Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 94

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Some semblance of order has been restored to my universe – H x H is back.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say, though I’m not certain that would be possible in this case.  There’s no denying it was a good reminder of just how much of a grip Hunter X Hunter has on my anime consciousness at the moment, and it felt strange indeed to have a week without it (there have been others, but none for many months).  As great as it was to have the show back, I find myself for the first time since… well – since I don’t know when – looking back on an episode and actually feeling a bit conflicted about some aspects of it.  Or at least, unsure.

This ep was really a tale of two halves for me.  The first, focused on the conclusion of Gon’s Date with Palm and Killua’s “date” with Rammot, was fantastic.  The second left me a bit perplexed and in one or two instances even a little disappointed.  Given this show’s track record anything less than superlatives in my reaction are the sore thumb – I’ve gotten quite unused to feeling anything less than unreserved admiration when an episode concludes.  I guess it’s reassuring to know that not even H x H – or Madhouse and Togashi – are perfect, and to know that I’m still seeing this series with a critic’s eye.

For starters, the good stuff.  I thought the way episode #93 set this week up was fantastic, and the episode took off without missing a stride.  Pretty much everything about the first half of the episode was spot-on,  right down to the truly lovely BGM playing when Gon was delivering his present to Palm.  In many ways, this sequence was the literal manifestation of the symbolic journey much of the series has been about.  As I’ve mentioned many times, Killua has always seemed to see his role as walking the dark path so that Gon could walk the light – to spare Gon from having to soil his soul the way Killua feels his is already soiled.  But we’ve never seen it laid out in such stark, bare terms: Gon in a ethereally beautiful place sharing a tender moment with a crazy woman who he’s managed to connect with by treating her as someone beautiful, and Killua doing battle with his own demons and a very real demon out to kill him.

This is all great stuff, and the contrast between the two settings is portrayed brilliantly.  I’ve loved Hamazoue Shinya’s work as Rammot right from the start – it’s an explosive performance absolutely bursting with rage and hatred.  But Ise Mariya delivers some of her best work as Killua here, really giving expression to all the agony inside him, and the full depth of his longing to protect Gon.  This was about as unabashed a declaration of love as you’ll ever get in a shounen – call it “dear, dear friend” or whatever you like and attach whatever insinuation, but to me it’s as simple as it could be, Killua loves Gon with all his heart and would do anything for him.  It’s the power of belief – Gon’s belief in Killua is so pure and so unshakable that it drives Killua to desperately try and justify it by believing in himself, something that by now is completely unnatural to him.

Meanwhile, Gon and Palm continue their oddly moving date.  This is really an expression of what a strange character Gon is, because it seems as if he knows exactly what he’s doing – taking advantage of a woman with a weakness for young boys – yet he also seems completely sincere.  Gon is many things – he’s more complicated than he lets on, by far – but here, it seems as if he’s expressing a side of himself that’s very uncomplicated.  The best thing for everyone is for he and Palm to get along, so why not simply do whatever he can to make that happen?  It’s in both their interests and while he knows full well what’s happening (just as he did with the maniakku back on Whale Island) it comes off as practical and honest rather than calculating.  That’s the magic of Gon, and when he gives Palm that tree branch and the fireflies come to roost on it, for all that it’s bizarre it’s a genuinely tender and beautiful moment – which is the magic of Togashi, I suppose.

For me, this is where things come off the rails a bit.  Part of it is in Madhouse and Koujina-sensei’s choices (rare that I’ve ever said that) but the larger part is in Togashi’s (even more rare).  I know Palm is nuts, but I was kind of disappointed to see her reduced so quickly into pure psychopathy after having been shown as quite a sad and vulnerable character.  I was also aghast at the choice of BGM for the scene where Killua and Gon were fleeing her – it seemed completely out of place to me.  In any event there’s no denying she quickly reverts to a state where the elevators don’t go the top floor, and in the process reveals her ability – a kind of fortunetelling using her own blood (type A) and some kind of hideous “mermaid” relic which allows her to locate Gon and Kil (and to do who knows what else).

My biggest issue, though, is that (unless I’m totally misreading the moment) Togashi seems to have chalked up Killua’s inner struggles in part to Illumi having physically planted a needle in his head.  That’s seems like a cheap out by his standards, for starters, but I also feel that it undercuts some of the pathos of Killua’s struggle.  I think what the boy was going through was much more interesting when seen as a purely psychological struggle, as his love for Gon forced him to try and overcome the damage his family’s conditioning had done to him – an internal war over what sort of boy Killua wanted to be. To see him physically rip a wire out of skull and thus to have the scales lifted from his eyes…  It just doesn’t feel like Hunter X Hunter to me.  It doesn’t seem like Togashi’s usual style, or his usual standard.

In truth, it’s too early for me to close the book on all this – there may be more to the story that changes the way I view it (apart from the Benny Hill BGM).  I hope there is, anyway.  And in fact the episode does recover somewhat in its final moments, as Knov and Shoot arrive back in town.  Palm throws over Gon like an old sock as soon as she gets a look at Knov, and as nuts as she is I can’t help but feel sorry for her – the impression her is that Knov is knowingly manipulating Palm and her emotions because her powers are useful, in a far more calculating and cold manner than anything Gon did.  Knov and Shoot are there to observe the boys to see if they’re up to seeing Kaitou in his current state (a clue as to just how grisly that is) and what they see is the two acting very much like the goofy youngsters they are when their guard is down.  That means seeing Killua, especially, feeling “liberated” as he says himself – free, at last, to stand at Gon’s side without (mostly) second thoughts.  Meanwhile Knuckle and Morel are off to do battle with Cheethu, apparently having been the ones chosen to fulfil the Hunter Association’s promise to stop him.  Cheethu is definitely faster than they are, but all he’s show so far really is speed – and given what we’ve seen of their strength, I can’t imagine Cheethu has enough of his own to survive.

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55 comments

  1. A

    The whole plot point with Killua having a needle literally implanted into his head has never sat quite well with me, either, ever since I read this chapter in the manga a while back. I'm not sure if Togashi had planned it all along or not- There's decent evidence to support that in Illumi's episode 20 dialogue, but it's still hard to say- but even if he did I've still always felt it was a bit of a copout.

  2. I'm glad to hear it's not just me. Honestly, I think this is quite possibly the first major plot element in the series that felt "off" to me, though I suppose my feelings may change about it over time. Even so, 1 in 94 episodes is still a pretty incredible track record.

  3. A

    Just like Alrtritter, I never really liked that plot point. Actually, this is one of two plot points I don't like in the entire manga (the other one is coming…). First, because it felt like a cheap way to end Killua's struggle before the big battles coming. Second, because it plain doesn't make sense. Not that Illumi planted a needle in Killua's head (we already knew he was able to do that, and of course it would be perfectly in character) but how did Killua realize it right at the good moment ? How did he know it could be removed without damaging his brain ?

  4. S

    I always felt a bit like Enzo said about the needle thing, but watching this episode I actually got over it a bit. I don't think the needle is meant to be the only source of Killua's fear in fights – it was ALSO a character issue (still because of Illumi's education). In fact, it's possible that the needle was used by Illumi as a tool to induce a negative physical feedback which Killua would associate with fighting with uncertain odds. When Killua overcame his personal fear, the needle still produced a reaction, which was however starkly in contrast with his true feelings – hence allowing him to locate it as something 'extraneous'. And I guess the needle was just a bit under his skin, probably working with Nen. But in the end, it IS a way to achieve a "powerup" for Killua (the needle was extremely conservative too. I mean, what was uncertain, exactly, in the odds of Killua vs. Rammot? It was as one sided as the fight versus that serial killer back during the Exam). I don't see it as too much of a problem though. Just goes to show once again how effin' twisted can the Zoldycks be.

  5. a

    I don't think Killua realized he had a needle until afterwards.
    I think Killua was actually trying to commit suicide and just
    so happened to get lucky and find the needle instead.

  6. G

    I did not like the fight between Killua and Rammot. Rammot just kept pounding him (using Nen) and Killua just kept taking it while he fought in his mind with his brother (over to run ot stay and protect Gon). Killua didn't block any of Rammot's attacks nor did he use Nen to soften the blows. It took me out of the whole scene as sloppy that Killua was not getting bones broken or taking permenant injuries.

  7. S

    To be fair, it's heavily implied during the Hunter Exam on that Illumi is a Manipulator and it's confirmed after the end of this arc, if that helps you stomach this development any better.

  8. H

    this is togashi breaking the cliches i guess. no one would have forseen a needle planted by illumi. as much as togashi is a good writer, he also doesnt go with the cliches which was the brilliance of the killua needle scene.

  9. T

    The needle part was perfect for me. Being "purely" psychological to me seems too shonen-y and cliche, this development has been building up a balance of psychology and Nen (much like most of HxH) since the start — In episode 20 we were shown Illumi using Nen to manipulate Killua, and in 21 they were discussing Killua being forcefully affected by 'something else', and him being pretty much unable to do anything, actually, physically trying to overcome this when he almost fought Nobunaga makes the nen and a psychology mix much better.

  10. L

    This is not comming from nowhere :

    http://img15.hostingpics.net/pics/260853IllumiKillua.png

    But thanks for your review, I always read you (even if I don't understand everything cause I'm french).

  11. N

    I never really liked the needle scene. Cliches are not necessarily a bad thing. It was supposed to be a psychological struggle between Killua and his assassin habits but we learn that it was nothing at all. It's mostly well received by the fanbase because Killua is the most popular character. It's as if Togashi was telling to the fanboys "Hey ladies and gentlemen, your badass Killua is back, must be satisfied now" and it's the major reaction of the public. It's as if all his struggles were just jokes.

  12. a

    I don't think the needle revelation makes it a joke.
    In fact it makes Killua all the more admirable.

    Consider that before we knew about the needle
    it seemed as if Killua was dare I say… a coward.
    He couldn't fight Illumi to save Gon.
    He couldn't fight Nobunaga to save Gon.
    He couldn't fight against Shoot
    and he was losing against Rammot for a while.
    Killua deserted Kite to Pitou.
    All of this points to him being a coward.

    UNTIL we learn about the needle.

    Now instead it shows just how mentally tough Killua is.
    Killua struggled against a literal brainwashing
    and I believe it was even to the point of would be suicide.

  13. N

    This is it. It's just to redeem Killua in the eyes of the viewers. Now, Killua became the "perfect and badass" character they love. And it doesn't really make sense. Killua has been raised in an assassin world. This is the reason why he is what he is. I liked for examples his reflexion before the GI test where he shown his Hatsu. Acting like a guy overflowing with confidence now just by removing a needle doesn't make sense.

    Compare him to Kurapika. Kurapika is the smartest MC but he can act like Gon when he is really pissed, his exceptional willpower is also comparable to Gon and his flaws make him more likable. Killua is not like that. Now he is a smart guy with basically no flaws and seems to have forgot about his education( which permitted him to be the best assassin of his family and also to trasmute his aura into electricity at this age) just because he wanted to protect his friend.

  14. M

    But there really isn't anything to redeem Killua of.
    Killua didn't "become" the perfect and badass character we love…
    He always WAS! The only thing that changed is the mistaken belief that Killua is a coward when in fact he is probably the MOST courageous character in the entire series.

    Actually no. Killua's apparent cowardice was in fact NOT due to his assassin training but by Illumi's literal brainwashing.
    Killua overflowing with confidence makes perfect sense as
    the whole reason why he wasn't was because he was brainwashed.

    If anything it just goes to show how messed up Illumi is.

  15. F

    I personally love the needle scene. It is out of left field and is a literal manifestation of the hold that Illumi had over Killua.

    If it stayed purely psychological it would've been too cliche and therefore unlike Hunter x Hunter. It was Killua's love for his friend and will to protect him that allowed him to discover the needle.

    If he just magically got over the issues without any catalyst behind what had possessed his mind for the majority of the series it would've been far more unbelievable and far more unlike Togashi.

    Removing the needle is akin to Killua removing his family's control over him, literally in fact. It is very much Togashi-like and in my way a true pay off to the Killua and Illumi plot. He is free and it is all because of Gon.

  16. t seems clear based on the commentary that this needle business is a somewhat divisive development among readers of the manga. In effect, the argument in favor seems to be that, as regards Killua's s psyche, Togashi is using a literal act to make a symbolic point, while the alternative would have been to have a symbolic act (overcoming his psychological trauma on his own) prove a literal point.

    It's an interesting disagreement, and to be honest it seems to me that defenders are doing a lot of contortions to justify what's actually a cliche and convenient device as being a blow against cliche. But I'm not impartial here – I'm in the opposite camp, so my view skews in that direction. Maybe I'll feel differently in time, though I'd bet against it.

    There are also some practical considerations that feel rather conveniently overlooked to me. How did Killua figure out what was going on just in that moment? How did he know how to remove the needle without damaging his own brain? For a writer who doesn't generally miss the minutest of details, these are questions I'd hope Togashi answers, and sooner rather than later.

  17. A

    The needle was imbued with nen to not physically damage the brain, is what I think anyway.

  18. M

    Did you see my reply where Killua DIDN'T know about the needle
    and was actually trying to kill himself? The needle was pure luck.

    (just for clarification the username "a" is the same as me)

    Seeing how overwhelmed Killua was I don't think it would
    be that much of a stretch for Killua to become suicidal then.
    Hell we even see evidence of that when he was about to fight Nobunaga.

  19. A

    Killua trying to kill himself doesn't make sense either. Gon's life is at stake, and he would never risk Gon's life no matter what happens. If he kills himself, it means Rammot stays alive and if Rammot stays alive, it means Gon dies.

  20. No way in hell Kil was trying to kill himself. Doesn't fit in any way, shape or form.

  21. T

    It is still cliched but the reason I think it isn't totally awful is that I think the needle isn't the only thing that caused him to have fear and run away. The needle was just the tool Illumi used to warp Killua's mind into what Illumi wanted. During the fight Killua used his strength of mind to overcome his brainwashing by Illumi and in such the needle began to react again to try and train him back. Thus he felt where it was and rid himself of the needle so it couldn't train him back into fear all of the time.

    There seems to be a cop of little sorts (in my eyes) but I think that Killua still had a true fight with his inner self that Illumi created inside of him. The struggles he faced were still there and the fight for Gon was a real one. I viewed the needle as Illumi's tool and last reasort and only something that showed a finality to his inner fight. It is all the interpretation but for me it wasn't as easy and cop outed as you feel. I might have "jumped through loops" but as something that came immediately to mind in the episode I feel it wasn't to much of a stretch.

  22. M

    But that's just it. Obviously Killua committing suicide would mean
    Rammot stays alive but then Rammot was gonna stay alive ANYWAYS
    lest Killua worked up the courage to kill him. Illumi's nen needle prevented Killua from doing so and it was a struggle for him to just not run away. Forget fighting back. Killua was at the mercy of a needle (which I don't think he knew about) and a crazed ant. Brainwashed Killua was not gonna beat Rammot anytime soon. So "knowing" that not only he and his best friend Gon were gonna die by the hands of Rammot I think it makes plenty of sense that Killua would not want to live through such awfulness.

    Maybe it's just me but I think Killua would rather die than see Gon get hurt.

  23. o

    It's not a cliché thing. An idea can not be clichéd, it's the execution that decides that (how insightful it is, how much sense does it make logically or thematically and so on).

    I think the needle does not degrade Killua's inner struggle at all. On the contrary: not only does he break out of the psychological manipulation (which was real), his feelings were too strong even for a Nen infused needle planted in his skull by his all-powerful brother.
    Maybe the direction made it a bit confusing, with the triumphant music and all, but this is not just a badass moment. No matter how exciting viscerally, Killua killed again, even if Rammot wasn't exactly human. It's meant to be tragic and ironic in many ways, as he kills for Gon's sake, the same Gon that made him change his ways, no matter how unknowingly.
    Chapter 219 of the manga covers the fight. I'd suggest to everyone you read it. Togashi's direction is unbelievable.

    As for Palm, Enzo has a point. Palm, at this point, was not one of my favorite things about the story. The only thing I can say is trust Togashi. He takes all of his characters very seriously.

  24. I did read that chapter (after the ep, of course) but it didn't seem materially different from the way Koujina presented it to be honest. I don't think this was an issue of direction so much as the plot point itself.

    Killua had already killed recently, so killing Rammot wasn't exactly a new thing for him (heck, even Gon has killed a sentient chimera ant by this point). In both the viewing and the reading, I do kind of think Togashi mostly intended this to be a badass moment. Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how it played for me.

    One more point for me is this: I see a lot of people say that it would actually be more unrealistic for Killua to "completely" break free of his conditioning purely psychologically, so the needle thing makes it more realistic. But why does he have to completely break free? He's pretty damn strong, even as he was – he's already proved that – and to be strong enough to defeat Rammot doesn't mean he has to be completely "cured". Why can't his journey back from the abyss be a series of steps, and not one giant leap?

  25. o

    Yeah, my recommendation didn't have anything to do with this particular point. I just find the direction great, like the page with the collage.

    He did kill recently, but I'd argue that these kills were tragic too. Consider the ant he killed in the cave. Before she died, she told him that it was just a matter of power. He was more powerful, so she can only admit her defeat and die. It's a philosophical view which many ants share. But does Killua agree? This also echoes back to the end of Greed Island and his discussion with Goreinu, in which he asked him why he hates Genthru but not him.
    Also, keep in mind that Killua has no stakes in this war except for Gon. He kills to continue being his friend.

  26. i

    No one found that chase scene funny? I really did. It's rare in this arc in this series to have a pure lol moment but that was a good one. The scene of them rounding the bridge from Palm is another I found really funnily animated, as was the BGM and the scene with palm strapping a few bandliers worth of knives. I do really wonder now how all the Palm fans will feel if they did another date poll. I went for Bisky because at the very least she won't go all Jack the ripper on me.

    On the needle I don't really have a side. I think mostly that Togashi did do it as an action representing a symbolic idea but the execution was done quite lazily. Most importantly I think he just wanted to close the book on that theme and get on with the story without having to worry about it That is why Enzo feels its contrived and as close to a Deus ex Machina as Togashi has ever made.

  27. Heh, I really did not find that scene funny at all – but if they hadn't used that Benny Hill theme music, I might have felt differently. I was a little disappointed overall to see Palm become the butt of the joke so viciously, after what had seemed to me to be a sincere attempt to humanize her – and it also seemed to me that Gon genuinely sympathized with her and wasn't doing what he was doing simply to pull one over on her and laugh about it later (his own reaction with Killua proves that, I think).

  28. i

    Sometimes I think people forget that HxH is still shounen and I'm sure Palm was made a joke of in the same way most yandere characters are in shounen. The funniest thing though was right before her facade fell apart because Gon seemed so serious about considering their relationship even though as the narrator pointed out he's 12 (physically) and she's 22. Its times like those that Gon's cliche breaking maturity comes.

  29. Well, Gon was certainly the sober, clear-headed one in that relationship. And he does have experience with "maniakku".

  30. i

    I think Togashi was making some fun of all his fangirls that are into 'shota' with that joke.

  31. A

    I really wish Togashi had handled this matter differently. I mean, the needle shows how twisted Illumi and the Zoldycks are, but they could have done the same thing by, say, showing flashbacks of Killua's psychological conditioning, maybe something like A Clockwork Orange.

    And Killua breaking free from the conditioning could have been done another way. It could have been "step by step", by fighting stronger and stronger Ants until he managed to more or less control his fear. Or maybe the Association may have asked some of the world's top psychiatrists to try and "cure" Killua (it would have been somewhat anticlimatic, but it would have made more sense)

    As Enzo said,the way it is done here is kinda cheap. Killua could have killed Rammot without completely breaking free. It may have been the first small step, and given how cocky Rammot was it wouldn't seem really difficult for Killua to catch him off guards. And besides, as I said before Killua removing the needle doesn't make sense. How did he realize its presence ? And how did know it could be removed without damaging his brain ?

  32. F

    For those questioning how he noticed the needle in his brain. If you have paid attention over the past 60+ episodes you would have noticed Killua feeling pain in his head in times of conflict. In this particular moment it clicks to him. He has been literally brainwashed by his brother all along and it takes all his might to fight against it and rip that pain right out of his brain. As for how Killua knew how to do it without injuring his own brain, well does anyone remember Killua perfectly ripping a guy's heart out? I think that for Killua to gradually overcome it would make no sense, he needed the catalyst to change, changing slowly over time wouldn't work as it is far too ingrained in him, he needed a situation like this to make it happen.

  33. A

    Frog : I don't remember Killua ever feeling pain in his head. He always heard Illumi's voice telling him to run away, but he never felt any pain, or at least that was never mentionned. And ripping a heart out with the intent to kill is somewhat different from extracting an object from a brain. How did Killua know it could be removed safely ?

    And I don't see why gradually overcoming it wouldn't make sense. Killua could have gradually learned to control his fear, never completely getting rid of it. Or he could have used psychological help.

    However, I must say the needle-removing scene was pure awesome. Killua's killer face, in particular, was just so badass I almost want to forgive Togashi for this deus ex machina.

  34. F

    Killua has gradually been overcoming it the entire series already. Pulling out the needle was the turning point, the climax of the build up and all the foreshadowing. It had been hinted countless times that what was happening to Killua was more than simply mental. Killua has repeatedly grabbed his head while experiencing the brainwashed thoughts, it doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure out that Killua knows what his brother is capable of and the likely possibility that he used his abiility on him. Killua is not stupid, he is certainly smart enough to figure out that Illumi could have done this to him and deduce that the needle was in his brain and remove it with precision. This was the final rejection of Illumi from his life. He has now freed himself from that control and is for the first time in his life truly free.

  35. A

    "Killua has been gradually been overcoming it the entire series already"…How exactly ? A few episodes ago, Biscuit was telling him about his habit of running away. Against Shoot, he was never actually fighting, always running away. Against Rammot, he was literally unable to do anything. He never overcame anything until he removed his needle, and then suddenly there is no problem anymore. That's the problem : it was a cheap, convenient way to end Killua's struggle before the battles coming. I would have no problem with that if it happened in DBZ, but in a series as well written as HxH it's somewhat dissapointing.

    Besides, the problem isn't that Killua understood about the needle. The problem is that he :
    1) Understands everything right at the convenient moment, and in a few seconds at most. Had he thought "Eh, maybe Illumi did something to me", instead of "There is a needle in my brain !" it would have at least made some sense.
    2) Somehow knows the needle is in his brain, and not anywhere else inside his body. The fact he hears Illumi's voice in his head is irrelevant. The needle might have been, say, in his leg and still trigger memories of Illumi's voice. And I don't remember Killua ever grabbing his head or feeling pain in his head.
    3) Somehow knows the exact location of the needle. Why wouldn't it be, say, at the back of his skull ?
    4) Somehow knows the needle can be safely removed without damaging the brain.

  36. n

    palm is supposed to be a comic relief. the entire date was for laughs.

  37. S

    I told you 2 weeks ago that what's to come is the weakest part of HxH (I don't understand why you deleted my comment, it isn't an spoiler, as I'm not saying anything about the plot).

    Anyway, this needle thing is one of the reasons why I said that. I think Togashi got lazy in writing the plot during this chapters.

    Next week's episode should be really good, but after that there are a lot of moments that doesn't seem like Togashi's usual style, in my opinion.

  38. C

    I think the needle was fine because Killua's internal self-doubt and complex will still remain with the needle out. He's simply far too cynical and rational as a person for it not to. Gon and Killua would not be so perfectly matched if he was not and I firmly believe Killua would have abandoned Kite and run away in other situations(thus saving Gon's and his own life) without the needle.

    Thus I don't think the needle cheapened his very real struggle against himself to fight by GAR Gon's side much. I was just happy to see him get some measure of realization that he's a lot stronger then he gives himself credit for.

  39. H

    if there is one thing that is bugging me after the episode its that isnt gon 13???? he was 12 when the show started but we can safely assume that a year has passed since the show began coz killua retook the hunter exam which happens annually. so why did the narrator say he was 12??? was this in the manga? was it filler??? was it a mistake??? or am i missing something here???

  40. S

    In the manga he was "almost 12" when the series started. So he was 11 years old.
    He turned 12 during Heavens Arena. And right now he should be turning 13 soon.

  41. H

    i think killua's real struggle was while he was fighting shoot.

  42. T

    Furthermore, people are not really understanding it well; they are assuming Killua was physically being forced to run, like he was programmed to do it, as in it is just Nen somewhat physically forcing him to do that.

    The nen there is just a manipulation, to keep Illumi's brainwashing there; a reminder that keeps popping up which enhances the psychological conflict… as it is shown, it serves as a voice in his head, an internal conflict.

    Nobody complained when Gon was intimidated by Hisoka's nen in Zevil Island, no? It was the same, it got to him and made him scared, but it didn't mean it took over the psychological struggle between the two, it simply enhanced it.

    The first 6 minutes were Killua fighting his own urge to run, which was instilled by Illumi, that much is without question, but if the voice in his head won't shut up, he might revert to his the way he was.

  43. P

    Random thought :

    – Gon turning into God of conquest
    – lol at "Urameshi" reference in the preview (Yuyu Hakusho)
    – How the f*ck Kirua digged his brain with fingers without destroying it ?

  44. M

    I confess. I also found the scene with Palm chasing after Gon and Killua to be very funny. I basically almost chocked on what I was drinking at the time so… But that's comedy for you. BGM aside, you have to admit that Kikuko Inoue was pulling off a gleefully gonzo performance there. Quite excellent in that regard.

    But what was it that she was making Gon do exactly?

  45. My Kanji isn't good enough to know what he was writing, but I assume it was the punishment equivalent of the devotional practice of copying Sutras in Buddhism. Something like "I will never toy with Palm's heart again".

    I think Killua overreacted to the whole thing, personally – it felt to me that Gon had things under control and they escalated when Kil showed up and started yelling at Palm. Gon knows how to deal with her – Killua can't deal with her.

  46. m

    Killua was never good with handling female (mom, Biskey) and so Palm's wrath is directly aimed at Killua. Probably setup some grudges between the two.

  47. K

    I felt like it was a effect of Killua having more confidence. So much that he was probably tired of Palm's nonsense despite the fact that Gon really did have it covered.

  48. s

    The needle has 2 purposes. It's main purpose will be revealed in the next arc. The second is to ensure Killua's survival. It is a trigger to activate his body's flight mode in response to Killua's state of mind and as a guard against other manipulation nen types. The fact that he keeps freezing in place is an indicator that he's fighting against his body's "conditioned" response. Note that I said BODY and not MIND.

    You've said before that Killua is an emotional child. Have you noticed that he IS suicidal as well especially if he's feeling cornered? How many times did he thought of sacrificing himself for Gon's sake? Gon said Killua's job is to stop him from doing stupid things. Likewise, that needle is there to stop Killua from doing stupid things (from a Zoldycks' viewpoint).

    Killua's fatal flaw is that he's "psychologically weak" which was acknowledged by his family way back in the Zoldyck arc. Think about it. How much hold does Gon have on Killua? His brother? His father? Hence, all his struggles/fights are psychological rather than physical. This weakness will be more apparent as the story progresses.

    As for Palm, well, Togashi likes his dark humor. I see it as him taking a jab on women's tendency to have a mood whiplash and blowing things out of proportion (like a psycho) if someone so much as say something that'll "ruin the mood".

  49. R

    Man, Togashi is a genius. Just when the hipsters expected a psychological meaning of kil cowardice, togashi end it all with a needle. BRILLIANT. When I read this in the manga i feel like togashi was sending a message, sort of "The story flows like I want, not you". I really respect that.

  50. A

    Or maybe he thought "Oh damn. There are some big battles coming soon, what am I going to do about Killua ? I had planned something with great psychological depth, as I always do, but I really don't feel like working too much right know…oh yeah, Illumi can manipulate people with needles, right ? Found my way out !"

    And I don't see why expecting psychological meaning would mean being a hipster, especially from a heavily psychological show like HxH, and especially when Killua's struggle was heavily psychological until of course Togashi chose to end it all in a cheap way.

  51. m

    Or turns out, there would be psychological depth planned for Killua, just not this kind of struggle that is expected in battle shounen…?

  52. K

    It was already kind of hinted at that Illumi's hold was manipulation. Just look at his eyes back at episode 21.

  53. C

    I don't see the needle as a cop but for a different reason. The needle was probably put there to condition Killua to "run" when in danger, at the beginning it probably had a physical effect but after the conditioning kicked it was Killua's mind limiting him.

    After Bisky's warning he slowly tried to break free from this but because he believes his conditioning its too strong he can't break free. When he finally finds the needle and takes it out, it gives him the final confidence boost to beak free. Think of it a reserve good luck charm. Killua simply put all the "psychological burden" on a physical act.

    Perfect and in line with treatments for similar conditions for example putting you rage on a ball of paper and throwing it away to calm down.

  54. e

    For everyone unsatisfied with the needle business, I blame Phantom Rouge. Having read the manga before I'd even heard of the film, I experienced Killua's struggle as a concise conflict that lasted less than half of an arc. Pulling the needle out of his head seemed a justified ending.
    Now, people have Killua's issues built up into an immense internal conflict, so that it probably seems wrong to end it in such a literal way. I think that if the film had not been released before this point in the anime, this would hardly be an issue.

  55. e

    Goodbye speedo psycho rabbit.
    After all that moving internal struggle and endlessly devoted friendship declaration the needle does feel a bit of a cop out to me, Illumi's foreshadowed abilities notwithstanding. And coupled wth the pseudo-brainwashing it really felt like Togashi went his wife's route. As much as I'm fond of Sailor Moon (anime and manga) some of the plot and caracter arc solutions were just… eh.
    That said even Zheng in Kingdom seemingly recovered from his whole childhood of extreme abuse by the power of a hug :,). While it's a hell of fast healing process the quickness of it it's still not a deal breaker.
    I wasn't really surprised by Palm's 180° flip, that's what she has done since the beginning. She's intended as a caricature and morbidly hilarious relief imho. In short I got the impression you might have been affected by your Watamote filter in your expectations a bit here Enzo.

    The other hand the blood hunger relic detail reminded me a bit of Takahashi Rumiko's spin on those sea creatures in Mermaid Saga.

    Kaitou in the preview… Togashiiiiiii D,:

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