Posted by psgels on 11 December 2012 with categories: Hunter X Hunter

And it’s over. My favorite arc of Hunter X Hunter has ended with this, and what a ride it’s been. I’m curious for the Greed Island arc, because it’s here where Nippon Animation started getting lazy, so there might have very well been many stuff it skimped over. However, I am a bit disappointed here.

I refuse to rewatch the 1999 series because it makes me focus too much on the stupid details. However, I will say this: as the episode concluded, I felt like “wait… it’s over already?” As a frame of reference: this arc was done in eight episodes in the 1999 series, whereas here it only took less than five. And no, there were no fillers in that part. As a result, I unfortunately do think that this version skimped over the details. The most noticeable for me was Pakunoda. Now that this is over, I can finally admidst that she was my favorite character, which made me all the more surprised how little attention she got in this episode. It’s like, before we got a really good feeling for her she was dead already.

If I gained any new insights the past half year, then it’s about pacing, and how much it can influence the quality of a series. The most important examples of this are Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure and Space Brothers: they showed me that a series should adapt to its pacing. There is no universal formula in terms of pacing your series. It all depends on your mood, themes, and execution what the best pacing is, but you do need to pay attention to it. And it’s so important, yet so difficult with adaptations: being too fast or too slow can be so disastrous. If you make the wrong decision then you’ll lose so much emotional value.

And the way we all experience pacing is just completely different. I’ve seen many episodes, in which I blogged about how much I liked them, and then other people were too much bothered by that pacing. It’s a big trade-off that needs to be made: the faster your pacing, the more interesting things happen, yet the slower, the more the characters sink in. If your pacing is slow but you have nothing interesting happen/ A slow pacing can so easily become a drag that pointlessly wastes time, and a show that has a fast pacing can lose some of its emotional impact. And yet some series have to sacrifice this emotional impact in order to fit in their stories. It’s so complicated and that makes me all the more happy to see series as Jojo and Space Brothers that actually managed to nail their pacing in an incredibly effective way.

That’s not that this episode was not excellent or anything. Pakunoda still rocks, but here she is not my favorite character, that instead is Kurapika now. This still was an epic tale of revenge and it’s the kind of plan that would never happen in any other shounen series. I also did not expect that comedic bit when Hisoka found out that Chrollo had lost all of his powers.
Rating: 5/8 (Great)

25 Responses

  1. wiper says:

    I really liked Pakunoda’s death scene in the original series – the music and materializing chains, the sense of inevitability… While here it was *snap* – and it’s over, meh.

  2. I see what you mean says:

    There’s definitely some motive at work, here. Distilling over 60 pages worth of material–decidedly dense material–into a single episode makes me wonder whether there was some desire to move onto G.I. speedily for the New Year.

    • Aikenhead says:

      “Distilling over 60 pages…”

      I assume you meant 6. It was actually just over 4 pages. They really didn’t condense much, just shortened a few scenes here and there.

      • I see what you mean. says:

        Pardon my vagueness. Fundamentally, I was trying to get across that the episode covered the events that took place across 60 pages in the manga. In other words, the episode covered chapters 117-120–and I guess the last few pages of 116–which comprise just over 60 pages in total. Madhouse distilled–that is to say, collected–the contents of those 60 pages into one episode, which is more than they have tended to do in the past. I think that’s where some of the impression of rushing comes from; a lot of material–dense material–was grappled with in one sitting whereas the same volume of material may have perhaps been dealt with over two episodes in the past, where I think the ratio would have been somewhere around 30 pages (2 chapters) to an episode.

        • Aikenhead says:

          Sorry, you’re completely right. Ignore that, lack of sleep made me read it as 60 CHAPTERS. I even wrote pages…ugh. Again, you’re completely right.

  3. In the Madhouse version and manga at least, death has always just happened. Looking back on this whole arc all the people we got introduced to didn’t have their deaths drawn out: Uvogin, Squala, the mafia etc. From the OVAs especially Squala, seeing Eliza in the memory felt forced to make us viewing feel that we should feel sorry for him. In Madhouse version we just saw the little moments scattered throughout the arc of him and Eliza such as smiles towards each other so that when he died I felt naturally sorry for him.

    Seeing Pakunoda’s conflict from 57 and into 58 made me empathize with her enough so that once we saw her memory at the end concluding the arc it hit me emotionally again naturally but not forced to us.

    Not that Nippon’s is bad by any means, I just like when shows don’t insinuate how I should feel

  4. LMekko says:

    The end of this arc kind of redeemed Kurapika to me. He was actually my most hated character in the show for a while because it looked like they were trying to portray him as nobly going for revenge and then tortured Uvo to death, basically showing that he had become as evil as what he had hunted. That he actually chose to do the right thing in this case was a good step towards not being a horrible person.

  5. Airies says:

    hahha paku was my fav too! but yeah kurapika is alot better in this series

  6. JM says:

    I wasn’t able to watch the 1999 series of the Phantom Troupe arc so for me this episode is very beautiful. Also left me to tears how it ended.I was expecting some massive battle between the Spiders and Kurapika but then it was concluded in such a professional and smart way that you can’t find in any other shounen series.

    Looking forward to the GI Arc!

  7. Frost says:

    Yeah I got the same feeling… “What, its already over?”

    I remember watching the original much longer… Meh

    I also really like Greed Island though (especially the volleyball part), so Im looking forward to it

  8. Rednights says:

    Paku death scene just wasn’t even close to the impact of the OVA version. But I can’t fault this show for sticking close to the original source material. The Hisoka SD art made up for my disappointment shortly though.

  9. perrin4869 says:

    Funny that you guys are praising Hisoka’s SD art, it wasn’t even remotely as good as to how the scene was handled in the OVA version. I will always remember the weird hip movement Hisoka did (reminds me of Hard Gay), and of course how he almost lost control and attacked Chrollo anyways, and later how his disappointment was so much more evident… Him throwing the cards to the air was executed terrifically. If the original TV Anime (which I didn’t watch) was handled as that OVA, then I can understand psgel’s earlier complaints at this anime fully.
    Oh well, I am hopeful for the GI arc, cause I didn’t like those OVAs very much, they indeed got lazy, and I cannot imagine it being worse here.

  10. K.K. says:

    This really did feel abrupt. I’m glad that they’re going onto Greed Island though – the original series kinda “ended” around here and continued as OVAs, I think?

    I hope this HxH goes as far as the manga’s gone – I’d like to see up to the Election arc.

  11. Mary says:

    I did enjoy this ending, loved the final scene and laughed at Hisoka’s face. I also loved the OVA and that was the reason why HxH is my favorite shounen series. The two studios had their own style to tell the same story, and yes, one made some things better than the other one and viceversa, and we all should be fortunate to have this superb story retold. Now what I do want is to MH to make a better version of G.I.

  12. Ruka says:

    Well… Should i see now the 1999 series or this one? I’m in doubth D:

    • Billish says:

      1999 Series is much better imo. This one if you want to follow it in to new animated material from the manga. I’d still go with the original, it is extremely well written.

    • Breach of Contract. says:

      I would recommend reading the manga up until the last few pages of chapter 22.

      At that point, I’d say watch from episode 18 onward of the 1999 anime and get to enjoy some of that series’ endeavours of fleshing out the characters. If you’d rather not deal with that brief filler, you can alternatively read up until chapter 32 of the manga and then jump into the 1999 anime at episode 27, if you’d rather have the story start moving. I have to admit, the 1999 series is a tad slow and padded prior to the 27th episode–but after that, I think the series comes into its own. I wouldn’t take the risk of being turned off by any episodes prior to that.

      After watching a few episodes of the 1999 series from episode 27–preferably up until episode 35–watch from episode 19 of the 2011 series–which kicks off at the same point as episode 27 of 1999–up until the point you stopped watching 1999. Comparing the two, see which one clicks with you more artistically, musically, theatrically, etc. Pick the one you like the most after that–because both of them will move into a seeming high-gear following that point!

      I recommend that route because it sort of corresponds to what I did. I read the comic right up until volume 9 before giving the first anime a look. I don’t know what my response would have been if I’d started with the series by watching either of the cartoons, the first one being moderate in pace and the second one being a little too exaggerated to begin with. I fear I might not have stuck with either–but both become leagues better as time goes on, and they waste no time becoming better.

      • Breach of Contract. says:

        If you really want to watch an animated version to start off with, though, I’d sincerely recommend watching the 1998 Jump Anime Tour adaptation of the first couple of chapters–it’s a rather compelling and succinct rendition of those chapters and–whisper it–probably does a better job of animating those first two chapters than both the 1999 or 2011 versions. After that, though, I would recommend following the manga from chapters 3 through to 22 or 32, depending on which pathway you take!

      • Billish says:

        It may seem slow, but the pacing is succinct and fits the opening arc of not only HxH but any fantasy plot extremely well. I’d say the first arc is more about the world of HxH than anything else, and the 1999 rendition greatly portrays what I think the authors were aiming for.

        Any route you take, however, is the right route. HxH is great and deserves attention.

        • Breach. says:

          In a great way, I agree, at the very least retrospectively–but I do sympathise as well with those who remark that the 1999 version is insipid in its opening steps, such as in the second episode and during the tunnel scene, with uneven artistry and waffly writing that both come together to give the impression of sedate pacing. I am really very fond of the 1999 series, so I’d like anyone coming to the franchise to get off on the right foot with it, which I would say is best accomplished by starting with the Battleship arc or the final exam, the second of which sees the series become very opulent visually, aurally and in its writing. At that point, I think any so-called padding becomes so very clever.

  13. Taz says:

    Personally I prefer this version rather than 1999 OVA (iirc the series ended with the four protagonists meeting in York Shin, the rest were OVAs). The earlier part of the 2011 version did feel abrupt to me, but later in the series, especially with the start of the darker spider troupe arc, it does feel more cohesive. Like Hybrid said in the comments above, I too rather not have feelings forced upon me but arrive at them naturally.

    Specific to this episode, I feel Pakunoda’s death was handled well. Perhaps not enough kitten air time :) but it all fits in with the darker and more mature atmosphere of the series. Phinks expression right at the end, after the short encounter with Gon and Killua, was one of the poignant moments you can find in shounen series.

  14. Machi says:

    Will just point out as I have said before the 1999 version did take some liberties here and there with scenes – e.g. Pakunoda’s doubting about her decision and her constant flash backs (some dialogue taken in advance from future chapters) as well as some emphasis on short panels that they lengthened. So its not as if Madhouse particularly condensed the story as they pretty much adapted the manga much more closely without taking as much liberties.

    One thing I will mention about how you blogged this part is well I just think you enjoyed the actual source material, its not something you’d particularly credit to the animators. As far as how the animators handled the material I would say its adequate but clearly didn’t exactly go the extra mile. However, I am like you more interested how G.I. would be handled as the time gap from the two OVAs did affect the quality, clearly some staff left and changes happened. Yet… Keep in mind G.I. also suffers from source material with Togashi somewhat getting lazy, I would actually say the conclusion to the spider arc was somewhat lazily drawn by Togashi (remember a hiatus occurred during this period and the art well you can see it as being more simplistic not as bad as the sketches he submitted for G.I. arc though).

    Anycase my two cents about Madhouse remains the same its pretty much adapting the manga adequately but not particularly of interest for a repeat viewing for a long time reader who re-reads the entire manga several times during the long hiatus’ that it takes. Its not a bad adaptation its good but I still find it rather safe.

  15. Tomtom says:

    I agree with the above comment that the current adaptation is decent but very conservative.

    Is it confirmed yet if the entire manga so far will be adapted? Seeing the post-greed island material animated for the first time is easily what I look forward to the most…

    • Aikenhead says:

      No confirmation yet, I don’t think, but as people have pointed out – the original opening had the silhouettes of characters that are introduced in post-Greed Island arcs. So we’re all hopeful that they will animate until at least the end of the Chimera Ant arc.

  16. Trass says:

    I also felt that “huh it’s ended already?” in this episode, but remember. This isn’t totally the end of the Yorkshin arc. Don’t forget that upcoming movie.

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  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Nov 1. 2014 01:00 AM)
    @Emma Very true. But a lot of people don’t realize or acknowledge that.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:24 PM)
    Death billiards getting an announcement like that, I’m pleased with the news but am surprised by it. It was the best of those shorts that have been cropping up in recent years.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 05:39 PM)
    Well well well….Death Billiards is getting a full anime. The short was a great and does have potentail. I like. I like a lot.
  • Syndrome
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 04:23 PM)
    Ok, fourth episode of Psycho Pass was really good. I was afraid of what this second season would looks like, I’m strating now to get hyped.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:25 PM)
    @Realist: Stereotyping is intrinsic to human beings in too many ways, so much so that even when a “safe”, “attractive”, “normal” looking person is caught out they still become surprised at the revelation, even if they admit that stereotyping is wrong.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 02:14 PM)
    I think I’ve got a good handle on Yamaguchi Mikoto as an author now, I also read the first volume of Mayonaka and as I thought, it began deceptively and that maybe there wouldn’t be too much to it, but turns into something surprising, far more interesting.
  • AidanAK47
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 01:38 PM)
    @Trass, I can sort of understand that. Though as you likely noticed, psgels isn’t as active as he used to be. So rather than let this blog die a slow death it would be better to see something done with it. We ain’t prefect but well people improve over time.
  • Trass
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 12:47 PM)
    I came back here after a long while and saw how the blog is active again. I was really excited but then found out it’s not psgels who are writing the posts anymore… I’m happy but really sad at the same time ;w;
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:31 AM)
    *this time
  • Bam
    (Friday, Oct 31. 2014 08:28 AM)
    @K-off: it wasn’t the most visually impressive episode anyways, so it’s alright is time.

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