Hunter X Hunter – 369

I don’t mean to jinx anything, but we’re 9 chapters into this most recent inter-hiatial period for Hunter X Hunter.  Hopefully next week’s chapter is just a number, but 10 has tended to be a significant threshold for these Togashi comebacks – for reasons that are fairly obvious to anyone who’s bought a WSJ manga volume before.

One thing I can say for sure – if you look at a drop in art detail as a harbinger of ill tidings to come (and it’s been a good predictor in the past with H x H) so far, so good.  This chapter is another beauty, and it’s always a treat when Togashi is able to show off why he’s not just the finest writer in shounen manga history, but one of the elite artists.  The Black Whale is another of Togashi’s signature settings, and the Nen beasts have allowed him to really flex his drawing muscles in a fresh way.

Story-wise, it seems as if we’re at a pretty critical juncture for Kurapika.  He’s been out for 9 hours – 9 hours during which, it seems, Emperor Time has been in full effect (which is rather a waste, because Queen Oito was also passed out for much of that time).  I don’t know exactly how much time Kurapika has pissed away from his lifespan here – five or six years sounds about right – and it seems he’s not even 100% sure exactly how the rules of his ability work.  In a sense it’s something of a relief when Tserriednich’s Nen beast eats the cockroach and “forcibly aborts” Little Eye.  As Oito notes, Kurapika really doesn’t look very well.

There are a number of interesting moments in his chapter which seem important, starting with little Prince Woble reaching out and clasping Kurpika’s hand.  It’s a nice, warm interlude in itself – but given what we know about the nature of Nen and the writer who invented it, this feels like more than a tender show of affection.  We also discover that a large group of bodyguards has had a feather imprinted on the back of their hand.  Is this the work of a Nen beast – or perhaps a Nen user?  The most powerful one of those around is Kurapika, and the men and women he’s promised Nen training to have converged on Oito’s chambers, awaiting their first lesson.  Kurapika may be weakened, but they don’t know that – and they have a growing sense that this is the person who’s been pulling most of the strings since the succession war started.  For good or ill, Kurapika is now thoroughly the center of attention…

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10 comments

  1. B

    I believe they’re feathers from his owl cyclops nen beast. He had that vision where they were all dead and then they all had them when he woke up.

  2. Hmmm – that makes sense.

  3. h

    the thing is I think those feathers are supposed to be invisible to non-nen users even more to the prince as he is supposed to be unable to see his monster

  4. Though the Great Hiatus Arc is now forever imprinted on the memory of Hunter x Hunter fans, I’d entertain the possibility that this is the normal writing volume/frequency at his level. If not in the manga industry, then take literature as an example.

    As Morel one said, he’s “consistent in his inconsistency”.

    More and more lately, I can’t help but frame the last few unraveling chapters in the prospective of an anime episode. Not because of some misplaced nostalgia, but because I’d very much want to experience this unraveling at a bullet train speed.

    I think the intensity would creep in even harder than it does in the manga. Just subterfuge after subterfuge. It puts me in the mindset of “Palace Invasion”.

    The Black Whale setting is so beautiful… The premise of this story is so charming… How do you create places that feel so real? The mingle between modernism & royalism in everything about Kakin feel so full of history, though we only got a few panels & mentions of its ACTUAL history.

  5. I think you have a valid point.

    The issue for me comes down to this. Togashi’s sheer intensity of creative ambition is not conducive to weekly manga publication, even for someone not as physically wrecked as he seems to be. But the nature of his narratives works better at the breakneck pace of anime than intermittent 20-page manga chapter releases.

  6. M

    That’s the agony of those who live while it’s being released. Down the line, it won’t make that much difference.
    He’s 51 years old. I do think he can live a tad more; since YuYu, he’s tried to avoid overworking, and lately, he’s upped his fitness by running.

    The bigger fascination of mine is not the weekly, suffering, but how could Togashi ever achieve a satisfying end to such a tale? I’m still thinking about it. What could it be?

  7. B

    I’ll go ahead and put my trust in Togashi to pull it off. lol. We have a battle royal arc right now. The Dark Continent looks to be a survival horror story. The very idea of fights that there’s almost no hope of winning in a shonen is titillating. Then I imagine the MCs come back and Gyro has taken over Meteor City and is enacting his plan. This ties in whoever remains from the PT, Ikalgo and Welfin who went searching for Gyro, and the meeting that was foretold between Gyro and Gon. It will clear up the mysteries surrounding Meteor City and their motto and why the PT killed the Kurta Clan, if that’s not answered in the DC. It may also involve the future King of Kakin. I imagine Gyro will be a kind of AntiChrist who is the antithesis of the Calamities we are voyaging towards now. He will be dangerous most of all for his ability to corral the hearts and minds of people to his evil cause, in the area of nihilism and totalitarianism. Then you will also get the great payoff of Kite’s rebirth. Two humans reborn into new bodies and new species, and at least for Kite, a new sex. Rebirth was a heavy theme in the CA arc, and having a character we knew well as a human will add an additional layer to the ordeal, considering Gyro’s disdain for humanity. Just my thoughts. We shall see. 8)

  8. Indeed, that may be a future storyline, but I don’t think that will be the end. In this series’ 75th episode, Enzo mentioned how Gon & Killua are the heart of the series… but since then, the series has gotten so much bigger. I think the Election Arc is to DC and all upcoming arcs what Heaven’s Arena was to Yorknew City, Greed Island, & Chimera Ant… A transitional arc that builds the basic infrastructure to sustain the future dynamics of the series.

    Even so, now that we can’t EASILY say what’s the heart of the series (the protagonists, Hisoka, and Ging… are quite close to it), I’m not sure what the end storyline could return to. All I think is that it will be typical Hunter x Hunter; tying ends together like in Greed Island & Election Arc, with a possibility of expansion or side-shadowing. But I’m not sure it will be as satisfying as those two arcs, given that this series has no hero anymore.

  9. B

    What type of Nen Queen Oito has now? I’m really curious. Could she be a dangerous Nen user? She could, with the assistance of Kurapika, create some ability similar to him, powerful but full of restrictions like functioning only to protect Woble, as Kurapika with the Spiders. I really like the progression of the character development of Oito, and after being witness of Momoze fate, that could awake more conviction to convert in power. A feminine, mother and powerful character is really nice. Hope that Togashi follows this route.

    I was a little shocked with Momoze death, and searching about it I arrived to your blog and read all HxH entries (im not a follower of manga), and I really like your opinions and how you deliver them. Will follow your hxh journey!

  10. Welcome, and thank you! That’s very kind of you to say.

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