Posted by psgels on 19 April 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



It’s so refreshing to watch Hunter X Hunter. It goes right where nearly all other shounen series go left. It’s here where Nippon Animation show that shounen series don’t necessarily have to be fight-fests with shallow battles that last for episodes after each other. The first Greed Island OVA continues where the previous OVA left off. And to be honest, it isn’t as good as the OVAs. But those standards were set really high after all. Greed Island has a lot to like here.

The interesting thing is that this OVA is mostly focused on two things that are often really hard to do well in anime: training arc and exposition. They actually pull it off, though!

Here’s the thing with most training-arcs: they’re completely shallow. They often pointlessly waste time and advance their characters way too unrealistically. Way too often, we see characters do some random movement over and over, and suddenly they’ve mastered a new technique, became twice as strong, etc, etc, yadda yadda, without actually understanding the deeper meaning behind it. Part of the beauty of martial arts is that you’ll never get anywhere if you don’t know what you’re doing, and that’s a trap that so many shounen-series fall into.

Hunter x Hunter is different though: it links the series concepts of Nen and combines it with realistic fighting abilities. It’s true that the lead characters are talented, but the reason how the powers work here is detailed and fleshed out in one of the most believable ways I’ve ever seen in a shounen series. Or a series based on superpowers for that matter.

Then the exposition: a lot of time of this OVA is spent on outlining the unique features of the world that the characters have run into (Greed Island), ranging from how the rules work, to strategies one could take in playing it. It fleshes out the residents, as well as the other players inside it and explores their motivations. Seeing as there are only eight episodes, a lot of time is just spent on people talking, and I don’t mean in the way in which series as Katanagatari use their dialogue to build-up to a climax each episode.

The reason why exposition often gets boring is… well, because it is. When you’re detailing some obscure details of your world that are shallow but require a ton of of time to explain it just wastes time. Here however, I was consistently interested in what was going on. This OVA kept making me hungry to learn more about what was going on.

This is of course also helped by the fact that it has already seventy episodes full of character-development behind it. And unlike the TV-series, the pacing here wasn’t as unbalanced: this show knew when to shut up and move on and not go on for too long on the same subject. It’s a shame that the best characters are virtually gone in the OVA, but Gon and Killua themselves are excellent characters themselves as well, and the creators did well in giving the new characters believable personalities, rather than stuffing a bunch of stereotypes in. My only complaint here was one particularly overacting minor character. You’ll know who I mean when you see him.

Storytelling: 9/10 – One of the rare cases of exposition and training arcs done right.
Characters: 8/10 – The best characters… aren’t here. the ones that are here do a great job, though.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not as good as the OVA, but decent enough.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent. A lot of time is spent on fleshing the setting and back-story out, and it’s very interesting to watch it unfold

Suggestions:
– .Hack//Sign
Tenpou Ibun Ayakashi Ayashi
Darker than Black
(no need to recommend the first Hunter X Hunter OVa of course. It’s a truly excellent OVA, but by the time you’ve arrived at Greed Island you’ve probably already seen it ^^;)
PS. A short update on my to-watchlist: I still have three OVAs left to watch before I can get to the 50 series on my to-watch-list that I’ve been looking forward to the most. It’s taken me two years, but I’m finally nearly finished with its first (and by far largest) part. Just do expect that from now on I won’t take any new suggestions to watch.

11 Responses

  1. Keith says:

    I do hope that you’ve already planned on watching Princess Tutu or else I (and several others) will be very upset!

  2. Alec says:

    would have been a loyal fan if werent for the LoooOOooong hiatusES…. BTW… the manga just started to get interesting

  3. PL says:

    Is there a way to break into HunterXHunter without wading through all of it? or is it all so good I should wade through it all?

  4. Ebod says:

    Hope you have a chance to add Avatar: The Last Airbender onto the top 50 list – *shuts up*

    Anyways, super stoked for that because I can’t wait to see your reviews on stuff like Monster. If it’s not too much trouble, mind telling us if you’ve started a series on the Shoutbox once in a while?

  5. psgels psgels says:

    PL: while I’d like to say that, you really need to have seen the background of the television series in order to get the best out of the OVAs. The length is indeed a bit of a downside, but I do recommend starting from the beginning. It’s a very easy series to get into, though.

    Ebod: I might give hints. ;)

    Although do note that Monster is near the top of my to-watchlist so it’ll still be a while before I get to it.

  6. tomtom says:

    Ah HxH, one of the few running shounen that I find consistently entertaining. Hopefully they will one day decide to animate the chimaera ant arc as well and like Alec said, hopefully no more hiatuses :'(.

  7. AKI says:

    I hope a second season gets announced, the chimera ant arc is, by far, the best arc of hunter x hunter

  8. mambo says:

    But yeah… 1 year hiatus left some bad impression to the reader.

  9. NguyenSon says:

    It’s true that the author took some long hiatuses, but when you see how he researches things, I think it’s worth it. It’s better than the other weekly shounens that almost never take hiatuses but where lots of things just seem dumb. What I like with this manga is that the characters are well developed and feel more real and even ennemies actually have a brain.

  10. Machi says:

    No question you’ve got to wade through everything, the TV series is good. However, do note the series really picks up with the OVA’s, which incidentally are also the most interesting arcs. Its no loss to go through every HXH episode, its just as feasible to read through it say until the Yorkshin arc (as by the start of that arc the anime IMO actually becomes better than the manga by adding more detail to help flesh things out better).

  11. mambo says:

    Mangaka that can rival Togashi’s research/study probably only Ken Akamatsu (among long-running shounen series).
    How many shounen manga we see where foreign language displayed correctly? But in his manga he can portray perfect Ancient-Greek,perfect Latin and some Sanskrit in one packet. (assuming that, he probably understand english).
    Certainly not many mangaka work with such study/research isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 11:52 AM)
    @ratsgnoF: just look at Yukinon. She has major problems to get over before she can consider a relationship with anyone. In the end Haruno was right: she relies on Hachiman too heavily and it isn’t good. If anything they need space to let her disentangle her emotions and find solid ground to her life.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 10:42 AM)
    Now time to watch Fate/Zero and see what the fuss was all about.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 10:41 AM)
    I think that’s a great and fair review of UBW. I would’ve gave it 8/10, but hey, close nuff’.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 03:48 AM)
    How would that be toxic?
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 02:31 AM)
    From a critical perspective it was rock solid. Directing, writing, soundtrack – all were excellent. A great cliffhanger for this arc of the teenage condition.
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 02:27 AM)
    ratsgnoF: thanks, may skim through those later.
    Personal reaction to the finale: welp. Things are a complete mess, Yukino x 8man would be a toxic relationship and Yui x 8man would be far healthier, potentially even good.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 01:43 AM)
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 01:41 AM)
  • ratsgnoF
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 01:40 AM)
    Here are some of the monologues that weren’t really shown in the anime. They’re very well written. https://kyakka.wordpress.com/yahari-light-novel/volume-10/first-memorandum/ https://kyakka.wordpress.com/yahari-light-novel/volume-10/second-memorandum/
  • Raggers
    (Wednesday, Jul 1. 2015 01:11 AM)
    Ah, then yes, almost certainly. I’d go as far as to expect the author also spends significant time with teenagers to capture their mentality so well.
    I imagine it’d be easier for teens to get emotionally invested, but I’d also say there’s a deeper level they wouldn’t really ‘get’ until older. We can evaluate what we see with a hindsight teens cannot have, so we aren’t worse off for being older.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 11

It’s quite the coincidence that both shows I am covering have decided to use their last episodes to make up for the season’s shortcomings. This will be a short post as while action packed episodes are great to watch, they make it hard to bring up topics to talk about. Guana look to be imitating […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 24

Now this is more like it. Well as they say, better late than never and this was at least the best moment to bring back the quality. All I ask is where this was three episodes ago which it could have made all the difference in the world. Admittedly this episode has made me a […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 10

Unfortunately this wasn’t the time for Izana to become an ace pilot though she did at least show some ingenuity in her escape from gauna. Instead the spotlight falls once again to Tsugumi and Tanikaze. A lot of the fight scenes before the challenger appeared was to shown that Tsugumi and Tanikaze have great teamwork […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 23

Sometimes it’s hard being a veteran anime fan and a huge Fate Franchise fan. I sit down to watch the latest episode of this series and I want to shut up the cynical critic in the back of my brain pointing out everything that is wrong with this episode. But as events I adored from […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 9

Though the majority of the episode was of the same antics I have been complaining about in previous episodes, it’s nice to see Sidonia get back to what it does best. Dire situations and sci-fi mecha action. Izana being pushed into the role of scouting with a new weapon has to be the best path […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 22

A fairly uneventful episode this week.In some ways for me that’s good as it allows me to go into detail about the nature of the ever so popular CGI dolpins. But first let’s speak about what happened. Our three heroes had a strategy meeting discussing how to deal with Gilgamesh and the grail while all […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 8

I think something is wrong when I consider a protagonist from a movie these characters are watching a more compelling lead than our current one. I was surprised when starting the episode to see a sudden rise in visual quality only for it to turn out to be a movie within an anime. Actually I […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks – 21

I am not happy. To say I was disappointed in this episode would be an understatement. I am, to be frank, angry. So much so that I have to admit something that I really don’t want to admit. For you see from what has been shown of the second cour so far I would deem […]

Knights of Sidonia S2 – 7

Moral of the story, if you build a death star planet destroying ray then you better make sure that it’s not sentient. Though it seems that the dangers of using such weaponry are lost on Kobayashi as even one wiping out the testing facility and a hefty number of people isn’t enough of a red […]

Latest Reviews

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]

Clipboard06

Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]