Monday, January 7, 2013

I Reads You Review: HUNTER X HUNTER, VOL. 25

Creators: Yoshihiro Togashi; Lillian Olsen (Translation and English Adaptation)
Publishing Information: VIZ Media – @VIZMedia, B&W, paperback, 208 pages, $7.99 (US), $9.50 CAN
Ordering Numbers: ISBN: 978-1-4215-2588-4 (ISBN-13); 1-4215-2588-7 (ISBN-10)

Rating: “T+” for “Older Teen”

Hunter × Hunter is a shonen manga (comics for teen boys) from writer/artist Yoshihiro Togashi, the creator of Yu Yu Hakusho. An adventure and fantasy comic book, Hunter × Hunter debuted in the Japanese manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump (March 3, 1998).

The main character in Hunter × Hunter is Gon Freecss. Gon discovers that his father, Ging Freecss, whom he thought to be dead, is actually alive and well. Gon dedicates himself to being what his father is – a great Hunter. Hunters devote themselves to tracking down priceless items and treasures, mystical places, magical beasts, and even other people. Those who pass the grueling qualification exam to become a Hunter also get access to restricted areas and amazing stores of information.

Hunter × Hunter, Vol. 25 (entitled Charge) continues the “Chimera Ant Story Arc.” As the midnight hour approaches, the Hunters are ready to make their charge against The King, brutal ruler of the Chimera Ants. The heroes have snuck into the capitol of East Gorteau. Shoot, Meleoron, and Knuckle will lead the first charge. Gon and his best pal, Killua Zoldyck, will lead the second charge, while Ikalgo will be the third charge and Morel the fourth. Chairman Netero and Zeno will sneak into the thrown room to assassinate the King. The narrative also offers revelations about Netero’s origins.

Outside the royal palace, Neferpitou, one of the elite Royal Guards, makes the first stand against the invading Hunters. Inside, the shape-shifting Youpi awaits. However, something reveals a surprising side of the King that no one could have predicted.

It has been over four years since I last read a Hunter × Hunter graphic novel. In an earlier review, I described the series as a “‘Bizarro’ Naruto,” filled with weird characters. What really makes Hunter × Hunter look unusual is the quirky style of the art, which looks like the kind of art one might find in an American indie or alternative comic book or even a small press superhero or fantasy genre series.

The page design and also the graphic design of the composition in each panel are also unique. That peculiar visual aspect draws the reader into the action, rather than freeze them out, the way a style, inappropriate for a genre, might. There is a kooky, surreal aspect that made me more interested in the story the deeper I got into it, while early into this volume, I was not at all interested.

Hunter × Hunter is rated for “older teens” (T+), but its strange character will make it appealing to shonen readers of all ages.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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