Ha! I haven’t dropped this yet. I amaze myself sometimes! So for this week I’m going to assume that “main character” refers to the 4 ones on the promo art (as in Gon, Kurapika, Killua and Leorio), despite the fact that their involvement in the show changes considerably with the different seasons and other characters could be argued to have a bigger impact.
- How did you find HxH?
- Favorite main character
- Favorite supporting character
- Favorite Chimera ant
- Least favorite character
- Favorite Zoldyck Member
- Favorite Villan
- Favorite Nen type
- Favorite Nen ability
- Favorite episode
- Favorite scene
- Favorite opening animation
- Do you ship anyone
- Saddest scene
- Favorite non-nen ability
- Favorite ark
- Least favorite ark
- Favorite type of Hunter
- Favorite character outfit
- Funniest scene
- Who would you cosplay as
- Friendliest character
- Least friendly character
- Best main character family member
- Favorite character backstory
- Worse main character family member
- Manga or Anime
- Most relatable character
- What got you hooked on the show
- Why do you love HxH
Favorite main character
Not that my little disclaimer really matters in any way since my choice is Killua who despite being the last introduced is probably the one most consistently and regularly featured characters throughout the series.
Even without checking, I’m willing to bet that this is the most popular answer to this particular question and for good reasons. Please allow me to probably repeat what everyone else has already said on the subject, just not quite as coherently.
During the first arc, Killua seems much more two dimensional but nevertheless serves as a great foil to all the other more traditionally “good” characters. Although Gon, Leorio and Kurapika all have certain questionable traits, they all have what could be considered reasonably noble goals by shonen standards. Gon thirsts for adventure and wishes to find his missing father, Leorio is trying to gather the resources needed to become a doctor and help those in need and Kurapika is trying to avenge his fallen brethren. However the show ends up portraying each of these characters in the long run, they are, at the very least at first, what you’d expect shonen protagonists to be. Flawed but essentially well meaning.
By contrast, Killua starts off decidedly amoral. His motivations seem to be limited to “for lulz” and his actions are clearly not meant to be seen as heroic. In episode 7, he just straight up murders a more or less innocent bystander because he’s annoyed at someone else. A few episodes later, he has no calms about viciously killing his opponent even though non-lethal means could have been used. That’s it. Not only aren’t there any extenuating circumstances, there are no consequences and no opportunity for redemption. The series simply shows us a series of gruesome murders with a completely neutral tone at the hands of the youngest and arguably most adorably depicted protagonist. That will get most people to pay attention. It also makes all the other main characters seem that much more heroic by comparison.
As I just mentioned, Killua’s design is, for lack of a better word, cute. And cute makes right! Even more so than Gon, he is rife with traditional bishonen elements. The slightly effeminate feature, the lean physique, the white hair for heaven’s sake. I wouldn’t be surprised if his appearance is based on some survey requesting fangirls everywhere to describe their ideal husbando, but then moed up to 11 by making him a kid. That’s just not fair. I also love his fashion sense, it’s very close to my own which makes me regularly accidently cosplay as him. (I have been looking for that multi strap backpack forever, I have a feeling it’s functionality is limited.)
His generally stoic and relatively mature personality is peppered with adorably childish quirks, such as his fondness for sweets, which keeps the oddly adorably vibe going. Moreover, his pragmatic and strategic approach keeps Gon from just mindlessly rushing into every situation and in turn, makes the show a bit more than a series of never ending battles. His very cautious nature, which is revealed to have a canon reason, is also a refreshing change. The idea that picking a losing fight is stupid rather than courageous should be self-evident, yet it’s almost never expressed in anime.
Now I am not the most patient when it comes to tragic pasts and definitely do not care for Freudian excuses, and Killua falls more or less in both categories. There is no denying that his childhood can be described as somewhere between dysfunctional and horrific, and his callous attitude is certainly explained by that but in his case, I didn’t mind. Part of that is because the series never suggests in any way that his more reprehensible actions are in any way justifiable, rather it defines Killua as a product of his environment no more, no less. Also, the drama of his past is strangely undercut by the fact that his family clearly loves him (in some cases maybe too much), and he doesn’t hate them either. Going to them on several occasions for help and considering returning home someday. This weird but inexplicably sustainable, family dynamic is one of the most unique I’ve ever seen.
Speaking of Killua’s relationships, one cannot overlook his platonic life partner Gon. Boys do tend to strike up these seemingly instantaneously deep friendships, especially animated ones. What starts out as out as two similar kids having no one else to play with ends up as defining relationships for both of them, although in very different ways. One would think the generally ultra-friendly and optimistic Gon would be the one to show Killua the true nature of friendship, or some similar flighty nonsense I always fall for, but over the slow course of 148 episodes, it becomes undeniable that Killua always cared much more for Gon than the other way around. His dedication to his friend quickly surpasses a momentary liking. He cares about Gon not only in the traditional “friendship before all” sense of anime, but he actually cares about Gon’s best interests even at the cost of hurting him or losing him. Killua will not support his friend if he thinks he’s making a mistake, and he will fight with him if he thinks it’s necessary. He cares not only about his physical wellbeing but obviously about his character and strength of mind. Which makes any slight disappointment he may have in Gon feel like an actual betrayal, yet he stands by his friend. Maybe he doesn’t have quite so many that he can afford to lose one but I think there’s more.
And here it is. Killua’s greatest character appeal for me was always his impressive evolution. He went from the black sheep, amoral foil, to the beating heart and soft soul of the show. The Killua from episode 4 and the one at the end of the series are both completely different yet clearly the same. It was quite a feat to make a character do essentially a moral 180 and make it feel completely natural. But it was also completely consistent. Killua starts off as a lonely brat with a difficult childhood and a seriously skewed sense of ethics as he was taught by his family. He’s also just a kid, with all the carelessness and selfishness that implies. But little by little, episode by episode, he grows up. He meets people, he discovers new things. He gets hurt, disappointed, disillusioned. He starts to see the value of hope and the strength of having a purpose. He discovers the power of beliefs. He starts to figure out who he is as a person and who he wants to be, outside and beyond simply Gon’s friend. By the last arc, he is complex and layers enough to carry the show by himself.
I get attached to series and I do this thing when a show is particularly dear to me, I tend to sort of leave the last season/ few episodes to the side, that way it can never end. It took me a month and a half before watching Rakuzan vs Seirin. I had a lot of feelings when I started the last arc of HxH and figured I would probably never see the end. By then, the character of Killua had become such a force to recon with that I got mesmerized. I accidently watched the entire arc in three days. Now that is some good characterization.
Suggested drink: Big brothers (you thought I was going to go for assassin, didn’t you)
- Every time you’re impressed by Killua’s manicure – have a drink
- Every time Killua gets together with someone from the family – have a drink
- Every time Killua bickers with someone – have a drink
- Every time Killua gets “assassin face” – have a drink
- Every time Killua is a kitty – daww
- Every time Killua just owns an opponent – cheers
- Every time Killua has electricity motif – be a little sad
- Every time Killua talks dow Gon – Have a drink
- Every time Killua has sweet – have a snack
- Every time Killua hugs Alluka – get the kleenex