HunterxHunter is very controversial at the moment. It came out during the early to mid 90s and shortly after had an anime adaptation in 1999. The adaptation stopped prematurely due to the manga still being incomplete and them waiting for more chapters, little did they know their wait for those chapters was pointless. The manga took frequent hiatus’ during the 2000s as the managaka Yoshihiro Togoshi had severe back problems and was unable to produce a steady stream of content for it. The anime was re-adapted by studio Madhouse during 2011 and ran until late 2014 adding 2 more arcs than its 1999 counterpart, this adaptation by Madhouse gained a lot of popularity amongst anime fans and critics alike. The anime soon climbed the ranks of most anime lists, and currently sits within the top 5 on websites such as MyAnimeList and HummingBird.
HunterxHunter has not had it’s story told completely, the manga after realising a few more arcs has gone back on indefinite hiatus’ angering most fans of the series. Most people question why can’t the mangaka Togashi just hire an assistant to help him finish the story or have someone draw the illustrations whilst he writes the dialogue for the story. Many think this will result in the manga finishes quicker, and the story that has spanned decades can finally be concluded. I oppose this notion of passing the story over to someone else rather than the original author to finish, or even Togashi needing an assistant.
Togashi has always worked alone and that is his preferred writing style, he could have hired an assistant whilst working on Yu Yu Hakasho or even during the early days on Hunter so that the content could be more consistent but he didn’t. Togashi seems like he prefers his creative space to be untouched by others, and only thrives in solitude, he doesn’t hire an assistant because he feels that he is in no need of one. Bringing in an assistant for him would be more detrimental than positive surely because of his nature of being a somewhat “lone wolf”. The writing speeds wouldn’t increase but rather slow down even further as he’s well established creative space would be tampered with by the addition of an assistant.
The second solution would be “why not let some other mangaka do the illustrations whilst he writes the story?” This is fairly common in anime as multiple people have done it, the author of Full Metal Alchemist was the illustrator behind the Legend of Aslan, and even an illustrator was brought in for One to redo all the character designs and artwork for One Punch Man. The illustrators job is to not interfere with the original work and script, but to rather translate the character designs and artwork into something more aesthetically pleasing. And to this I say I still don’t believe it would work, having someone take over even if it is just for the character designs would lose some value than if Togashi was doing them himself. Being that he started the whole series by himself and is use to being the only person involved in the creative process with all his works, having some part of that taken away from him would diminish the quality of the storytelling.
Having a story that has spawned decades and still unfinished is not a new thing, Stephen King took nearly 30 years to release his 8 volume The Dark Tower series. Many begged him during the 80s and 90s to finish the series as they were waiting on it for years, but because Stephen King was the only person behind the series from start to finish it still retained what originally made it great. Having it passed over to someone else during the 90s or having someone try to help Stephen King finish it would not have made it into the series that many hold dear today. Another popular series would be George R.R. Martin’s: A Song of Ice and Fire series that started during the mid 90s, the series has gained critical acclaim now due to HBO’s adaptation of the work and many clamour the author about the when the newest releases of volumes 6 and 7 of the book series will be released.
I think people must understand that someones creation is incredible personal to them, and just handing it off to someone else if something that would rip the soul of the work apart. Even though Togashi might never go back to writing HxH, it seems that he is adamant at the place where the series is right now to either kill it off forever or continue it when he feels the motivation to, with either of these decisions it should be the author that wills it. If the author feels that his work should forever be left incomplete at this current stage, because it is his/her work they has the right to do so.
Having someone else take over to try to replicate the previous work or even interfere with the author’s vision for their work is worse than having the work end abruptly. I would rather see Togashi say that HxH should die as it is, having invested so much time into and has now lost the motivation to finish it, than having someone else try to take over and ruin the work. Take for example The Wheel of Time book series; it was started by original author Robert Jordan until his passing, and then continued by long-time fan and fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson. Sanderson is an amazing author having written many series and novels including the critically acclaimed Mistborn series, but when he took over to finish the series after Robert Jordan it didn’t feel the same as when Robert started it.
The books written by Sanderson were a great addition to the story, but they didn’t have the same touch as they did with Jordan. That is one thing I would hate to happen to HxH, to feel that the end of the series doesn’t hold as much impact as how it started because of a change in authors. With the Wheel of Time series the change in authors was necessary to finishing the series as I would feel Jordan would have wanted his series to be completed after his passing, but HxH isn’t the same case as Togashi is still alive and still has the authority behind the series direction.
HxH will always have debate surrounding it, a lot of people feel very strongly about the series. But I feel that the health of the author must be taken into consideration first, Togashi does suffer from back pains and it is incredible selfish for fans to expect him to be creative whilst in pain just to push out some more chapters. Yes his hiatus’ are excessive, but I would rather see a chapter ever couple of year and when the story is concluded have it be what he envisioned, rather than have constant chapters in Shōnen Jump every week but them feeling completely different from the rest of the series because of a change in mangaka. So Togashi I say to you what I say to George R.R. Martin when it comes to each of your respected series “Take your time in producing something you are proud of. People will always want more and it to be quicker, but I would rather wait a year for gold than be given rocks everyday”.