Something bugged me about this episode, but I really couldn’t put my finger on what it was, so I actually ended up rewatching parts of the original series to find out (this took place on episode 8, by the way, to get a frame of reference). This episode actually made this part play out LONGER than the original TV-series did. In any case, after watching it, I really knew what bugged me: the acting.
With this, I’m mostly referring to the parts about Hisoka. The general scenario was the same, but how the characters acted just made this episode in the first season better. The problem lies with both Leorio and Hisoka hamming it up a bit too much, plus some really weird rearrangements in the battles (Hisoka’s teleportation powers, for example). The overall result of this is that in the first season, Hisoka really had this air around him of being a menace. Here he looks a bit too when he speaks every single line of his with extreme passion. It makes him much more of a generic villain at this point. I mean, heck, he looked like he was about to get an orgasm when he grabbed Gon.
Strangely enough this is not the product of this show going too fast like what I first feared. It really is just the acting. There were also these strange points like how Gon didn’t find it strange that Hisoka just grabbed Leorio and walked off, but that’s just inconsequential nit-picking. I do have to say that I still liked this episode, and especially the first half, along with the use of the Frog and the laxative (which was something that the first season couldn’t use).
Also, in terms of the big picture: every single episode here has been significantly different. We go from the sea to moral questions to quiet build-up to running to fighting monsters, in just five episodes. I can really not remember any other shounen that was as diverse as this one within just 5 episodes.
What I also love about this show: everyone is equal. There isn’t the usual crap of “you need to fight guy X before you can fight his boss before you can fight his boss before you can fight his boss before you can fight his boss, ad infinitum”. Everyone here is on the same ground, trying to pass the Hunter exam, and there is none of the usual hierarchical business that shounens usually use to pad out their lengths beyond all forms of patience.
Rating: * (Good)