Hunter x Hunter needs no introduction since it is one of the most popular Shonen series of all time. Togashi’s series has everything that it takes to be Shonen’s‘ Big Three,’’ but unfortunately, it is yet to do it after so many years. It has unique characters, a wondrous world, and a perfect power system that makes it an exciting series. But most fans struggle to understand why it is yet to become a part of the Shonen ‘Big Three’. There are many ways of looking at this question, and Togashi’s series lacks in several key areas where the other ‘Big Three’ series thrive.
Understanding Big Three
Bleach, Naruto, and One Piece together make up Shonen Jump’s Big Three. As it is obvious from the name the Big Three consists of the three most popular Shonen manga/anime series. From the last few years, the Big Three appears to have become less and less relevant after the conclusion of Bleach and Naruto. Moreover, One Piece has also become less popular in recent years, so the original Big Three are no longer as relevant as they used to be some years ago.
The popularity of the manga/anime in the Western countries too has a lot to play in making the concept of Big Three popular back in the day. The three series were well-sought compared to Hunter x Hunter in American fandom. The anime boom in the West had a big role to play in it. Even though Hunter x Hunter had more sales than Bleach but still it was never considered to be a part of the Big Three. Some argue that Big Three is just a Western fan construct but even if that is true, whether Hunter x Hunter was ever capable of being a part of it is an important question worth exploring.
Hunter x Hunter might seem like most Shonen series initially, but the series’s complexities come to light as the story moves on. Its unique power systems and arc structure are not for the casual viewers who would struggle to make sense of the complexities. Even to enjoy the action, the viewers must clearly understand the show’s power systems. The show is so complicated that most fans even avoid recommending it to new anime fans. Despite being a great series, Hunter x Hunter struggles to entertain new anime viewers who can’t make sense of complex power systems or arc structures.
One Piece was first released in 1997, and in its two-decade-long history, it has published around one thousand chapters so far. Hunter x Hunter started just one year after One Piece has only published 36 volumes until now, and the series is nowhere near its conclusion. Togashi cares little about his work’s commercial success and likes to write at his own leisurely pace, which can be annoying for fans. Togashi’s slow writing helps his creativity, but since the manga is published so late, the series has failed to remain a hot topic for a long enough time to be considered for Big Three.
The protagonist Gon Freecss is a one-dimensional character who sees the world in black and white. The unbridled idealism makes him an unreal character and an antithesis to protagonists like Naruto, who can understand and accept that the world isn’t perfect. All the Big Three protagonists have to struggle to get to the top, but Gon is just lucky to have everything that it takes to become the hero of the story. Most viewers want to see a protagonist just like them. They like watching the heroes struggle before they get to the top. It makes them more relatable, but Gon is just a gifted child who happens to have most things handed out to him. Although he does have his struggles, it’s nothing compared to what the protagonists of the Big Three faced.
Although Hisoka is an interesting villain in a number of ways, some of his actions are questionable. Most viewers who might like him initially eventually start hating him.