Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 46

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Poke-phantoms – gotta catch ‘em all!

I don’t think it would accurate to call this episode the calm before the storm so much as the eye of the hurricane, as the intensity has been pretty high already and looks as if it’s headed for another peak next week.  This was definitely a breather ep in any case, and Togashi (and Madhouse) are quite brilliant at inserting one of those just when they’re needed to provide a much-needed contrast to all the violence and drama.  We didn’t lose a single named character this week, which presented quite a dilemma for Gon & Killua (still in ganguro mode) in their Hunterpedia, with no deceased character to feature – let’s just say that if I were Squala, I wouldn’t be buying any green bananas.

There were many things we got to see this week only as a result of the brief lull in the action, and first among them was seeing Kurapika fully immersed in work mode.  Not before he struck his deal with Hisoka, mind you – and by telling Kurapika that “Spiders only stop moving after you crush the head” Hisoka made it clear what his eventual goal is.  It was striking how dutiful and responsible Kurapika was when he stepped into his bodyguard role – a role he only accepted to try and get at the killers of his clan, after all.  It’s no wonder his fellow survivors voted him leader after Dalzollene’s death, and it’s another reminder of how Kurapika really is like two different people – the seething, hate-driven loose cannon when he’s lusting after revenge, and the calm, responsible and kind friend and colleague when he’s not.  The changing eye color of the Kurta seems to have symbolic as well as literal meaning within H x H, a reflection of this split personality within Kurapika, which perhaps existed in all of them in some way.

Kurapika is also the cleverest among his bodyguard brethren, seemingly, which comes in useful when Shalnark uses his hacker skills and hunter license to track down information about the Nostrade presence in York Shin to aid Uvogin in his own quest for revenge (what the heck was with that kiss?).  By accessing the Hunter website himself Kurapika realizes that the surviving bodyguards – and Neon – are sitting ducks.  I don’t have much sympathy for Neon – certainly not after she showed no concern whatever for the four bodyguards who died protecting her – but Kurapika steps into his leader role with gusto, moving her to relative safety and waiting behind in the vacated room to take on Uvogin – who Kurapika knows will show up soon enough – himself.

Meanwhile, we happily get a turn with the boys and Leorio at long last.  I miss their presence in the show – Kurapika is a very serious person, his story is extremely dark, and when he’s the entire focus things can get just a bit one-note.  Gon and Killua, by contrast, are either restless bundles of schoolboy tomfoolery or charging into battle with an overflow of GAR martial spirit.  What’s more, their banter with Leorio is consistently hilarious – I could have listened to Leorio trying to explain his scheme to the boys with Gon repeating every other word  (“Moles?  Fish?”) to Leorio’s growing frustration for the entire episode and not gotten tired of it.

Fact is, we’re finally at the point now where Gon & Kil’s interests are overlapping with Kurapika’s storyline, and the path to their collision – always inevitable – is beginning to show itself.  Kurapika is obviously avoiding all contact with the boys because he doesn’t want to expose them to the danger he’s facing, but ferociously loyal Gon – for all his focus on raising Jenny for the “Greed Island” bid – is growing increasingly worried for his friend.  After Leorio’s arm-wrestling scheme (little Gon broke twenty arms in a day) finally lands a big one, it looks as if there’s big money to be made in an underground arm-wrestling fight club – but that’s just a feint.  The real story is the mob reps who hijack the event and use it to drum up bounty hunters to capture the Phantom Troupe, at a cool 2 billion a head.  This is a clear act of desperation that Kil sees through immediately – the Shadow Beasts gone, they’re turning to the public at large to track down those who dared attack them.  Of course they’re sending almost all of those people to certain death should they ever encounter anyone in the Troupe, but this is the mafia, so that’s obviously no concern to them.

Two billion is two billion, and Leorio and the cubs will certainly take that money if they can get it – but there’s already a sense among them that Kurapika is deeply involved, and I think their own involvement is as much to find him as to find the Phantom Troupe and claim the reward.  The first order of business though is surely the long-awaited battle royal between Kurapika and Uvogin, and it should be a cracker – two campaigns for revenge clashing at full force, Uvogin’s Godly power against Kurapika’s Chain Jail, with his own heart held as collateral.  As battles go I fully expect this to be among the top tier of the entire series so far – I wouldn’t be surprised if it took up the entirely of episode 47, and maybe beyond.  Take the cat inside and lock the doors – it’s going to get loud.

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Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Squala”

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  1. A

    So looking forward to the next episode. If the manga was any indication, it should be spectacular.

  2. c

    Neon is mentally a kid, the girl doesnt have any chance to grow up since THEY discovered her abilities, father and Daltzolne use it to the fullest. I think the reason she didn't get concern to Daltzorne and the rest of the guards is becoz, its a trend, they "the guards" dont always last long on the family. Either they got killed on missions assigned by Nostrade family or some of them are traitor/s for example the guy which Kurapika replaces – as told by Dalztorne – but look at it anyway who replaces who, Daltzrone didnt realize Kurapika is the one to replace him.

  3. A

    The reason for the kiss was shown more clearly in the manga and first anime. Shalnark wanted monetary payment for his info gathering but Uvogin doesn't have any money so he gave him a kiss instead.

  4. A

    ahah payment….suuuureeess 😉

  5. A

    I honestly just think that Uvogin is just a really passionate and loving guy!

    You know, when he isn't chewing peoples heads off, he'd kiss a few.

  6. He just likes the taste of face.

  7. A

    I wanted to like your comment but I can't. Y U NO USE DISSQUS ENZO?

  8. Disqus slows down the website too much, sorry.

  9. A

    The sakuga was really good in the old anime for the upcoming part. I hope madhouse is going to pull a little of that same animation magic as well. Either way, next episode is going to be intense.

    While Yorkshin is my favorite HxH arc, I really think you are going to enjoy the next arc Enzo. Especially considering how you like Gon and Killua. (Though the YS arc is also going to feature more of Gon and Killua from now on)

  10. A

    Going by how the Gon vs. Hisoka fight in this version was far and beyond anything we had come to expect, I can safely say that next week is going to be on the same level … if not higher.

    The sakuga boners are going to hit the metaphorical roofs.

  11. I've had a suspicion all along that GI would end up being my favorite arc, based on what I've heard. We'll see.

    I really do like Kurapika a lot, but in my view there is one aspect to his character that's somewhat conspicuous – he's effectively humorless. That makes a contrast to the other leads in the show (I'd include Hisoka in that category).

  12. s

    You'll surely love GI and the next arc, Enzo.

    I've been struggling why Kurapika doesn't appeal to me as much as the other 4 leads (I've included Hisoka) and now I know why – thanks to you. It would have been great if, despite his too serious and humorless nature, there's something else there to endear himself to me but alas, I can't find one; or if there is, it's not enough.

  13. A

    Well, he is the straight man in the group

  14. s

    Then he's still a boring straight man. The King in the later arc is also a straight man in the group but I never find him irritating as an individual.

    I like Kurapika when he's interacting with other people who shatters his serious side. But alone? He's not entertaining at all.

  15. This is starting to make me a bit edgy, so…

    As for Kurapika being a "straight man"… Well, a straight man is typically essential as part of a dynamic where he's playing off someone else. Without that someone else, a straight man can't fulfill his essential function. I think there's more to Kurapika than that, but perhaps it does explain why I occasionally find his solo episodes seem to be missing a certain something that Gon & Killua's aren't.

  16. A

    I actually find Kurapika very interesting in terms of how he struggles and copes with the idea of revenge and how he will take up the role as the new leader. He's able to fill the shoes up a leader despite being a newcomer showing he has leadership skills, is smart, respectful, and he has a plan and is not just all talk.

    Though this anime adaptation doesn't really portray him as very likable unlike the prior one (and in a lot of cases the music/directing/pacing sets a very different mood and interpretation of the same scene even with the same words)

  17. I disagree – I think he's portrayed as very likable. And I think his struggle with the dark side of his soul is a very good story. I just don't find him quite as compelling when he's the sole focus of the story.

  18. A

    ''I think there's more to Kurapika than that''

    Well yeah, I was replying to your comment about why you find him ''effectively humorless'', which is as you say because he has no one to play off or act as a foil to, so he isn't very funny on his own. There is more to him than that of course (just like everyone else in this show is more complex than they first appear) but in the comedy dynamic, Kurapika's role had always been squarely in the level and calm headed member of the group.

  19. A

    Boy, the Hunterpedia is starting to become the equivalent of a hit list now eh?

    RE: Neon not caring about the dead guards, you need to understand that she had lived a very sheltered life where she is used to seeing her protection changing faces every once in a while, so she grew to just accept it as a fact of life and not really get attached to any of them. She's a spoiled princess in that light, but she's very much a prisoner as well, so while I don't have much sympathy for her either, she is still an innocent and doesn't deserve to be involved with any of this.

    One more thing
    ''a reflection of this split personality within Kurapika''

    I don't think you meant it in that manner, but as far as I can see, there isn't any split in Kurapika's personality. He is merely following the rules he laid out for himself to the letter, and attempting to make sure that his goals don't conflict or cause harm to the people around him.

    In a lot of ways, Kurapika is pretty much Saber from Fate/Zero, in the sense that they are both living by their word and oaths. Saber is the King of Knights, her mission is to win the war and claim the Holy Grail, but if she sees someone in trouble, she will go immediately to help them without any regards to her wishes and desires. She will be courteous to those she work with, even to those who wrong her as long as they are her allies. Kurapika is the same. He is a genuinely peaceful man who abhors violence and has no desire to kill anyone (recall back in the hunter exam how he never wanted it come to that point back at the tower) but had been forced on this path due to the great evil that has been brought on his comrades and culture … how his kin were all slaughtered and then their bodies mutilated and their eyes sold off in auctions … Kurapika noble soul, just like how it shapes him to be a moral and righteous man, also moves him to do something about this, to bring to justice with his own hands the very people who had done this evil, to bring back the parts of his clans men and give their souls piece.

    But like Saber, he isn't about to involve others into his revenge. You mentioned how he made sure to not be in contact with Gon, Kill and Leorio so that they won't be dragged into this. Furthermore, he won't be throwing anyone under a bus to get what he wants, as we had seen thus far, it's just not in his nature to do so. When he signed and agreed to work for Neon's protection, he did it to come closer to the Troupe, but as the same time he prepared himself to do whatever it took to honor that contract. When was voted into leadership this episode, he took it very seriously and did what it took to protect his employee. It's just so happens that his interest overlapped with his protection plan, so he made arrangements to make sure he got everything in place and Neon wasn't in danger before going on with his goal.

    So really, I agree with you mostly outside of the split bit and him being a loose canon (like you said, there is symbolic meaning in the eyes of the Kurta's …) as I view it as being simply an extension of his personality and just how heavy the burden he is carrying and is forced to execute.

  20. L

    (Sorry, this isn't really related to your comment –which I agree with, btw– but after seeing your username, I was wondering if you'd happened to watch the Arabic version of Hunter x Hunter (1999)? :) The Arabic opening of the show always made me happy.

    If not, sorry for the random question…)

  21. L

    Oops this was supposed to be a reply to Arabesque's comment.. My bad, GE.

  22. A

    No problem. Yes, I've seen some of the Arabic dub of the '99 Hunter X Hunter (Yorkshin to be exact), though it had been ages ago now (it was back when I traveled to the UAE for the first time in my life and stayed there for about a year and a half). I have fond memories of it (I distinctly remember thinking that Hisoka sounded far better in Arabic than in Japanese) and I honestly really loved the opening of the show … which was pretty strange, since I'm not really a fan of Arabic openings (except for the few really great ones or if they were so incredibly corny (Wings of Gundam is still one of those songs that manges to be so insanely stupid and awesome at the same time, up there with Sonic Adventure Escape from the City)). Anyway, it was a pretty good watch as a kid, even if the majority of the kids in my school back then never really liked it.

    (Funny enough, back when I chose my online handle, it was due to an Ali Project song title, not because Arabic was one of the 3 languages I speak :P)

  23. b

    They removed Leorio's arm wrestling match. He fought with the bigger of the two who scouted them before they went in the underground club. Oh well.
    And next week is finally the time. Expecting some sakuga on par or better than Gon vs Hisoka because this one is an awesome fight.

    Leorio's face look kind of weird here. Intentional screenshot?
    And I was seriously reminded of Broskander when Uvo said that what he wants, he takes. Same seiyuu, that's why.

  24. K

    Just to let people know. The women who did episode 35 is doing episode 47 so expect a well done fight.

  25. That's good to hear.

  26. H

    Where did you find that info? Not that I'm discrediting but I've always been curious where to find the staff credits info

  27. K

    Not sure where they get it from but on the manga helpers forum They've been spot on

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