Sunday, January 13, 2013

Hunter X Hunter 2011 - 62

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A full episode of Gon & Killua, and a Biscuit for gravy?  Count me in.

Although there were a few grisly moments courtesy of those most ruthless of the Phantom Troupe, Phinks and Feitan, in general this was probably the one episode of Hunter X Hunter since the middle of the Heaven’s Arena arc that was simply breezy and fun.  As dark and violent as this series can be  - and usually is – it also has the ability to be a pure comic adventure yarn when Killua and Gon are the center of attention.  And the added element that a certain twin-tailed middle-aged loli brings to the table should prove an interesting dynamic to watch.

I won’t post unwanted spoilers here but since she’s on every cast list I don’t think this is one: in the “Phantom Rouge” film, Gon and Killua interact extensively with a girl named Retzu.  You can watch the film yourself to see what those interactions are like, but it’s certainly not spoiling to say they’re interesting – at the very least because it’s really the first time we’ve seen the boys extensively share the screen with a female character apart from Mito-san.  Retzu is their age which makes her fundamentally different from Biscuit Kreuger (who only looks their age) but Biscuit’s arrival on the scene is certainly one of the headline moments of Greed Island so far.  Whatever her character turns out to be like, this is a canon opportunity to see Gon and Kil partnered up with someone fundamentally different from what we’ve seen before, and that in itself is a big deal.

That said, there’s every indication that Biscuit isn’t going to be just another side dish.  While her initial plan to tag along and tease the boys fun might be half-baked, she’s clearly got some things going for her as a character.  She’s got a temper, for one, and she’s got real strength for another.  In fact, Biscuit has been “practicing Nen for forty years” – which I would assume places her age as least 50.  She’s a bit flaky, too – full of odd ideas and she gives the impression that she’s in Greed Island as a lark in the first place.  But when she sees what she has in Gon and Killua – two “rough gems” who could use the polish someone with her experience could give them – she can’t resist the notion of stepping in and helping out.  But it’s not as if she butters them up – she’s as harsh in her instruction as she is cute in appearance.

The initial impression I get is that Killua and “Old Hag” Biscuit especially are going to have a hilariously entertaining relationship.  Gon can be as stubborn as they come, but he respects strength – and when he gets a notion of just how strong Biscuit is, he’ll be willing to follow her lead because he knows it’ll make him stronger too.  Killua on the other hand seems to resent being commanded on principle, and wants to work as much out for himself as possible.  He’s also got a classically bratty attitude to go with his L’il Punk wardrobe, and there’s a quick chemical reaction between he and Biscuit like baking soda and vinegar.  I don’t see either of these two giving ground, even as they become allies, which should make their interactions fun to watch (and possible cast Gon as the “mature” peacemaker of the trio, a role I think is a good fit for him).

It’s a good thing Biscuit does tag along, no matter what Kil says, because the boys’ inexperience is proving a bigger hindrance inside Greed Island than in the “real” world (more on that in a minute).  After Killua wins a spell card in the Jan-Ken-Pon tournament (defeating Gon in the final – who would ever think Gon would go away from “rock” when it counts? I've since read the manga chapter and know why...) it’s quickly stolen from them by a calm and orderly band of thieves.  Cards are useless in this world without other cards to protect them - and when the boys head off to Masadora to try and gather some, Biscuit watches them blunder their way through several monster encounters, knowing that their raw strength is enough to keep them alive for now, but won’t be if they ever run across someone formidable.  She finally decides to scrap her simple mischief plan and step in when they forget to use Gyo to see through the illusion presented by a suit of armor, unable to stomach their blundering any longer.  And thus begins what promises to be an interesting friendship.

There are a couple of other developments that have the whiff of importance to them, too.  Before they start battling monsters Gon and Kil (and Biscuit) run across a pack of bandits who appear by all accounts to be NPCs, part of a game scenario – but when they play along, their only reward is to be forced to leave the village in their underwear after they give away their clothes and last 80,000 Jenny.  This is a puzzling development that even Biscuit can’t figure out, and was surely included for a reason.  The “alliance” of Hunters reveals that they’re after the precious “Breath of the Archangel” card, which can only be acquired in trade for a complete set of 40 spell cards.  And then there’s the Spiders, in two groups.  First the ever-analytical Shalnark – traveling with Kotolpi and Shizuka – has figured out several elements of the game involving Nen abilities and spell cards.  Most interesting to me is that he makes a pretty good case that Greed Island isn’t a virtual world at all, but in fact a real place – one that players are somehow teleported to when they join the game.  Filed away as potentially crucial info.  There’s also Phinks and Feitan, who serve as a reminder that while some of them can appear reasonable and even pleasant, the Spiders are a gang of ruthless killers, and these two promise to wreak havoc in what’s already a pretty cutthroat environment.

Greed Island presents an interesting challenge to director Koujina Hiroshi.  Togashi is really in full-on geek mode here – one suspects there are huge binders (or perhaps mass storage devices) full of information about every facet of Greed Island, most of which never made it into the manga.  How much of what did does Koujina-sensei throw at us?  I want to know everything about the game, but it’s a lot to take in – and massive information dumps every week can do a lot to grind the narrative momentum to a crawl.  So far I’d judge that he’s got the balance just right – we’re learning bits and pieces (including via the Gon & Killua Tutorial) but I’m not having to stop the video every 30 seconds to catch up.  As the boys get deeper into the world where Ging awaits I suspect the layers of mythology will only get deeper too – it’s going to be interesting to see just how much detail the anime provides and how much is left to the imagination.

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Greed Island Tutorial: “God Eye”
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24 comments:

  1. What I was disappointed the most with here (but I understand it was because of time reasons), is that they left out a couple details about the Jan Ken Pon tournament and its aftermath. Gon didn't simply "decide to go with rock" - he had a strategy (I'll leave you to read the manga to discover what happened). Also, when people tried to steal their new card, things were a little more complex. Make sure to check out chapter 131 and following for more insight in Greed Island (and fun GonXKillua hijinks)!

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    1. Yeah, totally agreed. As much as I love the new adaptation, I was really disappointed with how much was omitted in this episode. This part was much more fun in manga, and these omitted moments in fact helped to enjoy the arc much more.
      I'd suggest you reread the whole arc just for the sake of comparing. So far it's 120-136.

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  2. Enzo if you like Gon and Killua doing smart stuff then you really really should read the manga part of this episode or the older anime just to see it, it's totally worth it >.< they edited out too many things in the first half.
    I think the older anime is at 73/74 for this content

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  3. There was just too much things ommited in this episode, seriously. The Jan Ken Pon strategy, all these guys trying to steal the card and Gon and Killua coming up with several tactics to counter them...I'm really starting to be concerned about this arc...and the Spider scene could have been much, much better. The second half of the episode, however, was just perfect.

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  4. I love an anime that makes me smile after watching it. Hunter X hunter does this every time. Especially when they start playing the ED song, I just find myself smiling with goosebumps. I LOVE HUNTER X HUNTER. :))

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  5. I'm usually grateful for the fast pacing of H x H 2011 version but they omitted a bit too much. They didn't explain that Gon's a master of Jan Ken Pon & the only reason Killua was able to win him in that tournament was because Gon taught him his secret technique (& was outsmarted).

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  6. Yeah, I've seen read the manga chapter and watched the corresponding OVA (#75) and I do wish they'd left the whole Jan-ken-pon sequence in. Apart from that I don't really mind anything else that was cut all that much, and it didn't feel rushed as someone who didn't know that material was there in the first place.

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    1. The Janken part should have been included since it's a 1) callback to Hunter Exams (Janken is deep), 2) further emphasize Gon's psyche and 3) importance of this game for Gon.

      Other than that, the rest of the omitted manga scenes doesn't really give that much meat in regards to this arc's plot - Advance Nen training.

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  7. There was also a great part they cut out about how they were able to protect the card they won. That was in OVA 76 not in 75 and while I didn't read the manga for that bit, the OVA was directed in a way that the different strategies Gon and Killua employed was comedy gold and awesome at the same time.

    There were also explanations that I felt was inadequate and I had to fill in the gaps like why Greed Island was a real world and how they knew to go to the card shop to get money. The OVA took time to elaborate further on those concept and as far as I know there were minimal cuts. There were some additional hilarious moments that were missing (e.g. about what the bandits do), but maybe those weren't in the manga I don't know... they still feel like missed opportunities to flesh things out further :(

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  8. I'm more concerned that I managed to get four Bircuit puns into one paragraph and I don't hear a word about the achievement.

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    1. Mmmm, I like half baked, flaky, buttered up biscuits as a side dish.

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  9. Hello Enzo!

    Found your blog last night and spent seven hours reading all your entries about Hunter x Hunter, I enjoyed every second!

    Thanks!

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    1. Well thank you for taking the time to say so!

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  10. Biscuit is an amazing master and one of my favorite HxH characters. The boys don't yet realize how lucky they truely are that she has taken an interest in them.

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  11. That ED song melts my ears...It's a perfect song for this more-fun-than-dark arc~

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    1. I'm amazed by how much I am in love with the ending song. I haven't felt the urge to skip it once so far :3

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    2. Exactly...I even play it two times sometimes, and I don't usually do that :P

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  12. In spite of the disappointment I felt towards this episode (the first half anyway), I thought it was a likable episode. The ending was my favorite part, more specifically, Killua's reaction XD His voice actress is doing such a fantastic job with his character and she delivered that one line so well that it cracks me up every single time (I swear, I've re-watched his reaction 10 times already!)

    Anyway, in addition to my thoughts, I just wanted to say thanks again for being the best and possibly the most unbiased Hunter x Hunter reviewer I've ever come across. It's always refreshing and rewarding to hear your thoughts on my current favorite, especially when each post comes with an extra helping of praise. ^__^

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  13. really loving the ED song! and great review, Enzo! :)

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  14. Wow funny how at first everyone was dissing the ED and say they have to endure 20-30 cliffhangers that start with "woooahhhhh". Now everyone likes it!

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    1. really? hmm... that made me curious. the 1st time I've heard the song, I loved it already. :)

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  15. Say goodbye to Gon's green jacket. We won't seen it again for a lot of episodes.

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    1. There is still the Greed Island Tutorial if we ever want to see it again

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  16. The first girl that joins Gon and Killua is a cute loli!? There MUST be a doujin of this somewhere. IT HAS TO BE!!!!

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