After the trailer for RE:ANIME's live-action Gon vs. Hisoka fight was released earlier this month, Hunter x Hunter fans were surprised by how promising it was. There was a clear sense of love and respect for Hunter x Hunter shown in everything from the direction to the costuming to the choreography and even the editing. It was well put-together, and with the release of the full fight finally here, we can safely say the independent studio delivers everything that was promised and more.
RE:ANIME, a fan-run production house, has gained over 50 million total views on its YouTube channel from its exhilarating, live-action versions of anime and manga such as One-Punch Man, Naruto and cartoons like Avatar: The Last Airbender. CEO Nik Shaw and his team had this to say about choosing to adapt this fight from Hunter x Hunter, in particular. “This scene was chosen because we wanted to take on the challenge of replicating the atmosphere and intricate fight choreography from the original animation but remain true to the original’s intention.”
RE:ANIME did not hold anything back when it came to the fight choreography here. It can be difficult to exaggerate a character's power or speed in live-action, but the excellent camera work and effects really help sell these larger than life characters. When Hisoka uses his Bungee Gum to pull Gon back towards him, the quick camera zoom-in and zoom-out, before cutting to Gon slamming into the ground, is done so effectively, it makes his punch feel instantaneous and hard-hitting.
"My favorite aspect of any film I work on is focusing on emotions," Shaw went on to say. "I love seeing Gon scared for his life but ultimately making the decision to face the monster that is Hisoka. We all fight our own demons or have to meet difficult challenges and it takes inner strength to do so. I call on my own experiences and that gives me the insight to relate to what Gon is going through. Grounding the fight in reality through Gon's emotions is the key to the authenticity of the original story, and getting close to that essential message is my favorite part."
Yoshi Sudaro as Hisoka also brilliantly pulls off Hisoka's unsettling eloquence, as well as his foreboding attraction to Gon. He perfectly embodies the character not just in how he speaks but in his posture and body language. When he enters the ring, Yoshi has one arm on his waist and one outstretched to Gon, as if about to perform a dance, but with Gon on his mind, that isn't very unlikely.
While he isn't given as many lines as Yoshi, Jackie Tran as Gon still accurately captures the spirit of the protagonist, and even shows a different side to the young hunter we're not used to seeing. When the film starts, it opens on an original scene depicting a restless Gon in the locker room before the fight. Fear is swelling through Gon in this scene, and it's not until the 44 Badge falls out of his pocket that he remembers why he challenged Hisoka in the first place: to return this badge to Hisoka.
The music choice also brilliantly complements the film as well. When Hisoka is about to use his Bungee Gum for the first time, you can hear a Spanish guitar being played behind it, an excellently timed callback to Hisoka's theme from the 2011 anime.
It's impressive seeing what an honest adaption can look like when put in the hands of people who care about the property and what they're making. No doubt anime fans will be eager to see what this team will adapt next.
RE:ANIME's live-action Gon Vs. Hisoka film is available to watch now on the studio's YouTube channel.