Hunter X Hunter – 357

“Disappointment II”

God damn, Togashi – really?

This chapter, really was all about the two magnificent bastards – yeah Hisoka is one, but I’m not talking about Chrollo here.  I’m talking about Togashi himself, who laid out a solid left cross to a big chunk of his readership while simultaneously setting himself up for a fascinating twist to the main plot.

This seems like as good a time as any to make note of the fact that Hunter X Hunter Volume 33 went on sale this week – the first new volume since December 28, 2012.  If one was worried that the recurring hiatuses had sapped interest in the series, the numbers put the lie to that – Vol. 33 sold 653,000 copies in just three days, one of the series’ strongest opening weeks ever.  It crushed WSJ‘s current commercial powerhouse Ansatsu Kyoushitsu‘s new volume by over 200K copies and easily ranked #1 on the weekly chart. Hunter X Hunter remains a powerhouse, and Togashi’s writing shows no signs of either declining skills or winding down.  He’s writing as if he’s in this for the long haul and if his body holds up, his fans will follow him wherever he takes them.

As I wrote last week, the only real surprise here would have been if Hisoka didn’t have something up his sleeve.  Yet Togashi-sensei still managed to make my jaw drop with those last few pages especially.  Hisoka simply has too much ingenuity and loves life too much to let himself be killed by Chrollo here.  He was bested, certainly – forced to resort to a wild and untested use of his Nen to try and evade Chrollo’s final blow.  But do so he did, thanks to a crowd of clones who’d gathered around him and absorbed most of the impact of Chrollo’s exploding surrogates.  Hisoka didn’t win the day, but he survived it – and in doing so, set Hunter X Hunter up for what could be the grudge match of the century.

What strikes me here is that Hisoka is a lot freer than Chrollo, because he has a lot less to lose.  He doesn’t have the leadership and survival of a troupe of followers to worry about – he just has to enjoy himself.  There’s really nothing Chrollo could do to Hisoka that would cut him as deeply as what Hisoka did at the end of this chapter cut him, and Hisoka knows it. And now Hisoka has a fun challenge with which to occupy himself going forward, along with the sweet taste of revenge.  He’s playing dirty, but it’s not like Chrollo didn’t do the same at Heaven’s Arena.

There are so many interesting repercussions and interpretations one can take from these events.  Most obviously, we now have an entrée for both Chrollo and Hisoka – not to mention the surviving Spiders – into the “Dark Continent” arc.  Of course we have the deaths of Kotorpi (who I never much cared about) and Shalnark (who I quite liked, and had a sizable fanbase).  I was also struck by the interaction between Machi and Hisoka, as always.  There’s a definite tinge of something there, a kind of fatal attraction or even grudging admiration on her part and what passes for affection on his.  She didn’t have to stay behind to patch up Hisoka’s “corpse”, but she did (under the pretense that it was payback for freeing Chrollo from his curse) – and when she scolded him to “next time be more careful”, she sounded like a big sister.  Hisoka could have killed her as well as her fellow Spiders, but he didn’t.  I have no doubt he will eventually (and enjoy it) but he’ll feel a little tinge of sadness as he does (albeit while no doubt sporting wood).

Most crucially, we have Chrollo set to lead the Phantom Troupe into the Dark Continent hunt, and Hisoka following them on a hunt of his own.  It can’t be ignored that Kurapika and Hisoka now have, effectively, the same goal – and truth be told, Hisoka has already done 4 times as much to eliminate the Troupe as Kurapika has.  Will they formally pool their efforts at some point during this arc?  I wouldn’t say never by any means.  And finally we have Hisoka’s cheerful “10 more to go!” comment to close the chapter.  By my math, depending on whether you count Chrollo or not, there are either one or two Phantom Troupe members more than we’ve formally been introduced to (and that includes Kalluto Zoldyck) – just who are they?  Will Hisoka going on the hunt for his brother be what lures Killua back into the story – and will that be what draws Gon back into it?  These are the sorts of questions Togashi is a genius at forcing his readers to ask – here’s hoping he’s healthy enough to give us some answers.

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11 comments

  1. One thing I do not like about this arc is the loss of human life (fans in the arena, referees, etc… and there is no fallout from that. These 2 were fighting and its expected that the fans and betters in the arena “should” have been safe.

  2. K

    Don’t know what the fallout would be when the two people fighting have killed droves of people before with no remorse or repercussions.

  3. J

    The two people fighting were amoral sociopaths, and the readers knew this. Really, Chrollo comes off as just a LITTLE worse than Hisoka here because he’s the one that facilitated it but it’s not like Hisoka ever gave a damn about anyone besides himself and his potential targets. It’s already been established that Hunters very rarely hunt other Hunters, and most of the Association is preoccupied with the Dark Continent anyway – who else would have a chance of bringing ‘justice’ to these two? They’re gonna get off scotfree for this.

  4. P

    I can’t wait to see Chrollo’s reaction. He sacrificed hundreds if not thousands as an offering to Uvo. Now, two members are murdered at once and Shal seems to be the member Chrollo interacted with the most.

  5. J

    Aaaaaaah.

    With a single stroke of his pen, Togashi completely flips the game on us. I wanted to call Hisoka’s revival an ‘asspull’, but I really can’t – It’s very in-line with what we know about Nen.

    There’s a few developments here you didn’t touch on that I find very interesting. For one, is Hisoka’s Nen gambit going to have any lasting repercussions? We have no evidence to assume that he made the kind of vow that Gon did, but I wonder if actually dying had an irreparable effect on his psyche. Honestly, I was pretty surprised he decided to just systematically hunt down the spiders – It really seems like this defeat, and death, changed him at least somewhat.

    Another thing I’m wondering about is if his permanent disfigurement will come into play. Yes, he did replace the body parts with Rubber Nen but as the end of the chapter shows, they’re still essentially prosthetics. Does he have to keep his concentration up at all times to maintain them, with possible disastrous results if he lapses and they lose their form or just vanish altogether?

    Finally, the question of the remaining spiders. My first thought was that he never actually found out that Pakunoda died, but I figure if he was shadowing them for so long and trying to fight Chrollo, he probably heard about it somehow. If there are one or two new members, I expect at least one of them is Abengane (The Nen Exorcist) – he didn’t seem like the most moral fellow during Greed Island, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he joined, and has an auxiliary ability specced for combat that’s separate from his Nen beast.

  6. Not to mention one of the members comes from the Zoldyck family of Assassins (and is Killua’s brother).

  7. K

    To me, it seems like this is Togashi’s way of permanently changing the status quo leading into the DC arc. Hisoka’s role has changed, he’s no longer a chaotic neutral character but a force, more Troupe members will die off, I imagine more characters will too. Togashi seems to be preparing to take the series into its next direction.

  8. J

    Considering that the last panel showed ten remaining legs, I’m pretty certain that Hisoka didn’t include Chrollo in the ’10 to go’ comment, to be honest. Very intriguing chapter, though – I consider it a big shame that Shalnark died since I liked him, and it’s going to get worse once he actually gets to my favorite members of the Troupe – Phinks and Nobunaga having a very real chance of getting killed off isn’t something that’s easily swallowed, to be honest.

  9. It seems to me like Togashi is pushing Hisoka as an villain, with one of his “rules” broken its going to be a lot easier to see him as a bad guy(not to mention how freaky he looked this ep). Poor Kortopi never stood a chance.

  10. L

    What a chapter! It came as a relief to me that both of those men have made it out of the fight alive after all. But man, the ending of the chapter was still a shock! I think it’s pretty mean of the author that the two people who I was preparing myself to see dead are both alive, but now we have the sudden deaths of these two Spiders. And they were two of the more likeable members of the Phantom Troupe too, in my opinion. Shalnark was sweet-tempered (for a Spider), and I am sad to see the soft-spoken Kortopi go because I feel like I as a reader never got to know him very well.

    They are all very evil people, more evil than Hisoka in my opinion, but it was still easy for me to feel nervous for the other members of the troupe, and to feel a little bad for Chrollo. It is kind of a shame that even with all that prudence and careful planning on Chrollo’s part, Hisoka has still managed to survive, and take the lives of two of the members. The only thing Chrollo did wrong was to leave the corpse intact enough to support a new awakening of life.

    And I didn’t like that part very much. I felt that it was a little too convenient and not explained. I guess the best way it would justify itself is that it has been established for a long time that Hisoka is a brilliant person and very skilled nen-user, so a strange power like this would be more credible being used by him than by others. The part that I thought was the sketchiest was that he was still able to overpower and kill off members of the Phantom Troupe even with his injuries. Is Hisoka as good as new with his rubber left hand? Or will weaknesses show themselves later?

    So Machi is still alive? I thought that she was killed off off-panel, but I guess the 10-legged spider would justify her still being alive. I hope that she still is; I thought she was a very cool P.T. member. I was very surprised that Machi felt enough for Hisoka that she would bother to clean up the corpse in the first place. But the part that surprised me most was when she reacted so casually after Hisoka’s awakening, and offered to stitch him up like it was no big deal. Though now maybe she regrets not killing him off while she had the chance. I can’t wait for what happens next!

  11. I’m pretty sure she’s still alive, since Hisoka told her to pass his message along to the others.

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