With a Compelling Storyline, ‘Hunter x Hunter’ Season 3 Anchors Its Spot As a Fan Favorite

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Photo By Mad House Studios

Kurapika, while a likeable character in season one of ‘Hunter x Hunter’, blossoms into a fan favorite due to the focus on him and his character growth in season three. Photo courtesy of Mad House Studios.

Hunter x Hunter Mega Review Part 3: Season 3

When I think of series-defining seasons in Hunter x Hunter, I immediately think of seasons two, three, and five. Season two introduced “Nen”, which on its own, is a defining trait of Hunter x Hunter. Season five is widely considered to be the best arc of the entire series (and Shōnen Jump manga itself) among fans. Season three, however, is not one I would’ve thought of as iconic when I first watched the 2011 series. It seemed way too complicated, and at first, I didn’t like some of the choices made. 

When revisiting Hunter x Hunter, I learned that season three, which primarily focuses on The Yorknew City Arc, might be the definitive storyline of Hunter x Hunter. It’s not the best one, but it has incredible and memorable moments, focuses on one of the most complex characters in the series, reunites the original season one cast, and even centers around the overarching theme of Hunter x Hunter. This arc, known as The Yorknew City Arc or The Phantom Troupe Arc, ran from July 15th to December 9th of 2012. It features the season one cast (Gon, Killua, Leorio, and Kurapika) reuniting in Yorknew City while they continue to pursue their own goals. Unfortunately, they get wrapped up in a scheme involving an auction for a rare video game, running into their old enemy Hisoka, and meeting the villainous Phantom Troupe, along with their leader Chrollo Lucilfer.

 

Episodes 39-58: The Yorknew City Arc or Phantom Troupe Arc

Up to this point in the series, Hunter x Hunter was more of an anime about adventure and friendship, and while this season still holds true to most of those themes, this arc just feels different from the rest, despite still having the same tone and concepts as the previous two seasons. The Yorknew City Arc has a lot of what people like about the series. It has all four of our main characters, a complex and compelling villain, interesting and suspenseful moments, lots of action, and character exploration and development. While Gon is the protagonist of Hunter x Hunter, this storyline focuses more on Kurapika, as this arc revolves around the band of thieves that slaughtered his clan. To many fans, Kurapika is one of the most captivating characters in the entire series, and he is many people’s favorite Hunter x Hunter character. I can’t help but feel that it is because of the character development he undergoes in this season. When revisiting the series, I realized that season one Kurapika and season three onward Kurapika are completely different people. 

I prefer his season three onward character, and think it’s a perfectly fine tone for Kurapika. Kurapika in season one was serious, but learned to like being around Gon, Killua, and Leorio, whereas in season three, Kurapika is a lot more emotional, intense, and is determined to reach his goal. Gon and Killua have definitely changed from how they were in season one, but it’s a lot more subtle just because the audience has stuck with them for the entire series up to this point. It is worth noting that this storyline doesn’t really revolve around them, and more so Kurapika. Leorio, after his previous appearance in season one, has changed. He is just as likeable and goofy as he was in season one, but season three gives him some time to be more mature than he previously was. Our recurring antagonist, Hisoka, is now more determined than ever to face a challenging opponent in battle, and that is a great setup for his relationship with Chrollo. Hisoka wants nothing more than to fight Chrollo, and this is great to establish tension between the main crew, Hisoka himself, and the Phantom Troupe.

At this point in the series, the fight scenes really start to develop their own charm. Wacky, totally incoherent, and incomparable abilities take center stage from this point on, and the fights in season three are no exception. Kurapika’s fight against Uvogin is a highlight of the show for many due in part to its stellar animation and iconic shots. Kurapika’s “Nen ability” is where you realize that this show has gone totally insane. His ability might be hard to understand, but the amazing use of it throughout the season and the unique concept of using multiple different chains as a weapon was eye-catching for many.

The music present in this storyline are some absolute classics, my favorites being Gyakujuuji no Otoko (Chrollo’s theme) which gives a great villain like Chrollo a powerful, ominous, and menacing theme. Riot, which scores the scene of the Phantom Troupe rampaging through the streets of Yorknew City, is very effective.

When I first watched season three, I was not sold as much as I could’ve been. I had problems with the Phantom Troupe, as I was just so bored of seeing a team of villains in anime, as well as Chrollo himself, but looking back, it was far better than I gave it credit for. The dynamic between our four main characters is even better than it was back in season one, and while this is, at this point in the series, the last time all four of these characters have interacted, it makes this arc all the more memorable. After finishing season three, I was ready to see what Gon’s father, Ging, had in store for Gon’s adventure, and the answer was fairly unpredictable. This arc solidified the tone for the series, and the quality of the writing, animation, and music is taken to a new level here, which is incredibly promising for the next three seasons.

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