content by

Minyoung Lee

Shonen Anime and the Myth of Meritocracy

During the pandemic, I found comfort in marathoning shonen anime. Hunter x Hunter, a series I started in my teenage years but never finished, was the one to start it all. Hunter follows 11-year-old Gon’s journey on becoming an elite Hunter to find his long-lost dad, as he befriends other Hunters, forms rivalries and allyship, and endures grueling training to overcome the increasingly more challenging obstacles in his way. I watched all 148 episodes back-to-back, cheering this boy’s journey on growing stronger and more confident. Each life-or-death fight and exaggerated decapitations felt soothing and familiar—not what I’d expected I’d be feeling watching these scenes.

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