Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 59

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The beginning of a new arc of H x H brings with it a whole lot of excitement.

OP4 Sequence:

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So long York Shin (the arc, not the city – yet), hello Greed Island (the arc, not the game – yet).  With a new arc, we get a new opening sequence but – to the great disappointment of many, I’m sure – no new OP song, just another remix.  The animation is quite the attention-getter for someone who’s new to the material, though – lots of new faces and nary a glimpse of Kurapika or Leorio, who aren’t present in the ED (which does get another new song) either.  I wouldn’t say the new sequences are more than usually full of spoilers – though I’m not the best one to ask – but they do make it clear that once again, Hunter X Hunter is taking a dramatic change-of-course.

It seems to me that when comparing arcs of this series, it isn’t so much a matter of a difference in quality – they’re all spectacular – but personal preference.  It’s part of Togashi’s genius that he can write in a variety of styles while maintaining the overall feel of the series and characters, and you could hardly have two arcs more different than Heaven’s Arena and York Shin.  Was one better than the other?  I can make a pretty strong case that YS had the more subtle and well-developed storyline, with the better supporting cast and perhaps the wider range of emotions – but there were things I liked better about Heaven’s Arena too.  It was more in synch with my feelings as a viewer, as vague as that sounds – and in the end they’re both a triumph, as different as they are.

In “Greed Island”, we have what at first glance appears to be more of a traditionally shounen premise.  Gon and Killua are back at center stage, and it appears that they’ll stay there for the duration of the arc.  While York Shin was about revenge and self-loathing and deceit and all the psychological machinations of the Phantom Troupe, GI opens with a focus on two things – Gon’s quest to learn more about (and find) Ging, and Gon and Killua’s quest to get stronger.  We even get a callback to Heaven’s Arena as Gon turns to his old master Wing – at Kurapika’s suggestion – to seek help developing a special ability.  It’s premature to say this arc is going to be more stylistically aligned with that one, but there are suggestions of it in first impressions.

The focus of everything of course is in the title itself – Greed Island.  It’s the game that’s at the center of Gon’s obsession and everything else, including the auction.  Gon’s brilliant plan, as it turns out, is not to bid on the game at all – he had nowhere near enough Jenny to compete anyway – but to get himself and Killua picked as hired guns by one of the bidders who wins the game to help clear it.  Apparently a Hunter named Jeitsari signed a contract stating that he and six other active players would auction off copies of the game if they were unable to clear it by the date of the auction.  Two of the players have died – when you die in Greed Island you die in real life – leaving five copies left to be auctioned off.  Leading the bidding on those is the tycoon Battera (Umezu Hideyuki), who describes his interest in GI as “a matter of love”, and it’s he that Gon and Killua have set their sights on impressing. 

There’s a hell of a lot more to the Greed Island scenario than that – that would be obvious even if Togashi weren’t writing this story – but that will come out in time, and we have the help of the newly launched “Greed Island Tutorial” (replacing the Hunterpedia – fujoshi everywhere are weeping) to help us figure it out.  Meanwhile as Kurapika slowly recovers from a fever which has kept him unconscious for two days Gon and Killua set about getting hired by Battera.   That means impressing Tsezguerra (Yanada Kiyoyuki), the Hunter Battera has hired to help him clear the game.  He takes one look at the boys’ Nen and arrogantly tells them that they don’t have a chance in hell inside Greed Island, a game where several of his hired guns have already given up on beating it in favor of living out their lives inside.

Naturally, being told he can’t do something is to Gon like waving a red cape in front of a bull.  If you’re a fan of Gon’s straightforward intensity and the nuances of his relationship with Killua, I can already sense that this arc is going to be a treat.  For Gon, clarity of purpose and self-belief is everything – but while he has plenty of the former he’s running a bit short on the latter at the moment (as well as Hunter licenses, as his is still in hock).  Killua takes it upon himself to manage his friend’s struggle here – pushing and cajoling him, trying to get him to the right frame of mind to where he can see where his power lies, and tap into it. 

Loyalty is such a huge part of this series, no matter the arc – Gon and Killua to each other, and Gon’s loyalty to Kurapika too, as even in the midst of his current dilemma he’s still worrying over his friend and what might happen if he discovers the Spiders – at least two of them anyway, as far as Gon knows – are still in town.  But Kurapika has decided he must leave town with Neon, who’s decided she’s had enough after seeing what Squala’s death did to Eliza (and her scarlet eyes stolen).  But he still manages to give the nudge that leads Gon to call Wing (Osu!) for the hint he needs.  This episode is heavy on the Nen geekery, another throwback to Heaven’s Arena – as Gon follows the trail of bread crumbs Wing leaves for him Killua focuses on a rather shocking ability that seems well-suited to his specialty.

First episodes of major shounen arcs can sometimes be a bit of a slog, but not surprisingly this one really hit the ground running.  The plot is already well-established – that it dovetails perfectly with the end of York Shin certainly helps – and in terms of entertainment value things never miss a beat.  With Ging involved things were sure to rise to epic proportions anyway, but we also have the fact that Hisoka is clearly going to play a large role in the story (I found this the most interesting moment of the new OP sequence) and the Spiders aren’t going away either – Feitan and Phinks had more than a passing interest in the auction after all, and they – and possibly two of their fellows – are going to be joining the action inside Greed Island too.  All in all it should be one hell of a ride.

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Greed Island Tutorial:

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  1. A

    "That" part in the OP would surely surprise anyone. Too bad MH decided to include that in the OP sequence. Lots of spoilers in the OP. But you'll still be surprised with the events to come.

    Hopefully MH won't rush this arc. I don't have any issues regarding the phasing of the previous arcs by MH but I want to savor this arc before the Chrimera.

    GI will be a blast.

  2. K

    One of my favorite characters in all of HxH should be debuting in the next week or two (although the OP showed us what she looks like). Wonder who is going to be voicing her?

  3. A

    That's already been announced: Chisa Yokoyama. I've never heard her in anything else, so I can only hope she'll do the character justice.

  4. L

    voice of Chun Li from Street Fighter!

  5. S

    Now someone call A1 and Reki Kawahabara, tie them in front of a TV broadcasting HXH, and tell them "Watch and learn, THIS is how you play the 'deadly game' trope right!".

  6. l

    I find SAO to be enjoyable but this game is very different, since the players actually want to play it, and are professionals.

  7. l

    You should've skipped the OP Enzo, it spoils way too much ;/

    Anyway, loved the episode, G.I arc is amazing since my favorite characters are Gon and Killua…and the new character.

    I still think Chimera Ants arc won't be animated, it is a weird arc after all, will be extremely hard to manage, will take some mad talent from the staff. But this is the last time I'm gonna mention it, hoping for the best in this arc.

  8. K

    I'm hoping they cover the ant arc too. Would love to see that animated.

  9. A

    Not animating the arc that follows Greed Island would be the lamest thing ever and would essentially amount to rendering this remake obsolete since that's where the original anime adaptation stopped as well. What would be the point of this remake if it only covered the same ground as the original? What a waste that would be.

  10. L

    the ant arc was already announced to be animated. This anime was announced to follow up to date of the manga from the very beginning. I dont know why so many doubt it lol

  11. K

    The opening doesn't really spoil that much. It's just general stuff. And the stuff that is there can only be caught if you look really hard at the video and if you know what happens already.

  12. K

    I wonder what % of the viewers of this series have never seen the original series and didn't read the manga?

  13. A

    Well Enzo is one of those people that have no idea about the source material, so I would love to read his impressions and reviews without him being spoiled too much. And that OP spoils too much. But I love it. Makes me wanna watch the whole GI arc like now. Especially the ED. That last scene. >.<

  14. A

    The OP/ED still kept some of the Greed Island cards close to the vest. Nothing beats the number of Fairy Tail spoilers in its OP/ED, even arc ending revelations like Lisanna's "resurrection" were flaunted early on.

  15. A

    Ha! Yeah! FT's OP is full of spoilers. They even include actual scenes in the anime. I like bleach OP better. They make out fight scenes that are not related but still good. Specifically the 2nd OP.

  16. T

    "A shocking new ability", enzo? Really? you should be ashamed of yourself.

    Anywho's while I don't particularly care for the game aspect of this while reading the manga there are alot of other things in this arc that I like, one of them being a particular new character. Who knows maybe madhouse will make me like this better than the manga version and finally get me to give btoom a shot (after SAO I swore off game based series for a while)

    I'm pretty much cool with the opening staying as it is, we got pretty awesome graphics and I liked the ending song alot more than I thought I would.


  17. e

    @Thatguy: I took it as a tongue-in-cheek comment myself (Zorndyck family's Assasin Training From Hell + taser nen trigger + 'bipolar' electricity, anyone?). Spark oh my Kil, spark!

  18. Just a pun people, nothing to see here. In case you haven't noticed in the last two years, Enzo loves puns.

  19. e

    You'll be a good doc, Leorio :,).
    Well well, this new arc is looking good already.
    The OP screenshot with Hiso makes think he might end up as the kids' ally this time around. Ohohoh 8D. And I was struck by the woman picture in the ED. The rose patterns in the frame are the same seen on that rectangular case immediately after. And then there's the necklace Gon is wearing. If the man in the new OP is Ging, could the woman be…?

  20. e

    P.S.: Anyone else looking at the kids in their suits at the auction and picturing them chewing on a green olive and coolly sipping soda – shaked, not stirred – ? who needs bloomers, really :p

  21. We don't need answers the anime itself hasn't provided yet.

  22. A

    I really like how Gon's brain fries!

    Killua's 'electric' nen is my favorite nen ability in this series!

    The OP and ED doesn't really spoil, honestly. I think they make both old and new viewers just look forward to what will be in this arc. ^u^

    Killua and Gon, true friends whose bond is stringer than brothers, specially in Killua's POV. :))

    Another great rev Enzo-san!

  23. A

    Oh my god. Maybe I'm just too used to the old version, but Biscuit's hair is obscenely blonde. I'd advise against google-image searching her since there's a bunch of spoilers, but here's a safe comparison pic:

    Everyone seems to become blonder in this version.

  24. A

    I liked Bisque new design and the blond hair suits her very well

  25. A

    Obviously you never read the manga. Because it's more like the characters in the old version looked dull and uninteresting. Phinx is totally forgettable in the 99 version, not to mention just look WRONG. He's a complete different character from the original manga. Biscuit in the 99 version wear this awful lipsticks.

    All these 'blonde' characters in the new version fit exactly how I imagined them from the manga, the new version finally got it right. Biscuit looks exactly how i pictured her from the manga, which come on…she has that little 'sailormoon' inspiration in her.

  26. T

    Bisque. Enough said.

  27. A

    This episode was very great,I enjoyed every moment in it I didn't liked this arc in the old version too much, but just seeing the new opening of the 2012 version made me very hyped for it now

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