This is a recurrent subject matter when different shonen series' are compared to each other.
"Hunter x Hunter is not like any other modern-age shonen ever"
But how is it so? What are these things that separates HxH to make it an entity of its own? I tried to gather pick the points that what I think what made it what it is. Not in particular order, but what comes to my mind first at the moment:
-Note: These points are based on my readings until chapter 259-
-Not the typical main team-
In most shonen action shows, the protagonist teams are usually composed of:
- The main character and the main focus of the story
- The rival who always argue with the main character and try to outdo him all the time.
- The comic relief guy who tries to act and look cool in front of the team.
- The Heroine. Usually Ms. Fanservice.
- The pet/The cute one.
We can obviously see that the main team of HxH does not have a heroine ((Although I think that's what they were trying to make of Kurapika in the old anime)), and therefore no unnecessary fanservice moments and no romance and love triangles within the team. This is a manly team of men. And of course we don't have the cute pet that works as a mascot for the team and sprinkles cutey sparks. And it proved that they are not needed to progress the main characters.
-The main protagonist is not always the main focus-
Even though Gon is the main protagonist, he's not always the focus. There are others who equally or take even more spotlight than him like Kurapika in Yorknew arc and Killua in Chimera Ants arc. Other series' tries to force the main protagonist in every possible conflict and make him always the last one standing making everyone else his follower.
-The main protagonist fails more than succeeds-
When we think about it, Gon does not win most of his of battles, even though he wins something other in return. He couldn't defeat Hanzo, he couldn't defeat Gido in his first try, he couldn't defeat Hisoka, he couldn't defeat any of the Spiders. Most of the time he wins against minor enemies, but he finally defeats a super villain (Genthru) on his own ina life or death battle afterwords, but he received a lot of damage.
If it was any other shonen series, he would unleash a deux ex machina power up to win his battles and would never ever lose.
-The not-so typical villains-
I talked about I thought about the villains before.
Quote:Well, with the exception of Genthru, I find the villains of the series to be three dimensional characters. They are not evil just to be evil. They have their own agenda and reasons. And they are written so well that you really question yourselves if they really are evil.Quote:
-Death is a serious business-
You have no idea how much I hate how death became cheap in shonen genre. If someone's going to die there's always a resurrection spell prepared to bring him back to life violating all laws of nature and common senses. But not here. When a character is dead, it's dead for good. No coming back to life bulls**t. Which makes the sense of danger great because the characters have only one life.
-The quickly resolved goals-
Well, at least for the first three arcs. As a new reader/viewer, when you hear the Gon's goal is to become a hunter, you'd think that would be the whole point of the series. But no. That was done rather quickly. Usually when the main protagonist's goal to be somebody they'd take the whole series.
The next goal would be saving Killua. Again, you'd think this'll take a long time and Gon would have to face the Zoldyacks on his own to do so. But again, the dilemma was short and no major life loses ((except for the red shirts who turned to Mike's snack))
Next goal is finding Hisoka and pay him back. They found him rather quickly and wasted no time or effort in training and accomplished the goal quickly again.
I find it interesting that when a new goal is determined is usually settled within the same arc without dragging it or making it the main goal that determines the whole story.
In short I think what made Hunter x Hunter special is not following the typical shonen archetype and takes itself rather seriously for the most part and not doing any a**pulls just to make the protagonist look so much cooler in front of the fan's eyes.
Or that's what I think. What do you think that makes HxH a special shonen series?
edit: I just noticed that you aren't up to date with the series so I've spoiler cloaked it.
Last edited by steadynco; May 30, 2012 at 06:35 AM.
I'm surprised that no one mentioned the deconstruction of the tropes that is often mention in this forum.
I'm surprised that no one mentioned the complex dialogues. You HAVE to pay attention to understand what's going on.
Not that you will ever be able to NOT pay attention with the story being so awesome in the first place.
Character portrayal/presentation and character interactions.
What I like in HxH is how Togashi portrayed his characters. Their interactions are natural and feels real. If I have literally nothing to do and there's nothing to distract me or if the people I'm with have nothing interesting to say, I tend to people watch instead. The feeling and revelations I get from watching people go on their daily business is the same when I'm reading HxH.
Hunter x Hunter is just a lot more mature than most other shonen are.
When I was first reading it I was 14 or 15 and i felt a little bit repulsed by what was going on.
I was used to Naruto and One Piece, and when those kids entered the hunter exam, it seemed like it was totally fine if people died on the way and noone really cared (end well, noone cared actually) and those monsters like hisoka and the spiders later were killing people without anyone making them stop.
That's hard to take for a kid believing in goodness and stuff.
In other shonen, the spiders for example would either be depicted as loveable villains or be defeated in their respective arc, but in HxH, they are just criminals whose reasons for crime can be accepted or not.
In HXH, black and white fade more than in other works, because evn the maincharacery long arc be concluded with ana tom bomb and without beating ters are not purely white.
They may be innocent to some extent and cuties, but white? no they aint, definitely.
As an example, there are othe rworks with great fights and nice strategy, complex dialogue and whatever, but there is no work which would conclude a very long arc with an atom bomb and without defeating the main villain's moral.
Meruem was actually, at least in the end, right about the world and was looking at it objectively but was defeated by the humans just because they would never accept a might which ruled them.
Not to mention the chapters in which togashi went out of his way to show us gungi games.
You wont find this in other shonen and you wont find it depicted that well in most seinens.
Tbh, i see hunter x hunter as a much more mature work than most seinen mangas are, and this is what tells it apart from most shonen, also.
The setting is put in a cruel world which resembles our's.
And this is what makes all the stuff happening much greater. because you know people can die, because you know good deeds and saving people is not easy and can get you killed, and because you know pursuing your goals is not easy and can get you killed.
In other works, it seems like if you just 'try hard enough' nothing can happen to you and everything will be alright.
HxH is honest, at least.
There are other works with great fights, nice strategy, complex dialogues and whatever but there is no othe rwork which would dare to have a v
Agree with all of the above.
For me what made Hunter x Hunter different from other shounen is...Togashi. He has a distinctive voice that is hard to imitate: switching of narrative and visual styles effortlessly (something that both animation adaptations can never translate), troll-like post modern resolutions, giving colorful background to background characters and have their personalties come out with limited page time effectively, etc., while at the same time still maintain the basic appeal of what a traditional shounen work is.
There's also a cruel streak, unsettling and almost mean-spirtied vibe in his works that's not for the feign of heart. I was quite disturbed when I first read YYH as a young girl. When most other shounen authors attempted to write dark stuffs they just came off feeling like 'posers' to me, while Togashi's felt...believable. From the petty to the enigmatic...his villains are very diverse and well written. Even someone like Tonpa
The fights were never too long (with no flashback thrown inbetween) and rarely resort to deus ex machina.
I also appreciate the lack of a heroine overall. I find it refreshing that there's no heroine whose role is to be the motivation for the hero. And since the more contemporary shounen tried to include one or two token female main characters as part of the boys' group, yet how they were handle was always blah to me (always made sure to not outshine the boys or whose real role is to functioned as comic relief/selling sex appeal) so I like that HxH is unabashed about its 'boy's adventure' world.
And for an unusual hero (non-everyman, non-average joe type), Gon felt well rounded and real, unlike some other non average joes hero that just felt more of an catchphrase repeating 'icon' than an actual character.
Unlike some shounen where the main casts and their world is all stylish highschoolers and have similar built and height, HxH kept it diverse. There're kids, the teens, the younger adult, the older adults, the seasoned old farts... HxH's world just felt 'bigger' and interesting.
Anywa I admitted that I haven't catch up on recent shounen works at all for the past 10+ years, so my views might be dated. It's about the combinations of all those things that what made HxH unique and why it's the only shounen I read.
Last edited by chei; June 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM.
What about the subtlety and contrast?
Togashi gives us an epic story coupled with an epic world and loads and loads of characters. To explain all this, he gives us
epiccomplex dialogues and worldbuilding. HxH is big and intense despite (or sometimes even because of) it being a deconstruction of shounen tropes.
But Togashi also contrasts (or rather, complements) his complex storytelling by showing the subtle progressions of each story arc and character development. Sure, the fights and Nen and worldbuilding are awesome and straightforward, but the progression of HxH itself as a whole isn't loud or over the top. Maybe it's just me, but I find it to be a bit gradual (not necessarily slow), which adds to why why HxH is considered a deconstruction of shounen tropes in the first place. Togashi doesn't jump the gun with HxH. Even if the readers are not aware or don't catch on, there's always foreshadowing and buildup before something new is introduced (aside from characters).
It has already been mentioned that Togashi is awesome at portraying characters, and I think one of the keys here is his use of subtlety and contrast. To illustrate further: sometimes we don't get to know what exactly is going on with some of the characters' heads (Gon), which gives an air of vague understanding at best (unless you keep track of all the subtle developments Togashi adds throughout the series). On the other hand, Togashi will also contrast this by showing the readers some of the other character's thoughts (Killua), blatantly showing them in panels and pages (i.e. every time he's emotional about his BFF-relationship with Gon).
Last edited by Cinnabar; June 04, 2012 at 01:08 PM.
Pretty much agree with much of what had been said.
I'm suprised no one bring up the hiatus.I'm pretty sure no other shounen manga has that much of hiatus.
While the hiatus does make me annoyed but I think it make me appreciate every chapters even more.
While there is undoubtfully a lack of female characters in HxH , at least those that have a major role in an arc aren't that useless and isn't just for fanservice purpose. Bisuke , pakunoda ,senritsu are some of them.Though I wish Togashi develop them more so that they aren't that bland...and not as memorable as the male character.
I also like the fights in HxH .They are so much more shorter and I can't tolerate fights that last really long.While they aren't that epic compare to other shounen manga fight ,it is still pretty good.
HxH has a Seinen vibe (for me, anyway), that's probably the case led to questionings.