Thoughts on TotallyNotMark's Analysis of Hunter x Hunter #2: Zoldyck Family & Heavens Arena

TotallyNotMark started reviewing Hunter x Hunter arcs around a month ago. I was waiting until he picks up Hunter x Hunter since I saw his One Piece videos. TotallyNotMark picks up many times the nuances I do, in his first read-through of each series.

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I already posted my impressions on his first arc review. Overall, I compared my impressions with his. Explained why I agree with his decision to experience the story through the Manga first, even though I think the anime is better.

I'm astonished at the things TotallyNotMark noticed so early in the series. This is why I'm excited to follow the series with him: Arc by arc.


I'm writing these articles with as few spoilers as possible.


The Review

In his second Video, TotallyNotMark reviews two arcs: Zoldyck Family & Heavens Arena. The former deals with the aftermath of the Hunter Exam and the friendship between the four main characters. The latter is where the series really begins with the introduction of Nen and wrapping up the rest of the loose ends left by the Hunter Exam arc.

This article is written using notes I wrote while watching the video above. so I decided to keep the Bullet Points format from the first part.

My Impressions

  • So the review opens with a simple correction: TotallyNotMark used to pronounce the name Gon wrong in the first video. I didn't mind but the fandom reaction is #Hilarious!!
  • I love that TotallyNotMark noticed how Gon doesn't care (or even mention) that Killua killed someone. I like that about Gon's character, but I think TotallyNotMark misunderstood Gon's psyche here. I believe he will need another arc to understand him better.
  • I don't agree that Gon doesn't see value in himself, at least that's not what abandonment did to him. #IMO
  • I totally agree that Killua is overwhelmed by his parents' expectations. It's a nice contrast with Gon. I never thought it before, but both deal with their "similar problem/opposite spectrum" differently.

Zoldyc Family Arc:

  • 5:22 TotallyNotMark brings an interesting point I never noticed before. The difference in the dialogue between Kurapika, Leorio, and Gon. It shows what they value the most in their problem-solving approach.

"Everything a character says reveals something about them." It's a storytelling technique hard to do right. All my favorite writers do this well and I hope to reach this level one day.

  • 6:30 Hunter x Hunter is a deconstruction of Shonen which makes it a realistic version of that genre by default. HxH characters are always put in traditional Shonen situations, but they react more realistically for who they are compared to a typical Shonen manga.

  • [^] That's what makes Hunter x Hunter unique. In this regard it plays Dragon Ball's formula in the opposite way of how ONE PIECE is playing it.

  • Nothing to comment more on this arc other than I agree with what TotallyNotMark says about the challenges (fighting Canary & the coin challenge.) I agree with him about the arc's ending too.

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Heavens Arena:

  • Gon & Killua go to Heavens Arena to train & collect money while doing it. This is a unique take on the Tournament Arc trope. When first watched this, I was excited to see where does it go.
  • TotallyNotMark never mentions how Gon & Killua never cared about reaching the top throughout this arc. They're too apathetic about this adventure compared to most shonen heroes.
  • I'm pretty sure that Gon's first fight in Heavens Arena is a direct reference to Dragon Ball's Goku's fight in his first Tournament.

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  • 14:36 This TotallyNotMark story with the name "Wing" is so funny it's painful!!

The introduction of Nen!

Nen is my favorite singular power system in a Shonen Manga. Probably the best system in terms of the creativity of rules chemistry out of any Power System I saw in a story.

While I like ONE PIECE & A Certain Magical Index Power Systems as much or more. It's different for Hunter x Hunter.

One Piece uses three power systems (Haki, Devil Fruits & character/race specific systems) and Index uses two (Science and Magic.) In both cases, I love the co-existence of such systems more than the systems/powers themselves.

The Nen system is detailed, personality driven, non-power-level-based, and works on equivalent exchange. It's creative but limits the power creep enough to be my top favorite with little competition.

  • Nen's introduction explains a lot of what happened in earlier scenes in the story...

  • Killua never heard about Nen. This is kinda a plot hole but whether it was intentional by Togashi or not, there are multiple explanations for why Killua's family didn't teach him Nen.

  • Can't speak about these reasons until TotallyNotMark reaches a specific arc in the story.

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  • 20:21 TotallyNotMark is Totally-Not-Wrong in his claim that Nen's complicated rules made it harder for it to be as popular as Dragon Ball's Ki or the Devil Fruits/Haki of One Piece.

  • 22:20 Oh, that's why I don't remember a lot of 1999's Katsuro vs Hisoka fight. I only watched the Arabic dub of that adaptation. I thought they changed it up.

  • Yes! Elevator x Lady was a great filler!

Gon vs Hisoka:

  • I didn't notice that ref thing. After TotallyNotMark pointed it out in the video. It's true: The judge seems like he hates Gon in the anime ver. I think it's a weird but funny adaptation plot-hole.
  • The reveal that Hisoka is one of the spiders was one of the greatest Shonen reveals at the time! That casually connects him to Kurapika's story and gives us readers a big hope that we'll meet him in the next arc. Who wouldn't?
  • The commentary girl likes what she does, doesn't she?
  • The Three versions of this fight are amazing. I was excited to know that TotallyNotMark is impressed more with the 1999 version. My favorite is the 2011's ver.

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As an introduction of this world's Power System. The Heavens Arena arc was done amazingly well. Its fun parts were essential before the darkness of York New Arc, which TotallyNotMark has already finished the review for. I'm going to watch that after publishing this article.


What do you think?

  • The first image is taken from TotallyNotMark's Video's Thumbnail. Other images are taken from the Manga scanlations online.
  • This article is cross-posted here on Hive & Read.cash. Different images are used for both.
  • Check Part 1 here.
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