despite this, however, he fails to even suspect that Hisoka may be betraying them. He also doesn’t compare and cross-analyse all of the predictions of future for his group members, which could’ve hinted at how to make all the members stay alive. This ultimately results in Pakunoda’s death.
    • One could say that the only Doylist reasoning behind Komugi’s character was to make Meruem undermine his own safety on several occasions, because otherwise he was too powerful to be killed. On different occasions, Meruem: 1. makes his most watchful guard lose focus for several hours; 2. ditches all three of his guards; 3. doesn’t engage the enemy even after the said enemy proves to have considerable battle experience and power; 4. doesn’t withdraw from the battle when the enemy drives him into a corner and shows that it can launch and land a powerful attack almost instantaneously.
  • Ignored Epiphany: The Chimera Ant king has several of these.
  • Immortality: A virus called Zobae makes people unable to die. As is speculated, it's unknown whether the victims retain a sense of self as shown with the "man" that is kept in isolation by the G5, so officially he's not longer considered human per see.
  • Immortality Inducer: The Zobae disease, or "The Immortality Disease", is one of the Five Threats forced into humanity that's capable of letting one self-sustain by regeneration and by feeding on one's own flesh. But it has a high mortality rate, it killed off an entire expedition except for a few members and the lone hunter who survived the disease lost his sanity and was locked up for 50 years.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: The true Supreme Leader of East Gorteau was not revolutionary leader Diego Masadoru/Ming Jol-ik, but a body double. Unlike other examples of this trope, the real Diego/Ming is still alive, having retired to live peacefully and anonymously shortly after the revolution, and gets a single short scene towards the end of the Chimera Ant arc.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Chimera Ants prefer to eat humans especially the ones who can use Nen who they dub the "rare humans" since humans are delicious to them.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Episode 128 of the anime. Technically it's not an orgasm but... can't tell more.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Practically the entire cast are Improbable Weapon Users. From dart boards to bank interest to mobile phones and even a giant pipe, the characters have it covered. Chrollo and his books, Shizuku and her vacuum cleaner.
    • Cheerfully subverted with Leorio, who, when threatened, promptly pulls out a switchblade. A weapon so mundane that, in a Shonen series, it's approaching weird from the other side.
  • Inside a Computer System: The Greed Island game sends players inside the console in order to play the game, complete with an RPG-Mechanics Verse rule and a card-game battle system. Turns out Greed Island is never inside a game and is a real island isolated from the rest of the world all along.
  • Interclass Friendship: Gon comes from a small fishing island. His best friend Killua is the scion of an obscenely rich family of assassins.
  • Intergenerational Rivalry: Hisoka engages in rivalries with both Gon and Killua despite being an adult to their twelve years. He starts out vastly stronger than them and wishes to challenge them properly at full strength.
  • Interspecies Romance: Meruem and Komugi, it was being subtly developed along the Chimera Ants arc, mostly one-sided by Meruem's infatuation with Komugi, although in the arc's climax/closure it was developed into a mutual relationship.
  • Intimidation Demonstration: Early on, one of Kurapika's opponents punches a concrete wall, leaving huge cracks and chips in it, then reveals a tattoo resembling that of the Phantom Troupe as well as his kill count on his back. It turns out that he embedded a steel plate into one of his hands to enable him to punch with more force but can only do it once in a while as it really hurts, that the Spiders have a membership number on their tattoos, and that their kills are so numerous that they don't bother to count.
  • It's Personal: Happens very often in Hunter X Hunter where bad guy will incure the wrath of the heroes (usually Gon).
    • Since the Phantom Troupe killed his entire village and family, Kurapika's got this in spades.
  • It's the Journey That Counts: Ging's philosophy, and the parting words of the 2011 anime.
  • Invisible to Normals: Nen and all abilities based on it are completely invisible to people who did not awaken their own Nen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Kurapika is a rather unapproachable person when he is first introduced. Though he mellows out, he does so only with Gon, Killua and Leorio; still, he is the second most stubborn person in the series (after Gon) by a large margin. By the time the Chimera Ant arc is finished (from which he was entirely absent), he gets even worse.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: The original anime... Good lord, the original anime... It was to the point where they would occasionally stretch out one chapter of the manga over two episodes.
  • Just a Kid: Gon and Killua get this a lot by all the adults in the series. Most of the time they prove themselves to be more capable than the adults and some even called them monsters for their incredible talents.
  • Ki Manipulation: The series introduces "nen" after a while, which is an energy that comes from within each individual, and is basically chi. It is used to perform devastating attacks but also has many other, less combative, functions.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: The duo of Phantom Troupe members scouting the Greed Island is shown talking about how they've just killed a few random players, to see if someone had a more expensive world map on them. The killers proceed to their destination, announcing to do more killing along the way just for the kicks of it, while the camera shows the corpse, near which the duo talked. It turns out to be the guy who has earlier given clueless Gon and Killua their rough first experience of getting attacked by spells.
  • Kill It with Fire: Feitan's Rising Sun. Though fire might be a little too soft a word...
    • Bashio also uses his ability this way, though it is much weaker.
  • Killed Off for Real: Quite a few so far, the most important ones being Uvogin, Pakunoda, Kite, Netero, Neferpitou, and Menthuthuyoupi.
    • As for the last chapter, Kite seems to be alive.
    • The only major exception is the way Chimera Ants are created, such as Kite might be now if taken at face value, retain memories and personalities of the devoured humans used to create them. Initially these personalities are suppressed, but those who recover their memories fully can be said to be a form of this.
  • Killer Yoyo: Used by Killua, albeit sparingly.
  • Kodomomuke: Subverted. It starts out this way, but its darker nature soon becomes clear, especially in the manga. It doesn't help that the first anime series was made by Nippon Animation, a company that usually only makes kodomomuke anime.
  • Kudzu Plot: The ongoing Dark Continent Expedition / Succession Contest arc in the manga is far and away from the most intricate and convoluted storyline in the series thus far, featuring almost every single important character besides Gon and Killua in some way or another. Tserriednich is unaware that Kurapika is on the voyage specifically to hunt him down, but Kurapika himself is unaware that the entire Phantom Troupe are on the boat as well (with not one but two Zoldycks now in their ranksnote ), who themselves are unaware of Kurapika's presence as they are more focused on Hisoka, deadset on revenge against the spiders and earlier expressed an interest in fighting the Zodiacs who are also conveniently in full formation on the boat (and now include Kurapika and Leorio in their ranks), and they are unaware of Ging and Pariston secretly scheming to sabotage their plans by helping Beyond (as is Saiyu, who is unaware that he had already been found out by the Zodiacs). And none of this is even getting to the main storyline of the succession contest, the Princes' relationships with themselves and their own bodyguards and their Nen Beasts and networks of spies, the Kakin Mafia's ambitions and the Troupe's interactions with them, the mysterious hidden agenda of Nasubi, the ominous "force" preventing escape from the boat, and the fact that the boat's destination is the Dark Continentnote . And this is a heavily abridged version; here is a super simple guide that's a bit closer to the full picture as of chapter 390.

  • Large Ham: Knuckle Bine and the chimera ants Ikalgo and Rammot. Leorio also has his moments of this.
  • Last of His Kind: Kurapika is the last living survivor of the Kurta Clan when the Phantom Troupe killed off the entire clan for their Scarlet Eyes.
  • Leave the Camera Running: The 5th episode of the first OVA has a scene near the end that consists of the camera zooming out of Pakunoda's face while she has numerous flashbacks (in transparent). This lasts for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.
  • Life Energy: It's called Nen in this series, and per the norm, it enables Ki Manipulation of various varieties, including the ability to enhance senses and shoot energy.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Depends on the character; Killua for instance seems to be more fashion-conscious than Gon as he does change his outfit every now and then, while some characters only change their outfits when the occasion calls for it (such as Kurapika dropping his tabard in favor of a nice suit once he climbs up the ranks in the Nostrade family).
  • Living on Borrowed Time:
    • As of Chapter 311, Meruem due to the Rose bomb's poison. Palm Siberia claims Meruem will be dead in a few hours. Shiapouf, who was infected by the poison when he fed Meruem his body, is dying even faster.
    • Likewise, Pakunoda and Chrollo from the Phantom Troupe were given this treatment by Kurapika by rendering them unable to use their Nen or face death; Pakunoda rescinded her borrowed time to reveal her troupe mates the appearance of the "Chain User", while the Troupe and Hisoka went to Greed Island to find a Nen master that could remove Chrollo's conditioning.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: The series as a whole has quite a few characters, but nothing too special for a long-running Shōnen series. The Dark Continent Expedition / Succession Contest arc, however, stands out due to the ludicrous amout of named characters involved with the plot: you have the 14 Princes of Kakin, their mothers, their sets of guards, their spies, the multiple Kakin Mafia families, the judicial branch, and around 90% of all important characters from all of the previous arcs (including long time absentees such as Hanzo, Izunavi and Melody).
  • Long-Runner Tech Marches On: Happens due to the series being over 20 years old but with relatively little time passing in-universe. As a side effect of Technology Marches On and Webcomic Time, the in-universe Internet has seemingly become far more open and widely-used in the course of a year or so.
    • Another side effect is that technology seems to have gotten a bit more advanced. Cell phones look like they've leapt ahead 5 years and at one point Killua is clearly using some kind of tablet PC. The Madhouse remake also retcons a few things, like VHS tapes turned into discs, and a lot of the older-looking TVs in the show have been changed to LCDs.
    • In the case of cell phones, they went from block-phones to flip phones, and now everyone's carrying smartphones, with no explanation whatsoever. That being said, abilities tied to now-obsolete technology keep their appearance, like with the iPod-looking Rental Pod and the early-00's cellphone Black Voice. With the case of the latter, the manga only depicts the back of the phone, dodging the drastically different appearances of cell phones nowadays.
  • Look Behind You: Invoked by Zeno to Cheetu, though it's subverted with Cheetu not believing him. Cue Silva plunging down from the sky and smashing his head to the ground with one punch.
    Zeno: Well, I suppose it would make little difference whether you looked or not.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • Gon is required to play a guessing game with a former arsonist in which they each pick a candle, and the one whose candle goes out first is the loser. The rules are simple enough for both sides to bend the rules: The arsonist hands Gon an identical-looking trick candle whose flame is enormous and whose wax burns out rapidly—but Gon, not seeing a rule where the candle has to melt down entirely, just blows out the arsonist's candle.
    • NGL permits no technology newer than agriculture, meaning visitors must discard everything from synthetic clothing items to necessities like eyeglasses, tooth fillings, and medical implants at the border crossing or face execution. The way can enforce this policy is via highly advanced technology like MRI and ultrasound, conveniently located just outside of NGL's actual borders.
    • Cheetu forces Morel into a supernatural game of tag in a large but enclosed space. Morel is freed if he can make physical contact with Cheetu, but Morel will die in six hours if he doesn't succeed. Since Cheetu has Super Speed and enjoys seeing people futilely try to fight him in direct combat, the spirit of this deadly game is to chase him for those six hours. Morel, instead, lies down by a tree and waits for Cheetu to fall for one of his Super Smoke traps he laid around the place, knowing full well that preventing his enemy from moving is perfectly valid too.
    • The ability Order Stamp, which allows a nonliving human-shaped object to move and obey the user's commands, does not allow the user to give commands to inflict violence on someone else. Chrollo steals this power and discovers that the objects will still follow the command to "break" someone, which they'll interpret as breaking the target's bones. Order Stamp will also not allow for bodies of people who have died to be reanimated, but corpses that have never been alive to begin with are fair game.
    • Powers in this series get a massive boost if made into a Death-Activated Superpower. Princess Carmilla finds a way to use hers more than once: This boost is strong enough to completely take away a person's life force, so she adapts her power to be to absorb the life force of anyone who murders her so she can resurrect herself, upon which she can use it again if someone else murders her. Her older brother Benjamin finds a simple way to neutralize her without causing the power to activate, which is to injure her limbs so she's incapacitated, then lock her up while keeping her alive. As Carmilla is otherwise an ordinary human being, she is rendered completely powerless.
    • Netero proposes that Gon and Killua must defeat Knuckle and Shoot before they are allowed back to Neo-Green Life, which they lost so they weren't able to join the initial mission. Since the King and the Royal Guards moved to East Gateau which is not part of NGL, the two boys are allowed to join the palace invasion on a technicality.
  • Loud of War: When all else fails, Uvogin can kill another (superpowered) human being with his roar alone.
  • Ludicrous Gift Request: Nanika asks for three things before granting a wish, and while these can start out as innocuous, Nanika can easily ask for lethal things, such as one's spine or liver. Worse still, this is An Offer You Can't Refuse because doing so will instantly kill you and a number of people proportional to the scale of the last wish granted.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The story does this with the Nen-system. Going further, while Nen itself has its own rules and limits, specific abilities can also have rules of their own set in place by their creators. Examples of such rules can be placing limitations on how and when an ability can be used. Further, due to the general rules of Nen, setting such limitations can make the actual ability far more powerful. For example, Kurapika creates powerful attacks with the limits that they can only be used against the Phantom Troupe and he will die if he misuses them. These limitations allow him to take on the most physically powerful of his enemies one-on-one without difficulty. Beings from the Dark Continent blatantly disregard these rules, which makes them all the more dangerous.
  • Magically Binding Contract: Nen users are able to use this to bolster their abilities and become more proficient in nen types they aren't compatible with, usually by handicapping themselves in some way.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: The Chimera Ants arc started as a side story completely unrelated to the main plot. It ended up being longer than the Yorknew and Greed Island arcs combined.
  • Manly Tears: The chimera ant Ikalgo has the tendency to cry when overwhelmed by emotion. At one decisive instance, he cries at his own inability to kill his fellow ant Bloster; thinking him a craven, Welfin tries to extort him and in turn Ikalgo roundly kicks his ass to complete submission.
    • Bloster, whom Ikalgo spared, takes Reina (now an ant herself) back to her village to the arms of her mother. Grateful at him, the villagers offer Bloster food and shelter but he declines. In tears, Reina fetches him and pleads for him to stay. Moved by her grateful pleas and realizing that he literally has nothing else, Bloster cries and accepts to stay.
    • Gon does this at the sight of Kite's mangled body, swearing to get him back to normal; unbeknownst to him, Kite was already dead, but alive in a diminutive chimera ant girl.
  • Meaningful Name: Meruem, according the the Chimera Ant Queen, means "The light that shines on everything." Meruem demonstrates the truth of this when he reaches a level of power where he is able to use his Nen on individual photons, and in the chapter titled "A Flash."
  • Meet Cute: Subverted and lampshaded during the Greed Island arc with "Love-Love, The City of Romance" which is "famous for its easy meetings": Various Moe-looking characters crash into the main characters, lose their glasses, and generally need rescuing, but the main characters (mostly) ignore them because they've got a mission to complete.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Averted, unusually for a fantasy shonen story. Meruem, the strongest character in the series, is defeated not by another fighter's combat skills but by a deadly mass-produced WMD (or rather its poison, but the blast alone was enough to put him at death's door whereas Netero could only inflict superficial damage even with his most powerful attack). Muggles Do It Better indeed.
  • The Millstone: When Gon and co are forced to team up with Tonpa during one stage of the Hunter Exam, he actively tries to be one, as he's part of a group of contestants who deliberately sabotage other contestants' chances of passing the Exam for fun. Ironically, at one point his actions actually help the protagonists, in particular his undignified, one second surrender when he faced one of the Prisoners in the Third Phase. He's very quick to point out to Leorio that his surrender only wasted a little of their time getting out of the tower they're supposed to clear, while Leorio's "play it safe" method of betting and his perversion over one of the Prisoners cost the entire group 50 hours of tower completion time, and virtually no real time to finish the course on their own.
  • Mistaken for Fake Hair: In the Bowdlerized Italian dub, Leorio's Crotch-Grab Sex Check gamble on Leroute is changed to a bet on whether her hair is real or fake. In this context, the Sexy Discretion Shot is now an implication that Leorio is tugging on her hair, causing her great pain.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: An entire race of Mix-and-Match Critters, the Chimera Ants, is the foe during the Chimera Ant arc.
  • Monster Clown: Hisoka.
  • Moral Myopia: Something of a theme in the series. Many of the antagonists have no compunction about slaughtering others for fun or convenience but nevertheless remain deeply loyal to their own friends and family.
  • Morality Pet: The Chimera Ant King only avoids slipping past the Moral Event Horizon because he takes care of a heavily handicapped girl when she's injured.
    • Gon plays this for Killua from the beginning. During the Hunter Exam arc, Killua still murders people rather casually (including killing a couple of candidates because they were rude and he had a bad day). In one filler in the 1999 version, he was about to kill the girl when he heard Gon still fighting for her outside, and it brought him back to his old self. Since then he's seemed to avoid killing people if there was an alternative and he grows to be a much more moral person thanks to Gon.
    • Gon, Killua, and Leorio are this to Kurapika; while he recognizes that they are remarkable friends, he considers that the morality that they instill in him prevents him from accomplishing his vendetta against the Phantom Troupe, so he has repeatedly tried to keep them at a distance (most of the times unsuccessfully).
    • Pakunoda seemed to be this to the Phantom Troupe before she succumbs to Kurapika's chains. The efforts made to rescue Chrollo from Kurapika were not because he is the Troupe's leader (which arguably makes him expendable by the Troupe's rules), but because he is their friend and they don't want him to die. Pakunoda's last act not only gave the Troupe Kurapika's face, but also the fact that to Gon and Killua, unlike the rest of the world, found Pakunoda's life to be valuable.
  • More Dakka: One of the Phantom Troupe removed his own fingers to replace them with Nen machine guns.
  • Mundane Utility: One round of the Hunter Exam was a cook-off. Also used in the York Shin arc, where Gon and Killua use their aura-sensing powers to locate cheap antiques that they can later resell for a profit.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Shaiapouf is afraid Komugi might distract the King from his "true goal" and is therefore considering killing her for "the King's sake".
  • The Musical: Several musicals have been made.
  • My Kung Fu Is Stronger Than Yours: Often subverted, as ostensibly powerful and experienced characters are often defeated by weaker characters who simply have a better preparation and make a wiser or more optimal use of their skills; see Kurapika vs. Uvogin, Gon vs. Genthru, many fights against the Chimera Ants, and so on.
    • Doubly subverted when Uvogin fights the Shadow Beasts. Just after we have established just how badass he is, the three Shadow Beasts, through carefully combined attacks and proper use of their abilities, quickly render Uvogin seemingly harmless... and then he manages to defeat all three of them in 10 seconds using only his neck and head after warning them that that was actually all he needed to kill them, although to be fair he still would have died if his allies hadn't treated him or if the poison used by one of the Shadow Beasts was lethal instead of just paralyzing.
  • Myth Arc: Gon's search for Ging is the underlying arc for the series as a whole; it kicks off the plot and every arc is directly or indirectly connected to it in some way. It eventually reaches its conclusion when Gon finds Ging at the end of the Elections arc, which is the point where the 2011 anime ends, but the manga still continues albeit with Gon being Put on a Bus. Notably, this Myth Arc has a spiritual continuation of sorts in Ging's fascination with Don Freecss, the elusive author of the Journey to the New World books and likely his own ancestor, which mirrors Gon's previous hunt for Ging.
  • Never Given a Name: The Chimera Ant King abandoned his mother the Queen before she could name him. One of Netero's subordinates heard her name the King 'Meruem' before she died and relayed that information to Netero. Netero goaded the King into a fight by offering to tell him his name if he could get Netero to admit defeat. By this point in his Character Development, the King had become human enough to be bothered by his lack of a name.
  • Ninja: Hanzo is a Cloud-Hidden style jonin from Jappon and is one of the most capable in the Hunter Exams, just behind Hisoka and Illumi when it comes to abilities.
  • Not Drawn to Scale: Height discrepancies are pretty off, but it's pretty apparent when you see Gon and Killua together and the two with the Phantom Troupe; canonically speaking, Gon is 154cm and Killua is 158cm, in the 2011 version, they are roughly the same height until the Chimera Ant Arc when it's more clear that Killua is taller than Gon. In relation to Machi and Shizuku, who are two of the closest in height to the two boys in the Troupe, height discrepancies become a bit more clear. As Machi is 159cm and Shizuku is 160cm, making them one and two centimeters taller than Killua and five and six centimeters taller than Gon; seen in the Yorknew City Arc, the two girls are a full head taller than both boys despite being roughly the same height as Killua, albeit a bit taller. See for yourself.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: There's an obvious one of Kim Jong-il; his name is even an anagram for Kim Jong-il.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • The Phantom Troupe's coda argues that since the world gave up on them, they do not care for anyone's life, unless of course someone does come to respect their lives and existence as Gon, Killua and Kurapika show to Pakunoda. The very notion makes the Troupe stop their pursuit of the trio and focus on relieving Chrollo from his conditioning.
    • Subverted with Chrollo; he makes an effort to prevent Neon Nostrade from being harmed once he steals her powers; the original owners should be alive in order for their skills to continue working for him (Ch. 123, p. 4). Were Neon to die, the page with her skill would disappear from his book and he would no longer be able to use it. Still, she doesn't have to be in mint condition as he delivered her, only letting her live is enough.
  • Nuclear Weapons Taboo: The Miniature Rose is essentially a Fantastic Nuke that was outlawed by the world government. It even has radiation, called Rose Poison.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Biscuit, Netero, and Gon to a degree.
  • Off with His Head!: Probably the most common cause of death in the series. Mostly done on Chimera Ants as it happens to be the best way to kill them, but many human characters met their demise through decapitation as well, such as Squala, Puhat, Kite, Gotoh, Koltopi and the entirety of the Kurta clan except Kurapika.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Majitani gets two over his fight with Kurapika; the latter lets him know that he shouldn't be bragging and lying by saying that he's from the Phantom Troupe by beating the living lights out of him, and later, he has to stop pretending he's unconscious once Leorio tries to make him plunge into the abyss surrounding the ring.
    • Hisoka, when he realizes that a mishap with Alluka's powers might kill him too.
    • Illumi, when he realizes that his accidental Killing Intent outburst might've frightened Killua away.
    • Meruem, when he realizes that Netero had one last ace up his sleeve that he had planned on using from the very start.
  • Old Master:
    • Netero, who was still one of the most powerful people on the planet despite being over 110 years old. Not a sensei anymore, and still active (though rarely involved in fights) as the head of the Hunter Association prior to his death, but he fits the trope otherwise.
    • Biscuit Krueger is a subversion, as she's in her late 50s but uses her powers to resemble a young girl, and even in her true form she doesn't look older than mid-30. She was a master of Nen as well as Netero's style of kung-fu, and trained Gon & Killua throughout the Greed Island and Chimera Ant arcs.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: Used to hustle money by Gon & Killua.
  • Only Sane Man: Parodied with the 3 guards of the king; both Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi see themselves as the only sane of the 3 guards... but in the heat of battle, they both lose a lot of time due to their respective temper problems, whereas only Neferpitou is able to keep their cool and display razor-sharp intuition and light-speed decision making even as all odds are against them.
    • By comparison, Pouf has the tendency of arriving at the wrong conclusions when faced with pressure and being a Drama Queen in general, and Youpi tends to not think things through. Albeit superficially aloof, Pitou works best when cornered.
    • Parodied also at Greed Island, out of Gon, Killua and Biscuit, the latter comes off as the most infantile and immature even though she is actually 59 years old and buff as hell.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The 1999 anime's English dub was recorded by Blue Water in Canada, and you can hear slight Canadian accents in a few characters' voices, especially Kurapika and Tonpa.
  • Open Secret: The training and use of Nen is supposed to be a big secret in the world, only known to those who walk deep into the path of becoming a hunter and rare individuals. However, at least in the remake anime, everyone from the 200th floor and up of the Celestial Arena are Nen users, with showy Nen battles, open to a very large betting public and ALSO probably televised around the world. The commentator of the fights even talks about the use of Nen from the fighters in the arena. The only possible way for Nen to be the secret it was supposed to is if the Celestial Arena was less popular than Public Access networks, which it can't be if it can afford to pay the winners up to the 200th floor upwards to MILLIONS of Jenny per win (about 100$ Jenny equals to about US$ 1). It is also jarring how pathetically weak the contestants of the tower are up to the 200th floor, at which point it seems to change the virtually flat difficulty curve of the tower with a 90º angle.
    • It is also odd that Killua wasn't taught about it in his family, considering he was a prodigy taught about all else in assassination, the lack of Nen training is glaring. Ostensibly, his restrictions regarding the knowledge of Nen are imposed by his parents and older brother in order to "keep him safe" according to them. Killua mentioned that his father sent him to Heavens Arena at the age of eight, and told him not to come back until he reached the 200th floor. This was probably when Silva intended to breach the topic with him, but Killua decided to leave on his own immediately upon getting there, which likely made Silva reconsider how ready Killua really was.
  • Opponent Instruction:
    • While capturing them in relation to the death of her friend, Machi still chides Gon for unnecessary movements in a fight, and Killua for impaling her chest instead of her neck if he'd really wanted to kill her.
    • After being impressed by Gon's punch and resolve, Knuckle allows him to fight as many times as he wants, even taking his time to point out his weakness in both Aura and his Jajanken Technique. Shoot calls him soft for doing this when he has no reason to and in fact is supposed to defeat Gon to get the right to enter NGL.
  • Paper Master: Kalluto; Wing also demonstrates to Zushi how to alter paper to use it as a weapon.
  • Personality Powers: Nen is primarily based on how the user is currently feeling. A particularly hateful or angry user, for instance, will produce a vile, stinging aura rather than the calm, neutral one that usually exudes from people.
  • Power at a Price: Nen powers can have self-imposed conditions that strengthen the ability, with the more convoluted ones giving greater powers, though greater punishments if broken:
    • Gon's Jajanken requires him to shout out his power for it to actually work. He actually finds an interesting benefit from it in that he can psyche people out on what hand he'll throw out. In his fight with Pitou Gon, in a fit of rage and hatred, unintentionally makes a nen pact in which he sacrifices all of his nen in order to kill Pitou. It works and Gon becomes a One-Man Army with enough raw power that Pitou believes he's on par with Physical God Mereum. Gon delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle to Pitou after which he is reduced to a literal husk of a person on the brink of death. The only reason why he doesn't die is because of Killua's sister Alluka's Make a Wish nen ability saving him in a huge Deus ex Machina.
    • Chrollo's power stealing ability has multiple absurd conditions that pretty much require him to acquire powers through stealth or force. Actually using those powers also requires him to keep a book open at all times and forces him to fight with one hand. Though when he fights Hisoka, he figures out a workaround that lets him use multiple powers and keep his hands free.
    • To plant a bomb on people, Genthru needs to say a specific phrase while touching someone and the bomb is only armed when he explains it to people. The former condition makes it impossible for him to plant bombs on people that know what he actually is, but by the time he says the second condition, it's already too late for those he armed to do anything about it; him actually having decent fighting skills outside his primary bomb further dissuades resistance.
    • Netero is an interesting case in that using his nen abilities requires him to say a lengthy prayer. What brings it from Awesome, yet Impractical to Simple, yet Awesome is that he spent years honing his prayer technique to the point that he can pray within a fraction of a second, essentially meaning that he can use his powerful abilities at little cost.
    • Kurapika's ability "Chain Jail" can only be used against Phantom Troupe members. Because of this condition, when it is used against Troupe members it is unbreakable on top of forcing the entrapped into a state of Zetsu. The cost of him using this ability on any non-Troupe member is his life. This is what allows him to single-handedly take on and kill Uvogin, one of the Troupe's strongest fighters and why he even singled out Uvogin in the first place: if Uvogin can't break the chains using brute force then none of the rest of the Troupe can. Also, for him to enter Emperor's Time and access his Specialization abilities, he has the condition of his eyes turning scarlet.
  • Powers as Programs: Chrollo and a few rare others can steal or borrow powers. One even borrows them through an iPod like device, and selects them like songs.
  • Power Levels: Zigzagged. "Aura" is often brought up as a quick observable indicator of a character's strength; this was how Killua sensed that Pitou is far beyond his level, and later speculated that Pitou is most likely stronger than Netero, Morel and Knov despite never having seen any of them in an actual fight. Morel chides him for this, claiming that Aura has little bearing on who will win or lose in a Nen battle since it's more about strategy and ingenuitynote . Colt likewise states based on Aura alone that Netero would most likely get killed by the Royal Guard before even making it to the King, which is very much not what ended up happening. Aura isn't completely unreliable since it does have some bearing on a character's overall power, and some Aura gaps are very unlikely to be overcome with ingenuity alone, but it's not a very accurate way to predict the outcome of a match.
    • The official data books include numbered rankings for each character's overall Nen talent, separated into 6 categories (Spirit, Skill, Strength, Nen, Talent, Intelligence) and scored on a 5 point scale (or "?" for Meruem). However, it should be taken with a grain of salt as it does not indicate a character's "Power Level" per se; the frail, disabled non-combatant Komugi is notably on par with Leorio and above Zushi and Zepairu, since she is (unconsciously) a Nen prodigy, just that her Nen is used for Gungi rather than fighting.
  • Professional Killer: The Zoldyck clan.
  • Projectile Kiss: Palm Siberia shoots several at Gon, who in turn barely manages to dodge them.
  • Promotion to Parent: Mito, who raised her nephew Gon after her sister's death and Ging's departure.
  • Prophecy Twist: The line "the Spider will lose half its legs" is interpreted as five members dying, but while there are twelve "legs" in the Spider, a real spider only has eight. At the end of the Yorknew City arc, Pakunoda and Uvogin died, Hisoka defected, and Chrollo was estranged, so half the legs of a spider were indeed lost. Though with the deaths of Shalnark and Kortopi coupled with the deaths of those aforementioned, their original hypothesis of the prophecy is very close to coming true.
  • Psycho Supporter: Played frighteningly straight with Shaiapouf.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Leorio & Kurapika for the Chimera Ant Arc (which lasted nearly 10 years in real life, much to the frustration of their fans). Then Leorio returned during the 13th Chairman Election Arc, with Kurapika reappearing for the following arc.
      • Ironically, it looks like Gon's inseparable companion Killua has been put on a bus, since he's off to travel with his sister Alluka for a bit.
      • Gon (you know, the series' protagonist) too, thanks to having lost his ability to use Nen. He's currently doing 2 years of school homework.
    • Chrollo Lucifer was put on a bus since the Yorknew City Arc, or since he was effectively conditioned by Kurapika. As such, not even the Phantom Troupe know where the hell he is, but are still trying to relieve him from the conditioning. He does make a return later, nearly 200 chapters after his last appearance, fighting Hisoka in the Heavens Arena.
    • Neon and Light Nostrade haven't been seen from even before Kurapika took over their business. This one can even be considered an example of What Happened to the Mouse?, since without Neon’s Specialization the family’s power will likely perish.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Phantom Troupe and the Chimera Ant captains.
  • Real-Place Background: A few locations in York New are based in the real world due to Togashi using them as backdrop.
    • For New York, the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center, the Manhattan Bridge, and Madison Square Garden are visible with a few alterations to their design.
    • The fountain Gon and Killua sits at one point in York New is the Spanish Steps in Rome.
    • A few places in Barcelona like the train station that the Phantom Troupe rides on is the Sants station. Plaça d'Espanya and the National Arts Museum of Catalonia can also be seen a few times.
  • Recap Episode: Episode 13 and 26 of the 2011 adaptation is a recap of the first 12 and 25 episodes framed by a letter Gon sent to his Aunt Mito.
  • Redemption Equals Death: As soon as we start to see Pakunoda's good side, she dies. She's still a villain, it's just that we start to understand why she does the things she does... And then wham. Dead.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Kurapika.
  • The Remake: In just another one of the series come back from its hiatus, Jump's double issue #35-36 (2011) confirmed the rumors that Hunter X Hunter would get a new anime adaptation, the surprise was that it won't be a continuation from where the previous OVAs left off, it will be a complete remake, starting from the very beginning of the manga. It continued for a few years before leaving off at an open-ended (though not unsatisfying) note at the end of the Chairman Election arc, due to said arc being the most completed arc at the time.
  • Reunion Vow: After saving Killua from his evil family, Gon, Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio go their separate ways, but vow to meet up one year later in Yorknew City.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The Phantom Troupe's method of paying respects to their fallen comrade Uvogin is to head to the streets of Yorknew and cause absolute mayhem, killing everyone that crosses their path in over the top ways and painting the town red.
    Feitan: The boss actually added a rule this time.
    Phinks: A rule?
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: Gon bases his abilities off of rock–paper–scissors, which he happens to be bizarrely good at playing. They treat it as a sort of martial arts thing were watching the opponent's small movements will allow you to predict their choice in a split second and react accordingly, which could be technically true. When he tells the other characters that he'd been doing this, they react as if he had been cheating all along (and Killua beats him in an RPS tournament by feinting with his other hand). Gon's signature move is "Rock", an extremely powerful Megaton Punch. "Scissor" is a Laser Blade and "Paper" is an Energy Ball. Gon eventually calls the technique "Jajanken" ("Fist of Surprise")note .
  • Rod And Reel Repurposed: Gon uses a fishing pole as a weapon before learning the Nen. However, he never uses it to directly attack an enemy.
  • RPG-Mechanics Verse: The Greed Island, to an extent.

  • Say It with Hearts: Hisoka ♥ — he also says it with spades ♠, diamonds ♦, and clubs ♣ (in rare cases, he concludes his speech bubbles with a skull and crossbones symbol ☠); Biscuit occasionally uses hearts too, but hers look different ♡
  • Say My Name:
    • Meruem requests that Komugi says his name if he wins. He didn't but Komugi still says his name before both passed away.
      Komugi: "Good night... Meruem...."
    • After the Break the Cutie scene, Gon yells "PITOU", forces himself to transform into an adult and is going to kill Neferpitou.
    • In the same scene, Killua despairingly yells Gon's name after seeing his best friend transformed into an adult and firing up a rage-fueled Jajanken on Neferpitou's corpse.
      Killua: "GOOOOOOON!"
  • Self-Punishment Over Failure: Deciding to play with his prey as usual, Chimera Ant King threatens the board game champion blind girl Komugi to cut off her arm should she fail to continue winning a match after match against his quickly learning self. She says that the board game is all there is to her, so she'd rather they take her life in such a case. The King concludes his resolve so far was insulting in comparison. As an offer of apology, he punishes himself immediately, by tearing off his own arm with his other hand.
  • Semantic Superpower: Not inherent, but the really strong abilities have certainly-worded rules placed on them. Nen-users are encouraged to do so, as the stricter the rules and conditions placed on an ability are, the more powerful they become, plus you can leave open (or even find by accident) loopholes to exploit. The enemy is able to exploit those loopholes as well, though.
  • Severed Head Sports: The battle between Hisoka and Chrollo involved the severed heads of many of the audience members being thrown around like dodgeballs.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Gon and Killua's adventures in auctioneering during the Yorknew arc. They never make anywhere near enough money for the minimum bid on Greed Island, and then have to make enough money anyway just to buy back Gon's Hunter license that he pawned for the seed money while they just go with an alternate plan to volunteer to play it for a multibillionaire that ends up buying all the copies.
    • Zepile, who helped them in this endeavor also ends up leaving to take the Hunter Exam, only to get stomped by Killua in the first few minutes of the exam.
    • Ging spends a lot of time adventuring, but also holds an official position in the Chairman's inner circle, which seems to require occasional trips to Hunter HQ. There's no real reason Gon and Killua couldn't have hung around the city and waited for him to show up, which is more or less how they eventually found him.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely:
    • Palm Siberia, whose usual appearance is rather ragged: Messy hair, barefoot, a dirty dress etc. When she goes out on a date with Gon, she looks quite cute When the date starts to turn sour she reverts to her old look.
    • He Cleans Up Nicely in the case of Phinks when he dresses up as an agent alongside his troop mates to free Uvogin from the Nostrade family bodyguards; even Uvo compliments him exactly like that when he sees him.
  • Shirtless Scene: Hisoka in the shower, and again later bathing in a lake.
    • Hisoka is completely naked in the last scene, at least in the manga (his intimates covered up by a speech balloon, of all things). Gon and Killua don't seem too disturbed, but Biscuit, an older women who has the ability to turn into a little girl, has to run away and giggle furiously while red in the face.
    • Gon and Killua don't seem too disturbed until a naked Hisoka starts getting unabashedly turned on by their combat potential...
    • Killua gets one after he wakes up from the hospital while checking on his injuries.
  • Shock and Awe: Killua's Nen ability allows him to generate electricity.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Characters from YuYu Hakusho sometimes appear in the background of the manga as figurines, plushies, on wanted posters, etc.
    • The Greed Island arc contains a card labeled Toraemon. It does exactly what you think it does.
    • Cool Old Guy Morau has a giant pipe as his nen ability, its name? Deep Purple. And just in case that's not subtle enough, his first fight is against a water user. Smoke on the water... and fire in the sky.
    • When the Phantom Troupe are running across walls, one person assumes they are ninjas as familiar symbols appear over his head. On top of that, Hanzo is a ninja from the Village Hidden in the Clouds, which shares a name with a Naruto location.
    • When Leorio considers what could beating Greed Island lead to, one of his ideas is that it could lead to a giant dragon that grants wishes
    • In the Alluka/Election Arc of the 2011 anime, we see Alluka playing with some familiar looking dolls in one of the flashbacks. Extra points for this shout-out since Togashi is married to Sailor Moon's manga-ka.
    • In turn, the series received a Shout-Out in Sailor Moon Crystal, where Ami and Usagi are at an arcade and one of the arcade games is Greed Island.
    • Lum makes a Cameo appearance as an announcer girl aboard the Black Whale.
    • The Chimera Ant Youpi seems to bear a resemblance to Gotou from Parasyte. He even has similar abilities to the Parasites.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Starts of idealistic, but later arcs jump into the cynical end (especially during and after the Chimera Ant Arc).
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Abengane barely interacts with Gon and the others and has little screentime during the Greed Island arc. However, he is one of the few to escape the Bomber with his life and ultimately tells the heroes how Genthru's abilities work allowing them to come up with a strategy to defeat him. He's also the one to remove the seal on Chrollo's nen.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": To give just one example: Kuroro Lucifer? Chrollo Lusilfer? Quwrof Wrlccywrlir?
    • How about having to choose between surnaming Killua as Zoldick or Zaoldyeck? Or Jin/Gin/Jing/Ging Freaks/Freeccs? And then we move into the Chimera generals, with names like Neferpitou, Shiapouf, and Menthuthuyupi. And since the "official" romanizations are pure gibberish in many cases, no two fan translations are ever consistent. Even on this very PAGE there are vastly different spellings for the same character's name. Even the official translations from Viz use the company's own interpretations instead of the official books, though if at least one makes sense, it will go with that one (as is the case of Chrollo).
      • An in-universe example. Ging Freeccs forced his friend Wdwune (the guy who gave out the last card in Greed Island) to change his name to Dwun despite his friend's fervent protest.
      • An out-universe example. For a long time, the dodgeball player in the Greed Island game had his name translated as "Laser," until it was revealed that the "R" in the "Greed Island" title stood for his name's first letter. So it was changed to "Razor."
    • According to the databook, the official spelling for Kurapika and the Phantom Troupe are:
      • Kurapika — Curarpikt
      • Hisoka — Hyskoa
      • Chrollo Lucilfer — Quwrof Wrlccywrlir
      • Uvogin — Wbererguin
      • Shizuku — Chzzok
      • Pakunoda — Phalcnothdk
      • Machi — Matiy
      • Phinks — Phynkss
      • Feitan — Heytun
      • Kortopi — Colhtophy
      • Shalnark — Syarnorke
      • Franklin — Fulunkln
      • Bonolenov — Vonnornoth
  • Sleep Cute: Gon and Killua in this precious moment.
  • Snake Whip: While in Heaven's Arena, Killua fights Riehlvelt, a man armed with two snake-headed, electrified whips.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The new anime has this at times.
  • Spoiler Opening: The first opening of the 1999 version wasn't one, but the second was. Especially the OVAs and the 2011 anime version have spoiler openings.
  • Stealth Mentor: Hisoka shows hints of this at times, but who knows what his motives are: It could be that he's simply batshit insane.
    • At least a part of his motives is that he simply wants to fight strong opponents. At present, he's doing his best to help Chrollo get his nen powers back so he can fight him, and he also wants Gon to grow into a fighter powerful enough to give him a helluva fight.
    • Also helps Killua out by tricking Illumi into revealing his killing intent so that Killua knows to avoid the area Illumi is in, because Killua is on a mission to save Gon. Though also subverted later on as Hisoka wonders if he should just kill Alluka to make Killua hate him and then kill Killua to make Illumi hate him so he has at least one strong opponent out of the three (Gon, Killua, and Illumi) left, and gets to fight the second.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Genthru's abilities.
  • Super Cell Reception: Pretty much everyone, from the 12-year-old protagonists, to the gang of bandits that Shalnark's a member of, to the Chimera Ant commanders have and use cellphones to communicate with each other over distances. Gon and Killua's beetle-shaped phones, in particular, are described as being able to get service nearly anywhere in the world.
  • Supernatural Phone: Shalnark uses his cell phone as his weapon of choice. It lets him mind-control anyone he places a receiver on (and seems to control what they say via him texting the phrases). He can also stick a receiver on himself to give himself a power boost, though he can only move by inputting commands into the phone, and it quickly exhausts him of his energy. It can work like a normal cell phone.
  • Superpower Lottery: Within some limits. There are six different schools of Nen you can end up with that is random, and each school determines what type of powers you can develop for yourself. Ideally, the user develops the powers that are closer to his gradually and through a lifetime of training; this rule can only be averted if the user basically has a death wish and complete abandon like Kurapika and Gon and even that has its own limitations and rules.
  • Super Strength: Several of the characters are absurdly strong even before you factor in Nen, as demonstrated above with Charles Atlas Superpower.
  • Super Wheelchair: Gido from Heaven’s Arena.
  • Surprise Creepy: You wouldn't guess it from the page image, but Hunter x Hunter is pretty dark for a shonen series. A lot of philosophical themes like the worth of the individual and the unfairness of the world are discussed, and topics like genocide, mass murder, inferiority, the idea of a Forever War come up during the infamous Chimera Ant arc. There is also a rather unsettling amount of serious violence even in the early points of the series- at one point during the Yorknew City arc, Uvogin, one of the resident bad guys, bites off part of a guys skull and uses the bones like bullets as he spits them at people.
  • Take That!:
    • At the North Korean government, as seen in the Republic of East Gorteau, a dictatorial country that parallels with a country of the same name at its West side. It's ruled by a Supreme Leader whose name, Ming Jol-ik, is an portmanteau of the former dictator Kim Jong-il.
    • Also, at China. The country's capital city is called Peijin.
  • Talented, but Trained: While Gon and Killua have incredible natural talents when it comes to learning Nen, the true source of their phenomenal growth is the fact that they also train very dutifully to refine their abilities. The result is that they're able to make the kind of progress that would take most people years in a few months, so much so that they are considered to be mid-level pro hunters after just one year of learning Nen. As Wing exposes to Zushi, Gon and Killua have innate abilities beyond Zushi's, who is already gifted himself to a lesser extent. Their backgrounds also come into collation considering that Gon is the son of Ging, one of the greatest Nen users in the world, and Killua comes from an elite family of professional assassins and has been an accomplished combatant from an early age. That's why Gon sacrificing his potential in a Revenge-fueled beatdown against Pitou is a devastating condition as even if he gets his Nen back (if there is a chance for it to return), it's unknown if he can still achieve his previous potential.
  • Talking Is a Free Action:
    • Lampshaded. Knuckle thinks several paragraphs worth of text, realizes that he's thinking incredibly quickly and that the only way that could happen is because time slows down in the few seconds before he dies, then turns to see an obviously-fatal attack coming right toward him.
    • Also averted, again with Knuckle, at least in the anime. His ability adds forced compounded interest on "loaned aura" at a rate of 10% every 10 seconds. By the time he's done explaining the ability to Gon, the "loan" had grown considerably.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Inverted. The Chimera Ant King essentially ends up talking himself to death due to a change of heart, and tries it on the heroes as well.
  • Theme Naming: Knov's and Morel's apprentices, introduced in the Chimera Ant arc — Palm, Knuckle, and Shoot — are named after types of baseball throws.
  • Third Act Stupidity: Meruem for reasons mentioned under the Idiot Ball section. Meruem’s bodyguards for staying stationed around Meruem all the time instead of dispatching one at a time to remove the obvious and looming danger and just be done with it. Considering he has ulterior motives i.e finding out what they're hiding from him, his seeming idiocy becomes more understandable. It's also implied that he's aware already that he's dying, and wants to spend his last hour with companions.
  • Those Two Guys: In droves: Gon and Killua (even though they are the protagonists, because they are children), Leorio and Kurapika, Knuckle and Shoot, Morel and Knov, Ging and Pariston among others.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential:
    • Wing and the Heavens Arena arc teaches and unlocks Gon and Killua's Nen then trained them on the basics to be able to survive the 200th floor. He regrets teaching them Nen due to the fear of them becoming monsters.
    • Biscuit, who was also Wing's teacher, trained the duo in Greed Island for the same reason as Wing purposely inadequately taught them Nen. She doesn't have the same reservations as Wing and does not want to waste their incredible potential after watching them fight.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The spectators at Heaven's Arena who came to watch the deathmatch between notorious superpowered serial killers Hisoka and Chrollo, as well as the judges and organizers who allowed this scenario to happen in the first place. What were they expecting to happen?
  • Torture Technician: Feitan. His torture acts are actually never shown, but it is hinted in various ways that he is a particularily sadistic pervert. The fact that he partially subverts the trope by being not a weakling at all, but actually one of the strongest and toughest fighters of his group, does not render him any more sympathetic.
    Nobunaga: You're aiming to break his arm, right?
    Feitan: I was thinking of starting with the fingers. Carefully removing his nails...
    • Neferpitou too. Their modus operandi is extracting information via wires implanted in the brain.
  • Tournament Arc:
    • The Hunter Exam arc ends in a tournament, though it differs from your standard shonen tournament in that every match is a submission match (you must get your opponent to explicitly forfeit the match), and killing results in an instant disqualification. Instead of being the champion, the goal is to not be the one loser. Due to the forfeit requirement, the tournament is more of a series of intense conversations than actual fights. It also leads to an interesting match where Gon wins the fight by getting the crap beaten out of him so hard that his opponent forfeits for fear of killing him because he refuses to submit.
    • Subverted in the Heaven's Arena arc. The tournament itself isn't the goal — the reasoning behind Killua and Gon's participation from the beginning was to earn money and gain experience. This fact is even lampshaded several times: When the woman registering the fighters tells Gon and Killua what awaits at the top floor both of them just say that they aren't interested; and when Kastro tells Killua that he'll meet Killua at the battle Olympia he receives a similar response.
  • Transmutation: Transmutation is one of the Nen types. Transmuters have the ability to alter the properties of their Battle Aura to mimic something else, or only specific attributes. Prominent examples include Killua, who can transmute his aura into electricity, and Hisoka, who can make his aura elastic and adhesive.
  • True Companions: The Phantom Troupe is a rare villainous example. As citizens from Meteor City who are rejected by the world, they care for each other while having no reservations about killing innocent people.
  • Truth in Television: While it seems odd how people would willingly apply for a competition as unforgiving and archaic as the Hunter Exam, there do exist similar events in real life. For example, the Barkley Marathons, where not only is the actual marathon course physically grueling note , but is also filled with archaic rules and regulations specifically designed to confuse and demoralize contestants.
  • Undignified Death: The deaths of Meruem, Pouf, and Youpi; though it was expected for them to perish in the throes of combat as the tremendous fighters that they are, they succumb to radiation poisoning from Netero's "Poor Man's Rose" bomb without being able to lay a finger on anyone. In the case of Meruem, he was able to die peacefully at the side of his loved one; Pouf and Youpi instead fell pathetically like flies without ever understanding what hit them.
  • Variable-Length Chain: Kurapika's weapon of choice after mastering Nen. The chain is his Nen.
  • Verbal Tic: Hisoka's word bubbles have the symbol for one of the four suits in a modern deck of playing cards; in other words, it'll have Clubs, Hearts, Diamonds, or Spades.
    • Palm ( before her transformation into an ant) is barely able to talk without mumbling and moaning.
  • Villain of Another Story: The main character Gon becomes friends with is Killua, a kid that comes from a family of professional hitmen. While Killua is nice to Gon, at least at first, he's way less moral, and they even have to face people wanting to take revenge on him for the things that his family did.
  • The Voiceless: The Chimera Ant Reina was a little girl who was captured by the ants and transformed into her new form. With the ants, she serves as a page to the ant Hina under Leol's orders. Hina long suspects that she can talk, but she's either unable or unwilling and she correctly concludes that Reina is actually very young. Turns out, Reina was so sad and scared that she was unable to talk until Bolster reunited her with her grieving human mother.
    • The Chimera Ant Queen and her first ant offspring lack the physiological features to allow them to vocalize, so they mostly communicate via telepathy. It's not until the queen tries anthropophagy that her subsequent offspring develop the ability to talk.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds:
    • Killua and Palm annoy the hell out of each other and were more than ready to come to blows, but they come to admit that they are valuable friends for the sake of Gon.
    • Averted with Gon and Killua. While they sometimes fight like cats and dogs, Gon has very little qualms about admitting that Killua is his BFF; Killua will admit it to no one (except Palm), not even to Gon himself.
  • Waif Prophet: Neon, although with her father's wealth she is far more Spoiled Brat than Waif.
  • Wall of Text: It's very common for Togashi to flood readers with huge passages of dialogue in his installments of the manga, as he likes to be incredibly crafty, cerebral, and thorough with the way he thinks out his story, covering things from all angles and trying very hard to avoid making anything seem poorly thought out or approached without examining all important points of a situation. What happens in the end is you get a comprehensive analysis of each little detail that can give you eyestrain. And boy, does he get comprehensive on us. Some fans have even noted that they think they need PHD's just to understand some of the most complicated fight scenes.
  • Warrior Poet: Bashio, quite literally. His Nen ability is to make whatever he writes in a Haiku happen, with the effect being stronger the better the poem is.
    • Netero is somewhat of a calligrapher.
  • Weapons That Suck: Shizuku and "Deme-chan" / "Blinky."
  • Welcome to Corneria: In the Greed Island Arc, trying to ask an NPC questions that they don't know to answer just results in a generic "...What's that?" response.
  • Wham Episode: There are many examples in HxH, but Ging delivers a truly epic revelation when Gon catches up with him in Chapter 338. We discover that the known world map, referenced throughout the series, is actually a collection of islands at the center of a giant lake, and the rest of the world is both vast and unexplored by humanity.
  • Wham Line: From Chapter 344: Gon tries to use his Nen after being healed. "My aura... Isn't coming out...?"
    • Previously, when Pitou reveals to Gon that they had killed Kite a long time ago.
    • In the middle of chapter 311: "In a few hours, the [Chimera Ant] King will die!"
    • Welfin ends the Chimera Ant arc by saying a single word that evaporates the remaining evil left in Meruem: "Ko... Mugi?"
    • Hisoka to Kurapika via text message: "The corpses were fake."
  • Wham Shot: There's an extremely touching scene in the Chimera Ant Arc where Gon manages to cheer up Killua by stating that he believes that Kite lived. We then cut to Pitou holding Kite's head, showing that not only did he lose the battle between him and Pitou, it cost him his life.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: In the initial Hunter Exam, the candidates are asked a hypothetical question about what they would do if presented with a Sadistic Choice of whether to save their son or their daughter if they could save only one. Leorio is outraged that the question is even being asked and spends so long arguing about it that he never answers the question in time. This actually gets him a pass, as Kurapika explains that the correct response to such a question is no response, as such a question is one that could only be answered in the instant it occurs. Gon, Killua, and Kurapika, meanwhile, realized the answer because they caught a hint of what happened to the guy who went just before them, who tried to give the answer he thought the questioner wanted to hear.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Illumi's Needle People carry this imagery, though they are actually closer to the traditional definition of a zombie i.e. a living person bound to the will and service of another.

You should enjoy the little detours to the fullest. Because that's where you'll find the things more important than what you want.

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Hunter X Hunter, Hunter Hunter


HxH [Deadly Dodgeball]

Hunter x Hunter (2011) - Ep 69 (A × Heated × Showdown): Gon and Killua get involved in a dodgeball match that they need to win in order to get a rare card for the Greed Island game. Their opponent, Razor, however can launch his throws like a cannonball and seriously injure anyone it hits. Gon decides to try his luck and catch it with his new Nen ability. But the difference in power becomes pretty clear.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / LosingAShoeInTheStruggle

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