I was a little surprised by the direction this episode took, though a commenter tipped me that something was wrong with the results of Kurapika’s match. The whole ep was pretty much a psychological enterprise, revealing a little more about a few characters while taking on some larger themes. I was quite interested in Tonpa’s inner monologue about majority rule, because while it’s pretty self-evident it’s something people don’t generally think much about. Of course he’s absolutely correct, especially as regards the showing of hands – the “worst form” of majority rule, especially in this type of scenario. Majority rule can indeed be a synonym for minority oppression, and as any resident of California – a state crippled by it’s reliance on public initiatives rather than it’s elected representatives to enact real change – could tell you, there’s absolutely no guarantee that just because a majority has the most votes that they’ll actually be right.
I was also a bit surprised that Leorio would be so cavalier about finishing off Majitani. As a physician I would’ve expected that the notion of killing an unconscious man as a matter of convenience would be abhorrent to him. Conversely, I expected Kurapika’s reaction to be exactly what it was – this is a guy who clearly understands death, and doesn’t trivialize it. He and Killua make an interesting pair, as we’re already beginning to see some interesting similarities and ever more interesting differences between them. While Killua is clearly set up to be Gon’s foil and Kurapika has most often been pair-bonded with Leorio so far, it’s with each other that those two are most interestingly compared.
In any case, it was nice to see Leorio get some time in the spotlight and the battle of wits between he and Leroute (Kanai Mika, another seiyuu legend appears) over Majitani’s match. The essence of it became clear pretty quickly – for the prisoners, Majitani’s match being suspended made a far better outcome than if he’d actually won, and it seemed likely all along that he was faking. I was wondering how Leorio was going to strategize his way out of it, and I wondered if he might find a way to throw his match while “winning” Kurapika’s, as long as it was done quickly – effectively throwing his lot in with Killua to finish the deal. And he may have done just that, though I wonder why it was that Leroute was allowed to change her bet – isn’t that against the rules? In any case Leorio showed balls of steel there, and I was glad to see that he did take Majitani’s hand in the end rather than letting him fall.
Of course, we got out brief glimpse of Hisoka as well, and as usual he was unflappable and virtually unbeatable. I’m still not sure what the exact nature of his third-phase challenge was, since all we saw was a guy who was supposedly an examiner that Hisoka scarred the prior year waiting in his path, preaching revenge. It was a shame he lost his head over that, but the result was eminently predictable. About the only flaw in Hisoka’s character (as a dramatic device, I mean) so far is that we haven’t seen a flaw. He’s smart, he’s seemingly unshakeable, he can catch spinning blades without prior training, and he has seemingly no moral limiters whatsoever. When it comes to shounen omnipotence gets boring after a while, and I assume Hisoka has a weakness that we just haven’t seen yet (and I don’t mean his weakness for shota in shorts). As he seems destined to be something in-between Gon’s top boss enemy and an anti-hero, I’m looking forward to finding out just what that is.