Sunday, September 23, 2012

Hunter X Hunter 2011 - 48

[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.32_[2012.09.22_23.19.04] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.19_[2012.09.22_23.29.03] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.33_[2012.09.23_00.21.58]

Among the nearly innumerable things I love about Hunter X Hunter is the glimpse it provides into the mind of its creator.

I loved this episode (surprise, surprise) but what really struck me when watching it was, surprisingly, the thought that Togashi-sensei must be an endlessly fascinating man.  It’s clear not just from H x H but from his other works (especially Level E) that he has a wicked sense of humor and an absolutely ruthless disdain for boundaries.  But it really astounds me how incredibly complex this tapestry he’s woven around Hunter X Hunter really is.  There’s so much detail here – layers upon layers upon layers.  The Hunter Association, with all their rules and traditions and examinations.  The Phantom Troupe.  Heaven’s Arena.  Nen, and everything associated with it.  And now the world of auctions, appraisers, and the scams that go along with them.  What comes through is that this is the product of an endlessly curious mind, one that never tires of creation and finds the process of toying with new ideas and fleshing them out incredibly fun.  I’m sure there are elements of Togashi in all of his main characters (not excluding Hisoka by any means) but I see a lot of Gon in him in this respect, and Zepile alluded to why in this episode.

Of course it’s not just that Togashi throws these concepts at us, but that he does so in fully realized form – as if the complete story behind them had already been written and he was just getting around to sharing it.  Salieri supposedly said of Mozart that rather than writing symphonies, they were already completed in his mind before he ever started the notation – as if he were “taking dictation from God”.  When I see Gon and Killua enter a new phase of their story that’s incredibly rich in detail and color, it doesn’t feel as it Togashi threw it together to use in his story – it feels as if all this wonderful background already existed, and was just waiting for the right moment to be used.

Of course the focus of the story shifts back to Gon and Killua (and to a lesser extent Leorio) this week, and it really is a completely different series.  It looks different (bathed in sunshine) and sounds different (the funereal BGM giving way to bright martial strains).  H x H is many things when focused on Kurapika but it isn’t actually that much fun, and there’s always a sense of fun when Gon and Kil are involved.  Their quest remains the same – find enough money to bid on Greed Island – and while their focus initially shifted to the Spider hunt, that proved pretty much a dead end, leaving them to turn their attention back to the auction itself.  In order to raise seed money Gon actually pawns his Hunter license, though he doesn’t seem too worried about it – brimming with confidence that he’ll easily earn enough to win it back, and in the process enough to buy information about the Spiders by offering a substantial reward.

Things start out innocently enough when Gon spots a “Ben’s Blade” at the street market, but this simple exchange tells us volumes about Gon and Killiua  and how their strengths are so different (and often complimentary).  Gon has no idea what the odd knife is but his instinct tells him it’s valuable.  Killua recognizes it after Gon points it out, as a blade crafted by a famous serial killer (don’t you ever give it a rest, Togashi-san?) a century earlier – but he recognizes it because of his knowledge of weaponry.  Gon’s instinct sets off Kil’s craftiness, and a plan hatches to use their keen eye to spot Nen-infused items to bid on and resell at a profit.  The intricacies of the auction system start to become clear here, as this phase is a kind of silent auction where everyone writes down the maximum they’re willing to pay.  And Gon and Killua run afoul of another bidder who seems to spot the same items they do – and manages to outbid them for one of them.

Another element of H x H that stands out is the seemingly endless array of good supporting characters, and Zepile is no exception (interestingly he’s played by Masami Kikuchi, who played Wing in the 1999 series).  He swoops in just as the boys are about to be swindled by a local dealer when selling one of the items they won – something called a “wooden trove”, a 300 year-old statue that was used by the wealthy of the time to stash their valuables inside.  Zepile opens the boys’ (and our) eyes to a fascinating world of hoodwinks, double-dips, welds and side-stepping – yet another fully realized universe within the H x H universe that has its own set of rules and cast of characters (including Togashi’s alter-ego), and one that’s hugely entertaining to spend time in.  When Gon tells Zepile “You live in an incredible world!” that sums up the feeling of watching the series every time it opens up another one of those worlds to the viewer.

I think the scene where the boys buy Zepile lunch in return for his help (the best offer the frugal Killua was willing to make) is quietly spectacular.  I love the interplay between the two sides, the gentle sparring that eventually leads to a series of questions, each side probing the other about who they are and what they’re after.  The dialogue in great but the reaction shots are equally well-done, with Zepile becoming increasingly hooked into the story as the boys somewhat pensively suck down their sodas while listening to his answers.  There’s a real mutual respect in this meeting – both sides can sense that the one(s) across the table are people of quality, and someone worth listening to.  Zepile may be a simple appraiser, but he’s also an artist himself who appreciates quality on a gut level – and his appraisal skills tell him that Gon in a remarkable individual.   “His reaction was  very simple – innocent curiosity.  He opens his mind to everything that impresses him, right or wrong.  Which means that he’s dangerous…  Someone that can never be appraised.”  Honestly, this assessment of Gon is so spot-on perfect that it almost amounts to showing off for Togashi to use it this way – but if anyone has earned the right to show off, he has.

Of course it’s Killua who’s the one who correctly spots the scam that Zepile is quizzing the boys about – as always, filling in the blanks where Gon’s instinct needs a little push from canny street smarts.  And when Gon and Kil were playing with Zepile, Leorio was busy on the interwebs using Gon’s seed money to buy info on two Spiders, seemingly Nobunaga and Machi, so the long-awaited meeting between Gon, Killua, Leorio and the Phantom Troupe is upon us at last.  And the preview indicates even more Spiders will be involved, so it’s sure to go into epic territory.  But you know, as much as I love the epic episodes – no series does them as well as H x H – what I really love about this show is that it can make this episode every bit as entertaining.  So from my POV if you're going to complain that this ep was too slow, or “setup” or filler, you’re really missing out on what makes Togashi such a preposterously great writer.  I’ll take as many of these intellectual-psychological diversions as he cares to give up – they’re totally unique and capture the magic of H x H every bit as well as the more flashy battle episodes. They're two sides of the same coin, and equally indispensable to what makes H x H what it is.

[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.27_[2012.09.22_23.16.59] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_05.42_[2012.09.22_23.17.14] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.06_[2012.09.22_23.19.37]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_08.22_[2012.09.22_23.19.54] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.09_[2012.09.22_23.20.41] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_09.40_[2012.09.22_23.21.12]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.41_[2012.09.22_23.22.13] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.20_[2012.09.22_23.23.52] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.45_[2012.09.22_23.24.17]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.11_[2012.09.22_23.24.56] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_13.48_[2012.09.22_23.25.32] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_15.57_[2012.09.22_23.27.41]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.41_[2012.09.22_23.29.26] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.26_[2012.09.22_23.30.11] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.44_[2012.09.22_23.30.54]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.45_[2012.09.22_23.30.43] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_18.54_[2012.09.23_00.14.04] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.13_[2012.09.23_00.14.23]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.35_[2012.09.22_23.31.45] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.52_[2012.09.22_23.32.03] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.11_[2012.09.22_23.34.08]
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.29_[2012.09.23_00.21.54] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.39_[2012.09.22_23.34.37] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_21.46_[2012.09.23_00.45.55]

Gon & Killua’s Hunterpedia: “Shizuku”
[HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.11_[2012.09.22_23.36.08] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.15_[2012.09.22_23.36.13] [HorribleSubs] Hunter X Hunter - 48 [720p].mkv_snapshot_23.19_[2012.09.22_23.36.17]


11 comments:

  1. If you like this episode the manga actually goes into a bit more detail with the stuff.
    But I dunno it might bore you?
    A lot of people aren't interested in this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well I am. I love being in the HxH world. Episodes like this makes me feel like I'm wearing a neurolinker and was thrown in a VR which is HxH.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, agreed.
      Glad you like this episode, and it seems lots of new viewers like it too.
      But manga version(4 chapters) is more detailled, explained, funnier and makes Gon and Killua's journey very refreshing.
      I really like these kind of chapters where the author build his world, make the place lively and explained things so well that you can think "Yeah, this a World. People live here. It's just not some random place where the heroes goes for the story".
      I'm very disappointed that they didn't spend 2 episodes on this(or at 1,5 episde). Sadly, the majority of people are not receptive to this kind of stuff, and just want MOARR Kurapika and Phantom Troupe epicness. :(

      Delete
    3. Only because I know that the manga spent four chapters on this, it disappoints me that the anime didn't spent more time on it - I would have loved it if this had taken up two episodes. But as a stand-alone for a new viewer, I thought the ep worked great.

      Delete
    4. Yeah as a manga viewer the episode was disappointing to me.
      But again that's because naturally I had certain expectations.
      There's actually a been a few stuff here and there from the
      manga absent in this adaptation. Though that said this is still
      a VERY good and accurate adaptation of the manga. I'm just
      saying it's yet another reason to check out the manga.

      If I don't mind I like to ask you a question, particularly
      because 1. you have not read the manga and therefore are
      not biased by it as I am (which I don't think is a bad thing)
      and 2. you enjoy these type of episodes.

      Ok, when we meet Zepile at the shop and then Baldy comes
      in and they argue with each other about whether the
      statue or jewels inside are real what was Baldy's aim?
      What do you think Baldy was trying to do and how?

      The reason I ask is because in the manga Baldy is presented
      in a similar but different scene and I've been discussing
      it with some other manga readers but I like to get a fresh
      perspective. Also I think you might be the best bet for
      someone who would actually care about such a minor character.

      Delete
  2. Kind of a shame they spoiled the cliffhanger of the next episode with the preview.

    Then again, that's what previews are for.

    Also, that's not necessarily where the next episode will end.

    Still...

    ReplyDelete
  3. Rather than being too slow, I thought this episode was too fast...

    ReplyDelete
  4. One thing I think you might be interested in, since you're like me (you like these kinds of episodes as well), is the story of Benny, he's also a "genius" like Zepile and Neon, he forges each knife after killing a victim claiming in a book he wrote in prison that "cries of the victims give me inspiration". He had around 288 victims. A certain Zoldyck member is a fan (can you guess who?) as noted by Kil in a scene that was never shown, sadly)

    I really recommend reading chapters 84 through 89 until you reach the "he's dangerous" part" to get more out of it.

    Great reviews btw, they're really enjoyable :D

    ReplyDelete
  5. I just want to meet Togashi, see the man behind this work of genius.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deshou? What an interesting dude he must be.

      Delete