23 CommentsHunter X Hunter / By Shinmaru /

Hunter x Hunter 58 – Punishment

So conflicted. On the one hand, this is really the perfect ending to the arc — everyone I knew who hadn’t already seen it expected a big fight, and the finale subverts expectations in a cool, fitting way. On the other hand, the arc is over now! ;_;

This adaptation of Hunter x Hunter has been a bit bumpy, to say the least, but ultimately it has done justice to this arc and produced some of the best anime this year. If you took the Yorkshin arc all on its own, it would probably make my top 3 of the year with ease. Maybe even my No. 2 overall, depending on when you ask me. I saw it described elsewhere as like a chess match, and that’s exactly what it is, especially when Kurapika, Killua and Gon are more aggressive in attacking the Phantom Troupe. Every interaction and piece of information has some value, and when they’re brought up again, it doesn’t feel forced or as if the story is showing off how clever it is. There’s genuine tension built when, for instance, Pakunoda initially reads Gon and Killua’s memories and finds nothing about the chain-user because they don’t know yet that it’s Kurapika. That writing really gives weight to everything the viewer sees and hears throughout the course of the arc. Above all, that’s what this arc does excellently.

OK, now that that splooging is out of the way, I can get to spoilers! Often times the “I can’t kill the big villain because I am the hero” decision feels silly and contrived (especially in video game stories), but here it works because Kurapika gives Chrollo a punishment that is as close to death as he can get without actually being killed. It reminds me a bit of the recent game, Dishonored, where you can kill your targets in any number of ways, but there’s also the option to dispatch them in nonlethal — and often ironic — fashion. That’s what Kurapika does here: He passes on to Chrollo the pain he feels every day by cutting him off from his comrades and stealing his agency by sealing his Nen abilities. Kurapika is unwilling to sink lower than he has, but he is not as forgiving as Gon.

I like this turn because it wouldn’t make sense for Kurapika to totally forgive the man who led the slaughter of his clan. As we saw in the fight against Uvogin, killing is a heavy burden on Kurapika’s shoulders. He is nonetheless still concerned about meting out the proper justice for his clan. It’s a terrifying punishment for sure: No way to communicate with those for whom he cares, and seemingly no way to extricate himself from the situation. The shot of Chrollo alone on the canyon, a tiny speck from the blimp’s point of view, says it all.

The way everything afterward wraps up is oh so excellent, too. Hisoka’s machinations prove to be worthless as he catches Chrollo just a bit after Kurapika has sealed his powers. That laugh from Chrollo after he hears what Hisoka has been planning all along is great. I imagine everything locks into place at that moment; doubtless, he is intelligent to figure out that Hisoka’s “prediction” was a load of garbage. Much as I would love to see an all out battle between Hisoka and Chrollo (and hope it happens eventually), Hisoka getting denied just as he reveals his plans is quite amusing. (This also answers the question of whether Kurapika’s powers would have worked on Hisoka if he tried to kill him before now. Nope!)

The one thing I don’t really like is the look on Hisoka’s face after Chrollo reveals the loss of his Nen ability. It was funny in the moment I watched with my buddies, but it’s incongruent in a way that doesn’t fit in with this arc. I like the way the original OVA does it more: Hisoka initially does not believe Chrollo and tries to attack him; however, Chrollo is unfazed, and it is in this moment that Hisoka realizes Chrollo is telling the truth. He then says the very Hisoka line, “I thought it would be a fun date, but then it turned sour.” Oh, Hisoka.

Anyway, things of course do not go entirely as planned for Kurapika. The way the series works around the limits Kurapika sets delivers a satisfying gut punch of an ending. The loyalty Chrollo inspires in his followers is great indeed, and just as Pakunoda is willing to betray the Spider to save Chrollo, she is equally willing to give her life so that the Phantom Troupe can change Chrollo’s fate. It’s a great stroke of irony that Kurapika’s punishment is what heals the fractures of the Phantom Troupe and gives them focus again. We haven’t seen the last of them, folks!

The opposite of how Hisoka felt during this episode.

So there you have it, the Yorkshin arc has concluded. Next up is Greed Island, which doubles as the final arc of Hunter x Hunter with which I am familiar. I wasn’t the biggest fan of it when I watched the OVAs, but admittedly at least part of that is because I loathed the visual style of the Greed Island OVAs. It was like Hunter x Hunter turned into fuckin’ Gundam SEED or something. Gross. I’ll go into this with an open mind.

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23 Comments

  1. Gunslinger
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Yorkshin arc for the win :) The greed island arc is kind of a let down afterwords because of the abscence of the tension present in the previous arc. Still it does have a good sense of fun and i cant wait to see how it is gonna be adapted.

    Incidentally i didnt like this episode because they rushed it too much and cut a lot of the good stuff. The example you gave with hisoka was one such thing but the one scene i missed the most was when paku dies. In the original theres a slow scene where the chain materializes and then she dies. That had so much more impact than her just getting a heart attack.

    • Billish
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:42 am | Permalink

      That chain and it’s strong addition as a symbol is generally missing from this adaptation. I mentioned this in a previous Shinmaru post but in Kurapica’s training arc the original adaptation added new material to portray the significance of this symbol. I feel even with the scene you mentioned, it would not have been as strong without that previous development. For me the original adaptation was much better on many levels, but this one is strong on its own. This also wont affect the coming arcs too much if at all. Greed Island should be much better this time around as well so only good things to look forward to!

      • Gunslinger
        Posted December 12, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        Wow, thats just another anime addition that i never could have guessed. Seriously the old adaptation had the most brilliant fillers.

    • Posted December 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Eh, I didn’t think it was rushed too much. The pacing seemed OK to me.

  2. hint
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if Chrollo will ever get free from the curse.
    Well at least Green island is the best piece that anime can offer when its about RPG. Or not? I don’t know, i have only watched craps like SAO and AW.

    • Billish
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      Though it is a ‘game’ of sorts, Greed Island for me was only ever an extension of the HxH universe rather than an RPG element. But it is cool how Togashi interpretted a video game in his work.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Greed Island is an OK game. It’s pretty silly!

  3. Adrian
    Posted December 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

      I have already seen this, but yes, it is wonderful. If you’re looking for a Christmas present for me, this is it!

  4. Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    Admit it, you’ll never give up on looking for dubious reasons to include GLOWING HISOKA PENIS in your posts, right?

    • Posted December 12, 2012 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      >dubious reasons

      SIR, MY REASONS ARE NEVER DUBIOUS

  5. Posted December 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    Hey Shinmaru, since I am not sure if they are ever going to be animated or not, you may or may not wish to take a look at the two recent Hunter x Hunter special chapters that were just recently released.

    They cover Kurapika’s back story and don’t have anything to do with the main story line. I figure that now would be a good time to read them as you are still high on Kurapika’s antics in this arc.

    • Billish
      Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Oddly, I didn’t like this addition to the HxH world as much as I expected. It seems almost out of place, or missing something inherent in the setting that I can’t put my finger on. However, this does indicate that Togashi might – hopefully – is back to work writing (which I expected, as the HxH animated series is doing well[?] enough to warrant more material). Also, one more arc (Greed Island) before new animated material! So jacked!

      • Posted December 13, 2012 at 2:39 am | Permalink

        Yeah, it wasn’t terribly engrossing. I mean, it didn’t feel forced per say, but I guess it was just not terribly exciting?

        And yes, I to hope Togashi starts writing the manga again. Given his tendency to go on hiatus so frequently, I kind of want him to just hurry up and end everything.

  6. Posted December 12, 2012 at 12:50 am | Permalink

    Even if it can’t live up to the Yorkshin arc, I’m still anxiously awaiting Greed Island so it can show SAO and BTOOOM and the like how it’s done.

    It really says something about the show when it’s actually able to make us all shut up about taco guns and elicit an awestruck silence for almost its entire length, only broken by the occasional “holy crap that just happened.”

    This episode may have been a huge anticlimax, but I loved how it toyed with expectations. It took the exact opposite approach you would expect a show like this to take, and made it work. On top of that, this basically guarantees that we’ll see the Spiders again later on, and it’s also highly likely that we’ll eventually see Chrollo searching for a way to deal with his punishment, both of which are worth far more than a big fight scene.

  7. Billish
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I’m actually very excited for Greed Island this time around. I feel like the first OVA didn’t do the manga justice at all (but it’s been a while, so not a good quality judgment call). Also, last arc before new material sorta!! The pacing is going to be real fucked up if the manga is any indicator; I feel for the director and hope to god they pull it off.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, that’s why I’m approaching Greed Island with an open mind even though I didn’t like it much the first time around; obviously, I have no idea how much of that was due to direction, and how much of that was the actual arc itself being crappy. Guess I’ll find out now!

  8. Adreme
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    The explanation they gave for not killing them at the end made zero sense and im surprised niether Gon nor Killua noticed.

    They gave a perfectly viable reason why killing Kurapika was not something they could do. What they didnt say is why they couldnt kill them. I assume the reason they didnt kill them was because they were grateful to them but they didnt know that.

    • Posted December 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Well, if they kill Gon and Killua, then they’re provoking Kurapika. It would be highly likely that he would retaliate by messing with the chain or whatever. It doesn’t matter whether Kurapika could actually do it — just that the possibility exists. Killing Gon and Killua right there would be meaningless when finding a cure for Chrollo is by far the most important task for them.

  9. Stef
    Posted December 12, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    I saw it described elsewhere as like a chess match, and that’s exactly what it is

    Not really. There’s no withholding of information in chess. And thankfully this is not the case here, or Kurapika and the Troupe couldn’t have pulled all those high-risk strategies and twists that made this arc so thrilling! Watching a chess match is the boringest thing.

  10. Posted December 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me who find the animation of the original Hunter X Hunter Awesome. I know that it pales in comparison when your put it side by side to the remake but in relation to old anime during the time when the original HXH was airing the visuals and animation is pretty solid…. Anyway can’t wait for them to finish GI arc… I’m more excited seeing the chimera ants arc

    • Posted December 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Haha, I don’t want to make it sound like I’m shitting all over the original’s visuals — I think it’s a very good looking show, especially since it came out just before studios started heading down the path of digital animation. The directing is rock solid, and I prefer the art style of the original to the remake.

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