14 CommentsHunter X Hunter / By Shinmaru /

Hunter x Hunter 50 – Ignorance Saves the Day!

Hisoka is a big fan of how clever this episode is!

I was really impressed with the writing of this particular point in the arc when I saw it in the ’99 Hunter x Hunter, and I’m no less an admirer upon seeing it again here. A couple of earlier events pay off here, and the characterization also pays off in that it allows Gon and Killua to escape an extremely dangerous situation using their wits and a little bit of brawn. Nobody actually believes Nobunaga when he says the Spiders will allow Gon and Killua to leave quietly if they’re not convinced to join the group, right? Even though it’s clearly a temporary hideout, they still know where the Spiders are hanging. They’ve also witnessed one of the Spiders — Pakunoda — use her power, even if they can’t be sure Gon and Killua have divined it. That’s too much knowledge to let them live; obviously, then, it’s in their best interests to escape, no matter what Nobunaga says.

But how do they escape? Let’s look at the thread of logic!

First off, Gon and Killua almost give themselves away by recognizing Hisoka. This seems like it would be much more inconvenient for Hisoka — certain members of the group already distrust him, and if they find out he’s familiar with two people who are going after the group (and that he didn’t tell them), it would be troublesome for him, especially if they later find out Gon and Killua are connected to Kurapika. But you could also approach from the angle that if Gon and Killua know Hisoka, that shows a greater knowledge of the Spiders than they at first let on, which would make them slightly more dangerous in the eyes of the group. Luckily, Killua thinks quickly on his feet and recognizes Shizuku from the arm wrestling match. You’d think she wouldn’t stand out visually among the many challengers, but the very fact that someone like her gave Gon the hardest time makes her stand out the most. At any rate, this is much less suspicious because the Spiders initiated that encounter.

Then, skipping ahead a bit, Gon and Killua are saved by their temporary ignorance. This is the most clever part of the story for me due to how subtle it is. When Pakunoda questions Gon and Killua, the new viewer thinks nothing of it. She’s simply interrogating them like the other Spiders. Even when she puts her arm around Killua in the car, the viewer feels uncomfortable, but there’s the sense she’s trying to charm Killua rather than something else. But, nope, it’s just the show putting the audience in Killua’s shoes and playing off the collective ignorance. Neither Killua nor Gon knows Kurapika is the chain user, because neither has met Kurapika since departing Killua’s home.

The moment Killua logics out Kurapika’s identity and Pakunoda’s power, however, is both a solid twist AND a moment that ratchets up the tension. What happens if they decide to interrogate Killua again, just to be sure? Luckily, the Spiders being mostly rational beings works against them — they have absolute confidence in Pakunoda’s ability, because they’ve seen it work in the past. However, they don’t have enough specific information, and this blinds them to the scenario where Gon and Killua cannot deduce Kurapika’s identity despite knowing him. They instead follow the most logical path — searching through the Nostrade family until they find Kurapika. It’s awesome how the story plays with logic and ignorance in such a tightly written way.

The characterization of Nobunaga is also key to Killua and Gon’s escape. He’s consistently shown to be the most emotional member of the Spiders. That isn’t to say he’s all emotion, of course — he’s fully capable of rational thought, as he shows when walking with Machi in the previous episode. However, he is the quickest to anger. Remember, of the fights/near fights we’ve seen among the Spiders, he’s initiated both of them: against Franklin when they’re introduced, and here with Feitan. Nobunaga’s reaction to Uvogin’s death also marks him as the most emotional Spider. The other members of the Phantom Troupe discuss Uvogin as if he’s a friend who has simply moved away and lost contact with them; Nobunaga, however, has tears in his eyes as he recalls his partner.

This emotion makes him single-minded and straightforward. He blocks the only apparent exit from the building, because he believes the only way out is through him — and nobody can beat Nobunaga in a one-on-one battle. He thinks he has them figured out, particularly Gon, whom Nobunaga clearly marks in his mind as another Uvogin. Why else would he confirm that Gon is an Enhancer? These thoughts all cloud Nobunaga’s mind, which is why he falls so easily for Gon and Killua’s trap. Despite the fact that the boys clearly mean to escape, Nobunaga has it in his mind that they’re insane enough to try and kill him. His emotion and arrogance work against him: he knows he is more powerful than them, so he uses his power to seek and kill them. A few noises make him think the two are still in the headquarters though the boys are long gone.

In all, a good end to a clever episode.

Sorry, can’t not end the post like this.

P.S. This YouTube user has put up some comparison videos showing scenes from the ’99 Hunter x Hunter versus the remake. It’s a pretty cool way to see the differences in approach between the two series. There are also three other videos — Kurapika vs. Uvogin, Gon vs. Hisoka and Killua vs. Zushi. They reinforce opinions I’ve held for a while: that at their best, the remake has flat-out better animation than the ’99 series. They both use directorial tricks, but the ’99 series uses it more often and more noticeably (again, when both are at their best). However, I still prefer the earthier art style of the ’99 anime. The world just feels a bit darker and more alive than the relatively sleek world of the remake.

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14 Comments

  1. Mr. Anon
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Judging by the comparison videos, the animation is indeed better in the new version, but the choreography is more impressive in the old one.

    • Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      I think it depends on the fight. Like, in the fight between Gon and Hanzo (which is not one of the comparisons, sadly), the ’99 version wins on all fronts. But the remake’s Gon vs. Hisoka fight is clearly superior. But it wouldn’t surprise me if the ’99 anime had to step it up on the choreography simply because it didn’t have the pure animation power.

  2. Adreme
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Maybe I am just weird but I actually did believe him when he said they werent going to kill them. They dont seem to be particularly afraid of the mafia and the only person they really want to find is the “chain user” so letting them go and say where there hideout is could possibly attract him to it.

    • Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      That’s a possibility, yes, but the Spiders don’t really give Gon and Killua much of a reason to trust them. They clearly care only about their own; Gon and Killua would have to accept that they have some sort of honor that extends beyond themselves, and that’s not the best chance to take when their lives are on the line.

  3. matrixEXO
    Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Another post about HxH just to show off Hisoka’s shiny crotch. You must be desperate to spread the love huh.

    Real thing: Hunter x Hunter was one of my best manga that I ever read. I stopped mainly because I had stuff to do then never picked it up again since I didn’t feel like it.

    • Posted October 8, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I just can’t resist its glowing allure. It’s like the Ark of the Covenant — you shouldn’t stare, but you can’t help it.

  4. Posted October 9, 2012 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    Watching how the spiders think and how others get around them has been intriguing. It’s clear that you can’t brute-force your way past them and they’re wise enough to make outsmarting them difficult. You definitely have to hand it to Gon and Killua for managing to escape from them.

  5. Posted October 9, 2012 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    Has anyone think why paku didn’t found out that both gon and killua knew hisoka from the hunter exam? I would bet paku scan their memory, so she would see a glimpse of hisoka, particularly with gon. If so, they would had to look at hisoka to see kurapika.

    • Oni Hibiki
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:13 am | Permalink

      I think she’s only able to do that because she asked them a question about the “chain user”. If she asked them a question about Hisoka then his image would come up in their minds.

      • Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

        That makes sense. I can’t remember exactly how her powers work aside from having to delve into a person’s memory. But her being limited to selective scan makes sense.

  6. sam
    Posted October 9, 2012 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Why Pakunoda didn’t notice Hisoka in their memories ?

    • Mr. Anon
      Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Because she wasn’t looking for it.

      I doubt she reviews their entire memories of anything ever.

      • Posted October 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, basically. There’s probably a limitation to her power — like, she has to ask a specific question, and then she can roam a person’s memory based on that question. She has no reason to ask Gon or Killua about Hisoka, because she doesn’t know they’ve been in contact at all. If she suspected Hisoka of anything, really, she’d ask HIM about Kurapika.

      • Adreme
        Posted October 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

        Plus I believe they didnt even see Hisoka in the spiders until after she asked the question and did the touching memory search power so even if she was looking for it then she wouldnt have seen it.

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