Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 45

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One thing really jumps out at me with this episode of H x H – Kurapika’s soul is really hanging in the balance.

As long as this series runs for a long time and we keep getting episodes of this quality from Madhouse, I can live with the occasional hiatus week.  But damn, a week without Hunter X Hunter really sucks – this is a series that really fills a niche nothing else can fill for me.  We’ve covered such a sliver of the manga, really – well under a quarter – but the depth and richness Togashi crams into the setting and characters in just 80 chapters is really amazing.  It’s easy to see why this is one of the most popular manga in Shounen Jump history, despite a tradition of rage-inducing hiatuses of considerable length (including the one currently happening, though Togashi did at least take the time to write the upcoming theatrical H x H film).

There was a little of everything this week (apart from Leorio, Gon and Killua, who should appear next week if the anime follows the manga, though they don’t make the preview).  What there wasn’t much of was the Shadow Beasts, because if you thought the Phantom Troupe made easy work of the first four, the next six weren’t even a bump in the road.  The message is clear – the Troupe is the most formidable bunch of badasses in the land (even if they do “philanthropic work” – which I’m now insanely curious about – when they aren’t busy stealing and killing), and even the best Nen users the mafia can throw at them are chum.  Owl at least manages to snare Nobunaga in his “Fun Fun Cloth” before he’s captured and tortured (they need him alive to retrieve the treasure he’s shrunk down) but the others don’t even make it that far.  We see glimpses of a few more individual abilities – Feitan (deliciously performed by Kappei Yamaguchi) is a master torturer, Shalnark’s expertise seems to be computer/mechanical – but several of the Troupe (including their leader) remain a mystery.

While there was plenty of action, blood and death (though less graphically than #44) there are two scenes that stand out for me.  The first is when Kurapika is standing in the hallway outside the room where Uvogin is being held, trying to contain his rage.  As the BGM plays Melody’s soothing… well, melody from the last episode, she comes out and silently stares at him as he leans back against the wall.  After closing his eyes and breathing deeply, Kurapika offers what I can only describe as a heartbreaking smile in response to hers.  There’s no dialogue for a good minute here, but it’s a beautiful sequence – especially that smile, which seems to communicate that somewhere, buried under all the hate that threatens to consume him, the kind soul of the Kurapika we know is still alive – barely.  It takes the warmth of a friend to bring it to the surface, but it’s always there – which gives me hope that he can still be redeemed in the end.

After that smile Kurapika gets a text message that leads into the other memorable scene – or rather, pair of scenes – from the episode.  It’s from Hisoka, telling him to meet at the agreed place.  There’s more unspoken communication between Kurapika and Melody, and off he goes.  Hisoka, meanwhile, returns to the series in all his creepy, perverted and glorious splendor.  There just a short exchange between he and Chrollo:

H: “Ah!  I just remembered – I was supposed to meet someone today.  I’ll be heading out.”
C: “Sure, go ahead – just be back by 6 PM tomorrow.  Up to some mischief, Hisoka?”
H: “But of course.”

That’s it – Chrollo doesn’t even look up from his ever-present book – but if the scene between Kurapika and Melody is a marvel of unspoken communication, this is a marvel of subtext.  We can imagine everything about the relationship of these two horrifying men just from those simple words.  Hisoka indeed meets Kurapika in the agreed place, and what a fitting setting it is – a derelict amusement park, that old horror staple, brought to gloriously creepy life by the artists at Madhouse.  Hisoka is deliciously Hisoka here: “I love idle chat.”  And he does, too – that’s one of the things I love about him.  He’s totally forthcoming with Kurapika – about the Troupe, about the powers he knows and the ones he doesn’t, and about his ultimate goal.  That, very simply, is to fight Chrollo – it’s his motivation for joining the Troupe in the first place, the pure, animal thrill he gets at the notion of fighting someone so strong.  And in this, he sees common ground in his purpose with Kurpika’s – and offers the latter an alliance.

Yet another temptation for Kurpika to choose the dark path.  I have no doubt that Hisoka would follow through on his proposed terms with Kurapika – not only does he have no loyalty to the Troupe whatsoever, but to the best of my knowledge I can’t recall Hisoka ever being dishonest or even withholding information – apart from with the other members of the Troupe.  The whole notion of a sneak attack or subterfuge runs contrary to his nature – if his prey doesn’t have an opportunity to savor the terror of what’s coming, where’s the thrill in that?  Yet it’s hard to see any good coming to Kurapika from an alliance with him, no matter how tempting.  Given that Kurpika’s all-consuming goal is revenge and that Hisoka was uninvolved with his clan’s destruction, there’s nothing theoretically stopping Kurapika from accepting – but I can’t help feel this is a crucial moment for him.

Things are far from settled with the Phantom Troupe in any case, though they’ve retrieved the treasure they sought.  Poor Dalzollene has been killed by the disguised Troupe members who intercepted his message about Uvogin’s whereabouts, and Uvogin has been freed and had his poison sucked out by Mr. Blinky (a beer binge will surely follow next episode).  Uvogin wants revenge himself – revenge against the chain user who subdued and humiliated him where four Shadow Beasts failed miserably.  Melody and the others have fled, courtesy of the early warning Uvogin’s enrage roar provided, though they’re surely still in mortal danger. I expect the narrative to splinter a bit soon, with battle lines forming on multiple fronts – and one thing’s for certain, this fight has barely gotten started.

As to the Hunterpedia, it’s now officially a trend – characters end up there after they get offed in the episode.  But what was up with that skin-tone with Gon and Killua?

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[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 45 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.50_[2012.09.01_22.29.00] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 45 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.50_[2012.09.01_22.30.00] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 45 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.54_[2012.09.01_22.30.04]
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Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Dalzollene”

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  1. K

    I agree completely GE.. I was annoyed at no HxH last week.. especially since its this arc XD

    I also love your mentioning of the current manga hiatus.. its VERY VERY Annoying.. I wanna see where Togashi goes from there.. (manga readers will know what I mean :P)

    Overall, yet another solid episode.. while everyone loved the 1999 YS, I think I have no qualms in saying this adaption should match it no problem. It has everything.

    As for your mentioning about Kurapika's unstable soul.. yes, I think thats THE perfect way of describing it.. especially…

    Overall, this and SAO are making me want every.single.weekend. to come sooner.. they're simply the only 2 shows in a long time that I can't wait to see the next episodes of

    Also glad to see you're still enjoying/blogging this GE.. so many blgos out there have pretty much not bothered with it 😐
    I also saw "reviews" on Crunchyroll.. I couldn't help but laugh at those people stuck in nostalgia rather than look at it in a realistic pov

  2. Honestly, nostalgia freaks just drive me batty, both with this show and AO.

  3. A

    I'm by all accounts a nostalgia freak when it comes to the '99 series, and even I roll my eyes at a lot of the bashing this show gets and how they put the older anime on a pedestal. I end up questioning if they had actually watched either versions …

  4. You're not, not by the definition of the term I'm imagining anyway. You're capable of keeping an open mind, so you don't qualify as a "nostalgia freak" in my eyes – just a fan!

  5. A

    Well, whenever it comes to the '99 series, I pretty much allow my nostalgia to take over and make it at least 2X better than it might actually be on certain mediocre episodes, and even then I end up remembering as being much greater than it probably was. So I thought that was what you meant (people who let their nostalgia rule over their judgment completely) but I can see now you were talking about the fanatics.

    Then yeah, I'm nothing like that. Their thought process when it comes to knocking down on this show is honestly a mystery to me, especially when they go on to praise the other version to death (they are nearly 80% identical lol)

  6. A

    "Honestly, nostalgia freaks just drive me batty, both with this show and AO."

    "nostalgia freaks" eh. i find it funny that someone who hasn't seen the old series would throw around that label.

    piece of advice: watch the 1999 series in its entirety and get back to me.

    anyway i did not enjoy this episode. york shin is my favorite anime/manga arc EVER (since 2002!!!!) but i just cannot care for how madhouse is handling it. blergh.

  7. s

    piece of advice: watch the 1999 series in its entirety and get back to me.

    piece of advice: read the manga then get back to me.

    anyway i did not enjoy this episode. york shin is my favorite anime/manga arc EVER (since 2002!!!!) but i just cannot care for how madhouse is handling it. blergh.

    if you don't care how MH handles hxh, stop watching and go fap more on the old series somewhere where they are discussed.

    one thing i don't understand from you "nostalgia freaks" is how you torture yourself from watching the new series if you "do not enjoy" it and then took time to read and posts on blogs and forums specifically catered to the hxh 2011 series… unless you're a masochist.

  8. K

    Whats always annoyed me about those people never giving this version a chance and praising the 99 series is how they say this version ruined the characters…

    The reality is that this version is FIXING the characters and making them much more true to their manga counterparts.. I mean when I watched the 99 series and then the manga shortly afterwards.. some of the characterization was just different in the manga.. and thats one of the reasons I'm loving this version alot.

    Yeah, I admit some parts in the 99 series were good, but that does not detract from this version at all.. it reminds me of the 2 FMA series, some people refused to give Brotherhood a chance until it started covering the manga material.. either way, just like with FMA, both HxH have their strengths and weaknesses.. my only gripe here with this current version may be the music.. and thats purely cuz I got used to the music from the old series, there really isn't anything bad with this adapations music, its merely the idea that certain music was more fitting due to my prior viewing experience.

    Anon above kinda exemplifies exactly what the nostalgic crowd/bashing crowd of this show makes me laugh at it. Some of them you ahve to question if they ever actually watched either version 😛

    Overall, as I said I love this adapation probably more than the 99 series simply cuz its following the manga more truthfully and not chagning the characters. That and the superb job MH is doing with it

  9. A

    I couldn't help to notice that Kurapica was able to hurt Uvogin while Dalzollene's sword couldn't inflict any damage. And the way that scene plays out makes it obvious they wanted the audience to make the comparison. Add Kurapica's chain and Hisoka probably telling him about Uvogin's ability, and I think it's pretty certain Uvogi's days are counted.

  10. A

    ''As long as this series runs for a long time and we keep getting episodes of this quality from Madhouse, I can live with the occasional hiatus week. ''

    Now imagine how we all feel every time the manga goes on hiatus!

    Though to be fair, Togashi-san sickness does intervene with his ability to draw (though as it is obvious, not one bit with his superb writing skills) so I guess we can't do anything on that regard …

    ''even if they do “philanthropic work” – which I’m now insanely curious about – when they aren’t busy stealing and killing''

    Your next sentence about what the other members different abilities should give you an idea of who might hire (or on the flip side, who they might usually work with) them when they are off duty from the Troupe. You are on the right track there.

    Also, every scene Hisoka had shown up in is a marvel of subtext within a marvel of subtext. It's just none of us had realized it yet 😛

    ''Uvogin wants revenge himself''

    Oh lol

    Revenge does breed more hatred, though apparently not of the same caliber.

    Though I suppose this suits Kurapika just fine.

    ''As to the Hunterpedia, it’s now officially a trend – characters end up there after they get offed in the episode.''

    As you can guess, that is going to be th trend for a … while.

    Boy, it sort of makes me realize I liked it better when they didn't have this much deaths before. Kinda miss the older days now …

    ''But what was up with that skin-tone with Gon and Killua?''

    They went to the beach during last weeks break!

  11. That only makes me more curious. What kind of philanthropic work would a master torturer do? (No, don't answer with a manga spoiler)

  12. A

    Ok, this isn't a spoiler, but my own thoughts about it.

    Imagine if there is someone out there, some really bad person, who held some important information/ Maybe it's information that could end up causing a great deal of harm to the world at large if it is not retrieved. Maybe it's information that could help bring down a lot of bad people if it is brought out to the public. Maybe it's information that is needed to help improve the conditions of life in lesser countries/ Point is, it's important to get that info out because it can do some actual good. But thing is, the person isn't talking. He's willing to die to keep it hidden.

    Enter the master torturer into the equation. He genuinely wants to use his abilities to help others, and now that the opportunity had presented it self …

    Now before you mention the morality of the whole thing, think back to the Hunter Exam. Remember what position Hisoka was in during it. That was his second time taking the exam after failing it the first time due to him killing one of the instructors. However, despite committing murder, he was still allowed to re-take it again without anyone penalizing him about the former incident.

    This is the sort of world that HxH takes place in. No matter what you've done or do in your spare time, as long as you have a valuable ability or just really good at what-ever you do, someone is going to hire you for all sort of work, some if it even good. Hell, some members of the Troupe might have realized that it's actually better to do good for the world, since some of them might actually hold altruistic believes.

    Now that's just my interpretation from the past 45 episodes (I assure you, I've done my best to divorce my knowledge about the manga while writing this) As for actual answers, let me just say that the YS arc had just gotten started, and you have yet to understand what sort of people or what the Phantom Troupe actually are.

  13. L

    This isn't really a big deal, as it's not a 'major' plot point, but the Troupe are viewed as heroes in Meteor City. They help the people of Meteor City through their philanthropic work.

  14. A

    Damn, the Phantom Troupe are so badass that I can't help but root for them. They're probably one of the best villains in anime and manga history.

  15. s

    finally caught up after being on a hiatus due to rl :)

    i'm glad you noticed the little tidbits of some of the members abilities or "roles" within the group: machi as a "surgeon" of sorts, shizuku as the "clean up crew" in one body, uvogin as a one-man army for the "killing" part of their work, feitan as a master torturer and shalnark as a computer/technology whiz expert.

    as always, hisoka is being his creepy, pervert self but let's not forget that he's a liar – he says so himself and as evidenced by killua – so everything he says should be taken with a grain of salt especially if infos were given when he's talking to someone.

    i've read on forums that MH kurapika was too emotional on this version however it was established on the hunter exam arc phase 3 that he really is emotional and stubborn when it comes to the phantom troupe. besides, he only get too emotional when he's alone and having a monologue (which doesn't happen/not shown in the manga). every other time, he's silent and cold to others except with melody as of today's episode.

    this is an excellent episode. there are a lot of filler scenes but these fillers help flesh out and provide hints on things that might not make sense now until much later episodes – good move for MH to avoid too many questions/confusions.

  16. A

    Not much to say. Another great episode of HxH.

    New word:

    NF – not capable of keeping an open mind because they are sentimental longing for the past and is trapped in it.

  17. A

    "This strikes me as a series I’m much more likely to watch than blog, but I’ll give it a couple of weeks to show me it’s stripes."

    LOL on your first impression Enzo.

  18. Yup, I definitely undersold it in a huge way. Some of that comes from Yu Yu Hakusho, which gave me no idea how deep Togashi could be. Or maybe YYH was deep, and I just didn't understand the medium enough at the time to see it.

  19. A

    Yu Yu Hakusho ended up becoming quite profound by the end, but even then it doesn't hold a candle to HxH at it's best.

    I love both shows mind you, but Hunter is certainly amazing when its on a roll …

  20. b

    From the first paragraph and the first lines of the second, are you perhaps reading the manga Enzo? Or just checking how much was covered in here and the pacing of the episodes?

    And here I thought nostalgiafags either dropped the show or has already accepted that both adaptations have their merits and should appreciate them both.
    Guess not. I'm not gonna join in the argument. Just gonna say that it's another solid episode and done really well. From Nobunaga getting caught to Hisoka being Hisoka to Uvo's scream. I already want to see the fight between Uvo and Kurapika and from the preview, it will come soon.

    Didn't know Togashi wrote the new film. Wish the manga would resume though. You know it's bad when H x H is already known as Hiatus x Hiatus.

  21. Nope, not reading the manga yet – just scanning a few pages ahead to see when G, K & L make another appearance. I miss 'em!

  22. A

    As a long time manga reader, let me just tell you to not do that. Trust me, it's much better to stay in the dark for this arc, it makes it all the better.

  23. I'm not really reading dialogue – just looking for faces!

  24. H

    Hey Enzo

    Random Thought that just came to my head,

    I really hope the Kurapika vs Uvogin fight will get the animation budget it deserves but Madhouse is also animating a HxH movie plus other series like Chihayafuru Season 2. Would budgets for seperate projects affect each other? I'm basically asking for people who might know how anime production in Japan works is, would Madhouse working on the HxH movie diminish the budget towards the tv show or are they funded from different sources?

  25. I wouldn't think so, because Madhouse does have a theatrical division. Also, the better job the H x H TV does of selling the product the more tickets the movie will sell.

    I suspect this series is largely self-funded, too. As long as it continues to fulfill its obligations in terms of ratings and manga sales (I don't think BD/DVD are too relevant here) it'll be well-funded. And at the moment, it seems to be doing very well.

  26. K

    For me this arc is sort of boring in certain places just because Kurapika… well he bores me a bit to be honest. I know that almost everyone else loves him, but for me he is certainly the least interesting of the core 4 so to speak and Killua and Gon will forever be my favorites.

  27. s

    You're not the only one 😉 Kurapika is my least favorite character out of the main 4. I really would not care much about his storyline if it weren't for the Spiders and how Gon/Killua's quest inevitably collides with his.

    In the subject of favorite characters, it would have to be Leorio because he just simply rocks. Being that I am a fujoshi and ship Gon/Killua and Illumi/Hisoka, those four frequently change positions depending on their screen time so 2nd-5th place are theirs. Kurapika is somewhere close to the 10th place. 😛

  28. A

    "List of people not to piss off:

    1. Killua Zoldyck
    2. Gon Freecss"

    Guess it's time to add Kurapika and Uvogin.

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