Hunter X Hunter's Structure Forced Some Major Character Changes For Gon

The protagonist of "Hunter x Hunter," Gon, is a lovable nutjob. He is a very loyal and friendly character driven by a desire to find his father, but his reckless ambition to be a successful Hunter gives him an edge. Gon's unpredictable and at times immoral behavior makes him multi-dimensional and exciting. Manga creator Yoshihiro Togashi almost decided to go in a totally different direction with Gon's personality, one that would have completely rerouted the story.

At the beginning of "Hunter x Hunter," Gon leaves his loving foster mother at home to take the Hunter exam. His primary motive is finding his long-lost father, who is traveling the world as a famous Hunter. In order to find him, Gon must also become an extraordinary Hunter. Over time, his motivation becomes focused on maximizing his strength, helping his friends, and going on adventures. He remains honest but doesn't always do the right thing.

Togashi thought of making Gon into a less morally complicated person when he first started writing "Hunter x Hunter." "At first, I wanted to make Gon a good boy that would dominate the polls for 'characters you want to have as a son,'" the author recalled to Jump Magazine (translation via Reddit). As Togashi's story began to evolve, so did his main character. "As soon as the serialization began ... or rather, as soon as I started writing my draft, I felt like that wasn't quite it. A boy who proclaimed that he would abandon his foster mother to become a Hunter isn't quite a good son, is he? I started thinking, 'This is one really crazy kid.'"

Gon went from a good kid to a crazy one

Gon's status as a "crazy kid" would guide the rest of the narrative in "Hunter x Hunter." Instead of being about the inner conflict of a young child forced into battle like "Neon Genesis Evangelion," Togashi's "Hunter x Hunter" would focus on a boy excited to get into fights.

"If I had made my protagonist a 'right proper lad' and drawn a battle manga with it, it would have raised complications when he had to duke it out. [...] I thought that wasn't where I wanted to go with this story. I did not want to alienate my readers who would read for the fights. Thanks to making a 'crazy kid' like Gon the protagonist, I was able to write battles without having to depict moral conflicts within the character."

Even though Gon wasn't good or "proper," Togashi still had sympathy for his main character. "I thought it couldn't be helped that he would behave that way, as he was in turn the son of a father who did indeed abandon his child to become a Hunter. To me, he was a natural character," the author explained. Given the example that Gon's father set for him, it would have been less realistic if he was a morally upstanding character. It also would have been far less interesting.

Gon's craziness guides "Hunter x Hunter" into adventures that are just as insane as the protagonist. Without the same drive for thrill-seeking as his elusive father, Gon wouldn't have had a chance of finding his father. Their similarities are what keep Gon hot on his father's trail — a message that the series reinforces time and time again. "Hunter x Hunter" with a goody-two-shoes Gon would have been like "Evangelion" with a well-adjusted Shinji — nothing special.