Hunter x Hunter has been on hiatus since 2017, and fans have been anxiously awaiting for series creator Yoshihiro Togashi to bring the series back. Fans have unfortunately grown accustomed to the series' multiple breaks, but in the end they all understand these breaks are necessary for Togashi's good health.
Besides, each of these breaks means that Hunter x Hunter will remain at a good quality each release as Togashi's renewed energies moves the series forward. As the series is currently in the midst of an intense psychological battle, complete with wicked monster design, Togashi's going to need all the energy he can get.
But what if you haven't read the Hunter x Hunter manga since the series went on hiatus? No need to worry. This guide will bring you up to speed.
What is 'Hunter x Hunter' About?
Hunter x Hunter is the story of Gon Freecss. He's a young boy who discovers that his previously thought to be dead father is in fact alive. Not only is he alive, he is a famous Hunter, a professional traveler who specializes in finding rare treasures, exploring unidentified lands, and hunting down dangerous individuals.
In order to find and meet with his father after many years, Gon then decides to become a Hunter himself. On his journey to becoming a licensed Hunter, and even further after acquiring said license, Gon is taken to lands and finds himself in experiences stranger and more dangerous than he ever though to be possible.
But through these difficult journeys, Gon meets all sorts of friends and allies along the way.prevnext
Who Are The Main Characters?
Along with Gon Freeccs, the story mainly follows two other young boys (and occasionally dips into tangents surrounding ancillary characters like their older Hunter friend, Leorio) Killua Zoldyck and Kurapika.
Killua Zoldyck is a boy around Gon's age, but has had a much rougher upbringing. Part of a family of assassins, he's been trained since birth to kill and use lethal force in fights. But thanks to befriending Gon during the Hunter exams, and going through all sorts of challenges with him, he's become more off a friendly rival to Gon. Dangerous, but now hesitates to kill for no reason.
Kurapika is also someone who had a rough upbringing. The sole survivor of the Kurta clan, who were hunted down for their valuable scarlet eyes that activate when they're emotional, he becomes a Hunter in order to get revenge on the group who killed his clan and stole their eyes. He's also the main figure in the latest arc of the manga, the "Succession Contest," due to someone holding the last batch of Kurta eyes.prevnext
When Is It Returning?
The latest hiatus began in September 2017, and has lasted over 18 issues of Weekly Shonen Jump releases. Luckily, the series will be returning as part of Weekly Shonen Jump Issue #09 on January 29.
The longest hiatus for the series was for 80 issues overall, so this wait is not as bad. But that doesn't make it feel any less so, unfortunately. Togashi took a break to rest from his back pain, and the series will restart at Chapter 371.
It was rumored that the series would be back before the end of 2017, but early 2018 His last publication run lasted from June to September, so hopefully this run in 2018 will last as long, if not longer. Though fans would be happy just to have it back.prevnext
What is The Succession Contest?
The current arc of the series is the "Succession Contest." This arc of the series is the eight story of Hunter x Hunter overall, and started around Chapter 349. This arc is mainly psychological as it involves the 14 children who could inherit the throne of the Kakin Empire.
On the route to the Dark Continent, the Succession Contest begins on board a giant Black Whale ship. In this contest, the 14 children must kill each other as the sole surviving member of the royal Princes will become the next king of Kakin. The catch here is, however, that the princes cannot kill each other with their own hands as each one is granted a special nen Guardian Beast.
Using their wits, and treacherous natures and folly alliances, the royal family must figure out how to kill their siblings stealthily.prevnext
What Are The Guardian Beast?
Each of the 14 Princes of the royal family is given an Egg, and hatches a Guardian Spirit Beast. None of them can see their beasts, but they each take on a form fitting to their personalities (resulting in some of the most monstrous figures in the series thus far).
The rules of the Succession Contest forbid Guardian Beasts from killing one another, nor are they allowed to directly attack others who have a Guardian Beast. Though these beasts also automatically attack anything they perceive as threats, as they were created specifically for the purpose of defending the royal family. In fact, these beasts are what made the Kakin Empire as strong as it is in the current day.
In order to see these beasts, however, one must master nen and that adds another tricky layer onto this psychological battle.prevnext
Who Is Involved With The Succession Contest?
As mentioned, the 14 princes in the royal family are the ones directly competing in this Succession Content. They're not the only ones involved, however. Because of the rules forbidding direct killing of one another, each member of the royal family must hire a set of bodyguards or assassins.
Because each one has a set of bodyguards, there's also a sense of mistrust brewing among those they hire because any one of them could be a potential spy for an opposing sibling. These bodyguards are also the ones most likely doing the dirty work for the Princes, since they are forbidden to take any action themselves.
But the main crux of the arc follows Kurapika, who's been hired by Oito, the mother of the youngest of the 14 Princes. Since she can't just quit the battle or face death, she pleads to Kurapika to get her and her son out of this ghastly situation.prevnext
What Happened In The Last Chapter?
The series left off at Chapter 370, as Kurapika is explaining the concept on nen to a room full of bodyguards (as mastering nen would make defending themselves against the Guardian Beasts easier). But because he's teaching some opposing bodyguards, there's a large amount of tension in the room as they all believe he's trying to buy time to assassinate the Prince they're guarding.
The gamble of this move, however, is it gives the other bodyguards time to study Kurapika's abilities. Others learn quickly about his conjuring and manipulation abilities, and are trying to use any opening they can to either attack Kurapika or one of the other bodyguards in the room.
Because, the key to eventually killing a Prince is to kill their bodyguard first. After one bodyguard was eliminated, Kurapika now has to figure out who in this group of bodyguards and Black Whale staff is the nen assassin and take them out.prevnext
Why Is The 'Succession Contest' Arc Worth Reading?
Fans have been praising Hunter x Hunter for the ways Yoshihiro Togashi has spun the standard shonen narrative. By giving Gon a more full world to explore than he gave Yusuke in Yu Yu Hakusho, the series often feels more full and fun to read. Even when an arc is technically a "tangent" on the way to a much larger story, its only indicative of how strong the writing is.
The "Succession Contest" arc, for example, is one of these tangents. The next big arc of the series was setting up to be the Dark Continent, which is a continent full of dangers few Hunters come back from, but Togashi found a way to make even the trip there more interesting to read.
Much like other battles in this series, the Succession Contest is a prolonged battle of wits and moxie where people with abilities must fight within a fine tuned set of rules. These rules add a layer of anxiety to each battle, making each interaction, each conversation an incredibly tense affair. Couple this with the ingeniously gruesome way the Guardian Beasts are designed, and you have an arc that's both stimulating visually and mentally.
There's also a great battle between Hisoka and Chrollo that's really only there to be cool.prevnext
What Comes Next?
The Succession Contest is taking place on the way to the Dark Continent, the next big arc of the series. The Dark Continent is a terrible place for Hunters, and is rumored to be where magical beasts originated from. After finding out the King of Kakin intends to travel there (not knowing about his plans for his children), and accompanied by Netero's son Beyond, the Zodiacs are eventually forced to head to the Continent against their will.
Not only do the characters face a strange and dangerous world, they also are declared enemies of Netero's son. There are even stranger things most likely waiting on the horizon, so Hunter x Hunter fans can't wait to get back to it.prev