Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 97

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Hunter X Hunter is well on its way to developing the longest-ever list of people you really, really don’t want to piss off.

The eternal question of “which is the strongest Spider?” is one that’s surely been volleyballed about by H x H fans for well over a decade, and it’s one which for me is still hard to answer.  A few things do seem clear, though, the first of them being that we really haven’t seen most of them use their full power, including in this skirmish with Zazan and her Chimera Ant splinter group.  But they all, to a Spider, seem content to give their allegiance to Chrollo.  And Kurapika managed to best Chrollo in their confrontation, so what does that say about him?

We have many centers of power in the Hunterverse.  We have the Phantom Troupe, and of course the Hunters Association – another group we haven’t seen the best of yet, surely, and the Netero we’ve seen is by his own admission only half of what he was in his prime.  We have the Zoldyck family and their assassin religion (which is basically what it is), and the best assessment we can make of them is having seen Zeno and Silva fight Chrollo to a draw (though there’s a sense that Chrollo held back for purposes of pirating their abilities, though it’s hard to say just how much, and just how much they held back themselves).  We have Hisoka, both a Hunter and a faux Spider, who exists as a power center of one and again is someone whose true strength can barely be guessed at.

And then of course there’s the new kid on the block, the Chimera Ants. What’s abundantly clear here is that this particular offshoot was totally outmatched by the Phantom Troupe, though a couple of them actually had to show their Nen abilities in order to win.  Of course this is nowhere near the peak of strength among the Chimera Ants – merely a group of rebels under the command of a aggrandizing mid-boss who saw herself as a Queen.  But there are others among them who might give even the strongest among the other groups cabals for concern, and we’ll soon see just what the measure of their strength is.  In the final analysis I think all of these centers of power have more in common than it first appears, which leads me to speculate on what might be the ultimate fate of the Chimera Ants when this arc is over.  But that’s probably the subject for another post.

This episode certainly had plenty of nudity and near-nudity – Shizuku, Zazan, Feitan, even Gon & Killua.  But the whole fixation with Pike’s anus was borderline disturbing.  I think Togashi was indulging himself with some simple juvenile toilet humor here.  While every member of the Troupe is unique, Shizuku isn’t one of those you sense might be the strongest – it’s not as though Pike is an especially powerful foe (though he’s pretty good) but he managed to give her quite a bit of trouble before she shed her clothes and finished him off.  There was a good measure of irony in the way this fight ended – a self-proclaimed Spider defeating a hybrid spider by doing what spiders do their victims, sucking all the juices out of his body.  On balance, the whole encounter was pretty darn gross.

The main event of this day, no question, was the confrontation between the strongest of this nest by far and quite possibly the strongest in this subset of the Phantom Troupe.  Is it fair to say that about Feitan?  It’s hard to know – but it would be fair to say that we’ve seen very few cases where anyone in the series unleashed an attack as terrifying as the one he used to finish off Zazan.  The fact is that Kalluto was already stunned by how strong Feitan was, even without using his Nen – and this while bemoaning (supported by the other watching Spiders) that his skills were “rusty and dull”.  It surely speaks to Zazan’s own strength that she managed to injure Feitan’s arm and eventually forced him to unleash his Nen and with it, the fires of Hell.  She was pretty darn good.

The sight of the Spiders scampering away in fear is a definite first for Hunter X Hunter, but so they did as soon as Feitan responded to Phinks’ smartass offer to tag out by powering up.  In the end Phinks literally picked up Kalluto and carried him to safety (loyalty to the fellow members of the Troupe again, I suppose) as “Pain Packer” was unleashed.  Feitan has always seemed like the nastiest of the Spiders, but this attack felt like a pure embodiment of his rage and cruelty.  Yamaguchi Kappei is obviously one of the all-time legends of the business, with a huge range, but his performance during this scene was surely one of his best.  The soundtrack was spot-on, too.  There may very well be stronger attacks among the Spiders, but this seems like the strongest that we’ve actually seen used.

Almost but not quite lost in the grandiosity of Feitan’s solar display is Kalluto’s internal monologue during the fight.  At first it’s astonishment and dismay as he sees the gap in power between himself and Feitan (the non-Nen, rusty and slow Feitan).  But then he shares the reason why he’s doing all this – to “get his brother back, no matter how many years it takes.”  I take that to mean he’s on a mission for his mother, to whom he seemed especially close during the Zoldyck mini-arc, and this image does nothing to discourage that line of thought.  It’s also an interesting picture because there are five siblings pictured here, including one facing away from the camera – a sibling with long hair, but dressed in boy’s clothing.  Has Chekov’s gun been drawn from its holster?

In the aftermath of all this, it seems we have a new temporary leader of the Spiders, assuming they hold true to their bet.  And in truth it’s Feitan who I would have expected to step into the role, anyway, though Phinks is the louder and more brash.  It’s a grim and terrible scene at the nest after Zazan’s end, with the mutants she enslaved now free to beg for death – a death Phinks refuses to grant them with a “Fuck, no!  I don’t do mercy killings.”  In his way I think Phinks was being merciful here, allowing these tortured souls to die fighting – a kind of expression of the Spiders’ twisted honor code.  There are some light moments to finish things off – Feitan and Shalnark teasing Phinks for crushing on Chrollo like a little girl, and the omake. which leaves in Ise Mariya cracking up as she loses to Han Megumi in a contest to say “Meleoron the Chameleon” three times fast.  And next week, it’s back to the main event as Gon and Killua skinny-dip their way into East Gorteau, with 9 days left until their fated encounter with Neferpitou.

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  1. N

    Before the fandom war starts. I want to say Kalluto said he thought he would be the number 2. It means he knows who is the strongest, Chrollo.
    Pain Packer is strong but Ripper Cyclotron can be even stronger since its power is infinite. Among the spiders I always thought the strongest were those who are combat oriented(Nobunaga, Feitan, Phinks, Bono, Franklin) of course they are all weaker than Chrollo.

  2. i

    There is no such thing as Infinite power. Taking Knuckle's lesson, we know that there's a limit for everyone on how much Nen they can generate. That would logically be the limit of Ripper Cyclotron, just as much as Phink's maximum Nen output.

    Even that, I wouldn't think it's a good idea to punch with all your Nen at once. He'll probably blow off his own arm if he winded it up too many time before punching.

  3. N

    There is. When you think about it theoretically it means RC power is infinite. Phinks is an enhancer, who have the strongest attacks of all nen users but he chose a condition like that. It's for a reason, enhancers attacks are simple and effective. The maximum aura rule doesn't count here( it's not even true because Gon surpasses his regular aura level when he uses Rock, there is no limit, the more you train, the more aura you gain), it's the number of rotations which counts, quantity over quality. Winding up is arm is a casual thing, even if there is a lot of aura, it can't damage his body. You can't be hurt by your own aura like that.

  4. U

    Kurapika never beat Chrollo. He hit him with his nen sealing chain while the lights were off.

    Anyway Zazan was strong and could have beaten Feitan if she had played it a bit smarter (Same with Pike and Shizuku.) Rising Sun takes quite a bit to set up and It's power is that he turns the damage he takes into Heat. Because of this if Zazan had kept up the attack she could have finished him before he set it up.

    Sadly the fact that Feitan has to take damage to user his power means he would lose to the Royal Guard. As Pitou and Youpi are both capable of one shoting him with a direct hit.

  5. K

    Well we don't know his other abilities. That was only one form. Plus Zazan caught Feitan when he was a little rusty.

  6. U

    He may not have anymore abilities. Just pointing out this was not a one sided beat down for Feitan's. He could have lost.

  7. n

    Phinks did imply that his Pain Packer ability has other forms. So yes, he does have other abilities that he could've used, depending on the situation

  8. l

    You seem to be interpreting things overly explicitly.

    I believe Enzo was referring to the implications of Kurapika's character, seeing as how he could even land his chain on Chrollo, the likely strongest member of the Troupe and a good runner for the whole Hunterverse, when he had barely just learned the concepts of Nen. It's simply an amazing accomplishment.

    As for the Zazan and her underlings versus the Phantom Troupe, I'm quite sure the implications were that the Troupe members were obvious victors. Given their composed demeanor all throughout, it was almost as if they were toying with the ants, letting a little loose after an extended period of no activity. It seems Feitan only resorted to Pain Packer/Rising Sun because Phinks got him hot-headed in the moment and evoked his sadistic side (supported even more so by that maniacal laughter). As for the close call with Pike and Shizuku, it also seems she has a lot more under her belt and I don't just mean those undergarments.

  9. For the record I never said Kurapika beat Chrollo, I said he "bested" him – and he did. He put Chrollo in the situation he's in at the moment, and it really doesn't matter how he did it – he did it. That's a commentary on just how formidable Kurapika is, when he's really driven by his single-minded lust for revenge.

  10. L

    If you look at the Zoldyck sibling portrait, you can see that Kalluto holding his mom's skirt might indicate a want for motherly love that is mostly spent on Killua (he's the one in the embrace, but isn't returning it). Which brings up the question, how much of Kalluto's motivation is his mission from mom and how much is it jealousy and envy of Killua? Or maybe he just wants to be friends with Killua—d'awww.

  11. e

    *twitch twitch* *insert my vaguely wtf face*
    *Shizuku's twitch twitch remark* *insert me choking on my drink*
    Trust Togashi&Madhouse for turning fanservice into a peculiarly uncomfortable experience…
    But the shirtleness was nice :p especially as it translated into a certain degree of care for a comrade – namely Phinks lending Shizuku his top at the end. Phinks I'm sorta starting to appreciate you man – .

    Now I must say I wasn't particularly taken with the previous episode – I'm just not super invested in this particular set of members so to speak -, but this time around between the Phinks moments and Feitan's scary voicework and the nice Kalluto+photographs bits AND the emotional scene at the end with the mutants I didn't mind spending a bit of time in Meteor City away from the main stage.

    Interestingly enough Illumi does not look superscary in the family picture.
    I might develope a certain affection fo Kalluto. His Sailor Saturn looks make me weak. Hotaru-chaaaaaaaaaan :,)
    And yet it's too soon I can't still place him in the 'good Zoldyck' camp. His SuperSadistic streak is there and it's strong.
    On the Baby Zoldick of mistery I do believe the gun has shot a nice bullet. Question is not if but when he's actively joining in the action…

  12. m

    I'm so pumped for the upcoming episodes! Revs like yours help make me wait more patiently.

    So this is the second time, I think, that the siblings are shown. The first time was during the Zoldyck Family Arc( Though in both cases the unknown sibling's face is not shown.

    People have actually found out the name of this unknown sibling through some sort of pattern. Will not show how though if Enzo-san considers it as a spoiler.


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