Gon is a little kid with a lot of strength and even more determination. He uses that determination to acquire a nearly impossible-to-get game. However, once he and his friend Killua start playing, they are completely sucked into another world. One in which they must acquire maps and train their strengths to even greater heights. However, this departure from the main storyline brings what was previously a shonen anime much closer to the isekai genre. There are still many battles, many friendships, and many mysteries for the boys to solve, but introducing an Isekai element was a bold and beautifully executed move.
Hunter X Hunter follows the story of Gon Freecss trying to reconnect with his lost/absent father. Along the way, he learns that his father was one of the creators of a mysterious game called Greed Island. He and Killua dedicate themselves to acquiring a copy, and once inside they dedicate themselves to playing the game in the hopes of learning about Ging Freecss.
Greed Island was a highly exclusive game released only for hunters. Only 100 examples were made and that at a price of almost 6 billion dollars. In order to participate in the game, one must be able to use Nen, a magic-like ability that is a prerequisite for the Secret Hunter exam. By the time Gon and Killua are able to acquire the game, no one had beaten the game, and thus there are many urban myths surrounding the endgame results.
Once a player begins the game, they are transported into the game, actually to a remote island. If they die within the game, they die in real life, but they can leave the game voluntarily or by winning. All players in the game have two spells available through a ring, they can manifest a card book and say “win” to turn a card into an object. The ultimate goal of the game is to collect all 100 given cards in your folder. The cards and spells only work within the game until Gon beats them and he gets to take three with him.
An Isekai or just a Shonen?
Isekai is defined as an anime in which the character is transported to an alien world when he comes from an alien world and visits the earth considered Isekai reversed. This arc strictly adheres to that definition Hunter X Hunter is not an Isekai as they are only teleported to a remote island. As far as players know, however, this is a strange world. There’s unique magic, creatures that don’t exist anywhere else on the planet, and a complex set of rules that only apply within the game.
In addition to this shonen anime, technically action anime qualifies as meaning most isekai are also shonen, including this arc. Gon and Killua embark on a dramatic training arc with a new teacher named Biksy, battling monsters and gangs of other players and overcoming challenges through sheer willpower. But does teleporting to another region of the world also elevate this story from a simple shonen to an isekai?
Until Gon and Killua prove otherwise, everyone believes Greed Island players are transported to another realm, no one knows it’s just an island near Yorknew City. This combined with all of the previously mentioned factors strongly suggests that this still meets the criteria of an Isekai anime.
Why is this unusual
Most other Isekai anime are just that, with little or no time being spent in the characters’ original worlds. Even Sword Art Online, one of the most popular Isekai anime, when a game is beaten, players simply join a new game, minimizing real-life situations. However, Hunter X Hunter does exactly the opposite, the Isekai aspects of this anime are relegated to this arc exclusively. During this arc the guys spend all their time in the game, there is no time they spend in the rest of the world like Isekai generally would. However, after the game is beaten, the boys never return to it and there is very little evidence that it even existed. The guys just go back to their lives as they could have if the game hadn’t existed in the first place.
With eight current arcs on the show, Hunter X Hunter Not much time was spent in another world so the main drive of this anime was clearly a shonen anime. However, the creators made the bold decision to only include an Isekai bow. This has been perfectly executed and feels like a natural progression in Gon’s overall story. The choices made contrary to Isekai rules by being kept in the same world seamlessly fit the genre into the rest of the story while still following the laws of the previously created world.
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https://gamerant.com/hunter-x-hunter-greed-island-isekai-shonen/ Hunter x Hunter: Island of Greed