This is Killua mere steps away from going broke and turning to a life of booze and hookers like Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas. How long must Gon and Biscuit have been standing there for Killua to look so gaunt?! I feel like Greed Island is a giant social critique by Ging: There’s fun to be had, but if you delve too deeply into it or take it too seriously, then it can destroy you. Gambling is bad, children! Killua would have stayed until his face exploded if Biscuit hadn’t knocked him out. It could happen to you, too!! Also don’t do drugs.
It is, however, quite striking just how seriously the game is taken by nearly everyone who inhabits it, and there is a definite contrast to the childish veneer of Greed Island. To the audience, Gon, Killua and Biscuit are displaying the “right” way to play the game: Going on adventures, having fun and collecting cards. They do silly things like punch trees so that rare beetles will rain down from the sky (super gross btw), rescue a young girl from the depths of a mysterious mansion (and uppercut a bodyguard), Gon and Killua enter some sort of tournament (I think the OVAs may have specified the nature of the tournament, but I don’t remember off the top of my head), and even Killua’s jaunt to the Hunter Exam is hilariously frivolous. I can imagine people being disappointed if they wanted something more substantial; however, Killua is basically a Hunter already, anyway, so why hold off the ceremony?
Anyway, yeah, even though Biscuit, Gon and Killua have a clear focus, they’re still getting their shit done in a fun way. The one time that’s interrupted is when they play the game the way everyone else does — through trading and deals. The scene is tense. Gon and Killua have been fleeced before, and they’re prepared should it happen again. Luckily for them, their trading partner is actually interested in playing fair. The ordeal passes without event, and Killua comments on how disappointing it is. There’s no real sense of fun there, no feeling of having earned these new cards through some activity. They simply gave something up and received something in return. Boring! I’m sure Gon and Killua would rather have punched a dinosaur in the face to get those cards.
Meanwhile, the Bomber is playing the game the opposite of Gon and Killua (at least from what we’ve seen of him). He’s all about shady backroom deals and finding the sneakiest ways to take advantage of the game. The plan to use the Tax Collector’s Gauntlet card in combination with the Risky Dice to steal cards is definitely a smart plan. It’s probably fair within the confines of the game, too; it’s not as if the Bomber is cheating by using the abilities of a card and item together beneficially, even if it is for a shady purpose. Still, it’s a dick move despite being a valid strategy. We’ll see if Tsezgerra is actually naive enough to believe that the Bomber will deal fairly with him even when presented with an overwhelmingly good offer.
This whole thing, though, shows why teenage pilots in Gundam loathe adults so much: They just fuck things up. Attempting to out think the opponent and scraping together every possible advantages using the systems the game offers is the adult thing to do, but it’s so mechanical. Sometimes you gotta uppercut a butler or ride a lion or something. Could you imagine the Bomber riding a lion to get a card? I bet not!