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Hunter X Hunter 357 – Disappointment II


Finding no-spoiler images from this chapter? Not easy…

God damn, Togashi – really?

This chapter, really was all about the two magnificent bastards – yeah Hisoka is one, but I’m not talking about Chrollo here. I’m talking about Togashi himself, who laid out a solid left cross to a big chunk of his readership while simultaneously setting himself up for a fascinating twist to the main plot.

This seems like as good a time as any to make note of the fact that Hunter X Hunter Volume 33 went on sale this week – the first new volume since December 28, 2012. If one was worried that the recurring hiatuses had sapped interest in the series, the numbers put the lie to that – Vol. 33 sold 653,000 copies in just three days, one of the series’ strongest opening weeks ever. It crushed WSJ‘s current commercial powerhouse Ansatsu Kyoushitsu‘s new volume by over 200K copies and easily ranked #1 on the weekly chart. Hunter X Hunter remains a powerhouse, and Togashi’s writing shows no signs of either declining skills or winding down. He’s writing as if he’s in this for the long haul and if his body holds up, his fans will follow him wherever he takes them.

As I wrote last week, the only real surprise here would have been if Hisoka didn’t have something up his sleeve. Yet Togashi-sensei still managed to make my jaw drop with those last few pages especially. Hisoka simply has too much ingenuity and loves life too much to let himself be killed by Chrollo here. He was bested, certainly – forced to resort to a wild and untested use of his Nen to try and evade Chrollo’s final blow. But do so he did, thanks to a crowd of clones who’d gathered around him and absorbed most of the impact of Chrollo’s exploding surrogates. Hisoka didn’t win the day, but he survived it – and in doing so, set Hunter X Hunter up for what could be the grudge match of the century.

What strikes me here is that Hisoka is a lot freer than Chrollo, because he has a lot less to lose. He doesn’t have the leadership and survival of a troupe of followers to worry about – he just has to enjoy himself. There’s really nothing Chrollo could do to Hisoka that would cut him as deeply as what Hisoka did at the end of this chapter cut him, and Hisoka knows it. And now Hisoka has a fun challenge with which to occupy himself going forward, along with the sweet taste of revenge. He’s playing dirty, but it’s not like Chrollo didn’t do the same at Heaven’s Arena.

There are so many interesting repercussions and interpretations one can take from these events. Most obviously, we now have an entrée for both Chrollo and Hisoka – not to mention the surviving Spiders – into the “Dark Continent” arc. Of course we have the deaths of Kotorpi (who I never much cared about) and Shalnark (who I quite liked, and had a sizable fanbase). I was also struck by the interaction between Machi and Hisoka, as always. There’s a definite tinge of something there, a kind of fatal attraction or even grudging admiration on her part and what passes for affection on his. She didn’t have to stay behind to patch up Hisoka’s “corpse”, but she did (under the pretense that it was payback for freeing Chrollo from his curse) – and when she scolded him to “next time be more careful”, she sounded like a big sister. Hisoka could have killed her as well as her fellow Spiders, but he didn’t. I have no doubt he will eventually (and enjoy it) but he’ll feel a little tinge of sadness as he does (albeit while no doubt sporting wood).

Most crucially, we have Chrollo set to lead the Phantom Troupe into the Dark Continent hunt, and Hisoka following them on a hunt of his own. It can’t be ignored that Kurapika and Hisoka now have, effectively, the same goal – and truth be told, Hisoka has already done 4 times as much to eliminate the Troupe as Kurapika has. Will they formally pool their efforts at some point during this arc? I wouldn’t say never by any means. And finally we have Hisoka’s cheerful “10 more to go!” comment to close the chapter. By my math, depending on whether you count Chrollo or not, there are either one or two Phantom Troupe members more than we’ve formally been introduced to (and that includes Kalluto Zoldyck) – just who are they? Will Hisoka going on the hunt for his brother be what lures Killua back into the story – and will that be what draws Gon back into it? These are the sorts of questions Togashi is a genius at forcing his readers to ask – here’s hoping he’s healthy enough to give us some answers.


“10 to go!”

June 10, 2016 at 4:16 pm
15 comments »
  • June 10, 2016 at 4:24 pmAizen

    Hisoka is sexy.

  • June 10, 2016 at 4:55 pmQuervo

    Wow. Nevermind not wanting to be in the arena watching Hisoka and Chrollo fight — I don’t want to be in the same universe as Hisoka. We already know the guy kills for lulz but man he is really scary when he is super excited to kill you.

  • June 10, 2016 at 5:30 pmStefan

    Lucifer just created a killer that doesn’t care about patience any more. Not to mention Hisoka is unintentionally exploiting his big weakness. By killing Troupe members it’s erasing the Nen techniques Lucifer can actually use too.

  • June 10, 2016 at 5:42 pmUrahara

    Hisoka died , resurrected (should start a religion IMO ) , synthesized limbs from gum-material , used those limbs to kill 2 spiders (also note his bodies condition when returned from the dead ) and trap another one and he is already on his way to kill chrollo maybe even become god while he is at it
    it’s all good fellas , nothing to worry about

  • June 10, 2016 at 5:57 pmJonny

    Forgot you post these here too, so I’m gonna copy what I said on LiA:

    With a single stroke of his pen, Togashi completely flips the game on us. I wanted to call Hisoka’s revival an ‘asspull’, but I really can’t – It’s very in-line with what we know about Nen.

    There’s a few developments here you didn’t touch on that I find very interesting. For one, is Hisoka’s Nen gambit going to have any lasting repercussions? We have no evidence to assume that he made the kind of vow that Gon did, but I wonder if actually dying had an irreparable effect on his psyche. Honestly, I was pretty surprised he decided to just systematically hunt down the spiders – It really seems like this defeat, and death, changed him at least somewhat.

    Another thing I’m wondering about is if his permanent disfigurement will come into play. Yes, he did replace the body parts with Rubber Nen but as the end of the chapter shows, they’re still essentially prosthetics. Does he have to keep his concentration up at all times to maintain them, with possible disastrous results if he lapses and they lose their form or just vanish altogether?

    Finally, the question of the remaining spiders. My first thought was that he never actually found out that Pakunoda died, but I figure if he was shadowing them for so long and trying to fight Chrollo, he probably heard about it somehow. If there are one or two new members, I expect at least one of them is Abengane (The Nen Exorcist) – he didn’t seem like the most moral fellow during Greed Island, so I wouldn’t be shocked if he joined, and has an auxiliary ability specced for combat that’s separate from his Nen beast.

    • June 10, 2016 at 6:28 pmQuervo

      Hmm… You did point out an interesting topic. What kind of restriction did Hisoka place to conjure such a powerful Nen ability? It could also be possible that there was no restriction and/or downside to the ability since it was simplistic — “Massage my heart and lungs after I die”. It could be that the ability activates just once, or everytime(sh!t !!). Well then folks, in order to kill Hisoka now you need something powerful like Chairman Netero’s Hyakushiki Kannon to disintegrate his body or chop his head off so it won’t matter that his Nen is massaging his heart and lungs.

    • June 10, 2016 at 9:03 pmJust commentin’

      Hisoka did not put a restriction on himself, because he didn’t have to. He simply gambled on the idea that his nen would become stronger after his death, and then be able to revive him. And it did. Consider what that entails. Hisoka got a freaking powerup from dying. Do you think he could fix his entire body after getting crushed or make limbs out of pure nen before he died? I doubt it, or else he wouldn’t have needed Machi’s services. What kills Hisoka only makes him stronger.

    • June 11, 2016 at 9:24 amEamonX

      Well, the vow/condition was his own death. The rubber nen he placed onto his heart and lungs would activate when they stop working. Interestingly, it didn’t occur right as soon as he died. It appears as if Machi’s nen string was the trigger. Perhaps once his dead body had a tiny bit of aura into it, that was what triggered his Nen to start up again.

      Also, I’m not entirely sure about this “nen gets stronger after death.” I keep thinking it’s more profound than that and we’re missing something lost in translation. What I think it means is the whole vow/condition thing. Remember the Nen equation and how a very strong vow can increase the net power exponentially. What vow is more powerful than death? After all, Gon made the vow that he’ll “sacrifice everything” which is practically his own life in order to defeat Pitou. And he was practically at the brink of death before Alluka healed him.

  • June 10, 2016 at 7:18 pmBah!

    IMHO, there’s a fine line between asspull or not for this case. Yes, Nen-after-death phenomenon indeed exists, as demonstrated by Show Spoiler ▼

    but in his case, it was just his body being manipulated like a puppet by his Nen as his consciousness was long dead (of course, someone could say we couldn’t be so sure about this since his head was crushed and all). But Hisoka was fully revived, his consciousness intact and since Nen could become stronger after death, we could expect him to gain some power boost too.
    His lung and heart aside, I’m surprise Togashi didn’t address about his brain, which should have been severely damaged from asphyxiation but hey, perhaps he could hold his breath for a long time or something, not to mention it wasn’t mentioned how long he went out of oxygen. Overall, I’m kinda on a fence with regards to his revival.

    • June 11, 2016 at 12:22 amDualash

      Its also kind of hard to judge the physical capabilities of hunters (especially as insane as Hisoka); there was the first phase of the hunter exam which was an extreme endurance run, that time when Hisoka got his arm cut off, even that time when he countered (painfully) one of Razor’s throws. Its feels so surreal but at the same time, Hisoka is just insane and so mysterious that its not completely impossible (especially as you said, the persistence of nen even after death).

  • June 11, 2016 at 6:03 amPaul Ryan 2036

    Poor Spiders can no longer shit in peace anymore.

  • June 11, 2016 at 6:27 amfrubam

    Heh, not surprising, he left Machi alive and left to kill the other two. One part of me thinks he has a soft spot for Machi(like Gon, Killua, etc), but the other part feels he’s trying to pull a “get Illumi mad” schick; ie, kill all the other Spiders to get the Spiders he loves(not the romantic kind, mind you) angered beyond hope. Machi and surprising Chrollo are probably the two most sympathetic Spiders in terms of their own imo(not counting Paku, since, you know…), so making it so they hunt him would probably give him the erection of a lifetime =03(and also coincides with him not letting them have the terms of when/where they fight; they’ll come to him).

    • June 11, 2016 at 10:29 amguardian enzo

      I do think Hisoka has affection for Machi – maybe there’s a physical attraction component to it too, but certainly she amuses him. What that means for Hisoka is he wants to fight that person, and he wants to own them – that’s how “love” expresses himself for him. I suspect he’d save Machi for last or next to last, and feel a genuine regret when he kills her – just as he would if he finally killed Gon once he was “ripe”. Like the regret someone not a psychotic pedo-clown-magician would feel when they eat the final bite of an especially delicious meal.

  • June 11, 2016 at 3:10 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    Yes!!! YES!!!!!!! HISOKA YES!!!!!!!!! you reap what you sow bitches!!!!
    Theres a REASON hisoka is best buddies with a guy like illumi!!
    Ressurection/revenge nen SUPERCHARGE!! genius!!!

    Maybe its a grudge on the way chrollo fought like a pu$$y? “even though tactic are tactics”.
    Maybe its retrobution for the way spiders and chrollo kill innocents without empathy?

    Or MAYBE just MAYBE its simply because hisoka is A beautiful PSYCHO MOTHERFU&KER!!!

    Either way IM LOVING THIS!!!! can we wring some emotion out of the monotone CHROLLO, as his soldiers perish around him?!?!? Or does he have a PAGE for this???

    Find out, on the next episode of DBZ!…….

  • June 14, 2016 at 8:13 amKF

    Did anyone else sense the sexual tension between Hisoka and Machi? I certainly did.