Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Hunter X Hunter 2011 - 139

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The hits just keep on coming.

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.

There's really not much left except for awe at this point - how can a series possibly be this good for this long, all while re-inventing itself so many times along the way?  It's a truly miraculous feat of writing, and as I've said before this is the adaptation every great manga deserves but almost none ever get.  But with episodes like this one I find myself having so much fun that I even forget to be in awe.  Can there really only be ten episodes left?  What a gaping chasm Hunter X Hunter's absence will leave in my anime existence.

I'll be the first to confess I'm starting to get a little dizzy keeping up with all the permutations of Alluka's ability, and further, that this ability seems to be the least readily explicable among all the Nen abilities we've seen in H x H so far.  Yet there's no denying that it allows Togashi-sensei to exploit one of his most astonishing talents, creating scenarios with a ridiculous amount of detail whose ramifications grow and grow far beyond what it initially appears.  Get Togashi in obsessive geek mode and the results are exhilarating to say the least, and of all the Nen-related developments we've seen this seems to be about the most geeky.

This episode is loaded with stellar moments, but it would be hard to top the conversation between Hisoka and Illumi in the airship bar.  This is exposition as it was meant to be done - not only does it actually make sense to have explanations here in the context of the story, but the scene is ridiculously entertaining.  These two are quite the pair, especially Hisoka with his yoga poses and his facial expressions.  And this is really about the most serious and even unsettled I think we've seen him, especially when Illumi gets to the part where he explains that with requests that are big enough, the victims extend beyond the one the requestor loves most to those they've spent the most time with.  This news actually manages to solicit a Hisoka sweatdrop.

Illumi is very shrewd about many things - he's certainly deduced most of the story behind Alluka's ability - but astonishingly dumb about others.  Perhaps my favorite comedic H x H moment since Gon's date with Palm comes when Hisoka quite rightly points out that Killua's mission will fail, because the one he loves most is Gon and he'll be the first sacrificed when the follow-up requests aren't met.  Illumi has assumed he's the one Killua loves most, and Hisoka gives him a look for the ages, followed by a line of dialogue to match: "I have issues, but you're just bad."  Delusions of grandeur aside, Illumi has an idea what will happen - Killua will have someone else make the wish so his repercussions won't get pawned off on someone else, and he'll fail while trying to fulfill Alluka's requests.  And he has a plan for how to deal with it, which involves Hisoka taking Alluka out before things get to that point.

That's a fascinating potential scenario, no doubt about it.  But equally fascinating events are playing out already in Zoldyck Manor, as Killua plays a game of wits and wills with his father.  It's clear that Alluka's ability has been investigated and exploited by the ruthlessly cold and practical Zoldyck family - butlers being sacrificed to test theories, innocent tourists sacrificed by Milluki for otaku goods.  This is clearly a victim scenario, as terrifying as Alluka is.  But that ability (Specialist abilities are the scariest to begin with, and this one is off the charts) is truly a great danger to the entire family.  If 67 people died for the millionaire request, how many more would have to die to accomplish what Killua asks for - and if the list is determined by time spend with the one who fails to meet Alluka's requests and Killua is determined to be that person, it could conceivably mean everyone in his entire extended family, much of the Hunter's Association (who are still engaged in their election machinations, blissfully unaware) and even what's left of the Phantom Troupe is sacrificed in the process of granting it.  Togashi, you bastard.

Juxtaposed against this is the very human story of Alluka and Killua's love for his sibling, and the more we learn of it the more if becomes clear just how different Killua is from the rest of his family (but we knew that already).  Saving Alluka is clearly a co-priority with saving Gon, and having left Alluka to fester in a cutely decorated dungeon weighs heavily on Killua's conscience (which already weighs as much as a small planet).  Killua not only loves Alluka more than anyone else (though that's not hard, since he's the only one that loves Alluka at all) but he knows more about Alluka than anyone.  And that means that he knows "secret conditions" with Alluka's ability - we see at least two here, and I'll eat Akiko's jam if there aren't more.  One enormously powerful one is that a request can be made with conditions, and Killua exploits this secret knowledge as a way to escape from the family prison with Alluka in tow - he makes a request that Kikyo be killed if he and Alluka are still on the mountain in 30 minutes, and that Alluka kiss him on the cheek if they aren't.

We've known for a long time that Killua is a stone-cold badass and fiendishly clever, and this is a great example of both qualities.  What choice does Silva have but to comply?  Even his mother whose life Killua has wagered is proud of his hard and practical genius.  This is a strange and edgy situation Togashi has created here, intentionally casting Alluka's gender in a confusing light and showing us this kind of physical affection being shared between siblings - yet the larger message is that what really matters is that Killua's heart is as kind towards Alluka as everyone else's is cold and cruel, and this gives him a moral advantage over the rest of his family.  And seemingly a practical one, too, as Killua is privileged to know things about Alluka which they don't - enough so that he seems to possess a great confidence that he can utilize Alluka's ability to save Gon without someone (someone else or himself) paying an unacceptable price.

Truly, this is one of the strangest and most obtusely difficult scenarios Togashi has created, and it's also a showcase for what a remarkable character Killua is.  If you're going to ignore the main character for an extended period, focusing on the likes of Killua and Hisoka certainly softens the blow - and Leorio will be re-joining the action next week at long last.  There's much we don't know still about Alluka, and I'll be very interested in seeing if Togashi can make the entire scenario of Alluka and the "other" that Killua has dubbed "Nanika" fit logically with the Hunter X Hunter mythology - I'm still not convinced he can, but either way this is proving to be yet another fantastically entertaining turn in a series that's seemingly never going to run out of them.

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Preview:
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24 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    2. Sorry, but spoiler or not I think that's too tempting for people... Here's the edited version:

      No kidding that 'eh?' moment and Hisoka's comment on Illumi's delusions had me laughing in spite of all the tension. And the rare sweatdrop 8D! That 'oh crap!' layer over his serious mode. Eheh.
      About Illumi's being super shrewd yet dumb... imho it ties with basically all the Zoldycks (save Killua and probably Alluka) lacking - in a nutshell - a heart and the disposition for a genuine degree of empathy. Feelings are something to be analyzed and manipulated - and simulated - as long as they are convenient tools of the trade. Milluki even spelled out the findamental difference between Kil and the rest of the family in a way this episode. And that little line reminding us about who ordered Illumi to put the needle on Kil and why...

      P.P.S.: broken birds enabled to fly/heaed by the good feels? What a lovely flashback - and message -. Togashi don't make us pay for this dearly later on please :,DDD.

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    3. Talking of editing: 'heaed by the good feels'--> 'heaLed by' etc etc .
      Thank you for reposting. You even kept the typos :,).

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    4. The miracle of copy and paste.

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    5. Yes, My Lord and Guardian. But your miracle had at least one deletion casualty. What about mr. Paladinaito? Poor Leocchi.

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  2. I's strange how much less dangerous Hisoka feels now that he's returned. He'll probably go back to his scary self once he gets to talk to the boys proper, but I'd love to see how they stand against him power-wise now.

    I wonder if Killua would have known how to bypass the lung, spine and brain requests. A loaf of Sanaes bread says he could.

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    1. I had a couple of ideas myself. But since I phrased them in a spoiler-bait manner I 'll just shut up and wait and see for Kil's plan to play out. Go Killua <3

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    2. I can think of two obvious possible answers to that question (and I mean actual substantive answers, not yes and no), but I'm not even going to type them because I just think the temptation to confirm or deny would be too great for some.

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    3. Oh I've got my own ideas too. Scary as it is, this is a very cool ability to think about.

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    4. Okay guys, please don't confirm but i was thinking it was similar to the scenario when Alluka asked KIllua to die and wake up

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  3. I've come to the conclusion that HxH is the greatest anime series I have ever seen. I love Claymore, Shakugan No Shana, K-On, FMA: Brotherhood, Clannad (and afterstory), ShinSekai Yori, Natsume Yujincho, and Ergo Proxy but none of them can compare to HxH that we are seeing now.

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    1. The Big O and Baccano will forever be top of the ladder for me, but I feel confident saying that HxH is without a doubt the best adaptations I've seen.

      And to the people who say Hisoka seems less scary at the moment, it's because we're getting a moment to see him somewhat humanized for a change. Just wait until something big happens, or, more realistically, when Hisoka causes something big to happen~

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  4. Without implying anything to the contrary, I would like to ask: What makes you think Alluka's wish-granting is a nen ability?

    Thoughts:

    My goodness, Hisoka's one line setting Illumi straight was a beautifully twisted microcosm of human nature. This was one of those moments similar to Hisoka's face when being informed of Chrollo's no-Nen situation. Awkwardly humrous, yet defining of these individuals... Illumi's a creep. :P

    Hisoka's sweatdrop was a treat, it really showed he was taking the situation seriously. Being killed by association without warning? I'm sure he is grateful for being invited to influence the outcome.

    Finally, I really enjoyed the first request from Alluka. Killua's head vanishing was presented in a very startling manner, and exceeded my expectations from the manga. That was my favorite part this episode. :3

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    1. Was "Die for me?" and "Onii-chan, wake up!" one in the same wish? Because Killua fulfilled two more - "Let's play Shiritori" and then "Pat me on the head". Milluki stated that this was three requests...maybe that 'second' one was just Alluka saying, "Okay, brother, you can stop pretending."?

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    2. >Not insinuating that it was mistranslation, but it seems to have been along those lines.

      So, it wasn't directly a request. At least, that's the impression I at first had from reading the manga.

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    3. Because I haven't seen anything else in this mythology that's as likely to explain what Alluka is as Nen is, Occam's Razor to me says it's Nen until it's proved otherwise. And please no spoilers here, either way, even by suggestion or clever wordplay.

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    4. I agree… it doesn't seem like nen, Alluka doesn't pay restrictions herself so why would her aura have such power not to mention she was manipulating causality/probability with making the money blimp appear out of nowhere how is it possible to so greatly effect your surroundings just like that with nen, she also seems to be controlled by her ability that black eyes face she makes must be something else capable of magical things…. Though there was one moment it seemed she actively utilized hatsu being when she healed that bird…. As for HxH mythology they have assassination techniques and while the clones seem to just be some sort of sense deluding ability others like Killua's claws seem to be an outright special ability but as far as we no this has nothing to do with nen, even though it would make sense if it did….

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    5. No clever wordplay. I was just wondering if maybe I missed some dialogue that specifically connected it to nen.

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    6. That was directed at those who might reply to your comment and not the comment itself...

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  5. Could Hisoka be any more adorable? I'm thinking Illumi brings out the most normal in Hisoka, because Illumi is so weird himself.

    I'm so enjoying Togashi's geekery (this far outshines Greed Island cos I must have rewinded 5 times to get all of Alluka's ability restrictions and rules in my head proper). Another funny moment for me was when Cheadle commented the only similarity between Pariston and Netero was how they relished a challenge to actually try to make things hard for themselves. I'm missing Netero so much now.

    And... I think Togashi's a freak for being the only author (probably) who makes the protagonist missing from pretty much most of the show... and still carry the story with so much wit (that we forgot what's missing).

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    1. I hope I'm not inviting spoilers here, but if Killua fails to fulfill Alluka's requests, wouldn't Alluka die as well? Will her own ability kill her. or exempt her from the rule? Just wondering....

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  6. Midnight revelations: Leeorio is probably a DOCTOR now. Gon is sick. Of course he would have a role in this arc! Knov probably even contacted him. This is not an invitation for spoilers.

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