In 1999, Hunter × Hunter was adapted into a 62-episode anime television series produced by Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi. The show premiered on Japan’s Fuji TV and ran until 2001. Three separate original video animations (OVAs) totaling 30 episodes were subsequently produced by Nippon Animation and released in Japan from 2002 to 2004. A second anime television series by Madhouse aired on Nippon Television from October 2011 to September 2014, with two animated theatrical films released in 2013. There are also numerous audio albums, video games, musicals, and other media based on Hunter × Hunter. The manga has been translated into English and released in North America by Viz Media since April 2005. Both television series were also licensed by Viz, with the first series having aired on the Funimation Channel in 2009 and the second series premiering on Adult Swim’s Toonami block since April 16, 2016.
First series (1999)
The first Hunter × Hunter anime adaptation was produced by the company Nippon Animation and directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, who had previously directed the Rurouni Kenshin television series. A total of 62 episodes of Hunter × Hunter were broadcast on the Japanese terrestrial television network Fuji Television from October 16, 1999 to March 31, 2001 during the same Saturday evening timeslot as the anime version of Togashi’s previous series YuYu Hakusho. Additionally, Hunter × Hunter has aired on the satellite television station Animax. Although it closely follows the manga, the violence in the anime version is lessened for younger audiences. Marvelous Entertainment has released all episodes of the series in Japan on DVD in 13 separate volumes between September 20, 2000 and September 19, 2001.
Viz Media licensed the Hunter × Hunter anime for distribution in the Region 1 market, with English voice-work handled by The Ocean Group at Blue Water Studios in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The series was released on four DVD boxed sets from December 9, 2008 to December 1, 2009. Starting with the second set, Viz partnered with Warner Home Video to distribute the DVDs. Hunter × Hunter began airing in the United States on the Funimation Channel in the spring of 2009.
Original video animations
When the Hunter × Hunter anime covered most of its source material by 2001, Nippon Animation made the decision to end the adaptation rather than continue it with filler. Due to fans’ unsatisfied reactions to the conclusion of the television series, three subsequent OVAs were produced by Nippon Animation. These carried the plot from where the broadcast left off during the Yorknew City arc and covered the Greed Island arc. The first OVA series was directed by Satoshi Saga and ran for eight episodes in four released volumes from January 17 to April 17, 2002. The second OVA series, Hunter × Hunter: Greed Island, was directed by Yukihiro Matsushita and ran for eight episodes in four released volumes from February 19 to May 21, 2003. The third OVA series, Hunter × Hunter: G.I. Final, was directed by Makoto Sato and ran for 14 episodes in seven released volumes from March 3 to August 18, 2004. After the original anime’s initial run on Animax, the OVAs were aired successively. Viz has shown no intention of releasing English versions of the OVAs.
Second series (2011)
A new Hunter × Hunter anime adaptation was announced in July 2011. Instead of continuing the story from the OVA series, it restarts the story from the beginning of the manga in an attempt to adapt it more accurately. The series is directed by Hiroshi Kōjina, produced by Madhouse, scripted by Jun Maekawa, and character designs were created by Takahiro Yoshimatsu. The series began airing Sunday mornings on Nippon Television starting October 2, 2011. It switched to airing at 1:29 am on Tuesday nights from October 8, 2013 onwards. The series ended on September 23, 2014 after 148 episodes. An hour after each episode aired in Japan, American website Crunchyroll provided English subtitled simulcasts in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The series started airing on Animax Asia on April 24 2012. On October 9, 2015, Viz Media announced their license to the reboot anime at their panel at New York Comic Con. They will release the anime on DVD/Blu-ray with an English dub. On April 1, 2016, it was announced that the series will premiere on Adult Swim’s Toonami block, which began airing on April 16, 2016.
Before the first anime television series was created, a short film adaptation of Hunter × Hunter was shown as part of the 1998 “Jump Super Anime Tour” alongside similar adaptations of Seikimatsu Leader den Takeshi! and One Piece. Produced by Studio Pierrot and directed by Noriyuki Abe, it depicts the early events of the manga up to Gon’s ocean voyage from Whale Island.
A film adaptation by the second television anime’s staff called Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge, featuring an original story, was announced in March 2012. It was released on January 12, 2013 by Toho. It centers around Gon and his friends efforts to retrieve Kurapika’s eyes which were stolen by Omokage, the original person with the No. 4 spider tattoo. The film is based on an unpublished story manga creator Yoshihiro Togashi wrote around 10 years before.
A second film was announced following the first one’s debut titled Hunter × Hunter: The Last Mission. The film has some focus on Netero, the chairman of the Hunter Association as Gon and his friends discover the dark secrets behind his past. The movie was released on December 27, 2013. The DVD and Blu-ray was released on July 23, 2014.
The story follows a young boy named Gon Freecss, who was told all his life that both his parents were dead. But when he learns from Kite, an apprentice of his father Ging Freecss, that he is still alive and has since become an accomplished Hunter, Gon leaves his home on Whale Island (くじら島 Kujira Tō) to take the Hunter Examination in order to become a Hunter like him. During the exam, Gon meets and soon befriends three of the other applicants: Kurapika, the last remaining member of the Kurta clan who wishes to become a Hunter in order to avenge his clan and recover their scarlet-glowing eyes that were plucked from their corpses by a band of thieves known as the Phantom Troupe. Leorio, a prospective physician who, in order to pay for medical school, desires the financial benefits that Hunters receive. 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 transmuter who takes an interest in him. After passing by many trials together, Gon and his friends end up passing the exam except for Killua, who fails after killing another applicant due to being controlled by his brother, Illumi, and runs away to his family’s estate in shame.
After Gon and the others convince Killua to rejoin their side, Leorio and Kurapika depart temporarily for their own personal reasons, while Gon and Killua set for the Heavens Arena (天空闘技場 Tenkū Tōgijō), a skyscraper where thousands of martial artists compete daily in fighting tournaments, seeking to improve themselves, and gain monetary rewards. There they meet a kung fu master named Wing, who trains them in utilizing Nen, a Qi-like life energy used by its practicers to manifest parapsychological abilities, and is also considered to be the final requirement to pass the Hunter Exam. Sometime later, Gon and his friends reunite again in Yorknew City (ヨークシンシティ Yōkushin Shiti) where they have a clash with the Phantom Troupe. In the occasion, some of the members of the band of thieves are killed by Kurapika and he is forced to give up the chance of hunting down the rest. In order to rescue Gon and Killua, who were captured by them, but not without succeeding in sealing the powers of their leader Chrollo Lucilfer.
A few days later, Gon and Killua achieve their objective and begin playing Greed Island, an extremely rare and expensive video game with Nen-like properties following some clues about Ging’s whereabouts. While exploring the game, it is revealed that its scenario is actually set somewhere in the real world, created with Nen by none other than Ging himself. Outclassed by the difficulty of the challenges in the game at first, they are soon joined and trained by Biscuit Krueger, an experienced teacher of Nen and kung fu master. During their stay on Greed Island, Killua takes a short break to apply for the Hunter Examination again, this time passes with success. The trio then complete the game together against all odds and Gon obtains the right to choose the artifacts from the game necessary to reunite with his father.
However, Gon decides to have Killua accompany him to meet his father using the aritfacts, but they send them to meet Kite instead. The duo then decide to help with Kite’s research, and upon discovering a giant insect limb the group discovers that it came from a man-sized Chimera Ant queen. An insect that devours other creatures and then gives birth to progeny that inherit the characteristics of the different species it has eaten. The queen washes up onto an island nation called the Neo-Green Life (N.G.L.) Autonomous Region, where she quickly develops a taste for humans and builds a colony powerful enough to overcome the population, specially when its offspring learn the power of Nen after consuming some Hunters. Upon facing the Chimera Ants, Kite sacrifices himself to allow Gon and Killua to flee and alert the Hunter Association. After months of preparation, the Association sends a team of some of their most powerful Hunters, including Netero, the president of the Association himself to defeat the Ants and their king Meruem, whose subjects secretly overthrew the government of the nearby Republic of East Gorteau as part of their plan of subduing all of mankind. Despite losing to Meruem in combat, Netero ends up killing him with a bomb implanted in his body that poisons him to death soon after. In the occasion, Gon has a showdown with Neferpitou, the Ant who killed Kite and despite having exacted his revenge is hospitalized and in critical condition.
After the Chimera Ant incident is resolved, the Hunter Association’s top echelons the Zodiacs, from which Ging is a member, begin the process of choosing Netero’s replacement as Chairman, while Killua returns home to ask for his younger sister Alluka to save Gon’s life. However, his family is unwilling to risk losing Alluka or having her dangerous powers used against them, but after evading his older brother Illumi’s attempts to intercept him, Killua manages to bring Alluka to Gon’s side and have him fully recovered, before sealing her powers completely to ensure that she can have a normal life. Killua then parts ways with Gon, as he wants to travel the world with Alluka who had never seen the outside world before, while Gon himself finally meets his father and learns the true nature of his quest.
Some time later, Netero’s son Beyond assembles an expedition to the Dark Continent (暗黒大陸 Ankoku Tairiku). The forbidden, vast area outside of the known world that is sponsored by the Kingdom of Kakin. Fearing that the expedition may bring disaster to the world, just like it occurred in previous attempts, the world’s five greatest powers accept that Kakin join their ranks in exchange for full authority over its findings. To accompany Beyond and prevent him from doing something unexpected, the Zodiacs decide to watch over him and invite Kurapika and Leorio to join them. Replacing Ging and the former Vice-Chairman Pariston, who assembled their own team by Beyond’s request.