So I just watched the 2nd reboot. Is it just me or is this anime really about strategy and counter-strategy?
You know that's an interesting question.
Just what is Hunter x Hunter about?
After some consideration, I'd say Violence.
The Hunter Exam quickly turned into excessive violence even though every test could've been solved peacefully. In Yorkshin and Greed Island, the generally peaceful themes of Trade and Games turned into massacres, even though they could've been peaceful too. To a lesser extend, that also applies for the Election arc. The Chimera Ant Arc however was grossly violent from the get-go and showed what it means for an already violent concept to go really ham. We'll see about the Dark Continent.
About growing up too?
The original goal was a quest for a lost father.
First you have trials to get a first pass towards your step while learning much and finding friends.
Second, you save a friend who learn how to get away from his family.
Third, you train, learn things through hardship and manage to put a hit on someone who was endangering your growth.
Fourth, you see a possible path for grown-ups with its good and bad sides and you realize what a long way you have yet to go.
Fifth, you follow the path your father expected you to and clear the trials one after the other but not on your own, so you don't deserve to get to him yet.
Sixth, you face death of a friend, guilt, powerlessness and you learn to fight with all your might and on your own, exceeding your limits.
Seventh, you almost die for going too far too quickly and while you get a reward by getting to your father, you lost the benefits of what you did to get there, so you have to start again.
Eighth… well, it's about succession and all the princes had weird ways to grow up xD But we don't know yet what it will be about anyway.
So you have Kiliua, Ging, Pariston, and Kurapika all seem to be the top minds of HunterXHunter. However, all the other characters are constantly talking strategy, what, how, and why a certain scenario is playing out, and thinking several steps ahead to outmanuever/outwit their adversary. It's constant from the very beginning. Yes, I agree with @Oben it's violent. But a lot of anime are really. And yes, I agree with @azer_moli it's about growth, but what shounen isn't? IMO, this anime/manga is more about strategy than it is character growth and violence. For me, the latter two don't really define it.
I'm not saying it's violent, I'm saying it's about violence. As a theme. Usually battle manga require violence simply because battle is a major factor, but HxH actually offers alternatives to it, yet still moves there. Strategy on the other hand is how things are done, but it is no theme. If it was, the major turnaround points of the manga (namely Kite's death and Adult Gon) would specifically feature these - but they don't. Both are in fact very empty of strategy.
I just discussed it with Rashugun, and he was saying the core of Hunter x Hunter is adventure.
I agree. Even if it's not a really original theme, "it is what allows HxH to be incredibly versatile and varied" (quoting him), and everything can be related to it, everything is part of the adventure.
It makes a lot of sense to me :3
But most arcs aren't exactly adventurous... I guess Hunter Exam, Greed Island and maybe Chimera Ants qualify, but the rest? I at least count exploration and stuff like that to adventure, which you can't really say of the Heaven's Arena, Yorkshin, or the Election Arc.
Yes, exploration is inherently linked to adventure.
And there are many ways and things to explore.
Heaven's Arena - It was an experience and a chance to get stronger while actually taking risks. It fits "adventure" pretty well.
Yorkshin - Exploration of a city and its way, and even a glimpse to the corruption, the mafia, etc. It was also hazardous, and they took huge risks against the Phantom troupe, especially Kurapika, though the same applied for both Gon and Killua.
Election Arc - well, on one side you had an exploration of the political system of the Hunters, and on the other side, you had Killua's own adventure to save both Gon and Alluka, while taking risks on the way…
There was no exploration in the Arena Arc. They stayed in their room or the arena in a fixed system, and got the basics of Nen taught to them.
Yorkshin - when have they actually gone to explore the city? You can say that they explored the market, but that's about it...
Election - I don't consider the author exploring a political theme adventure for the protagonists. While it was awesome, it wasn't adventure. Killua's adventure was placed in very well-known boundaries as well - and aside from Nanika as a factor, all had been established beforehand.
I don't think the risks add up to adventure, though arguably my idea of adventure is spoiled by mangas like OP or Toriko. It should be about discovering new places and ideas and stuff, which I don't see happening in these.
Adventure is not just exploring a place though; it is inherently part of it, because that's the first thing you think of, but it's not just exploration of a place.
Leorio had his own little adventure during the Election arc for example.
Kurapika had his own adventures during the Yorkshin arc, and Killua and Gon wandered around Yorkshin to find the Phantom troupe. The very fact they went to fight against them is an adventure.
For Heaven's arena, alright, it doesn't fit as well, but in adventures you also have breaks which allow you to go onwards once you've cleared the obstacle in front of you if I might say.
Take a few adventure novels: Treasure Island (Stevenson), Robinson Crusoe (Defoe), The Hobbit (Tolkien), Around the world in 80 days (Verne), etc. It's not always exploration, you have risks taken and breaks as well, even moments of boredom. When you set off for an adventure, you meet people, you have fun, you visit place, you pursue some things, etc.
But exploration is a necessary feature imo. There is more, but this is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one.
I guess we can agree on Yorkshin, but I think even that one is stretched. The others however... not really imo.
But all these involve exploration.
Take "Peace and War". Is there a journey and places visited? Yes, against the napoleonic army. Are there new people, are there pursued goals? Yes.
Is it an adventure novel? No. Arguably, there isn't much fun, BUT, even if there was fun, it wouldn't change it if you ask me.
It's on the whole though. You have episodes in an adventure, not every single arc needs to be an adventure in itself, it just need to be close enough to the whole thing to be part of it. There are enough surprises, twists and turns, and all kinds of incidents in every arc to make it an adventure manga… Especially since Gon left for an adventure in the beginning.
Of course Tolstoy didn't write adventure novels.
In any case, it's even better if we can debate about the theme, it shows how rich HxH is as a manga.
Edited by DarkNemesis, 12 January 2015 - 05:38 PM.