So I've watched the 2011 anime of hunter X hunter and it has taken my soul and now I am interested in reading the manga. How different is it from the anime? Is it worth it to read even if I've watched the anime? And do you know of anywhere I can read it online?
I definitely recommend getting ahold of the manga if possible! Personally I bought the digital versions from Viz’s website. I actually don’t know too much about reputable scanlation groups – I still need to do my own research. (If anyone has any suggestions, let me know. If not, I’ll try to have a recommendation of some kind when I get back from Japan in preparation for the new chapter!)
The most major difference between the manga and the 2011 series is Kite’s intro. Kite was introduced in the first chapter of the manga and was right of the bat the catalyst for Gon’s quest to become a hunter. In the 2011 anime, I’m sure the directors didn’t expect to make it to the CA arc (as it was still unfinished in the manga when the 2011 series began, iirc), so they cut Kite out of the beginning, as well as additional references of him made by Gon throughout the series. For example, I think Gon mentions Kite when he and Killua are running side by side at the beginning of the hunter exam and says that one of his goals is to meet him again. Obviously this changes the 2011 series a lot! Gon’s adoration and respect for Kite seems very sudden to most people who have only seen the anime, but Kite was always supposed to have been a major presence. It kinda sucks because it’s also why a lot of people think Gon is unreasonably upset over Kite’s death – I think in the manga it’s much clearer that Kite was Gon’s real father figure.
There are a number of other smaller changes/additions throughout the series, like the time spent in Trick Tower while penalized. A small scene (couple pages) was removed from the CA arc showing Gon and Killua documenting new species they found while travelling with Kite. Additional changes had to be made due to stricter censorship laws in Japan, so a number of scenes were “toned down” (notably the scene where Killua’s rips out Johness the Dissesctor’s heart – it was much more graphic in the manga and 1999 series, in the 2011 series the heart was wrapped in a piece of Johness’s shirt so it looked really weird).
There might be a guide somewhere with more specific changes. But overall I think the 2011 series did a really fantastic job of preserving the “feel” of the manga and even the added in scenes were usually very seamless imo. My only real beef with 2011 is the first chapter not being accurately adapted, it kinda screws over Gon’s character a little bit. So if you can, I would rec at least reading the first chapter of the manga somewhere (it’s only a few dollars for the first volume on Viz’s website, but I’m sure you can Google around for some scanlations and you’ll be able to find it).