Fans of the long-running shonen manga Hunter x Hunter have long speculated about the reasons behind the series’ frequent lengthy hiatus periods. Is there any truth to the popular theory that series creator Yoshihiro Togashi’s obsession with the Dragon Quest video game franchise is the cause behind these hiatuses?
Hunter x Hunter creator Yoshihiro Togashi had already made a name for himself with Yu Yu Hakusho before creating his second long-running shonen hit. While Yu Yu Hakusho ran almost entirely uninterrupted from December 1990 to July 1994, Hunter x Hunter, on the other hand, has experienced several hiatuses. It began its ongoing Shonen Jump serialization over 22 years ago, back on March 16, 1998, and fans are still waiting for the series’ next chapter to be released.
Hunter x Hunter initially follows Gon Freecss, who is on a quest to become a Hunter so he can find his father, Ging. Along the way, we meet several other characters, like Killua, Kurapika, and Leorio, who share the protagonistic spotlight. Their journeys so far have spanned 390 chapters over Hunter x Hunter‘s twenty-two-year history. To help understand the impact of the numerous hiatuses, compare the number of chapters to One Piece, which began publication only a year earlier and has just released its 978th chapter.
One dedicated fan has created a chart to help visualize the seemingly endless Hunter x Hunter hiatus, which puts into perspective the gaps between chapter releases. While the longest pause stretched from 2014 to 2016 with a total of 80 issues of Shonen Jump released without a Hunter x Hunter chapter, the new release was back in late 2018. Why has the series been plagued with so many breaks?
A popular theory among fans brings the Dragon Quest video game franchise into the mix and accuses Togashi of having an obsession with it. This theory, or rumor, began after an image surfaced of Togashi pictured sitting in a room playing one of the Dragon Quest games. From there, the internet gave this idea legs, and fans ran with it spawning handfuls of memes, discussions, and inquests into the validity of this possibility.
While it may be hard to draw direct correlations, there have been Dragon Quest games released around the same time as Hunter x Hunter‘s various hiatuses. Theories about manga artists being distracted by gaming obsessions aren’t unique to Togashi. Berserk is another series were long hiatuses have been blamed on its creator Kentaro Miura’s obsession with Idolmaster. However, faulting someone for enjoying video games and a break from the intense pressure placed on manga artists could be a bit unfair.
Manga artists, or “mangaka,” are under enormous stress. They’re universally overworked, exhausted, and under intense pressure to meet deadlines. Those levels of stress can take a significant toll on these artists both physically and psychologically. In Togashi’s case, it’s understood he experienced this pressure during Yu Yu Hakusho‘s run, especially towards the end of the series. So, when faced with the possibility of dealing with it again on Hunter x Hunter, he may have opted to handle things differently. It’s also widely known that Togashi suffers from severe, chronic back pain, which is understood to be the real reason for the hiatus.
There could be truth in both schools of thought, and maybe they aren’t two mutually exclusive realities. If Togashi is trying to mitigate and navigate through his psychological stress and physical pain, it makes sense that he would turn to video games as a form of release or escapism. While we still don’t know precisely when the next chapter of Hunter x Hunter will be released, let Togashi take his time… even if he’s spending it all on Dragon Quest.
The Hunter X Hunter manga has a long history of hiatuses. Some fans believe that is due to the Dragon Quest video game franchise.