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First of all, let's start by saying this isn't exactly a negative review. HXH is good. Really good. It's a shounen manga, but one with a level of intelligence you don't usually see in the genre. This manga focuses heavily on character development, showing characters that deal realistically with their problems, and conflicts that are not as simple as good guy VS bad guy, with each side being capable of being both selfish or selfless depending on the situation. It also has what is probably the best fighting system in the genre, with a very elaborated power level system, and very strategical fights, where the stronger guy can always lose to the weaker one if he is outsmarted. Finally, the storytelling is phenomenal. Each arc has a carefully constructed plot composed of multiple characters, complicated intrigues and numerous plot twists. This is a manga that will leave you thirsty for more, as the story grows more and more thrilling and the stakes are raised to impossible levels.
Unfortunatelly, that's where HXH's biggest weakness lies. Because I've never seen an author so good at destroying audience spectations as Togashi. At each arc, we get a long and thrilling build up, which promises us an epic battle, and in the end doesn't even try to deliver it. For example, in one arc, the villains are developed so much, and the hero's motivation is deconstructed so well, that by the end there is simply no reason for the hero to fight the villains. In other arcs, the power level system is built so realistically, that the heroes realize they don't even stand a chance against the mooks, and then fulfill their goals by other means. There is only one exception, Greed Island arc, which delivers everything it promises and is my favorite one for that reason.
In the end, all that's left is a bitter taste in the mouth. A feeling of what could have happened, as the plot moves into another arc to start it all over again. It seems Togashi attempted to deconstruct the genre, but ended up overdoing it and forgot what made shounen fun in the first place: the epic, badass moments where good triumphs versus evil after all the hardships.
But please, read HXH. It will be unlike anything you've read before, and a worthwhile experience. If you like shounen, you'll enjoy it. But if you really love shounen, you'll always feel like something is missing from it.
I totally agree. I was expecting something waaaay bigger from the York New arc.
I'll have to disagree on the fightning system. Nen is really cool, but I gotta say that I found the fights in. Jo Jo's bizarre adventure to be more well developed and strategized. At least, after part 3.
Well, I haven't read Jojo's Bizarre Adventure...
Good thing I'm not a lover of Shonen. Seinen is my favorite genre. So this actually impressed me. Basically, in the real world, good doesn't always triumph over evil and basically we all have disappointments.
But yes, most lovers of Shonen can't handle such disappointments. And rightfully so because people watch shows to escape the real world, not to face it.
One thing to note about this anime in comparison to others, which is why you got the feeling that many battles built up to a climax and never delivered, was the goal of this anime in comparison to most shonen.
In most shonen anime, the main character's goal is usually to be a master at "fighting" of some sort (Pokemon, Naruto, Bleach, etc). Most of the characters' lives in shonen consist of fighting so that they can be the best. Gon's goal in the series, however, is to find his father. Fighting is secondary and is only an asset to him as he searches for his adventurous, dead-beat father who refuses to see his son. This is the reason the fight scenes build up and let down. The fighting is only to teach Gon about his father's life and the life of a real hunter, not to increase his fighting abilities. This difference changes the feeling of the anime.
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