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Reviews Manga / Hunter X Hunter

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08/19/2018 09:44:36 •••

Great, but could be phenomenal

This review is perhaps late, but I've experienced a fair share of both the manga and the two animes of Hunter X Hunter, have known about the series for a few years, and would like to discuss some aspects of this series.

Firstly, as many of the previous reviewers have said, HXH is pure, undeniable quality for its genre. Being the genre deconstruction of shonen that it is, the fights are fairly brief and rely more on planning and strategy than on power-ups or common sense-defying determination. (These are very refreshing to watch, but YMMV since HXH certainly doesn't deliver the typical dramatic moments and over-the-top fights that conventional shonen do - if you are someone who likes those, HXH might fall flat). The characters have interesting personality traits that I've not really seen before - Gon's Blue and Orange Morality is especially notable, and Hisoka is a glorious walking radar whose bloodlust is entertaining and disturbing to see. The various plots with their unpredictability, training sequences, Nen uses, battles, etc. remind me of a video game (special mention goes to Yorknew City arc, my favourite in this series).

But you can probably sense the "however..." in my review, as there is one. Frankly, HXH is a series that I struggle to really get into, in the same sense that I do for shows like One Piece. The long and frequent hiatuses really derail the pacing, lead to Arc Fatigue, Ending Fatigue and frustration on the reader's part. After 20 years, we're still at 380 chapters! The art style is...varied, at times looking like it was sketched 5 minutes before publication(looking at you, Greed Island). The hiatuses and the inconsistent art style make the manga, in my opinion, far less than what it could have been. While the 2011 anime had a lovely ending, it felt incomplete - because it was incomplete.

As a result, I feel lukewarm appreciation for the technical aspects of the series, rather than the excited love and commitment that I want to feel. And this, I'm aware, is a very YMMV statement because there are still plenty of fans who love and support the series despite these issues. If you want to watch the anime, I'd highly recommend it, especially the 2011 one. But the manga suffers in my estimation, because I can't help but feel that this series could have been so, so much more than it already is in quality, popularity, storytelling and sheer impact on the industry as a whole, which leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

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