Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 54

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As many epic fights as this series has shown us so far, I get the sense that the big dogs haven’t even started to hunt yet.

This episode was certainly a bit of an emotional roller-coaster, though that was to be expected under the circumstances.  It started out feeling like a coda and ended up feeling like a prologue, with a whole bunch of really interesting stuff in between (much of it involving Hisoka).  We also got a very interesting pre-open from the character who’s seemingly done the impossible and come to rival Hisoka as a badass and fascinating anti-hero, and some background information that I suspect is going to turn out to be crucial long after the York Shin arc has run its course.

First things first, and that’s the long-anticipated reunion between Kurapika and his friends.  I can’t help but notice that for one of the first times in many, many episodes Kurapika actually smiled and meant it – and it was the antics of Gon and Killua that brought that smile to his face.  There’s no doubt that Kurapika is a different person when he’s with his trio of allies than when he’s alone (and even with people like Melody and Bassho, he’s effectively alone).  This is an isolation Kurapika inflicted upon himself intentionally but it’s an isolation nonetheless, and these two sides of his nature are always battling for supremacy. 

The change in Kurapika becomes obvious quickly enough – when he spills the beans to the others about his Nen abilities and the oath he swore to obtain them.  It’s the ever-practical Killua who asks the obvious question of why he shared that info, and Kurapika can only say “I don’t Know”.  But two things are obvious – first that he trusts his friends implicitly, and second that he’s been longing to unburden himself.  But Killua’s concerns are certainly valid, given that anything someone knows can be used against them – and that would be true even if the Spiders didn’t have Pakunoda on their side.  Friends are a weakness, but also a strength – it seems like Gon and Killua would fall on different sides of this debate, as on many things, but the die is cast now and what the others know can’t be unlearned. 

A call from Melody brings the news that the hunt for the remaining Spiders has been called off, and Leorio theorizes that it’s because of the relationship between the mafia and Meteor City, where the Troupe has been revealed to originate – an officially uninhabited place where the 10 million residents “share a bond that’s weaker than strangers, and tighter than family”.  Killua suggests an attack against the remaining Spiders to preempt any revenge attack by Nobunaga, but Kurapika decides to follow Gon’s course and leave the surviving Spiders to fate and go searching for the eyes of his clansmen.

As so often is the case, it’s Hisoka who shakes things up – with a simple text message of “The bodies were fakes” (with an adorable Hisoka emoticon signature).  Chrollo has shared the news of his newfound ability to tell fortunes with the Troupe, and proposes that everyone return to Meteor City immediately to avoid the prophecy in Neon’s fortune.  Nobunaga challenges him – obviously a rare and significant moment with the Spiders – believing that only after Uvo has been avenged by the death of the Chain User should they go home.  With the information Hisoka provides him we see Kurapika’s world crumble around him yet again, yet there’s a fundamental difference this time – his friends are with him, and they’re not about to allow him to face the Troupe by himself this time whether he wants to or not. 

The sequences amongst the Spiders are even more fascinating than the ones with main foursome, starting with Chrollo telling Nobunaga’s fortune, and Shizuku asking him to tell hers too.  She casually declares that she’s going to die next week because she’s only got two verses instead of four, and solves the Chrysanthemum riddle for us – it refers to Shalnark and Paukunoda as well as herself and Uvo (Chrollo has, of course, already figured this out).  Shalnark similarly greets his own predicted demise calmly – declaring himself expendable but bemoaning that Shizuku and Pakunoda are too valuable to lose (there’s a fierce loyalty among these killers, that can’t be denied).

But, as ever, it’s Hisoka’s actions that prove the most puzzling and interesting.  He insists that Chrollo should tell everyone’s fortune, in the hope of gleaning more intel about how to avoid the doom they predict.  In his own he receives the following verses:

A red-eyed customer will visit your shop,
Half-angel, half-Shinigami
You would do well to sell the calendar’s secrets
He will be especially pleased to learn the eleventh moon’s secret
The customer will return on a hot day,
Leaving you alone with a man bearing St. Peter’s cross
The false fourth moon will be torn away from the calendar
Only six pages remain.

But when he passes it to Pokunoda, it says the following:

A red-eyed customer will visit your shop,
Seeking to make a trade
The customer will use the sword of law upon you,
Taking the calendar’s secrets with him.
The eleven-legged spider grows homesick,
Losing five more legs
Do not leave your temporary shelter,
For you are one of the remaining legs.

I hardly know where to start, but this seems like a good place.  Why would Hisoka – a man already betraying his colleagues and holding his intentions secret – encourage Chrollo to tell his fortune, knowing how revealing it would be?  As to the matter of the fortune – the first one anyway – it seems clear enough.  “Half angel, half Shinigami” is a poetically perfect description of Kurapika, and the man Hisoka will be alone with is clearly Chrollo.  He’ll be torn away from the Spiders, leaving the six remaining.  But why did the fortune change when he passed it to Pakunoda?  I can only assume this is Transmuter sleight-of-hand from the master magician Hisoka – and that means the fortune he passed to Pakunoda was exactly what he wanted the others to see.  If you’re going to fake a fortune, why pass one that still makes it sound as if you’re going to betray the others?

I don’t know the answer, but my theory is simple – Hisoka is a boss.  He’s a stone-cold, fearless and shameless son-of-a-bitch, and he’s doing this to set the stage for the fight he (and this audience member) so desperately wants to see.  But he changed the fortune just enough to make it so he betrays the rest of the Spiders involuntarily, because he’s not ready for the big moment just yet.  It’s clear from his reactions throughout the episode that even amongst this group of brilliant bastards,, Hisoka is never off his game and always the one pulling the strings.  He sits, he smiles, he plays with his cards – damn, he’s one cold motherfucker.  But Chrollo is not a man to be taken lightly – he sees a long way even without Neon’s ability, and his ability to manipulate rivals Hisoka’s though his methods could hardly be more different.  What a pair they are – two utterly captivating scoundrels whose eventual confrontation is going to shake the very Earth itself with its epicness. 

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Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Bonolenov”

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20 comments

  1. e

    Aren't you on a roll today Enzo. You've covered all the basis.
    All that's left for me is barely more than fangirly comments. And resisting the green shorts charm.

    Oh Kura-chan, you smiled. That was precious.
    Great food porn as well (love, love that screenshot). By the way, seeing our children duo slaughtering their food by mixing all the dishes and cakes with the salty bits was hilarious and a bit disquieting to watch at the same time. They are ferocious little ones.
    Kil's reaction to Kura's secret is painfully consistent with whom he is. My dear assassin baby ;_;.

    Hisoka… well. That cutesy emoticon ( I want one like that ;_;). I was smiling in spite of myself. Not to mention everything else he did.
    You already did enough justice to his character in your post between descritpion and speculation ( I do think you're right-on about the changed fortune bit btw), hence I'll just end it here and eagerly await for whatever Togashi's maze-mind dish he's presenting us with next time.

  2. A

    Enzo's Hunter X Hunter posts had been getting more and more predictable in terms of quality and reaction, in that they will usually be the best written and that they will be about how awesome this show is. Makes it harder to comment really when he just says everything there is to say XD

    Shouldn't be a while now till he begrudgingly admits that York Shin is more awesome than the already awesome Heaven's Arena lol 😛

  3. e

    @Arabesque: quite true, although I'd argue his Space Bros posts can be no less strong than his HxH ones (and his Ginga ones). This weekend he's been on fire (burn oh Enzo's cosmos, burn&expand!).

    One tiny detail I might add (!) about this HxH episode is about Leorio immediately sensing the change in Kurapika. Leo is way behind the kids in terms of raw power but he's a good observer and quite sharp in hiw own way. I really appreciated how they managed to sneak this little moment for him to shine.

  4. A

    I like that Killua's clothes changed again. In a lot of shows, characters always wear the same outfit…

  5. Kil changes his clothes all the time – he works hard to maintain his moemoe-kyun image (look at the lollipop screenshot – yeah, he knows what he's doing). Whereas Gon wears exactly the same thing all the time. It's a classic case of the clothing choices reflecting the characters.

    I think the shounen with the most interesting clothing is Hikaru no Go. There's not a character in that series (except poor old Sai, of course) who doesn't change their clothes just about every time they show up. Hikaru alone must have had about 40 outfits – and they changed to reflect the way his tastes changed as he grew up. I've never seen another series reflect the maturation of teenagers as realistically as HnG did.

  6. e

    He knows what he's doing, we know he knows, yet the effect is no less devastating on my poor heart XD (between him and Panda and GeK I feel so weak).
    In Gon's case I like to think Mito-san was the one to lovingly sew his green clothes. And seeing how he wears this outfit all the time I can imagine her making multiple replicas. He's literally carrying a piece of his homeland and maternal love around. <— I am a corn ball. I know.

  7. A

    "In Gon's case I like to think Mito-san was the one to lovingly sew his green clothes. And seeing how he wears this outfit all the time I can imagine her making multiple replicas."

    Before Gon left for the hunter exam, I remember Mito noticing Gon was growing up as she was stitching his torn clothes and noticing how large that green shirt had become. She had in her hands Gon's smaller older shirt and his current larger shirt and both were green. This was in the 1999 version and I think that was a nice touch.

  8. K

    awesome animation in this episode! :)

  9. A

    Chrollo is such a bad ass. His character boast respect, intimidation and epicness. I never had this impression of Chrollo in the previous version.

    Also with Hisoka. Actually all of them. I think I've invested more emotion on the characters of 2011 than 1999.

    Though Kurapica was a bit more badass in the 1999.

  10. A

    Very good review, as always. I'm glad to see you like Chrollo : he's my favorite character (and that's REALLY saying something, in a manga like Hunter X Hunter). I particularly loved the flashback at the beginning, the music was just wonderful.

  11. A

    About the sleight-of-hand change of the fortune, I suggest to go back in Heaven's Tower arc. Besides Bungee Gum, there was another Nen ability Hisoka used back then. Does this count as a spoiler though?
    Still, that was pretty fast of him to change it, and making it similar to the original fortune. Oh Hisoka.
    Other than that, pretty much another fantastic episode. Can't wait for the next one.

  12. A

    That love letter at the end was sort of unusual, but your theory is pretty sound. Hisoka is indeed a boss.

    I don't really know what else to say since you had written everything I wanted to say in a manner that leaves little else to say, but I will comment on a few things about the episode.

    ''there’s a fierce loyalty among these killers, that can’t be denied''

    I mentioned this before and I think you also noted it as well, but the sense of comradeship between the Spiders is so strong it is nigh unbreakable. We got a sense of it throughout their introduction to even Uvo's death when he refused to sell out his comrades, but the first taste came in episode 50 when we just got to understand how much the members of the Troupe cared for each other. This episode just goes to showcase more of that sense of trust they all share for each other, and how they all think of ''what is the best for the group'' rather then their own demise.

    '' when he spills the beans to the others about his Nen abilities and the oath he swore to obtain them. It’s the ever-practical Killua who asks the obvious question of why he shared that info, and Kurapika can only say “I don’t Know”.''

    Go back to the previous epiaode, and recall what condition Kurapika was in. You said it yourself, he had the look of a defeated man, robbed of his revenge, forced to bid on the remains of his kin. Even as you had pointed out Kurapika had smiled once more after seeing his friends (and Gon reminding him of his purpose and goal to reclaim the eyes of the Kurata clan) he had gotten so dispirited that a part of him just no longer cares about what will happen to him now.

    ''he sees a long way even without Neon’s ability,''

    Does that answer your question about Chrollo's supposed ''act of kindness'' twords Neon? as you can see, he was just using her for a multipliable purposes from getting into the building without being noticed and also to steal her ability.

    ''But why did the fortune change when he passed it to Pakunoda? I can only assume this is Transmuter sleight-of-hand from the master magician Hisoka ''

    Hint: you've seen this ability in the fight with Kastro. In fact, I think it is pretty obvious how he managed to change the fortune, but as you had said, the most fascinating thing here is that he changed to one that is more incriminating and doesn't hide what he had done (selling the Spiders out).

    PS. You know what is the scariest thing about this fortune telling business? Apparently, had things gone the way the were going, Kurapika would've managed to kill about half of the spiders without much problem.

    Part Angel of Judgement, part God of Death indeed … can't say that the Spiders didn't have it coming though. You reap what you sow.

  13. T

    Hisoka's discription is just so perfect its hilarious, horay for accurate and fitting cursing!

    Even having read the manga myself I still can't wait to see these little pieces be put back together because I will say this: things get complicated.

  14. A

    Chrollo vs Hisoka…

    who would you cheer for, Enzo?
    And who do you think will win?

  15. I'm not going to say who I think would win because it might be too tempting for some people to reply with too much information. As to who I'd root for, that's a very hard call – which is one of the reasons I love H x H so much.

  16. A

    :3

    I'd cheer for Chrollo.
    But he'll have a hard time fighting Hisoka I think.

  17. A

    Gun against your head Enzo, you have to choose who to root for! =D

  18. Hisoka. Ask me again in two weeks…

  19. A

    Thank you for blogging and reviewing about HxH!
    I had so much time yesterday that after reading your review on the current episode I read all of your other blogs about HxH from episode one up. XD

    on 1999- It's what got me hooked in HxH. And I really see how beatiful it is graphically and I understand the feelings of many 1999 fans. Missing this anime made me read the manga and boy did I look forward to it getting animated again.

    then comes 2011- I was disapointed, BUT ONLY ONCE. hehe.. (was on one of Leorio's few times to shine, opening two "gates" of the testing gate in the zoldyck arc TT.TT). It' generally EPIC and has kept me asking for more as much as the 1999 version plus it's almost always faithful to the manga!! Whenever it ends it always look forward to the next episode!

    I look forward to your thought for the next episodes! and maybe someday on the 1999 and manga versions too… ^^

    GB!
    -Seraphim

  20. Someday, Seraphim. Thanks for commenting.

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