Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 75

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It really isn’t fair for the series that’s great at everything else to be so great at endings, too.

Am I surprised that “Greed Island” closed with such a fulfilling, warm and emotionally satisfying final episode?  Not in the least – Togashi has already proved to anyone’s satisfaction (certainly mine) that he knows how to bring these massive arcs across the finish line in style, and H x H by Madhouse has already pretty much rewritten the record book for consistency.  Still, you can’t help but shake your head a little at the incredible ability this series has to just keep delivering, time after time after time.  It’s truly remarkable.

My usual notes page for an anime episode is pretty much overflowing this week, but the first thing that caught my attention was the moment when Biscuit was watching Gon and Killua get ready to play the restricted cards quiz.  My exact thought was “She’s looking at them with a mother’s eyes now.”  And I think events later in the episode certainly bore that out.  For a series that does action as well as any show can, pretty much, it’s astounding that Hunter X Hunter is so great at these quiet emotional moments too – I’m reminded of the short interlude on Whale Island, where we saw Gon and Mito in some of the sweetest and warmest interaction I can remember in any anime, made all the more affecting because we saw it more or less from Killua’s outsider perspective.

Bisky grew on me, to say the least, and it’s certainly safe to say Gon and Killua grew on her.  From starting out mischievously wanting to break up their friendship for fun, she came to love both of them – so much so that she had to force herself to say goodbye to them after they’d cleared Greed Island because in her own words, if she didn’t she’d “become too attached”.  Bisky is not a soft and sentimental person by any means – she’s a hard-ass of the highest order – but the emotional bond between she and the boys really became a beautiful element of the series.  I was hoping there might even be a hug between them at the end – it’s not the anime way I know, though we did get one between Gon and Mito – but their actual farewell scene was pretty much perfect.  She was a great character, and I’ll miss her.

It seems very fitting that Gon should have won the quiz in his own right, because all along Greed Island meant more to him than to anyone else.  Gon played the game the right way for the right reasons, and that would have been true even if it hadn’t been effectively created just for him.  With one exception the other players weren’t planning anything unsavory – just hoping to win the quiz and sell the card to Team Gon – but they never really had a chance (hey – why didn’t we get to see Killua’s punishment game?!).  As for Abengane, he got his closure – he “caught the bomber“, and went back to the real world to earn his fortune cleaning up Nen.  Starting, in fact, with Chrollo Lucilfer, who’s back in the game, thank you very much (and I don’t mean Greed island).

Sadly but not unexpectedly, Ging wasn’t waiting for Gon once the game was over.  After having received “Ruler’s Invitation”, Gon, Killua and Bisky travel to the game’s actual capital city of Limeiro where he’s to claim the 100th card, “Ruler’s Blessing”.  Instead of Ging, he’s greeted by two of Ging’s friends – Dwun (Suzuki Takuma) and List (Anzai Chika).  Dwun’s room is a dump, to say the least, full of bento boxes and toys and generally befitting a hard-core otaku (or mangaka).  And Dwun himself is a bit of a smart-ass, teasing a very puzzled Gon relentlessly with nonsense like a “just for Gon ending”, though the polite, well-dressed and rather shota-like List scolds him for it.  Together they tell Gon the tale of how Ging created the game with ten of his friends, each of their initials forming the name (including a bonus feature on how Ging changed Dwun’s – whose actual name is “Wdwune” – name on his own accord).  For now we know only the G, R, E and E (the girls at the entry and exit of the game, twins), D and L – perhaps the rest we’ll meet I, S, A, N and the other D later.

So what three restricted slot cards did Gon choose to take back to the real world?  Well, there was never any doubt that he, Kil and Bisky would each take a choice.  Biscuit was predictable – Blue Planet, what she promised all along (though it was far from the most precious thing she got out of the experience), but Gon comes up with a fascinating gambit.  Once again, the “idiot” Gon is the one who comes up with a brilliant notion when the chips are down – we’ve seen it over and over again, he’s brilliant in his own way.  He uses “Paladin’s Necklace”, “Patch of Shore” and “Transform” to actually walk away with a non-restricted card card – “Accompany”, which is what he wanted all along.  Why?  Because the first name in his binder isn’t Goreinu, which it should have been, but “Nigg” – and Gon figures that’s a clue that he was taken into the game as a baby, probably by Ging.  Clever boy.

It’s so classically Gon that the first thing he tells Bisky he wants to do if he meets Ging is introduce him to Killua, his best friend in the world – which pretty much pushes her over the emotional edge.  Killua has the tsundere act down pretty well, but he can’t hide his true self – and that’s the smile on his face as he watches Gon enter the castle alone, hoping to meet his father.  I’m sad in a way that the two of them can’t keep traveling with Bisky, because they make a highly entertaining and formidable team – but in the end, Hunter X Hunter is a chronicle of Gon and his friendship with Killua.  All the others – even Kurapika and Leorio – are accessories to that, destined to appear and disappear from the story while Gon and Killua will always be a team. It’s a credit to Togashi-sensei that so many of those characters are memorable – just add Bisky to the list – but it’s Gon and Killua who will always be the heart of H x H.

And now, with another brilliant, epic arc behind us, we embark on true Hunter X Hunter history.  With next week’s episode we finally reach the part of the manga that has never been animated in any form.  Not having been a viewer of the 1999 series and OVAs the impact of this moment is perhaps less immediate with me than with some, because the entire series has been new ground.  But as a huge fan of Rurouni Kenshin, I can imagine what it would feel like to finally see the “Jinchu” Arc animated, never mind by a great studio that was hitting the adaptation out of the park.  “Chimera Ant” comes to our screens at long last, and I for one can’t wait to see what happens next.

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Greed Island Tutorial: “Game Over”

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Preview: Reunion x And x Understanding (Chimera Ant Episode 1)

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  1. W

    Memories of the OVA overflow watching the last scene this week and all i can think is… TOGASHI!!! *shakes fist*

    Also Im pretty sure in the manga and ova Bisky DID hug the boys so for once MadHouse loses a point.

    Also also as someone that followed the old version i can tell you… ALL OF THE HYPE 😀

  2. A

    They don't hug in the manga.

    I don't remember if it happened in the ovas…

  3. Nope, it didn't – I checked.

  4. m

    if next week is a recap episode, i'm so gonna… punch the wall or something

  5. W

    Good News: no it will not be a recap

    ???? News: it MIGHT be a flashback episode, but dunno if will take the entire episode but a good chunck it might

  6. i

    I just went to mangafox to see how Chimera Ant begins and there was something weird.

    It was like a ten year old drew the manga in the connecting chapters and wasn't at all like Togashi-sensei's art. Is this the legendary not finishing at the deadline result?

  7. a

    Yep! Towards the end of Greed Island and pretty much the whole Chimera Ant arc, it was mostly scribbles and sketches. All of this is fixed in the released volumes, though.

    Luckily we won't suffer this in the anime! (… although it would be pretty fun, in a way)

  8. i

    There's also one more thing I was wondering.

    Why is it that the manga has been running since 1998 and only has 340 chapters? Naruto and One Piece are from around then and have 600-700 chapters

    The current Hiatus has been for a year but were there like 4 or 5 of similar length or is it a biweekly manga in Shounen Jump?

  9. a

    He's taken many hiatuses before. The Chimera Ant arc is infamous for it, they could go on for months with the longest being over a year. So that's the reason.

    As for why he takes them… it's not really known. Some thinks he's lazy or sick. Another belief is that since Shounen Jump pretty much forced him to continue Yu Yu Hakusho and basically ruin his health, Togashi can now do whatever he want (especially seeing how popular Yu Yu Hakusho was and Hunter x Hunte ris).

    But yes, reason unknown. Just tons of hiatuses.

  10. i

    May be he spends time helping Takeuchi-sensei instead of working on H x H.

    I remember what became of Mashiro when he overworked himself in Bakuman just so they wouldn't get cancelled. It's nice to see the boot on the other foot with Togashi-sensei.

  11. I have heard rumors that he has a chronic disorder of some kind that's somewhat debilitating, but that's just rumors. Really, who knows – if he were ever to continue H x H now would seem the time, with the anime starting to catch the manga and the series at an astonishing level of popularity considering how long he's been on hiatus this time.

    One thing can be said for certain, and that's he certainly doesn't need the money. With the franchises he and his wife created, they should be comfortable for life. Maybe it's nothing more than that – he's set financially and doesn't especially like to work.

  12. e

    @Ishruns: spoilerific about what we're not going to see in the Chimara arc? 😛

    This was a very fine closure for this arc, lots of fuzzies mixed with geekery (yay anagrams and acronyms) Bisky showing her soft side as well as her gem-crazy one and Gon displaying his cleverness. And of course DAT FRIENDSHIP.
    As an aside Ging-sans-headband looks a lot like Yusuke Hurameshi from YuYu hakusho, index finger included :p.

  13. L

    Togashi famously walked out on YuYu Hakusho at the height of its popularity, something noone else had ever done, after he was hospitalised from over-working. He now works at his own pace per his contract with Shueisha.

    It is also worth noting that he is actually the editor of Kuroko's Basketball manga.

  14. I believe that stems from a poorly translated joint interview, and in actuality it's that they once had the same editor.

  15. Melodic, it's not a recap episode, but… Well, I won't finish that thought, since I only know because I got spoiled.

    ish, I noticed that too, and I assume this is that infamous Togashi deadline issue at work. Thank goodness Madhouse wasn't that faithful…

  16. a

    Wonderful ending for the arc. The manga had a problem with this, since it felt very rushed, like Togashi said "screw this, new arc NOW". Madhouse fixed this nicely, however, as with a few other moments like this in the manga (when they left Whale Island the second time, they didn't even say goodbye in the manga!).

    Looking forward to your thoughts on the Chimera Ant arc!

  17. s

    Thanks for continuing to blog about this series!!

    I watched the 1999 version of this series but never went back to read the next arc in the manga, so next week will be new to me as well. I'm so excited! 8)

  18. M

    For those of you who want to know, next episode will indeed animate never before animated material and a big chunck of chapter 1 which was skipped in this version. But yes, Hunter x Hunter will make history next week.

  19. s

    And so ends my favorite arc. I'm not looking forward to the Ant arc at all. Quite honestly I'll leave it as it contrasts too heavily with all the previous material.

  20. s

    It really makes me mad when Gon is relegated to the "idiot" tier for shounen MCs by anyone especially those who already read the manga or watch the new anime version. I understand if they got that impression from the 99 series (which is why I really dislike that version) but still believing Gon an "idiot" after 75 eps/finishing the GI arc? I guess this is why Togashi practically spelled that misconception out in this ep.

    Gon is actually far from an idiot. He notices and remembers little/mundane things that seems unimportant to some (ie, Killua), catch on concepts quickly that at first glance doesn't have any connection at all (getting an unrestricted card outside the game) and actually understanding (accurately, I might add) Ging's perspective and personality despite the limited info he got from his father's friends and relatives. I find it scary how easily Gon can peg down another person's thought process and on top of that, have the will and determination to sacrifice what was needed to ensure victory… Hmm… Are we seeing the making of a magnificent bastard?

  21. I completely agree – Gon is no idiot. He misses the obvious sometimes, but he has amazing instincts and tremendous concentration under pressure. And as you say, he notices small details like few others – a regular Nanba Mutta. He's a very, very smart little guy – just in a different way from Killua.

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