Hunter x Hunter 369-370 + The Latest Hiatus – Review
Synopsis: Gon Freecss aspires to become a Hunter, just like his father. Setting out from his home Gon aims to take the Hunter Examination in order to find and meet his father. During the Examination he makes three friends: Kurapika the last remaining member of the Kurta clan, Leorio a prospective physician in debt and Killua, another young boy born into a notorious assassin family. Together they all aim for their Hunter License, but will they all succeed?
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
Gon has been through many trials. Having acquired his Hunter License Gon has since faced many obstacles. He’s fought in the Heaven’s arena, trained under the kung fu master Wing, clashed with the Phantom Troupe, participated in the dangerous and expensive video game: Green Island, and even took part in the battle for the world against the highly dangerous Chimera Ants.
Gon nearly died in the battle against the Chimera Ants, but thankfully recovered due to the efforts of Killua and his other friends. But now an even greater adventure awaits as the deceased Hunter Chairman’s son, Beyond, seeks to assemble Hunters from across the globe to explore the Dark Continent, a vast and forbidden land hidden from the masses of society.
Well here we are. It’s time again for Hunter x Hunter to go on Hiatus. With each break in this incredibly detailed story it becomes harder and harder to remember all the characters, events, details and keep my interest up for whenever the series next comes back. These chapters don’t make it any easier.
Kurapika wakes from his collapse in the last chapter and we learn Queen Oito collapsed too. After coming to realize it has to do with the sheer cost of the ability he’s been sharing with her, they have the Queen immediately go back on patrol to scoop out the other princes, only to discover one’s nen beast is on guard, and devours the poor bug they’ve been spying with.
From there we’re introduced/reintroduced to a massive hoard of smaller characters, individuals all sent to learn Nen from Kurapika by their masters, the princes and queens. It’s too many names to take in, too many new faces, and even gets a little confusing as someone’s nen beast/apparition, etc. suddenly appears at the end of the chapter. We’ve met a lot of these individuals before, but only fleetingly. At times it feels like Togashi is rushing as through getting familiar with these characters as if to compensate for all the frequent breaks. But it only compounds the issues of understanding, connecting and becoming wrapped up in the narrative. I imagine it’s not an issue for the die hard, but for more casual readers it’s a nightmare.
I saw some people online espousing the idea that Hunter x Hunter transplants its characters from one genre into another, with the last few arcs focusing on War, Politics, and now horror. It’s an interesting idea, and one that I think holds some degree of truth. It explains the horror atmosphere of this arc, the plethora of characters so we have plenty of people to kill off. I do wonder if it’s strictly horror however, as there’s a lot of mystery elements to this. Who is the assassin, a question asked in the very next chapter, a large cast of characters for potential culprits, everyone’s trapped on a boat, etc. It feels more like a hard boiled mystery, with horror elements as we’re given tons of details to wash away the most important facts from the reader’s eyes.
It’s really such a shame this is the story Togashi chooses to tell while frequently reentering lengthy hiatus. I still think it could be a great arc if only we weren’t taking such frequent and lengthy breaks.
Jumping into our final chapter before the hiatus, a freaky nen doll watches from the back of the room as Kurapika explains how they’re going to be doing this instructional Nen class. It appears at the end of the last chapter and makes things a little confusing, seemingly implying one member of the cast is controlling it, when we then learn in this chapter that’s absolutely not the case.
As Queen Oito is attempting to hone her burgeoning Nen awareness, gained from making use of Kurapika’s ability from before, things take a deadly turn. A woman spots the Nen Doll, which quickly selects a target, one of the many guards here to learn nen. His life is sucked out of him by Cursed Nen Snakes and Kurapika realizes first and foremost now– they need to learn who the assassin is lurking among everyone.
It’s a good chapter, perhaps one of the easier chapters to follow for non-die hards. It’s a shame that another hiatus hits right here, and doesn’t help at all with keeping less addicted readers invested. I think it’s a real issue when charts like this one are needed to keep all the characters straight. While this arc is, I think, clearly aimed at crafting itself as a murder mystery, there just isn’t enough time spent with all these characters to not make it sometimes feel more like bloat than necessity.
This latest hiatus is supposed to only last a few months, Togashi himself suggests HxH will be back by year’s ends, but similar was suggested the last time HxH went on break and it took over a year for it to return then too. I guess it continues to be my opinion than non-die hards best wait for the collected version of this arc. I imagine it’ll be far more fun to experience once you’re not taking six month+ long breaks in between when this is the kind of story that really, really needs to be experienced week to week.
Please let me know what your thoughts are on Hunter x Hunterin the comments below!
Hunter x Hunter is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Volume 32, containing chapters 331-340, is available via Amazon.com. Chapters discussed today, 369-370 will be collected and released sometime next year.