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Hunter Exam Arc
Zoldyck Family Arc
Heavens Arena Arc
Yorknew City Arc
Greed Island Arc
Chimera Ant Arc
13th Hunter Chairman Election Arc
Dark Continent Expedition Arc (Pending)
Here's my order:
1. Yorkshin City (in Yorkshin si vedono tutti e 4 i protagonisti e il ragno.)
2. 13th Hunter Chairman Election Arc / Alluka and Killua
3. Chimera Ant Arc
4. Zoldyck Family Arc
5. Heavens Arena Arc
6. Hunter Exam Arc
7. Greed Island Arc
steadynco, I wouldn't say the Killua-Alluka-Illumi storyline ended in nothingness. It ends with Illumi embarking on an ambition that is the closest thing this manga has come to true arch-villainy. I was never frightened of Illumi - I always considered him a threat, sure, but maybe its just because he was introduced with Hisoka and always appears with Hisoka, but I always considered him kind of a sidekick, if you will, being to Hisoka what Killua was for Gon. That arc changed that though. The scene with him standing on the hilltop with Hisoka, looking out over the city, with the knowledge of just how powerful Killua is (in regards to his ability to freely use Alluka), and grasping at that potential - chilling. After seeing Mereum and just how unapproachable his power is, I didn't think anything in this manga could scare me - leave it to Togashi to give my expectations the middle-finger. I left that storyline frightened as #$%&. Especially with Gon and Ging about to depart to the Dark Continent, leaving Killua alone with his mad brother. I wouldn't be surprised if we returned from the Dark Continent expedition with the main Hunter world wrecked, or at least some serious ish on our hands.
I'm happily surprised to see the Chimera Ant arc number one in the polls. This is my first day on this forum - Hunter x Hunter is my new found love, and I hopped on here because I wanted to discuss it, and this seemed the most lively pool of Hunter-related discourse - and in most other places I've been to, the Chimera Ant arc is kind of detested.
The Chimera Ant arc is my number one. I didn't like it too much at first - it was intimidating, looking at its chapter count, like diving into Moby Dick - and I didn't quite get where it was going - it wasn't necessarily "exciting!", but neither is most good literature. Instead, like most good literature, it slowly, but steadily, and with care and attention, took you to new and unexpected places. The final leg of that arc was like the intellectual equivalent of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. While Gurren Lagann, with each episode, floored me with the absurd heights to which it took its set pieces, each new chapter of the Chimera Ant arc floored me with the new levels of depth and complexity to which it took its stories and characters. The arc humanized its villain and made me connect with him in a way that no other manga, to my knowledge, has ever done - it doesn't try to justify his villainous actions, and make you sympathize with him as a "tragic" character - it simply makes you connect at a primal level with his humanity, a humanity that it unabashedly places side by side with his animality - breaking the binary between beast and human, good and evil - a true chimera. And it made me truly, in my heart, frightened of Gon, and made me question his suitability and status as a "hero". Up until this point I had loved the manga as intelligent and well executed entertainment - it was in this arc that I started to read it as literature.
2. Yorknew City
3. 13th Hunter Chairman Election
4. Heaven's Arena (this is the closest the manga gets to being a traditional shonen fight manga, and it is a nice reprieve after the Hunter Exam, which made sport out of the cliches of shonen manga tournament arcs, and Yorknew City, an arc which, taken by itself, is not at all of the shonen fight genre).
5. Hunter Exam / Zoldyck Family (I always considered the Zoldyck Family arc to be a denouement to the Hunter Exam arc).
6. Greed Island Arc (was not very impressed with this arc, though no antagonist elicited as much guttural fear in me as Razor - I think it was his casualness that did it, and the fact that my fear of him was not in anyway represented in Gon).
Last edited by EverEndingStory; October 22, 2012 at 12:29 PM.
The Chimera Ant arc definitely. I think I may be one of the only ones that loved it from the start. I never got how people say it feels out of place, I mean every arc in this manga could superficiially be considered out of place in that we've got an arc dealing with a deadly exam, one with the world's biggest fighting tournament, one with a metropolis's seedy underbelly, one with a real life mmo, and the latest one with an election!
My favourite arc so far in the anime would have to be the Heaven's Arena arc, in that the pacing was perfect and every episode left me immensily satisfied, yet still wanting more. Though I kind of have a feeling that Greed Island is going to take it's place (despite that arc not even having begun yet in the anime).
CrudeCross, while I am the same as you - though I didn't fully appreciate the arc until its end (I don't see how anyone could), the only thing that turned me off from it was the length, and the intimidating prospect of sinking into all of those chapters, as I was still invested in the story - I can understand why some people might have found it out of place.
That arc takes a lot of tropes and its structure from traditional shonen fight manga. While, as we see by the end, this was all done for the purpose of subverting and inverting those tropes, no one going into the arc could have known that that would come. For over half of its length, the arc played all of those tropes straight, and it wasn't til the final third that it began its deconstruction of them. To anyone going into it new, it would have seemed, until near the end, to be very traditional and cliché.
Not to say it was bad for the first 2/3rds - something cliché can still be great entertainment if it is executed right, and HxH definitely executed it right - but still, it was traditional, and it was that adherence to the traditions of its genre that made the arc feel out of place. As you said, every single arc feels out of place in a shonen fight genre. The first two arcs - the Hunter Exam arc and the Heaven's Arena arc (I consider the Zoldyck Family arc to be part of the Hunter Exam arc) - both take the trope of the "Tournament arc" - an arc that appears in every single shonen fight manga (with the exception of Bleach. . . which is so ****ing odd) - and both arcs, in their own unique ways, flip that trope upon its head. The next arc - Yorknew City - completely abandons the shonen fight genre altogether - opting instead for a crime thriller, and even going so far as to not include a "big bad beat down" at its end - the closest thing to a traditional end of arc battle would be Kurapika vs. Uvo, which happens well before the half-way mark of the arc - instead opting to have a chase, kidnapping, and tense hostage exchange at its climax. Then you have Greed Island, which returns to the shonen fight genre, but in very unexpected ways - it takes place in an MMORPG, for one, but it goes further in subverting expectations by including a legitimate, functioning battle system (something that none of the many anime/manga that have MMORPGs as their setting have done), and then goes even further by having that battle system be a a strategic, puzzle-like, card based one. And that is not to mention the fact that its major confrontation is settled, not with pure fighting, but with sports.
HxH had made a habit of having arcs that were everything but a traditional shonen fight manga arc, so against that pattern, the Chimera Ant arc, in its beginning and first half (at which point it seemed to be just a traditional shonen fight manga arc) might have seemed very out of place.
Last edited by EverEndingStory; October 24, 2012 at 10:55 PM.