Usually it takes me a few minutes to crap out a proper title for a post, but this time inspiration struck quickly … like a bolt of lightning! Do ho ho ho ho ho.
This short skirmish is a nice example of everything good about Hunter x Hunter battles. Serious props to Youpi for coming up with a nice, simple plot to get one over on Knuckle by using the literary person’s best friend: irony. Knuckle thinks that he is taking advantage of Youpi’s anger to get some good shots in, but it’s actually his own hot-headedness that clouds his judgment and causes him to rush in for vengeance without fully understanding Youpi’s power and his control over it. Good on Youpi for being self-aware enough to take advantage of other people’s perceptions of him for his own benefit. He showed goofs like me: just because you’re straightforward, doesn’t mean you can’t be clever every so often. It didn’t totally work out for him, but that’s not really his fault.
Killua’s interference, meanwhile, is something I would have expected and called bullshit on in basically any other shonen series, but I got pulled in hook, like and sinker here. The setup is perfect: Shoot is dying, so we have Knuckle going out to avenge him, but then the story pulls the bait-and-switch by having Knuckle die and Shoot surviving. It would definitely be a good gut punch. During that whole monologue where Knuckle talks about how he’s going to beat the shit out of Youpi and then slowly realizes his goose may be cooked — while the audience is fully aware that Youpi is playing possum until the last possible moment — the thought in my head wasn’t, “Someone’s going to save him, I know it,” but rather, “Good lord, I hope someone saves him!”
Then the blooming rose comes in and blooms — a popular visual icon of blood shed — and it promptly wilts. By this point, I was freaking out, because, you know, Knuckle is pretty cool. And then, zap! Lightning. What’s great about this is how the show respects the audience enough to let them put the pieces together without being too obvious about it. Since we know Killua was hanging out with Meleoron when Youpi went kaboom initially, it’s not difficult to put two and two together and figure out that Killua uses Meleoron’s power to get close enough to Youpi to strike at the perfect opportunity. We get a little nudge in that direction as Youpi analyzes the situation from his point of view and realizes it’s similar to when Knuckle hit him with his attack during the first skirmish in the main hall. Meleoron is never shown, however.
It’s nothing huge, but it goes to show how a lot of shows do so much hand-holding that it’s remarkable when something lets off of it a little. Jeez, though, Gon and Killua have come a long way. It wasn’t that long ago that Shoot and Knuckle beat them into the ground to earn the right to go on this mission in the first place. Now Gon is going head-to-head with Neferpitou and Killua is making a shocking entrance for a battle with Youpi while Knuckle and Shoot get the hell out of Dodge to recover. If I weren’t convinced that this fight is going to be totally badass, and if I didn’t love Knuckle cheering about smacking Youpi around and whooping it up ala Gon at Heavens Arena way back when, I might be miffed. But I am just glad to see Knuckle among the living.
Meanwhile, LOBSTER GUNS. This whole arc has been great for stupid powers. It’s beautiful.
I was confused about why the passcode system for the elevator came into play when our gun-toting buddy was going back up and not when he went back down, but I went back to the episode where the elevator was introduced, and the narrator specifically says that the passcode is necessary only when you’re ascending rather than descending. So despite the fact that I complained about too much hand-holding in anime, I’m an idiot who can’t remember a specific detail about this important elevator that was introduced two episodes ago.