Hunter x Hunter Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: C+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 7.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-59116-992-5
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Hunter x Hunter Vol. #04

By Jarred Pine     September 11, 2005
Release Date: September 06, 2005


Hunter x Hunter Vol.#04
© Viz Media


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

What They Say
The fourth exam rages on as the Hunter hopefuls try to gain points by stealing each other's badges. Gon, Kurpirka, and Leorio fall into a trap set for another applicant and must face a pit full of poisonous snakes. When Leorio is bitten, Gon braves the snakes to snatch the antidote and a badge! Finally, the friends reach the end of the exams and the ultimate "reverse tournament", in which the winner of each round automatically passes the Hunter exam, but the defeated keep competing against each other until the last candidate standing fails the exam. Killing an opponent means immediate failure - will Killua's rage stand in the way of his dream to become a Hunter?

The Review
Throw in some better conflict, development, and scenarios that put our main characters in a bit of a bind, and this volume shows some improvement over the previous efforts.

Packaging:
The cover uses the same artwork as the original Japanese tankubon. I’m not a fan of the pink and orange coloring, but they do look quite bright. The print reproduction looks fine, with a little bit of fading in the dark black tones in a few areas. There are no extras.

Art:
The artwork this time around feels a little better, but still overall pretty crude. Backgrounds are filled in with more detail, although sometimes the same scene will have completely different looking backgrounds. The action scenes, despite the artwork, at times can be really fun to look at.

Text/SFX:
SFX are translated and retouched, which looks okay with a few instances of boxing and some are less appealing than others. The dialogue translation reads quite clearly, but I’m not so sure I like the adaptation with Leorio’s attitude. Phrases like, “No flippin’ way”, just doesn’t seem to fit his character.

Contents (Watch out spoilers ahead):
Gon continues tracking the homicidal clown Hisoka from the cover of the forest, waiting for the right moment to use his fishing rod to grab Hisoka’s badge, which would give Gon 3 points and enough to pass this phase as long as he can hold on to his own badge. Gon is left with quite a tough situation when Hisoka stumbles across Kurapika and Leorio. Does Gon make the selfish move and wait for Hisoka to attack, or does he try and stop Hisoka’s attack and help his friends? A nice little bit of conflict for our characters, but in the end is resolved a little too easily as Gon is left off the hook of making a tough decision.

However, it’s not the last hard choice that Gon has to make in this volume. Choices that will have their own set of consequences where neither choice looks to be favorable. In a move of ultimate self-sacrifice, Gon decides to put his life on the line in order to save his friend Leorio as he tries to rescue him from a snake trap. Gon also ends up owing a favor to Hisoka, a decision he really was unable to make, but should setup an interesting scenario in the future where Gon will have to make a tough choice. It’s through all these struggles that Gon realizes one important thing, his friends. As the pressure starts to break down Gon, he begins to feel inadequate and seeks out support from his friends, who let him know that he is anything about inadequate. The group is really coming together now with stronger bonds, which I imagine will be vital in this type of story moving forward.

After the fourth phase is over, the survivors move to another location for the fifth and final phase. In order to try something new, the Chairman decides to hold a “reverse tournament”, where the remaining examinees are placed in brackets based on their overall score, only this time it’s the loser who advances. All but one of the remaining Hunters will get their license. The catch is that if your opponent is killed, you’re disqualified, and if your opponent is unable to admit defeat, there is no win. At first I was not looking forward to a long tournament arc one again, but surprisingly the results come quite quickly and there is a bit of a surprise left at the cliffhanger ending that has me interesting in reading more.

Comments
One of the issues I have had with HxH so far is that I believe that this Hunter Exam arc was started a bit too early, before characters could properly be introduced and developed. The lack of conflict and tension really made it hard to become interested in the trials of the cast of characters. With this volume, due to a better exam phase and understanding of characters, everything kicks up a notch as the pressure is put on Gon and his crew. Gon is forced to make quite a few tough decisions that will test everyone’s bonds of friendship, and puts Gon’s life in danger as well.

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