“Killua x the x Boss”
So why not include this episode and #48 in a single post, since they’re consecutive? Because unlike 35 and 36, these are milestone episodes for completely different reasons – indeed, the tone and feel of them is starkly different (especially once this one enter the B-part).
What’s consistent about this episode is that in its entirety it’s a showcase for Killua’s appeal as a character. He’s funny, he’s GAR, he’s whip-smart, and he completely takes command of the situation in such as way as not to be questioned by anyone. Interspersed with shockingly casual scenes of Spiders sipping Heinekens, Killua basically lays out the entire campaign for Gon and Leorio. And when it comes time to make a move that might entail direct confrontation, he sends Leorio off to partner with Zepile in the fundraising racket – knowing full well Leorio isn’t strong enough to handle the sort of menace he and Gon may be about to face. Killua is pretty well convinced that even he and Gon aren’t strong enough to handle it.
That confrontation does eventually come, and it’s some of the tensest and most edge-of-the-seat exciting material in the entire series. After a ridiculously nerve-jangling surveillance of Machi and Nobunaga that has the strain clearly showing on Killua’s face, we once again see the hunter become the hunted – Gon and Killua have been followed by Pakunoda and Phinks while using their Zetsu to hide their presence. This leads to another truly spectacular fight sequence – a pairing of sakuga animation, brilliant choreography and creepy BGM.
Killua again takes control of the situation here – realizing the writing is on the wall, he surrenders. And once the boys are taken to Spider HQ there’s a surprise waiting – Hisoka, who of course is only pretending to be a loyal member of the Phantom Troupe. This is a deliciously convoluted situation, with anything and everything seemingly possible – and on top of that, Togashi reveals via Neon’s prognostication that Silva and Zeno Zoldyck are arriving in York Shin to fight the Spiders on behalf of the mob which runs the auction. “York Shin’s” best feature for me is its sense of convergent destines, of great forces gathering for an inevitable conflagration of biblical proportions – and that’s never more tangible than it is in this breathtaking episode.