no stoooooooooooooooop stooooooooooooooooop stoooooooooooooooooop
Before I get into the nitty gritty of things, I must comment on how spectacular Megumi Han is as Gon in this episode. Holy shit. That argument between “innocent, self-loathing Gon” and “CONSUMED WITH LUST FOR REVENGE Gon”? God damn. Megumi Han has been great the whole series, but this is the money scene. All the sadness, despair and hatred conveyed so perfectly. I just want to hug Gon, even though I would likely be crushed to death when Gon momentarily switches to REVENGE REVENGE MUST KILL PITOU KILL DESTROY mode.
Poor Gon. Poor, poor Gon. You know, considering he just learned that the entire crux of his journey was null and void from the start, he’s handling it reasonably well. Really, though, I still think Gon knew deep down that the whole thing was fucked. He was using BOUNDLESS SHOUNEN ENTHUSIASM to retreat into denial. He could feel how powerful and frightening Pitou was and saw how easily Pitou lopped off Kite’s arm. I guess he could have hoped that the Chimera Ants simply took Kite prisoner rather than kill him off right away. A somewhat reasonable suggestion since I think at that time they were still somewhat in the dark about what the Chimera Ants were doing. But once Gon saw zombie Kite? That’s it. Ain’t no coming back from that. At that point, Gon’s hoping for a magic solution. Maybe in another story he’d get it, but Kite said from the start that Gon’s accompanying him into Hell. And here he is.
This whole arc has been a horrible string of disappointments for Gon. He and Killua arrive ready to fuck up some bugs with cool new powers they’ve developed since emerging from Greed Island. They rough up lower level Ants, but then they come across a Monster who fucks them up royally and puts the fear of God in them. They run away and are ashamed of it. But then they resolve to rescue Kite and get a pick-me-up from their mentor, Biscuit. They learn that there’s a plan of attack: Netero and other high-level Hunters are going in to bust things up. Gon and Killua want in on this. But the team can’t afford to screw this up. They need a small team of only the strongest folks. Gon and Killua face off against Knuckle and Shoot … and even after MAXIMUM SHOUNEN TRAINING, they lose. It hurts. The Chimera Ants eventually drag Gon and Killua into the fight, anyway, and they discover zombie Kite. Gon has new resolve — he must restore Kite, and Killua resolves to keep watch over his best friend.
And now we’re here. Killua can only stand by and listen as Palm relays how unbearably sad Gon is right now, and Gon is wallowing in despair, begging Pitou to heal Kite even though all hope is clearly lost. Good, clean shounen anime fun!
What really bugs me about Pouf is not just the whole being a giant asshole thing; it’s also the presumption that Pouf knows exactly what is right for everyone and will manipulate everything to achieve the ideal circumstances for what Pouf views as the proper behavior for the Chimera Ants. Emotion and empathy are useless; dominance and control are in. Also, honestly, all this tooling around with people makes Pouf just a bit scarier. Pouf is taking everyone at their most emotionally vulnerable and poking at the one thing that will get the desired reaction. Now Pitou is focused on killing Gon and Killua and Palm are distracted from their plan of hunting down and squashing Pouf. Dude’s a huge jerk, but he’s getting shit done, gotta admit.