Hunter x Hunter Vol. #03 (Mania.com)

By:Jarred Pine
Review Date: Monday, September 05, 2005
Release Date: Friday, July 15, 2005



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yoshihiro Togashi
Translated by:Lillian Olsen
Adapted by:

What They Say
Gon and his teammates have been challenged by a group of criminals hired by the Hunter Association. Gon wins with wits, and Kurapika's red-eyed rage assures a victory. But Leorio is all out of luck and loses precious time for his team. It's up to Killua to save the day with a gruesome display of his assassin skills. With time running out, it takes ingenuity and brute force to beat the clock and the test.

The fourth exam finds the team stranded on an island for a battle royale. Can Gon get the best of Hisoka, or will he be... eliminated?

The Review
Packaging:
I apologize, but by the time I was able to sit down and finish the packaging review, the book had been lost. Instead of waiting much longer, I decided to just send in the review. I do know that the original Japanese cover art was used.

Art:
I really don’t care too much for Togashi’s artwork in this title. As I understand it he had some health problems, and it looks like he maybe didn’t work with a staff to help him out. The artwork is very sketchy, looking like something that was done as a concept drawing and not a finished piece of work. There are no tones used at all, except for solid black, which makes everything look very flat. Background art is pretty much non-existent. Overall, it’s just really hard to connect and become immersed in this world with such crude art.

Text/SFX:
The SFX are translated and retouched. The retouch is okay and most of them feature a lot of the white boxing around the text. There is some sprinkling of slang used throughout, but it’s definitely not overdone. I found one translation error on page 157 where the number 256 was written as ‘246’. Other than these couple minor issues, the dialogue translation is good and feels appropriate for the most part.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Gon and company continue their Best of Five match against the former prisoners as the ticking clock is winding down on the third phase of the Hunter Exam. Each one-on-one match isn’t that terribly exciting, which makes this first half of the book drag a bit much. The enemies are prisoners serving long sentences, so they appear to be quite the formidable opponents, but most fall quite easily. The fights though don’t really have any other purpose though other than to just plain win and move on to the next stage.

Kiurapika and Killua both make quick wins with their matches, both showing off just how powerful they can be. Leorio loses his match in a humorous manner as he gambles away 50 hours of the team’s time just to cop a feel on his female gambling extraordinaire opponent. The one nice aspect of this phase is that by the end there is a sense of team amongst Gon, Kurapika, Killua, and Leorio. I can feel the bond between them forming, and how they interact with each other is becoming quite natural and often times humorous.

The stakes are raised in the fourth stage, as the contestants draw numbers to find out who they will have to hunt in the upcoming Hunter vs. Hunted match that takes place on Zevil Island. If the hunter can grab the badge of the hunted that they have drawn, the hunter will receive 3 points. If the hunter keeps his badge until the end, it’s another 3 points. For every other badge that the hunter collects, 1 point is earned. In one week a hunter must collect 6 points to move on to the final phase of the exam.

I am liking this fourth stage much more so far than the previous one. The final examinees at this point are all quite formidable opponents, so putting them up against each other should provide some fun moments. What makes this phase work though is that Gon has drawn the number 44, the badge that Hisoka wears. For a while now Hisoka has been built up into this homicidal clown that everyone is afraid of, even Gon. The scene with him on the boat talking with Killua did a good job at getting across this fear. A normally smiling and happy-go-lucky Gon sits quietly, shaking from both fear and excitement. I actually found myself feeling really sorry for Gon, and worried, so give credit to Togashi for secretly hooking me on Gon. It definitely made the rest of the book somewhat enjoyable, as Gon trains himself on the island and comes up with a plan that just might work and allow him to capture Hisoka’s badge and more importantly, stay alive! It would have been interesting to see one of the other three get one of the their numbers, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to play out that way.

Comments
I’m still having trouble getting into Hunter X Hunter. There isn’t a captivating enough story to go along with these characters yet, who are still for the most part pretty flat. It’s also hard to get into this fantasy/quest type of story when the artwork is unable to convey the world properly. The end of the volume shows some promise for some more interesting conflict ahead, so I am hoping that the next volume will finally sink its hooks into me.



Mania Grade: C+
Art Rating: C
Packaging Rating: N/A
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 7.99
Pages: 185
ISBN: 1-59116-849-X
Orientation: Right to Left