Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 56

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If you’ve been impatient for me to criticize the Madhouse Hunter X Hunter, your long wait is finally over.

There’s no new episode next week.  How could you do that to me after such a great episode, and that cliffhanger?  There – never let it be said that I’m not hard on this show.

As is the norm with this series, there are any number of places I could start in laying on the praise.  That may be even more true this week than usual, because rather than one character or one element standing out, it was a sort of all-purpose classic.  If I were to pick one thing out that I loved that would be it – we got a chance to see just about every character on both sides in action, in just about equal parts (though Gon had the best moments both dramatically and comedically in his verbal battle with Chrollo and his reaction when Killua told him “Topknot” was nearby), and the show was a balance of grim violence, suspense, humor and character development.

Let’s focus in on a couple of key points.  It was almost possible for a while there to forget we’re not supposed to be rooting for the Phantom Troupe, because over the last few episodes we saw them at their most brilliant and their most internally loyal (especially Chrollo).  What we got this week was a very firm reminder – these are evil people pursuing evil ends, and however self-destructive Kurapika’s quest is he’s absolutely right to want to stop them – and Gon’s motives are even more pure, because his desire to stop them is not based on revenge, but a simple conviction that the good of the universe requires that such people be stopped.  It’s his duty, plain and simple – just as its his duty to help a friend in need.  Whatever else happens, nothing is going to stop Gon from involving himself in this fight.

Chrollo remains an astonishingly smart and charismatic anti-hero, turning his brilliance towards solving the riddle of Neon’s connection to the Chain User.  There were some very revealing moments surrounding him this week, especially during the scene where Gon and Killua were captured.  When Gon asked him how the Troupe could kill those who had no involvement with them, he seemed unsure of himself for one of the few times in the series, as if Gon had asked exactly the right question to vex him.  He finally ends with “To verbally explain our motives – I’m not fond of it.  But oddly enough…  Or perhaps it’s not that odd…  Is that the key to understanding myself?”  Here, for once, Gon and Killua are simply 12 year-olds without the experience to understand the nature of Chrollo’s answer – how can a simple question be met with such a puzzling response?  Just as revealing is his “I trust your instincts” to Machi when she suggests it’d be easier to kill the boys, and she said “I wouldn’t trust my instincts.”  That’s the key to Chrollo’s leadership right there – he knows his people better than they know themselves, and he’s more sure of them than they are of themselves.

In the end, though, this was Chrollo and the Spiders at their most cold and vicious.  The death of Squala, a fairly secondary character, was beautifully set-up in the way he was humanized by his desire to settle down with Eliza and the dogs and leave the bodyguarding life behind, and by his thoughts in the moments leading up to his demise.  Of course his death was telegraphed the moment that happened – the moment Kotolpi tracked him down via the En in the fake eyes, in fact – but knowing the end of a tragedy doesn’t diminish its power.  Here we see that Nobunaga’s loyalty to Uvogin isn’t something admirable or noble – it’s simply another premise for killing, and his comparatively likable personality doesn’t mean a thing in the face of the man he is.  The Spiders are killers of innocents (though Squala chose this path himself – sadly, he didn’t leave the eyes behind) and it’s Gon, with his innocent and straightforward view of the world, that sees through all the gloss that surrounds them and instantly captures their nature in a very different way than Kurapika does.

Speaking of Kurapika (in drag at last, just to reinforce the skeptics), he can thank his lucky stars that he has friends still willing to risk their lives for him despite the black road he’s chosen.  It’s a small measure of humility, at least, that he finally calls Melody in to help – the final impetus, I think, being the realization of just how much danger he’d put a small boy in by sending Killua to spy on the Spiders.  Melody’s hearing proves most effective (she compliments Killiua’s estinto step) and as the Spiders chase down Squala and the bogus scarlet eyes, Kurapika, Gon and eventually Killua chose down the Spiders.  Here it’s Killua whose assassin’s caution sees most clearly, and he’s furious at Kurpika’s decision to go barreling after them despite being outnumbers three-to-two.  But just as Gon goes after Kurapika because someone has to (I don’t know whether his “good idea” was anything more than an attempt to get Kurapika to stop his charge), Killua swallows his bile and chases after the both of them – because he’s not about to let his friends, especially Gon, face that danger without him.

That whole showdown with Gon, Killua and Chrollo pretty much stands in stark brilliance without me having to say much about it.  As Leorio sits stuck in traffic (I love the way mundane elements like traffic and trains were important plot elements here – and it’s probably for the best that Leorio couldn’t get any closer) and Kurapika and Melody hide, Gon and Killua surrender themselves to Chrollo.  Simply put, they do it to protect Kurapika, just as Melody says – they realize that Kurapika has made himself the one indispensable figure in fighting the Spiders, and there’s at least a small chance that Nobunaga’s affection for Gon will keep them alive long enough to be rescued.  In an episode full of darkness and death, this is a purely noble act by Gon – and a purely noble act for Killua, who does it to try and protect the friend that he cares about more than anyone in the world.  The whole scene – the lightning, the way Chrollo’s face is framed in darkness, the look in Gon’s eyes – is another feather in the cap for Madhouse in this adaptation.

With Pakunoda revealing the true nature of her “Memory Bomb” ability, there’s nothing to keep the final battle from taking place (though Squala never voluntarily turned on his friend, right up until the final moment).  Nobunaga and Kurapika were always destined to face off, I suppose – being as how both are primarily on a quest for revenge now – and Kurapika has more or less no choice but to confront the Spiders directly now that his recklessness and hate have gotten Gon and Killua captured.  Neon’s verses are hanging heavily in the air as we look ahead to next week’s December 2nd’s episode, when all of the mammoth plot threads in the York Shin Arc look as if they’re finally going to be tied together.

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Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Nobunaga”

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  1. A

    No episode next week? Nuuuuu!!

  2. A

    ''let’s just say that if I were Squala, I wouldn’t be buying any green bananas.''

    Guardian Enzo, September 9th 2012

    Rest in peace Squala. You were an okay guy, but it was over the moment you were featured on the Hunertpedia.

    Don't have enough time to write a full impression, so in brief

    ''Chrollo remains an astonishingly smart and charismatic anti-hero''

    Honestly, while I can agree with Hisoka being categorized as such, I can't call Chrollo anything other than a villain. This might be semantics, but for me he is undoubtedly an evil man that is comfortably seated as being a villain. A smart, charismatic and fascinating evil man who was cut from the same high quality cloth that Shishio Makoto came from. And not only him, but the entire Troupe is such a complex group of villains that makes even watching them talk in a room for 2 episodes an event to be admired.

    It's funny, to think that nearly a year ago, I started watching two different kids anime, HunterXHunter and Gundam AGE, both having to deal with some complex issues (or in ons case, trying and failing) and trying to display a set of complex villains to make the conflict more interesting and make us sympathize with them.

    In here, Hunter X Hunter had managed to do just that (and more) so easily and flawlessly that it makes one wonder how can anyone get it wrong … and in the other it manages to create jokes that behave illogical and don't have a single iota of depth going into their character.

    '' What we got this week was a very firm reminder – these are evil people pursuing evil ends, and however self-destructive Kurapika’s quest is he’s absolutely right to want to stop them ''

    Which is why, despite the danger Kurapika is putting himself in by going down the path of the beasts, he has every right to do so. He is someone who isn't simply aiming for vengeance alone, but also to bring peace to his dead clan and to stop these evil group from harming anyone else.

  3. K

    I love this series but hate the fact that these villians can do whatever they please whenever they please and no one can stop them. Not the mafia (nor the police) are capanle to handle them. They don't get punished for all the murders they commit or the things they take (other then what happened to Uvo).

  4. K

    But…that's actually one of the main reasons why this series is so great. There is no punishment. People do their things for different reasons and some survive, some don't. Good or evil doesn't play into what their fate will be.

    And don't forget the fact that Killua has also killed lots of people, maybe more than some members of Ryodan, but would you call him a "villain"?

  5. A


    Do recall that had things gone uninterrupted, Kurapika would've managed to kill off half of the Troupe on his own. The Spiders are not invincible and their crimes are clearly not meant to be taken lightly nor are they meant to be displayed as being able to get away scott free with what they had done.

    What you have here is a group of powerful thieves, most of them with a good head on their shoulders (some with a higher intelligence, but on the whole they are all capable of thinking things logically and reasoning out the best course of action without acting stupid), lead by a very powerful, smart, charismatic and dangerous man working togther toward a common goal and having a sense of strong comradeship between them that lets them achieve their objectives without much issue.

    The reason no one managed to stop the spiders is due to how competent they are at their work. They don't act like Hannah Barbara villains, but rather use logic and good planning, use their different abilities to complement the rest of the group.

    The reason the police and the mafia couldn't handle them is due to how they were lacking in their preparations and due to how arrogant they were and overconfident in their standing without thinking things through and trying and look in ways they could prepare more to defend and protect themselves. Kurapika had enough insight to bide his time and study Uvo, which in turn managed to make him pay for what he had done.

    Like I said, the Spiders are not invincible. They are simply very capable and smart, but they can be overcome and outsmarted, provided you are careful when handling them.


    Sorry, I don't want to touch on Killua's topic atm since it will take too long.

    I think what makes this series great (and more specifically, why York Shin is so loved) is do to how while the lines between good and evil are pretty foggy here, it is at the same time clear that they do exist and that the Troupe are deep into the evil parts, while Kurapika's quest is making him walk that invisible line and he is in danger to wavering into places he shouldn't go.

    I do think that the Spiders will get what is coming to them. Good and Evil do play a part in the world, just not in the ways we think they do. But we shall see what happens from this point on, since this arc is far from over …

  6. K

    What you said on the first paragraph is certainly true. But while there are these so called moral lines, you don't get punished for that in this series. You can be good or evil or somewhere between and still die or meet a horrible fate or even have a pretty good time. Take Melody for example or Squala. And then there is Hisoka,having the time of his life, enjoying every moment while responsible for the deaths of countless people. There is no regret or gloom in his actions and he is strong and smart enough to survive almost everything. But hey that's what Uvo was probably thinking. Unpredictability is always a factor even for the most prepared and good at surviving.

    Also everyone will get what is coming to them,not just the Spiders.It's just a matter of when and how.

  7. A

    I dont think that the Ryodan are that evil. At least they are not much worse than Kurapika or Killua.
    The truth is that in all the arc we havent see them killing good people. They have only killed MAFIA members and they havent touch a single hair of someone not mafia related.

    Are they much worse than Kurapika? NO. They are exactly the same. The only thing that changes is that kurapika is a protagonist and the Genei Ryodan not. But the truth is that both of them(Kurapika and Ryodan) would do anything to get what they want and dont care at all about the consecuences.

    I remember the chapter in which is said that kurapika would kill Senritsu if she gets in his way, just for getting in his way.

    But thats the good thing of HxH. Evil and Good people doesnt really exist, just egoistic people whit his own agenda (and the main characters are included) and the line between good and evil depends of the perspective of who is looking.

  8. Does the fact that the Spiders were perfectly willing to kill two 12 year-old boys who as far as they knew were no threat to them – and would certainly have done so if it were not for Nobunaga's insistence to the contrary – fit your definition of them being exactly the same as Kurapika?

  9. K

    Poor mafia goons, no one ever cares about their deaths. Same goes for police officers. Just stand there being cannon fodder, perfect excuse for everyone to show their powers and abilities.

    I mean come on first you say we haven't seen them killing good people (what does that mean anyway, citizens? what about kurapica's clan?) and then you turn that around by saying there are no evil and good people.

    You are right though, hxh has people who do things because they want to.Not for some greater good or evil. If they happen to meet some friends/comrades along the way good for them.

  10. K

    ,but their purpose remains the same either way.

    sorry forgot to add that last part

  11. A

    Well, I'm sure you've noticed that the theme of the series is "hunting". IE: Knowing what you want and going out and getting it, with your own strength. The Troupe aren't technically Hunters (well, most of them aren't: Hisoka and Shalnark both have licenses), but they're Hunters in spirit.

  12. A

    Guardian Enzo

    They are the same because Kurapika was willing to kill Senritsu, who isnt a treat to him, if she had opposed him or if she had revealed his true intentions to their boss. Just for getting in his way. Its exactly the same.
    The only diference is that Gon and Killua wanted to sell the Ryodan to the Mafia for money while Senritsu was kurapika's partner.
    Ironically, The Ryodan have much more reasons to kill Gon and killua than Kurapika to kill Senritsu. But in the end neither of the three have been killed for diferent reasons. But my point is still good. Both Kurapika and the Ryodan are guys who would kill anybody who stands in their ways and dont care at all if they are good or bad.


    They havent Kill a single police, or at least in the manga and anime they havent show us a single police kiled. They have only killed mafia members.
    And we dont know anything about Kurapika's clan other than that they had scarlet eyes and that they were strong. We dont know if they were good or bad people. I say this because they could have been like Killua's family(an assasins family) or not. So we cant really say that they were "good".

    And why I say "good people" I mean that Im sure there is good people in HxH, but those are the nameless and faceless characters. In these case When I say they havent kill a good one i say that all they have killed is Mafia members. And the Mafia is anything except good.

  13. A

    When Kurapika asks Uvogin what he feels when he kills completely innocent people, Uvogin answers "Nothing at all". Enough said.

  14. A

    This one goes to the 1999 version. I'm not even going to explore why– I applaud the fight scenes and the soundtrack for 2011, and I have nothing against this episode as a whole, but it really feels all kinds of rushed compared to the two episodes worth of build-up and tension from the OVAs.

    Also, I'm not sure if anyone's doing this but, by god, don't watch the next episode previews. It spoils too damn much.

  15. A

    Nah, this part in the 2011 version is way better. The 1999 version is just dreary to watch, they dragged out EVERYTHING 10 times longer unnecessarily, all tension and urgency are gone. They overstretched and padded the material to 2 episodes, with mostly traffic scenes, Squalla's cheesy flashbacks. They killed the tension. The 2011 one is way more tense and to the point.

  16. A

    I agree with Athos. The pacing in the 2011 version feels way too rushed and left the viewer to fill in way too many gaps — like things were crammed to fit into exactly one episode. It may follow the manga better, but as a visual adaptation the 1999 version was much better as it fleshed things out and made the pacing feel a lot more natural and suspenseful like a movie.

    I don't see how the above Anon can say a car chase is not tense or exciting. On the contrary, the 2011 version not having a car chase portion is disappointing and a missed opportunity. In the 1999 version they took care to build up the suspense, gave Leorio more of a role which some people have complained about in the 2011 version, tried to keep the viewer on their edge as to whether Squalla would get away, and gave us an exciting car chase. This one, Squalla was caught without any build up.

    A side note: a common thing I see is that 2011 fans don't seem to appreciate the build-up of things and fleshed out characters from the 1999 version which is a shame. Instead they bash it for padding things out and calling things filler (which is a very over-used word that is applied incorrectly in a lot of cases). HxH 1999 is one of the few anime where the stuff they added, adapted, and fleshed out actually worked, but I suppose it can't please everyone.

  17. A

    And I have noticed, how you made generalization like these to make 2011 fans look bad. It's getting old. Just let opinions about both version be heard, without criticizing and making false assumptions about those who hold those opinions.

  18. A

    Note: I'm a different anonymous from the two above.

    I agree with the fact that the 2011 version felt a bit rushed and crammed but it didn't bother me as much as ep 48. I think there were several moments where they could've implemented suspense by merely stretchin things out. In the OVA, I liked how they placed focus on environmental elements such as the traffic or the rain. Heck, even the reactions of the people in the background. Details like those helped to establish York New as a living and breathing city. And in all honesty, having a fleshed-out environment in which the characters interact in really adds to the overall atmosphere.

    It's kinda like playing an RPG where almost everything you do has a consequence or effect on everything else. Then, at the same time, the world goes on even if you end up doing nothing.

    Although 2011 included the ninja remark, it would've been nice if they also included other passersby comments/screams about Squala's death and on how Paku shoots her comrades in the head but afterwards, they're completely fine (lol).

    Also, I don't think there was enough suspense when Gon and Kurapika hid from the Spiders (though it could just be me knowing what happens). I think the scene would've been more effective if they added more of a build-up before Gon's ballsy decision, mainly to emphasize just how screwed they were then. Gah, then again, you can't always have that quiet suspense for moments like that…although I hope they use that type of suspense for the next ep.

    I think the 1999 anime does well in fleshing out the environment, but I don't think that every single addition that they ever made meshed very well with the original manga material at all. Simply put, a good amount of the filler altered my perceptions of the characters themselves, Gon being the prime example (in my opinion).

    I think Squalla's memory montage was ok filler but it shouldn't have been as long as it was, or at least the memories concerning Kurapika. I liked how they included Eliza in his memories but I think it would've been better from a story-telling standpoint if they were included in the end because that's when Paku asked Squalla about her. On that note, I kinda wish 2011 added a short montage of his memories of Eliza the moment Paku asked him about her but it would've taken too long…

    Other than that though, I prefer how 2011 did the memory montage cause to be honest, they only wanted to know Kurapika's name and face…

  19. A

    The 1999 version is already over. Now you guys want to compare the OVA and the 2011 version. Seriously, it's time to move on. Just treat both versions as different animes. I just hope these kind of conversations doesn't continue on to Greed Island.. -_-'

  20. A

    But the so-called environment details and 'built-up'of this part in the 99 version are your predictable, seen-it-all-before scenes that's neither well directed nor interesting. They're exactly the definition of a filler. It's mostly uninteresting, predictable scenes of car moving, driver at driver seats, a darkly colored city being overstretched again and again. It's done in a way that's overkilled and was just kind of tedious to watch…what it really built-up was frustration, instead of tension, because the scenes on screens are nothing special, it's very generic stuff.

    There shouldn't be a car chase as it's rush hour.

    Also despite the supposed long stretched of time, the city in the 2011 version actually felt BIGGER to me than 99 series. Maybe because we see the city in the background as the Ryodan race around it.

    Anyway it's always the fans of 1999 who have to come onto a 2011 review say claim how it's better, when in fact it's not, which lead to a comparison that goes on and on. Enzo is NOT watching the 99 versions right now, so it's pointless to even bring it up. But it's so curious that the 99 fans always felt so entitled to insert opinion about the OLD series in here.

    Oh yeah and the 1999's 'built up of things' and 'flesh out characters' often got it so embarassingly WRONG and OFF. The characters felt so OOC. So don't even cried about why some people (mostly manga fans) don't appreciate it.

  21. f

    I loved Squalla death scene. It was always one of my favourites in Hunter x Hunter.
    When he says, 'I know that this is where I'll die.' I get chills.
    He knows that he is going to die, but he never told them anything.
    It's a shame that his silence was in vain as Paku's ability finds a way around it.

    I always found his death to be very sad, Madhouse captured it perfectly.
    Squalla was a man that lived his life protecting others and he died for it.
    He was protecting Kurapika and the others, but it was in vain.
    His final words were spoken out of desire to protect Eliza even.
    He had a kinship with his dogs because he himself was a guard dog of sorts.
    RIP big man, you spent your life protecting others, but died because you couldnt protect yourself. Very sad.

    I loved the scene in which Chrollo ponders why he kills.
    It reminded me of Sensui from YYH, they are both lost souls really.

  22. A

    I think Sensui fits the lost soul description, not Chrollo. Chrollo just got some hint of curiosity, but not is not confused nor have some issues with his identity.

  23. A

    Damn that "not" next to "but"

  24. A

    We are also shown a what Nobunaga's ability is, though unamed, in the Hunterpedia.

    It just shows how good nen users, or atleast those good at using theirs in fighting, at not that many. The mafia, as big as they are so far shown only the Shadow beasts as their goons that know nen. Go and Killua, in Wings POV are one-in-ten million.

    BUT DAMN!!! I have to wait 2 more weeks??? ARGHH!!! WHY? TT.TT
    Another favorite episode is coming, I can hardly wait for seven days much more twice.. Oh well…


  25. A

    I got a lil confused with a certain hatsu. A Transmuter Hatsu is something made of pure aura, therefore invisible to the naked eye right?

    Question: Hisoka's Texture surprise is categorized under Transmutation, now how can it be seen and decieve by everyone? Shouldn't ordinary people see just a handkerchief and not skin atleast?


  26. s

    The word "transmute" means "to change/transform". Basically, Texture Surprise changes an object's texture/surface area to any "texture" or "skin" Hisoka wants.

    Hisoka, using your example, changed the form/substance/nature of the hankerchief into a person's skin so TO everyone (even ordinary/normal people) it will LOOK and FEEL like a skin. The only way you can tell is by using Gyo DURING the time(s) he made the transformation.

    The Hatsu categories that use PURE aura are Emitters, Conjurers and Specialists.

  27. A

    That's actually incorrect based on how the setting uses the term. Transmutation is entirely about control of the aura. Even forming basic shapes or moving it around falls into the field of transmutation (I guess that might be a spoiler when when they go more into depth about this?). Hisoka's gum is a great example of this. It's pure aura, but he imbues it with the properties of elasticity and stickiness. He can also just stretch it out towards people. Obviously, Bungee Gum is his main ability. Machi is also a Transmuter, and uses wire-like aura, which happens to be invisible. Changing existing objects would probably fall into Manipulation, if anything.

    They never give a clear explanation for what Texture Surprise is, but to me it sounds most like Conjuration. IE: creating a new layer on the surface of the paper. Remember, it's not like you can only use your one category. In fact, if you don't take advantage of your side categories you're not being very efficient. As a Transmuter, Hisoka gets 80% in both Enhancement and Conjuration. Enhancement obviously helps him punch people and throw cards, so what's he doing with Conjuration?

  28. A

    That makes better sense. I've also thought about that but reading the hunter wiki sites got me confused.. @.@



  29. c

    sadly enough no one thanking Neon for saving their lives unintentionally… so sad… I guess Squalla, Senritsu and Basho are impatient people, look what they done to their selves….

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