Oh hell yeah. We’re nearly at the best part of Hunter X Hunter, and they look like they can actually pull it off. I’m going to pick this one up again. Whether I’ll keep blogging it for the remainder of the series entirely depends on how they end up handling the Greed Island arc, but the yorkshin arc is so awesome that it deserves to be blogged here.
With this I also want to wrap up the previous arcs a bit. The thing is, that we’re right now one year in. The animation for Hunter X Hunter has improved in the meantime: the animators are taking more and more risks beyond just shading Hisoka a lot, the soundtrack has gotten better as well, and the lesser voice acting is just something that has to be accepted. It’s not that the voice acting in this series was bad, in the 1999 series it was just that good.
However, I still believe that the 2011 series left a lot to be desired in the Hunter Exam arc. Unfortunately, back when I blogged it I kept dancing around the core issue with it. The core issue is something that bothers me with a lot of other shounen series: being boring in your first arc. You see, in the 1999 series, the creators actually added all those fillers, but those fillers were great in adding details to the characters, fleshing them out and making them fun to watch. because of that it was a really enjoyable standalone arc, even if the Yorkshin would not have been made.
The 2011 series on the other hand skipped all of these details, it saved its best tracks of the soundtrack for later, it waited with its really good animation until after the arc was finished, it didn’t bother looking much into the side characters at all. It was all bland, and instead what stood out about it apparently was the hints it provided for the future arcs. Those hints indeed were nice and all, but they don’t add anything to the Hunter Exam arc itself. And that’s for an arc that lasted 30 episodes. I mean, Full Metal Alchemist took half that time, and that just barely worked out. This lack of detail really made me worried for the future arcs of Hunter X Hunter, but thankfully these were ungrounded: they really managed to get the Yorkshin arc right!
This also is a major episode in the way that Gon and Killua finally have stopped being boring. Finally they also are done with all of that build-up (which is quite boring to watch if you already watched that before), but in this episode they really got to put their skills to the test, and it was an incredibly tense test at that. Here, it really shows how dangerous the spider troupe is, and how the two leads are only just children. They were completely hopeless and captured way too early, but I loved how well they avoided not getting killed instantly.
Right now, the spider troupe is also getting fleshed out really well. Seriously, these guys are pretty much my favorite evil organization in any shounen ever, and this is because of how well they combine with each other. There is no clear structure, like “you must beat my subordinate’s subordinate’s subordinate before you can fight me!”, but instead it’s a chaotic group that works really well in unison. Everyone has his or her own role, and even the ones with barely any airtime like Pakunoda and that guy in bandages have this prescence, like they matter. They really showed that at the end of this episode.
Also, that animation! Take those walking scenes and look at how smooth that animation was. That’s quite rare to do, and the sign that effort is being put in where to put the emphasis right.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)