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Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 121 »« Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 119

Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 120

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「ニセモノ × ト × ホンモノ」 (Nisemono × to × Honmono)
“Fake × And × Real”

There’s just nobody like Togashi Yoshihiro.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – material like this makes me wonder how Togashi is able to write as quickly as he does, not complain that he isn’t faster. The layers upon layers of subterfuge and psychological intrigue he builds into these conflicts are virtually unparalleled – a “fight” in a Togashi series isn’t just the physical act of combat, but every strata of the mental struggles which seem to extend all the way down to the Earth’s core.

I don’t know that there’s been another anime in recent years that can sustain tension at the level this one does over the course of 22 minutes. There’s just no end to it, and to me this approach is so much more effective than simply showing superpowered badasses going at each other. The majority of the narrative is spent putting us inside the characters’ heads, making us feel what they feel – which in this arc is mostly high anxiety and fight-or-flight induced adrenaline on overdrive. The most obvious example of this is the episode focused on Knov’s (more on him shortly) reconnaissance mission, but it extends to pretty much everyone in the cast – including the enemy.

There’s no question that the dominant figure in this episode is Pouf – it’s he more than anyone that’s dictating what we see on the ground ( and in the air). This is really the first time I’ve truly felt that Morel was psychologically and strategically bested by anyone (or was he?), the first time we’ve seen him legitimately off his game. It’s fitting that the Narrator says that Morel realized subconsciously when the attack started that he’d underestimated the enemy, because I think we have as well. Youpi’s ability to adapt and learn on the fly was shockingly rapid, Pitou’s sudden ability to step outside himself and view the situation from a higher perspective was shockingly unexpected, and then there’s Shaiapouf.

If there’s a headline this week, it’s the arrival of Pouf as a true force. His overwrought panic attacks and neurotic tics made it easy to dismiss him as the weak link in the Royal Guard, but he’s turned out to be far more formidable than expected, both mentally and in terms of pure Nen power. His “Beelzebub” ability is insanely strong (I could see a possible case that it’s too strong, in dramatic terms) – he can create up to billions of tiny copies of himself, an ability which he was using to escape Smoky Jail right under Morel’s (massive) nose. I sensed something was wrong here, so did most new viewers I’m guessing, and Morel certainly did too. His ultimate decision – to attack the cocoon and bring down Smoky Jail, which he now assumes is useless – seems like it’s playing right into Pouf’s hands. But it may just have been the best of several bad options.

The net result of Morel’s decision is that he’s freed Pouf’s original body to join his clones – which are are far weaker – outside. If Morel had waited it out he might have been able to crush Pouf’s body – shrunk to the size of a bee as a result of Beelzebub and hidden inside the cocoon – and put an end to him. As is Pouf and his clones are free to roam, and Morel allows himself to be Shanghaied by Pouf and his pipe stolen. But as a result of his decision, he’s now free to assist his subordinates, who’re in desperate need of assistance. Whether Morel subconsciously knew this was his only choice or it was merely good fortune at work is left to us to judge, but it’s probably a little of both.

When Morel finds him, Knuckle has just engaged Youpi again, enraged at having found Shoot to be missing. Morel fortunately knows his student better than anyone else, and has prepared for the contingency of Knuckle losing his cool, establishing a restriction that he’d only create angry clones of Knuckle when that happens, and that Knuckle could only act once he’d cooled down. Meanwhile Pouf’s little clones are performing recon far more effectively than Flutter’s dragonflies ever could – which is also a clever way of bringing us up to speed on what’s happening everywhere (except underground). Gon continues his standoff with Pitou, and Hina is headed underground with a wounded Bizeff in tow (she was ready to leave altogether but he tempted her to rescue him with the promise of treasure) and Welfin stalking them. Ominously, we see this cocoon Pouf says is a “human that was captured a few days ago” – we can assume the identity of that person – and is “about to hatch”. However, Pouf’s spy mission has inadvertently tipped off the enemy to the nature of his ability – Killua and Meleoron, unseen, have witnessed the tiny clones at work.

There’s one more wild card to be played here – who was it that moved Shoot, who was clearly too wounded to move himself? I’d been suspecting for a while that we’d see Knov find a way to insert himself into the conflict somehow – even in his reduced state the man still has a wealth of pride – and it appears that he rescued Shoot and brought him to a medical facility for emergency assistance. Judging by the looks of the place I’m assuming that before the battle started, Knov established a portal to another of his rooms where he’d set up Doctors with medical equipment, standing by in case one of the attack party needed it. That would, of course, mean that Knov must have mustered the courage to enter the inner sanctum of the palace itself in order to get to Shoot – and given the state he was in, that surely couldn’t have been easy for him.

To say that the state of play at the moment is in flux would be a huge understatement. Knuckle (thanks to the foresight of his boss) has landed another blow on Youpi, and I’m wondering if Potclean’s cumulative interest is finally reaching a critical stage as that battle seems to have turned against him. Morel has only his remaining Deep Purple puppets to fight with and no means to fight any other way unless he finds his pipe, and Meleoron and Killua are currently unaccounted for by either side. Pouf worries for Youpi but remains focused on the King, who much to his dismay has vanished. In fact it’s Pouf who seems to be the key player in determining the next major developments – he’s walked in on Gon and Pitou, who he sees is healing Komugi – the same Komugi Pouf loathes for what she’s done to his King. The perilous cease-fire between Gon and Pitou hangs by a thread, Pouf’s to destroy if he so chooses – but will he choose to? Or will he leave Pitou to follow his chosen course, and go off to locate his beloved master?

 

Preview

Hunter X Hunter   120   Preview 01 Hunter X Hunter   120   Preview 02 Hunter X Hunter   120   Preview 03
March 12, 2014 at 3:32 am
19 comments »
  • March 12, 2014 at 4:11 amDragon_Master

    well that was one hell of an episode !!!
    morel is really screwed this time and pouf ” cute chibies ” proves to be a mastermind
    youpi got outplayed ” ouch ” and shoot lives ” hurray ”
    and i’m still sticking to my ” MELERON is the guy that can change any fight ” theory
    day 73 : still no sign of the king and Neteryo

  • March 12, 2014 at 8:24 amEamonX

    This ep was much better than last week’s. If Pouf couldn’t locate the King then that means him and Netero are far away from the palace.

    Also, I bet that inside the chimera egg-nest thing is Palm. Does this mean Palm is going to become a chimera ant? I thought only the Queen could do that lol

    • March 12, 2014 at 9:50 amfordalels

      The Palm thing was already spoiled from the very ending sequence and nobody realised it.

      • March 12, 2014 at 10:30 amEamonX

        To be honest, I did think that was Palm for a very long time, since it looked like her.
        And after she was captured I did have a feeling that she might be turned into an Ant due to the ED sequence. However since the Queen was dead that I thought I could be wrong.

      • March 12, 2014 at 11:45 pmDragon_Master

        wait , do you mean at the very ending when her hands are scaly and a weird thing on her forehead ???
        i thought it is some sort of an ability
        plus she has no wicked stuff as the usual ants do

      • March 13, 2014 at 6:38 amfordalels

        Look for the rose too.

    • March 12, 2014 at 12:49 pmL002

      It may likely be Palm. As we recall, Zazan was able to produce “Chimera ants” though an unorthodox method. I personally find it no shock if there are others like that.

      On some other minor things, I have to agree with Enzo. It seems Morel was off his game, not only did he not notice the cocoon tactic but to lose his pipe of all things; at the very least, I would have imagine that Morel would have kept a small spare pipe as an alternative source but for him to lose his main weapon, and be “powerless” is a shock. This would have been a perfect scene for Nobunaga to be in; had Nobunaga had used his En then he could have easily sliced Pouf knowing that Pouf’s core was in that cocoon.

      I am more curious about Knov. He already had his hair turned white when being exposed to the royal guard’s en. Science has prove that stress is able to further one’s age. So I can imagine he looks like 80 years old about now.

  • March 12, 2014 at 8:27 amHagya X Leol

    - The sound mix for multiple Pouf is wonderfully eerie
    - Pouf uses polite language to address his own clones lol
    - Hina’s headgear changes its expression based on the situation. May be it is Nen-made?
    - Welfin, a squadron leader, dares not attack an officer and a peon because he has no info concerning their abilities

  • March 12, 2014 at 1:25 pmthedarktower

    with Togashi, you can never know when and what he’ll pull something out. and it’s unpredictable in most cases. even if it is predictable or somewhat sounds cliche, he is still so sharp in his writing with the way he weaves the story..just takes a turn for here or there so gracefully. it’s something very different to experience in terms of story. and it’s never boring.

    as you said, Pouf was the dominant figure in this episode. I think Togashi kinda “tricked” not only Morel’s subconscious, but us too. because lately all we’ve seen is drama-Pouf or some cocoon, but deep down, we know that the royal guards are really strong and monsters, not only in terms of raw power as Pouf and Pito demonstrate very sophisticated Nen and fighting style. and it turned out to be even more than I had imagined about what Pouf would pull out. it was a mind game with Morel and he actually admitted he was in disadvantage, but luck was somehow on his side…or not?despite disadvantages, Morel is looking forward, as always, and help Knuckle against Youpi, and the narrator kinda implied that this will be crucial factor in retrospect.

    as for his power – it’s kinda funny. we have dramatic pouf (I still remember his dramatic look when casting the spell before the selection or before pulling out the cocoon) along side his very bizarre and funny power (“beelzebub”) when he splits himself to the size of bee. this is just..so funny and bizarre to see the bee-pouf commanding and all. awesome.

    Pouf check out the whereabouts of the king in the palace and finds nothing. once again, we get a reminder that everything happens simultaneously.and it’s so dynamic. I mean..like hell Gon and Pito could stay out of everyone noses while such a big fight and chaos is happening all across the palace.
    and we also saw Knov saving shoot. we didn’t see his face but I guess he is still so terrified and all, but still such strong will to help his friends. even if it he isn’t actively participating in the raid..for him to still set foot there..it must have been really hard.

    thanks god for another great episode of HxH that brought most of characters to the screen that way or another and provide such an interesting and sophisticated event between Morel and Pouf that affected the entire battlefield and maybe..saved Knuckle. there was also great combination between consequent actions scenes and narration, it allow the episode flow very well.

    • March 12, 2014 at 1:51 pmthedarktower

      p.s
      Hina’s cheer “treasure, treasure” (or “otakara”)..was that a reference to sekai seifuku or just my imagination? :P

  • March 12, 2014 at 4:48 pmJackpot2121

    For the first time since the invasion began, I actually enjoyed every minute of an episode of Hunter x Hunter. For one thing the narration was toned down by a large margin, we finally got somewhere with the Morel vs. Pouf battle, and there’s a chance Palm could still be alive. I’m hoping the rest of the episodes will be like this. I can deal with the characters inner monologues as long as they don’t take up too much time, but the narrations taking up half the episode, not so much.

  • March 12, 2014 at 6:19 pmAndré

    Finally a decent episode with more action and less narrator BS.

  • March 13, 2014 at 12:52 amSatyr

    I may have missed something about the nature of Morel’s pipe, but why did Pouf just threw it in deep water? I’m pretty sure he had enough strength to pulverize it.

  • March 13, 2014 at 1:11 amNico

    At least trying to improve the pacing a little, let’s go on this way :)

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