Hunter x Hunter 379-380 + Return of the 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.

Review:

Well, it’s that time again. Togashi’s churned out another set of chapters, the story got more complex, more characters got featured, added, killed off and things ended abruptly for the next few months, or perhaps a year, as we wait for the manga to again resume. But every time we go to hiatus now I find my interest in picking the series back up dwindling more and more. This arc is bloated, filled to the brim with everything that makes Hunter x Hunter what it is, but turned up to eleven. The situation is complex, the abilities detailed, and the characters plentiful. But on top of what was already a complex situation things only get even more complicated.

We switch focus to the Spiders and the ongoings of other floors on this whale shaped vessel. While the change of pace is nice, and it’s great to see memorable familiar faces (things aren’t helped by so many of the new characters generally feeling uninteresting or overly complex in design) it only adds an entire other avenue to the prince succession story, one that feels weighty and wealthy with content in its own right. The spiders bump heads with these lower level, illegitimate princes, or more precisely their forces, the Hunter Association itself and things culminate in an effort to stop the rampant murders now piling up (at least the ones on the lower floors, everyone dying above is okie-dokie because of the war for succession.)

And this is only counting all the people involved in the spiders’ half of the story, and people like Leorio we haven’t even caught up with yet!

So on top of the wealth of characters up above with Kurapika, we have another mass of players in this expanding game making moves below, and that’s not even to count the cross-section double page offered in Chapter 380 that showcases we, at the very least, haven’t even seen what’s going on with Leorio yet. Heck I forgot he was even on this boat.

Increasingly I’ve felt like Hunter x Hunter has become something written primarily for Togashi himself and those fans who believe Hunter x Hunter can do no wrong. For readers more lukewarm on the series I can’t help but feel there’s no end in sight to the unnecessarily complicated storytelling that just does not pair well at all with the frequent hiatus. I still believe Togashi should be looking for assistance with the art, and focus all his efforts on crafting this complex, if not complicated, narrative with all his energy. Recent interviews, as I recall, seem to hint that he recognizes this situation is far from ideal. But I guess I’m at the point where I’ll only pick Hunter x Hunter back up once we’re both past this arc and it’s all laid out in volume form, and the weekly release is far less choppy. It’s a shame, as Hunter x Hunter is generally a series I’ve enjoyed since I read issue one, and I’d really like to be sucked into it once again.

Please let me know what your thoughts are on Hunter x Hunter in 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 will be collected and released sometime next year.

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