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Nightmare Fuel / Hunter Hunter

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Just when he couldn't get any creepier...
Despite being serialized in Shonen Jump, Hunter × Hunter has been noted as being one of the darkest series to ever to have come out of Shonen Jump. With fairly extreme content such as mass murder including children, hundreds of extremely brutal deaths and a gritty atmosphere, many have been shocked at some of the stuff Togashi has written and drawn.
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  • The new anime is critiziced for censoring the fight when Killua and Jones fight(if it can be called a fight), but that Killua places the bag with the heart in his hand after he dies in the 2011 anime is quite terrifying on its own. In the first show, when he has killed, he's done with it. But the second show shows that he enjoys himself even afterwards, mocking the dead.
  • Hisoka, a Monster Clown with a rather disturbing, pedophiliac take on the Blood Knight trope. He can do all kinds of creepy faces, his creepiest is by far is when he prepares to kill a participant in the Hunter Exam, now shown above. Worse still, as he makes this face, he lets out an extremely unnerving, savage screech that makes him sound like a rabid wild animal.
    • And when one would think it cannot get any worse, Hisoka manages to let loose an even worse expression of pure, unbridled bloodlust. More specifically, during the fifth round of his battle with Chrollo he breaks a downright disturbing face that combines a vicious grin with elements of Game Face. One can only imagine how this might be rendered in the anime...
  • The Phantom Troupe in general. A band of nigh-unstoppable killers who take whatever they want, whenever they want, and usually just kill everyone in the vicinity, even if it isn't necessary.
    • One of the members, Shizuku, is an adorable bundle of Moe tropes, to the point that by judging her looks and mannerisms alone, she would be considered somewhat the Token Good Teammate of the group. However, in her second appearance, she's bashing heads into paste without even changing her expression. She also has a creepy looking Living Weapon Vacuum that can suck anything that isn't alive (including corpses), which can, under the right circumstances, erase them from existence.
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    • Chrollo in general is creepy as all hell, wandering into the Uncanny Valley from time to time. A few of the nen abilities he's stolen are disturbing as well, like the "Indoor Fish" that devour human flesh, only the victim is unable to feel anything, and is kept alive as long as the fish are active (the victim used to show this ability off was Laughing Mad while down to half a head and random bits and pieces of body parts before he was killed.)
    • Feitan was never a nice guy to begin with, but hearing his Evil Laugh as he burns Zazan to a crisp for breaking his arm is pretty unnerving, especially coming from one of the quieter members of the Troupe.
    • Uvogin may be the Starter Villain as the first to fall, but he doesn't show any easy time for anyone. Our introduction to his fighting prowess is murdering an entire army's worth of mafia and being immune to their weaponry. When everything from the neck down is paralyzed as he's set up for a slow excruciating death by the mafia's Shadow Beasts, he eats half of one's skull and kills another by spitting a bone fragment through his head.
  • "Oh, this looks like a happy, relatively innocent series, doesn't it?" Then the Hunter Exam starts up and people start dying horribly. Let us count the ways shall we?
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    • Just getting to the damn place is an excursion in itself. Sailing through a storm which Gon is nearly thrown off ship trying to help a crewmate. The second act had them having to answer a hypothetical question that involved having to sacrifice a loved one. One participant that was tailing our heroes answers and is told to go a certain way. If you're watching the anime, we don't see what becomes of him. But in he manga however, once out of view we hear him scream but are never shown what happened to him. The third act fighting shapeshifing monsters, though at least they were friendly and just conduction a Secret Test of Character. And this was just the stuff encounted at the starting point compared to what was about to come.
    • The first portion of the exams aren't too bad, just a simple endurance test by running 80 kilometers and a similar length stairway climb. But the second portion involves trekking through a very dangerous marshland. Before the test even begins, the applicants are demonstrated why the place is called Swindler's Swamp when two shapeshifting creatures try to trick them into thinking the current examiner is a fake and pulled a Kill and Replace so he could lure most of them away and eat them, only prevented because Hisoka proves the examiner the real deal. Once they continue, fog obscures visibility instantly and most of the participants end up killed gruesomely by the wildlife such as dinosaur creatures with strawberries on their shells, mushrooms that spread out spores that kill you and grow mushrooms on your corpses, butterflies that knock you out instantly if they fly by you and a crow that can imitate the examiner's speech and lead people who fall for it into a pit of spikes. To say nothing of utterly getting lost and losing your sense of direction during the trek. Heck Gon and Killua nearly end up eaten by a giant frog that hides underground until someone steps on it and swallows it's prey whole. Only escaping thanks to the spiked juice Killua held onto (though he claims he could've escaped without it).
    • After some shenanigans of cooking in the next portion, the exam was changed to...jumping off a cliff, grabbing onto some webbing, retrieving an egg and having to use the wind from the canyon to propel yourself back up. Some unfortunate participants let go too early and end up plummeting to their deaths because they didn't bother to wait until Gon gave the okay do so.
    • During the trip to the next part of the exam, Gon and Killua get into a friendly match with Netero. Both Killua and he display how really frighting they can be if they get serious. Killua ultimately quits the game when he realizes he can't win and head on to go to sleep. As he does he bumps into two applicants who of course try to bully him..and end up red smears on the floor.
    • Fourth portion, make your way down a tower within a time limit with any pathway leading to unknown dangers. You can't scale down it (as one participant found out when he attempted it and some flying monsters quickly snatched him off the side), oh and it also acts as a prison for criminals to boot. Our heroes end up getting stymied by, not only a purposefully unhelpful participant who they get stuck with, but getting into several matches with some of the criminals who're more or less stalling for time (since however many hours they can manage to do so reduces their sentence). For the most part, the matches are somewhat comedic: Tonpa gives up and revels his true color the heroes though Killua knocks the wind out of his sails by stating his opponent would've tortured him if he didn't do so as quick as he had. We see how scary Kurapika can be when his opponent claims he's part of the Phantom Trope. And of course, said Killua vs Jones fight that was mentioned above comes about and again it's..not pretty. Likewise more of Hisoka's bloodlust is on and display as we see him fight yet another person who has a beef with him and, on a minor note, one of the participants managing to reach the end only to drop dead right at the end goal. Poor smuck.
    • Fifth portion, steal the badge off an opposing target. Basically anything goes in this and the participants can use any means to get the badge, including killing. This is where Illumi, Killua's older brother, is finally introduced by the way to which he promptly kills another participant just because she accidentally shot at him. Gon is forced to confront Hisoka here , he does try to get the badge without him knowing or fighting and it is as utterly tense as it sounds. He would've succeeded too if the person targeting him didn't hit him with a numbing dart. This leads into Gon confronting Hisoka directly and luckily, him sparing Gon since he likes his development so far and doesn't want to kill him...right now. And then what happens after in the cave which is not recommended for anyone with Ophidiophobia as Gon, Kurapika and Leorio end in a situation where a person's dead body ends up summoning tons of snakes around the cave.
    • Final portion is a straight up one on one match between the remaining participants. You win your match, you get your Hunter's license. Simple enough...except Gon's fight has him horribly outclassed in every way by his opponent who knocks him around like a rag doll. The whole match is completely and utterly brutal but he keeps getting back up every time. Ultimately while he does eventually succumb to his wounds his opponent conceded, not wanting to kill him, giving Gon the win. However while he was unconscious, Killua finally encounters his brother, Illumi which scares him enough to quitting the exam, but not before he kills his opponent to disqualify himself so Leorio can gain his license without fighting. Just think about that, said participant finally reached the end and ended up dying for no reason just because. Again, poor guy.
  • Some of the things Illumi can make your body do with his needles are...unpleasant.
  • The Zoldyck's guard dog. Even Gon is terrified of him- he takes one look at its eyes and KNOWS it is trained beyond reasoning. It just looks very off.
    • And Mike's Establishing Character Moment was to eat two thugs who stepped through the trick entrance to the Zoldyck Mansion and rip every last piece of meat of their bones, interspersed with their agonizing death cries which suddenly go away as he polishes them off in a matter of seconds, then pauses to open the gate back up, throwing out the skeletons, which made the Kukuroo Mountain tour group head for the hills. And the carcasses are unceremoniously tossed into a garbage can with the lid not on tight, showing no concern for how they are to be mourned or disposed of, leaving potential loved ones in the dark. It's also implied this happens a lot.
  • Just see what happens to Illumi's face the moment Hisoka asks if he can kill Killua. His eyes bug out into scribbles and he literally turns a shade of what is best described as moldy patina demon, sending out a wave of killing intent so massive it causes all the nearby crows to scatter and Killua to sense his overwhelming bloodlust from miles away.
    • There's additional Fridge Horror, too; look at Hisoka's hand while he says this. He basically slipped in a rape pun towards a minor into a casual question about murder.
  • If you watch Sword Art Online and compare it by Greed Island arc, what else can be more scary than being in a dead game? To begin with, Greed Island is no video game but is a real place in the real world and you use your own physical body instead of an avatar to represent yourself and there is no levelling up system or anything to decide your strength. Second, if SAO had red players formed the player killing guilds that kill others for fun, what is the equivalent in Greed Island? It's the bomber. What makes the bomber more fearsome is that he is the one who warned the other players by touching them to plant the bombs. To one point, when all the players that joined forces with a group equivalent of a guild in SAO, had collected their treasures (cards to be specific), the bomber revealed his true colours and made the bombs he planted visible to the infected players. To defuse the bomb, you need to catch the person who planted them by saying, I catch the bomber, which is a way playing a tag. However, the bomber gets away with the collected treasures and also burn the face of the group's strongest member until he die in time, rendering the victims unable to do anything. The bomber made a deal with his victims that they need to collect more of the rare cards to a certain degree for him to get rid of the bomb. However, when the victims do comply to that standard and asked to remove the bomb, the bomber and his subordinates simply detonates all the victims at once. You can see that this is a quite cunning enemy. While not as scary as the hunter exam itself, the phantom troupe and Chimera Ants, having someone that secretly puts a restrain on yourself is not to be make off lightly.
  • The entire Chimera Ant arc is the kind of grade-A Nightmare Fuel that horror movies are made of. Giant Mix-and-Match Critters swooping in and effortlessly butchering entire populations (by the hundreds. Daily), dragging whoever they don't kill back with them to have the flesh stripped from their bones and turned into giant meatballs for their queen (while they're still alive, mind you). If you're especially unlucky, you'll get reincarnated as a Chimera Ant and continue the cycle, possibly on people you used to know.
    • Early on, some rogue Chimera Ants take over Gyro's drug factories and enslave some of the soldiers, essentially turning them into dogs. We're treated to a scene where the "dogs" speak out of turn and are crushed to death under an Ant's hoof. Graphically.
    • The brain torture scene. The Establishing Character Moment for Neferpitou, who lobotomizes a captured Pokkle and forces him to reveal every detail he knows about Nen. The entire scene is so graphic and disturbing that it had to be censored for Toonami's broadcast of the English dub.
    • And then the end comes along, with Nightmare Faces galore, and Gon becoming very, very intense and pragmatic (to the point that he's willing to murder Komugi, an innocent blind girl.) For anyone who still remembers the old Gon from before all the hiatuses, it can be very unnerving.
      • All of the rage and anguish he feels culminates in him finding out Kite has been Dead All Along, having a complete mental breakdown and blaming himself for being too weak. The especially sad part about this is that we've been leading up to it for the entire series. Togashi has drilled into our heads that above all else, Gon hates feeling helpless against stronger opponents and having his pride trampled on. Villains like Hisoka, Nobunanga, and Genthru all made him feel helpless too, but this time, his mentor was killed, mutilated, and turned into a puppet while he couldn't help him at all. When Neferpitou tries to kill him after breaking the news, he releases all the rage and despair he had kept locked away, creating a contract with his Nen and sacrificing his vast potential and his ability to use Nen, which enhances his body to its absolute physical peak, turning him into a full-grown adult within seconds. In this state, he completely obliterates Neferpitou, a Royal Guard with an astronomical amount of aura and one of the strongest characters in the series by casually stepping out of the way of their attacks and punching them into a mountain with a Jajanken. After they pass out, he continues to bash their head in until it's ground into a bloody paste, remembering Kite's lesson about finishing off Chimera Ants. When Pitou's Nen ability grows stronger after their death and manipulates their corpse to sever Gon's right arm, he picks it up and impales them with it without hesitation, before concentrating his aura into his stump and destroying the entire forest they fought in. The tranquil, hell-bent fury he shows here is incredibly disturbing, compared to his first appearance as a happy-go-lucky 12 year old boy. After his transformation, his body deteriorates overnight, giving him into a corpse like appearance. It's said that his Nen contract was worse than death, having spent all of his aura, he can do nothing but slowly die as his body withers away without any energy to sustain it. Nightmare Fuel indeed.
    • Meruem, The Chimera Ant King. Just the way Togashi writes and draws a character who starts out as all-powerful and nigh-unstoppable and only gets more powerful from there is terrifying.
      • Just anywhere the King is fear inducing in itself because of his unpredictability, especially at the start of his birth. He demonstrates that he will immediately kill whoever even slightly annoys him without warning, and the requirement for that is very low. He kills two of his subjects after his birth, the first for seemingly ignoring his demand for food, the second of which was for offering to a handkerchief to clean off the blood off his tail when Meruem picked Colt specifically do it. He's not above eating his own kind either. The King makes any Bad Boss preferable.
      • The Royal Guards are no slouches in this department, either, both in-universe and in Real Life, but especially Neferpitou.
      • Then, there's Menthuthuyoupi, whose power is pretty much weaponized Body Horror, allowing him to grow dozens of eyes and increase his muscle mass to a ridiculous degree as he gets angrier, making him look like something out of a Lovecraft work. What's especially terrifying is his Rage Blast, where his body literally swells up with anger, turning it into a massive blob of faces that can detonate with enough force to create massive craters stretching dozens of meters wide. His final form is the apex of his weirdness, resembling a grotesque centaur with a giant, deformed face in place of his shoulder.
      • The scene where Meruem kills a family of farmers. In one swift move, he beheads the mother and father with his tail right in front of their young daughter, who spends her last moments screaming out of trauma before Meruem impales her.
  • The anime manages to make some of this worse, not only because it shows some of these things in motion and with sound effects, but the sudden art shifts that accompany some of these things make it absolutely terrifying.
  • Gon's Tranquil Fury at Pitou, which is very disturbingly subdued compared to how much he usually gets enraged over the tiniest things. His transformation into "Adult Gon" after his Heroic BSoD is also terrifying, in stark contrast to most shounen hero powerups.
  • Netero's secret weapon, the Miniature Rose. It's a chemo-explosive weapon of mass destruction that has claimed 5,120,000 lives since its creation. Dying in the blast is a mercy, because survivors absorb a poison released during the explosion that slowly destroys internal organs and emits more toxins through any kind of contact, creating a lengthy chain of victims. When terrorists got their hands on it and activated the bomb in an enemy capital, killing 110,000 people, an international treaty was singed that prevented further production, but a staggering 80% of all countries refused get rid of the remaining Roses. In a world full of magical creatures and supernatural martial artists, something this mundane killing some the most powerful characters in the series (through poisoning, no less) hits a bit too close to home. Worse still, it's compact, easy to make, and every country has a stock of these nukes lying in wait. The entire Hunter X Hunter world is basically wrapped up in a giant Cold War.
  • The face Shaiapouf makes at Knuckle when he senses the King's been wounded. It's a perfect visual representation of his hidden bestial nature and the hatred and contempt he holds for humanity and anyone who would harm the Amt King.
  • Alluka/ Nanika. Creepy black eyes aside, when she grants an especially large wish, her demands for the next person to come along are severe. And if you refuse her demands four times, something happens, and you, your closest loved one, and possibly many other random people are killed. One person literally got compressed into a cube of human beef and splattered all over creation, with other kin in the family implied to suffer the same consequences somewhere at the same time. Can you imagine that you're doing something totally unrelated like sitting at the dinner table and then, all of a sudden, just because someone disobeyed the demands, POOF- you're mincemeat!?
  • Chapter 341 gives us a good look at some of the things that have happened to people trying to enter the Dark Continent. People who entered not only didn't survive, but had their bodies twisted horribly and were thrown back into the human world. According to records kept of what lies in the new world, there are many more horrors to look forward to. And the one survivor who came back was rendered immortal, horrendously emaciated, and insane by a virus. In fact, the Dark Continent is home to five unspeakable terrors that have either claimed the lives of anyone who goes there or left them so damaged one wonders why someone just doesn't put them out of their misery.
  • The Kakin Royal Family. Prince Tserriednich is the kind of guy whose hobbies include collecting body parts (like the Scarlet Eyes) and murdering young women as twisted performance art. His expression when he thanks God for the opportunity to murder his siblings so he can inherit the throne rivals Hisoka's and Illumi's. His eldest brother Benjamin, first seen wrestling a lion and breaking its neck in a fit of rage after Tserriednich hangs up on him, is no better. Their father the king's goofy character design belies that he's the kind of man who would order his own children to battle to the death on an expedition to a Death World for the right to succeed the throne. His Nen guardian (which is based on his personality) is a horrific mishmash of insect parts and breasts. And this is the ruling family of one of the most powerful nations in the setting. Oh, yeah, and it bears repeating that the family handles it's succession a la Klingon Promotion- kill everyone else and you can become king. Who cares if you don't want to kill or be killed- you're roped in whether you like it or not!
    • Even worse: at least two of the King's children are just kids. One of them is a baby. And it's likely they won't be spared. Another one is being manipulated by her closet bitch of a sister, and one even tries to walk away from the whole ordeal out of pure disgust.
    • The war is getting even worse when it's revealed that all the princes have been given Nen guardians. They're parasitic by nature, and act independent of the user's will, meaning they can kill anyone the moment one of the princes detect hostility, even little Woble. Kurapika succinctly surmises this means that the princes will end up slaughtering each other regardless of how kind or innocent they are.
  • Hisoka gives us another grade-A Nightmare Face after having his face blown off and coming back from the dead. Yikes.
  • Nen Baptism. Get hit by a sufficient nen attack and your body begins releasing nen at a crazy rate. If you can't control it you will die. Even if you can control it it may leave you crippled in some way. Then as the Chimera ants demonstrated, if you attack with nen you better be ready to kill as you may end up giving your opponent nen super powers if they weren't already nen users.
  • Pariston. The Elecion Arc established he wasn't a great person, but he went from trolling to outright sociopath when Ging confronted him: He does everything because he LOVES when people hate him, and if he gets bored of a plan because he can't "play" with people - like Beyond's plan, which involves a long "boring" voyage - he chooses the option that will get the most people killed or angry - Such as releasing all the captured Chimera Ants. And Ging is the only person who can reliably predict and stop this man.
  • As mentioned above, the Nen Beasts. Each and every one of them is a grotesque mistake of nature and it's undeniably for the best that these things are invisible to those who have not awakened to Nen. The very first one we see is a yonic nightmare that has no business being in a manga for kids, with dozens of engorged, veiny breasts on either side of its head, which essentially has a toothed vagina for a mouth, and spindly, spiderlike limbs dangling off of its sides.
    • And unsurprisingly, Tserriednich has the most horrific Beast of the lot. If this was your only exposure to it, you'd think "Yeah, it's gross, but there are worse in his family." Then you get to this page and realize Togashi was holding back just so he could hit you full force with the true extent of its ghastliness later.
  • Benjamin is essentially an Ax-Crazy Blood Knight with the hideous face of a lion who attacks every problem that comes its way until it drops dead on him- that includes murder plans in store for his own equally demented biological brother. And when he's pissed, he tears off his suit in a fit of rage and his face almost pustulates with fury.
    • He sent one of his men to wipe out the bodyguards protecting Prince Woble and also had Sergeant Might tell his personal batch of soldiers to basically find an excuse to kill his enemies and pin it on self-defense. One of them easily offed one of Woble's bodyguards and then ended his own life, giving him the excuse he needed to declare war to "avenge" the death of his comrade. When a phone call came from Benjamin to Kurapika to discuss the situation, it wasn't to speak to him personally- it was to have his sergeant do the talking and give the group the honor of choosing how they would like to die. Worse, his personality is so wretched that one of the attendants refused to answer his proxy first, simply choosing to have them hang up, knowing nothing anyone said or did would get Benjamin to ever consider any form of mercy for any reason.
  • Chrollo has snuck aboard the same ship with the Princes and Kurapika & co. right in the middle of the succession war. And he's in a VERY bad mood after the fight with Hisoka had roughed him up a lot, made even more worse when Hisoka himself had soon killed both Shalnark and Kortopi not too long after his battle with Chrollo. Uvo's death may have gotten a few tears from him, but this is a face of pure, unbridled fury.
  • Silent Majority, a Nen ability involving a conjured doll, kills a bodyguard by draining him of all his blood via white snakes. Even more terrifying? Its user's identity is unknown at the time of the attack. The grisly result of the attack is shown here.
  • Camilla's already a Psychopathic Womanchild who is spoiled to the core and is cold-blooded, but how can you make her worse? Reveal that she knows how to use Nen and fashioned it into a beast ON TOP OF the Nen Beast she was given, and it immediately snatches anyone who inflicts fatal wounds to her and squishes them in its clutches to process out their life fluids as a way of instantly healing and reviving her. She is functionally Nigh Invulnerable and thinks she doesn't even need a Nen Beast because she already has one she made for herself. One which she purposefully made look pure evil while cute and able to crush anybody into oblivion, leaving nothing behind. Eldritch Abomination isn't enough to cover how freakish and demented that is.
  • If the King of Kakin wasn't nasty enough, the reveal in Chapter 378 regarding what he does to his illegitimate children only makes him worse. What does he do? He gives them the choice of identity amnesty from the heritage line to the throne and if they accept it, they get the ceremonial right of having two razors drawn parallel with each other across the entirety of their faces as brands and then have them crudely stitched up. It makes refusing the offer (aka a swift execution) much more lucrative in hindsight for them.
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