If you didn’t think I would lead off with this image, then you definitely have not been reading this blog long enough.
The points where the Hunter x Hunter remake has outdone the original have been few and far between, even though the remake is a solid show in its own right. This week’s episode, however, is a clear case of the remake utterly destroying the original. It’s not even close, actually. In wrestling terms, think of it as Hulk Hogan (the remake) against the Brooklyn Brawler (the original). That’s the gulf between the two depictions of the battle between Hisoka and Gon.
The first large difference is the sheer amount of animation power put into the two versions of the fight. Obviously this is a pivotal part of the story for Gon, and Madhouse goes absolutely batshit with the fluidity and kinetic energy of Gon’s fighting style. You can feel Gon exerting every ounce of energy and power in his limbs in the attempt to penetrate Hisoka’s defenses. Every movement is impressively detailed; every strike has a proper sense of heft to it. Where the remake brute forces its way through the fight with awesome animation and sweeping camera movements, the original employs far more (and far more noticeable) directing and editing tricks to simulate the speed and movement of the battle. It’s not badly animated, mind, but the shortcuts are obvious after seeing the superior battle.
The comparison highlights the massive degree of difficulty in animating this particular part of the fight. The whole point is that Hisoka is so arrogant that he’s not bothering to move while Gon peppers him with punches. Hisoka is so confident in his superiority to Gon that he’s forcing Gon to prove himself before he’ll give enough of a shit to do anything. So you have Gon moving around a stationary target. It’s difficult to make this appear dynamic because Gon has to pull all the animation weight in this skirmish. If Madhouse doesn’t make Gon’s movement as springy and energetic as it is, then this fight would look quite boring.
The pacing and physical impact of this battle are far superior in the remake, as well. The part where Gon pulls his tricks to get that one big punch against Hisoka is where the original fight slips up. Everything happens so quickly and in such an understated manner that it doesn’t do justice to how momentous this is for Gon. Hisoka is a man whom Gon has feared and also wanted to fight more than anything since they first crossed paths. The gulf in power between the two is massive, such that even getting one punch in is a huge victory for Gon. Slow motion has long been a cliche in action shows, but here it serves well to highlight how huge the moment is in Gon’s mind. Time slows down, and the sheer “oomph” of the hit is perfectly executed.
And the sound direction! I’ve been such a nitpicky bastard with this, but I have no complaints here. The eerie, droning track in the beginning of the fight underscores what a dangerous person Hisoka is without butting in and overwhelming the action. The adventury “fuck yeah!” music kicks in at just the right time when Gon gets his plan going. Then the silence at the right moment. All we need is that punch, and that’s all we get. Fantastic. I’m so proud of my baby! ;_;
Man, what an awesome fight. Just some other random thoughts before I close out this post . . .
- I love the atmosphere before the battle. The only way it could have possibly been better is if Gon and Hisoka got entrance music. Come on, they’ve got the strobe lights and smoke machine already! Pump in some crazy music!
- More explanation of the Nen system and more examples of how much thought has been put into everyone’s abilities. This will become more important once the next arc rolls around.
And something too important to limit to a bullet point . . .
Hisoka’s bare ass! I needed something good with which to end this post since I used Crotch Shot Mk. II at the beginning.