Hunter x Hunter & Yu Yu Hakusho Fans Should Check Out Yoshihiro Togashi’s Level E

Thanks to Hunter x Hunter and Yu Yu Hakusho, many fans of creator Yoshihiro Togashi firmly associate the famous mangaka with the shonen genre. He excels at portraying heart-racing fights and dire moments in a way his contemporaries strive to achieve and is famous for his great characterization. But few are aware that Togashi dipped his toe into the sci-fi genre with his three-volume title Level E. Running from 1995-1997, it's one of Togashi's shorter series to be published.

Level E is the story of Yukitaka Tsutsui, a young high schooler who has just moved to Yamagata Prefecture to attend a new school on a baseball scholarship. His plans are slightly altered when he finds a man wearing his clothes in his new apartment. Not only is this man actually an alien, but he's an alien prince. Prince Baka Ki El Dogra has crash-landed on Earth and conveniently lost his memory. Despite his amnesia, he goes out of his way to make Yukitaka's life more difficult by just being a self-centered, inconsiderate fool. Apparently, he's known throughout the galaxy as an idiot for the way he torments others.

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Level E received a 13-episode anime adaptation from Funimation in 2011, including an English dub. The series is more of a comedy/sci-fi combination, with Togashi citing the series Gaki Deka as an inspiration for the comedy. Visually, he was influenced by H.R. Giger's work on AlienLevel E's title comes from a linguistic misunderstanding. Togashi didn't realize that "alien" starts with an "A" in English, instead, believing it started with an "E" like in Japanese. When this was pointed out, Togashi brushed it off by saying he associates it with E.T.

While praised for its visuals and music, the anime received a lukewarm reception from many reviewers. One of the major complaints against Level E was the use of mini-arcs. Several writers for Anime News Network claimed the episode progression left the viewer without any emotional connections to the characters and that there was little payoff after an episode ended. One reviewer on MyAnimeList said there is very little continuity throughout the episodes despite subtle throwbacks.

Overall, Level E might not be one to seek out if you're looking for something with a deep philosophical view on humans and aliens trying to form a relationship. However, for those just wanting a series that doesn't require paying close attention in order to follow along, this might just be a perfect choice. It isn't as moving as Togashi's other series, but it's still beautiful to look at and offers a few laughs.

If you're a completionist and just want to have it for your Togashi manga collection, Level E would look nice next to your copies of Hunter x Hunter and Yu Yu Hakusho. Even if there's not much in the way of story, it doesn't mean that Level E should be discounted as a whole. There might just be a hidden gem of wisdom among the weirdness and comedy.

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