It is truly rare to find an incredible anime series that also happens to feature multiple villains who seriously grab your attention. All too often, if the series does have multiple antagonists, one of them stands out above the others. However, one of the best things about Hunter x Hunter is its solid cast of villain characters.
As far as having well-rounded antagonists, Hunter x Hunter checks both of those boxes. And today, you’re in luck. We’re going to be going over two of the most profound and well-developed villains found in it: Chrollo and Hisoka.
But First, Who Are Chrollo and Hisoka?
If it has been a while since you watched Hunter x Hunter (or if you haven’t watched it at all yet!), it is worth mentioning the significance of these characters. Out of these two villains, we are first introduced to Hisoka.
Hisoka is one of the first individuals who Gon, the protagonist, meets when he is attempting to become a hunter like his father. As the trials to become a hunter progress, the audience experiences firsthand the bloodthirsty and maniacal nature of Hisoka.
Hisoka’s key drive as an antagonist is that he wants to fight and destroy the strongest of opponents. Considering his high level of skill, and that he leaves most of his opponents dead after their fight, Hisoka will actively go out of his way to cultivate and “watch over” promising candidates — who he might kill along the way.
This is how Hisoka’s main focus lies on Gon, who he sees as a prime candidate to fight and kill, but only when Gon is fully trained and at his strongest. Knowing that this is Hisoka’s prime drive, it puts him in some extremely interesting scenarios. For example, there are times when Hisoka explicitly takes out “weaker” targets who stand in Gon’s path, so that Gon can continue to get stronger.
This is easily seen in the first few arcs, where Hisoka gives Gon all the tokens he needs to pass one of the Hunter Exam challenges. That way, Gon isn’t immediately disqualified. Indeed, it is Hisoka’s desire to fight strong people that brings him to an impasse of sorts when it comes to Chrollo.
Who is Chrollo? He’s none other than the leader of a band of thieves and assassins, known as the Phantom Troupe. The Phantom Troupe is made up of some of the strongest individuals the series has to offer, and Hisoka is one of them. However, it becomes clear to the audience very early on that Hisoka is interested in the Phantom Troupe insofar as it allows him to get close to Chrollo, the leader.
Chrollo, like most of the troupe, is shrouded in mystery and power, with viewers not necessarily knowing his powers for quite a few episodes after his introduction. Nevertheless, it soon becomes clear that Chrollo’s ability puts him on par for combat with Hisoka.
The Main Differences Between Chrollo and Hisoka
It is important to examine the key traits and skills of each character before really considering who would win in a fight. Here are a few key details about these two characters:
- Chrollo is more selfless and idealistic, whereas Hisoka is selfish and narcissistic
- Hisoka’s motives and plans are cryptic, whereas Chrollo’s goals are concise and transparent.
- Chrollo has an arsenal of powers that he can use for each situation, whereas Hisoka is limited to his overall power and the element of surprise.
- Hisoka ultimately works as an individual, whereas Chrollo is, at heart, a part of the Phantom Troupe.
A Closer Look at Hisoka’s Powers
There is a significant build-up to finding out what Hisoka’s powers actually are. At the onset of the show, when he first makes his appearance, it seems that he is simply an ungodly strong and fast individual, who could murder anyone he pleases.
Later, we find out this is likely a result of him being able to use Nen. Hisoka’s powers are as follows:
- Enhanced strength. Ranking as one of the top 5 strongest characters in the whole show
- High intelligence. While not on par with some of the heroes and villains of the show, Hisoka has the ability to plan ahead and to create complex traps in combat, such as his duel in the Heaven’s Arena Arc.
- Nen abilities. These include:
- Bungee Gum. He can create a substance that has the flexibility of rubber and gum. He can change it at will, attaching it to any and all surfaces.
- Texture Surprise. He can use it to manipulate objects and disguise himself, but this falls apart when objects are interacted with.
Overall, Hisoka has fairly surprising strength and endurance, despite his Nen class as a Transmuter. These skills suggest that he might do especially well in combat if he sets up traps or knows how an opponent will fight, but less well if the combatant sets up conditions on their own terms.
A good example of this is Hisoka’s duel in the Heaven’s Arena. Hisoka has fought this opponent before, knew the rage and frustration the opponent had out for him, and had even possibly seen the opponent use his powers before. This allowed Hisoka to create a believable scenario where the opponent thought he had the upper hand on Hisoka, but was really falling deeper into his trap.
Breaking Down Chrollo’s Powers
Chrollo’s powers, mentioned previously, remained a mystery for a good portion of the Yorknew City Arc, where Chrollo was first introduced. The audience does figure out rather quickly that he must be extremely strong to keep the rest of the Phantom Troupe in order, though, since no one seriously contemplates fighting Chrollo.
The first time we actively see Chrollo engage in combat is when he is hunted down by Silva and Zeno Zoldyck. Zeno and Silva are the two patriarchs of the Zoldyck family, a family of assassins and hired killers. During this battle, we see that Chrollo is able to keep the two at bay, before finally escaping. Zeno makes the comment that, if Chrollo had taken the fight seriously, he would likely have been able to take both Zeno and Silva down.
Chrollo’s abilities are extremely diverse, given a basic knowledge of his Nen category. Chrollo is classified as a specialist, a rare class of Nen users that has a hybrid of all the other powers. Chrollo’s main threat is that, the more he fights, the stronger he gets, as he has the ability to steal powers from other Nen users.
His physical powers and ranking are as follows:
- Superhuman strength. Seventh strongest in the Troupe, stronger than some of the Enhancers in the group
- Super speed. Enhanced speed, combined with a near impenetrable Zetsu, allows him to practically materialize in front of some opponents.
- Genius intellect. Running the Troupe and his background growing up has led Chrollo to become a master tactician and be able to engage multiple foes all at once.
- Master of hand-to-hand combat. Chrollo defended himself in hand-to-hand against Hunter x Hunter’s two best assassins and still came out unscathed.
Overall, Chrollo is a strong opponent, putting himself in a category slightly below Chairman Netero, Meruem, and some of the elite Chimera Ants later in the series. Chrollo does especially well in combat when he engages opponents on his terms and when he focuses simply on stalling for time. This allows him to fully examine the situation and to figure out which Nen abilities would best serve to defeat this opponent.
What are Hisoka’s Actual Chances of Winning?
Hisoka is not strong enough, as things stand, to win a direct and strength-based one-on-one with Chrollo. Chrollo is also at a point where, with all the abilities he has at his disposal, it makes him a fearful and versatile combatant.
To lay the groundwork, one of the best things Hisoka could do to weaken his opponent and bring him closer to his level would be to kill the Nen users from whom Chrollo has stolen their powers. Once the user dies, the power disappears from Chrollo’s book. Although doing this might be easier said than done.
Hisoka’s opportunities to win a fight with Chrollo are:
- Make Chrollo fight him at a prearranged location so Hisoka could plan out traps and illusions using Bungee Gum.
- Have the duel in a location where there is lots of deadly or useful objects lying around. In the Phantom Rouge movie, Hisoka kills Chrollo with a discarded sword, so something similar might work in actual combat.
- Stealth Attack Chrollo using deceptive tricks like Texture Surprise to confuse Chrollo. This may not work, though, if Chrollo’s Nen is strong enough to let him see through this trick.
So, What’s the Best Tactic or Scenario?
Hisoka’s true drive and masochistic joy is to look into people’s eyes as he breaks them, and for them to truly know that he utterly destroyed them. For Hisoka to best get what he wants, in the case of Chrollo, would be to use Chrollo’s own weapons against him.
Chrollo carries a toxic dagger which can paralyze even the strongest of enemies. If Hisoka could either use Bungee Gum to trap Chrollo or to get Chrollo’s dagger — and then use it to paralyze Chrollo — Hisoka could savor Chrollo’s torment and fear before Hisoka killed him.
And What About Chrollo’s Chances of Winning?
Chrollo would certainly be considered the top dog in this fight, so long as he sets it in ideal conditions. Chrollo’s general strength is superior to Hisoka’s, and his intelligence and speed being on par — if not also superior.
Overall, Chrollo would need to approach this fight humbly, so as to not underestimate Hisoka and make a deadly mistake. His opportunities to win a fight with Hisoka are:
- Prepare for the fight by stealing abilities that would directly counter or hinder Hisoka’s Bungee Gum and Texture Surprise
- Have a one-on-one duel at a location of his choosing. Chrollo could assign Phantom Troupe members to make sure the grounds weren’t tampered with and that Hisoka couldn’t use the environment to his advantage.
- Incite Hisoka’s bloodlust, which trades of intelligence and tactics for overall power. Fighting Hisoka in such a state would be a slugfest, but considering Chrollo defended against the two best Zoldyck assassins, he could handily beat Hisoka in hand-to-hand combat.
And For Chrollo, What’s the Best Tactic or Scenario?
A sort of cheat from this situation would be to weaken himself to a point where Hisoka wouldn’t want to fight him. Or, on the other hand, he could become so strong as to make fighting him a suicide mission.
Hisoka carefully chooses who he will fight and when, and has even passed on killing Chrollo because he had his Nen stolen by Kurapika. For Chrollo, it is far more likely that he would rather become overpowered than to be powerless, though.
Have Chrollo or Hisoka Ever Actually Fought?
If we are looking at all of the available source material, then the answer is “yes.” Chrollo actually fights and kills Hisoka in a duel in the manga. After the defeat, Hisoka is then revived and heads off to fight Chrollo again.
If we are looking at solely the anime, though, there has never been a direct fight between the two characters in either the 1999 version or the more recent 2011 versions. The closest we get to a physical altercation between the two is when Hisoka fights the marionettes of Chrollo, Feitan, and Shalnark in the Hunter x Hunter: Phantom Rouge movie.
However, it is worth noting that these marionettes have none of the Nen abilites of those characters, merely their speed, weapons, and physical strength. In that situation, Hisoka won handily. But without the Nen comparisons, this example is negligible.
Overall, it is likely that the anime will not ever see a concrete fight decided between Chrollo and Hisoka, though it is possible the manga will address this. Now, who will win between Hisoka and Gon is another question entirely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Answer: In the manga, Chrollo has a duel with Hisoka in the Heaven’s Arena and kills him. It is worth noting, however, that Chrollo may have had help from members of the Phantom Troupe which allowed him to win the fight.
Answer: The closest to this is episode 58. That is the episode where Hisoka comes to fight Chrollo, but finds out he cannot use Nen or Kurapika’s abilities will kill him. Hisoka refuses to fight a weakened Chrollo and leaves to find a way to return Chrollo to his full strength before killing him.
Answer: Hisoka dies in the Heaven’s Arena while fighting Chrollo, but he’s then immediately revived by Machi. After he is revived, he swears to kill all the spider members, so that Chrollo will feel true pain before he dies.
Answer: At the show’s onset, Killua is certainly stronger than Gon. However, as time goes on and they both continue to work on Nen, Gon keeps pace with Killua. Gon lacks the tactics and intelligence that Killua possesses, but Gon makes up for that in overall strength and power.
Answer: This is a loaded question. At the beginning of the series, Hisoka is Gon’s clear superior. However, as each arc passes and Gon grows stronger, a fair line-up between Gon and Hisoka seems to appear.
Ultimately, if Gon learned to master or develop his special Nen powers quickly, he could give Hisoka a run for his money. But as things stand at the end of the show, Gon still needs to grow a bit before he could beat Hisoka.
Our Final Thoughts
Chrollo versus Hisoka would indeed be an eye-catching fight, and would likely be one budget-burning episode when it comes to the extensive and drawn out fight. However, given the poor health of the manga creator, Yoshihiro Togashi — as well as the limited access to any future source material — it is more likely at this point that Hunter x Hunter will be remastered again for a third time before a new season would be released.
However, viewers can cross their fingers and hope to eventually see a battle on par with that in the manga. Fortunately, there are multiple shows like Hunter x Hunter with different themes or genres. And the bottom line is, if you’re interested in compelling stories, the anime and manga continue to be wonderful sources of it!