I will be bit late this round so until i post my own review please read this excellent review by Ryan
The programme was originally created as a manga by the legendary Yoshihiro Togashi during the mid 90s and whose previous work is another programme that is considered a classic, Yu Yu Hakusho. Togashi has the unique ability to make complex, interesting characters – good and bad – within a shonen without having to rely on obvious tropes, canon episodes or throwaway scenes in order to develop these characters.
The programme follows a core group of relatable characters: Gon, Killua, Leorio and Kurapika. The first couple of episodes focus on Gon who has embarked on a long and perilous journey to become a hunter. On the way, he meets Kurapika, Leorio and Killua who become his important friends and pivotal in many of the later stories. There are seven narrative arcs and each of them are strikingly different from one another: a battle royale style fight to the death; a quickly evolving colony of ants who threaten humanity; a terrifyingly evil crime organisation who take on the mafia; a videogame world where players have to complete challenges and fight other competitors in order to collect cards; and two, smaller ‘training’ arcs that function as a way to transition from one major story to the next. The variety between each of these major stories is commendable and it is to Togashi’s credit that he could pull off having different narrative arcs that borrow heavily from other genres. At some points it is an adventure story, on other occasions it is a typical action shonen, and one arc even effectively fashions itself as a gloomy, crime-thriller.
and Chimera Ant arcs stand head and shoulders above the rest. The former takes the form of dark and foreboding, noir crime-thriller where a group of ruthless mercenaries infiltrate underground auctions. The latter focuses on a carnivorous colony of ants that become stronger by eating sentient beings and quickly become powerful enough that they threaten humanity.
Both arcs highlight how HxH can create complicated story involving multiple characters without ever becoming convoluted or uninteresting whilst providing enough screen time for both the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ guys, but these arcs also highlights how Togashi can build up suspense prior to big battles through foreshadowing and having handful of intricate stories come to a head at the same time. For example, in the Yorknew arc Kurapika, who had been shown to have an unbridled hatred towards the people murdered his family, tracks this group down and slowly puts a plan into action that will allow him to take them out.
I loved that the main characters in HxH were rarely the most powerful or, for that matter, the most relevant. Often, it isn’t their strength, but their ability to out think their opponents that leads to their victory and it is rarely clear who will be victorious, creating endless possibilities for how a battle will end. One of my biggest qualms with most programmes in the shonen genre (fighting animes) is how it is usually obvious how a fight will end.
Gon and Killua function as a way to bring light to otherwise dark storylines. They can be funny, adorable, and capable of evoking strong emotions in the viewer, but, more importantly, their childlike innocence and playfulness contrasts with the gravitas of the situations which surround them. When shit goes down, they can often be found having a petty quarrel or playing rock paper scissors. They argue, have fun, and come up with unorthodox solutions to problems. Their whimsy provides a needed dichotomy as Hunter X Hunter has a tendency to evoke melancholy in almost every episode.
However, beneath their happy and friendly demeanour, lies deeply entrenched inner turmoil. Killua, for example, becomes emotionally dependent on Gon, using their friendship as a way to escape his previous life as an assassin and forget about the cruel torture he endured as a child. Their friendship later comes to a head when Killua realises that his friend has become selfishly transfixed on one of his own desires and ignored the pain it was causing him.
Togashi’s inherent ability to take intricate emotional issues and run with them in a way that is not only interesting but relevant to the plot is a hard thing to achieve, especially in an action focused genre such as shonen. Occasionally, I found myself siding with the ‘bad guys’ or disagreeing with one of the main characters choices, reflecting how everyone is inherently flawed, incapable of being perfect.
It isn’t just the story and characters that make Hunter X Hunter great, though, as it also has exceptional animation and a kicking soundtrack. The 2011 version of the series, unlike the 1999 one, went all out to create an anime that delivered on all fronts. The original was flat and lifeless whilst the remake was charming and compelling. The reason why I feel the latter succeeded where the original failed is due to the high quality animation and the orchestral soundtrack that brought the characters and their stories to life.
Please listen to this track while reading my post,it will increase the feeling
Real World Allusions in Hunter x Hunter
Hunter x Hunter is a manga which never neglects the real world while writing a fictional story.In fact it uses it as a weapon to show us the world.
NGL(Neo-Green Life (NGL) Autonomous Region)
NGL was a self governing country and used to impose a neo-luddite culture,It forbade any form of modern technology.
This country seems to have been influenced from Cambodia under Khmer Rouge.
Gyro is the leader of NGL,who under the cover of environmentalism build up an underground newtrok of narcotics and weapons
Gyro the dictator of NGL seems to have been influenced from Pol pot,the brutal dictator of Cambodia who killed quarter of Cambodia's population during his regime.
This country was another dictatorship under the leadership of Ming
but this was a dummy of real Ming and the real power was in the hands of Bizeff,
"This form of government derived from a bloody revolt that established the new ruling class, which is said to be extremely wealthy whereas most of the population lives in poverty. However, TV stations report that "in other countries, more than half the people starve to death before the age of 10". Financial aid received from other countries is not used for the impoverished, but is spent in luxury goods for the rich and war equipment. There are also rumors that East Gorteau has cut ties with all other nations in order to increase the entity of the financial aids received through negotiations, and that part of the money is used to build nuclear weapons"-wiki
This country is definitely influenced by any dictatorial militaristic regime
Gintama covers many angles when it comes to family. From friends being family, to the tight family always together despite the struggle, to the ones without any family, to the family torn apart. It gives many perspectives which then begs the question, is family necessary? If you have a family you don't care for or get along with, is it better to be alone, or to find a new one, to run away, to make amends?
Here we have an issue with social class
We find two characters(Takasugi and Katsura) in a place where they don't belong, social outcasts one might say, however fate has a funny way of working.
Through a chance meeting with a lazy boy sitting on a tree branch, what becomes a periodic visit to a certain school under the excuse that it is simply to fight stronger people, slowly but surely friendship is formed, slowly but surely a family is given existence.
And in that moment there is temporary peace, temporary happiness.
On the flipside however, we have a loving family, not a picture perfect family, but a happy one nonetheless
Before it degrades completely
To the point a father has to beg his children to stop fighting
With a handful of characters, Gintama explores the concept of family and how they shape the ideals and beliefs of some characters. It leaves some characters looking to leave family behind, others searching for one while showcasing certain dynamics, not necessarily all negative, like the first example above, positive dynamics are also explored.
When one really gets invested into a character or a series, what they feel, their relationships, their conflicts, anger, sadness, happiness, it's something that we as readers tend to get really invested in, wanting our favorites to succeed, sympathizing with their failures, rooting for their search for love, hoping they can resolve certain conflicts, Gintama is no different, and with how it brilliantly treats the majority of the cast to the point where each can probably have their own spin-off in all honesty, it gives a much more profound depth to them.
One neat thing however, is the different angles Gintama explores.
Animal instincts, survival of the fittest
Sometimes it just doesn't work that way
But man's best friend has got your back
Then you have the ever loveable Tama, showing concern for a cigarette vending machine.
At first glance, you might find it odd, maybe you might find it even dumb, but think back to certain times in the past where you had an emotional connection to an object or still do, a "prized possession", something that you could probably easily replace but the emotional attachment makes you think otherwise, while this certain instance in the series isn't really similar to that it does try to humanize machines to an extent.
We get emotional perspectives on animals, machines, but what about people?
We'll save that for another time.
Names. Simple yet with meaning, serving as identifiers, as titles, as prestige, often the one unique identifier.
Sometimes they can be a bit troublesome to come up with...
Really, really difficult
Like super difficult
But regardless of whether you're called Shogun
Or the golden upgraded version of the silver main character
Or the greatest gorilla to walk the face of the Earth
Or have the longest name to ever exist
Be thankful that being a character in Gintama means having an identity unique to you, and that with that identity comes purpose and relevancy,
Guy Bruh posted the symbolism of Gungi and prove how genius Togashi is
Kokoriko is an advanced Gungi technique by Komugi that centers around isolating the King (as in the Gungi piece, not the Chimera Ant), separating it from the other pieces and killing it off. Just like Netero and the Hunters were planning to do to Meruem. However, Komugi unexpectedly develops a counter to this technique in the middle of a game, meaning that the King piece (representing Meruem) no longer has to die (since he unexpectedly survived the nuke). Then, later on, when Komugi uses Kokoriko again, she actually develops a counter to the counter ("she reversed my reversal???"), representing that the King piece (Meruem) apparently actually does have to die after all (because of the Rose's poison). However, immediately after beating Meruem using Kokoriko (symbolizing his imminent death), Komugi and Meruem start one final game together, a game that they never finish. 1-5-1 Black King -> 9-5-1 White Lieutenant General, I believe, or something to that extent. Immediately afterwards, they die together, leaving on the board Meruem's one black piece and Komugi's single white piece, together in Gungi forever. This represents that the two were always united through Gungi, and will continue to be together even after death, undisturbed and united for all eternity. Meruem places his piece down, symbolizing his death, and then Komugi responds by placing her piece down next to his, showing that she is perfectly willing to die at his side..
The black screen/black panels in the manga show that the Rose's poison has made Meruem go blind. That's why he has to keep asking Komugi if she's still there, because he can't see her anymore. This is ironic because his name means "the light that illuminates/shines upon all". He even got some godlike light-related photon-based powers before his death, allowing him to fulfill his name. In addition, as they are playing in the bunker before their deaths, Meruem sees a blinding light radiating from Komugi as she "reverses his reversal", making her "the light that illuminates even the all-powerful light". Despite being far weaker (and blind to boot), her light shined far brighter than his. Then, as he dies, Komugi holds him and feels his head, allowing her to finally "see" or know what his face is like. Thus, as they die, Meruem joins Komugi in blindness as she joins him in death. Meruem can finally see what Komugi has been seeing all along, and knows what it feels like to be blind like her, and Komugi finally knows his face, allowing each to understand the other more as they fade away (the OST used during their death scene is called "Understanding"). Touching, isn't it? Togashi is a mastermind, and this entire story, especially this arc, is a masterpiece, a beautiful work of art, a canvas depicting love, hatred, innocence, corruption, happiness, suffering, loyalty, betrayal, anger, sadness, life, death, malevolence, destruction, resolve, determination, avarice, sacrifice, "true" power, truth, and understanding.
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