Hunter x Hunter, reaction

A while ago I finished Hunter x Hunter manga. Yeah I know, 349 chapters. No, I am not crazy. No I didn’t have so skip work to read it. Come on, is it really that big a deal? 349 chapters?..

Yeah I know it is. Can’t believe I’ve read this huge manga. Though I was reading completely different from how I normally do. But to explain this I’ll need to say a few things about the manga. Spoiler alert, by the way.

Kuroro

Hunter x Hunter is a shounen story with most of the well known attributes of the genre. The story follows a 12 years old boy Gon and his friends who do things. It is kinda similar to the first part of Naruto, where there were random adventure, tournament, random but climactic enemy attack; and all of that didn’t happened specifically with Naruto, he just got involved in the things. Same here, HxH has a “hunter exam”, a fighting tournament, a big fight against a group of criminals, and so on. And I’ll go ahead and say this – all of those plot chunks in both Naruto and and HxH are examples of lazy writing. Tournament, exam – those are the easiest things you can throw in your story. And the payback is low as well, cause the events end up being mundane. Same with random adventures and fights, when you provide no motivation for them they don’t have as much impact.

You think I am being too negative? Hold on, i am not done yet :P

illumi

Look at this panel though. I love how Yoshihiro Togashi experiments with his art.

On top of what I said, unfortunately HxH is suffering from a few other diseases. First, the manga is heavy on text. And it is not an interesting text, just a bunch of explanations that you don’t really need. Second, every new arc starts really weak. For example, the biggest (and, in my opinion, the best written) arc started with this premise: “there is an ant queen that spawns soldier ants combined with humans and animals, and we are going to fight them”. Why would I be invested in that fight, even a little bit? These are new born soldiers, they can’t have any interesting motivations or thoughts. And there is no mystery, no sense of wonder. So why would I want to read that?

Third, the art style drops in quality in a catastrophic manner. I was honestly wondering if some of the chapters were redrawn by translators cause they couldn’t get decent scans.

dat art though

I heard that this kind of quality drop occurred when Togashi had serious personal problems and it was the choice between low quality art or hiatus.

So with all that out, here is how I read it. I skipped most of the explanation text, glanced through the low quality chapters, generally didn’t stay on one page longer than I needed to understand what is happening. That is a disrespectful way of reading, but hey, better than dropping it. And I am glad I didn’t drop the manga, cause behind all this mess it hides some treasures.

09_04_20

I said every arc starts in a boring way. Well, they all pick up speed as they go. Thinking back to every one of them I remember interesting moments, things that made it worth the time for me. It is really strange. When I started Chimera Ants arc, that I mentioned above, I thought that this is it, I am going to stop reading. It was just too boring. And yet that is the arc that in the end made me think that Yoshihiro Togashi has more potential as a shonen manga writer than Kishimoto and Kubo.

manga_kuroro06

HxH does what I never seen in other shonen manga. Antagonist who on his own learns to become humane, and ends up being humbler than his opponent. Few very different but related plot lines in the same arc (different to the point that it feels like multiple stories put together; kinda like what G. Martin does in his Game of Thrones). Good guys actually paying the price for their actions. Let me elaborate on this one. Remember how in Bleach Ichigo sacrificed his power to defeat Aizen? And how he then got a nice arc about him learning new techniques only to get his powers back by the end? That is not paying the price. That is cheating. To pick another shonen hero, Naruto never has to pay at all, he needs a power-up – he gets it for free. In HxH when one of the protagonists did an exchange to get power to beat an opponent, the retaliation was horrifying. He was about to die a horrible death, that is pretty much what he had to pay. And in the and to save the guy from death one of his friends had essentially burden himself for maybe the rest of his life. That was amazing to read.

Gon's hand

Look at that hand. That is how the price looks like. That hand is all we see, but that is enough to get the message across.

There is a lot of things I would have loved to praise this manga for. But I also want to keep the spoilers down. Also I don’t like making plot summaries, and this manga is complicated enough for major events not to make sense without proper explanations. So I’ll leave it at that. I like HxH. See you next time (^_^)/

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10 thoughts on “Hunter x Hunter, reaction

  1. HxH sounds interesting *-* Maybe I’ll read the manga once I am done with the anime.
    I like ‘paying the price’ part =) It gets too boring when the protagonist always gets to have the easy way out >.<

    • Yeah I liked it too. I think you will also find it interesting how the bad and good guys mix. The manga kinda makes you feel sympathy for the villains. And I mean, they remain villains, but you still like them in a normal human way =) There was a small fight later in the manga between two people we get to know pretty well. The stronger one straight up murdered the weaker one. And weirdly, this fight only added to the character of the winner. Its a more twisted manga than usual shonen ^^

  2. For Togashi’s works, I’ve only ever watched the anime of Hunter x Hunter (the original) and the anime of Yu Yu Hakusho. The latter struck me as the better of his works, but I did like all the psychological aspects of Hunter x Hunter, which was foreshadowed in some of the later episodes of Yu Yu Hakusho. One day, I’ll watch the HxH remake, and I expect that is as much Togashi as I can stand–unless he comes out without another new awesome series in the near future. :)

    • Long time no see!
      I can’t give my opinion just yet. I like Yu Yu Hakusho a lot, but I am at the very beginning of the manga. I feel it starts way better than Hunter x Hunter did, but then HxH had most of its great moments later on. So you’ve seen the 1999 version? I like that older animation look, I was even tempted to watch it just for the visuals. It doesn’t have the last arc though, and it is my favorite one. I think that arc can give you something to chew on =) There is a strong moral subtext going through that part of the story, yet it is either too complicated or just confused and random; and I still can’t say I understand it. So I would definitely love to read your take on it.

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