It’s a transitional week in anime – in fact due to Spring generally having the biggest slate of new series this is usually the craziest week of the year. Shows ending, new shows beginning by the dozens, hellos and goodbyes enough to leave a viewer (and certainly a blogger) feeling a little benumbed. But not for the first time H x H steps up as the voice of continuity – no matter what else is going on I can always, always rely on this series for ridiculous quality and huge levels of entertainment. Between this series and Chihayafuru, Madhouse was my rock this week (you’ll have to excuse the pun).
But dammit – Gon, you crazy!
I mean, it’s not as if Gon being a bit nuts is anything new really. When Genthru marvels that someone is insane – not “his” kind of insane – you know that person is out where the buses don’t run. But I don’t think we’ve seen anything quite like what we saw this week. I adore Gon – he’s not just a great character for entertainment purposes, but a wholly idealistic and in many ways admirable kid. Plus, he takes GAR to levels it just doesn’t go very often – his courage and will are staggering. But a little sense of self-preservation would certainly go a long way if he’s going to have a future.
I can only imagine Bisky and Killua won’t be too happy when Gon tells them what really went down in the fight with The Bomber – and I don’t think he’s capable of lying to them (or anyone for that matter). Gon’s version of a “great idea” is to get one and nearly both of his arms blown off in order to land a kick to the chin. In the end of course Gon does use Killua’s plan and Biscuit’s training to win, just as intended, but it’s that damn pride of his that made the journey so painful that even he almost couldn’t bear up to it.
Genthru is just the latest to learn the hard way that Gon simply will not back down. Hanzo is the most obvious earlier example but there are others, not least among them Hisoka. The pride that spurs him forward is his strength and his curse, and rather than simply win by trickery he risks everything for the sake of that pride. But you have to give credit where it’s due – Gon takes risks when it’s his own safety that’s on the line (though sometimes failing to see the hardship they may cause those who love him), and he’s willing to endure whatever comes of it without complaint. And he never stops giving Genthru the opportunity to give up, though he’s a bit too trusting in that (at the cost of his windpipe). It’s his willingness to sacrifice his hand – and suffer the agony that comes with it, both shown to us in truly brutal and shocking terms – that allows him to strike when he knows Genthru will be vulnerable, a blow so powerful and fast The Bomber never even sees it strike.
Gon knows, of course, because Bisky has predicted the course of the fight – she’s told Gon Genthru will eventually resort to flooding both hands with Gyo to attack – but what he does with that information can hardly have been what she had in mind. The finish is pure, unadulterated Gon – the disdain he has for Genthru’s underhanded tactics, the righteous rage he puts into his final Janken attack, and especially the proud and disgusted “Osu!” he rasps through his ruined throat after he lands the finishing blow. It’s his declaration to the world that size and age don’t matter – only martial spirit does, and no one has more of it than Gon. He may be crazy, but Gon has more guts than any army.
As for Killua’s plan, in hindsight it all becomes clear (and I don’t mean getting yet one more look at Gold Dust Girl). The giant rock, the precise counting (one minute for a card to turn into an object), although the gasoline was a bit of a surprise. What’s interesting is the final part of it – using cloned copies of Breath of Archangel to heal not just Gon, but Genthru and his stooges as well. It does seem to confirm that Killua is at a very different place in his life at the moment, no matter what he says to Goreinu about being “worse” than The Bomber and his gang. Apparently Biscuit is OK with that too, and her lust for killing only exists in her JoJo form.
Goreinu’s revelation that he and Tsezguerra have decided to give their cards to Gon (let’s face it, he earned them) signals that “Greed Island” is coming to an end next week (he’s also secured each of them 1 billion Jenny from Battera’s reward). The final card, “Ruler’s Blessing”, is the 100th – and it will be Gon’s after he can successfully answer a quiz about the restricted slot cards, one last protective measure against a thief or interloper hijacking the contest and winning. Then it’s onward to “Chimaera Ant”, and to the quest to find Ging. “Greed Island” is another triumph for Togashi-sensei and for Madhouse – another long arc that feels as if every last detail has been planned out with perfect precision. Many great shounen are lucky to produce one arc this epic, but Hunter X Hunter is able to do so over and over, and each wildly different from the last. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Greed Island Tutorial: “Transform”