Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 73

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The hits just keep on coming – in every way.

You and I have met here before, Dear Reader, and danced this dance.  Incredible suspense, spectacular character modeling and combat animation, perfect pacing – blah, blah, blah.  But my not saying it again wouldn’t make it any less true.  Madhouse is pretty much in Roger Federer territory at the moment as far as long-term adaptations are concerned – when it comes to consistency and sheer quality, everything they’re doing at this point is just adding to the record books.  I suspect this series is going to be held up for a generation as the standard which all shounen adaptations should aspire to reach – but it’s going to be a hard one to live up to.

For the record, yes – when I saw this photo in the ED I thought it might be Gon’s mother, despite the fact that we’ve heard precious little of her in the series and Gon’s loyalty to Mito precludes his asking.  The fact that it’s Battera’s lover – and that the series doesn’t gloss over that fact – is certainly an interesting direction.  In hindsight of course this is the most logical explanation for Battera’s sudden decision to bail on beating Greed Island.  His story is the slightest of subplots in the larger H x H framework, a siding that diverges from the main track and runs only for a few meters, but it’s the key to everything that’s happened in this arc.  And I certainly don’t blame Tsezguerra for wanting an answer, considering everything he and his team have been through to reach this moment.

One thing that can be said about Hunter X Hunter is that among the main cast, heroes and villains alike, pretty much everyone is really smart.  That’s why battles such as the three-way contest between Team Tsez, Team Bomber and Team Gon are so much more interesting than in almost any other shounen battle series.  Make no mistake, Tsezguerra is a very, very clever man – someone who, as Goreinu describes him, is “incredibly cautious”.  That’s why even as he and Genthru match wits, he’s never at wits’ end – and why he had a backup plan for eventualities such as not being able to take out Genthru in the outside world.  Unbeknownst to the bomber he’s faked the 30 most important cards in his team’s binders, and passed the real cards on to Gorienu – effectively allowing him to surrender his own chances by not returning to the game within 10 days.  This places all his hopes on Goreinu’s shoulders – both the he might be able to win, and that he’ll be as good as his word if he does.  A desperate strategy to be employed only as a worse-case scenario – which is exactly how it was used.

The net effect of this plan is that Tsezguerra has delivered Gon and his friends – upon whom everything relies – the ten days they’ve been promised.  The decks are cleared for the grand three-on-three clash, one which Genthru isn’t as prepared for as he thinks.  He may be a very smart man himself, with an incredible power, but he’s not as careful as Tsezguerra and his arrogance is clearly his blind spot.  He still thinks he’s dealing with three kids substantially weaker than he is, and he couldn’t be more wrong.  Nevertheless he’s still stronger than anyone Gon can take out head-on – which of course is what necessitated all the planning Killua and Bisky have been doing for those ten days while Gon has been doing handstands and trying to develop an Emitter attack.

We still don’t know the ultimate nature of Killua’s master plan – though Gon getting his sense of timing down to 1/100th of a second is the clue added to the mix this week.  But apart from continuing to convince Team Bomber that they were hopelessly outmatched kids, the second part was clearly to split the fight into three separate locations.  I was interested in Genthru’s comment that he would take the spiky black-haired kid “assuming we’ll need to use force” – does even Genthru have enough of a soul that he’d rather not kill three children is he can easily avoid it?  In any event, while the strategy to get Bara and Sub to split from their boss is simple enough,  I’m not sure how Kil and Biscuit were so certain Genthru would choose to take on Gon himself.  Given that this seems central to Killua’s scheme it looks like a pretty big variable to leave to chance – though I admit that it seems like the most likely decision Genthru would have made, given that Gon’s past behavior towards him stamped him as the seeming leader of the team.

I’m also wondering, based on the results of Bisky’s battle with Bara, why she didn’t simply try and get a battle with Genthru herself – she’s clearly the strongest of the three team members.  Of the three-way battle itself I can only say Madhouse had me slack-jawed with awe yet again.  Truly astonishing animation and choreography, this time for a three-tiered battle that lasted half the episode – I don’t know how they do it, time after time.  I mentioned last week that Bisky was a woman about whom there were still many mysteries, and I did so because it was feeling like time to blow the lid off a few of them – as indeed happened.  Biscuit’s true form (if Biscuit is indeed a tribute to Togashi’s wife, that really makes you think) is quite a shock, to say the least – I can quite understand why she prefers not to be seen in it, and I’m rather glad the boys didn’t have to see her that way.  She truly is a beast, and a rather ruthless one as well, as Bara finds out at the cost of his life.

Then there was Killua’s bout with Sub, which marked a very interesting contrast.  Killua, of course, still has serious injuries to his hands – but I rather suspected he wouldn’t need them against the likes of Sub. As always Killua relies on his strategic sense as much as his strength – Nen or otherwise – and he even trots out some old Zoldyck assassin techniques to test the strength of his opponent.  What he doesn’t do, however, is revert to being a Zoldyck – and I suspected that might be the case.  He uses Sub as a chance to test out his “Lightning Palm” attack – quite successfully – as well as his 50 KG yo-yos.  But he doesn’t kill Sub – and as I think back, I don’t believe Killua has killed anyone for quite some time.  I don’t think there’s been a promise made to Gon that he won’t kill again, and I don’t doubt he’d do so if Gon’s life were under threat.  But it also feels as if Killua looks at killing like an addict – if he gets a taste of it again, he might never be able to stop.  And as much as he yearns to be a person that’s worthy of Gon’s loyalty – as Killua sees it, at the very least – I think he wants to avoid taking anyone’s life again, if it can possibly be helped.

And then there’s the main event. Bisky has made it very clear to Gon that he can’t beat Genthru based on strength, and that’s one of the best things about H x H – as strong as the characters are, they have limits, and their age and lack of experience do matter.  No, Gon’s job is very simple – to lure The Bomber into the trap they’ve laid for him.  But Gon’s pride is, as always, both the great source of his power and his vulnerability – the prospect of being manhandled (calm down, Hisoka, that’s not what I mean) by Genthru has him so riled up that he determines to make Genthru show his ability rather than be defeated simply through brute force alone.  This is obviously a terribly dangerous ploy, though at least Gon hasn’t forgotten the ultimate goal – and it does work. Genthru is ultimately faced with the same reality Hanzo faced way back in the Hunter Exam – Gon is simply not an opponent that will be defeated through pain and punishment (“You’re insane…  And not my kind of insane.”).  Unlike Hanzo, however, there’s no core of decency in Genthru that will stay his hand at killing a little boy – and no rule in place that will keep him from achieving his goal if he does so.  It all rides on Killua’s plan – and on Gon holding out long enough to give it time to work.  Genthru’s decision to use his power is a sort of respectful nod at Gon’s strength – but that doesn’t make it any less deadly.

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Greed Island Tutorial: “Archangel’s Breath”

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26 comments

  1. S

    "Unlike Hanzo, however, there's no core of decency in Genthru that will stay his hand at killing a little boy – and no rule in place that will keep him from achieving his goal if he does so"

    Just wanted to mention, technically there is a rule. Gon is the one that has the cards that Genthru is after, therefore if he were to kill Gon he wouldn't be able to take his cards. He either needs to take his book when it's out (which I doubt would happen), or make Gon surrender as per their deal. He could just kill Gon, but that would make this entire attack pointless.

    Biscuit and Killua's fights though were done incredibly well. I'm also just really happy to see the two of them a bit more on the spotlight. I do have to wonder why Biscuit herself didn't just go after Genthru as well though. Excellent episode regardless though.

  2. Well, that's a very good point – I guess that's where Gon's surrender deal plays into it – though I still wonder if Genthru can't figure out a way around that.

  3. A

    I think the plan needs Genthru to realise he is much more stronger than his opponent. That's why Gon is fighting him instead of Biscuit.
    If Gon had stayed to the plan he could have win with little damage.

    Of course, instead of making a plan Biscuit could probably just beat Genthru in a one on one fight. But she isn't certain about his real strength so that would be too risky.

    It is not the best plot made by Togashi, but I think the plothole can be "patched" with this explanation.

  4. A

    That's how I see it : Gon wanted to defeat Genthru by himself, and we know how stubborn he is. Biscuit was sure Gon could win, thanks to her training and Killua's plan, so she let him fight Genthru.

    Besides, they knew Genthru would assume Gon to be the leader of their group and attack him, so they didn't have much of a choice. Had Biscuit attacked Genthru while Gon was fleeing, he would have understood something was wrong and he wouldn't have lowered his guard.

  5. But how did they know Genthru would assume Gon was the leader? Guessed, maybe – not a bad guess – but still a risk.

    Your theory (I'm assuming you aren't a manga or 1999 viewer and that was a spoiler and not a theory) is possible, though it assumes Bisky and Killua will have no role in the final phase of the plan. I'm skeptical that they'd both be so confident in the plan – and in Gon – that they'd let him risk his life against someone they all acknowledge is stronger than he is.

  6. A

    Well, they ran out of Accompany cards, and they're quite far from were Gon is fighting, so I'm assuming they won't come to help.
    But it is a possibility too.

  7. S

    Shouldn't the fact that Gon is the one holding onto #2, Patch of Shore be important too? Genthru should know that (thanks to Fluoroscopy), and surely he'll go after the one who owns the card in person. Hence, all they had to do was give #2 to Gon to be sure that Genthru would come after him.

  8. R

    Biscuits true Form looks like something out of Fist of the Nort or Jojos bizzare Adventure

  9. G

    When I saw her transform in the original series I almost shit my pants. I knew she hid secrets (was maybe an old hag) but never expected to see Brock Lesner's stronger sister.

  10. e

    Ahah, Killua pulled a Joseph Joestar with those yo-yos 8D. And it looked both deadly and… fun.
    Gon is being… very Gon. DAT SPIRIT.
    Talking about women and healing, this week's GI tutorial was just adorable. And my second and third guess about mystery photo woman for the record were : Kil's mother (sans bandages and before going insane if there ever was such a sane period in her life), Biscuit in her prime. Wayyyyy on-track scenarios as you can see X,DDD.
    '(if Biscuit is indeed a tribute to Togashi's wife, that really makes you think)' eheh. This coming from a die-hard-old-guard moonie: I do think Takeuchi Naoko, as dainty and ladylike with a keen sense of business and love for luxury as she appears – and in some cases displayes in her illustrations and stories – , is also a ruthless tough one.

  11. s

    I do think Takeuchi Naoko, as dainty and ladylike with a keen sense of business and love for luxury as she appears – and in some cases displayes in her illustrations and stories – , is also a ruthless tough one.

    Anyone who has a keen sense of business is automatically a ruthless, tough person. Otherwise, your business will never survive. If you're a fan of SM, you should know that the series, both the anime and manga, were under lock and key in Japan until recently (hurray, SM 2013!). The exact reasons for the lockdown aren't known but rumors say Takeuchi wasn't too pleased with the changes the international publishers made.

    I wouldn't be surprised that the one who made it possible for Togashi to have a flexible schedule is his wife. I also find it funny that Takeuchi's family, an "old money" family, seems to adore Togashi as well (see the doujins these two made together about their family).

  12. e

    @shareme: there have been many rumours during the years, half out of personal interest and out half of my mod duty in an anime manga forum in Italy – the anime got immensely popular in the 90s to the point season #3 and #4 were brodcast at evening on one of our main channels holding their own audience share against the almighty evening news – I've kept track of them. Can't say I'd disagree with some of her irritation given how they changed both manga and anime abroad, in my country too… although compared to the US treatment we were still lucky, ahah. And truthfully the lady is a dragon X,D.
    I haven't looked into those doujinshi though, thanks for reminding me.
    Anyway, these are literally golden years for the Togashi couple. May them happily swim in cash and may the yen streams fuel the man's good health along with his HxH output :p.

  13. c

    I think Bisuke knew that Genthru would go after Gon because Gon was the one holding #2 and #75.

  14. Now that's a simple and very logical answer. Makes sense to me.

  15. j

    I don't care if those yo-yos were a bit of a deux when MadHouse could have foreshadowed something; I don't care why Biscuit didn't choose to take on Genthru; I don't care about any possible plotholes: cause this episode was goddamn awesome. Every fight was delicious. Could anyone watch Kil's fight with a straight face, with that BGM Tell Me going on? If I had been a kid when I watched this, I doubt I could be sitting still right now.

    Actually, nevermind – I'm going to run outside and punch something.

  16. j

    Cool characters + well-timed music + animation = Perfect episode for me.

    Thank you Madhouse, Thank You.

  17. M

    Why didn't Biscuit fight Genthru?

    I disagree that this is a plot hole and in fact was a smart move
    by Biscuit. The reason why can be explained using probability.

    Let us first assume that Biscuit is the strongest in Team Gon
    and that whoever she fights is going to be a definite win.
    The thing we are forgetting is unlike Biscuit Gon and Killua
    are NOT sure wins…UNLESS they have some sort of trap.

    Now since Biscuit is already a sure win it would be a waste
    to have her also use the trap. If the trap is wasted on
    Biscuit's fight that she's going to win anyways then
    there's the risk that Gon and Killua lose their fights.

    So we'd get

    Biscuit + trap vs ???? = Team Gon wins
    Gon vs ???? = Team Genthru Wins
    Killua vs ???? = Team Genthru wins

    Total: Genthru wins 2 to 1.

    Now if someone BESIDES Biscuit uses the trap the odds are much
    better.

    Biscuit vs ???? = Team Gon wins
    Gon + trap vs ???? = Team Gon wins
    Killua vs ???? = Team Genthru wins

    Total: Team Gon wins 2-1

    or

    Biscuit vs ???? = Team Gon wins
    Gon vs ???? = Team Genthru wins
    Killua + trap vs ???? = Team Gon wins

    Total: Team Gon wins 2-1

    So Biscuit should want either Gon or Killua to use the trap
    so that in the worst case scenario it would end up being
    either Biscuit and Gon vs the last bomb devil or Biscuit
    and Killua vs the last bomb devil rather than Two Bomb
    Devils against Biscuit.

    Next is the question of who fights against who.
    Now either Gon or Killua will fight using the trap.
    So it comes down to which Bomb Devil is the one they
    need to fall for the trap the most? Genthru? Sub? Bara?
    Remember that Genthru is the only one they KNOW of his abilities.
    I believe the answer is Genthru. Why does Genthru need to be the one to fall for the trap? Why not have the trap set up for
    Bara or Sub? and have Biscuit fight Genthru?

    The reason is simple. They don't know Sub and Bara's abilities
    so they don't know if the trap will work on them or not.
    The trap was designed with Genthru and his abilities in mind.
    The trap has the greatest chance of success on Genthru.

    Now who uses the trap? Gon or Killua? It shouldn't be Biscuit
    as I explained that would be a waste. Well let's remember the
    fact that Killua is injured. He might not be able to pull off
    the trap and win his fight. Gon stands a better chance than
    Killua of pulling off the trap and Gon and Killua are the
    ones who need the trap the most.

    Let's assume that the trap will ONLY work on Genthru.

    Biscuit vs Genthru= Team Gon wins
    Trap vs Sub/Bara= Team Genthru wins
    No Trap vs Sub/Bara Team Genthru wins

    That's 2-1 in favor of Team Genthru

    Biscuit vs Sub/Bara= Team Gon wins
    No Trap vs Sub/Bara= Team Genthru wins
    Trap vs Genthru = Team Gon wins

    That's 2-1 in favor of Team Gon

    So as we can see it's best that they use the trap
    on Genthru and get the definite win there and
    that Biscuit not fight against Genthru so they
    can get two definite wins.

    And if we assume that Killua's injury is too much of
    a handicap then it's clear that he should NOT fight Genthru.

    Gon + Trap vs Genthru= Team Gon wins
    Biscuit vs Sub/Bara = Team Gon wins
    Kilua vs Sub/Bara = Team Genthru wins

    Of course Killua DID win and we don't know if the trap
    will work yet or not. But given that Genthru is the one
    they know the abilities of and between Gon and Killua,
    Gon is currently in the best condition I say the match up of

    Gon vs Genthru
    Biscuit vs Bara
    Killua vs Sub

    makes the most sense.

  18. A

    I don't think Togashi put that much thought on it. But it certainly makes sense.

  19. M

    You'd be underestimating Togashi then. Togashi is the kind of author who if anything puts too MUCH thought into his stories rather than too little. He's a pretty big fan of stuff like
    board game style video games so you can tell he's a bit of a geek.
    Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm just saying that
    it would hardly surprise me if Togashi had a book of calculations
    on figuring out who would win in a nen match.

  20. j

    Awesome post Mrsticky; and it does make sense!

  21. Except here, 2-1 might mean the "1" is dead, and I don't think anyone in Team Gon would have found that acceptable as an alternative.

  22. a

    Of course they wouldn't. But remember it was Killua who came up
    with the plan, and Killua has always been known to account for
    the worst case scenario. Of course the worst case would be that
    they all die. Though I don't think Killua or Gon knows of Biscuit's true strength, Killua knows Biscuit is the strongest as evident from how easily she took down Binolt. So that's one win.
    Then we got the trap which considering that Killua has allowed
    Gon to be the one in charge of that Killua must be EXTREMELY
    confident in it working. Killua wouldn't put Gon at harm's way
    so that's two wins.

    2-1 might mean one is dead but it wouldn't be Biscuit
    because of her strength, and it wouldn't be Gon because
    of the trap. The one most likely to die would be Killua.

    And seeing how self sacrificial Killua is. Well…

  23. h

    Wall of Text! /headspinning

    *Looks at poster* …Shoulda guessed 😛

  24. M

    Do I know you?

  25. J

    Love this anime so much. It's one of the few that is considerably lengthy, but you never feel cheated out of a good episode because of fillers, excessive talking or rehashed animation.

  26. T

    I couldn't have lucked out any more with the sudden free trail I got from crunchyroll,being able this awesome action episode on a large HD TV (via PS3) was fuckin' sweet.

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