Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 110

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Shoot, I think I’ve figured out what you were talking about…

We’re getting a one-week break for the New Year (most anime do take it) but happily, the Hunter X Hunter NTV schedule for January has finally populated with new eps starting on the 7th.  Sorry for the false alarm but we can relax for another cour at least, it seems – and thank goodness.  Can you imagine that being the final episode?  The final frame?  A one-week break is going to be torture enough, but I can live with the agony for that long.  I guess Han Megumi – bless her heart – really was crying because she just loves being Gon that much.

Meanwhile we get another stellar episode to send of what was for me the best full-year of anime any series has posted since Cross Game (and even there, it’s a photo finish).  This was not a flashy episode by any means, but it was very subtle and sneaky tense.  Togashi took the opportunity to turn yet another Chimera Ant into a fascinating character with a personal agenda, the dynamics surrounding The King and his guard got even more antagonistic, and we were treated to a quietly spectacular depiction of the final moments of the legion of eight as they prepared for battle, complete with nicotine fits by Meleoron – a scene which (you can check) actually played out in real-time.  Madhouse, I can only salute you again.

As great as this episode was, what really stands out for me is Killua.  I get the sense that Togashi remembers every word, every letter, every comma he’s written – and that every one of them matters.  No detail is too small to be important, and what I see (and Shoot does, too, despite not having witnessed all we have) in Killua is a culmination of all the development he’s received in 110 episodes (at least the 100 or so he’s appeared in).  Take note of the gesture he makes when he thinks he’s on to something but can’t figure out what – look familiar?  When that scene happened I remarked that Killua was like a cat – smart enough to get himself into trouble, but not always smart enough to get himself out.  And to an extent, that’s how I’ve thought of him ever since.

Cut to this episode, and Knov’s hidden room in the final moments.  Killua utters the damning words himself, to Octobro – “You can’t overthink something.”  But you can, Killua – that’s the problem.  He’s correct in the specific instance of teaching Ikalgo that he’s wrong to assume the Royal Guard could never leave The King, but in the big picture, he’s wrong.  If Gon thinks too little sometimes, Kil certainly thinks too much – and I think it’s the vulnerability that prompted Shoot’s “fade away” comment (spotted, I think, because Shoot has the same worry about himself).  Killua is a strategic genius, but ask yourself – if things go completely off the rails at the key moment, who would trust to make the right decision when there was no plan in place, Gon or Killua?  I’d trust Gon, because he knows there’s a time to think and a time to trust your instincts.  Again Kil is winning the battle and losing the war – he’s correct that there’s a wild-card factor around The King, but all that suspicion has done is undercut his confidence and sent him into the fray unsure of himself and the plan he so anal-retentively obsessed over.

Meanwhile, superficially at least it seems as if events may be conspiring to help our heroes in their attack.  The King is increasingly absorbed in existential navel-gazing, and increasingly irritated at being smothered by the protection of the Royal Guard.  As he looks ahead to the prospect of what’s to come, he laughs maniacally and says he’s sure to die of boredom.  Conquest is no longer enough for its own sake – in addition to his name, The King now longs for a purpose.  Increasingly human in every way, which Shaiapouf views with a growing apprehension.  In practical terms, The King forbids Pitou from surrounding him with his En field, and finally relents to allowing Pitou to cover the first floor to detect against attacks from underground – but only the first floor, and thus bans all other Ants from the second floor of the palace.  So The King will be alone there – or rather, alone but for the presence of one wild-card with a runny nose.

There’s another wild-card brewing in the palace too, courtesy of the rarely-seen Welfin (Nakamura Daiki).  Yes, another interesting Chimera Ant – a clever fellow who sees his future as “The King behind the scenes” and the key to achieving it getting in good with the despicable Bizeff.  This is another fascinating example of how the Chimera Ants’ transition to individualism has been a great strength and a great vulnerability, because rather than think about protecting The King at all costs Welfin is more concerned about his own welfare.  So he doesn’t tell the Royal Guard when he discovers Knov’s shoes in a pool of blood (you knew that was going to be big), but rather tries to figure out what’s happened and catch the intruder himself, using Bizeff as a patsy.

Welfin is very clever indeed (in addition to his wolf-like sense of smell) but because he doesn’t know the nature of Knov’s ability, he can’t quite get to the truth.  He gets admirably close given how little he had to go on, but the upshot is that he’s on a rogue mission to blow his own horn, and the Royal Guard are unaware that the palace has already been infiltrated.  If Pitou had known that, of course, his conversation with The King would have taken a very different turn indeed – but he didn’t, because Welfin is an individual who thinks like an individual rather than being one small component of a hive mind.

In any event, the preliminaries are surely over now and the true fireworks are set to begin.  We still don’t know Palm’s fate – thank goodness Morel’s speculation about it was wrong, as what we know for sure is bad enough – but because Welfin is more concerned about credit than The King, when he overhears Bizeff talking about Palm’s escape it’s yet another crucial development he keeps to himself.  If you’re the sort of person who avoids previews to avoid spoilers, this would be a good week to do so – nothing of Palm’s fate is revealed, but there are certainly a couple of interesting developments that are.

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  1. K

    This anime is deep. Really deep.

  2. t

    HxH is always good, even when nothing serious enough happens as this episode. I mean..we are almost at the same position we were before we started this episode, but as you pointed out, nothing slips from Togashi. and as usual, it's very interesting to watch (and a bit more funny than usual this time)
    seeing the over-thinking Killua struggling a bit to go on an action in which you can't know for sure what'll happen. it's a reminder for his old behavior, the behavior Bisky wanted to change in Kil in the beginning of this arc. but over-thinking about all scenarios, it's rule #1 in killing. and it's in his blood (and his name :P). but that doesn't mean he is like before. we know he has changed. moreover, we saw how tremendous his change when he inspired Ikalgo.

    and there's Welfin. he smells (like) trouble (HaHa because he can smell things :P).
    I see him as a replacement for Leol. I mean…he wants gratitude and glory. and he wants to do it on his own. it's very like Leol (THO Leol wanted to be the king eventually).
    besides, no other interesting Chimera ants have left, so he came in good time, complicating things. I mean…hunter's team have 2 chimera ants (Ikalgo and Meleoron), so we need to arrive some sort of equality.

    the king is still messed up. he is irritated by everyone around him.
    it was very interesting when he discussed with Pito about the EN. there was a very sensitive issue of whether Komugi is a threat or not. I mean…he thought about her immediately. and once again it was in weak-strong context. very interesting.

    that preview godamit! and of course we'll have to wait not 1 week as usual, but two weeks for this episode..why is it so cruel?? 😛

  3. Welfin and Leol strike me as very different. Leol is a glory hound – Welfin wants to have power behind the scenes. He seems cleverer and more dangerous than Leol to me – though that cleverness may have worked against the ants here. Like Killua, too clever for his own good.

  4. G

    They shot themselves in the foot with the preview for next episode. A big surprise like that should have been kept and not spoiled in the preview.

  5. t

    in a way, that's true. I agree with you..this kinda ruins the effect.
    a similar thing happened before, when Komugi appeared for the first time in front of the king and narrator kinda "spoiled' that "she is gonna influence him" or something like that.

    but trust me on this, not for nothing this is called a "preview", by definition. these are only a mere of seconds..seconds(!) of the whole episode(more like episodes) we are eagerly waiting for. so, if they put this in the preview, that means it's "tip of the iceberg" 😛
    as I said above, HxH is always(!) good.

  6. e

    Of all the elements in this episode three things stood out to me.
    1) Welfin's lingerie. Gets first place because it's really bothering me ( tetsu no thong! ). Vague Uchoten Kazoku overlap asides…is that supposed to be badass? For a relatively sharp guy it's just so unpractical. Rub blisters and hair snagging (he's a hairy wolf for crying our loud D,: ) in the front while awfully itchy in the back. Just no. *lovely mental images thank you Togashi-sensei I feel da love on this holy day :,D*
    2) Komugi has never looked so good before. She's borderline beautiful this week. Her eyes got more light and detail than ever. And the permasnot while there is barely visible. She's also pining for her game partner and for possibly another kind of game. Uh-oh budding maiden awareness + budding King awareness cross-pollination alert.
    3) Killua. His design (the eyes! at least in this anime version) and demeanor have always reminded me of a cat really. An intensely loyal one. On reaction in a sudden crisis I agree Gon is better suited but at the same time our dear Freecs 'no limits no holding back ' tendencies have their own set of drawbacks. They work best together really.

    Bonus #1: this uncertainty about Palm's fate is really cruel T_T .
    Bonus#2: Mr. Dragonfly is an ally now? I must have missed something big *blinks*
    Interesting bit about Meleoron shaking being due to cig withdrawal. I had simply assumed he was having a last minute mini-crisis of nerves and the smoke offer was just a way to have him relax rather than both cause and cure. —> mommy dearest was a chain-smoker – she allegedly kept on during pregnancy even – . Never saw her in withdrawal. Never saw her without cigs either though.

    I skipped the preview for once sems that was a blessing in disguise. That said it will be still a long wait for the next episode :,)

  7. S

    It's not that Mr. Dragonfly is an ally. It's that Ikalgo's ability is that to take over corpses and use their ability, and they had Mr. Dragonfly's corpse in storage (due to him being taken out by Morel or Knov, don't remember now). He's very useful for scouting purposes of course, so they would want to go with him. Ikalgo alone would be pretty useless.

  8. e

    Ah thank you for the reminder about Ikabro. Last time we had glimpsed the dragonfly Ant's body I couldn't tell if he was just passed out or dead, his ' =o= ' sorta face per se could be read both ways imho. Makes sense now.

  9. S

    I think back then he was just passed out. Remember that Leol could still use his ability. They must have killed him off afterwards.

  10. m

    This truly is the best arc of any anime/manga I've ever come across. I won't spoil anything from the manga, but with as good as its been so far the best parts are all after the invasion begins. I said before that long anime are always going to be better than short ones so it makes them hard to rank, but the reboot of HxH really is my favorite anime ever. I just hope the manga hiatus ends soon so that the story can continue after this arc ends.

  11. m

    More anime should take the hint from HxH and try to make a show with both quantity and quality of episode totals. In that sense anime should be more like American TV series (non reality ones).Take a show like The Walking Dead, you could watch any 6 episode stretch (time equal to 12 anime eps) and be extremely entertained, but it wouldn't even compare to taking the whole show as a whole. I know US shows get cancelled too, but their goal always seems to be longer season totals not just selling DVD to get season 2.
    I feel like that's what makes HxH the best anime in years. and arguably all time, is that it combines length and quality. The problem with most long anime is that they don't seem to try that hard to make each episode as good as it can be, and with short anime they can never go as deep into character/story development as they could with more time and often many plot elements remain unanswered. Also why so often in anime are shows missing actual endings? Not just a ending that leaves room for season 2/3. Not knowing if there will be another season til after the show has been completed seems to ruin the ending of anime more often than is acceptable. It is possible to have legitimate endings to anime seasons and still leave it open for another season. Which is why HxH needs to continue, if they don't give the series a complete ending that would be a great disservice to what has been one of my favorite (if not my absolute fav) manga/anime of all time.
    Do you think the anime will stop where the manga is at currently or do you think they will wait for more content or just make their own story ideas?

  12. People keep asking me that… I really don't know. I don't see much motivation to keep the anime on the air to begin with, as it's not making anybody any money airing when it is, so I assume it's a given it'll end when the manga ends (or even after Chimera Ant does). If it were still on Sunday morning I think it'd be a harder question to answer, but I still think they'd stop rather than go anime-original.

  13. S

    *Me randomly picking a chapter to look through in the Chimera Ant arc after catching up to the anime. *
    As I happen upon Chapter 261: "Who the hell is this wolf-guy? Did I even click on the right manga?"

    But, then I noticed an uncanny similarity in the scene of Welfin coming upon Knov's shoes, and this was around when episode 33 aired. That was when Gon had come across the missing shoe of Zushi's – when he and Killua were being threatened into fighting the cripple-trio in Heaven's Arena.

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