Was there a precise moment when HxH jumped the shark? I don’t know if we’re looking at a drop-off here so much as a conceit that was never going to sustain itself for that long. This whole show has always smelt of a mangaka playing a storytelling game with himself instead of setting out to tell an actual story. Togashi has said as much, it’s been obvious throughout the entire watching, I’ve commented on it in almost every write-up… and the novelty’s finally wearing off.
If you step back and look at the 'science' of shonen, these endless serials more-or-less get by forever on whatever good will they collect at the beginning. The first few episodes are slow-paced, spent entirely on making you like the characters so much that you’ll follow them wherever they go, no matter how tedious the journey gets. You listen to fans talk about ‘powering through’ filler, or ‘checking in’ every few episodes during that filler, and it speaks to an odd sense of obligation to the characters.
That used to sound silly to me but, here I am, on the other side of it. I didn’t actually enjoy the show over these nine episodes, but I weirdly felt like I owed it to Gon and Killua to show up. Why? Because they were working hard…?
And I’m convinced that Togashi’s long ball aim has always been to see how much loyalty he can engender with heroes as thinly sketched as these guys. I still like Gon and Killua, don’t get me wrong, but… why are they here? Gon isn’t that committed to finding his father. Killua isn’t that committed to going straight and vanquishing evil.
Even when the show throws these characters into a war for half a season, it’s like Togashi’s trying to make the threat as spongy as possible. Over nine episodes, you have one or two awesome scenes of the King making scary moves with his invasion, and they’re sprinkled over what? Gon goes on a play date? This side character rumbles around with that side character on the highway?
This is the most obfuscating epic I've ever come across. It’s the unfortunate resort of an animation studio having to crank out a show every week that's based on a story even the creator evidently doesn’t care about.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|