Hunter X Hunter’s York Shin City Arc: A Viewer’s Guide

Call it the exception that proves the rule or as I refer to it, the Shounen Outlier. Regardless of what you call it, the York Shin City arc of Hunter X Hunter is one of the best arcs of any anime, period. With an excellently crafted story to superb fight scenes to engaging characters, this is one of the few masterpieces out there. However, I’ve always appreciated one of the themes of this arc more than anything else it offered. The theme, in this case, would be the importance of communication, mainly as it relates to teamwork.

If you have watched the anime (either series) or, especially if you have read the manga, then you would know that 90% of the series isn’t about kick ass action sequences, though those are nice, but that it is about communication between characters. As they say, most battles are won before they are ever fought, and Hunter X Hunter clearly exemplifies this. Take the 1999 version (earlier if you reference the manga) for instance. For those of you who were born after 1995, you may not know it, but the internet wasn’t always as ubiquitous as it is now. Back in the day, cell phones were more of a luxury than a necessity, and the internet was for the privileged few. Still, Togashi knew that these devices presented a unique storytelling narrative that would allow for a comparison of children and adults, and that these types of communications would become vital as time passed.

Take, for instance, Gon and Killua. In the York Shin City arc, they act as the naive greenhorns entering the adult world. Gon doesn’t even have a cell phone, and if not for Leorio, he would have been duped into buying a sub par model. Without Leorio, the duo lose all their money speculating on what turns out to be worthless merchandise. It is a startling wake up for the duo as they come off their proverbial Battle Tower high, in which they think they can take on the world with their nen abilities. A bit too head strong for their own good, wouldn’t you say.

Then, compare our dynamic duo to the Spiders. Decisions are made only after much consideration. Communication, more than anything, is vital to the success of the group. For those of you who have seen the 1999 series or have read the manga, the conclusion to the Lucifer/Pakunoda arc highlights this more than anything. Even your classic brutes, the mobsters use cell phones at every turn to communicate status updates and potential changes in a situation. No one (save Kurapika in certain circumstances) ever rushes to judgement or forgoes consulting others.

So when you watch the upcoming parts of the York Shin city arc, watch Gon and Killua as they interact with their world. How do they make decisions? Are they adult decisions, or are they childish? What will the consequences be? Do they learn their lessons? Also, be sure to watch the interactions of the Spiders. Ask yourself, what makes the group so cohesive? How can a group of killers, liars, and cheats not be at each others throats all the time. If you keep these issues in mind, you might even grasp the understanding of the logic used by multiple characters at the end of this arc.


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