One of my most memorable anime-watching moments: catching a few minutes of YU-GI-OH whilst getting a haircut at barbershop, early one Saturday morning.
Now, why’s that so memorable? Well, you could throw some barbs at plenty of the cartoons I grew up watching and call them long, dressed-up toy commercials. I’ll contend there was enough wiggle room for the likes of G.I.JOE, TRANSFORMERS and POWER RANGERS, et al, to say that story was just as important, even if the end result was still merch sales. It was impossible to deny that the portion of YU-GI-OH I caught looked like a QVC infomercial, because it literally stopped the action to display a new card and spin it around for a full view whilst enumerating all its stats.
I bring that up because if there isn’t ever a HUNTER X HUNTER table-top RPG, or a ‘Greed Island’ collectible card set, then Togashi has wasted a shitload of thought. Power levels. Categories. Nen abilities. It’s all thoroughly worked out. Just put it in a hardcover binder and assign a DM, and you’re ready to go. No joke.
Of course, spelling all that out makes a point about how the video game world of Greed Island isn’t actually that dissimilar from the rest of HxH’s universe. It's always been like a game... so what's the difference?
For a solid stretch last year, I was griping about how every third anime pilot seemed to be about an MMO gettin’ real. Now, I wonder if a lot of them were actually imitating this series. The concept’s definitely coming from a point of inspiration, though. More CHARLIE & THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY than WORLD OF WARCRAFT. Once again, Togashi seems like a more bellicose Roald Dahl. Here’s a seasoned, grown-up storyteller who can still get in touch with an inner child who’d dream of a PS2 memory card’s magical importance; or a digital limbo where Hunters are largely content to play Rock-Paper-Scissors for eternity.
While we’re on the subject of how this world is so boyish (in pretty much every sense of the word), I’ll note some amusement over Biscuit and the surprise about her true identity. I don’t know how her being 50-years-old ‘IRL’ gels with the fact that we saw her in the real world first before she entered into Greed Island’s portal, but whatever - - it’s still funny that the show stamps out the merest potential for a love interest before she even does that much.
Most shonen series are allergic to cooties. This one’s so adverse to them that it hasn’t added any girls to the the main cast in over 20 hours of programming. And when it comes close, it quickly clarifies her as a Genkai-like mother/mentor figure - - even while she looks as old as the leads - - so there isn't the slightest threat of romance.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|