With Hisoka as the main focus of this episode, it’s no surprise that deception is the dominant theme.
Episodes that spell out how one opponent defeats another can be tedious and come off as filler if used incorrectly; however, the way Hisoka’s strategy is laid out, and how that theme of deception ties into the ending, makes this episode more absorbing than most. Kastro loses to Hisoka not necessarily because he is physically weaker than Hisoka, but definitely because he is mentally weaker. Hisoka lays his traps soon after his arm is severed. The real turning point, though, is when Kastro realizes Hisoka is using Nen in this battle rather than magic but cannot figure out the trick behind Hisoka’s strategy.
The deception gets to him. Like a true magician, Hisoka uses his sleight of hand to counteract the slice of hand and turn it to his advantage. It’s weird because it seems as if the audience should see what is going on. That’s the power of a true magician, however. Hisoka’s charisma and showmanship captures the audience’s eyes and keeps them from seeing what they should be seeing. Even Killua, who is a trained assassin and has eyes that are sharper than anyone in that room possesses, is unable to catch Hisoka’s trick.
This actually makes Hisoka’s number game make a bit of sense in context. It’s a simple trick with which most people should be familiar — no matter what number you choose, the answer is always going to be 1. This is a simple game. The point, though, is to show that the audience cannot think even on that level, which is why they are so easily fooled by Hisoka’s theatrics. Kastro pays zero attention to the game; therefore, it takes a bit more cunning to deceive him.
Complex gambits are often employed to show how intelligent and well-prepared villains are, but this simple scheme Hisoka plots on the fly is much more impressive to me. He shows thorough knowledge of his abilities and their strengths, analyzes the situation perfectly to employ his Nen powers to their maximum efficiency, and he throws in some psychological warfare as the cherry on top. It’s not a complex plan when laid out step-by-step. The real brilliance is in how quickly Hisoka springs the trap. I wondered how the audience could not see the manipulation Hisoka pulls, especially those who have a view of Hisoka’s backside, but the episode makes it clear that Hisoka’s reflexes are quick enough to make this movement practically invisible, even without the added distractions.
This fight is OK in the original anime, but the detailing of Hisoka’s strategy in the new series does a lot to establish him as someone to be feared. He’s not only super powerful but also an intelligent thinker and excellent strategist. The original Hunter x Hunter does establish Hisoka as a good fighter, and not just someone who has strong powers, but not to this extent.
Anyway, getting back to deception — Hisoka has long been established as a deceptive figure, so it makes sense that the final event of this episode is the reveal of Hisoka deceiving even the group to which he purportedly belongs, the Phantom Troupe. At first I thought that this was really early to show this, but it turns out that the reveal in the older series is just a couple of episodes later because the order of events is different. Hisoka’s reasons for this will be made clearer later, though it shouldn’t be difficult to figure out given knowledge of Hisoka’s MO and what captures his interest during his talk with Machi.
I love a character whose entire point is to fool everyone with whom he or she comes into contact. That sense of mystery and confusion can fall apart quickly if a character deceives with no aim, but we know why Hisoka acts — to challenge and destroy the strongest fighters. Everything Hisoka does makes sense, and that’s part of what’s so great about him: he shows the world up front that his aim is to deceive, and everyone is fooled anyway.
A couple of other things . . .
First off, I love that Hisoka wears heels. Maybe that is why he has such great balance. If you can fight in high heels, then nobody will ever knock you down.
Second, Hisoka’s shower scene has an unfortunate lack of man ass. I say unfortunate because I definitely would have posted a screenshot were Hisoka’s pasty white ass to fill the screen. You know you all would have wanted it. Well, in the absence of that . . .
. . . Yeah, you all should have seen it coming, right? Even though that would be censored in the series.