Hunter x Hunter is regarded as one of the best Shounen series of all time. It’s the brainchild of Yoshihiro Togashi, with the manga originally began publishing back in 1998. However, even in 2023, the series is yet to reach its conclusion, both in manga and anime.
An interesting fact about Hunter x Hunter is the fact that it is one of the only few manga series to receive two anime adaptations, first in 1999 and then in 2011. Keeping that in mind, it’s only obvious that fans have compared it to the likes of One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball over the years.
While one may think that Hunter x Hunter is behind the above-mentioned anime, that’s far from the truth. In fact, here are eight things where Hunter x Hunter manga and anime outclasses One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball.
The Art of Worldbuilding
The odds of a successful manga or anime heavily depend on excellent worldbuilding. Hunter x Hunter has a phenomenal setting for the adventures of Gon throughout the series. Every arc has a detailed system for the fans to get the gist of the said arc.
While many believe that One Piece has better worldbuilding, arcs such as Dark Continent and Chimera Ant truly showcase Togashi’s incredible skill. Outside of One Piece, neither Naruto nor Dragon Ball came close to what Hunter x Hunter offered.
No anime or manga will question the pain caused by random filler episodes in several Shounen anime. While One Piece and Dragon Ball do not have as many fillers as compared to the filler-ridden Naruto series, Hunter x Hunter takes it to another level.
Obviously, the manga doesn’t have any fillers, the anime features just two filler episodes. The two episodes that fulfill the criteria for a filler are episodes 14 and 26. Now, that’s just 0.01% of filler episodes for an anime that aired 148 episodes during its second run in 2011.
Excellent Battle Sequences
Most Shounen anime fight scenes are known for high-octane battle scenes featuring flashing power-ups and whatnot. While Hunter x Hunter has its fair share of flashy battles, there are certain high IQ moments during the said battles that take it a notch above the rest.
In Dragon Ball, fans rarely find moments where a character is required to utilize their thinking prowess. One Piece is similar to DBZ in that regard, but there are a few scenes in Naruto that showcase insane IQ from characters like Kakashi Hatake or Obito Uchiha. However, Hunter x Hunter has an abundance of such battle sequences.
Excellent Character Development for Side Characters
A huge complaint for many Shounen anime is the lack of character development for its side characters. Dragon Ball is the perfect example of not paying much attention to developing other characters apart from Goku and Vegeta.
One Piece and Naruto have their moments when side characters shine, but Hunter x Hunter is simply a different beast in this regard. Outside of Gon, characters like Killua, Hisoka, Kurapika, and several others get their share of backstories and limelight by Togashi.
The Most Well-Balanced Power Scaling System
Hunter x Hunter uses Nen as its power scaling system. It essentially allows any user to manipulate their own life energy in various ways. Nen is widely regarded as one of the best power scaling systems in all of manga and anime.
It is fairly consistent throughout the series and pretty simple to understand. As compared to other big-name anime series, the Nen power scaling system isn’t essentially broken and doesn’t provide complicated power-ups to characters without proper explanation.
Hunter x Hunter Gets Dark, Very Dark
Shounen anime typically avoids stepping into the territory of dark and disturbing scenes. Sure, they have an abundance of sad and emotional scenes, as fans have noticed a plethora of times in One Piece and Naruto.
However, Hunter x Hunter is in a realm of its own when it comes to giving disturbing scenes to the audience. Meruem remains one of the best antagonists in all of anime history. A key reason behind it is the Chimera Ant King’s brutal ways of killing ants and humans. One of the most disturbing scenes of the entire series is when Meruem kills and then eats a child.
Consistent Artwork and Animation
Drawing chapter after chapter each week is not an easy task for any mangaka in the world. But, several mangaka take their time in improving their artwork. However, Togashi has been consistent with his artwork with the opening chapter of the manga.
In addition, both adaptations of the anime showed a consistent animation style. Nippon Animation set the tone for it in 1999, and Madhouse followed it in 2011 with the second attempt to animate the manga. On the other hand, One Piece, Naruto, and Dragon Ball took their sweet time to reach a great level of animation, with several blunders still there.
Giving Equal Spotlight to Side Characters
It’s one thing to give incredible depth to several side characters in the series, but it’s completely another to give them their fair share of the spotlight. In each arc, Hunter x Hunter ensured that apart from Gon and Killua, the rest of the characters get their chance of making an impact.
This is rarely found in Dragon Ball. More often than not, it was Goku who hogged the limelight away from the rest of the characters in several key moments of the series. Naruto and One Piece usually give their side characters separate villains, but the primary damage to the main antagonist is delivered by the main characters.
Despite being regarded as arguably one of the greatest Shounen anime of all time, it’s highly unlikely to reach a befitting conclusion. Due to consistent health issues to mangaka Yoshihiro Togashi, the manga is currently on a hiatus with 400 chapters released.
Until the manga is finished, there’s no chance that the anime will get future episodes. But until then, fans have 148 episodes to enjoy several times.