9 Times Hunter x Hunter Made Us Cry Ugly Tears

Killua Cries Over Gon

If you didn’t know better, you’d assume Hunter x Hunter was a happy-go-lucky shonen anime that’s filled with light and joyful moments. Earlier on in the series it certainly appears that way, and later on when they’re doing things like fighting Bubble Horse on Greed Island, it still is exactly that. However, HxH fans know there’s a lot more to this incredible anime than just the fun parts – there are some intensely sad parts as well, most of which actually made us cry.

What are some of the saddest Hunter x Hunter moments? Depending on who you ask, the answer will be different. That said, most of the fandom can agree that Gon’s unhinged transformation is among them – as are Meruem and Komugi’s touching final moments. Other tear-jerking moments include Knov’s breakdown, the Zoldyck family’s treatment of Alluka, and more. 

Break out the tissues, because there’s probably at least one item on this list that will make you shed a tear or two, or three, or a thousand. Over 2,000 HxH fans voted on this list over on Ranker, so we’re presenting it as a countdown with the very saddest moment last.

9. Biscuit Gives Killua An Ultimatum

Biscuit Gives Killua An Ultimatum

While training under Biscuit, Killua receives an ultimatum: figure out how to defeat Knuckle and Shoot, or leave Gon’s side forever. Why does she ask him to do this? She says that she believes that unless Killua gets a grip on himself, he will abandon Gon when he needs him the most. If he can’t be trusted to be there for Gon in a crisis, he shouldn’t let Gon rely on him.

This sends Killua into a spiral. Ultimately it leads to something good – Killua removing the mind-control needle that his brother Illumi placed in his head – but it still forced him to question the most meaningful friendship he’s ever had in his life. His inner pain in this scene is palpable. 

8. When The Zoldycks All Call Alluka A Thing

When The Zoldycks All Call Alluka A Thing

The moment where Killua admits to being a bad big brother and apologizes in tears is a tearjerker, but it’s also kind of heartwarming. 

The Alluka moment that’s truly sad, with nothing positive to buoy it, is every time one of her parents or siblings refers to her as a ‘thing,’ says that she isn’t a part of the family, misgender her, or otherwise treat her with extreme disdain and disrespect. While it’s understandable that they’d be wary of her incredible power, hearing the Zoldycks talk about their child or their sister as if she isn’t even human hits hard. 

7. Squala Passes Away Before He Gets A Chance To Live A Normal Life

Squala Passes Away Before He Gets A Chance To Live A Normal Life

Squala is one of the senior bodyguards serving the Nostrade family, and he kind of hates his job. In fact, he wants to quit as soon as possible and live a happy, stress-free life with his girlfriend Erika and his pet dogs. It’s easy to understand why he hates doing a thankless and dangerous job, and to hope he’ll achieve that rosy future. But his story wouldn’t be on the list if he got what he wanted. Instead, he ends up getting taken out by Nobunaga and Pakunoda just before he has the chance to get out. Erika and the dogs are devastated – and watching Erika cry really drives home the sadness of the scene.

6. Pokkle & Ponzu’s Untimely Demises

Pokkle & Ponzu's Untimely Demises

When we first meet Pokkle and Ponzu, they’re among the many contestants in the Hunter Exams. Both try their best, but only Pokkle is able to pass the exam and move towards his goal of becoming a Beast Hunter. But Ponzu’s bee-based techniques make her useful despite her lack of hunter status, so she ends up joining Pokkle and a few other friends to infiltrate NGL and try to deal with the Chimera Ants. 

Sadly, the two don’t make it out alive. Ponzu is shot repeatedly while Pokkle is kidnaped by the Ants so that they could force him to reveal the secrets of Nen before ultimately disposing of him. Pokkle’s broken voice as an Ant fiddles around in his brain is low-key horrifying. 

The poison icing on the equally poison cake is that just before they meet their grisly fate, there’s a moment when the two of them are riding on a motorcycle together, looking very content to be in each other’s presence. Though they’re not confirmed to be in a relationship, that moment brings up questions about what could have been.

5. Witnessing Kite’s Corpse

Witnessing Kite's Corpse

Kite’s body is eventually recovered by the rest of his allies, but this is not a cause for celebration. That’s because what they discover is even worse than Kite simply not being alive. His body is being controlled by the Chimera Ants’ Nen, making him not only unable to recognize his allies, but forcing him to mindlessly attack anyone who gets near him. Gon is devastated by this, and tries repeatedly to get close to Kite even though doing so gets him hurt.

This moment is made even worse in retrospect, because everyone believes that Kite is still alive underneath his controlled state. In reality, what they’re fighting is actually little more than well-preserved corpse. 

4. Reina Reunites With Her Mother

Reina Reunites With Her Mother

In one of the shows’ more brutal moments, a little boy named Kurt and a little girl named Reina are attacked by Chimera Ants and transformed into a member of their ranks. While Kurt turns into a winged being who successfully integrates into the Chimera Ants, Reina becomes a silent little girl with an ant head.

After Meruem and the Royal Guards are defeated, the surviving Chimera Ants attempt to reintegrate into society. This includes Reina, who is reunited with her mother. One would expect her mom to recoil in horror upon seeing a human with the head of an ant, but she immediately recognizes her as her daughter and embraces her. It’s actually a happy moment, but one that highlights all the pain and suffering that it took to get there.

3. Gon Loses His Cool

Gon Loses His Cool

When Gon finally realizes that it’s impossible for Neferpitou to heal Kite, he’s emotionally broken. At first, he quietly repeats the information to himself as he tries to process the finality of death, but once it finally sinks in, he’s filled with more rage than anyone ever thought possible. He accesses all the power he’ll ever have in his entire life in order get revenge and destroy Pitou.

The end result isn’t a triumph – it’s miserable to see a sweet, well-meaning kid so overcome with rage and grief that he has no room in his heart left for mercy. Watching Killua’s shocked reaction to finding his horribly changed best friend in the aftermath is no picnic, either. 

2. Meruem & Komugi Play Their Final Game Of Gungi

Meruem & Komugi Play Their Final Game Of Gungi

This isn’t just one of the saddest scenes in Hunter x Hunter, it’s one of the saddest scenes in anime, period. 

As the King of the Chimera Ants, Meruem isn’t really sure what the point of his existence is other than amassing power. While his Royal Guards find plenty of meaning in that pursuit, Meruem is looking for something a little more personally meaningful. He finds this with Komugi, a human girl who is an expert at a game called Gungi. When playing with her, he finds himself utterly enraptured by the game – and unexpectedly attached to Komugi. He develops a bond with her beyond anything he was thought to be capable of feeling. 

Sadly, the two don’t have much time to spend together. After the poison from Netero’s Poor Man’s Rose infects Meruem, he wants to play one last game of Gungi with Komugi in what little time he has left. He warns her that the poison is contagious, but she decides to pass away with him. They continue playing until their strength runs out, then move to laying in each others’ arms calling out to each other until only Komugi remains. If you’re not crying by the end of this scene, you probably don’t have tear ducts. 

1. Killua Cries Over Gon

Killua Cries Over Gon

After Gon uses Limitation Transformation, his body is nearly destroyed. Seeing him so profoundly damaged is sad enough, but what really drives it home is Killua’s reaction. He blames himself for not being able to stop Gon before he took such drastic measures, and is terrified of losing him if he can’t carry out his plan to have Alluka wish for him to be healed. He reveals this deep-seated guilt during a conversation with Palm.

Killua’s reaction to Gon’s condition the only one that’s sad: Ging’s seeming indifference hits pretty hard in a different way, and Leorio’s clumsy speech in front of the rest of the Hunters has some impact too. But it’s hard to top Killua’s guilty tears in terms of pure misery.