Before we launch into this episode, there was some interesting news from Shounen Jump this week. ANN worded it this way:
A blurb in this year’s 12th issue of Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump magazine is reporting on Monday that a “shocking” announcement regarding the Hunter X Hunter television anime would be made in the following issue.
Production of a second film was already confirmed in a special teaser trailer after the ending credits of the first film, Hunter × Hunter: Phantom Rouge, released last month. The trailer was focused on Netero, the chairperson of the Hunters Association, in front of a backdrop of a dimly lit street with a tall tower similar to the Heavens Arena.
However, I’ve seen other sources indicate that the word “shocking” is nowhere to be found in the actual SJ blurb. In any case, it seems very unlikely to me that SJ would intentionally be calling attention to an announcement that’s likely to be received negatively (such as a hiatus). We already know about the second feature film, so it isn’t that. The most interesting speculation I’ve seen – and it was the first thing that popped into my head – is that perhaps Togashi-sensei is going to be writing directly for the anime, while the manga stays on hiatus. That would be highly unusual and I suppose it’s unlikely, but given his legendary deadlines issues perhaps only having to worry about writing has some appeal. It could be almost anything I suppose – a time-slot change for the reportedly very dark and violent “Chimaera” Arc, an anime-original season paired with an end to the manga hiatus, giving the manga time to build up a big lead again – who knows? In any event we’ll find out in a few days.
While we wait, we have another episode of “Greed Island” to talk about, and as usual it was stellar. I haven’t checked against the source but this episode certainly felt less frantically-paced than the last few have – ironically, as it started with a barrage of restricted-slot cards that required many pauses in playback. This was an episode that seemed content to focus on the details of the game itself and take the time to savor them, without having the burden of too much action or major revelations. We certainly got a fair share of exposition and as always, some very interesting grist for the mill as far as Killua and Gon’s character development, but mostly it was about atmosphere-building and scene-setting. On the whole it made for a refreshing change-of-pace.
Some elements of the game are becoming clearer as we progress through it. In the first place, Genthru and his thugs are drawing the attention of other parties as they inch closer to their goal – now only three cards away, thanks to a very clever gambit they use to heist several cards from Tsezguerra’s party. Tsezguerra is no fool – a cautious and capable Hunter, clearly, but you can add him to the list of those who’ve been bested by Genthru. Pissed as he is, he keeps his wits about him and immediately seizes on the best course of action after Genthru’s con job – try and monopolize one of the final cards that Genthru needs to win. It just so happens that someone else has seized on the same idea – Kazsule (Okabayashi Fumihiro), who we’ve met before. He’s also decided that it’s time for everyone to team up and decide how to stop Genthru – despite the fact that he has no knowledge of Genthru’s true identity – and he invites the boys and Bisky to a powwow of elite (50 restricted-slot cards and up) teams.
This is my favorite part of the episode, because as always it’s fascinating to watch Killua and Gon go about their business in such diametrically opposed ways. For Killua the meeting represents both a danger and an opportunity, and he immediately butts heads with another team leader, Asta, who dismisses he and his allies as a bunch of useless kids. Killua trusts no one he doesn’t know intimately (and even then, usually with caution) and he’s a brilliant strategist, as he shows us over and over. For him this is immediately a negotiation – they have info the others needs to know and he’s certainly not willing to let Asta’s team have it without a significant cost (for the others, he’s willing to go so far as to accept whatever they offer after the fact). For Gon it’s the completely opposite approach – once the true nature of Genthru has been revealed and the others realize they may have become his victims too (after he’s touched them) Gon spills the rest of the information about his abilities, whereas Killua was ready to extract his pound of flesh in exchange.
Generally speaking, of course, Killua’s way is the more sensible in this ruthless world Togashi has set up. But Gon’s way proves most effective here – by showing trust in the rest of the teams he earns their trust in return. Even Asta, who proceeds to share a wealth of valuable information about spell cards and other critical hints. It’s also interesting to watch Bisky’s response. By nature she’s clearly more inclined to Killua’s way of thinking, but she can’t help but smile as she sees what Gon’s approach is capable of achieving – in a way, this “perfect gem” is winning her over in spite of her cynicism. And Killua would never choose to change that aspect of his friend’s personality, because it’s one of the many reasons he loves Gon – rather, he’ll continue to stand by Gon’s side and cover his back when that openness leads him into dangerous territory.
There are many pots on the boil that suggest some very interesting near-term developments. Of the restricted cards that Genthru is missing (#0, #2, #9 and #75 – and #0 is suspected to appear when the other 99 are collected) only #2, “Strip of Beach” can be monopolized because the others are owned by multiple teams. And one of Kazsule’s allies uses a spell,l card to reveal that the port city of Soufrabi is where the card is located – and Tsezguerra and Genthru’s teams are already headed there. By a stroke of fortune the new allies seem to stumble upon a clue that required the arrival of 15 or more in a party via the “Accompany” card – which means the others likely haven’t found it yet – they have to take on a group of pirates and defeat them to learn the location of the card from a sexy NPC. The leader of these pirates just happens to be named “Razor” – that should be fascinating. And there’s that #75 card that Team Gon has obtained (by helping the stricken villagers who took their clothes) – “Wild Luck Alexandrite”. It promises “Once in a lifetime experiences – for better or for worse…” I can’t imagine the wording is coincidental. Finally (and perhaps most intriguingly) we have Hisoka wandering around in here somewhere, and we know he’s going to end up teamed with Gon, Kil and Bisky sooner or later. I expect things are going to get pretty wild from this point forward.
Greed Island Tutorial: “Tax Collector’s Gauntlet”