Hunter x Hunter’s Canary Is One Heck of a Butler

Hunter x Hunter is chock full of interesting characters with unique abilities, but young Canary, the fierce and loyal butler to the Zoldyck family, grabs attention early on in the series. While Canary gets little screen time, she stands out as a memorable character who demonstrates great power as a butler, bodyguard, and friend to Killua.

Canary is first introduced during the Zoldyck Family arc of Hunter x Hunter’s 2011 anime when Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio make their way to Killua’s family’s highly guarded residence. Standing as the gatekeeper, Canary instantly orders the trio to leave because they lack permission to enter the premises. As Gon persists, Canary’s combat skills and resilience shine, proving her worth as a significant Hunter x Hunter character.

Even though Gon pleads with Canary to let him through to visit his friend, she refuses to budge. Gon stubbornly crosses the boundary she set and is instantly struck by her cane on repeat. Though she initially seems cold and heartless for her refusal to let him by, she does have a soft side. Eventually Gon’s dedication moves Canary, and she stays her strike when he smashes through a pillar next to her. In this moment she breaks her unfeeling facade to encourage Gon to help Killua. The moment is swiftly shattered, however, as Killua’s mother sends a bullet at her head.

Canary may be driven by higher powers like Killua’s mother -- who keeps a close and stern watch over everyone -- but she has always had a special allegiance with Killua, who tried to befriend her when they were little. While she clearly felt amity around him, she’s also a very intelligent and calculated girl, deciding not to risk her place among the Zoldycks who are very controlling over Killua.

Canary’s loyalty, however, is far from the only asset she offers as a butler and bodyguard. Wielding a sphere-tipped rod, Canary stuns the recently-licensed Hunters with her impenetrable defenses. Though she's only in her early teens, the ambitious girl worked her way up, becoming an apprentice butler for the Zoldyck family thanks to her expertise in combat. At the age of ten, Canary deftly defeated a professional Hunter and his party of 100 henchmen trying to breach the Zoldyck estate.

Before becoming a butler for Killua’s family, she grew up in Meteor City where she became a hardened fighter. Home to the sinister Phantom Troupe, Meteor City is crawling with lawlessness in the form of mafias and assassins. Learning to survive in such a brutal environment helped shape Canary into the powerful bodyguard she became.

While the esteemed butler hasn’t shown or discussed any special Nen techniques, she possesses a powerful aura that can act as fuel for Tsubone's motorcycle form. Moreover, she’s executed advanced assassination techniques like Shadow Step without even knowing the ability’s name. Coupled with Canary’s tremendous resilience, which she demonstrates by surviving a bullet to the head, she’s practically unstoppable.

It’s also been noted that Canary stands as great representation as a Black character in Hunter x Hunter who’s well designed with her apt hairstyle and facial features – in the more modern 2011 anime, that is. In the early version, her design has been called unflattering and resembles other exaggerated styles of Black women common in early anime.

Hunter x Hunter primarily focuses on Canary in the Zoldyck Family arc, but she does reappear in the 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc to serve as Killua’s guardian alongside Gotoh and Tsubone. In this arc, Canary promises to protect Killua no matter what -- even if she loses her position or life. Despite her come-and-go role throughout the series, no other Zoldyck butler has proved to be as loyal or capable as Canary.

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