To be honest, I’m pretty burned out at the moment. It’s been a pretty intense anime weekend – in addition to Tokyo Anime Fair (pics later) and Chihayafuru, we also had three major finales. And the Shin Sekai Yori one was the most intense of the lot on every level, just as I knew it would be. It left me emotionally drained, in recovery mode and hardly in the mood to look at any more anime for a few days.
Fortunately, into the breach steps Hunter X Hunter, a series so easy to enjoy that I could watch it if my hair was on fire. And perhaps even more fortunately, this was a week where the “Greed Island” arc was solidly in setup mode – briskly paced and wildly entertaining, but not packing the sheer emotion and intensity of the last two episodes (and the next, judging by the preview). I don’t even have to check to know that the events this week were extremely faithful to the manga – I can just tell. Togashi’s geekery practically leaps off the screen with every frame, and this was one of those H x H episodes where the level of detail makes you suspect he has a binder somewhere that’s thousands of pages thick (or at least a 2 terabyte drive) full of all the minutiae of “Greed Island”, ready for whenever he needs it.
In effect, Tsezguerra is really the star of this episode – though as is so often the case, it’s Hisoka who gets by far the most mileage out of his screen time. To say that his alliance with the Spiders (it’s a full house of all the survivors now – even Nobunaga has joined the others inside Greed Island) is one of convenience is a wild understatement. Their contempt for him practically drips off them, and he calls them “tiresome” – though he does seem to have a thing for Machi. But they have a shared interest – Abegnane has been found and Hisoka put in charge of “negotiating” with him. There’s also the matter of Kalluto Zoldyck (Noto Mamiko), the otouto that I and pretty much everyone else originally mistook for an imouto, and Hisoka’s replacement as #4 in the troupe. It was his power that located Abegnane, but Hisoka had no trouble detecting his hidden presence – a feat which he chalked up to being “overly sensitive” due to his invigorating time with Gon and Killua, just as he mimed masturbating with the telescope and noted just how “appetizing” Kalluto is. To thine own creeper be true.
I’m not at all certain Kalluto and Killua’s paths are going to cross in “Greed Island”, as their interests don’t really seem to overlap – though it would certainly be interesting to see if it happened, as it will sooner or later. In the meantime there are effectively three separate threads playing out: the Phantom Troupe and Hisoka going after Abengane, Gon desperately trying to pick up Bisky’s teachings in record time as Killua puzzles out a plan to stop Genthru, and Team Teszguerra playing cat-and-mouse with Team Genthru. It’s the latter that dominates most of the episode, and a fascinating battle it is, with Tsez using guerrilla tactics to annoy Genthru, using Goreinu to spy on him, before the two sides end up playing a potentially deadly game of tag using “Accompany” cards. Genthru has been busy accumulating “Accompany” and “Return” cards by robbing and killing players as they leave the shop in Masadora, and he has the advantage in numbers – but this seems to be playing into Tsezguerra’s hands. His trump card is a “Leave” card – to force The Bomber to follow them back to Battera’s mansion, where he has a private army at his disposal.
I’m not at all certain what’s happened there – I don’t think I’m supposed to be – but something has clearly gone haywire with Battera, and it has to do with the picture of the woman in the ED (who may not be who I thought she was). He’s bagged the whole Greed Island project and he’s locked in his office sobbing, which leaves Team Tsez in a bit of a pickle to say the least, given that the security forces have been dispersed and sent home. Tsezguerra has bought Gon the time he promised him, but possibly at the cost of his life and that of his men, unless he’s able to use his 1-Star Hunter skills to come up with one more miracle escape.
As for Team Gon, things really aren’t going all that well on that score, either. Biscuit has rolled the dice in a sort of all-or-nothing gamble by trying to push Gon up to “Level 5” training when he really should be on Level 2, in the desperate hope that he’ll be able to pick up an Emitter attack skill that he can use to buy time and options against Genthru. But as much of a natural as Gon is, this time he seems to be struggling – and Bisky tells Killua that since everyone’s flow of aura is different, any advice she gives him is as likely to hurt as help. If Gon is the raw, unstoppable force that the team needs to channel in order to win against The Bomber, Killua is the surgeon who must use his preternatural gifts to craft an operation to do so – and Biscuit’s explanation of her powers (Magical Esthetician Cookie-chan) doesn’t appear to offer much except an explanation of just how Biscuit manages to keep looking so young.
It occurs to me – and not for the first time – that Biscuit Krueger is still very much a mystery figure. I don’t distrust her – or rather I should say I don’t distrust her when it comes to Gon and Killua. She’s certainly a compulsive liar (she’s admitted as much) but I think she’s developed almost maternal feelings for the boys. Yet we’ve seen precious little of her true abilities, even in combat situations like the dodgeball game – in fact I can’t even recall being told what her specialty is (though I’ve always fancied she was an Transmuter, like Killua). My gut is telling me she has some serious cards she’s yet to play, perhaps doesn’t want to play – but I think she will if her precious gems are threatened (and Genthru is certainly a threat). Meanwhile we don’t know what Killua’s master plan is except it relies on a spell card and a huge rock, and not on Gon’s seemingly failed Emitter attack (which I suspect he’s going to surprise his friends by using against Genthru after all). And while it may be coincidental (I doubt it), the “Continue!” sign-off at the end of the Greed Island Tutorial had a very different tone this week – more of a question than a declaration. That suggests as much as anything else that things are going to heat up next week, and in a very big way.
Greed Island Tutorial: “Fake”