Hunter × Hunter (abbreviated: HxH) is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. It has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump magazine and journal since March 3, 1998, although the manga has frequently gone on extended hiatuses since 2006. As of June 2017, 360 chapters have been collected into 34 volumes by Shueisha. The story focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss, who discovers that his father, who he was told was dead, is actually alive and 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 being abandoned by his father, Gon departs upon a journey to follow in his footsteps, pass the rigorous Hunter Examination, and eventually find his father. Along the way, Gon meets various other Hunters and also encounters the paranormal. The original inspiration for the manga came from Togashi’s own collecting hobby.
Hunter × Hunter has been a huge critical and financial success and has become one of Shueisha’s best-selling manga series, having sold 66 million copies in Japan alone as of 2014.
Hunters are licensed, elite members of humanity who are capable of tracking down secret treasures, rare beasts, or even other individuals. To obtain a license one must pass the rigorous annual Hunter Examination run by the Hunter Association, which has a success rate of less than one in a hundred-thousand. A Hunter may be awarded up to three stars; a single star for making “remarkable achievements in a particular field”; they may then be upgraded to two stars for “holding an official position” and mentoring another Hunter up to single star level; and finally upgraded to three stars for “remarkable achievements in multiple fields.”
Nen is the ability to control one’s own life energy or aura, which is constantly emitted from them whether they know it or not. There are four basic Nen techniques; Ten maintains the aura in the body, strengthening it for defense, Zetsu shuts the aura flow off, useful for concealing one’s presence and relieving fatigue, Ren enables a user to produce more Nen, and Hatsu is a person’s specific use of Nen. Nen users are classified into six types based on their Hatsu abilities; Enhancers strengthen and reinforce their natural physical abilities, Emitters project aura out of their bodies, Manipulators control objects or living things, Transmuters change the type or properties of their aura, Conjurers create objects out of their aura, and Specialists have unique abilities that do not fall into the previous categories. A Nen user can enter into a Contract whereby pledging to follow certain Limitations , their abilities are strengthened in relation to how strict they are. An example of this is Kurapika who, in order to have an unbreakable chain that will hold members of the Phantom Troupe no matter what, offered his life should he use it on anyone other than its members.