Poor kid. He was never meant to deal with the intricacies of loans and interest.
The beginning of the Killua/Shoot fight throws an interesting twist into the mix — it’s heavily implied that Illumi’s “curse” on Killua is not merely psychological, but also has a physical element to it that activates when Killua attempts to go against Illumi’s mental triggers. Killua tries to fight it, but finds that his body won’t respond the way he wants, and then parts of it shut down completely. (I am assuming that the haze we see over Killua’s left eye is merely a convenient visual marker for the benefit of the audience and isn’t something Shoot can see, since he never addresses it during the episode.) I would imagine this is some weird Nen power Illumi has, though if that’s the case, it strikes me as odd that Killua wouldn’t sense it; that is, unless it’s buried so deep within Killua that he simply can’t sense it. I still don’t have a total handle on how everything is supposed to operate here!
I’m really digging the theme of mental barriers in the battle between Killua and Shoot. Killua of course has his literal mental barrier, but Shoot also has his own barrier that goes beyond the cowardice he displays when he initially tracks Gon and Killua. Shoot is an interesting sort of pseudo-pacifist — he can attack only those who he believes unequivocally deserve it. So I guess if Shoot saw Killua kick a puppy or something, he’d have no qualms beating the shit out of him. What kind of asshole kicks a puppy around, right? This probably leads to Shoot having to jump through some interesting mental hoops to justify attacking someone. Here, Shoot takes a different angle on the idea of “deserving”; he’s able to give his all, because to Killua and Gon, a victory where their opponent holds back is no victory at all. The Ants won’t hold back — why should Knuckle and Shoot? Therefore, Shoot has no qualms with fighting Killua, because it’s precisely what Killua desires.
Also, what the hell, Shoot’s weird hands and shit. There’s still very little idea about what else Shoot has up his (invisible) sleeves, because he spends much of this episode chasing Killua down and whacking him with the disembodied hands. The man’s carrying around a lantern or cage or whatever the hell that is, which has a purpose that hasn’t been touched upon at all yet. I’m guessing Chimera Ant is the part where Togashi said, “Fuck it, I’m going all out with this Nen business” and decided to think up tons of weird powers. (Maybe he’d been reading a ton of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure in his spare time.) There have been cool powers up to this point, but not too much that’s really outrageous. Now he have Knov creating a pocket world to put shit in, Morel’s smoke fog, whatever Shoot’s power ends up being, and Knuckle’s aura lender. I’m sure what’s to come will be even crazier.
Knuckle’s power is an interesting idea. At first glance it seems like something that is totally broken, given that Knuckle is invulnerable to physical strikes until all the aura he has lended out is returned to him. However, it strikes me that this power is most useful against opponents who are about equal in strength to Knuckle or clearly weaker than him. They are the ones who will have the most difficulty returning the aura in full. People who are more powerful than Knuckle, on the other hand, will be able to “pay him back” quicker, and whatever advantage comes from Knuckle’s power is quickly rendered moot. Unless, of course, the person is far slower than Knuckle, but it’s basically been a given so far that if you’re a powerful Nen user, you’re also pretty damn fast.
But, yes, against Gon? This power is incredibly useful. I’m really looking forward to seeing if Gon can think of a quick way to pay Knuckle back in full. Against Neferpitou? I don’t think it’s quite as useful, but I dunno, Knuckle’s probably smart enough to prove me wrong in some way. Who knows?
Anyway, here’s a picture of shirtless Knuckle. Aww yeah.