Togashi, author of the popular Yu Yu Hakusho, has created another kids' manga juggernaut. Our hero, Gon, is an impossibly cute 11-year-old with spiky hair who has an uncanny ability to befriend wild animals. He wants to follow in the footsteps of his father and become a hunter the most prestigious career in this world. Hunters are licensed to go anywhere and are respected by all; they are the protectors of the human and natural world. Gon's father is one of the world's greatest hunters, and Gon shares many of his gifts, but there's a catch: only one in 10,000 applicants for a hunter's license even makes it to the examination hall, and the odds worsen from there. In this volume, Gon leaves home and befriends two other hunter hopefuls: the mysterious Kurapika, who is the last of [his] clan, and Leorio, who seems a superficial moneygrubber yet actually has a heart of gold. Together they solve riddles and overcome obstacles, but their journey is only beginning. Togashi shows a deft touch with this standard manga story, already a hit in Japan. Gon and his companions are endearing and complex, and they complement each other well. The artwork is clear and graceful, though the last chapter shows some graphic violence that may upset younger readers. Those looking for the next Pok mon or Yu-Gi-Oh can stop searching. (Mar.)
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