Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 143

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I just wish this series would go on forever.  Is that really so much to ask?

Author’s Note: Please be very careful to avoid divulging any information about upcoming events from the manga. When in doubt, don’t post it, even if it’s remotely possible to view it as a minor spoiler. Thanks for your cooperation.

I’ve been operating under the assumption that Hunter X Hunter 2011 would be ending at Episode 148 or 149 (for logistical reasons I’m actually happier it’s 148), so this week’s announcement by Han Megumi really didn’t come as a surprise.  It’s probably for the best, in fact, as I would hate to see this unimpeachably great anime suffer from a decline in quality, as it surely would if it transitioned to original material.  That doesn’t change the fact that hearing the news quasi-officially really brings home the immediacy of the situation, and Hunter X Hunter’s absence is going to leave a pretty big hole in my life – it’s been a part of it for three years.  After today, five episodes left.

It’s funny how the “Election” arc feels almost light-hearted after “Chimera Ant”, because there’s an alarmingly high body count here.  Tone means a lot with Togashi – while violence is nearly a constant with Hunter X Hunter, there are times when it carries a heavier weight of consequence and tragedy.  One might even say that the series has tended to alternate between arcs with a more action-driven “shounen” tone, and those that are more reflective and melancholy – Hunter Exam-Zoldyck Family-Heaven’s Arena-York Shin-Greed Island-Chimera Ant-Election – with the even-numbered arcs being the graver.  I suppose the D*** C*** arc will be the one to put that to the test.

This episode packs a lot into 22 minutes (maybe even a little too much, though that’s a minute quibble), but what really stands out for me is the reminder of just how crazy – and crazy strong – Hisoka and Illumi are.  I think they’re a different sort of crazy, even if it’s interesting to speculate on which one is the crazier.  Hisoka is more of a true psychopath – he’s quite rational and even-keeled.  It’s just that he’s operating from an incredibly venal set of priorities.  Illumi is more delusional, more the straight-up nutjob – he has much less of a grasp of reality than Hisoka does, and seems convinced that what he’s doing is perfectly normal and for the best interests of everyone (and the ones he sacrifices aren’t worthy of factoring into the equation).  For that reason (among others) my money would be on Hisoka if he ever decided to take Illumi out, but we’ll touch base on that shortly.

The election is continuing, with Pariston continuing to more than triple his nearest rival (Cheadle) but not seriously threaten 50%.  It becomes clear pretty early on (and much more clear not much later) that the so-called “Seirin Group” is no match for Pariston strategically, even if Loupe fancies himself a smarty-pants.  It’s also clear that the troops they sent off to do battle with Illumi and his army (in truth, an army of one is all he really needed) are no match for them – they’re wiped out, to a man (including Bushidora – so much for ambition), by Hisoka and Illumi.  Hisoka tips his hand that he plans to pull a double-cross on Illumi after finding a map on one of the victims, but Illumi is already ahead of him, because of his “bird” in Killua’s camp.  And it turns out that bird isn’t a Canary but Kikyou herself – who’s planted a spycam on Tsubone, and used it to see everything she sees.

This, of course, tells us that Kikyou is flat-out working with Illumi here – not a surprise, but I wouldn’t take it as confirmation that Silva is on-board with that approach.  In fact, it could be argued that Illumi is working on Kikyou’s behalf and Tsubone – who seems to have been genuinely unaware that she was being used – is working on Silva’s.  Unfortunately when Tsubone uses her “Rider’s High” ability to allow she and Amane to take to the air and scour the sky for anyone spying on Killua’s airship, she was actually spying on it herself, and this allows Illumi and his needlemen (and Hisoka, though no one seems aware of his presence) to be present when Killua lands the airship with the intent of taking the car he’s asked Canary to have meet him the rest of the way to the hospital.

This is where we get a good notion of the depth of Illumi and Hisoka’s particular psychoses.  When Illumi offers his own life in a trade-off for the rest of the family not being at-risk, he’s genuinely willing – convinced he’ll live on in Killua’s heart forever as his most-beloved person, causing him terrible guilt.  Meanwhile Hisoka is nearly orgiastic in contemplating which double-cross will bring him the most fun – should be kill Alluka and earn Killua’s wrath?  Or save Alluka from Illumi, earning his wrath?  After Illumi makes his offer – which would lead to a boring result for him – Hisoka decides the best course is to kill Alluka and turn Killua against him, than take out Killua and enrage Illumi.  Seriously, this dude is all kinds of fucked up.  Thank goodness for us.

It’s Tsubone who’s thrown a spanner into the works, though – by revealing herself she re-activated the request-wish cycle with Alluka, which allows her to try and make amends for having unwittingly sabotaged Killua’s mission.  At the cost of two more fingernails she earns a wish, which she grants to Killua, and rather than wish for Illumi’s death he tells Nanika to heal Tsubone’s hand. In doing to he turns over one of his hole cards, because this reveals a secret Illumi didn’t know – Something never makes a cruel wish after healing someone.  This is a big moment, because it tells us in fact that Something isn’t evil in at least one sense – the ill-fortune that results from Nanika’s actions is laid at the feet of the wish-maker’s intentions.

That’s enough to buy off Illumi as to Killua’s mission to save Gon, but not as to Alluka in general – and each brother makes a threat.  Illumi promises that unless Killua tells him everything he’s hiding about Something, he’ll keep trying to kill Alluka.  And Killua (who’s turning into a regular Lag Seeing) tells Illumi that if he refers to Something as a “thing” again, he’ll disown Illiumi as a brother.  But Killua is a good poker player, and he refuses to show that last card – the “final rule” that if known, Killua is convinced would turn the entire family against him.  In the short term, it seems, he’s free to pursue his goal – he can use Alluka to try and save Gon.  But in terms of the family struggle this has been a mere skirmish, and the war rages on.

All this has convinced Hisoka that he has no choice but to let events play out for the moment – which frees him up to perform another errand.  Teradein has proved a paper tiger, and he goes on the air with news of Bushidora’s death and involves Morel’s name as an ally – which pisses Morel off in a big way, as he’s not interested in Teradein for anything more than his temporary usefulness.  Rather than allow his identity as the killer to potentially be revealed, Hisoka calmly takes out Teradein – the news of which hits in the midst of the sixth vote, which ends up reducing the field to four candidates – Pariston (who seems to have a sizable faction prepared to vote against him at any cost), Leorio, Cheadle and Mizaistrom (who actually strikes me as the best of the potential chairmen).  Here as with Killua’s quest to save Gon, it seems the rendezvous with destiny is fast approaching.

P.S. I’d like to do something special on LiA to commemorate the end of Hunter X Hunter – if you have any suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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Preview:

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36 comments

  1. s

    Hisoka, just why are you so glorious? That moment when he was debating with himself whom he'd kill for the maximum amount of entertainment just cracked me up, since it's so very much like him. Gotta love him for that.

    As expected though, there's not much common ground between Morel and the Seirin group – I was a bit disappointed that the leaders got killed so quickly, but then again this is what makes Hunter x Hunter actually good – death actually comes swiftly and those scenes don't drag out. I wonder though, did Loupe survive? He just disappeared, and we never actually saw anybody killing him.

    So Ikshonpe also turned out to be a minor character after he's been implied to be somewhat interesting earlier, seeing how he was eliminated now. I got to agree on Mizaistom though – along with Morel who's already out, he actually seems like the best chairman in my eyes. Well, anything goes with Togashi, so let's see where that one goes.

  2. G

    I wouldn't mind seeing an anime OVA or more that shows us how Hisoka became who he is. We knoiw so little about him and he is such a great character.

    Am I the only one totally bored with the election results part of each episode?

  3. K

    I think you risk losing a certain aspect of Hisoka's character if you have a backstory on him. I don't think he needs one.

  4. s

    I fully agree with Kamen Rider on this one, part of his charm is exactly the fact that we know so little about him. Well, except that little part of backstory about where he got the idea for his ability from, but that's another story. Personally, I feel Hisoka should just stay how he is, really.

  5. We may have a lead on the hiatus issues. Togashi is on a two-week break with "serious" lower back pain.

    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2014-08-20/hunter-x-hunter-manga-goes-on-2-week-hiatus-due-to-back-pain/.77790

    As someone who suffers from serious lower back issues (including at this very moment) I can’t even imagine the idea of trying to draw a weekly manga serialization when it’s bad. If Togashi has a serious and chronic back problem, that would explain a lot about his hiatus problems – though if that's the case, why did they choose not to say so before? It's not as if it's anything to be ashamed of (just miserable about).

  6. C

    While I don't have back problems myself (probably not yet anyways), I agree they are pretty damn frustrating. They're like one of the most untreatable problems out there.

    As for why he didn't say anything, I feel like the Japanese have a much different sense of pride, compared to Americans at least. They don't really like showing weakness (or excuses), period.

  7. I suppose, but it just opened the door to a bunch of irresponsible "lazy!" chatter and countless rumors about everything on WebMD. But your reasoning probably isn't far wrong.

  8. S

    lol at the Tegami Bachi reference, that takes me back. One of the first animes I started following, not that it was stellar in any way…
    I agree that this episode was slightly rushed, but the perverted mind of Hisoka makes up for all of that. Also, I don't have any good suggestions on what to do

  9. h

    HxH is why I got into the all manga/anime world ,the 99 series is my favourite anime and by time I fell in love with the new anime,damn it and with the anime coming to an end .the group photo at the ending really brings tears to my eye

    well you could do the count down for your top 10 episodes (ps 116 for me)

    on other note,cant wait for your manga reviews by the way you must read the viz translations because the current chapters are complex and heavy on text,and the other translations aren't good

  10. T

    I like this idea. A count down of your top ten (maybe 20?) favorite episodes.

    Question – after the anime has ended, will you start reading the manga? If so, you should definitely do reviews of the manga chapters.

  11. s

    yea i think it would be a good idea to do a list of yoyr top ten HXH episodes; it would be very therapeutic for you. Come on…give into the peer pressure and dooooo it

  12. Honestly, that was the one idea that I was already considering so it looks like it's far in the lead.

  13. D

    How about a "beauty contest" with the most amazing scenes from the series? We could send in or you could put up screencaps with faves, and then we could vote in a poll for top 10 or 20.

  14. S

    I'd like to suggest something slightly unconventional – instead of a "best episode" rundown (we pretty much already know which ones those would be – there's four amazing episodes in Chimera Ant alone, the Gon vs Hisoka fight in Heaven's Arena, a couple more amazing bits of York Shin…), why not doing a series of character posts? Like, a story and analysis of some characters. Enzo could open with an haiku (ehehe) describing that character and then using him to explore some of the best moments/themes of HXH focused on his personal journey.

  15. m

    I second this idea. Since the top 10 list of fav episodes is kinda obvious (given that you've referenced them a few times), we need more of a surprise element. Damizelle's idea is also cool!!

  16. C

    My favorite episode of this arc so far. I agree with you about the differences between Illumi’s craziness and Hisoka’s. Hisoka is more an amoral character, the rules of “good” and “evil” don’t apply to him, he just wants to have fun, but Illumi has this twisted personality, leading him to believe that the things he does are right. His twisted love for his family and for Killua is also frightening, because he wants to be loved back this exact same way, and goes so far as to accepting dying if it means Killua will love him out of guilt. Really disturbing.

    About the H x H ending, an article about your favorite moments of the series would be great. There are so many emotional and good ones, and of course, those moments are great because of the way the characters dealt with them considering their personalities; or an article about the series in general, talking about the whole experience of watching it, the ups and downs, like a general review. So yeah, I think this would be a good way to say goodbye – for now – for this great anime.

  17. K

    How about you create a nen ability. You chose a type you feel you would fit in and create a hatsu. I think it would be a fun post.

  18. w

    You could always do the Stereoman/Fairy Tail end post, and write 60 thousand or so words about it..

    Maybe something like a 'HxH Revisited' thing, where you go back and reflect on either your top ten episodes or moments throughout the series.

    Killua is just.. wow. One of the best characters I've seen in any series, anime or not. He's become such a kind-hearted person. He has felt like the true main character of HxH for a very long time. Gotta love the way the camera always focuses on Hisokas crotch hen he walks.

  19. He's become such a kind-hearted person.

    "Floor it – run them down! They're beyond help!"

  20. M

    Like I've said to those who compare Greed Island to Chimera – The "light hearted" vibe comes from the fact the deaths result from a clash of conviction, not from senseless slaughter; the Hunters sent against Hisoka and Illumi are prepared to fight and die, they're Hunters after all (although sometimes, we see inklings of less competent folks).

    Another reveal Killua did with the wish to heal Tsubone is he revealed he could wish more than once in a row. Makes one wonder – Is that the hidden rule or is there more than one additional rule?

    Also – For the end of the anime, I think the best thing you can do is start reviewing the manga chapters covering what happens after. That'd be great. :)

  21. s

    I think that technically, this was Tsubone's wish, given that she fulfilled the requests. In general, it became apparent that there are things the Zoldycks didn't think of (like the conditional wish earlier), so maybe they never considered transfering your wish? Or they just considered 'no two wishes for the same person in the row' as 'if Alluka made requests from you, she won't ask you next time', which is what happens.
    Then again, given that Killua apparently has special privilegues, it wouldn't surprise me if this is one of them.

  22. I'm definitely going to start covering the manga when the anime ends (assuming Togashi-sensei's back hold up) but I'd like to do something above and beyond that.

  23. M

    @segafreak2000: The one who wishes is the one who gets the wish. Requests aren't tied to who gets the wish.

    @Guardian Enzo: How about a marathon? Rewatch the entire series, take notes along the way, and make a big review of the series as a whole to contrast the string of detailed posts directed at individual episodes.

    Personally, I've found that a series can sometimes be viewed much differently the second time around, especially if you watch it all in one sitting over watching it over the course of years.

  24. M

    148 episodes… One sitting… Do it… Physical limitations be damned.

  25. I absolutely intend to do a rewatch, most likely soon after the series ends, and I absolutely have no intentions of powering through it like a Nozomi Shinkansen.

  26. H

    How will you ever make time to watch the old greats between rewatching favs and whip snapper seasonal shit?

    Maybe you could watch (or quick review) the 1999 HxH series to commemorate?

  27. I've been watching it piecemeal over the last several months, to be honest. I realize it's not the same as watching it every week as I have the new series, but I have to confess I do find the 2011 better in every way. There's some original material in the '99, but I haven't seen any so strong that it makes me feel compelled to sit down and marathon the entire thing.

  28. e

    @Hangman :
    Moribito is good all around. Verrrrrry.
    Are you ok with old school? Shoujo? Sports? Period pieces?
    Ace Wo Nerae (1973) Complete English subs (26 episodes). Tennis! Drama! Good old Dezaki Osamu :p . There's the compilation movie too.
    Rose of Versailles? (you'll get a hella payoff in the second half I promise ) :p

    Personally I'm going to rewatch Mushishi s1, the Bakeneko arc of Ayakashi and Gankutsuou *pats the recently arrived dvds*. I've paid (yet again) my hommage to RV and Moribito earlier this year XD.

  29. h

    I dont get it why didnt killua tell his family that there are no consequence for the healing and saved himself alooooooot of the trouble,with that revelation,the conflict felt unnecessary and forced

  30. s

    Because no matter how you look at it, Killua still needs to bring Alluka to Gon anyways, so the Zoldyck's would still have a reason to protest.
    Also, since he'd reveal that he knows more about Alluka than them, they might end up trying to get other details about Alluka out of him as well, which Killua thinks would be significant enough so that they'd put a needle into his head again. If all, keeping his hand to himself was a smart thing to do for Killua while he was at the Zoldyck estate..

  31. G

    Having seen these recent development of the zoldyc family relationships and interactions among each other. How do you feel now about the needle sceene in ep 94, killua vs rammot? When you blogged that ep you did not see it as the "best choice" to resolve killua's psycological problems.

  32. To be honest, I still don't. I can see what Togashi was doing plot-wise, but it still feels like a short-cut for Killua's character arc to me. I think the whole thing is far more interesting as a purely psychological struggle.

  33. G

    I see what you mean. But the needle does put an interesting twists to the rest of killua's story and the way the already messed up zoldyc family works

  34. m

    Since you're talking about an end (temporarily) to an awesome series, why not doing a post on the most memorable dead characters or something? So you'll have a nice connection hahaha…

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