Didn’t quite expect the episode to end right here, though I can see why it did. It’s definitely a low point for Kurapika; although he should be happy the Phantom Troupe is “dead,” he can’t be satisfied with that. The deaths of the Spiders are not all he seeks — they have to die by his hands. If not, then what is the point of everything he has done up until now? This is something highly personal for Kurapika. It’s not something he wants to do, as evidenced by his speech to Uvogin. He doesn’t take pleasure in killing, not even killing someone like Uvogin who slaughtered his people and basically forgot all about it. And yet, it’s something Kurapika believes he has to do to properly avenge the murder of the Kurta clan.
And now, as far as Kurapika knows, that’s gone. Reason for living: poof. No more. This stuff and what’s to come are actually some of my favorite moments involving Kurapika in the story. This is really the first time the veil of revenge has been lifted from Kurapika and anyone is allowed to see just how truly heavy this burden is for him. Look at his eyes when he’s speaking with Melody — half worn out and half dead. And it’s rubbed in his face even more because he has to buy what he believes are the eyes of one of the members of his clan and deliver them to two people who aren’t really so great. Working for Nostrade was an evil Kurapika accepted to get closer to the Spiders; now, it’s a humiliation. It’s definitely a powerful moment for Kurapika, and a nice bit of dramatic irony for the audience, particularly after Hisoka’s attempted phone call.
Just as an aside, for whatever reason I really enjoy hearing voice actors when their characters are physically and emotionally drained. For instance, Yuki Kaida during the original Hunter x Hunter is excellent during this part of the story. Her acting really conveys how awful this really is for Kurapika without going over the top with it. Or Reiko Yasuhara in Now and Then, Here and There whenever her character, Abelia, interacts with Hamdo. With everyone else, she’s tough and hard because she has to be; however, with Hamdo, she still cares about him despite what an utter lunatic he is, and when she speaks with him, that facade is gone. All that’s left is her care slowly breaking down. It’s a truly amazing performance that has stuck with me from the moment I heard it.
So, yeah, with that in mind, I’m really looking forward to Miyuki Sawashiro’s acting in the upcoming episodes!
Enough of that emotional stuff — how about some cold blooded murder?! This whole sequence rocks, but the simple shot of Hisoka lighting this mafia dude’s cigarette followed by Machi stringing him up and hanging him is so efficiently brutal. I know I was like, “Ohhh . . . oh my god!” at the sight of his legs twitching as he died. Good lord. I like that Hisoka didn’t really have to be there, either. He’s just amused by the sight of something dying horribly, I bet. Such a cruel clown.
My other favorite detail in this episode is the auctioneer’s eyes as Shalnark controls him during the auction. Right when the audience sees him, they have to be like, “OK, there is something that is just not right about this guy!” You know Shalnark is in control immediately — nobody’s eyes are that dilated and happy, especially when they are doing something dull like auctioneering. Does anyone actually have fun during an auction? Maybe if you actually buy something rare. I can’t imagine it would be that fun to actually sell shit, particularly if you’re selling someone else’s shit.