Gon: A Sociopath Study Case
The world of Hunter x Hunter is utterly fantastic. Every arc of the story is peppered with interesting characters, plot twists, emotional and tragic revelations. What I especially love about the story is diversly imaginative it is.
It's not all peaches. There is one thing I particularly don't like. That's Gon. I find Gon to fall into the category of sociopathic manga/anime leads.
The typical, sociopathic anime lead leans on certain characteristics:
1. He's completely uninterested in the world around him
2. He follows only his set of moral values, even though they may seem inapropriate to adress the situation the character is currently in
3. He seems to always neglect other's needs in order to fulfill objectively trivial pursuits
Now, there are a lot of characters that fall into this category. There is most famous example, Goku from Dragon Ball series. There is also Ichigo Kurasaki from Bleach. Of course, Luffy from One Piece.
Honorable mention would go to Naruto from the Naruto series, but that is up to debate. The before mentioned characters are ready to do anything to satisfy their needs, no matter how trivial they may be to the story.
It could be argued that this is due to character build or development. This, however, is also up to debate. While these characters may seem to be highly moral and generally good, their choices often lead to demise of their friends and situations they care about.
The notorious example resides in 90% of the fights the characters partake in. They always seem to forgive their opponents and try to "be friends" with them. This is perfectly painted in Ichigo's relationship with Grimmjow in Bleach series. They fight through out the arc. Grimmjow tries to kill him every time they meet. In the end, Ichigo wins in their final confortation, only to spare and befriend Grimmjow.
While this may be used to show how character is noble and benevolent, it is highly illogical.
However, Gon is especially heavy on befriending villians/opponents. Gon will befriend anyone he finds fit. However, the measure of what Gon finds fit is totally uknown and beyond the understanding of other characters. While it may be added to the argument that Gon is generally great guy, we should examine this further.
More importantly, we should find the right question for this issue:
What it is the difference between a genuinely good-guy type of character and sociopathic character?
And even more appropriatelly, does it even matter?
I find that the second questions holds importance over the first one. While we may go and discuss in-depth if a certain charcter is a sociopath, it is more important to seek out if that even matters.
This stems from the fact that if we choose to say that it doesn't matter, then the argument falls apart. Then, this examination means nothing. However, if we were to say that it does matter, then we can have the examination.
To the best interest of any entertaiment is to have plausible, intelligent characters, who according to their structure will provide logical actions and conclusions to the story.
If character can't do that, story suffers and we are left uninterested and in search of another show to watch.
For me, a great good-guy character is Doctor Tenma from "Monster" series. Now, Tenma goes through a lot during the series, yet, Tenma is struggling with the idea of killing Johan. Johan is the personification of evil, something that shouldn't be. However, Tenma's dilemma is so great, because, if he kills Johan he loses the right to be a doctor ever again.
Again, if he let Johan live, he risks endless lives that Johan will take without a blink. That's what makes Tenma great, interesting and unforgettable. Unlike Gon, Tenma has a real issue on his hands. He has to go over his own boundaries in order to get what he truly desires. On the other hand, Gon's motivation is revealed in the search for his father. While his father constantly "evades" Gon, in order for Gon to become stronger, Gon never shows any real attachment to his father. Unlike Killua's blatant homoeroticism towards Gon, which indeed builds the biggest portion of the story, Gon just does things.
Gon never chooses, he has fits. He just wants to get stronger and fight. Unlike Killua or Doctor Tenma who always stake everything to defend those whom they love, Gon is ready to sacrifice anything to achieve his goals. Example are numerous character through out the series he either used or sacrificed. To not spoil your enjoyment Fam, I won't disclose those character. However, I do recommend that you watch Chimera ant arc to see what I'm talking about.
This is kind of hard to watch
Even in comparison to other characters of the same category, Gon fails once again. While Goku and Ichigo are sociopaths, who mostly care about fighting, they fight to protect. Ichigo leans more toward being the hybrid of sociopath/protector due to his interest in Orihime, Rukia, Ishida and Karakura Town. Even then, Ichigo never uses any clear strategy or his powers. He just fights until he overpowers his opponents. Goku, to be fair, declares that he loves to fight more than anything. Goku's sociopathy is hard to determine due to most issues in series bing planets that are about to blow up. Therefore, it's not hard to imagine that Goku's thirst for blood and planets protection go hand in hand.
Gon doesn't have any kind of similar motivation. He fights for sake of fighting, with motivation bleak at best.
This couldn't be possible if Gon's portrayal as a character wasn't done in this way. In comparison to Killua who manages to completely change through out the series, Gon doesn't change. Gon is prone to mood swings and instant decisions which make no sense to other characters in the show. While he keeps acting childlike and carefree, Gon is seen changing into killing machine in a matter of seconds. Numerous characters are reported saying that they believe that Gon would seriously kill them.
Would that even matter to Gon? Probably not. Gon isn't concerned with such issues. He simply does as he sees fit. That's what makes Gon truly terrifying. I find him to be weakest in disguising the fact that only cares about combat and slaughter. To make things worst, Hunter x Hunter has the biggest body count of all mentioned series.
In that death archive, Gon can be credited with quite a few kills.
My verdict on Gon is that he's a blood craving, violent sociopath, carefully packaged into small boy.
Does it even matter?
There are two answers for that. First, it doesn't really. I can attest to that, that Gon is easily one of my favorites anime/manga wise. Of course, in combination with Killua, I find him even greater my dearest Fam. However, as the further implications and understanding of Gon and the series is concerned, I have a few issues.
As a lead, would Gon ever be able to deliver a truly amazing conclusion to Hunter x Hunter? He has no clear motivation to actively participate in the world of hunters. It's clear that his search for his father will make him stronger. Then what? Gon is already, as every shonen lead ever, potentially the strongest in the whole series. Again, then what? As the series hits hiatus, Gon is already insanely strong and is able to fight on par with almost every character. Killua on the other hand, had to go through the character development to become stronger. What makes Killua so great, is the fact, that he as an assassin wasn't as strong as he is now. Gon just becomes stronger and stronger.
Also, what is so great about Hunter x Hunter world is that it has so many facets. There are various types of hunters and job that hunters can do. That makes possible for characters to actually access and change the world around them. Kurapika stopped Phantom Troupe, Gon's father and his friends built the Greed Island, Netero created the Hunter Association. Gon always seems to be just there for the ride. This argument wouldn't have any grounds if we don't compare him to other characters in that regard.
Gon going savage
Other characters seem to understand the fine politics of the world they are inhabiting. That wouldn't be the case for Gon.
Why this even matter if we already know that Hunter x Hunter is an awesome show? Because, it could be better. Let's get back to Tenma once again.
What I love about Monster is the sheer fact that Tenma has so many ups and downs. This makes him believable. Tenma doesn't necessarily need to a doctor. He could be a hunter. But, let's imagine something.
Let's imagine that like Tenma, Gon has to go through politics, secrecy, unwritten rules of society, and fight with other factions not just for fighting. But for ideas. What makes Monster so great is the battle of ideas. If Gon actually had one, that he is trying to manipulate, instrumentalize or use in any conceivable manner, the show would be ten times better.
So, for better or worst, this isn't the case. However, my verdict is that Gon is a sociopath. Anyways, I definitely recommend the show.
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