Legendary shonen manga Hunter x Hunter resumed serialization after an extended hiatus at the end of January, and it looks like Weekly Shonen Jump is banking on it staying around for longer than last time. In this week’s issue of Shonen Jump, it was revealed that the series will be collaborating with Animate, one of Japan’s largest anime and manga retailers, to bring fans a themed café. The café will run from 17 April to 13 May in their special Ikebukuro and Nagoya Animate Café stores.
Exclusive goods will be up for grabs, including keychains and boxes for candy, but what is more exciting is that this seems to be merely the first in a series of Hunter x Hunter cafés. As the official website suggests, this first café will be themed around the Phantom Troupe, yet the second will be themed around the Greed Island arc. The Phantom Troupe will once more return for the third, but it will end with the infamous Chimera Ant arc. It is unclear when these additional cafés will take place. They could be one after each other, but considering how much time this would take up of the café’s schedule, this seems unlikely.
Furthermore, the return of Hunter x Hunter to the pages of Jump has brought forth a new wave of merchandise. Several new badges and charms have been announced, and some more high-end acrylic stands and bracelets. I’m sure that more is on the way as well, to take advantage of the Jump Fair taking placing in Animate stores across Japan very soon. Last time the series returned in 2017 for 10 weeks, there was no accompanying marketing push. It seems that the Jump marketing team are fairly sure that the series will be sticking around for longer than last time, which was in total a 10-week run during 2017.
The series’ latest chapters have been hovering around the middle of the Jump weekly chapter rankings, suggesting somewhat lukewarm reactions from fans. This most likely stems from the slow pacing of the current arc, which perhaps isn’t pulling in an audience desperate for progression. Nevertheless, this doesn’t seem to be bothering the Shonen Jump staff too much. Which makes me wonder if there is something they know that we don’t? It’d be wonderful news to hear that author Togashi really has recovered from his back pain once and for all if something like that was plausible. Maybe he’s serious about advancing the story this time. Even so, only time will tell.