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?
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|