Re: What can you say about Togashi deconstructing shounen tropes in HxH?
I think the purpose of deconstruction is a lot more than enhancing realism by presenting novel premises and running a realistic simulation with them in mind; that's why i mentioned the bit about critical reflection.
Originally Posted by Cinnabar
HxH certainly takes itself seriously to a large extent but the seriousness, for the lack of a better term, is created by the characters and the narrative, rather than the mechanical devices (shounen tropes, as i described above) which substantiate a large part of other shounen series.
Some people have described HxH as an 'intelligent' manga, in the sense that you need to remember a lot of details and the exposition/explanations are wordy, and even info-dumpy (I still remember Killua's talk about politics during the Ant arc). In a way, you have to take HxH more seriously than other shounen titles, if only because of the complicated exposition/explanations, and if only because HxH itself takes itself seriously. HxH isn't your typical shounen, but it's still shounen.
Meryeum is indeed (in my opinion) an excellent portrayal of a cosmic super villain. But in my mind, the portrayal stands by itself. DBZ villains - i don't really remember much of. But generally speaking, villains are created for the explicit purpose of providing a form of opposition to the protagonist in shounen - their personal circumstances are largely irrelevant, and they play it with an acknowledging wink and a smile. I think increasingly though anime/manga writers are incorporating human elements into their villains so you make a good point.
Then what about Meruem?
Granted, Your Mileage May Vary
on this one, whether Togashi successfully deconstructed this trope or not. I think it's at least an attempt though, of making a realistic caricature of a cosmic super invincible hard-to-defeat baddie with a god complex.
At least when compared to DBZ villains, and I consider DBZ to be the most shounen of all shounen. Haha.
I guess the thing is, being in the genre, HxH utilizes many genre conventions by necessity, as many of these conventions define the genre itself. But it must be possible to create a work of art of a certain genre and differ from it in some way without your work being considered a "deconstruction."
Isn't that what we're already doing? Lol. And it's not like HxH deconstructed every shounen trope in existence (Alluka's powers, anyone?). It's just that some people think it deconstructed a lot of shounen tropes enough for it to be noticeable, thus saying that HxH itself is/could be a deconstruction of tropes.
I've seen this said in TvTropes so much. I think that at least shows that HxH provokes some of its readers to critically reflect upon established genre conventions.
I've seen this said in TvTropes so much that I wondered what you guys think of this. Hence the thread. Hence our discussion.
If it's worth anything, I sometimes feel that Togashi isn't deconstructing shounen tropes for the sake of deconstruction. Maybe he does sometimes, to poke fun at the tropes. But overall, I think the deconstructions are just there because that's how Togashi imagined the world for HxH. That's just how HxH came out. I guess that's where we both agree: HxH is "...Togashi's imaginary world, with his rules and his way of thinking."
It's just that I think the way HxH came out, it was a deconstruction of tropes from the very beginning.
But who knows what Togashi is ever thinking. All we know is that the man is a genius.
Some literary works are pure fantasy. They can't of course be utterly alien - otherwise they wouldn't be comprehensible or even conceivable by the (human) audience. But plenty of literary works use the characters and the narrative merely as a vehicle for some kind of literary mechanism. For example, in many poor horror movies, the plot is unimportant and the characters are largely unimportant. A common trope in horror movies is the hot blond who gets cut up, or the annoying prick who dies a gruesome death. Why? Because it's entertaining. If you attempt to summarize the plot of most horror films, you'd realize that you would have some trouble forming something longer than 6 words. What about the trashy airport mystery novel? The mystery novel is plot driven - it asks the reader what he cannot possibly know, and entertainment is derived from the mystery. The tropes once again further this psychological mechanism. Now one could easily - and many good mystery novels have - added a degree of complexity and depth to the characters and the plot, but one would not say that the difference is a deconstruction. It is a case of shooting for two different things.
Originally Posted by Uriel
[quote]To understand better this there is the origin of the word meme which is a word taken form sociology. You can consider it a joke, but because you focus yourself into different stuff. Well, maybe with this I'm taking too much liberties. Let's go back a little bit.
I know people who believes you can't make a deconstruction for a movie because every movie is itself its own cannon, which makes impossibles to deconstruct because the rules are the ones imposed by the movie. Yes, there is genres. Manga has also them. And it's longer.
The difference is in the subject matter that is allegedly being deconstructed. I suppose the difference between something that is "serious" and "not serious" is that in the former case, the author attempts to construct a vision of a world that can actually exist, with characters that the author considers alive. You know, these characters could actually exist. They're real people.
Deconstruction in this case (HxH) shows how some cliches are there and are being questioned. Togashi even uses his manga to denounce some acts in the world with clever tricks. This is nothing too unknown, actually, but for a shounen it's pretty much risky.
Saying that Godfather
is a deconstruction and not HxH is due your vision on manga and your comment about taking ti seriously makes me wonder if you takes seriously Godfather
. Isn't it entertainment as well? It uses different resources, but is also telling a fantasy story. The difference with HxH is solely its functional magic.
The relations, the speeches, the way how some issues are dealt are different but in the same level.
Re: What can you say about Togashi deconstructing shounen tropes in HxH?
HXH isn't something that defies the old way. As soon as you see that Shizuku didn't die as foretold but Pakunoda did, you should realize that HXH is every bit vulnerable to pleasing the fans as anything else. Well, maybe not as outright egregious as quite a few things out there, but if HXH is supposed to be about something that matches more of a 'fictional reality', the Spiders would be dead now, the Ants would've won, and Hunter's Association probably should be dissolved by now.
While Togashi is most likely more talented than your average manga author, he tends to get into situations that are much harder to write your way out of because he's fairly rigorous and thorough so it pretty much cancels each other out. You're never going to see Gon die for being an idiot or anything similar that will truly challenge the established norms of Shonen manga. Pausing to reflect if you're truly right AFTER you dropped a nuke on your enemy doesn't mean it's depth. Depth would be after using the Rose this led a backlash that led to a World War that killed more people than Meryem would have in his quest to unify the world, but that wouldn't be very interesting to read either.