Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 23

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OK, Killua is definitely the normal one in the family…

It becomes increasingly clear that nothing of any consequence comes easily in the world of Hunter X Hunter.  Life is a test, and the entertainment comes from watching how people react to being tested.  Sometimes the tests are literally just that, sometimes it’s merely the act of surviving or trying to achieve a goal – but I’m hard-pressed to think of a single episode where the main characters – and especially Gon – haven’t been rats in a maze to some extent.  But as there always have been, there are unexpected allies along the way to help him – that’s pretty much what Kurapika and Leorio were, to begin with – and so it is at the Zoldyck Estate.

Zebro’s help seems to be something along the lines of Netero’s and Satosz’ – he simply takes a liking to Gon and is impressed by his determination enough to take an active interest.  Zebro’s colleague Seaquant is an interesting one, a jaded and sarcastic fellow-employee who openly discourages the trio from bothering to attempt the testing gate, but in the end also gives them the crucial piece of advice that allows them to eventually breach it.  He also seems to be a member of a group that once aspired to attack the estate, and looks to have even managed to get past the gate themselves- only to be massacred to the next-to-last man by an apprentice butler.  He’s an odd one to figure out – helping the trio with one hand, warning the head butler of their progress with the other. 

The actual riddle of the gate proved to be totally straightforward, a simple matter of brute strength – gained through Zebro’s training and the fact that everything in the servants’ quarters is weight training – though it’s not till Gon shucks off his sling and joins the pushing that the gate is breached.  But the lasting moments of the ep come mostly from the Zoldyck family, of whom we learn just a little but more than enough to know they’re sick bastards.  Hell, never mind Killua – Illumi might be the normal one compared to this bunch.  As Killua is chained in a dungeon being taught a lesson for his transgressions, older brother Milluki (Saito Kimiko)– chubby and pig-eyed – seems to have the role of main torturer, and to perform it with so much glee and abandon that even Killua’s frighteningly depraved mother Kikyo (Iwao Junko) attempts to restrain his enthusiasm.  Tagging along in Mama’s shadow is little sister brother Kalluto, who doesn’t have a lot to say and seems content to follow obediently behind her his mother.

While there’s no mention of the father yet, make no mistake – it’s Kikyo who seems like the dangerous one in this bunch.  Dressed as some kind of twisted take on a Victorian aristocrat, she talks sweetly to Killua even as she oversees his whipping and bondage, and we’re to see more of her nature a bit later.  For Killua’s part he seems unrepentant and quite unmoved by the tough love treatment his family is giving him, and equally as sure that Gon will break through the trials that await him and succeed in reaching the mansion.  With her little one at a “delicate time”, Kikyo is quite determined that Gon – and anyone else – not be allowed to see him.

H X H is certainly good at those difficult to watch moments, and most of them this week aren’t Killua in chains but instead the confrontation between apprentice butler Canary and Gon.  Though Canary (apparently the same one who dealt with  Sequant’s crew three years earlier, though she looks about 12 herself) dishes out some severe punishment to Gon, he takes the same tack he did in his fight with Hanzo – he simply refuses to break down.  In this case he doesn’t even fight back, but merely wears down her resistance by forcing her to abuse him and not allowing Leorio and Kurapika to interfere – and in this course he was no doubt emboldened by the hesitation he saw in her eyes when he mentioned Killua’s name.  Gon’s instincts are unerring as usual, and he does eventually wear Canary down – but not for the first time Gon’s determination has unintended consequences, as Kikyo – by all appearances, anyway – shoots the girl in the head when she breaks down and begs Gon to help Killua.  Not having seen that moment coming, it provided quite a jolt to say the least.

“Tip of the iceberg” is what comes to mind when I imagine what the anime has shown us of the Zoldyck family so far – of their cruelty, and of their power.  It’s clear that this is a very twisted group of people, that their sickness has warped Killua in ways that will take more than a little time and fraternal love to mend, and that he’s wrapped so tightly in their tendrils that extracting him is going  to prove quite a challenge.  Which I’m not minding a bit, as this is proving a nice stylistic shift away from the exam arc, while still maintaining the same edge and ruthless tone.  I’m also enjoying the new BGM gradually being mixed into the series and the darker color palette this arc features. 

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[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 23 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.21_[2012.03.17_23.48.10] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 23 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.13_[2012.03.17_23.49.03] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 23 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.42_[2012.03.17_23.49.32]
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  1. I

    >little sister


  2. b

    No comment on Milluki = Araki from AnK?
    It was the opposite for me, when I saw Araki there I was reminded of Milluki immediately lol.

    Yeah I agree that the BGM is getting different and the color style is getting darker.
    Very different from the first episodes and a bit similar to the 1999 version. I like it.

    Killua must surely be very powerful if he can open the gate until the 3rd one while it took 3 people to open the first one. Though Kil had a hell training since he was born so I guess that's unfair to the 3.

    Forgot how the mother was. Twisted. May I remind you that it was Killua who did that to her face. Mentioned around the 3rd exam I think. With that attitude, Killua did the right thing to her.

    Can't wait to see the rest of the family. We already saw Kalluto and Milluki. The gramps and pops were in the preview. And there's…no never mind.
    I'm just happy to see the silhouette of the family in the beginning of the episode. Just…yeah.

  3. Honestly, I don't think that's Ishida Akira – doesn't sound like him to my ears, but I could be wrong. Haven't seen official credits in English yet.

  4. K

    Actually, Kalluto is a boy.

    I'll just leave this here.

    And yes, Canary is the same one, she slaughtered all those people when she was a 9 year old apprentice butler.

  5. So my guess about Kalluto's gender is balanced by my good guess about Canary's age…

  6. A

    Woah! I've watched the whole 1999 version but I never new that Kalluto was a boy. Though she uhmm he looks different from the previous version, I still can't recall ever mentioning her/HIS gender.

  7. T

    Oh my god, in the beginning of the episode when they showed the silhouettes of Killua's family…spoiler somewhat, I'm not going to mention what it is since it should be obvious to manga readers XD

    Although the opening gate part I assume is filler since in the manga version they each opened the gate themselves after the training. Leorio was able to open 2 while Kurapika and Gon were only able to open 1 gate. As much I like seeing them as a team, it would have been better for them to show off their own individual strengths. It seems they're trying to drag out the Zoldyck arc, maybe because it's so short, but it's kind of unnecessary. But I'm unbelievably happy that Kikyo has a different colored dress (yellow annoyed me, sorry) and the atmosphere and the music seems darker than usual, it reminds me of the good old 1999 version somewhat.

    Gon…wasn't beaten up enough. He looked worse in the manga version. I guess it's because of the censorship. Oh and yeah, Kalluto is a boy XD

  8. l

    Censorship = instant fail.

    I'm not liking this. At least they are more faithful adaptation.

  9. Kalluto is a boy? Was that supposed to be obvious and I missed it, or did you guys drop a big ol' spoiler?

  10. A

    Don't worry you didn't get spoiled. The gender has not ever been adressed directly in the series. More of a trivia.

  11. M

    Wow. Junko Iwao is amazing as Kikyou! (Killua's mom) I really like the VA choices as well as how the family members are being introduced, there's some serious problems with this family eventhough that's probably an understatement.

    I don't think Kalluto's gender is a big 'ol spoiler, mostly because the gender doesn't necessarily affect the plot that much (I think…)

  12. s

    I dont really dislike remakes and all especially if they are of good shows but I really think it would have been much better if they took the funding for this remake and continued the story from where the original stopped. I loved the HunterXHunter show and hope they continue beyond the original in this.

  13. K

    It's not supposed to be a big spoiler, I think there's someone later who says that all of the Zoldycks children are boys. But it's said in a matter of fact way, there's no big reveal scene.

  14. n

    i really dont wanna compare this to 1994.. but the trio got nerf hard… they used to open the testing gate by themselves >:(

  15. A

    That wasn't a big spoiler or anything of the sort, but you know as an old watcher of the '99 series and reader of the manga, I'd just like to ask my fellow fans of this series to at least try and put themselves in the shoes of the newer fans … yeah, this was just random trivia and nothing important at all, but still try and be considerate when posting. There is no need to spoil Enzo about this show when he's clearly enjoying it.

  16. Thanks Arabesque, and it's not just me. I'll be including a plea for restraint in next week's post.

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