May 25, 2015

Hunter x Hunter


Did I ever wrote here upon my first love?

As ridiculous as it sound, he was an anime character named Kurapika from Hunter x Hunter, a boy whose heart has been poisoned with sadness and hatred due to the massacre of his clan. Back then when I was eight, I watched lots of anime series (Cardcaptor Sakura, Naruto, Yu Gi-Oh! etc) and my favourite so far has always been Hunter x Hunter. I've stopped following the series when I entered Standard Six and being a good nerdy as I am up till now, focused more on UPSR instead.

Last year as I'm reconnecting the dots of my childhood, the thought came to me as I've been leaving my favourite anime far behind. I checked on the internet and noticed that they're making a remake of Hunter x Hunter on 2011! Banzai!!

And that, my good people, is how an addicted sleepless nights begin.

Luckily I've grown up enough to put my Professional Examination on top of my long lost forgotten first love. Restricting myself is hard enough, therefore even after Professional Examination ended few months ago I still haven't gather the courage to resume my anime schedule. The addiction is terrifying. The urge and needs to satisfy my curiosity upon the next episodes is unbearably intoxicating. I can't! I'll fail my medical school if I'm going to continuously put an act like this!!

So after several months of self control, I've decided to take a peak on the latest news of Hunter x Hunter in a Hunterpedia site.




Togashi wai yu du dis tu mi wai wai?!

Picking up the broken pieces heart of mine, I watched Hunter x Hunter's Final Episode (Till Now x And x From Now) and cries violently. Because my long lost first love Kurapika isn't actually the main character of this anime, I was quite devastated because he only appeared for like 5 seconds in this final episode and the rest is about Gon who finally found Ging, his father.

But the ending was beautiful.
Hats off.

I was a little bit empty after the second last episode, to be honest – Gon and Killua’s parting was not the emotional catharsis I’d hoped it might be. But this finale gave the series the kind of closure it needed, even subtly casting Gon and Killua’s status in a different light.

I have a lot of resistance to Ging, generally speaking, because on a very basic level the notion that anything could be important enough to walk away from a beautiful son who loves you and leave his upbringing entirely up to someone else is foreign to me. Ging has a very important role here in addition to being Gon’s goal – He represents the pure Hunter ideal better than anyone else in the cast. To be free (maybe don’t knock a girl up if you want freedom, but never mind). To always be searching for something – to always hunt. To be driven not by greed but by the simple desire to know, to experience, and even to do some service to society along the way. And as Mito said, Gon, being his son, certainly inherited Ging's essential nature in this respect.

More than that, though, it was in the quest for Ging that Gon learned the first big lesson that Ging taught him on top of the World Tree – What’s important is not the destination, but the journey. While the boy Ging had a worthwhile goal (to set up a nonprofit for stewardship if priceless archaeological relics he’s never otherwise get to see), the best thing about the experience was the friends he made on the way. And for Gon, frankly, the best thing about his quest for Ging was meeting Killua, Kurapika and Leorio – And all the others whose lives he touched, and who touched his. And I think Ging, for all his faults, would have no problem accepting that.

The entire father-son talk was more emotionally satisfying than I expected, if I’m honest. And it acted as a tantalizing glimpse of the wonders Togashi still has in mind for Hunter X Hunter, should we all be so fortunate as to see them brought to life. This is the reason for Ging’s continued journey – there’s a new world outside the one we’ve seen, one which dwarfs it in every way – and it was this world from whence the Chimera Ants came. There are “at least” four requirements to visit this world – Authorization, Means, Qualification and Contract. And Ging, who’s been called “the best Hunter in the world”, hasn’t achieved a single one of them yet.

In the end, though, that doesn’t matter – because he’s enjoying the journey so much. I could have lived without the “If our paths should cross again” he offered Gon, but the advice which followed it was Ging’s finest moment as a father – “Enjoy the little detours. To the fullest.” So many boys’ lives would be richer and happier if their fathers had communicated this utterly simple bit of wisdom – it’s the essence of the adventurous soul, the heart of what separates a traveler from a tourist. Togashi clearly understands this deep in his soul, and the beauty of this notion permeates Hunter X Hunter through and through. It was present at the beginning of the series, and many travails along the way notwithstanding, it was present at the end. And that’s exactly as it should be.

As the episode concludes, we take a trip ourselves as the full version of “Departure” plays – not into the past, but into the present. Morel and Knov (somewhat recovered, happily) settle their bets as to who would go to fight the Chimera Ants, and drink a toast of vintage champagne to Netero’s memory. Knuckle, Palm, Meleoron and Ikalgo are together happily at the recuperating Shoot’s bedside. The picture which closes the OP sits on Leorio’s bookshelf – that sweet, sentimental guy that he is. He’s still trying to reach Kurapika, who still isn’t answering – but he’s clearly made progress in his goal to recover the eyes of his fellow Kurta (THIS IS THE FIVE SECONDS PART OF MY DEAREST FIRST LOVE!). Canary and Amane visit Gotoh’s grave, and he shockingly appears – except it’s really a Kiriko, presumably there to hide the painful truth from Killua. Beneath the palace in East Gorteau, Marshal and Spy rest for eternity, hands clasped. Killua and Alluka greet the new morning, side by side. And Gon takes the wonder of Spinner Clow’s Small-billed Swans at Kaito’s side, eyes bright and smiling, the possibilities as endless as his limitless imagination. Indeed, the only thing missing is Hisoka, who’s such an important part of Gon’s journey that it feels as if we should have seen him one last time.

This sequence was the hardest part of the episode for me to get through, to be honest – indeed I’m finding myself back in that place now, just writing about it. But that’s also as it should be, after everything we’ve been through with Gon and the people he’s met, the ending should be both happy and sad, because neither would do justice to the journey without the presence of the other. This is both an end and a beginning, because the journey always continues as long as we have life and the will to make the most of it.

And there it ends – 148 episodes, three years, countless emotions. I’ve said all there is to say about why I feel Hunter X Hunter will go down as the greatest shounen adaptation of all-time, and one of anime’s greatest series. It’s a perfect storm, a marriage of a truly brilliant writer with an anime staff and cast that was committed from day one to making something truly great. And they’ve succeeded, gloriously so. The words of those who worked on the series are full of the love they feel for it, and the impact it’s had on their lives – and it’s certainly the same in its small way for we who loved it as viewers. When people are truly passionate about their work it shows through in a way that can’t be faked, and that passion made Hunter X Hunter into something that’s special in every way.

I feel so many emotions now when thinking of Hunter X Hunter – sadness, affection, curiosity about the future, but most of all I feel gratitude to those people for pouring so much of themselves into making something truly lasting and important. That work is its own reward, the journey that truly matters – But their legacy is the series that will stand as one of anime’s most remarkable achievements and the joy that it brought to so many viewers all over the world. Surely, there can be no truer definition of art than that.

You should enjoy the little detours. To the fullest. Because that’s where you’ll find the things more important than what you want. 
- Ging Freecs

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Kurapika, Gon, Killua and Leorio.

My long lost childhood first love.


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