Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 57

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I can count on one hand the times in a year an anime makes me LOL just in appreciation for the awesome, but that’s probably the third or fourth time Hunter X Hunter has done it.

If psychological intensity is your bag, it would be hard to top H x H.  I hear people complaining sometimes when there’s not enough action, but for me that’s missing the point – and not just in the obvious way. Yes, this show isn’t about the fights – awesome as they are – and the big set pieces nearly so much as it’s about the mental warfare the characters deal with constantly.  But even more than that, all that psychological brutality is action – it’s violent, it’s intense, and it’s thrilling.  H x H would be a great action series even if the characters never raised a hand against each other.

After an agonizing off week, this ep jumped right into the fray without missing a beat.  It was pretty much non-stop tension from start to finish, about as nerve-wracking an episode as the series has mustered up. That starts with the fact that Gon and Killua are hostages, their lives hanging by a thread, which fundamentally changes the nature of the conflict between The Spiders and Kurapika.  It’s here that Kurapika has no choice but to rely fully on his friends at last – Melody is his secret weapon, a unique source of inside information without which Kurapika’s plan would have been impossible.  And Leorio at last finds a task for which he’s uniquely suited – using his natural gift for theatrics (and the fact that he’s the oldest-looking teenager this side of Okabe Rintarou) to provide a distraction for the Spiders in the hotel lobby and crucial kernels of information to Killua and Gon.

The rest of the episode pretty much takes the form of a game of chicken between ridiculously formidable opponents, with life and death as the stakes.  Gon and Killua must play their part, interpreting Kurapika’s coded message correctly and trying to stall Pakunoda’s Memory Bomb for as long as possible.  Critically, Killua and Kurapika are thinking along the same lines – with Kurapika’s identity known, it makes sense to shift the target to Chrollo.  And after Kurapika launches his attack, using the darkness to trap Chrollo in his chains and give the boys a chance to escape, the dynamic is fundamentally changed again.  But the escape fails, and now each side holds a bargaining chip in the form of the lives of allies.

This is the time when the psychology of the situation gets really complicated.  Starting with Kurapika, he’s barely able to contain his anger when in the same car with Chrollo – and Chrollo, clever sort he is, realizes immediately that his rage is one of Kurapika’s great weaknesses and seeks to provoke him.  Leorio can see through this immediately of course, but Kurapika is a weak person when it comes to the Spiders – fierce in battle, but a slave to his own darkness.  Chrollo for his part is, as usual, cool as the other side of the pillow – since this isn’t in Neon’s reading, it’s nothing worth worrying about.  The question on my mind – and certainly Chrollo’s, too – is this: would Kurapika sacrifice the boys in order to see his revenge brought to fruition?  For this is exactly the situation that’s developed – Pakunoda now knows the truth that can unmake Kurapika, all his weaknesses, but he makes sure she gets the message – breathe a word of it, and Chrollo dies. 

On the opposite side, for the first time we see real cracks in the unity of the Phantom Troupe.  Initially Nobunaga seems to naturally slide into the leader’s role, but this is put to ruins after Kurapika phones in his demands – Paku cannot communicate with the others, the boys must not be harmed, and the other Spiders must return to the hideout in their entirety.  The question of whether to pursue the Chain User and use what Paku knows to destroy them (and sacrifice the boss) or to follow his demands and return to the hideout divides the Troupe, with the ultimate question being whether to risk the Spider itself to protect Chrollo, or to sacrifice him to protect the Troupe.  Nobunaga emerges to lead the former group – he seems the most sentimental of the Spiders in many ways – and Phinks and Feitan the opposing camp.  Phinks even tries to scam Kurapika by telling him he’s “had to break a few bones”, but Kurapika quickly slaps him down.

As for Pakunoda, she’s truly caught in the middle here, and it’s almost possible to feel sorry for her (especially given that she gets the cursed spot in the Hunterpedia this time) as you can see how tortured she is by the decision.  Chrollo himself preached that no individual Spider is more important than the whole, and that his life should never be the priority – as we learn in a flashback where we see a much younger Chrollo, along with a boyish Nobunaga and an afro-toting Uvogin.  But just as Kurapika’s hatred for the Spiders is both a source of great strength and vulnerability, so what might have been called the most redeeming quality of the group – loyalty – is a weakness here, and that’s without even taking into consideration the splintering of their unity.  In truth, the practical thing to do would be to listen to Phinks and Feitan, kill Gon and Killua and use what Paku knows to destroy the Chain User.  It would be easy, and a new leader would emerge.  But when push comes to shove the Spiders are humans with human weaknesses after all, and that weakness seems to be leading them down a path where Neon’s prophecies will come true, and half of them will die. 

The entire strategic battle between Kurapika and the Spiders was a thing of beauty in the way it was laid out, a fascinating war of wits that while technically a standoff, certainly seemed to see Kurapika having the upper hand despite his rage issues.  But the pièce de résistance was Hisoka.  As so often has been the case lately he’s barely a factor for most of the episode, but when the end comes he’s squarely in the center of things – this time with a phone-call to an old ally.  As if things weren’t crazy enough, Illumi makes his appearance – with all the complications that adds to the equation.  For Hisoka things could hardly be going better, and he sees the chance to make his dream battle with Chrollo a reality – almost as if he’s been one step ahead of the game all along, waiting for his moment to strike.  Imagine all the intricacies of the endgame in a chess match between Grandmasters – and then imagine the board is a pentagon, with five different Grandmasters playing out the game against each other, trying to move their pieces into position and deciding whether the sacrifice of a crucial piece (or two) is worth making.  If you don’t see that as exciting and action-packed, you’re probably watching the wrong show.

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[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.30_[2012.12.02_15.09.50] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.44_[2012.12.02_15.10.05] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.54_[2012.12.02_15.10.14]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.57_[2012.12.02_15.11.23] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.20_[2012.12.02_15.11.47] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.26_[2012.12.02_15.11.52]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.44_[2012.12.02_15.12.11] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.38_[2012.12.02_15.13.05] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.43_[2012.12.02_15.13.09]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.00_[2012.12.02_15.13.29] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_11.37_[2012.12.02_15.14.03] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.27_[2012.12.02_15.16.26]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.48_[2012.12.02_15.16.47] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_14.19_[2012.12.02_15.17.18] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.49_[2012.12.02_15.18.48]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.08_[2012.12.02_15.19.07] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.08_[2012.12.02_15.20.07] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.08_[2012.12.02_15.22.20]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.25_[2012.12.02_15.22.37] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.44_[2012.12.02_15.23.25] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_20.19_[2012.12.02_15.24.00]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.27_[2012.12.02_15.25.07] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.34_[2012.12.02_15.25.15] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 57 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.40_[2012.12.02_15.25.37]

Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: Pakunoda

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  1. T

    As much as I enjoy a show with battles of fits and kicks (if my avitar wasn't obvious enough) I also enjoy some nicely played out mind games. Its what made reading the hunter exam fun back when I was getting into hunter x hunter and what makes this arc interesting. I can also say the mind games do not for a fact leave, hell theres a arc where about 90% is mind games!

    I think I'll also leave a note just for the sake of it, but couldn't mind games and physical fights work hand in hand? Knowing the foes abilities, instinct and being quick witted and being able to use whats around you are things that are present in both fights. Not to mention you also need to have the will to continue at all times and find a way to live with the reslut regardless of who wins. I'll just let you wait til you see how the arc ends for the mind games conclusion but a good example for a physical fight is, of course, Gon vs. Hisoka, which was the ultimate test for Gon to utilize everything he's learned up to that point to fight, and while he didn't 'win' He certinatly passed, managing to hold what little of his own he could and ultimatly was able to certify his strength by managing to fulfil Hiskoka's promise and returning the tag. Its safe to say from then on he'll learn to improve himself for the better.

  2. S

    Read your first sentence and I knew whatever you wrote subsequently will be in perfect unison with my views.

    Absolute peach of a show HxH has become. It's like I'm watching a Jackie Chan film mixed in with the strategic elements of Code Geass.

    It has everything, from comedic moments out of intense situations, to the psychological warfare that prompts you to be in the character's shoes. Filled with tension, but doesn't forget to throw in a few LOLs to tell you, "CHILL DUDE, it's a show! Just sit back and let me tell the story."

  3. K

    I feel sorry for all the folks that dropped this show at the beginning when the 4 friends were taking the hunter exam. They missed out on one of the best anime series ever made.

  4. A

    @First sentence….but…but…one hand DOES have 3 or 4 fingers :/

    Next week is the arc's finale weeeeeeeeee GI soon

  5. Yeah, but that's one hand for all anime in a given year!

  6. h

    since you're new to HxH,I guess you realized why old HxH fans keep up with Togashi's years of Hiatus :D,because HxH is THAT GOOD

  7. A

    GI is a balance of both mind games and fights. There are some mind blowing and unexpected events in the upcoming arc. Better watch out to be continuously amazed at HxH.

    So Who do you think would win if Hisoka and Chorollo were to fight?

  8. Asking that question is itself an implied spoiler, isn't it? If we were about to find out you wouldn't need to ask.

  9. A

    Actually no. It's the same as asking if Kurapica and Hisoka were to fight. Anything can happen in the upcoming episodes. The major pieces are set in place. But we still don't know how it will play out. Kurapica, Chorollo, Hisoka, Nobunaga, Gon, Killua, Illumini and the other spiders can clash in the next episode. Also it was already asked three weeks ago. And you said that you were going to answer it in two weeks. Remember?

  10. The difference of course is that when I said that, I didn't – and still don't – have manga or 1999 info to tell me what's going to happen. It was pure speculation.

  11. e

    Hmmm… in Madhouse's hands young Chrollo looks a bit like their anime!Yagami Light.

    *rubbing hands* ooh, this is gonna be good. Add creepy dead-eyes Illumi to the mix (no adorable Hisoka smiley this time, but Hisoka bestows the little heart sms emoticon!), then take cover and hand out the pop-corns. Leorio got a chance to shine, that was a nice bonus.
    And as topping flavour… nopan moe chibi kids: restroom edition! *pinch pinch pinch* I LOLed.

  12. K

    Every time an anime series wants to show an abnoxious loud and usually dangerous yakuza guy they act like Leorio did in this episode. Is that what they call a Kansai accent?

  13. A

    If you look at when Chrollo said that, I think the weakness he noticed was that Kurapika wouldn't abandon his allies since he didn't kill him no matter how angry he got. Not that he got angry in the first place.

  14. A

    "The question on my mind – and certainly Chrollo’s, too – is this: would Kurapika sacrifice the boys in order to see his revenge brought to fruition?"

    Well, by the end of their confrontation, Chrollo seemed pretty confident that the answer to that would be "He'll put his friends before his mission". Do you perhaps not give Kurapika that much credit, Enzo? =/

  15. I don't not give him credit; I'm simply saying that actions will tell the tale, and the jury is still out.

  16. Z

    So, the same question again…
    Do you still like Heavens' Arena more than YS? =3

  17. Can I say, "ask me after next week?" 😉

    If pressed,
    Heavens' Arena: 98/100
    York Shin: 97/100

  18. K

    Ah almost there. We'll see after the next couple of weeks.

  19. A


    This really shows that HxH really deserves being in the top spots. I hope they climb higher too.

    Can you blame me if for a few months now HxH is the only anime I've been watching?

    There are still more twists and turns, a lot of LOLs, shocks and WTF's coming.

    GB! 😉

  20. s

    This is a good episode! MH did change and omit a few things but since HxH is a hard manga to adapt, the changes and omissions are understandable. Besides, it logically didn't affect the outcome and make the characters OOC so it's good in my opinion.

    My only disappointment is that they omit the part where Machi says to Killua that he should have aimed for her neck after "hugging" him. It should have been a nice throwback in the future episodes that Killua learned his lesson from that skirmish.

    Also, I don't see why others need to know which arc you like better. Since you like Gon-Killua, it's a given that when GI arc comes, it will top the York New arc. Probably more if you like RPG games. Hell, I like GI more than York New.

    Sorry for confusing you 'bout the Nen Hatsu categories. I was aiming to make it as simple as possible (and without spoiling anything) but I guess it only confused you. The Anon who post a more detailed explanation got some of it right but also some of it wrong. I will try to address these soon in a more cohesive and concrete way without spoilers of course.

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