Hisoka’s arm is a rocket powered by Twilight on its way to the moon. Such romance. Such heart. Such glitter.
Ah, so damn silly. It slipped my mind how the original dealt with this, so I went back and watched that part. (It’s in the beginning of ep41 if you’re curious, but don’t stray much further than that, because most of that episode deals with stuff that hasn’t happened yet.) The original takes the Psycho route of close-ups and quick cuts to make the scene seem much more violent than it actually is. It’s actually startling how quickly the scene concludes. The camera doesn’t linger on Hisoka’s arm at all; no, it’s simply lopped off, and then the match continues toward the conclusion you all will see in the next episode. There’s nary a drop of blood, too, which surprised me. What’s interesting about those types of scenes is that time seems to make them more violent and bloody in one’s mind.
The execution is admittedly not perfect — the pacing is hurried to the point where Kastro chopping off Hisoka’s arm seems more like an accident than a crucial point in a battle. However, that approach is preferable to the sparkly arm rocket. It seems odd to me that the creators would go in such an overtly violent direction when it’s been made obvious again and again that this is a more kid-friendly version of Hunter x Hunter and would likely be altered with that in mind. There is also, of course, the increasing trepidation toward bloody violence in anime lately. That combines to create something that looks quite silly, although I’m not sure if it’s more or less goofy than the black holes of censorship in Deadman Wonderland.
Preemptive strike: Haven’t read the manga, but I assume Madhouse goes for that basic composition because that is how Togashi does it in the manga. Just a guess. Maybe it’ll be fixed on DVD/Blu-ray, but putting out something that silly and jarring seems too damaging. To be fair, though, that sort of thing might matter less to kids. It’s been far too long since I was one, so I probably don’t have the proper perspective. I can speak only from the standpoint of a dork who’s thinking way too hard about how his silly cartoons depict a clown’s arm being severed.
I hate to rag so much on one (albeit jarring) element, because the fight is otherwise decent. It’s particularly creepy to hear Hisoka so calmly dissect Kastro’s fighting technique while gripping his severed arm. That’s such a typical shounen villain action, but somehow Hisoka pulls it off without it being hackneyed. Maybe it’s because clowns are just that damn creepy. I do wish that this fight had a bit more time to it, because it would be nice to have some more strategy going on. There’s a basic level of trickery, and then Kastro transitions to his kill move. For having spent two years preparing for another fight with Hisoka, Kastro sure is executing a simplistic strategy. Maybe he has such confidence in his movies that he truly sees no way for Hisoka to defeat him.