, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. The story focuses on a young boy named Gon, who discovers that his father, whom he was told was dead, is actually alive and well. He learns that his father, Ging, is a world-renowned Hunter: a licensed profession for those who specialize in fantastic pursuits such as locating rare or unidentified animal species, treasure hunting, surveying unexplored enclaves, or hunting down lawless individuals. Despite Ging having left his son with his relatives in order to pursue his own dreams, Gon departs upon a journey to follow in his father's footsteps, pass the rigorous Hunter Examination, and eventually find his father. Along the way, Gon meets various other kinds of Hunters and also encounters the paranormal. The original inspiration for the manga came from Togashi's own collecting hobby.
Hunter × Hunter began its manga serialization on March 3, 1998 in the Shueisha magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. As of April 2012, 320 chapters have been published in 30 tankōbon (chapter collections) in Japan. However, the manga has frequently gone on hiatus since 2006. Hunter × Hunter was translated into English and released in North America by Viz Media beginning in April 2005. In 1999, the manga series was adapted into a 62-episode television anime series produced by Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The anime premiered on Japan's Fuji TV and Animax. Three separate original video animation (OVAs) totaling 30 episodes were subsequently produced by Nippon Animation and released in Japan from 2002 to 2004. The television series has been licensed and released in North America by Viz, and it aired on the Funimation Channel starting in 2009. A second anime television series by Madhouse began airing on Nippon Television in October 2011. An upcoming anime film adaptation, featuring an original story, was announced in March 2012. There are also numerous audio albums, video game, musicals, and other media based on Hunter × Hunter.
The Hunter × Hunter manga has been a financial success in Japan, having sold over 55 million copies there as of August 2011. Popularity and viewer recognition of the anime series have proven much more modest. Critics of both the manga and its television adaptation have praised it as having a complex plot, endearing characters, and superb art and animation. However, reviewers disagreed on the quality of the anime's music and sound.
Twelve years prior to the start of the story, Ging Freecss left his infant son, Gon, with Gon's aunt, Mito, on Whale Island. Gon, who was told all his life that both his parents were dead, finds out from Ging's apprentice, Kite, that his old man is still alive and has since become an accomplished Hunter. Hunters are licensed, elite members of humanity who are capable of tracking down secret treasures, rare beasts, or even other individuals. Gon leaves his home to become a Hunter like his father by taking the Hunter Examination, a series of brutal tests involving skill, survival, and teamwork. During the exam, Gon meets and eventually befriends three of the other applicants: Kurapika, the last remaining member of the Kurta clan whom wishes to become a Hunter in order to avenge his clan and recover their scarlet-glowing eyes, plucked from their corpses by a band of thieves known as the Phantom Troupe; Leorio, a prospective physician who desires the financial benefits Hunters receive in order to pay for medical school; and Killua Zoldyck, another twelve-year-old boy who has left his former life as a member of the world's most notorious assassin family. Among many other examinees, Gon continuously encounters Hisoka, a mysterious and deadly conjurer who takes an interest in Gon. The Final Phase of the Hunter Exam sees Gon passing the official part of the exam in anticlimax and Killua failing after killing another applicant out of frustration. However, it is then revealed that one more secret task is required of the applicants for them to pass the Exam. The trio then travels to Killua's home estate in order to retrieve the boy from his overbearing family.
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