Hunter x Hunter 2011 – 12

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I must confess, I’m taking a certain sadistic delight in watching fans of the 1999 series complain about this one.

I can only imagine that a lot of viewers were probably turned off by the first half of this week’s H x H.  To pace the episode so that the “Hunter Vocabulary” eyecatch was “bored” was certainly a risk, but as I watch this series I’m more and more convinced that it’s not about the physical battles but the twisted mind games.  Even Hisoka, by all accounts the most badass fighter in the series, is really more of a mental sadist than a physical one – you can see it in the way he enjoys toying with his opponents.  So for me, I liked watching the fantastic five coping with 50 hours of boredom while locked inside what looked like a Motel 6.

As is often the case, we can see as much revealed about the nature of a character during quiet moments as in battle.  Gon and Killua reverted to their normal scamp mode, behaving like very typical 12 year-old boys by engaging in various distractions that usually involved inflicting some kind of physical pain on each other or annoying the rest of the group.  Tonpa continues his irritant role, aiming most of his venom (and foot stink) at Leorio.  But I’m intrigued by Tonpa’s role – perhaps he’s going to have a different impact than we might think.  After all, an oyster can’t produce a pearl without an irritant.  Leorio, for his part, continued to be the hot-headed curmudgeon of the group and Kurapika was the calm yet worried den mother, fretting about the state of the others.

I’m not surprised it was Gon that found a way to cheat the third test, and find a way for all five (not four, I might add) of the group to advance with less than a minute to spare.  Using brute force to cut through the wall was so obvious that it didn’t occur to me, but that’s right up Gon’s alley.  He’s well-suited to be a hunter because he’s pure instinct, something of a wild animal himself – which is why he’s so good at tracking and catching them.  His strength is seeing through situations instantly, relying on his senses and trusting intuition.  Killua is the pure, cold-blooded assassin – relying on incredibly difficult skills he’s learned through rigorous training, and having no moral compass to hold him back.  Leorio is all emotion, righteous anger and the urge to prove himself.  And Kurapika remains the most enigmatic, and in some ways contradictory – an inherently peaceful young man who nevertheless is driven by the thirst for revenge.  His quest is the most spiritual of the bunch.

Going forward I’m very interested in seeing how Tonpa’s relationship to the group plays out.  I think it’s very telling that in the end, he chose to help in breaking through the wall when he could just as easily have refused – and doomed their chances.  There are a few possible reasons for this, not least of which that as he gets closer to the end, he might be succumbing to the urge to actually pass the damn test since he’s this close.  He also may be developing some sort of fraternal feelings towards his teammates from having seen them go through their various trials, though I’m not ready to bank on that by any means.  Of course, I could be totally off-base and he might end up double-crossing them in the end, anyway…

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[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.55_[2011.12.18_11.22.24] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.08_[2011.12.18_11.23.37] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.25_[2011.12.18_11.25.54]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.17_[2011.12.18_11.26.46] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.51_[2011.12.18_11.27.20] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 12 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.33_[2011.12.18_11.28.02]


  1. M

    I must confess, I’m taking a certain sadistic delight in watching fans of the 1999 series complain about this one.

    Hahaha! That is probably one of the best openers I've read on a Hunter x Hunter post yet.

    What surprised me is that, for some reason– this series managed to give me an ounce of interest regarding Tonpa's character. I do think he has a commendable set of skills, and he's not an idiot either. He's quite good at assessing a situation but most of the time he uses these skills to feed his malicious hobby. I think I see a man disillusioned by his own dreams of becoming a Hunter. Maybe he kept trying but never quite got there and I can imagine how that can warp a person's thinking. I do pity him, and I think including him in the group was a way to teach Gon and company how to deal with a person like that. Well, without killing him anyway. Sometimes I wonder if that skateboard flying towards Tonpa's direction was deliberate on Gon's part. We might never know. Hahaha!

    I also liked how Kurapika observes his companions from time to time. Despite everything, he was also the first to notice Killua's restlessness.

    His quest is the most spiritual of the bunch.

    This. I believe that out of the four, Kurapika carries a significant burden and how that contradicts with his nature is pretty painful to watch. He was one of the people in the group who didn't want to fight anyone.

    Killua is scary, and Kurapika was right about him. As long as the boy is on their side, it wouldn't be a problem but the situation regarding the two paths showed how fragile their bonds were. While Killua wants to keep Gon around (mostly because I suspect he saw him as the most interesting of the bunch and felt closer to him), it would've been disastrous if he had his way while Tonpa and Leorio were fighting.

    It's a bit ironic they're giving away food and drinks in this exam. I think it has something to do with the fact that everything is better when candidates are in good condition. XD

  2. c

    Man, I love reading your posts about Hunter x Hunter! You actually take the time to analyze the characters (and your character analyses are spot on!) and you appreciate the series for its mind games rather than its physical fights. That's pretty rare, even for some people who have been fans of the series for years.

  3. Why thanks, cacciato – and may I say welcome, as I don't recognize you from earlier comments. If I've forgetten you, my apologies!

    As for H x H, I'm pleased you think I'm doing well with the analysis – I must confess, it seems odd to me that foilks wouldn't appreciate that mind-screw aspect of the show, as that's what seemingly sets is apart from most shounen. Just my 2 cents.

  4. l

    If it gets to the Ant arc, you are going to experience the most mind-screw experience in your life.

    Well, mind games are in York Shin arc though (if you liked it in the tower you are gonna LOVE on it reaches the city).

    Anyway, as always I look foward to your review of the chapter. Nice! 😀

  5. s

    Very nice review, Enzo and great opening liner! 😀

    As always, you caught the little things that make this series so enjoyable to watch. I was reading through forums and blogs to catch who'll going to point out the punishment game(s) between Gon and Killua but so far, you're the only one who addressed this. It's really great to see this on the episode since this type of games make (Asian) children so good at inflicting pain through the use of fingers or (wet) towels or other things they can think of. I don't know if this is true but I read somewhere that Westerners don't have this kind of games played by children, do they?

    Other "little things" they showed in this episode that worth noting is how among the other 3, Leorio is the only one Gon and Killua likes to mess with but also listen to when told to stop, the food given around to the candidates that already finished the 3rd exam, the way one candidate eats his crackers (I eat like that too) and how Hisoka, apparently, can sense Gon… <_<

    I like how you analyze all characters including Hisoka and I'm most certainly happy how you caught Gon's traits as the 1999 series really did make him into someone else. As you've noted, Gon is not above cheating if it will make what he wants happen (that is, all 5 of them finish the 3rd test together). It's a nice callback to episode 7 when he attempted to snatch the ball from Netero while the latter was distracted explaining Killua's technique.

    What I like in this episode is how Madhouse let the viewers feel how all the Hunter candidates must be feeling during the long hours of waiting. It was brilliant that the Hunters Vocabulary segment for this episode was BORED; telling us they're aware that nothing much happened during the first half of the episode but still deliberately did it (and IMO, make it as interesting as they can).

  6. I really am enjoying the complaints, which seem very predictable to me. This is not a traditional shounen, even I can see that. I like that about it.

    And I don't know who told you otherwise, but boys in the West (America, anyway) are absolutely brilliant at finding ways to inflict pain on each other through "games". And yes, I do speak from experience.

  7. s

    Really!? Someone lied to me! >_<

    Is this true that boys in America do punishment games like Gon and Killua played on the episode where if you failed to do the agreed game, you'll be punished? Please note that both boys and girls can play this game together. I remember that we always do punishment games (as agreed by all players) because we're bored and to make the game more "interesting" and "exciting". Also note that we do the punishment enough to hurt but not enough to make someone cry (because when someone cries, the game will end).

    This is just from what I see on American tv series/movies but I think the "punishment game" you're talking about is more along the line of bullying disguised as a game.

  8. No, we have punishment games too, though I'm sure the details are different. I've played the one Gon and Killua were playing in this episode, though.

  9. s

    I see. Thanks for clearing it up, Enzo. Ahh… Hollywood. Why can't you portray slice-of-life type of scenes right for once?

  10. A

    this new series isn't bad; it has mediocre moments sure, but as a whole it's good. however, it just doesn't compare to the excellence of the 1999 series (which is better than the manga in my opinion). i suggest you watch it and you'll see what we're talking about.

    in the end, this new series can be enjoyable to someone new, but it is not the best anime of the season let alone the year. on the other hand, i believe the 1999 is destined to be a classic.

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