Review: Hunter X Hunter Part 3 (Eps 59-88) (Blu-Ray)

With the Phantom Troupe defeated, Gon an Killua turn their sights to acquiring a copy of the video game Greed Island in order to continue their search for Gon’s father. Able to enter the game thanks to a wealthy benefactor, the two quickly discover that Greed Island operates on a very different set of rules to the real world, and contains all manner of strong and dangerous adversaries hoping to complete the game and destroy anyone who gets in their way. But there are terrors lying in wait beyond Greed Island, and elsewhere a dangerous creature known as a Chimera Ant washes ashore, feeding and gathering its strength so it can create an army of soldier ants.

Hunter X Hunter Part 3 continues Gon and Killua’s journey to find Gon’s father Ging, and despite all of the trials and dangers the two have already faced in the previous entries in the series (see my reviews of Hunter X Hunter Part 1 and Part 2), Part 3 still manages to up the stakes as the two face-off against murderous Greed Island Players and mutated Chimera Ants. Containing episodes 59-88 of the series, Hunter X Hunter Part 3 covers two arcs from the series: the entirety of the Greed Island Arc and the beginnings of the Chimera Ant Arc. Although the two arcs feel worlds apart in terms of genre and tone at times, it continues the Hunter X Hunter tradition of introducing new concepts and characters in an ever-expanding world, keeping things fresh and exciting as the series progresses from arc to arc.

The Greed Island episodes see Gon and Killua attempt to hunt down the in-game items required to complete the game while under the tutelage of Bisky, a gem obsessed Hunter with incredible physical strength who is also seeking to complete Greed Island. Bisky is an excellent addition to the cast, and her bluntness, shrewd nature, and unpredictable training regimes make her an entertaining mentor figure and valuable member of Gon and Killua’s team. While scouring Greed Island for in-game items, Gon, Killua and Bisky must contend with threats from player killers and use the game’s card system to their strategic advantage to stay ahead of those that would seek to steal their items. This concept is used to great effect towards the end of the arc when the cards and their abilities are used to outrun and trick various characters. The threat of player killers is also exacerbated by the classic adventure in a virtual world trope of “if you die in the game, you die in real life”, but of course, the threat of imminent death is not foreign to the Hunter X Hunter series. Greed Island introduces a bunch of interesting videogame concepts and new characters and threats to the Hunter X Hunter world that still manage to feel fresh and interesting despite the abundance of videogame isekai saturating the market in recent years, keeping things high stakes while not forgetting the fun – exemplary of the Hunter X Hunter series thus far.

In comparison, the Chimera Ant arc takes a sharp turn into new territory for the series, diving very quickly into horror territory as it introduces creatures that pass the attributes of what they consume on to their offspring (leading to a variety of strange and interesting Chimera Ant designs). The sense of morbid dread is palpable in this arc, and hits hard and fast after the first few episodes as the audience is introduced to the Chimera Ant Queen, her soldiers, and the Queen’s growing hunger for humans. The horror element is exacerbated further as it turns out that the Chimera Ants have set up base in a country with no modern technology, effectively cutting off anyone who ventures into the country from calling for help, making this arc in particular terrifying in a way that previous Hunter X Hunter arcs have only barely brushed the surface of.

As per the usual Hunter X Hunter format, there are plenty of new and interesting characters introduced in this arc, with Gon and Killua meeting someone from Gon’s past – Kite, a stoic and extremely competent Hunter who immediately steals the show. Like Bisky, Kite acts as a mentor figure to Gon and Killua but has a much more hands-off approach, preferring to have the boys fight their own battles rather than protect them. Although tough, this approach reflects the sheer danger the Chimera Ants embody – if Gon and Killua aren’t strong enough, they will die, and nothing Kite can do will prevent that. To illustrate the level of danger, I recall being disappointed that Kurapika and Leorio haven’t played a part in this particular adventure so far. After having completed my viewing of Hunter X Hunter Part 3, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am actually relieved that they haven’t featured, because it means that they are safe – at least, for the time being.

Hunter X Hunter Part 3 is a fantastic continuation of Gon and Killua’s journey, with the new characters and stakes continuing to be fun and engaging. The tension in the beginnings of the Chimera Ant arc is incredible, and very few anime series have gripped me so thoroughly as this series did during and after my viewing of those episodes. Despite being unsure and, if I’m being completely honest, a little nervous of what is to come in Part 4, I’m completely invested and keen to see more.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.

POT (Yoshihiro Togashi) 1998-2011 ©VAP・NTV・Madhouse