Let's play a game.
A preteen boy wishes to follow in his father's footsteps and sets out on a journey into the world on the path to becoming a ______. He meets some friends along the way, encounters some rare magical beasts, and makes some rivals; he challenges any obstacle in his path in order to achieve his dream.
Fill in the blank.
Why does Gon have to be 12 in order to take the exam? Furthermore, he takes it in order to follow in his father's footsteps? Whom also is the "best" Hunter (according to Kite)? The new anime series even has Gon say that he wants to become the "best Hunter in the world" too...haha. Does this sound familiar at all?
I think that the answer might surprise you. But if you haven't realized it yet, the initial setup to Hunter x Hunter is almost exactly the same as...
The main difference? Hunter x Hunter takes a childish concept and terribly perverts it with an adult's eye.
There'll probably be a lot of people who disagree with this, but I'll make my case as best I can. Anything underlined in this post will lead to a link.
First off, let's talk about the terminologies between the series. "Hunters" versus "Pokemon Masters."
This is something that might get lost in translation, so I'll explain something key. The word "Hunter" in HxH is always written using Katakana in the Japanese version. But it's actually a fairly uncommonly used word in conversation. By no means is it exclusively used to refer to the profession of actual hunting in Japanese; there are many other terms used much more frequently in dialogue. Basically, to a Japanese person, "Hantaa" is a cool-sounding foreign word. It isn't something that would be used too often in a published novel.
Compare the words "Hunter [ハンター Hantaa]" to "Pokemon Masters [ポケモンマスター Pokemon Masutaa]"--the end goal of both series' protagonists. They obviously sound very similar to each other, but what really makes them reminiscent of each other is the ways in which their authors use them in their prologues. The reader doesn't know what the hell kind of jobs they are.
What does it mean to be a "Pokemon Master"? Apparently, no one knows. Not even Nintendo will answer that question to Pokemon fans. And yet it's Ash's lifelong dream to become one. It's what drives him throughout the series.
The first chapter of HxH doesn't really give off a good indication as to what their world and profession is really like; Togashi purposefully leaves it vague. After reading the first chapter, did you ever wonder what exactly "Hunters" do? Why is the word capitalized/written in Katakana (thereby distinguishing it from the common word "hunter")? What is this license supposed to provide for them? Is it supposed to be like a real-world license to hunt? Given the fact that there are so many weird animals in the first chapter, I initially assumed that the series would largely have to do with their capture.
Gon is completely ignorant to the meaning of the profession, as is the reader. The series continues and eventually he learns what being a Hunter really means. The ominous end of the first chapter best exhibits this.
Before reading the last two pages of chapter 1, what kind of people did you think would become Hunters? In all honesty, I thought that it was a job mainly undertaken by kids. It sounds like it's a childish field in a fantasy world, much like Pokemon. You have to be 12 in order to take the exam. Most Pokemon Trainers are kids around that age, aren't they? But in Hunter x Hunter?
They're all adults. And not just any kind of adults--the lawless sort. Other than Killua, Gon is the only child taking the Hunter Exam. Becoming a Hunter is an adult profession, unlike a Pokemon "Master." And as we soon learn, Gon really doesn't have a single clue as to what a Hunter actually is. He's still undecided as to what he wants to do.
The first arc slowly starts to introduce how deadly and scary their world really is. And then during the fourth phase, the true implications behind hunting start to reveal themselves. In the Japanese version, you can catch Togashi using metaphor in order to convey what he really means. When Gon first learns to hunt, Togashi places the childish sounding "HUNT [HANTO]" in the furigana above "hunting [kari]" in order to show the dual meanings of the word. Gon doesn't just learn how to catch birds, he learns how to hunt people. Gon literally has to allow several people to die in order to survive, and he's only spared because an enemy shows compassion to him.
The next biggest similarity is found in the reason as to why both boys even want to follow this path in the first place. This is a major similarity between Gon Freecss and Ash Ketchum: they both depart in order to follow in their dad's footsteps.
Though it isn't elaborated on in Pokemon, the second episode of the series specifically mentions that Ash's dad and grandfather are both Pokemon trainers whom did the same thing at his age. This is pretty key. The origin story of both protagonists (as well as what motivates them) parallel each other. It's too similar to deem it just "coincidence," especially since Hunter x Hunter started only a year after Pokemon did--when the series was insanely popular in Japan.
What Togashi eventually reveals, however, is that HIS world is much more fucked up than the Pokemon world. He applies his own realistic and pessimistic worldview to the series. In an adult world, innocence is eventually corrupted. Everyone who successfully attains the path of a "Hunter" is psychologically broken in some major way. Possibly because the world itself breaks them.
I don't think that it's a coincidence that most major characters experience extremely traumatic situations as children that eventually destroys their own innocence. And of course, Pokemon isn't the ONLY series that Hunter x Hunter tries to channel. See if you can find any other instances of homage or intentional shonen cliché added into the manga.
Well to be fair, the missing father is something that is oftentimes used not only in literature but in psychology as well to explain some intern phenomenons such as obsessions and orientation. It's a fucked up theory, but applies here anyway. Not to forget that most "heroes" have a "hero" dad that inspired them. It roots back to the origins of our first ancestors, where the father and the son were mostly forced to do the same. Boring as hell.
Anyway, I wouldn't say Pokemon World is naive. I mean..There is no animals and they EAT meat. So it's safe to assume that they EAT their pokemons as well. And if we go further, there is some weird references in the pokedex that makes you wonder if we're actually talking about Pokemon or something else. Read the little purple corner to see my point.
Oh random rookie hunter from the first chapter. On a side note one of my favorite things about Togashi's art is his detailed character designs that he'll arbitrary give to 1 chapter/ 1 page characters like the "You don't know shit, kid" guy. I'm glad he made his way into the reboot.
I've always thought the first volume of Hunter X Hunter felt very much like Pokemon, even the 2nd volume. Wild animals, the boy from a small village on a big adventure fighting monsters and meeting friends. But that's part of the charm of Hunter X Hunter to me, seeing it subvert those kid shonen tropes. I'd love to get a Hunter X Hunter game that possibly plays out like a Pokemon game.
This is a really a good post in comparing both the series.
Honestly,I never realised it before.The last time I watch Pokemon was when nearly 10 years ago.I only remember that ash wanted to become a pokemon master.
Now that you mention it,the beginning of Hunter x Hunter and Pokemon does parallel each other in a way.But this kind of plot line where the main character has a "hero" he/she look up to,and follow in the path of their hero isn't all that original.It has been done before ,way before Pokemon.
To be fair,it is impossible to create a totally original storyline.There is bound to be cliche and certain elements that seem to be taken from another story . I did expect that people will compare HxH with other mangas .The hunger games which is gaining huge popularity around the world had been criticize for being similar to Battle Royale.There is really huge similarity between them but the execution of the story is different between both novel.
Likewise,hunter x hunter and pokemon may have similarity at the beginning but as it progress,it goes down different path and the difference between them become obvious. The Yorknew arc was the arc that really capture my interest in HxH.It was seriously dark with all the mass killing and stuff. Like you said ,Pokemon isn't even that dark.
While the idea behind HxH isn't original at all,I think the executions of the plot is far more important.This factor is the one that make or break a story in my opinion. For example,Avatar, the storyline is not original ,when I read the synopsis, it felt dejavu.But when I watch the movie ,it was actually really good.The execution of the story was good but of course,the visual effect helps.
One piece,Bleach,Naruto,Dragon Ball,all of them have some similarity share with other mangas .Not just manga,even some storybooks,tv series have similarity between them.Sometimes I do get a dejavu feeling when i read a certain chapter of a storybook.A certain plotline that felt so familiar but I can't pinpoint where I found it..
While Hunter x Hunter copy some element from other manga,other manga also copy some elements from Hunter x Hunter.
Last edited by Akia999; March 30, 2012 at 10:16 PM.