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HUNTER X HUNTER -- How is Gon Freecs Different from Every Major Shonen Hero?

Episode #15 -- Watch & Learn. Our buddy Gon fights evil in his own way.

Gon’s hunting strategy is to follow around butterflies that he’s tied to his fingers? Really? I’m starting to wonder if HUNTER X HUNTER might’ve taken off because Togashi intentionally designed its hero to be so naïve and childish that he’d stand out in marked contrast with the competition.

I mean, sure, there’s a precedent for this sort of characterization. Luffy and Goku were first presented as kids, and their respective series grew darker and more complex over time. There’s a model to that. However, I’ll submit that there are two key differences when we’re discussing Gon. For one, there’s no timeskip in the series that makes him noticeably more mature and masculine later on. He’s always going to be this little moppet. And while Goku and Luffy have always been goofballs, they still fit traditional action hero archetypes.

Gon isn’t a martial arts master, and he isn’t a pirate. He’s not even a Boy Scout (or whatever the Japanese equivalent would be). He’s just a cheerful kid who likes to go out in the woods to catch fish with his pole and butterflies with his net. Maybe he’ll make a picnic afterward and play jacks, right? He’s basically a Hardy Boy… who also happens to have some shonen kickass in him.

Or does he even have much shonen kickass in him? It seems like Killua and Kurapika take care of the buttkicking, while Gon get by on wits and gumption. Compare that to the M.O.’s of Yusuke, Ichigo, Naruto, Kenshiro or even Edward Elric - - you’ll see there’s a distinct lack of super-moves in our hero’s arsenal.

I’m not critiquing this so much as just as noting it. For as ridiculous as Hisoka and his pin-head pal look, they still have enough deadly creepiness about them as to seem like credible threats in this world. So there’s an unusual tension when Gon’s ‘stalking’ them in this episode. You actually feel kind of sorry for Gon, naively following this killer around that he’s so totally outclassed by, not grasping the danger he’s courting.

It’s an added level of threat that you really don’t see in any other show like this. And I guess that’s the point?

Watch this episode, “Explosion X Of x Deception" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

About the Author

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk
jj_jacksonon Oct. 31, 2013 at 11:45 a.m.
Agreed..i think you hit the nail on the head on this one. thats probably partly why i'm always so worried and excited lol he's clearly out classed.which your going to see more of that not just from hisoka coming up. But when gon does fight its pure awesomeness. I started watching this show because of these reviews and i'm deep like episode 60 now and it just keeps getting better
bigz007on Oct. 31, 2013 at 12:24 p.m.

I watched 1999 version and I'm up to date with 2011 version. Gon really trained hard in those woods back on his island, he wrestled with bears among other stuff. 2011 version of the series skipped that part. My point is that he is familiar with danger and knows how to deal with it.

The butterflies part is also not explained properly in 2011 version. When I saw how they explained it, I really thought that some people maybe wont get the point for those butterflies, but if you can find some time and check out the 1999 version of the series, some things will be much clearer.

One more thing, Kurapika and Leorio are main characters in 1999 version, and in 2011 version they are more of a supporting characters. You will see why, later on...

rubberluffyon Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:04 p.m.

@bigz007 said:

The butterflies part is also not explained properly in 2011 version. When I saw how they explained it, I really thought that some people maybe wont get the point for those butterflies, but if you can find some time and check out the 1999 version of the series, some things will be much clearer.

One more thing, Kurapika and Leorio are main characters in 1999 version, and in 2011 version they are more of a supporting characters. You will see why, later on...

What? The episode clearly explained that the butterflies are attracted to blood so Gon used them to find the bloody Hisoka. It's literally word-for-word the same as it is in the manga.

bigz007on Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

@rubberluffy: It had more impact in 1999 version of the series because they did a set up to it... go watch it if you don't believe me.

Donwunon Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:08 p.m.

Could not agree more with

Tom you are coming to a critical point in the show....Gon's first encounter with Hisoka and this 2011 remake does not handle it as well as the 1999 version did.

Although the faster pace for the most part helps the series (even tho this even seems leisurely to you Tom :oP) this version loses ALOT of the intensity and character development of this upcoming confrontation.

After you see the outcome of this confrontation you should do a search on youtube for Hunter x Hunter episode 24 where you will see how the previous 1999 adaption handled it.

This is ESPECIALLY TRUE for how the aftermath of that confrontation was handled for Gon...which is completely glossed over in this latest remake...imho

I think this will also give you some food for thought about anime reboots....pros and cons....should be interesting

rubberluffyon Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:13 p.m.

@bigz007 said:

@rubberluffy: It had more impact in 1999 version of the series because they did a set up to it... go watch it if you don't believe me.

I've seen the '99 version 3 times. I hardly remember any of it, the 2011 version has pretty much erased all memory of it, and I'm completely okay with that. There's no reason for me to ever watch the '99 version again.

bigz007on Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:19 p.m.

@rubberluffy: So your memory of 1999 version of the series is erased? Good to know.

Lurkeroon Oct. 31, 2013 at 1:52 p.m.

In the early episodes Gon is sort of distinct from typical shonen heroes. As the series went on though...

sickVisionz moderator on Oct. 31, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
It's early. Gon is like a combat genius and he totally beats the living daylights out of people with super moves and powers.

Dig Deeper into Gon Freecss

Gon is the protagonist of Hunter X Hunter. He set out on an adventure in order to find his father, Ging.

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