It was recently revealed that the Hunter x Hunter manga by Yoshihiro Togashi (also known as HxH) was originally supposed to feature a timeskip very early on in the story.
The Japanese TV program Iwakura to Yoshizumi no Bangumi (The Iwakura and Yoshizumi Show) aired a segment on November 14, 2023, where guests send letters to their favorite stars and role models. Then, while on the show, the guest will reveal the response. Former member of the idol group Sakurazaka46 (formerly Keyakizaka46), Yumiko Seki, and a member of boy band Kis-My-Ft2 Toshiya Miyata were this week’s guests. Both are huge fans of HxH. Yumiko revealed that she and Togashi had long known each other from when he attended a Keyakizaka46 live event, and showed all the illustrations he made especially for her after her graduation in April 2023. She also dropped the big reveal: showcasing handfuls of letters Togashi had sent her in response to her questions. Notably, “How much of the [HxH] story did you think up before you started drawing it?“
“Once I had a rough sense of an otherworldly story, spotlighting the profession of Hunter, I felt I could continue it indefinitely. So I set out to have the manga go for as long as possible, and thought I would start with the protagonist taking the Hunter Exam. What was decided at the start of serialization was the storyboards for the first 3 chapters, and that the protagonist would fail the exam and it would skip ahead several years.
The actual contents of the Hunter Exam were undecided until right before (because I wanted to enjoy the unpredictable situation myself too). In the end, the idea for Gon to fail the exam was scrapped after discussing it with my editor, so the answer to the question would be the first 3 chapters. However, I had decided early on to introduce the main ally (Killua) and villain (Hisoka) early in the exam.“
Togashi is a fan of Sakurazaka46: a few weeks ago he broke his 7-month silence on Twitter/X with a reference to the band‘s “Start Over” song. The song was also featured in a Shonen Jump video for Hunter x Hunter manga.
Togashi’s editors providing input on matters like a HxH timeskip isn’t a one-time thing, either. As part of Elfen Lied creator Lynn Okamoto’s recent viral X posts, where he voiced regret at not becoming a master artist, the mangaka had shared a previously unknown story about Togashi: “I like the story of a Shueisha editor who was assigned HUNTER×HUNTER early in their career,” Okamoto said. “They timidly gave suggestions like ‘Wouldn’t it be better if you changed it like this?’ on the storyboards they received, and were surprised when Togashi-sensei actually revised them as suggested, thinking ‘Even Togashi-sensei corrects the storyboards I revise…’“
HxH is currently on hiatus, giving fans plenty of time to catch up. MangaPLUS offers the manga in English for free and describes the plot as:
Gon might be a country boy, but he has high aspirations. Despite his Aunt Mito’s protests, Gon decides to follow in his father’s footsteps and become a legendary Hunter. The Hunter hopefuls begin their journey by storm-tossed ship, where Gon meets Leorio and Kurapika, the only other applicants who aren’t devastated by bouts of seasickness. Having survived the terrors of the high seas, Gon and his companions now have to prove their worth in a variety of tests in order to find the elusive Exam Hall. And once they get there, will they ever leave alive…?
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