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Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 119

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「ツヨイ × カ × ヨワイ × カ」 (Tsuyoi × ka × Yowai × ka)
“Strong × Or × Weak”

Chalk one up for innovation and weakness of the flesh.

Unless you’re one of the contingent who soured on Hunter X Hunter during this arc because of the narrative structure and narration itself, you’ve been utterly spoiled like me by the astonishing – and astonishingly consistent – run the series is on. So when we get an episode like this one that’s merely very good, it’s too easy to overreact and dismiss it too easily. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t as deeply moved or driven mad by tension as I have in varying degrees with pretty much every ep in the last couple of months, but there was still some amazing stuff here (including possibly the all-anime debut of octo-barf).

We get a brief but scene-stealing appetizer of Killua and Youpi and a digestif of Morel and Pouf (that actually sounds like a real thing) but for the most part, the wheel of plot stopped on Ikalgo this week. His fifteen minutes of fame isn’t as compelling as the A-list cast, or even some of the B-list – but it’s fascinatingly different. Watching Octobro and Lobster Montana (Say hello to my little claw…) is quite unlike any of the other titanic faceoffs we’re seeing, for several reasons.

First things first is the A-lister, Killua. The episode picks up right where last week’s left off, with Killua apologizing not at all sincerely to Menthuyoupi and looking very Super Saiyan as he revs up the amperage. This is the true debutante ball for Killua’s “Godspeed” ability – the crowning achievement of his meticulous and harsh training with Bisky. We see both “Speed of Lightning” and “Whirlwind”, which in combination effectively allow him to move at the speed of the electrical impulses in his brain (we saw this briefly in the darts episode) and hard-wire his attack pattern to fluctuations in his opponent’s aura. It’s one of the more fascinating Nen abilities Togashi has dreamed up, and one which makes its wielder seemingly invincible.

Of course everyone is vincible, as we find out in due course. But before that we have Youpi’s reaction, which I find fascinating. Rather that lash out in blind rage, he whispers an appreciative “Fukai!” (“Deep!”) and laughs. Youpi is blown away by the coolness and complexity of this whole Nen thing, and it’s startling to see how much he’s grown mentally and emotionally in a tiny span of time. Youpi is distracted enough that he doesn’t notice the fading of Hotel Rafflesia, which either means Shoot is dead or unconscious (hopefully it’s the latter) but he certainly notices when the weakness in Godspeed reveals itself. Fittingly for a lightning-based attack, the Achilles heel is its short duration – and once Kil has used up his power supply, he’s smart enough to retreat and seek cover under the shield of Meleoron’s Perfect Plan. But there’s a price – Youpi, again showing his growing cunning, correctly deduces that one of the enemies has the ability to make themselves and others disappear and reappear.

Back down to the cellar we go, where Ikalgo and Brovada are engaged in a battle of wits. Ikalgo, truth be told, simply doesn’t have a Nen ability that’s the equal of the others in the attack party (which, I suspect, is partly the reason Morel chose this particular task for him). He’s here because he wants to prove himself, and no doubt his ability has proven useful – but in a straight-up fight, he’s no match for even a strong captain like Brovada. As a result Ikalgo has to rely on cunning even as he’s battling his own self-doubts. Brovada has the brute force option – he wisely uses it when the elevator traps him for not having a passcode and is about the “restrain” him with sleeping gas. Ikalgo has retreated to the guards’ control room, where he’s using the various bulkheads and the sleeping gas to try and trap Brovada like a rat in an ever-changing maze.

It turns out that those bulkheads are strong enough to withstand Brovada’s massive firepower, but there’s another way out – Ikalgo has thought of it and I thought of it, so Ikalgo’s guess that Brovada (who isn’t stupid) would too, eventually, is on the money. When an attempt to isolate Brovada in a corridor fails Ikalgo launches a dangerous, “MacGyver”-esque plan using cheap whiskey and a disposable lighter – and an armored assault vehicle – to block the elevator (which tips off Brovada about the way out, but too late). This works in part because of Octobro’s ability to squeeze into tight spaces (cephalopods actually have that amazing skill), but also because Brovada refuses to accept the possibility that his enemy could have intentionally trapped himself in order to trap Brovada as well.

Ultimately, as interesting as Ikalgo’s struggle with Brovada is (and it’s another example of Togashi’s relentless obsession over every detail of the story, large and small), this chapter is really about Ikalgo’s struggle with himself. Ultimately, Ikalgo isn’t a killer – and even if the best plan is to kill Brovada once he’s been neutralized and take over his body, this is fundamentally against Ilkalgo’s nature. We’ve seen the compassion of the Hunters and their allies assert itself over and over during this operation, and it’s yet to be revealed whether in the end it’s a strength or weakness. Several times – Netero (no less) pausing to allow Pitou to begin treating Komugi, Killua restraining Gon, Knuckle refusing to allow Shoot to die (or his honor be sullied) – they’ve taken actions that go against tactical sense and even logic. Yet we’ve also seen that this side has a unity and mutual loyalty the other lacks, and this has often allowed them to see things the independently operating ants (again, huge irony there) miss.

Again, there’s no Gon and Pitou at all here, or Netero and the King. If I’m getting a sense of Togashi’s narrative structure I suspect it’s going to be another week or even two before we focus on Gon – and even longer before we switch to the top dogs. Morel and Pouf have been relegated to brief check-ins for the last few episodes – understandably, because Morel has basically been staring at a cocoon and waiting – but I’d bet something is going to break there very soon, and I expect it to propel that thread into the spotlight next week.

 

Preview

Hunter X Hunter   119   Preview 01 Hunter X Hunter   119   Preview 02 Hunter X Hunter   119   Preview 03
March 5, 2014 at 5:35 am
26 comments »
  • March 5, 2014 at 7:17 amMisk

    Honestly, I found Ikalgo’s personality a little inconsistent here. He claims he has never killed anyone as he’s always been using the bodies of already dead people (or ants), but he showed no qualms about repeatedly sniping Killua’s body in the earlier parts of the arc and then luring him into the cave to have him killed. Even if he had a “change of heart” thanks to Killua, things still don’t add up in this sense.

    That aside, I also believe the Ikalgo part in this episode was way too drawn out, as much as I have been enjoying the focus on the minor characters in this arc. Perhaps (as I may have already said), marathoning these parts of the arc would do a greater justice to the story – and me enjoying it – but I cannot say this episode as it stands was great, compared to the previous few ones.

    Finally, Killua. That ability is epic, though I was a little displeased that its showcase ended as soon as it started – I read that in manga, it was actually clearly stated that he can only hit the enemy 8 times in that state – so him losing the Godspeed mode so fast was more of a shocker in the anime. Oh and, Hotel Rafflesia suddenly disappearing just like that – without any narration as well! – was surprising as well. I also hope he’s just unconscious.

    Creepy Pouf in the preview, aha.

    • March 5, 2014 at 7:19 amGuardian Enzo

      I’d have to watch that episode again – it’s been a while. But I think it would be fair to point out that all this episode said was that Ikalgo had never killed anyone – which is true, even if he attempted to kill someone. That would be relevant if you believe that Ikalgo truly is a changed tako since then – and of course, it would be Killua’a friendship that changed him.

      • March 5, 2014 at 7:30 amMisk

        Well, in my opinion, the contrast is just too great. When trying to stop Killua back then, it was clear that Ikalgo was aiming to injure, if not kill, according to Flutter’s orders. And here we have Ikalgo being unable to even make the move to ensure his own safety – at the very least – and the safety of his (new) friends.

      • March 5, 2014 at 2:40 pmLibélula

        @Misk
        I havent caught up with the episodes yet and I read the manga ages ago (end the hiatus already!)I just wonder what you think about this (maybe its inconsistent):
        wasnt Ikalgo from the beginning about “my comrades my comrades” and arent the ants still SOMEHOW his family? so doesnt this explain partly why he doesnt want to kill? and also: back then didnt he come to life like just a few weeks ago? and so maybe a real opinion about do this do that hasnt formed yet? – at least not in every aspect – his faithfulness to his comrades was there already. Dont know, just some ideas that came to mind. its a strech but what do you think?

      • March 5, 2014 at 3:23 pmMisk

        Well, that would make sense, but the way the episode presented it made it look like he couldn’t bring himself to kill, regardless of the race. He also made it clear through his inner monologue that he considered Brovada to be a threat to himself and his new friends. So even if he knew he had to get rid of Brovada, he couldn’t bring himself to kill him. And that, compared to how easily he seemed to be inflicting critical injuries upon Killua back then with an intention to kill, is quite contrasting. Even if he was loyal to ants back then, he didn’t show a single sign of not wanting to follow the orders, a sign of not wanting to kill.

      • March 5, 2014 at 8:20 pmGuardian Enzo

        I think Libelula raises a valid point – I’m sure Octobro still thinks of the Ants as comrades at some level. There’s also the fact that he’d be killing Brovoda while he’s unconscious and helpless, which can’t make the act any easier.

    • March 5, 2014 at 7:23 amMikey

      The thing with Killua only being able to hit eight times with Kanmaru was just a mistranslation. The raw and Viz translation has the saying equivalent to blowing off steam.

      • March 5, 2014 at 7:26 amMisk

        Ah, alright. Didn’t know that, thanks for letting me know.

  • March 5, 2014 at 8:17 amK C M

    When will this chimera ants arc end, I mean for GOD’S and JESUS’ sake other arcs like hunter’s exam, heaven’s arena, yorknew city and greed island were less than 25 episodes but this arc has exceeded more than half of the other arcs and watching this pacing stuff every week is getting boring, I might have to suspend watching this show and come back after six months to pick up from where I have left off.

    • March 5, 2014 at 9:18 amEamonX

      According to the number of chapters left in this arc and the average pacing of 2-4 chapters per episode (2 in dialogue heavy and 4 for action-heavy), this arc has a remaining 8 episodes left till it’s over.

      Makes me wonder how quick the Netero vs King fight will be considering we haven’t seen them in ages.

      • March 6, 2014 at 6:10 amDragon_Master

        no way in hell will this be over in 8 EPS !!!

      • March 7, 2014 at 8:36 amWhites

        That’s wrong, for one, there are a lot mroe chapters left in the story(I actually have the volumes at home) and yeah, there’s a lot left.

        Also the anime will definately stretch some parts out. so We have a while before this arc ends.

    • March 5, 2014 at 11:41 amRick Anime

      All the other story arcs I was able to marathon through it because I started very late. But now that I’m caught up it does indeed feel that this arc will take forever

      But I still love the show! It hasnt dropped down a notch at all

  • March 5, 2014 at 9:10 amMinsc

    Although both the octopus and the lobster are Nen users, their fight reminds me of those humble days of Hunter x Hunter before the introduction of Nen.

    • March 5, 2014 at 4:52 pmGuardian Enzo

      Very good observation, though Brovada’s Tony Montana act is of course nen-powered.

  • March 5, 2014 at 10:42 amthedarktower

    every HxH fan love watching Killua in “badass mode” and that’s what we got. Killua punches again and again to Youpi, who got beaten a bit, but there is no significant damage (physical or psychological), actually Youpi is fired up to fight them because it’s interesting how they can punch him so much when he is stronger. remember what Morel said in NGL?that it’s not raw power or the visibility of Nen that determines the battle. and that’s exactly the case. (side note: I do have to say it’s a bit weird that it seems that Pito (probably Pouf too) kinda maximized their Nen and raw power, while Youpi doesn’t fight with strategy or something…)
    even when releasing some steam and rage (THO I doubt how much it eased him), Killua knows his limits (time, decay of surprise element, raw power and so) and he knows when to retreat with Meleoron’s help. a smart move.
    you’re right that Kil’s new technique seems invincible, but it isn’t. Togashi doesn’t like invincible stuff that one surpass just like that. instead, he gives the characters some weakness or disadvantages to their technique and of course it applies to Kil too. still, it seems very useful and kinda fits to our Killua.

    in the meanwhile, Ikalgo who actually doesn’t have strong raw power (at least not in his original form), his Nen indeed has proven itself useful at times. it took him some time to finally neutralize Brovada, but in the end he couldn’t kill him even though he knows that it’s his best option. now, I don’t think Ikalgo doesn’t intend to kill at all, he knows in which situation he is now, but he still keeps some.. ideals here. like when someone wins a death-match but isn’t taking his opponent’s life. compassion, yeah. once again, Togashi shows the individuality and complexity that revolves around the ants.

    I think it was a good episode, not amazing and great (it’s hard to beat that #116, but later episodes will sure do so), but still keeping HxH essence on the screen with Kil, Ikalgo and the glimpse of Morel and Pouf (the former is in a serious dilemma, Togashi style :P), but of course the intensity of the real deal is what we are really looking for (Gon VS Pito and Netero VS king) but I guess it will come later on.

  • March 5, 2014 at 1:42 pmEH2

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 5, 2014 at 8:06 pmm0ng

    Hinestly, Madhouse has a terrible choice of music, including the BGM.. Although, I have no complain in the adptation.. They just have to change their musical director or something like that, then this anime will be FLAWLESS

    • March 6, 2014 at 5:45 amCrook

      I think the music itself is very good, it just gets repeated a little too much. (Although that doesn’t annoy me, but I can certainly see it annoying some people) There could be more variation, if you take a look at the number of tracks they have at their disposal. But I suppose it’s not that simple.

      • March 7, 2014 at 1:11 amm0ng

        Thanks for pointing that out.. Actually, I do not hate their usage of BGM in its entirety.. It is more of a hit and miss for me.. The real problem is their taste for OP/ED songs.. Dunno man.. I think they should just hire the one who picks the song for Gintama.. That anime has a really good collection of soundtracks..

        And by the way, why so many dislikes?
        It’s the truth.. LoL..

  • March 5, 2014 at 10:34 pmL002

    To be honest, I had had always thought that someone, like Hisoka or at least any of the Spiders, would make an appearance by now. But it seems that the Zazan was the only person that the Phantom Troupe had been given to fight from the author. It would have been so interesting if any of those people would come and fight the royal guards then we would see more of Feiten’s Rising Sun.

    Speaking of the Phantom Troupe, I do find pure irony that Gon, who was against Kurapika’s path of revenge, is now seeking his own set of revenge. Though it hasn’t happened yet, I feel Gon will indeed kill Pitou not out of something like “it is for the sake of everyone,” but mainly because “I will avenge Kaito.”

    • March 10, 2014 at 6:31 amfordalels

      If he can.

  • March 6, 2014 at 6:15 amDragon_Master

    I LOVE THIS ANMIE BUT
    how about focusing on the A list characters for god sake ???
    we are really getting bored of the irrelevant ants ” brovoda and that wolf with the missiles ”
    now our expectation levels of the next Ep gets lower week after week
    still excited to see the next one , but less excited than last week
    cuz we know that the EP will not focus where we want it to

    • March 7, 2014 at 8:45 amWhites

      Show Spoiler ▼

      • March 7, 2014 at 9:17 amBelias

        Show Spoiler ▼

  • March 6, 2014 at 9:07 amDragon_Master

    does anybody agree with me that the Hunter’s Ace in the Hole is ” MELERON ” ?
    he is the decisive agent that can change the course of any battle
    i can not express how valuable he is …..