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A Journey Backwards : Love x Hate; Hunter x Hunter

【明報專訊】The 2011 series Hunter x Hunter by Yoshihiro Togashi is regarded as one of the best Shounen anime series in the last two decades. First serialised on March 3, 1998 in the Shueisha magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump, the story follows Gon Freecss, a 12-year-old boy who set out to follow in his lost father's footsteps to become a "hunter", a highly regarded profession in their world. To qualify as a hunter, one has to pass a rigorous, and often fatal, exam, followed by rounds of robust training. Yet, once qualified, hunters enjoy the privilege and abilities to pursue their lifelong passion with little restraint.

Hunter x Hunter has enjoyed widespread popularity among the millennial generation. It is often recognised for its endearing characters, intricate plot, and vivid artworks. However, the manga was also notorious for going into irregular, and often ridiculously long, spells of hiatus due to the writer's health. In the decade spanning 2007 to 2017, the series was almost completely halted. Although the writer has stated his wish to "finish writing the series before he dies", no set date was given to the mission. To many fans, this is as bad as killing off their favourite characters in the story.

When the five-season anime landed on Netflix this March, it immediately topped my list of shows to binge watch during a very stressful month of work. To enjoy the legendary anime without enduring the long disruptions sounded like a sweet deal to me. Yet, while Hunter x Hunter has given life to colourful characters (the best being an assassin family), it has also created a chaos of underdeveloped ones, disappeared or killed off from the series without much of an explanation. Each of these characters deserves a stand-alone backstory of 20 episodes. Togashi has tricked his readers badly — to complete the story in a satisfactory way sounds too much like a hunt impossible.

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Mona C. has a strong appetite for stories. Feed her enough.

Email: monafpchu@gmail.com

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