Posted by psgels on 22 April 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews



Don’t get me wrong: I love Hunter X Hunter. All shounen series should take a look at it for example of how to do the shounen genre right. But the final Greed Island OVA is a very disappointing conclusion to the series.

Usually I applaud series that go into completely different directions. The finale of Greed Island also has a bunch of ideas into it that other shounen series would never dare to use, and you still see that people actually prepare for fights, rather than rush in randomly. The problem however, is that it also destroys a ton of the carefully laid-out build-up of the previous installments of Hunter x Hunter: it’s poorly produced, and makes a mockery out of the series’ battle system, characters and philosophies.

The combat in this season is exceptionally disappointing. And don’t get me wrong: the battles are fun, if your standard is at the level of a badly animated Heroman. For Hunter x Hunter however, they leave a lot to be desired. One thing that made the special powers of Hunter X Hunter so fascinating was that they were all built around restrictions: it takes a huge amount of time and effort to fully understand the concepts, and actually be able to do something useful. The reason why Kurapica kicked so much ass in the first OVA was because of the huge restrictions he put on his powers. The previous seasons all stressed a ton of times on being careful. We saw over and over that Gon and Kilua were just rookies; that they had a lot to learn.

So, what does this episode do? We get a training montage that spans 3 months and changes Gon and Kilua from inexperienced rookies to god-moded powerhouses. What a shame! The power system of this series also gets pretty much reduced to: the one with the largest aura wins, and whenever Gon’s aura is the weaker one, he just goes super-saiyan enough until he has the upper hand. If that wasn’t bad enough already, probably the hardest thing to grasp is that somewhere along the way, this series lost its concepts of pain. In this OVA, the characters sustain some truly horrific injuries, especially considering that they’re all just kids. But yeah, it kills the tension a lot when you just see them walk away from that without a problem.

If that was the only problem, then okay. I could have lived with it. But there are a ton more of them. The pacing for example: Hunter x Hunter always was a pretty slow series, but you could always see that they used their slow pacing to build up as good as possible. Here however, the creators just needlessly drag on fights and training arcs for episodes after each other. There are too many recaps, and the entire story could have easily been condensed into the regular eight episodes.

The characterization also suffers a lot. The side-characters, while usually bright and colourful in how they were portrayed, now are bland, one-dimensional and we never learn anything about them. It feels like nobody was fleshed out throughout the entire 14 episode run, and the increased amount of comedy and silly faces from the two lead characters Gon and Kilua completely lacks the subtlety of the jokes of the earlier instalments.

The animation itself also is amongst the worst we’ve seen from this series. I consider the character-designs of the side-characters of Hunter x Hunter to be amongst the best that you can find in shounen anime. Here however, they’re all bland, and the main villain looks sort-of like an emu; the creators tried really hard to make him look as evil as possible, but it only resulted in making him sillier.

It’s interesting to see Nippon animation during the past ten years: whenever they’re trying to be innovative, they’re brilliant. Hunter x Hunter, Les Miserables, Fantastic Children, and even Hyakko and Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge: they all pushed boundaries within their genre. When they try to squeeze too much money out of their own franchises however, they suddenly suck, as shown by the mediocre Konnichiwa Anne and also this final ova. You can see that the creators tried too hard in making it more mainstream, but to me it seems like the anime staff behind this ova didn’t understand the underlying story. Standalone this would have been a nice enough action-manga, but it doesn’t live up to Hunter x Hunter’s standards.

Storytelling: 7/10 – Pointlessly slow and dragged out, but there’s an interesting game-element to the battles. But a training-montage?
Characters: 7/10 – Very mediocre characterization. We never learn anything about both the main and the side-cast aside from a few dull and predictable lines of exposition.
Production-Values: 7/10 – Poor, especially for Hunter x Hunter’s standards.
Setting: 7/10 – Some very interesting ideas, but it seemed to me like the creators didn’t understand them.

6 Responses

  1. Avatar Darklord says:

    The first OVA was the highlight of the HxH anime. It all went downhill from there culminating in this crappy final arc. I didn’t even see it through the end, since by the middle of the dodge ball game I had already lost enthusiasm.

    Here’s to hoping one day they will continue the series with the Chimera Ant arc, which once again brings the plot to the usual HxH level.

  2. Avatar MsteaK says:

    That arc was way better in the manga. However, I lost interest in HxH after the late stages of the Chimera Ant arc.

  3. Avatar Earl says:

    i agree with most of your points as much as i loved HxH this ova was disappointing especialy as the last anime.. i started reading the manga on the chimera ant arc and it looks interesting hope they animate the new arcs soon

  4. Avatar Machi says:

    You think the animation is bad here wait till you’ve seen the manga. Pretty much it went downhill from here as the author began drawing VERY BADLY and began to cut off a lot of details. I would say the latest arc the Chimera arc unfortunately suffers from teh same syndrome as the latter half of G.I. but that applies to the early half. The latter half so far has been picking up pace well, great character development especially for Gon and Killua. As much as I’d love to see the new arc animated I do worry how it will go given the rather uneven distribution of quality at the first half.

    Well what else is there to say I guess HXH can’t win em all after all XD But hey considering the amount of chapters and episodes released as you’ve noticed by its standards its still an overall solid series. Especially when compared to other long running shounens like Naruto and Bleach.

  5. Avatar Toto says:

    Machi:

    Though the creator’s art suffered, this is only because Shonen Jump was publishing his drafts only. The art is fixed in the volumes, and actually is generally better than prior chapters. Also, the beginning of the NGL arc doesn’t suffer from what happened here at all–the worst thing about G.I. Final was the overall direction. Greed Island should never have been an OVA, but rather, a full length television series. There was enough material to make, but the director was pedestrian and the art significantly suffered. This is why the latest arc hasn’t been animated yet.

  6. Avatar Machi says:

    I believe he was supposed to be sick around that time, it was also soon to be the start of his long hiatus. As for GI art it would be best to look at the last part of the arc, when Gon’s won for reference. More importantly while the quality of what was published in shounen is definitely something akin to draft or scribbles at worst. I wouldn’t necessarily give lee way saying it is a draft since one way or another it would still be a final product in itself. That being said its obvious that the editor is just as much a guilty party given that they allowed it to be published, really it was just bad given the quality of previous chapters before the dip.

    While yes it does get fixed when its published into a manga, nonethless it doesn’t change the fact that what Togashi submitted to shounen jump was just terrible. But you can also see just how lenient they are to him, not only allowing art of that calibre to pass but also giving him consideration for his very long and frequent hiatuses.

    As for GI arc and NGL I would say its actually the opposite so far. NGL was somewhat erratic at its start but progressively got better. G.I. well it was an interesting start but I do feel it did go downhill.

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