Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 29

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When you’re twelve years old and freakishly gifted, the line between courage and stupidity is a little blurry at times…

It didn’t strike me when I was watching last week’s episode, or even immediately as I watched this week, but in a sly way I really think Hisoka was doing Gon and Killua a favor with his challenge at the gates of the 200th Floor.  I misread the situation somewhat, thinking that he’d issued the boys something of a formal challenge – but not, in effect, Hisoka was simply giving them a “You shall not pass!” warning – letting them know in his own way that if they couldn’t get past him, they weren’t ready for the 200s.  In fact he even told them so in words not so different from those, though I didn’t exactly catch his meaning at the time.

Now, far be it for me to try and get inside Hisoka’s head (it’s scary in there) as he’s one of the most mysterious and disturbing anti-heroes in shounen.  But if I had to pin a guess on it, I’d say that he didn’t want his prizes (especially Gon) damaged by anyone else.  Boredom is clearly this man’s enemy, and I think his smile when he saw that they’d mastered Ten well enough to get past his Nen barrier was quite genuine – he was pleased as punch to see they’d made it.  They represent more fun for him, and while Killua’s dark genius intrigues him it’s no doubt Gon that Hisoka is most fascinated by – I daresay he thinks of the boy as the most interesting challenger he’s come across in many a year.  And he wants to face a healthy, intact Gon – broken neither physically or mentally – when Hisoka decides Gon is good and ready to face him.  To some new viewers the lack of a real confrontation this week might have been a letdown, but for me it was a fascinating insight into Hisoka’s already fascinating character.  I’d even go so far as to say he likes Gon (and I’m not delving into the more disturbing nuance of that as it relates to the two of them) and admires his determination and raw skill.  But I don’t think for a minute that would stop him from amusing himself by torturing the boy, when the right time comes.

The paradox of Gon and Killua is always a present part of their series, and their talents are indeed as Wing describes them “Magnificent – and terrifying.”  The skills which Zushi – who he calls a “natural student” learned over an unnaturally fast few months Gon and Killua are able to start picking up in a matter of a few hours.  It’s as Wing (he definitely isn’t getting his security deposit back) says, he can’t pass up the incredible opportunity that training boys with this level of skill provides him – but at the same time he surely realizes that no one, much less 12 year-olds, could possibly understand the nature of this power well enough in a few hours to use it safely.  Turned loose even with just the defensive Ten training, they’re a danger – most directly and obviously to themselves.  And Wing’s admonition not to fight for two months so that he can train them in offensive techniques too is – naturally – ignored by Gon, who’s so anxious to mix it up that he registers for a fight on his very first day.

The essence of Wing’s training itself may have the aura (pun intended) of mysticism to it, but it’s actually pretty well-grounded in Eastern religion and martial arts training.  Zushi’s traditional method relies on meditation, but Wing uses something akin to shock treatment on Gon and Kil – a pitched attack with his own Ren, forcing the Shouko (aura nodes) of their bodies – normally blocked in all non Nen users – to open and their aura to flow freely.  Of course this in and of itself can’t help them even to defend, and it’s here that he needs them to master Ten, and stop the flow of aura from their bodies using little more than visualization.  It seems a stretch that they’d be able to do this so quickly, but then, these two are freaks – and that’s what makes them so fascinating to both men like Wing and men like Hisoka.

After a few short hours of training, the boys have mastered Ten well enough to slip past Hisoka’s Ren – they’ve been given the parka they needed to survive the blizzard – and finally they enter the 200s.  And again, in this new environment they’re typical schoolboys – Gon is wide-eyed and excited at the prospect of an even bigger room with an even bigger bed, both show little interest in the materialistic rewards and adulation the increasingly desperate 200th-Floor receptionist (one imagines her working her way up the tower floor by floor for years for the honor of working the 200th) tries to impress them with.  Gon just wants to fight Hisoka, and Killua, I think wants to watch over Gon as much as anything, and to get stronger in the process.  So when Gon decides to register for a fight immediately, even though he’s allowed up to 90 days to do so, I’m exasperated – but also completely unsurprised.  And perhaps even the exasperation is out of place, because that straight-ahead unstoppability is the essence of who Gon is, for better or worse (he says it himself if the preview – “A real friend would support my reckless behavior.” to which Kil replies, “That’s just reckless.”)  Still, I never quite know if he’s being brave or just an idiot.

I couldn’t help but notice that Gon’s first fight was scheduled for 3/11, and I wondered if that might be intentional on the part of Madhouse – but no, that was in the manga too, so it’s pure coincidence (I noticed an old friend in the preview, too).  Gon’s opponent is Gido, one of a creepy trio of strong Nen users who apparently weren’t spared the brutal initiation to the 200s that Hisoka’s assistance gave the boys.  Gido is a Nen master, using it to keep a series of tops spinning indefinitely, providing an unpredictable pattern of attack.  Gon went into this match expecting to lose, doing it for the experience, but I wonder if he realizes just how dangerous his situation.  As strong as Gon is he’s gotten himself into deadly trouble before, only surviving through raw determination and persistence (and luck) when his skills failed him.  Again though, this contradiction in his character (and Kil’s, though in a slightly different way) is so intrinsic both to who Gon is and what Hunter X Hunter is that both would lose their identity without it. 

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[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 29 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.35_[2012.04.29_10.21.27] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 29 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.43_[2012.04.29_10.24.35] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 29 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.50_[2012.04.29_10.24.42]
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Gon & Killia’s Hunterpedia: “Gido”

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  1. b

    I kinda miss the sound effects of Nen that the first version has. It makes the emission of the Nen aura more intense there.
    And finally the battles using Nen starts. These boys may be talented and powerful but they need more than that to survive battles like this concerning Nen. Well experience is the best teacher I guess and these kids need all the experience they need to survive and defeat enemies like pedo Hisoka.
    Great episode and looking forward to our friend in the preview.

  2. A

    Since I have nothing but praise for this episode, I'll just repost something you once said before, back in episode 19

    ''My feeling on Netero at this point is that there’s absolutely nothing incidental in anything he does – everything is calculated to the last small detail. ''

    Now, as a piece of advice now that we had reached this point, that that feeling you had about Netero and apply it to everything regarding this show. Never take things at face value with this series Enzo. 🙂

  3. Which certainly jibes with my feeling that H x H is at heart one giant mind-screw…

  4. K

    My friend, you have seen nothing yet.

  5. A

    I second that! There's more to come. I can't wait for Kurapica to show up.

  6. T

    You're very perceptive! You picked up on Hisoka's intent. Hunter x Hunter is a series wherein characters often say things that they don't truly mean. Their actions contradict their words. Keep watching for this!

    The next episode is going to be pretty great. Thematically, it's an extremely important one. Before you watch it, I sort of want to divert your attention to episode 16. In it, there are several scenes in which Hemotropic Butterflies are used as a metaphor for its characters' mental states. There are two scenes in particular that have much to do with Gon's development in Heavens Arena from here on out:

    1. After Geretta poisons Gon with a paralyzing agent and leaves. The boy has a butterfly waft over to his closed fist. The butterfly floats away and soon becomes entangled within a spider's web. Helpless, it struggles until its demise. Gon watches this entire scene and winces in frustration.

    2. The ending scene, following Gon's confrontation with Hisoka. Night. Gon lies within the hollow of a tree, awake with an expression of anger in his eyes. Again, a butterfly wafts over to Gon's closed fist. But this time, the scene zooms in even closer to the boy's expression so that the viewer is given a better look. Gon isn't just angered–he's furious. However, the viewer isn't given access to his thoughts.

  7. Interesting – that was the standout ep of the series so far, and that scene with Gon in the hollow tree especially stayed with me.

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