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[Discussion] What is the theme of HunterXHunter?

Hunter x Hunter

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#1 DarkNemesis

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:38 PM

This goes for the manga, 1st anime, and 2nd anime. Here's what's been said so far:
 
 
 

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.

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#2 azer_moli

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:48 PM

@Oben, if you'd like to continue here~ 

 

And thanks DarkNemesis  :kakashi:



#3 Oben

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:49 PM

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.


Yes, I guess. Though, I think there is a difference between an adventurous story and a story that has adventure as its theme... since alot of stories have adventurous elements, but are no adventure-stories.

@DarkNemesis Since you are Anime-only (I think), do you mind if we bring in the Dark Continent/Kakin chapters here?

#4 DarkNemesis

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:50 PM

@DarkNemesis Since you are Anime-only (I think), do you mind if we bring in the Dark Continent/Kakin chapters here?


Not a problem. No spoilers here. Free for all for manga, anime 1, and anime 2.
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#5 Oben

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 05:56 PM

Well, the Dark Continent Chapters - so far - do make an interesting point on the matter.
Everyone that is supposed to go outside and settle in a new adventurous environment... is actually shipped to another place in the Human World and tricked. That arc is instead turned on the conflict between the princes in Kakin, which is purely political in the end. It seems to me like Togashi used the potential of adventure to set up a non-adventure plot, which might actually well discribe the other arcs too...

#6 azer_moli

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:01 PM

Yes, I guess. Though, I think there is a difference between an adventurous story and a story that has adventure as its theme... since alot of stories have adventurous elements, but are no adventure-stories.

 
According to D'Ammassa (Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction): "An adventure is an event or series of events that happens outside the course of the protagonist's ordinary life, usually accompanied by danger, often by physical action. Adventure stories almost always move quickly, and the pace of the plot is at least as important as characterization, setting and other elements of a creative work."

 

In the very beginning, Gon changes completely is way of living since he leaves his tiny island to become a hunter and follow his dad's steps. 

I admit it's a vague definition for adventure fiction though… But HxH definitely has both action and characterization. 


 

… In addition to everything we've already said. 



#7 Oben

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:04 PM

According to D'Ammassa (Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction): "An adventure is an event or series of events that happens outside the course of the protagonist's ordinary life, usually accompanied by danger, often by physical action. Adventure stories almost always move quickly, and the pace of the plot is at least as important as characterization, setting and other elements of a creative work."
 
In the very beginning, Gon changes completely is way of living since he leaves his tiny island to become a hunter and follow his dad's steps. 
I admit it's a vague definition for adventure fiction though… But HxH definitely has both action and characterization. 

 
… In addition to everything we've already said.


I knew I'd get encyclopedias hammered at me sooner or later :xD: Yeah, can't really argue with that.

#8 azer_moli

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:16 PM

Well, the Dark Continent Chapters - so far - do make an interesting point on the matter.
Everyone that is supposed to go outside and settle in a new adventurous environment... is actually shipped to another place in the Human World and tricked. That arc is instead turned on the conflict between the princes in Kakin, which is purely political in the end. It seems to me like Togashi used the potential of adventure to set up a non-adventure plot, which might actually well discribe the other arcs too...

 

Indeed, they go again on an adventure which is not necessarily the kind of adventure you'd expect. 

However, there is not really "adventure plots". It's just that with Togashi, you add a lot of strategy instead of incidents coming one after the other. 

You can also establish a parallel with formation levels actually. It always begin with a journey and the hero has different adventures on his way, good and bad ones, and that's what makes him grow. 

 

(The more we'll manage to find similarities with genres, the happier I'll be xD)


 

I knew I'd get encyclopedias hammered at me sooner or later :xD: Yeah, can't really argue with that.

 

Professional tic, I'm sorry xD


 

Formation levels… what the hell did my auto-corrector do? 

 

I meant formation novels… My bad. 



#9 Oben

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Posted 12 January 2015 - 06:37 PM

Indeed, they go again on an adventure which is not necessarily the kind of adventure you'd expect. 
However, there is not really "adventure plots". It's just that with Togashi, you add a lot of strategy instead of incidents coming one after the other.


My point was actually that they don't go on adventure, they only have adventure as a setting and goal they work with. But I guess that comes close enough to an adventure-theme here, since it is worked with.

You can also establish a parallel with formation levels actually. It always begin with a journey and the hero has different adventures on his way, good and bad ones, and that's what makes him grow.

(The more we'll manage to find similarities with genres, the happier I'll be xD)Formation levels… what the hell did my auto-corrector do? 
 
I meant formation novels… My bad.


Ah. Isn't that pretty much standard for the whole Shonen-Genre though? Of the bat, I can't come up with many Shonen-protagonists that don't go through growing up in some way.

#10 azer_moli

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 06:45 AM

My point was actually that they don't go on adventure, they only have adventure as a setting and goal they work with. But I guess that comes close enough to an adventure-theme here, since it is worked with.


Ah. Isn't that pretty much standard for the whole Shonen-Genre though? Of the bat, I can't come up with many Shonen-protagonists that don't go through growing up in some way.

 

Well… yes. That was the point xD

 

Indeed, and it wouldn't be a theme. Formation novels is a genre, and manga, as genre, is close enough to formation novels, it's part of the shounen manga genre. 

And on the way, it shows that my idea of growth for a theme certainly is not a good one. :xD:



#11 Fulmine

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 09:01 AM

So, on the point of the differences and similarities of having adventure theme vs being adventurous, how to define and distinguish them using HxH?

 

To be broader, for example, what would you call One Piece? It would be the best (Same demography: shounen, same genre (action-adventure-fantasy), same magazine=>same ideal/modus operandi, same level and quality) to compare and contrast with HxH. Though One piece already has ''Dream, Conviction'' as a strong theme but no one forbids a manga to have 2 themes anw.


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#12 Peleihno

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 10:17 AM

It's a general coming-of-age story, self discovery, exploration (of the world, human relationships, and of the self as said before), friendship, etc. The usual for a shounen, just with a bit more blood and gore and not hooked on the idea of saving the world, a region, or a country barring the Chimera Ant arc. 


Edited by Peleihno, 13 January 2015 - 10:17 AM.

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#13 ddboy102

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 10:46 AM

LOVE


sUP3nUt.jpg?1

 

“I’m a slow learner, it’s true. But I learn. "


#14 azer_moli

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 11:55 AM

LOVE

 

No; sexiness, not love. Hisoka as a whole can summarize this :D


 

It's a general coming-of-age story, self discovery, exploration (of the world, human relationships, and of the self as said before), friendship, etc. The usual for a shounen, just with a bit more blood and gore and not hooked on the idea of saving the world, a region, or a country barring the Chimera Ant arc. 

 

But we're trying to reduce all the various themes to one or two big ones, something particular to HxH. 


Edited by azer_moli, 13 January 2015 - 11:54 AM.


#15 Peleihno

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 01:24 PM

But we're trying to reduce all the various themes to one or two big ones, something particular to HxH.


Self discovery and exploration (all forms) then.

There's nothing particular to HxH, it isn't much different from most shounen manga at its' core and countless stories that have come before it.
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#16 azer_moli

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Posted 13 January 2015 - 01:43 PM

Self discovery and exploration (all forms) then.

There's nothing particular to HxH, it isn't much different from most shounen manga at its' core and countless stories that have come before it.

 

I agree. It's very original in its way to make the story progress, with its choice of arcs and its violence, but the main core is not original, it follows the steps of a typical shounen manga from WSJ on that matter. 

 

That's where you can prove once again that when you're a real artist/writer, your subject doesn't matter xD



#17 retroluffy13

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:20 PM

humanity as told by Togashi

 

hunter x hunter is the expression of Togashi's own personal studies of humanity using probably a little bit of history, a little bit of personal experience, and some key elements laid down by previous mangaka as well as himself.


 

the reason nen is laid out as a spectrum as well as the reason its tied to personality, hisuka noting that certain personalities will produce different types of nen, is because togashi believes that humanity and information is a spectrum that you fall somewhere on, and that by changing yourself fundamentally and personally, you can completely realign yourself on this spectrum and end up at a different point on it.


Edited by retroluffy13, 16 September 2017 - 01:20 PM.

 this is a music video I made for a friend of mine.  give it a listen.  the visuals are pretty dope

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when you love something..  and I mean. really love it.  you fight for it for as long as you can until you cant stand any longer.  then when its all said and done, walk away with a smile hoping you did right.


#18 Oben

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:33 PM

the reason nen is laid out as a spectrum as well as the reason its tied to personality, hisuka noting that certain personalities will produce different types of nen, is because togashi believes that humanity and information is a spectrum that you fall somewhere on, and that by changing yourself fundamentally and personally, you can completely realign yourself on this spectrum and end up at a different point on it.

 

Hisoka made that up arbitrarily, this isn't a rule.

http://mangaseeonlin...62-page-20.html (bottom)



#19 retroluffy13

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 06:59 PM

Hisoka made that up arbitrarily, this isn't a rule.

http://mangaseeonlin...62-page-20.html (bottom)

well maybe hisokas arbitrary methods aren't correct, but that doesn't mean his base theory isn't correct.  in fact, gyo forexample, has real world implications if you actually understand how the technique works.  by concentrating only on wha you see and taking critical analysis to a situation you can indeed train your yes to see things others cannot.  the hidden gum beneath the works as it were.

 

the difference between hisokas own crazy theorys on how it all works vs the lore of how these ability works are two different things entirely. 

 

theres merit to hisoka's theory in other words even if he hasn't quite found the tells through which to judge someone by.


Edited by retroluffy13, 16 September 2017 - 06:59 PM.

 this is a music video I made for a friend of mine.  give it a listen.  the visuals are pretty dope

Spoiler


also some ear kandy
Spoiler

when you love something..  and I mean. really love it.  you fight for it for as long as you can until you cant stand any longer.  then when its all said and done, walk away with a smile hoping you did right.





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