Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 131

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Well, now – that certainly was a thing, wasn’t it.

Before I begin, a confession: I was partially spoiled as to what was going to happen in today’s episode.  First by an intentional troll comment on RC two weeks ago, and then by images on my Twitter.  I managed to delete the former without reading the entire thing and avoid long-term exposure to the latter, but it’s one of those “cannot unsee” moments that is what it is – I didn’t know details but I knew what the shock moment of the episode was going to be.  It’s one of the hazards of being a blogger and being instantly connected to the rest of the world in the information age.  C’est la vie.

Now, on to the moment itself…

As you can imagine, I’ve spent some time processing what happened, which packed a good deal of shock value even with some idea of what was coming.  It’s a lot to take in.  When you taste a single malt scotch or a wine, you break down the experience – you have the nose, the arrival, the mouth feel, the finish.  And these things can often give very different impressions.  That’s what this episode has been like for me – it’s felt different at every stage of the experience.  The challenge now is to try to make sense of all those conflicting reactions and come up with some sort of cohesive whole, and it’s a difficult one.

I think it’s not a simple matter even to know what criteria to judge this by.  There’s the issue of the execution (double entendre intended) itself, firstly.  In purely dramatic terms this is a ridiculously huge moment for the entire arc.  What kind of satisfaction did it offer as a crescendo for Gon’s role in “Chimera Ant”, and where does it leave him for the rest of it?  Then there’s the question of the development itself – does it hold up to Hunter X Hunter’s internal logic (hint: yes)?  Does it feel right – does it offer the sense of epic poetry we’ve come to expect?  And of course, the matter of how Madhouse and Koujina-sensei fared in adapting it from the page to the screen.

I fully expect this chapter was polarizing when it was published, and I expect it to be polarizing now.  Hell, I’m only one person and I’m polarized.  I loved it and I hated it, sometimes in the same instant.  What I can say with certainty is that as I’ve had time to process what I’ve seen, my feelings have grown more favorable.  Why?  Because in thinking back on it, seeing what Gon did makes perfect sense both in terms of H x H mythology and in terms of his character.  In the moment, that isn’t so immediately obvious – and it doesn’t offer a whole lot of satisfaction for Gon’s arc.  It’s a tragic development in every sense, but that fits the Togashi model too – he’s not going to give you what you think you want and what you expect.

Basically, everything Togashi does turns out to be a deconstruction of the shounen genre, and Gon’s power-up is no exception.  I think what he’s done here is take the coming-of-age story and savagely, tragically reimagined it in literal terms.  What if “coming of age” literally meant fast-forwarding your body in order to win a fight – to throw away your future in order to become a grotesque, horrifying vision of what that future could be?  That’s exactly what Gon has done here – he’s sacrificed everything (I won’t say “gambled everything” because from Gon’s perspective, there’s no uncertainty involved) in order to “become strong”.  And it’s perfectly in character for him to do so.  Gon is reckless, daring and resolutely straightforward in his world-view, and if this is what he thought was necessary, I don’t think he’d hesitate to do it.  Especially when he’s in a mind to punish himself for what he sees as his failing Kaitou repeatedly.

In the world of Hunter X Hunter, there are no free rides.  Just as surely as in Fullmetal Alchemist, power always comes with a cost – but in H x H, the exchange isn’t always equivalent.  There’s the matter of the existential cost, surely, the toll the cultivating and exercising of power takes on the soul.  We’ve seen this theme play out over and over in the lives of people like Netero and Killua (and indeed, one of the things that makes Hisoka so terrifying is that he seems immune to this effect).  But there’s also the material sacrifices that must be made – be it life energy, Nen, or even a part of the body itself.  We’ve seen the sacrifice of the right arm over and over – Gon himself in Greed Island, Hisoka in his fight with Kastro, Meruem, Pitou, Netero, Kurapika, Kaitou – this is no coincidence, surely, but a conscious decision by Togashi to try and hammer the image into our minds (thought just why is open to debate).

The arc that “Chimera Ant” harkens back to here is “York Shin”, the one with which it shares the most thematically and stylistically.  There are strong echoes of Kurapika’s arc in Gon’s (despite the warnings of his master, Wing), starting with the fact that we saw the spiritual toll the life of revenge was taking on Kurapika.  But we also saw the nature of Nen and the imposition of conditions – how these can increase the Nen user’s power dramatically.  The stronger the condition – be it a limitation on when and how a power can be used or a punishment that will be accepted if a vow is broken – the more the power can increase. Kurapika was so desperate to wreak his vengeance on the Phantom Troupe that he imposed a series of conditions strictly for the purpose of doing so, and in the process gave himself the ability to come very close to achieving his goal.  In Gon’s case, it appears his vows and conditions were even more specific and his sacrifices even greater – and he’s certainly the more powerful Nen user to begin with.  And the result is a terrible, awesome thing.

So in the end, I think we have a development that’s the culmination of all that’s come before it, and a thoroughly in-character decision by Gon.  This is Togashi’s world, and in that world when the main character achieves the ultimate power-up it’s not a moment of triumph but of tragedy.  This episode is not about what Gon has gained, but about what he’s lost.  In Hunter X Hunter, there are – to repeat – no free rides.  When a young child enters the ruthless and terrible world that Gon has entered, it breaks him.  The Gon we saw at the end of “Greed Island” was at a personal apex – resolutely loyal to his friends, triumphant over a field of skilled and experienced adults, progressing on his personal journey.  This is Gon at his nadir – his innocence shattered, his unique and alien worldview having led him to a point of personal desolation and ruin.  He simply lacks the experience and perspective to survive this ordeal intact, and what we see here is the result.

Given all that, as inevitable as all this seems and as much pathos is involved, it’s hard to feel a sense of satisfaction.  Pitou is dead (even that inspires somewhat conflicted emotions) but so is the Gon we knew.  Togashi hasn’t given us a triumph of good over evil or a noble sacrifice, but what at best feels like a necessary tragedy.  Hunter X Hunter’s world has always been this harsh and cruel, but never has it felt so hopeless.  Neferpitou was, in the end, acting in a way that was true to himself – and when he said “I’m sorry to say I have to kill you now” I actually believed him – like Youpi, I think Pitou has shown itself to be capable of spiritual growth.  And his loyalty to The King is so great that even after death, Pitou’s Terpsichora ability animates his own corpse, using it to try and kill the Gon Pitou has recognized as equal or greater to Meruem in strength.  This costs Gon his arm, and would have cost him his life if Killua hadn’t intervened.

The matter of Killua’s role in this episode is not to be overlooked.  Poor, sweet Killua – he has experience and perspective that offers him a small measure of protection that Gon lacks, but the irony is that he’s emotionally even more innocent than Gon in spite of it – and it’s his love for Gon that’s his greatest vulnerability (and strength).  When Palm takes custody of Komugi (Killua now trusts her implicitly) he’s free to race to Gon’s side – but he arrives only in time to see the shocking image of the adult Gon landing blow after blow on the already-dead Neferpitou.  Killua will never, ever give up on Gon under any circumstances – but this Gon has already given up on himself.  He’s paid the terrible price necessary to achieve his transformation, and he’s deemed himself unworthy to live on as he was.  He’s relieved, in fact, to have suffered the same injury that Kaitou did – and he mistakenly believes that it would give Kaitou satisfaction to see what Gon has done both to himself and to Pitou.

So let’s deal with the last of those two major questions – where this leaves Gon in terms of the story, and the quality of the adaptation.  The latter is easy – stupendous.  The new music pieces and the way they and the familiar ones were used, the vocal performances (I’m out of superlatives for Han Megumi), the choreography and animation – it’s unassailable.  This is not an episode centered around an epic fight like #35-36 or #126 – there really isn’t much of a fight here at all.  The result is clear from the moment Gon undergoes his transformation, and he and Neferpitou both know it.  The mastery is not in massive combat sequences, but in portraying the terrible and tragic nature of what’s happening.  Ironically in the end it’s only Pitou who can feel any sense of satisfaction – because he knows what Gon has sacrificed in order to kill him, and he can be glad to trade his own life for what he sees as the safety of The King.

I don’t know just where this leaves Gon (and Killua, for that matter).  I don’t know exactly what happens at the end when we see a huge explosion – some kind of Nen feedback loop perhaps, a system overload caused by the titanic nature of Gon’s inherent Nen power and the magnitude of his conditions, or simply his enhanced Janken.  Gon surely isn’t dead but it’s hard to imagine he’s going to be in any condition to impact events back at the palace – and I can say with 100% confidence that if Killua is faced with the choice of staying with Gon or contributing to a fight that could save the world, he’ll stay with Gon.  That struggle – be it physical or otherwise – will surely take place, and I suspect it will be that rather than Gon’s plight which is the next focus for the series.  But the question of Gon and Killua’s role in the conclusion of “Chimera Ant”  – and whether Gon’s personal arc will be given any kind of benedictory moment – remains a complete mystery.  And that alone is proof that Togashi remains a writer of singular talent and complete fearlessness.

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  1. M

    The explosion at the end was just the result of Gon using his Paper (and DAMN, if it didn't get big).

    Absolutely fantastic episode. Madhouse always delivers, but specially so here. This one was the closest time I got to crying while watching HxH. I get teary-eyed on some episodes, but this one was the most powerful. And to think it's so close to ending…

  2. G

    It was not paper but actually a super powered Rock, but man was this episode ever breathtaking too much for my mind I was heartbroken mind blown so wonderfully somber its hard to even imagine anything in any medium of entertainment even reaching the same level as this Pitou was pretty much my favourite character so seeing her get done in like that was arguably to much for me to handle… #TrulyForeverGoodbyePitou

  3. M

    I'm pretty sure it was Paper. Rock is nothing more than a punch, and the ball of Aura was very clearly outside the stump of where his arm previously was. It also didn't make the same noise that Rock was doing a while ago. Everything points to it being Paper.

    One can only wonder how Scissors would be…

  4. S

    He didn't launch so it's not paper… even in that state he could not have made a paper that strong, you can't think of enhancers like other types Rock is not a punch but a massive build of aura concentrated in one spot most conventionally/effectively used as a punch which considering he was pretty much using rock as his fist… The aura might have seemed separate similar to Razors or some other emitter but I believe it was just for charge room & dramatic effect epicness on Togashi's part if u look by the time it was charged it was pretty much tight to the stump… Ko is "100%" outputted aura focused in one area… Rock/BigBangImpact is past "100%" outputted aura I doubt he can do that with an emitter ability like paper given that it's an enhancer thing.

  5. M

    Of course he can, in that state it's like he trained for decades and decades extensively, and pure aura doesn't form a ball like that. It looks the same as Silva's balls of Aura he used on Chrollo. It is Paper, no question about that. He can't focus Aura on nothing at all as an Enhancer attack, it doesn't work like that.

  6. S

    It is Rock I'm quite sure about that but u can think w/e u want… Silva is a transmuter btw also consider that a lot of specials utilize more then one category and I think ur overestimating that Gon, Pitou was only comparing aura to the pre-rose king not overall ability he would still be killed by Netero's buddist sadva as he arguably doesn't have near the durability of the king or even the royal guard for that matter given that Pitou was able to so easily rip off his arm. Look the way emitters work is that their aura keeps power unaffected of hardly effected by how far they are way from the aura unlike any other class so it has to be launched or that effect doesn't even come into play. It was severed arm using Rock as his fist which unlike Ko that requires u to manipulate already available aura, Rock is generated assumedly from ur reserves taking away that "100%" limit. What Hatsu really is: The free utilization of aura… What most ppl think Hatsu is: Special Ability… Also about Gons state I think rather then a future self it was more of the "HERO" he saw himself to be…

  7. M

    I didn't get any of your Rock/Ko talk, to be honest. Rock is literally Ko, except way stronger because of the speech ("First comes rock…", which is a restriction which increases its power. Same as Ubogin's Big Bang Impact, except the ability is more powerful because of said restriction (though Gon's attack is weaker compared to his because he is way weaker himself, obviously).

    We just didn't see it being launched, but it most definitely was Paper. Rock is -literally- a super-powered punch, that's all. He focuses all his aura on his fist, and punches using his aura-reinforced fist. Same as, once again, Ubogin's Big Bang Impact (which the movie erroneously depicted as an Emission attack, when he "launched" it at the building). If there's nothing there to focus his aura on, there's no way he can focus the aura. Unless you're implying he "punched" with the stump that was left on his right arm, which is absurd in my opinion.

    And, like I mentioned, it didn't show ANY of the characteristics of Gon's Rock that he used several times: the aura increases in size, and then gets focused and "pointy" and emits a particular sound, none of which happened. And obviously his Rock was stronger than his Paper, never did I imply that. I also didn't imply he could take on King post-explosion, that's ridiculous. He gives King pre-explosion a run for his money, though, and possibly wins.

    And Silva's Nen type was never stated, despite what sources like the Hunter Wiki may say, though the attack most definitely looked like an Emission one.

    One last detail: Emission is basically keeping Aura away from your body to do something, which is exactly what Gon was doing, keeping the aura away from his "stump" to shoot it in a few instants. I'm pretty sure I won't change your mind anyway, but I explained it as best as I could. If you still didn't get it, then I'll likely won't answer anymore. Good night.

  8. C

    That last attack was Dynamite. Gon's secret self-destruct Janken move.
    Neither Rock nor Paper, it was just all him focusing all his nen then letting it go boom.

    (That's not spoilers, just a joke)

  9. r

    Gon did EXACTLY what Wing told him not to do, way back when.

    I've seen a lot of people acting like this is some new "form" for Gon, like it's something he's gonna just be able to use whenever he's in trouble from now on. Totally ignoring the fact that this is a one-time horrible decision that Gon made in a near-breaking point of mental distress. It's not like Goku going SSJ.

  10. K

    I can't believe how stupid some people can be. A friend of mine always treated it like a form, a power up. Even when I said why it was a one-time thing, he shrugs it off saying that Togashi will use it again eventually, that Gon will "learn to control it" (even though he was not out of control to begin with…) and bullshit like that.
    On I side note, he also think Chimera Ants was a let down for all the build up, and is the only person I know who disliked this week's chapter of the manga (wich we shall not talk about here).
    Seriously, I don't get how these people can read/watch Hunter x Hunter to this point and still expect standard shonen conventions.

  11. I've seen a lot of criticisms of H x H since the Chimera Ant arc started (and even before) which on the face of it are utterly mystifying. But the common thread I've noticed is that almost invariably when these kinds of really negative comments fly, they result from interpreting the series by conventional shounen standards. It's an issue both of expectations and interpretation, and it runs through the vast majority of the hate bombs I see lobbed at Togashi's writing.

  12. L

    I can appreciate standard shonen and totally understand where the common thread comes from, but the Chimera Ant arc (especially these last few eps that I just caught up on) has been one amazing, almost poetic bit of fearless writing. It almost reminds me of the Red Viper this week as it's equally depressing–but not quite as gruesome–and carries that same contemplative mood when the credits roll.

  13. I agree with all of that except the "almost" poetic…

  14. w

    Well, that broke me emotionally. I think I cried a little, I definitely yelled. Gon, please come back. Be okay.. Killua, please save him. Somehow.

    Hunter x Hunter has ruined other series for me. After that masterpiece, I really don't see how I can watch other anime for at least a week.

  15. G

    I may be in the minority here but I actually felt a little sad for Pitou, That was just brutal.

  16. w

    You're not alone there. One, it was not a pleasant watch. Two, he showed such a remarkable potential for personal growth that it seems a shame to not get to see it explored further.

  17. A

    ''The arc that "Chimera Ant" harkens back to here is "York Shin", the one with which it shares the most thematically and stylistically. There are strong echoes of Kurapika's arc in Gon's, starting with the fact that we saw the spiritual toll the life of revenge was taking on Kurapika.''

    You are spot on through out the entire post Enzo, but this right here I felt was where you really hit the core of Gon's journey during the Chimera Ant Arc.

    Honestly, this entire episode just reminded me of Kurapika's arc and episode 47, from how Gon sacrificed himself entirely for the sake of revenge too how he kept on punching Peto's head in until it caved a la when Kurapika kept on torturing Uvogin by punching him into the gut several times. But the biggest similarity was when all was said and done, there was a great sense of loss despite the fact that out ''hero'' won the fight.

    I guess I can say now that the reason why I still think Kurapika is a noble and gentle person deep down is due to the fact that we just seen Gon, who for all intents and purposes is as good as you can be in Togashi's world (well, give or take a few scary moments when someone hurts someone close to Gon or angers him), still fall to the desire of vengeance and decide that there is no sacrifice too great to get the one who wronged him.

    And that's really the moral that Togashi had been trying to get across Yorkshin: You might be justified in your quest for justice, but is it really worth throwing it all away and hurting those close too you to get it?

  18. Indeed, that's leading yourself down the garden path – I think Togashi has consistently shown that belief throughout the series.

  19. F

    You're right, Enzo: Togashi just doesn't give us what we want, expect, or desire. I think eventually he'll give us a taste of that, but he'll make us work to find it for ourselves from here on out. "Chimera Ant" definitely feels like we've turned a corner from the dependable, deceptively simple happy endings of previous arcs to a complex future that more closely mimics real life. Real life doesn't guarantee that everything will work out nicely or fairly . . . and neither does Togashi.

  20. F

    I lost track of how many times I yelled, "NO!" at my computer screen.

    Wow, this wasted me. I want to watch it again but I'm going to have to wait a few days before I do. I don't think I've ever worked so hard emotionally to make it through an episode as I have with this one.

    Killua – don't you dare leave Gon's side, no matter what happens to him now or what state of mind or body he will be in; he needs you more now than ever before.

    It's amazing how we've seen so little of Gon in this arc and yet this episode made me forget that there is a king who wants to rule the world. Did Netero really battle the king? It all seems so very long ago now . . .

  21. G

    I'm wondering how they are gonna bet the king? No one is left with enough power to take him out. Gon might have but now he only has 1 arm.

  22. u

    Great post, Enzo, probably one of your best write-ups for an episode. I too had conflicting emotions about the episode initially, but then I realized that it fits perfect with both the established nen rules and Gon as a character. It will be interesting how this plays out regarding whatever negative effects there are and how Killua reacts to these events. As you said, it's hard to imagine him not choosing Gon over the mission….but we'll see. I have a bad feeling the other Hunters are going to get massacred, though. I think Killua + Meleoreon may have been their best and perhaps only chance.

    But, I want to say that I'm really going to miss Pitou. I think she's developed quite a bit as well but not as overtly as Meruem. Little things like letting Gon cry it out, telling him she's sorry, and such really added a different shade to her character. I could not feel glad or happy that she died in such a horrible way. Which speaks wonders for Togashi's excellent characterization.

    It'll be interesting how things turn out with Meruem. I love his character, he's probably my favorite in the series at this point. So, yeah, I've got quite a stake in the remaining episodes.

  23. u

    So, so glad I only just now got around to checking this site for a reply. Good looking out Enzo.

  24. A

    Just when I thought I have seen the best episode in the arc, I am pleasantly corrected. The episode can make anyone be speechless on how good it was. As soon as I finished it, I waited for Enzo to post his thoughts on it and he delivered. All the points tied together about Gon and his descent to his current state.

    Holding my breath to the conclusion of this magnificient arc.

  25. s

    What a well directed episode; polarizing as it may be to some, i think that in terms of the way the material was handled, how the bleak, Shakespearean tone of this ep was cultivated, everything just fell into place in terms of putting this episode together. The art used to depict Gon's transformation portrayed that monstrous feeling that im pretty sure the director and animators were trying to instill within its viewers. This is the malice and potential for evolution that Netero's words alluded to, the awe-inspiring yet terrifying form humans can take when driven by their natural impulses.

    Everything in terms of creating this episode was on point; the music that was used, the camera angles and first perspective shots used at times to create fear, all brilliantly done. Even the narrator knew when to speak and when to let the scenes speak for themselves. Again, while i think the narration is ok, id rather let the writing of the series allow its scenes to speak for itself. I just dont like being told things; there are exceptions to the use of narration in visual media such as when a character is narrating, because its more of a personal perspective and there's still a sense of dynamism to a character making personal narrations as well as you get a taste of their character.

    Overall, whether one hated or liked this ep, one has admit to the fantastic work that went to directing, pacing, and putting this ep together. I feel that this was a fitting conclusion to Gon's descent into desperation and anger. The polarization about the events that transpire i feel, doesnt come from the fact that the what occurred this ep was a letdown, but because of the conflicting feelings it invokes about the way you feel about the characters and the things that transpired. You dont know how to feel, or what is even going to happen to the rest of our characters from this point on. The hunters have taken a major blow, and in this way, it almost feels like the end of "the empire strikes back" where the audience is like "Now what". One of the best eps of HunterXHunter.

  26. I just tweeted out the last sentence of your comment, hope you don't mind…

  27. u

    Eh, I agree with most of this. But, if the characters narrated most of this arc instead of an omniscient one, it would have felt awkward given how fast things were going in a short period of time.

  28. s

    @enzo nah i dont mind at all
    @usasoldiern I wouldnt have wanted one of the characters to narrate throughout the arc neither; I was just referring to character narrations in any type of visual medium in general, like in a tv show or a movie (Like American Hustle)

  29. T

    I've been teasing my college buddy for weeks about this(I never told him what'd happen just that once he sees a certain pose it's all over) and I can't wait to hear his reaction when he gets back from his trip tommorow.

    I can't say I was ever surpised because I too was spoiled a LOOOOONG time ago before I even started the manga, and I wasn't even looking into HxH at the time (It was YYH) But actually seeing the moment made it ten times better and Madhouse did a excellent job in bringing it to life. I really wish someone would just licence the anime already so I can buy it…

    I can't necessarily partake in 'speculation' given my knowledge of the manga (which had a leaked cover that looked awesome) but I really do agree with the assessment that it was more tragic than anything else.

    but now Enzo, a serious question:

    does this scream worth the money or does this scream worth the money?

  30. R

    Lol, I swear you can stab people with it.

  31. Y

    You say you both loved and hated it, but I can't actually figure out what you hated… ?

  32. The way it made me feel, mostly. Depressed, unsure… It's what Togashi intended but it's not pleasant.

  33. m

    I was a little freaked by Gon's muscle mass. Seriously, after 130 episodes of normal Gon, muscle Gon is a little polarizing.

    This episode is really amazing. I cried too. If this marks the end of Gon's ability to use nen, I would cry some more. But that last look Gon gives Killua is my glimmer of hope that Gon can be saved.

  34. S

    You think HxH is gonna be #1 again in your top anime of the year list?

  35. Who knows. It certainly has a very good chance but we're only 40% through with the year.

  36. m

    I can't imagine how great a show would have to be to be able to surpass HxH with only 1-2 cours. If you made a show as consistently great as HxH you'd still likely lose out to the sheer quantity of amazing HxH eps. I'd say unless HxH drops in quality, but I've read the next arc and it's great. I hope they immediately start animating the new material that's starting up. I don't want to wait over a year for more HxH anime.

  37. J

    Wow, I feel cheated. This is one of those times where I feel everyone praises Togashi for no reason.

    "Whoa, Togashi deconstructing shounens, he's a genius!"

    No. What he did was generic and cheap as a writer. That's why shounens (and most anime, really) is viewed as only cartoons. He spends entire season powering up enemies through logical stuff, and when climax comes, MC is able to become the strongest guy for whatever reason. Sure, he won't be able to use Nen and he'll die, but come on, you can't seriously expect MC to die in a shounen that still is not ending. Next arc will probably feature Killua healing up Gon and "You dun bro, you cun faito naow dem munstrs".

    Biggest anime asspull of the decade that I can think of :/ If you do stuff like this, stick to your guns and let MC die, or write a better story that doesn't need deus ex machinas. Best stuff this arc was King and Royal Guards' evolution, unfortunately.

  38. n

    Heh, believe what you want but this show has shown that there are major consequences to everything that happens.

  39. A

    It wasn't an a**pull
    remember how Kurapika was able to fight on a same level with uvogin
    Nen restrictions and all !
    + The MC battle was actually a ((loss)) if u thought about all that happened in this episode and the entire arc.
    write a better story ??? just because it wasn't your usual shonen climax fight ?!
    The way this episode went down was to reach a goal way farther than the MC just defeating a royal guard, it gave a sense of closure to his development in this arc and it couldn't have been done any better.

  40. K

    If think that is the biggest ass pull of the decade then you haven't watch much anime.

    Especially since Gon's transformation fits with his nen type and the rules of Nen itself.

  41. J

    Neoartemiss, if this does have permanent consequences that actually do matter, then that's better. I just don't want Gon to get all patched up, after another deus ex like "Hey I found this healing item that can negate everything done", see him wake up and say "Hey uhh Killua sorry I was a dick, we ok now?"

    Abbas: Don't confuse this with Kurapika's power-up. In a way, having that kid get an ability to master all Nen types is another asspull too, but Kurapika was trying to find a way to beat the Spiders, it makes sense he'd eventually find a way, however extreme it could be. Sure it was a Nen restriction, but at least he had to research and take some time to make that. Gon just miraculously found, unconciously, a way to become one of the or The strongest character in the world for a short time in the act. You really enjoy this writing?

  42. w

    Justo, if I may interject; I can sort of see why you'd think this is an asspull, but I think you may be missing the point a little. (heavy analysis ahead)

    For starters, we have to look into what exactly Gon has done here. The way I've understood it, Gon has somehow channelled all of the Nen that he would develop throughout a significant portion of his life and temporarily harnessed it into the adult Gon we seen here. Doing something like that would make him immensely powerful, no doubt more so than Netero and possibly the King. But it's quite clear to me that he's made a grave sacrifice in doing so. I have no doubt that Gon will at least return to his younger self, but there's no way it'll be without consequences. Whether those consequences will manifest in a shortened life-span, loss of Nen, or something else I have no idea. It's more than likely something that will greatly hinder him down the line, but his decision to do so encapsulates many of Gon's best and worst traits traits to a T: reckless, selfishness, very much in the now, and not too concerned about the bigger picture.

    If there's been an underlying theme that's been obvious to me throughout Hunter x Hunter, it's sacrifice. We've seen it in the loss of arms (which Enzo has highlighted above), we see it in the decisions the characters make, and most importantly, it's a key component to Nen. Enzo above compared it to the equivalent exchange 'give and take' nature of alchemy in Fullmetal Alchemist, which I think is pretty spot-on.

    We've been shown the nature of sacrifice plenty; from Kurapika betting his life in exchange for abilities to allow him to fight on equal grounds with the spiders, to way back during the Kastro/Hisoka fight in Heavens arena. Wing's lecture back then was especially poignant, where he pointed out that Kastro sacrificed a lot of his Nen potential by learning an incompatible type in order to get the drop on Hisoka. I think at its core, Gon has done something very similar here. He's actively thrown away a healthy portion of his life (I think) in order to attain a massive power boost, as in the power he would have gained living that part of his life that he's sacrificed.

    Of course it's probably still an asspull unless two conditions are met; Is what Gon did possible, and would he do it? I think the answer to both is an unequivocal yes. The second condition doesn't even need much elboration; it represents perfect deconstruction of Gon's character, in that in many ways (and you can see it in Killuas reaction) this was an incredibly reckless, stupid thing to do and it's exactly what Gon in his current state of mind (which Enzos pretty much got down to pat, so I won't re-iterate it here) would do. Not I only do I believe he would do it, I believe he's the only one who would.

    The second condition, is it possible? Given the nature of Nen, the fact that Gon is an extremely powerful and talented Nen user, and the portion of his life that (I assume) he's abandoning to achieve this power, I would say that without a doubt it is possible.

    If you've read this far, and I've actually managed to explain the point I'm trying to make, maybe you'll see where I'm coming from. I hope this makes things seem a little less "Asspull-y" to you. =3

  43. w

    Oh! And in regards to your point about him 'miraculously' coming up with a solution to allow himself to achieve this power, consider this:

    In the moments leading up to this change, Gon had already decided that his life was forfeit. As a result, he decided to pour everything into one final attack against Pitou. That includes his whole life, and everything to come, which is why he actually came up with the solution unconciously. It was a consequence of what he believed to be his final decision.

  44. S

    There's precedence for this kind of thing though: Killua made up his reaction ability on the spot, and Cheetu pulled a crossbow out of nowhere.

  45. R

    Gon had known about Nen restriction since Kurapika's explanation at Yorkshin, he didn't miraculously found it. And I don't think it has anything to do with research and all (what research exactly?) as long as you know how Nen vow and limitation works (Kurapika's explanation should be enough). Besides, Gon's rage and hatred has been building up since he met zombie Kite (maybe even before that, when Kite get attacked by Pitou) which led to his Nen outburst at this point. So yeah, it did take some time for Gon to develop his resolve to use his Nen that way.

    And yes, personally, I prefer this writing because it still abide the rule of Nen itself and it perfectly in-line with Gon's character and build up. Any other way and it would be considered asspull.

  46. J

    Don't worry whemleh, I know *how* it happened, I just don't think it was as good as it could have been. Seeing him power up all of a sudden and one-shot Pitou seemed like such an overused outcome. Would have preferred to see Gon face the truth and take into account enemies have their own goals and morales, instead of go berserk and punch her in the face :] Oh well, he's a kid.

    >Besides, Gon's rage and hatred has been building up since he met zombie Kite (maybe even before that, when Kite get attacked by Pitou) which led to his Nen outburst at this point. So yeah, it did take some time for Gon to develop his resolve to use his Nen that way.

    Oh well, I guess it's not that much of an asspull if we take that into account.

  47. J

    I guess that brings up another problem in regards to how -possible- his transformation really is. You'd expect that if he goes berserk and he releases all his "life energy at once", he would burst like a balloon, he wouldn't be able to handle it. Surely just as controlling one's Nen aura is an ability that Nen users perfect through their lives, Gon wouldn't be able to handle that much aura? Gon's a talented kid, he learned to control Nen in something like a week, but damn this felt too deus ex machina to me.

    I think the reason why I didn't have any problems (and I didn't see anyone did either) with Netero being Oh-God-How-Many-years-Old and his powers was because since the start we were told he was the best of the best. Same goes for the King. Gon, on the other hand, has been a kid who has repeatedly showed promise in both talent and quick reflects, but lacked experience because of his age.

    And now, bam, he releases countless years' worth of nen, doesn't have a problem shaping it and controlling it all. Gon here says he doesn't care if it's the end for him, he doesn't give a damn about his well-being, he just wants to kill Pitou. Well, if so, I don't think he had the right resolve needed to master and control all that energy…

    Anyway, what happened happened and there's no going back.

  48. w

    I would've argued that that kind of purity of focus would be exactly the kind of resolve he needed to able to control all that energy…

  49. m

    I don't want to spoil anything so I wont go into any details, but this isn't the end of the scene with Gon. It might seem like a super powerup (i.e. super saiyan vs frieza) but there's more info to come. I feel like anything else I might say might spoil stuff. Not me telling info, but you'd be able to deduce stuff knowing that I've read the manga. Needless to say, Gon's powerup fits with everything that came before. There's a lot about nen that isn't known even in the world of HxH, not just among fans of the show/manga. Killua says that he had to have given up something to obtain an aura that would've taken decades of endless training to gain. So it's not like he suddenly just learned a new move, or perfectly landed a technique he had yet to master. It was just obtaining a stronger amount of what he already had. It's not a question of needing to master it, or how to control it. It's just the base power rose. It had to be something his body was capable of if he worked hard enough. When he first learned nen Gon (and Killua) was stronger than a lot of people in Heaven's arena who could also use nen, and were far more experienced. He hadn't mastered it, but could at least control what was a large amount by general standards. This is the same thing for Pitou and the other ants. They have so much innate talent that they can control large amounts of nen immediately, but can only get stronger if they train to reach their maximum potential. It's not that they can't control it, but it's more like a muscle. You have to train it to get it stronger. Gon just has the potential to reach that level, or he could do what Kurapika did and make a vow, in order to get the strength immediately.

    I also think that if Gon had just fought hard and maybe reached deep to become just strong enough to defeat Pitou, that that would have been just like every other shounen. Getting lucky, or barely pulling out the win (like he did on greed island) by using his feelings or whatever, would be what every other shounen does. Togashi took a different route and actually had Gon reach that through hate, and by giving up on hope. He didn't succeed by his desire to protect those he cares about giving him some form of "true strength". He succeeded by going dark side, and as Pitou said sacrificing all of his innate talent and future nen use. That's not only something that was set up way back during heaven's arena and York Shin (which makes it so much different from say Naruto/Bleach/One piece with its continuity), but also fits much better within the "internal logic", as Enzo said, of this arc.

  50. s

    @Justo I get where you are coming from; In terms of describing Togashi, i wouldnt call him a genius like others would either; I think that kind of title belongs to a writer who displays a unique craft or stamp that under normal circumstances, could not be replicated by someone else with the usual amount of effort needed to produce good writing. A genius writer's imaginative stamp is something that barely anyone else could devise; making that imaginative style unable to be replicated. I feel that Togashi puts a lot of creative effort in whatever he writes. It doesn't make him a genius, it just makes him an artist who understands what it means to be damn good storyteller.

    Togashi's work with HunterXHunter shows that he is a brilliant and meticulous writer that really cares about the sum of the parts of whatever he writes. He demonstrates awareness of the elements he imbues into the world he creates and makes sure to not forget the rules of his world. This brings me to why Gon's method of victory was not an asspull. An asspull in this context essentially means disrespecting the rules of your writing, but Togashi did not do that. Everything was within the confines of what we know about the HxH world. Getting that out of the way, could you argue that it wasnt as interesting method of victory? absolutely. Could you argue that after all that build up, Gon defeating Pitou in a much more tactical, visceral, and imaginative way filled with raw emotion would have been the better direction to take? Sure. But at the end, we got what really mattered; we got the emotion and the visceral, keys components that make any good story a great one, and that's were the writing truly shined this ep.

    Even if you dont agree with what happened in the ep, again, i think most of us can agree that the way the episode was directed and the components that went into creating it were very well done which was all backed by the core writing we have come to expect of the series. The blow that has been dealt to everyone is so pungent within this episode, and the fact that at the end of this battle, It's truly Pitou that won (by losing) is what is the icing on this multi-faceted cake. Right now she's burning in hell just relishing it all; that androgynous, short wavy-haired, puppet-looking, kinda pink skinned looking bastard.

  51. J


    >I get where you are coming from; In terms of describing Togashi, I wouldnt call him a genius like others would either;

    >Togashi's work with HunterXHunter shows that he is a brilliant and meticulous writer

    Umm, okay dude!

    It's as you say though, Pitou ended up winning.


    >It's not that they can't control it, but it's more like a muscle. You have to train it to get it stronger. Gon just has the potential to reach that level,

    That's exactly my argument though. I think his mind was pretty much ready for it, but his body (Reggie jokes inbound) wasn't ready.

    Yes, I know what the effects of what he did had in his body, Killua and Pitou went to great details to explain that, I watched the episode. He had the potential, but I think his muscles just weren't ready to handle that much Nen all at once: it's as if you took a professional swimmer, an amateur who is showing promise. He was okay, he then had to get out of the pool for a month, had some mental troubles, and bam, he swims around the entire globe three days later. Uhh, did I miss something in between?

    Like you said though, Nen is such a variable that it's pointless to argue about this, unfortunately. Like most shounens, sadly, aura and fictional energy forces explain everything.

    >I don't want to spoil anything so I wont go into any details, but this isn't the end of the scene with Gon.

    It damn better not be!

  52. m

    I see your point that it feels like it had too much build up to have such a quick outcome. But a lot of that comes from everything else that was going on. In terms of content, Gon/Pitou barely had any screen time. The payoff for their story, and it was always solely about Pitou for Gon, wasn't too extreme if you consider the length of their interactions on screen. Plus it's hard to say what would be an appropriate amount of time for their fight. Personally I hate it when you get that typical everyone fights the boss and loses until the MC shows up (late of course) to get beat until they finally pull it out. If you had a big scene where Gon fought Pitou and finally pulled it out, it is unlikely that it would be able to have as much of an emotional impact as what was written. It would be to "feel good" to fit with the rest of this arc, and mostly the show in general. The other ant's/human's stories took up so much time that it just made the wait feel like it needed a longer conclusion. I'm trying to think of any fight in HxH that really was an all out brawl, or particularly long lasting. In York Shin and Greed Island the climax fights were basically non existent and short respectively. HxH is less about huge battles, and more about the emotional/psychological battles of the characters.

    I do see what you mean, Justo, about the whole pointless to argue nen and how it works thing. It does seem to be convenient that he could pull that out, but that's what happens when you create a world with powers, and it did tie into everything that's happened up til this point.

    I'd call Togashi a genius for his work on HxH, even if just for the way he ties in such small details from many arcs ago. The way he does that is on par with a great mystery writer. Maybe it's not genius per se, but when compared to the way Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, and so many other long running shounen tend to have conflicting information I'd call that genius level. I don't think genius means to be able to pull that off the top of your head. Though I guess that mostly depends on your definition of genius. If you mean it in an Einstein/Shakespeare sort of way then maybe that would require doing it with ease, so it boils down to it being my own opinion.

    Is it just me, or did anyone else really wish that Hisoka was part of the invading group? It seems like this would be exactly the kind of fight Hisoka would be looking for. Not to mention having expressed desire to fight Gon, Killua, and Netero would be even more cause for Hisoka to weasel his way into the group somehow. It would've made for interesting scenes having the ants showing their human side contrasted against Hisoka's cruelty and hilariously creepy perversion.

  53. J

    They way I see it, Togashi gained fame with YYH and because of it was able to publish whatever he wanted after that. His drawing is lazy and he doesn't enjoy it; he'd do a lot better if he had a team of assistants to draw for him. Sometimes he writes great stuff, but all in all his stories could be so much more if he had a good editor with a fresh perspective that put more sense into the stuff he's making. I'd like to watch this and say " Oh man this is deep", but in reality it's laughable most of the times.

    >Is it just me, or did anyone else really wish that Hisoka was part of the invading group?
    No, you're definitely not the only one :(

  54. s

    Being a brilliant and meticulous writer doesnt necessarily mean whatever you write is going to be super deep. Being a brilliant writer could equate to good execution in story-telling, and that's what i see with Togashi. In the stories he writes, he executes his ideas efficiently and gives enough meat to his stories that you can look further past what is happening in front of you.

  55. Z

    Maybe it's not genius per se, but when compared to the way Bleach, Naruto, One Piece, and so many other long running shounen tend to have conflicting information I'd call that genius level.

    Bear in mind that HxH is half as long as all of those (and he took plenty of breaks). HxH is still young by long running shounen standards.

  56. s

    I dont know if comparing HunterXHunter's length and consistency to other shonen is the best way to guage it's quality. Again, the Togashi is a great (i think that's the best word to describe him) story-teller; not by "blow-your-mind-this-is-so-deep-and-intricate" standards but by the fact that he can just weave a good tale pretty damn well in comparison to other manga artists. We could debate forever whether the guy is a genius or not but i think what's most important is that most of us find his content rich, interesting, and entertaining.

  57. Z

    No it isn't, and I would agree with you there, however it is something to keep in mind, as well as the fact that HxH isn't Togashi's first "big seller" manga. Oda for instance is still to this day working on his YuuYuuHakusho equivalent. Perhaps when he's done with that he'll come out with something unconventionally outrageous. Who knows?

    At the end of the day I think it's fine to like or dislike elements of the HxH series. I have my own thoughts on Togashi's work, but that's for another day.

  58. s

    Agreed; I myself dont like everything about HunterXHunter but from what ive watched I can say that it is quite a well-written, entertaining series and I am in agreement with most of what happens within each ep.

  59. n

    I think I love most about all this is that it's not a triumph in the least. It's all depressing. There wasn't a big amazing fight. No, it was a one sided brutal beating, two characters reacting their emotion breaking point and no one is happy. Plus knowing togashi there is still a lot of stuff to deal with which will lead to more heart breaking moments, the arc isn't over yet. c:

  60. A

    What a tragic story this has turned out to be for a lil boy looking for his dad. Oh dear what are you doing dad?

  61. m

    Even knowing what was coming this was an incredibly well done episode. I think it actually was done better than the manga. Something about the music and hearing the actors voices that really made it come off a lot darker than it did in the manga. It was so well done, that I had that same reaction I had when I first read the manga. I got so enthralled in the moment that I forgot about what was about to happen. As soo as Pitou told Gon "sorry, I have to kill you" you can just see on Gon's face that he lost it. It makes you wonder that if Pitou had apologized for lying, and tried to explain without attacking Gon, if what remained of Gon's hope/decency would have won out and let it slide. But as soon as Pitou said that there's this overwhelming sense of "you reallllyyy shouldn't have done that" and even Pitou seemed to recognize that. As simple as it is, Togashi wrote the perfect line for Gon here: "I don't care….. if this is the end. So…I'll use everything". Then he Hulked out. Even Killua knew it was wrong immediately. It wasn't just turning into his adult form, but his adult form if he spent the decades doing nothing but training. I think the saddest moments were when Gon said "Kite, I finished the job the way you taght me to." and when he said he felt redeemed a bit when he lost his arm.

    I get how people can say it's sad, but I find it hard to hate this ep at all. As you said Enzo it fits so perfectly with the logic and themes of HxH. Many times it's those tragic moments that make for such a bigger impact overall.

  62. m

    I honestly believe it was a mistake to not get a Male actor to play "adult" Gon. Often times females seem to be able to portray a young boy better, but when she tried to go deep voice adult body Gon Megumi Han sounded awful. Not just kind of bad, but it was to the extent that it would have ruined the scene if Gon actually had a significant amount of lines. It was obviously a woman doing "man" voice. That's obviously not her fault either, women aren't supposed to sound like men and vice versa, but that was a mistake by the director or whoever decides those things.

  63. z

    I agree that a more severe voice change would have helped. They could have used Megumi but lowered the pitch. I can't remember, did Bisky have the same voice in bulk form?

    Also, those shorts. Would not have stayed on so well.

  64. K

    Bisky did have the same voice just a bit more manly.

    I'm fine with Gon staying with Megumi, like another blogger said it emphasizes how monstrous the transformation is and really cements how unnatural it is.

  65. Some borderline spoiler stuff there I edited out. The rest of Carrie's comment:

    Of course the REAL Shounen convention ass-pull is that humanity has access to the cheap and readily available 'miniature rose' with enough power to disintegrate the King himself and yet some of our best and brightest members have (battle tactics aside) decided to pretty much 1v1 the enemy….
    JKS jks 😉

    Personally, when I read this part of the manga I was a little disappointed. While I think Gon's transformation is perfectly consistent with both his character and the rules of Nen the main issue was that in the back of my mind ……..

    I suppose more generally the Gon vs. Pitou encounter was also a heck of a lot shorter and less thrilling to watch than the just concluded King vs. Netero fight which also remarkably poetic and full of complex and seamlessly woven in philosophy

    HOWEVER this episode majorly improved my feelings towards what happened because it did a terrific job of making me feel the tragedy and weight of what happened and I think it made the logic of how this was possible very clear. I am just so incredibly happy with this adaption. Honestly even if hated the series I would still watch it for episodes like this. Every scene… the choreography and timing in sync with the music to totally nail every emotion was completely FLAWLESS to me.
    Thanks for the wonderful write up Enzo I think its pretty clear how HunterXHunter affects you and I love reading it :)

  66. G

    Now that i think about it, what would have happend, had pitou attacked and killed Gon while he was gathering the aura to power up from his child state to the adult one. His malice filled immense Gathered nen.

    another parralle bet king and netero and gon and pitou

    both Gon and King asked their target for a different location for their fight

  67. g
  68. l
  69. Heh, you know, that's not half-bad. The voice acting is surprisingly good.

  70. n

    For anyone interested, this is the gif done up for the short fight between pitou and gon (not the entire fight):

    the same artist also did one for chapter 198:

    artist's pixiv:

    I remember thinking how great it will be if these two scenes appear in anime format and the anime really happened ;__;

  71. C

    Actually… A lot of these lost-arm cases were the left arm. :p

  72. The only one I remembered for sure was the Genthru fight. Which others?

  73. C

    Let's see… -scrolls through manga-

    Hisoka "offers" his left arm (while Kastro does a switch and takes the right. Hisoka gives the left one again after). Not sure if that distinction matters to you.

    Kurapika blocks Uvo's big bang with the left arm.

    Meruem ripped off his left arm as an apology. This one I didn't need to check, but it's chapter 249/250 if you're interested. It's one of my favorites.

    Personally, I think the only intended theme is between Kaito/Kite, Gon, and Pitou. Netero's lost right arm is arguably a generosity of Meruem's or a whim of Togashi's to allow him to remain somewhat balanced/symmetrical.

  74. A

    This fight is so heart breaking. It really reminds me of another work by Togashi, Yu Yu Hakusho. Gon vs Pitou have the same feeling as Yusuke vs Younger Toguro. Even though Gon vs Pitou are more brutal but… You know, Togashi is like saying "so you want epic fight between main character and main villain? Fine I'll give you that fight. But you know what? Instead of epic action, I'll make that fight a huge tragedy and heart breaking fight that makes you almost feel guilty for asking for it." In both of those fight.
    Man, Togashi is a really good writer…..
    But what I want to highlight is, this anime is so freakin damn good. I myself is a fan of original anime and when the remake first came out, I honestly dissapointed in how they directed it. I hate it. But now, man I was wrong. Everything makes sense now, the puzzle are complete. They planned it all along. They planned the epic direction of Chimera Ant Arc from the start. Madhouse and Koujina create the remake of Hunter x Hunter for this Chimera Ant Arc. And now, even I still love the original anime till I die, the remake have earned my respect. I even say that Chimera Ant Arc in the remake will crushed the best arc of original anime, Yorknew City. Chimera Ant Arc in the manga is good too, but the anime is better. I'll even say that Chimera Ant Arc in the remake is the best arc I've ever seen in anime. Yes, this is that good ladies and gentleman.

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