, pronounced "Hunter Hunter", is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi with an anime adaptation. The first chapter of the Hunter × Hunter manga series was published in March of 1998, in Weekly Shōnen Jump.
The story of Hunter × Hunter focuses on a young boy named Gon Freecss, who one day discovers that the father he had always been told was dead was alive and well. He learns that his father, Ging Freecss, is a legendary Hunter. Despite the fact that his father abandoned Gon with his relatives in order to pursue his dreams, Gon becomes determined to follow in his father's footsteps, pass the Hunter Examination, and eventually find his father to prove himself as a Hunter in his own right.
The manga series was adapted into an anime produced by Nippon Animation, along three OVAs as well. It premiered on the Japanese terrestrial television network Fuji TV and the satellite television station Animax on October 6, 1999.
The Hunter Exam tests Gon's physical and mental strengths through a series of bizarre stages. During the final portion of the exam, after confronting his elder brother in a tournament, Killua is forced to return home to his family on Kukuroo Mountain. Determined to get him back, Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio all head to the Republic of Padokea to retrieve Killua, to what they succeed. After the retrieve, Kurapika departs to find work and Leorio leaves to attend medical school. Gon and Killua decide to gain combat experience by training at the Heavens Arena, a 251-story building where over 4,000 fighters compete daily in fighting tournaments. There, they meet the kung-fu master, Wing, who teaches them about Nen--a chi-like life energy that can be used to manifest superhuman powers.
The third story arc reunites the main characters for the world's largest auction in a sprawling metropolis called Yorknew City. Gon, Killua, and Leorio try different methods to make enough money to buy Greed Island, a video game that could help Gon find his father. This story arc introduces the Phantom Troupe, a group of thieves who, among many other crimes, slaughtered all the other members of Kurapika's clan. Kurapika crosses paths with them while working as a bodyguard. By the end of the Phantom Troupe story arc, Kurapika has killed two members of the Troupe. These are accomplished via an unsteady alliance with Hisoka, who betrays the Phantom Troupe in exchange for a chance to fight Chrollo Lucilfer, though when he learns that Kurapika has sealed Chrollo's nen-abilities and loses interest.
Finally Gon and Killua's find the Greed Island, the seemingly-magical video game that sucks players within. It is later revealed that the game is actually set on an island in the real world, created and run by a group of powerful Nen users led by none other than Gon's own father, Ging. The goal of the game is to collect a number of set cards, although almost everything in the game, from food to money, can be turned into cards. Inside Greed Island Gon and Killua are joined by Biscuit Krueger, a master and experienced teacher of Nen who trains them. As part of their reward, they are allowed to take three cards to be used in the real world. Using the card 'Accompany', Gon and Killua travel to a player under the username 'Ngig', who they believe to be Ging. However, it ends up bringing them to Kite instead.
Gon and Killua meet up with Kite, the Hunter who told Gon about Ging and Hunters in the very first chapter. They are all hired to investigate a strange insect leg that washed up on a beach. Genetic testing determines that the leg belongs to an abnormally large queen chimera ant, an insect that eats other insects and animals, and then gives birth to children that inherit the characteristics of all the different insects and animals it has eaten. The queen chimera ant itself happens to wash up on the shore of an island nation called the NGL (Neo Green Life) inhabited by a neo-luddite culture. She quickly develops a taste for humans after given the opportunity to eat them. The Chimera Ants proceed to wipe most of the population out and spawn hundreds of offspring before Gon, Killua, and Kite arrive.
The queen dies due to the King ripping himself out of her womb too early. With the Queen dead and their inhibitions gone, many of the warrior Ants proclaimed themselves kings and departed the hive; two of them end up joining the Hunters' side. The King and Royal Guard Ants pull a "coup d'etat" on the nearby Republic of East Gorteau and from there begin the process of "selecting" humans that have the capability to gain Nen powers. This causes many deaths as only a small amount of humans are able to gain Nen powers. As warrior Ants from the old hive rejoin the King, the Hunters mobilize quickly to stop the massacre.
The publication history of the Hunter × Hunter manga has been plagued with hiatuses, the longest of which lasted from February 2006 through October 2007. These hiatuses are often attributed to the author suffering from an unspecified illness. The most recent hiatus started in mid-May, 2008, and the series officially returned on October 6, 2008.
The anime adaptation was directed by Kazuhiro Furuhashi, produced by Nippon Animation, and broadcast on Fuji Television and Animax from October 16, 1999 to March 31, 2001. The television series concluded at 62 episodes, adapting the first eleven volumes of the manga series.
Viz Media has licensed the Hunter × Hunter anime for distribution in the Region 1 market. Season box sets of the series will be released starting on December 9, 2008 with subsequent box sets being released every two months.
An early pilot was also shown only at the 1998 Jump Super Anime Tour.
The first is just called "Hunter × Hunter: Musical". It was originally performed during December of 2000. It is an original story that appears to take place in between the end of the "Yorknew City" arc and the beginning of the "Greed Island" arc. Gon gets a mysterious phone call, to come aid the citizens of Elrais. Once they get there they find that the country's four best performers have been kidnapped. It is later found that the kidnappers are controlling Madame Isabel (who is like a ghost). They plan to use her power to take revenge on Elrais. It is up to Gon and party to rescue the performers, and save the country.
The second Musical is called "Hunter × Hunter; Deja-vu in Summer." It ran from Aug 15 until Aug 26, 2001. This musical has not been released on DVD. The third Musical is called "Hunter × Hunter; The Nightmare of Zoldyck." It was originally performed during August of 2002. This is an alternate re-telling of when Kurapika, Leorio, and Gon go to Kukuroo Mountain to fetch Killua back. This includes a farewell party at the Zoldyck mansion, and Illumi placing a "switch" in Killua's mind. This switch will cause Killua to become murderous and attack his friends, if he ever tries to fight Illumi.
In a 2006 web poll conducted in Japan by the network TV Asahi, the Hunter × Hunter television anime series was voted as the 28th best anime of all time.