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Friday, August 10, 2007

Hunter x Hunter, volume 15 Impressions

Hunter x Hunter (don’t pronounce the X), created by YuYu Hakusho creator, Yoshihiro Togashi, follows the young Hunter Gon as he searches for his father. While the premise sounds simple, and been-there-done that it’s anything but. In fact this has to be one of my favorite ongoing manga series. Gon reminds this reader of Goku in his younger days as seen in Dragon Ball, a boy filled with power and potential lacking in the knowledge of his great lineage. Unlike Yuske in Hakusho, Gon is a sweet kid with a good heart, one that befriends him with Killua (tortured assassin kid, think Vegeta, just not as jaded) and he as a disposition only a country bumpkin from the grand plains of the ‘ol U S of A could appreciate (or come close to duplicating). I’ve been reading Hunter Hunter since volume 1 and it just keeps getting better with volume 15 being no exception (16 is on tap for this weekend.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

In vol. 15, Gon and Killua are still playing the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Greed Island game, looking for clues to Gon’s father’s whereabouts (he helped create the game btw). Biscuit, a Hunter of 53, but looking like 10, has seen the potential in these two young Hunters (yes two, SPOILER, Killua gets his license by passing the test in a few pages as opposed to the volumes it took for Gon to get his). This little spoiler in fact is why I really did this series. They’re getting stronger, thanks to Biscuit’s training as well as their own determination. I’ve not enjoy training this much since King Kai’s place in DBZ. Back to the manga at hand, volume 15 of Hunter Hunter continues the boys training, shows just how much stronger they are getting, the development of their special moves, advancement in the game Greed Island and the continuation of storylines involving the in-game Bomber and Phantom Troupe.

To me volume 15 is a bridge. It’s not creating any new storylines, or throwing out great revelations, but what it does OH SO WELL is set the stage for coming volumes where they boys training will be put to the test, old and new enemies confronted and fun will be had by readers everywhere. I absolutely love Togashi’s arty style as its simple when needed, playful yet relays a serious situation with mood an attitude some manga styles can’t pull off. Gon’s potential is frightening, but the fact he and Killua aren’t even near other hunters levels really opens up the future and gets readers excited for what’s to come. There is also a nice little treat where we see Togashi’s version of Naruto, you’ll see.

It’s up to volume 16 now, which I’ll chat about later, but you need to get on board now. Hunter Hunter is a rare Shonen manga that takes a bunch of cliché’s but spins them with characters you’ll truly come to like and love. I highly recommend Hunter Hunter to any anime/manga fan who fancies themselves into action and fun.

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