Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 44

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You know character deaths are happening fast and furious when they can’t even get them into the Hunterpedia while they’re still alive…

All I can say is, thank goodness Madhouse got Ishizuka Unshou Akio Ōtsuka to play Uvogin, because with that voice I can very much believe he’s the sort of guy to bite half a man’s head off and spit it out through another man’s head.  I wonder if this episode will finally extinguish concerns about excessive censorship in this version (concerns that should already have been allayed, truth be told) because it was one of the most gloriously disgusting anime episodes I’ve seen in a while.

Well, the Shadow Beasts were certainly made short work of, weren’t they?  I certainly figured they were dead meat at some point, but frankly I expected the battle to last a little longer.  True, there are remaining members (I’m guessing six – ten Shadow Beasts for ten Dons) – but unless they’re a great deal stronger than Leech, Porcupine, Rabid Dog and Worm, it’s hard to give them much of a chance – just one member of the Phantom Troupe was able to dispatch these four with relative ease.  His “Big Bang Impact” – though Machi dismisses it as nothing more than a Nen-assisted right cross – is awesomely powerful, quite a fitting weapon for someone hailing from Meteor City. 

You knew things were getting serious when Rabid Dog started quite graphically biting off pieces of Uvogin’s flesh and spitting them out, but the “yuck” factor really hadn’t even left the starting blocks yet.  Porcupine was innocuous enough, but then we had Leech regurgitating spotted leeches into Uvogin’s wounds, with play-by-play about how they’d migrate to his bladder and then lay eggs.  The pièce de résistance though was surely the aforementioned moment when Uvogin bit off half of Leech’s head, then a few moments later spit out a chunk of skull that ran through Dog’s own skull.  Comparatively speaking, liquefying Porky’s brain with his GAR-shout was a walk in the park on Sunday, though it did piss off his fellow Troupers a bit. 

We still have Owl out there somewhere – presumably with the auction swag – and whatever other Shadow Beasts exist, but victory against the Troupe isn’t coming from there.  If anything I wonder if Uvogin isn’t just a little bit too strong to be a top-notch dramatic device – killing with his vocal chords on top of everything else? – but there’s no denying the Troupe is a monster.  Again, the worst part is how casual they are about everything – playing cards, chilling out – it’s just another day punching the clock for them.  They don’t seem to especially like each other or hate their victims – they just kill because they can, and better than anyone else.  And we haven’t even seen their leader – and Hisoka – get off their butts yet.

For me, the best moment in the entire episode was the reveal of the #11 spider tattoo on Uvogin’s back.  Everyone’s reaction when they saw it – the surviving Beasts, and especially Kurapika – along with the BGM provided a sense of great significance.  At the bare minimum, of course, it seems as if no one sees that tattoo and lives to tell the tale – but for Kurapika it goes much deeper than that.  As much as anything I see his role in this not so much as a war with the Phantom Troupe, but with himself.  Kurapika’s hatred of them has caused him to lose himself, and the red eyes are only symbolic of something deeper.  He’s consumed by hatred, walking a path to damnation – and I don’t know if his time with the boys and Leorio was a brief detour from that path, or the calm before the storm.

It seems that only by contact with others who care for him can Kurapika be redeemed – through the loyalty and humor of Gon and Killua, and through the caring (and music, which indeed hath charms to soothe the savage breast) of Melody.  Again, though – once the contact ends, it seems as if Kurapika loses himself again.  The irony of those chains is that they’re a symbol of the way he’s imprisoned himself with his consumption by hate (pardon me for waxing poetic), and he’s even (here we get yet another lesson in Nen) given himself a special “Chain Jail” ability that allows him to imprison Phantom Troupe members with his chains, but with a self-imposed restriction that his heart will stop if he uses it against anyone else.  I can see that being quite a troubling thing later on – most especially since Hisoka is a counterfeit member.  What happens if Kurapika tries to use the chains against him, assuming he belongs to the Troupe (perhaps even having seen the press-on tattoo)?

In any event, Chain Jail certainly comes in useful here as Kurapika is able to capture Uvogin – though only with the aftereffects of Rabid Dog’s paralyzing poison still in his system.  Uvogin is the picture of bravado here, urging Kurapika to kill him while he has the chance, but he doesn’t understand the special ability that Kurapika has crafted just for this moment.  Given that Kurapika captured him before Mister Blinky could suck the poison out and he still has those leeches headed towards his bladder with no access to the  beer he needs to dilute the ammonia level in his urine so the leeches won’t hatch, and kill him from sheer agony as they pass through his urethra (thanks so much for sharing the grim details there, Togashi-sensei), time would seem to be of the essence – and thanks to Machi’s Nen thread, the other members of the Troupe (minus Franklin, on a beer run) are sure to catch up to the Nostrade bodyguards and their prisoner soon enough.  Given the constantly rising trajectory of the epicness in this arc, I expect things to really go up to eleven next week.

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Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Shadow Beasts”

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  1. K

    So, GE, I have to ask. Based on how sooooo many manga fans were eagerly awaiting this arc, what do you think of thus far?

    For me, its deifntiely surpassed my expectations. I was worried there would be a lot of things censored, so color me pleasantly surprised 😛

    As for your theory regarding Kurapika's Chain Jail and the covenant he made for himself and the issue with Hisoka, no worries, you'll learn it by the end of the arc when it transitions into the GI Arc.

    As for this episode, all I can say is GAR! Awesome episode and I don't know what else I can say besides that. lol Just really surpassed what I was expecting.. this arcs' battles are among my favorites (more so than the Chimera Ant Arc) for some reason.. and I think a lot of it is how they set the tone and monstrosity of the Phantom Troupe

    So glad the adaption has made it this far (any idea on how well its doing in Japan?) I'd love to see it match up to the current manga point (currently on hiatus). If they ended it where the current placement of the manga, I can accept it and be fulfilled, as it does seem like quite a nice place to end (if they had to :P)

  2. To be honest, so far I place it a half-step below Heaven's Arena – but I know we haven't really gotten to the good stuff yet. This arc – so far – has been focused more on the action aspects and less on the really intense psychological conflicts of Heaven's Arena. Plus, I miss Gon & Killua! But like I said, I know the best is yet to come – and Heaven's Arena didn't peak until the last several eps.

    In terms of execution, as an anime-only viewer I have no complaints. It's been excellent in all respects, and if this is censored I'd hate to see uncensored.

    The series has been doing quite well in the ratings in Japan, though just what everyone will be looking at in terms of how long it runs I can't say. Manga sales are monstrous, but they've always been for H x H. I take the many references to Greed Island as a hopeful sign that we'll at least get that far.

  3. A

    "and if this is censored I'd hate to see uncensored."
    Yeah, the manga is quite disgusting.

    e.g, you can see the rest of Leech's brain, when Uvo bites his head.

  4. H

    Don't worry Enzo! Gon, Killua and Leorio play their roles later in the arc! This arc I would say its akin to a crime thriller more than anything though.
    All I have to say without going into spoiler territory is enjoy the time Hunter x Hunter is focusing on other characters besides Gon and Killua like in the Heavens Arena arc.

  5. A

    It was pretty good. I still like the previous, slightly less expository version of the episode better, but it's nothing but stupid nitpicks. They got the important stuff just as jaw-dropping as I remember them to be.

    However, this is it. We're drawing near to the episode that even the 16 year old me was able to appreciate back then, and while Gon vs Hanzo was my favorite episode of the series, whether they get this one right or not will decide everything. I will forgive anything I ever thought the 2011 series might have wronged or missed so far and become it's faithful little puppet if they manage to make episode 46 half as impressive as the original one.

  6. No manga spoilers.

  7. A

    Ahh. Spoilers. Enzo read a spoil so he was spoiled because he new it was a spoiler.

  8. A

    lol i put a huge SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER block to warn him (and other readers) though so hopefully he wasn't able to read it

  9. No, I saw it. That's why I delete them – writing SPOILERSPOILERSPOILER is not the same as actually being able to hide a spoiler. That's why I delete them.

  10. A

    well, i understand. i just thought that hopefully, you deleted the spoiler without having read it but deleted it anyway for the sake of other readers new to the series.

    anyway i didn't know about the anti-spoiler rule and obviously that was the best i could do since there's no spoiler tag around.

    at least i know better next time.

  11. A

    What kind of spoiler was it GE? You read it didn't you.

  12. That's a leading question! It was a spoilerish spoiler.

    If I had a way in Blogger to allow spoiler tags in comments, trust me I would. So far, not possible.

  13. A

    Everyone should just avoid spoilers completely. Even though you placed a warning in your comment, you should just avoid writing it. For the new fans to enjoy themselves.

  14. A

    I think episode 46 is Kurapica's time to shine.

  15. A

    "All I can say is, thank goodness Madhouse got Ishizuka Unshou to play Uvogin"

    Ohtsuka Akio, actually. Though they do sound similar.

  16. Wow. I wasn't the only one fooled – MAL and ANN had that wrong at first, too.

  17. b

    I think I'm not wrong that the phrase "Restriction breeds creativity" really applies for Kurapika's Chain Jail. More Nen lessons that is important. The stricter the conditions for a Nen ability, the stronger it is. Shizuku's vacuum was also mentioned to have a restriction, that is cannot suck living things. Very convenient to clean up those corpses back in the auction.

    Pretty satisfied with the episode. From the biting to the capture. Perfect in everything. Bravo again Madhouse.
    And it will still continue with the next episode. Just be patient about Gon and Kil's abscence. It's Kurapika's time to shine for the moment. There will come a time when the group will meet again and it will really be interesting when it happens. For now enjoy the carnage and the thrill that the Troupe is known for.

  18. You know, saying that (so far) I rank this arc a half-step below Heaven's Arena doesn't mean I'm not enjoying it! Especially considering that there were episodes in that arc (including the obvious Gon-Hisoka match) that were as good as any anime aired this year.

  19. K

    Great episode, this one! 🙂 and just a few more………..can't wait!!! i wud really hope "that" episode would surpass d original oav. it's time for Kurapica to shine. Madhouse, please don't disappoint on that one. please make it really REALLY awesome. (sorry, jz an ol' fan hoping)(^^,)/

    Awesome blog, Enzo! 🙂

  20. R

    Wait, if next week has potential to be really cranked up to eleven, then what was this week? XD Cause it my books this series hit eleven quite a while ago and just kept running.

    In all seriousness though, I was relatively surprised that they really did show this fight in all it's disgusting glory. It's not as graphic as the manga, but that doesn't make it any less surprising. If anything, I think actually slightly censoring things like blood and gore but focusing on the absolutely brutal actions themselves (tearing off skin, having leeches worm through the wound, BITING OFF A GUY'S HEAD) actually works better in animated format.

  21. A

    Just so you know the next episode 45 won't be available until September 2nd as next week HxH is on break.

  22. So I hear. Damn and blast.

  23. K

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the long wait is gonna kill me…… :S


  24. A


  25. A

    So, we're gonna get a Sept. 1st (in HxH time) episode on Sept. 2nd. It almost coincides…

  26. H

    Actually if you're watching it legally on Crunchyroll in North America you will get at Sept 1st 😛 just sayin

  27. A

    That's true. It's too bad that viewers in Japan don't get this coincidental time. xP

  28. A

    Not even the anime HxH can escape hiatus huh… XD
    ( yeeaa I had to make that joke… e.e )

  29. A painful subject for fans of the manga, no doubt.

  30. A

    Indeed, which makes wonder what'll happen to this anime if it catches up to the manga before it gets out of the hiatus…

  31. A

    Well the pace the anime is going it'll take about 2 years to catch up.. lol Hoepfully chapters come out by than..

  32. I would be thrilled silly if the anime sticks around that long.

  33. A

    Theres not doubt that it will.It has had top 10 ratings quite a few times already. So i have no doubt the MH will adapt the anime to the current arcs..Last weeks episode put it back in the top 10..I don't see how the ratings could get worse.. lol

    They do have a couple characters from later arcs in the intro as well so its a pretty high possibility were gonna get 100+ eps.

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