This all went about as expected.
Of all the things I enjoyed about this episode, the horrible human complexity thrust unceremoniously in Gon’s direction is probably what I liked most. (“Liked” in this case meaning “it punched me hard in the gut.”) Gon asks Neferpitou how Pitou could treat Komugi with such care while being so callous to Kite. Pitou’s answer is that Komugi is someone the King cares about; therefore, Komugi is someone who Pitou cares about, as well. This enrages Gon more. How could someone so easily pick and choose with whom they treat with kindness?
But it’s something we all do. Perhaps not so blatantly. Most of us probably try to be decent to most everyone we meet. But if some sort of situation occurs, and it’s the word of a stranger versus the word of someone we know, we’re more likely to side with the person we know, aren’t we? Or at least to give them a longer leash when it comes to the benefit of the doubt? We just know them better (or think we know them better) and know what they’re about (or what we think they’re about). “So and so can’t have done this. They’re a good person!” We’re biased toward them in some way because their existence has some sort of meaning to us. So it goes here. Komugi has some meaning to Neferpitou. Kite didn’t. Kite has meaning to Gon. Komugi, not so much. I don’t think Gon would directly kill Komugi — Gon believes Neferpitou is harming her — but he’s certainly quick to dismiss alternatives if it means vengeance. Not that I can blame him much.
That’s not all that futzes with Gon’s mind, however. It’s more the realization that such a monster could have empathy toward anything in the first place. All along, Gon has believed he’s dealt with monsters. The Chimera Ants snatched people up left and right for the purposes of sustenance. Others did it because they enjoyed the thrill of murder. At the very least, it’s clear the Chimera Ants are a danger to humanity. Part of the mission is to eradicate the Ants. It’s just easier to compartmentalize a group like that as monsters who deserve it. Gon doesn’t end up thinking of them all that way. He has no qualms with Colt, Ikalgo and trusts Meleoron. But someone who had wounded him both emotionally and physically, who already showed a tendency toward monstrous actions? It’s harder to accept that someone like Neferpitou could be capable of kindness and cruelty in equal measure.
Probably the most difficult part to accept is that sort of thing makes Neferpitou more human rather than less human. There’s thought and feeling behind both the cruelty and the kindness. It’s done with one goal in mind: to protect the person whom Neferpitou cares about most. In Pitou’s eyes, it’s an honorable goal, something worth dying for. From Gon’s perspective? It’s cruel, far too cruel, because someone he cared about was the victim. (Side note: Seeing this makes it all the more galling that Madhouse eliminated the portion of the story where Gon initially meets Kite. For people who have seen the remake only, Gon meets Kite at the start of the series. Kite serves as Gon’s initial inspiration for becoming a Hunter. And of course, Kite has a connection with Gon’s father, which makes it that much more personal. He’s like family.)
When someone does something that is hurtful, it’s easy to assume they’re an asshole or willfully evil or whatever. Maybe it’s true sometimes. But there’s just as often a side we’re not seeing. Good people do terrible things. Bad people can do good things. We often have reasons for both. Whether those reasons are worth a shit or not often depends on the eye of the beholder. That’s the tough thing to reconcile. Gon wants to look at this in a black-and-white way just because it would hurt so much less. It hurts much less to be absolutely sure of what is right and what is wrong than to think about what is right and what is wrong and not be totally sure you can accurately see either. When you’re fighting, it’s just easier to picture the person on the other side as a horrifying monster rather than a thinking creature with its own hopes, dreams and values.
Anyway, Christ, this whole episode and this post were both huge fucking downers, so here is Hisoka’s pearly white butt to lighten the mood.