God damn, what a cool scene. Really loving the varied visual tricks to show the same, basic idea — that the adrenaline is flowing, the senses are heightened, and Killua’s instinct has taken over, even as his mind is all over the place. I particularly love the thick black outline; as I’m looking at the above screenshot, it’s reminding me of the Wind Waker art style. And, people, holy SHIT would I enjoy seeing the Hunter x Hunter characters rendered in that style, even if it’s just some fanart thing. (It still baffles me that a number of people despised it at the time. The whole “MATURE ZELDA ONLY!!!!!!” thing is hilarious in retrospect.)
But beyond looking damn cool, this scene has a nice impact because it ties in so well with Killua’s development. He’s the one who says “The plan is all that matters, stick to the plan no matter what, etc.” but when he sees his new friend is going to be in trouble, Killua’s body takes over immediately. This is still something totally new to Killua. For a long time, Gon was THE friend in Killua’s life. He’s friendly with people like Kurapika and Leorio (remember them lololololol), or Knuckle and Shoot, or whoever, but it’s clear his relationship with Gon is something deeper. That’s also of course affected by the lack of brain-crippling needle in Killua’s head now — he’s thinking more for himself now rather than in that risk-avoidance assassin type of thinking. He’s been close with Gon for long enough that friendship comes more or less naturally, but with other people when you’re starting from scratch? This shit’s all new.
So Killua’s body is rushing headlong toward the ants while his mind is like, “Wait, what the fuck am I doing?????” He kills them easily. But he’s going back toward Ikalgo and feeling like crap. What if he fucked up the plan? What if Ikalgo takes this as a sign that Killua doesn’t trust him, that Killua thinks Ikalgo can’t take care of this on his own? But Ikalgo’s like, “Thanks, bro, I’ll pay this shit back for sure!” And it’s like … “oh yeah, this is what it’s like to do something nice for a pal!” Killua has friends now, our little boy is growing up! ;-;
Speaking of characters rising to the occasion and finding out new things about themselves, SHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOT. You have to admire someone who’s like, “My leg is useless now; fuck it, I’m just going to hop on one of my magical flying fists and bolt around and beat the shit out of this Lovecraftian devilman. Also, I’m going to wrap this part of my clothes around my right eye. I don’t know why, but I’m gonna do it because fuck you!” He’s a long way from fighting only people who “deserve” it and hiding from everyone else. (Though, really, who could argue against the idea that a many-eyed creature trying to slaughter all your friends needs to be put down as hard as possible?) But there’s also the way Shoot is fighting Youpi with that smile on his face. It’s like he’s really discovered his reason for being a Hunter right here, staring death in the face.
(A random fun fact: If you look closely, you can see Youpi’s many eyes following Shoot’s fists as they smack him repeatedly. Several of the eyes are darting in different directions. That’s a little thing that I bet is tougher to animate well than might be expected. This also makes me wonder what it’s like to see out of multiple sets of eyes. How does Youpi deal with all the extra sensory information? It’s probably not an overload for him, though. It just seems that way for me since I have, you know, just the two eyes. But if I suddenly had like one extra eye on the back of my head, I have no idea how I’d handle it.)
I love any show that would dedicate a few minutes to Pouf melodramatically freaking out about being a shitty Royal Guard and getting pissed that some WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! gained the King’s favor and lowered him from that godlike pedestal that Pouf had built for him. If Komugi had never entered the picture and the King stayed the way he was, I wonder if Pouf’s fanaticism would have made him the most dangerous of the Royal Guard. That absolute loyalty would have given him the resolve to protect his ideals no matter what. Who’s to say what he would do should anything threaten that. He’s obviously not weak now, but his resolve is weakened just a bit. Unless, of course, he thinks he can get those ideals back.