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All of the manga to date
Perhaps one of the most vastly overrated series of all time.

This is not to say that it is bad. It has good-to-decent character designs, fairly interesting characters, and when motivated the artist is quite capable. But it also has glaring flaws that force it into mediocrity: massive inconsistencies in the art (which will occasionally look like he inked his storyboards and submitted them as finished work), weak story-telling, and awful pacing.

Its initial flaw is that it fails to properly explain what a 'hunter' is and does. We are told what it takes to become one, and some examples of jobs that they do, but not why what the purpose of the Hunter system is, who authorizes it, who funds it, why they're in such high demand, or why it's so godawful hard to become one. There is no sense of coherency to the concept of a 'hunter'. This makes it rather hard to care about whether Gon passes the exam to become one.

The first two arcs, comprising almost a hundred chapters, are nothing more than a shallow excuse for fight scenes, filled with threats of an entirely artificial nature. The danger is real, but the danger can also be walked away from at any time. There would be absolutely no consequences if Gon and Killua walked away from the exam, and from there the story catapults directly into a rather dull tournament arc with absolutely nothing on the line. It is difficult to maintain tension under these circumstances.

Even once it moves past this phase, it runs into another problem: training sequences. Endless, mindless training sequences. The entirety of the Greed Island arc is, more or less, Gon and Killua doing training sequences while guys nobody cares about muck around with game mechanics in the background. That's fifty chapters, flushed down the toilet. This is not even including the chapters devoted to lengthy explanations of the mechanics of the pointlessly complex Nen system. The series is constantly interrupting plot for this sort of arbitrary garbage.

And the fight scenes just are not that great. Not bad, but extremely typical of a shonen series.

Overall, not a bad series. But it does not even remotely live up to the hype.

Except for Netero. Netero is everything promised and more.

[EDIT] As of the most recent chapters, the author has officially gone insane. Manga is now utter shit.
About the plot: I'll agree with you on the Greed Island training sequences (even though there are some good plots within the Greed Island arc once you get past the training sequences). However, I disagree with you about the hunter exam. First of all, Gon not wanting to give up is a major character trait, and explains why he never walks away from the danger. True, there would be no consequences from leaving the exam, but all of the characters do have a serious interest in passing the exam. If they walk away, they would have to take it again to get what they want. Killua is never in any actual danger during the exam until he fights his brother (he curbstomped anyone who tries to hurt him before that), and then he does, in fact, walk away from the exam. The exam is also an interesting plot in and of itself, because it develops the world and gives the reader some actual information about what it is that hunters do (Gourmet hunters, for example)and some detail on the characters' pasts (Killua and Kurapika, for example). The exam comprises of relatively few fight scenes, and these 'fight scenes' are more often than not battles of wit coupled with a small amount of physical fighting. The tournament arc is mainly for the purpose of having fight scenes, but these fights show how the characters develop. So, it does have a purpose and I found it rather enjoyable (especially when Hisoka shows up). Of course, there is no major plot or anything major on the line, but hey, it was fun and gave the characters a chance to grow (and a chance to learn a major fighting skill). I can see how someone would disagree with me, though. The Yorkshin arc more than makes up for any deficiencies in the tournament arc. The Chimera ant arc does as well (the art in the tankoban volumes is far and above that of what most scans on the internet provide), and Greed Island, when not in a training sequence or talking endlessly about the cards, actually has a decent plot. I agree on one more point: Netero is awesome.
comment #2471 72.73.15.66 9th May 10
I loved the Greed Island training sequences. I thought it was a great creative non-traditional way of upgrading the protagonists' skills and powers. Also Biscuit made the whole affair very entertaining.
comment #2493 Yuen 11th May 10
There was nothing non-traditional about the Greed Island training sequences. It was practically paint-by numbers.
comment #3817 PikaBot 9th Aug 10
I just wanted to ask if you paid attention during the series at all?

They did say what Hunters are, they are whatever they want to be. There are many different types of hunters in the series (eg: gourmet hunters, head hunters, etc.). "Hunter" is just a title not a job. Also hunters are in high demand because they're strong and filled with specialists, so when the government officials need someone to do head hunting or when they want for someone to fulfill whatever mission there needs to be done, they contact the hunter association and request a hunter. Heck its explained on the main page what a hunter is. Hunters can do tough shady jobs off the books and can be hired by anyone as long as they have the funds (its why Kurapica got hired), and because Hunters are frequently stronger than the average person (it was explained that its actually illegal for non-hunters to know nen). Its kinda sad that they explain what a hunter is on the first two pages of the manga and yet you say you don't know what a Hunter is. 1 2 3 45 6 7 8 and9, Your complaining about something that was explained throughout the Hunter Exam.

Killua had no consequences from walking away from the exam (he did and it later on became a plot point), but Gon actually had a reason to become a Hunter, and if he didn't pass that year he would have wasted a year in finding his father, as he wouldn't have the resources needed. Also the duties of a Hunter appealed to Gon, as well its benefits. The Hunter exam is also very hard because its very dangerous and so is their world, in fact the Hunter Exam was safer than some of the dangers that Gon and Killua had to face over the course of the series. In other words had Gon not passed the Hunter exam it would have shown that he wasn't ready to venture out into the world to find his father. They say it several times in the Hunter Exam itself.

This is basic knowledge to the series which is explained in the main Hunterx Hunter page on this very website.
comment #4410 TheTropeEater 13th Sep 10
Yeah but that doesn't actually explain why such a vague title would come into being or what actual role in society it plays or any of that. 'Hunter' is just whatever the author needs it to be at the moment.

Why would there be a licensing bureau for 'guys who look for rare stuff'? Because it's a dangerous job. Why is it a dangerous job? Because they go after dangerous stuff. Why do they go after dangerous stuff? Because they're a licensed Hunter and nobody else is qualified. Etc. Etc. It's an Ourobourous job, eating its own tail. The simple fact that you listed off several types of hunters and none of them had a thing to do with each other is itself a demonstration of how nebulous the concept of a Hunter is. There is no real concept of a Hunter, just a title slapped onto characters that the author wants to make seem important or powerful by default.

That's a pretty weak consequence for Gon: just try again next year. It's not like there was anything hanging on him passing the exam this time.
comment #4853 PikaBot 21st Oct 10
I suppose the point of the licensing bureau is to give selected people the authority to travel, use Nen, and use the Internet freely. Now that I think about it, that sounds pretty authoritarian.
comment #4886 silver2195 24th Oct 10
  • I'll ignore much of the Selective Obliviousness in your comments about the hunter tittle since thetropereater already had his/her shot at it, but seriously, they live in a world were the dander keeps being turned Up To Eleven very so often. There is a guy who has killed and dismembered over 50 people and when the police caught him he almost ripped the policeman's arm off that needs to be caught for good? you need a rare 50 ft tall lava breathing beast for whatever reason? (medicine, research, etc.), you're filthy rich and would like to try this really rare dish but some of the ingredients are in places literally and with good reason called, hell's cave, madness jungle and thousand tortures island? No worries we got a list of super human people just for such things, how good are they? well each of them has to past this difficult and deadly exam were out of thousands of participants only a handful pass (they said they had to do the final tournament in Gon's year because of how many people they were left which were still less than 10) so you know you're getting the pretty much the most qualified people. The types of Hunters don't have relationships with each other? they're all super human, even the rather unimportant guy who passed that later got killed by the chimera ants was above human, just lacking when compared to the others (kinda like the yamcha or krillin of the bunch). Even Hisoka who is Bad Ass all on it's own went after the hunter's license for the benefits (access to 90% of areas restricted to normal people, access to 75% of areas restricted to the general public, almost no legal repercussions for murder, etc.).
    • Now let's try to brake it down into arcs. The Hunter Exam arc, what is so bad about it? it had lots of different tests, and most of them were about wits, third options, mind games, etc. why didn't they walked out? determination is a mayor trait for every main character, it would had been a total failure if any of them quit mid-through, it's THE defining characteristic of a shonen hero. In fact the only one who quit was the one who had no motive to take the exam other than he was bored. If Gon failed it meant that he wouldn't had been strong enough to search for his father and also wouldn't had the resources. If Kurapika had quit he wouldn't had any means to find anything about the Genei Ryodan. If Leorio had quit he wouldn't had the money (over 10,000,000 loan from the bank for being a hunter or selling the license which amounts to 7 generations of luxury) to realise his dream (that poor people wouldn't had to worry about not being able to afford life saving operations), besides the reason they kept passing the tests were solely because of teamwork, the only who probably could had gotten to the final test alone would had been Killua (he had the necessary mix of strength and brains).
    • The Battle Tower arc....Nen, seriously it wasn't even that long of an arc because of that, it was basically just to introduce Nen, almost each and every fight was used to explain something new about Nen, something that would become the most important thing since that moment, they participated to raise money, they reached the final floor extremely quickly and then found out about Nen and everything revolved around that, I myself found the complexity of Nen one of this series greatest features, it basically said, here's all and everything about Nen, so we're not gonna show you something out of the blue and say it's a never before spoken characteristic of Nen that could had been used 30 times by now (like [[Naruto Sasuke's]] "almost out of chakra" being enough to summon a giant snake and use a transportation jutsu on said snake or the sharingan gaining a new power every 20 chapters some of which are never spoken of again , or Fairy Tail's magic gaining a new feature like lachryma, daily share, etc. and we're still don't know all it can do).
    • The yorknew ark, again it had the subplot of the whole underground mafia and the main plot being kurapika's goal, the Genei Ryodan and his friends getting involved.
    • The Greed Island arc, to me it was a refreshing since it went back to a more light toned (for this series) story, specially since the first review listed here is how the series keeps becoming more and more dark and edgy. I liked the training, to be honest I like training in general, because it shows that the characters had to work to get stronger and not just because the story required it (example Fairy Tail, which I also like but I am a little bothered that the never train). The final fight is even a game of Volleyball! seriously how can you say these fights are and I quote "extremely typical for a shonen series" the hunter exam's last test was a battle of wills, you couldn't kill so it didn't matter who was stronger than who (Gon's battle and Killua's battle are the best examples) Gon knew he was at a huge disadvantage in his battle with the Bomber so instead of just getting a new form/weapon/etc. or pushing his limits by 10 levels like a typical shonen character (dragon ball z, fairy tail, bleach, one piece, reborn, etc.) he used a strategy, he may had won but he never was stronger in all of the duration of the fight, and now here we have a very dangerous fight (even Hisoka had to cooperate to win) which again required strategy (how to take down players, and in the final play hisoka being a cushion, gon a wall and killua a power/pressure etc. mediator) that is literally just a game of volleyball, what is a typical shonen fight for you?.
    • Then we move on to the Chimera Ant arc, which again brakes down your typical shonen strange complaint. Nen became the power level. Gon, Killua, those guy that beat you are stronger than you (knuckle and shoot), they're master and his partner are even stronger (Morel, Knov), and their higher up is non other than Netero. But wait! Pitou is stronger than Netero and s/he's a member of the Royal guards so that means there are 2 others with similar power (one who is main tribute is his frightening power) and above them all the is the Big Bad the king, so yeah the 3 dragons are stronger than your overwhelming leader. In the fight between Knuckle, Meleoron (the chameleon ant), Morel and later Killua against Youpi not even together they had half his power (and he learned how to use it in a more explosive way) yet they manage to put him on his toes with Kuckles using the effects of his nen abilities with help from Meleoron's invisibility nen and Killua's lightning fast techniques that and would had won but at the cost of the life of one of it's members (Morel), yet Yupi was killed by one of the lesser ants in the hierarchy (Welfin) that even while greatly under powered he still could had curb stomped, just because of how the Nen ability of said ant worked. Hell, for a shonen protagonist, Gon sure gets the crap beaten out of him a lot and rarely actually wins.
comment #8286 marcellX 25th Jun 11 (edited by: marcellX)

comment #14685 belarus 6th Jun 12
Why does there have to be a qualification for Gon to do whatever he wants? If you say, 'add interest and tension' there is- by his own convictions. That's the basis of the story, people doing what they want at the cost of their lives, drawn together because apparently Hunters have a lot of power to do whatever they want. Saying one of the main premise of the show (the job of Hunter, the other deconstructed characterization) is nebulous and pointless defeats the whole purpose of the story. Basically, you can't understand/accept the BASIC PREMISE, so you're fitting the rest of what you can understand/accept into a cookie cutter Typical Shonen mold. Er, no offense, it's just not your thing.

It's sort of not, by the way. It's like saying Puella Magica is a typical magical girl series because transformation sequences and glittery powers.
comment #14686 belarus 6th Jun 12
As of 2012, I totally agree this series has Jumped The Shark. I think the long hiatuses really gets into the pacing of the manga; the plot became stale, basically offered nothing new in the Shonen series and the author was banking on the long hiatuses to make his audience forget the staleness of the series. More and more broken "specialization" nen power was pulled out of thin air throwing the balanced "playing field" out of the window.

Gone are the days of incredibly short but gripping encounter of Kurapika vs. Uvogin, masterfully written Kurapika & co. vs. Phantom troupes, and even the "visit Killua's house" arc. The sad thing is in the beginning this series promised so much with all the established mysteries, epic settings, and Always Someone Better. The (somewhat) resolution of Gon father issues, crappy and downright disrespectful unprofessional art style, and hiatus with no end in sight just as the series is getting remade in the anime could just be the last straw that broke the camel's back.

comment #15757 mek4life 11th Aug 12
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