Hunter x Hunter 16 – Bloodlust
This is one of the scenes that really sold me both on Hunter x Hunter and Hisoka as a villain. Before this, the viewer knows that Hisoka is obviously much, much stronger than everyone else participating in the Hunter Exam, but there is a glimpse of his real power here, and also a peek into the depths of how monstrous Hisoka is.
Once again, the remake and the older series take a different path to reach the same result. The visuals in this episode focus on making Hisoka into a dark, frightening figure. He looks unreal before, but inhuman here. Hisoka’s bloodlust is apparent in every aspect of him — his voice is more guttural, his eyes are blackened (I like that visual detail; the lust is so intense that it’s almost draining him of energy), and holy fuck, the look on Hisoka’s face when he attacks that would-be hunter. I would not want to meet Hisoka at night!
The feeling I get from Hisoka’s bloodlust in the remake is that it’s something that pains him physically to a point, but that it’s also something he embraces. He likes that craving for blood that runs through him every so often. That’s part of what separates Hisoka from many similar villains to me: His physicality is used so well to create a palpable sense of fear about him. The way he moves and the way he shivers in delight as the bloodlust runs through him is just wrong. What you see is not a human, but a demon masquerading as a human — someone whose whims and delights are beyond our understanding.
I didn’t totally remember how the original Hunter x Hunter approached this scene, so I went back to it after finishing this episode. (Skip to 9:00 in this video to catch it.) The main difference in how Hisoka carries himself in the original is that the bloodlust seems more uncontrollable. In the remake, there’s definitely the feeling that the bloodlust is out of Hisoka’s control to an extent, but he seems more in command of himself, if more animalistic. In the original, however, the bloodlust almost seems crippling. Hisoka is clearly in a significant amount of (probably delightful to him) pain; the bloodlust is so strong that his body threatens to burst with painful pleasure.
It’s almost like Hisoka is a drug addict in the original anime. He has intense, violent cravings, and if he does not sate them, then his body is wracked with intense pain. He claws at his arms. His eyes are out of focus. He clutches his stomach and tries desperately to control his breathing. It’s intense and utterly frightening. There’s another big difference in this scene, though: The original goes more out of its way to depict not only Gon’s fear at seeing this side of Hisoka, but also his utter disgust. Look at the way he reacts physically to Hisoka: He’s not only frightened of him, but also repulsed. Between the two series, Gon’s reaction to Hisoka is where the original series clearly takes it.
Yet again, the different paths each show takes with how Hisoka deals with his bloodlust are indicative of the approach of each series toward the material. The remake is still very much a kids series, and with that in mind, it makes Hisoka more visually and obviously monstrous and inhuman. He’s a bogeyman that children will likely find frightening (or maybe fascinating, I dunno lol). The original, keeping in line with its more dark fairy tale type approach to the material, depicts Hisoka in a more sinister, skin-crawling way. He’s still a monster, but one of a different breed — a monster who’s not always in control of himself, which may be more frightening than the monster who always keeps his cool.
And since I haven’t shown this off for some time, here’s HISOKA’S GLOWING PENIS AGAIN, YAAAAAAAAAAY