Big news broke for fans of Yoshihiro Togashi’s infrequently published yet utterly brilliant shonen manga epic, Hunter x Hunter. After roughly 2 years having passed since the series last went on hiatus due to ‘intense back pain’, Togashi is slated to return this April continuing with the Dark Continent arc which he began 2 years and about 5 chapters ago.
Fans of the series are no stranger to Togashi’s frequent hiatuses, even spawning the affectionate nickname for the series ‘Hiatus x Hiatus’. There is even a website dedicated entirely to tracking the series many hiatuses in a series of detailed graphs and charts. Here is one of them:
As you can see the red indicates the hiatuses, which actually surpass the amount of time the series was actually printed in Shonen Jump. Fascinating stuff. You can check out more fascinating hiatus charts at http://hiatus-hiatus.rhcloud.com/ It does raise the interesting question though; how does one sustain their love for a series that is on break more than it isn’t?
Being a fan of the Hunter x Hunter series is a burden to some and to others a blessing. Many wish that the series would simply run consistently like any other normal series would but there is the other side of the coin, the fans who credit the many hiatuses for why Togashi is able to remain so creative and a big part of why the series is so very good. It is an interesting perspective and one that is likely very true, Togashi gets plenty of time to plan his next move and plot out events in greater detail than most mangaka.
Furthermore what Togashi has managed to cultivate over more than a decade of frequent hiatuses is an event feeling. Whenever a chapter of Hunter x Hunter is published it becomes an ‘event’ a big moment and it brings in curious eyes and the fans come back in troves. There is a reason Togashi is able to do what he does, because whenever he does it it makes Shueisha a lot of money. That much is absolutely indisputable. So why is it that Togashi is able to come and go so freely? Is it all about the money or is there more to it than that?
Well it all goes back to the mid 90’s where Yu Yu Hakusho was regularly published in Weekly Shonen Jump and was at the absolute height of its popularity, pushing numbers that was only ever matched by the Dragon Ball series. Then after an apparent health scare, Togashi abruptly quit and handed in a rushed final chapter for the series ending it in the middle of an arc and leaving fans as well as Shueisha in a state of utter shock. Togashi told the editors to shove it, a major faux pas in Japanese society. You just don’t do things like that. It pretty much equated to flipping the bird to his bosses and telling them he didn’t need their magazine and he didn’t need to be a mangaka.
Years later bridges were mended and Shueisha made aggressive attempts to bring Togashi back into the fold. After a short stint with the series Level-E, Togashi returned with Hunter x Hunter, a shonen epic unlike any other. It was a blockbuster success from day dot, ranking 1st multiple times in Shonen Jump. The series has been released infrequently ever since, on Togashi’s terms and nobody elses.
So why is it that in spite of it all Hunter x Hunter fans remain so passionate about a series that has been around for nearly 2 decades, spending half the time not being released and from an author who seems to care more about playing the latest Dragon Quest game than actually writing it? Well it is pretty simple really; Hunter x Hunter is a special manga made under very special circumstances by a man who is undoubtedly special.
It is an anomaly that captivates millions across the globe, it may not have the name recognition of Dragon Ball or One Piece, but when the series is announced to return and it trends on Twitter globally for 24 hours+ there is something to be said for it.
As a fan of over a decade, the good news for me is that Hunter x Hunter will be back once again. For how long is anyone’s guess but with it being the 30th anniversary of Dragon Quest this year we fans surely can look forward to atleast 5 or 6 thrilling chapters of Hunter x Hunter before Togashi disappears once more into the void of the hiatus zone. That said, damn I can’t wait to read these new chapters.
See you again for the article reporting the hiatus in 3 months time and then see you again in 2 years for the article reporting its return. Thank you and goodnight everybody!