Hunter X Hunter Volume One Review
The next series after Togashi-sensei wrapped up Yu Yu Hakusho due to physical and mental health issues along with being unable to write the characters how he wanted to. Hunter X Hunter is painstakingly written, composed, designed, and with the composition telling the story as much as character interactions, narration, and plot development. Telling the story of guileless and chipper Gon who wants to become part of the elite Hunter organization. Just like his long lost Father Ging, Hunters being a kind of combination bounty hunter, explorer, and adventurer with access to large sums of money and information. While Gon seeks out his Father others who desire to become Hunters seek to pass the almost impossible test to be certified as a Hunter with the first several chapters not only building up how nigh impossible receiving certification is but also motivations for characters. As well as their internal mental state. Including Gon and his newfound companions seemingly money obsessed but earnest Leorio and somber and honor bound Kurapika. Togashi-sensei using the Hunter Examination not only to set up a grand adventure but also flesh out characterization in a way that does not use exposition as a crutch. Combined with often dark atmospheric perspective shots such as the first part of the examination. Being a test of mental fortitude and physical endurance in an almost fifty-mile sprint to the second phase of the test a large swamp filled with predatory creatures that use subterfuge, camouflage, and deception to prey upon participants in the Hunter Examination. Making for a noticeably dark tone despite it's soft-lined and at times Eiichiro Oda influenced art and character design. Gon feeling very much like blank slate not so much underdeveloped or without some sort of internal thought process, he simply feels mildly inscrutable. While the power of friendship trope is visible in Gon's relationship with Kurapika, Leorio, and fellow examinee Killua. The cutthroat nature of the exam as well as the fact that anyone no matter how morally dubious can win. Gives the series a moral ambiguity not often found in Shonen Jump Manga. Making for a sometimes chilling look at how the strive to make your dreams come true ethic could be horribly used by those who have effort but no ethics. In short, Togashi-sensei seems to be crafting a many-layered examination of tropes found in Shonen Manga while also telling an exciting adventure yarn that works as just that on its own. With each character looking unique and having a well-defined motivation within this world of adventure and intrigue. Volume one is a great introduction to a rich fictional universe and a wide cast of characters in what looks to be a unique story unlike any other Shonen Jump Manga before it.