「マヨイ × ト × トマドイ」 (Mayoi × to × Tomadoi)
“Doubt × And × Hesitation”

There are many remarkable things about this series, but it’s remarkable in and of itself that it can still surprise me after 104 episodes.

I’m not at all surprised to see Togashi leave behind all of his main characters (it feels like it might be for a while) and focus on a couple of completely unorthodox battles, one of which is taking place on a board. This is simply how and who he is – he does things his own way, and terms like “shounen” and “battle manga” don’t mean the same things with him that they do with normal writers. But even knowing its coming, I’m never quite able to peg exactly where he’s headed – I get lucky sometimes and figure out the general direction (largely because Togashi amply foreshadows his major developments, even if it isn’t always apparent until after the fact) but the execution always manages to be fresh.

There are times, in fact, when I wonder if illness or financial security isn’t the reason for Togashi’s many hiatuses, but boredom. If he can’t think of a weird and different way of doing something, he just doesn’t want to do it. Who knows – probably just the man, his wife and his editor – but in any event he certainly keeps the reader/viewer on their toes. This week the spotlight was shared between two very different confrontations – the one between Mereum and Komugi over the Gungi board, and the one between Morel and Cheethu over Nen. There’s a splash of Knov in there too, but Gon and Killua (and even Knuckle and Shoot) are nowhere to be found.

To start with Morel and Cheethu, this is an interesting confrontation in terms of what Togashi is likely trying to get across. This is one whose basic dynamic has been apparent from the beginning, and the outcome clear – because, I think, Togashi is using it to demonstrate the limitations of Nen. Some have commented on how the Nen powers have started to get a little ridiculous, and I’d chalk that up to the fact that they’re in the hands of bizarre, hybrid creatures whose makeup is a hodgepodge of species. We now know that Shaiapouf has the ability to grant Nen abilities to his underlings – which is how Cheethu, at the very least, obtained the ability he’s currently using against Morel. It’s likely Nen has never been used in this way before, and in theory the Chimera could seemingly have limitless power as a result.

But there are limits, no matter what Shaia is able to do with Nen. Quite simply, Morel is too smart for Cheethu. The latter is basically a child – a petulant, distracted, hyperactive one. His chosen ability is incredibly ill-suited to his nature – why would Cheethu, of all beings, want to engage in a struggle that takes eight hours? Because, presumably, he thought that being chased by a slowpoke with their life (presumably) on the line would be fun. Even when desperation somehow allows him to come up with a new ability on the fly, it’s another silly choice – a projectile weapon that’s slower than he is. Morel is incredibly powerful in terms of Nen, and he uses it to defeat Cheethu – but make no mistake, it was Morel’s brains and experience that won him this battle. I don’t think even Cheethu realizes how much scary Conjurer potential he has, but without the smarts and discipline to use it wisely, he’s cannon-fodder for the likes of Morel.

Meanwhile there’s the equally fascinating showdown between the King and the Gungi master. Here, the main take-away for me is a repeat of something we saw earlier with the Chimera Ants: no matter how powerful they are, their human side always sticks its meddling nose in and complicates matters. The rise of individuality within the colony (I take some pride in the fact that I spotted the moment the Captains asked the Queen if they could name themselves as a crucial one, because it may have been the most important in this entire arc) proved both a great strength and a great vulnerability to the ants – eventually causing the colony to splinter – and now we see the invincible Mereum, brought low by his boredom and obsessing over trying to beat a sniveling (literally) young girl at a board game. And not just that, enjoying it. Merely beginning the succession of “bored game” challenges was a very human act – his reaction to being humbled by Komugi even more so.

This entire King-Komugi dynamic is a very strange one, indeed. The first time he was able to cause her to hesitate before moving wasn’t because she was worried – she could have moved instantly, and crushed his attack. No, it was because the “Supreme Leader” (Komugi’s blindness is a crucial plot point here, obviously) used the same stratagems she’d devised 10 years earlier (when I can only assume she’d have been eight or nine years old) and later been forced to crush when an opponent used them against her. She says that it was like “seeing my child brought back to life”, and this makes her hesitate. It’s a fascinating turn, all the more so because despite his bluster it’s clear that for the first time, Meruem is truly enjoying something. This can only end in tragedy – everything involving the most powerful of the Chimera seems to – but it’s going to be interesting indeed to see how this strange relationship resolves itself.

As for the larger story itself, it’s basically in a holding pattern. While Morel was spending several hours inside Cheethu’s playground, Knov was busy taking out Neferpitou’s puppets and – eventually – figuring out what was going on with Flutter and taking him out (his “Hide and Seek” ability is revealed to us in the process). This prompts Leol into action, and we also see his “Rental Pod” ability, but it’s hard to see him being more than a speed bump for the likes of Morel and Knov. The King and Shaia are basically consumed with Gungi, it seems, while Killua recuperates somewhere under Doc Ock’s care and Meleoron prepares to reveal himself to Knuckle and Shoot and Netero gathers his strength. It seems that Pitou is the one doing all the grunt work for the Royal Guards at the moment, gathering food supplies and getting ready for the day of the selection, when all these disparate threads will seemingly come together at last.




  1. This was a good episode. I didn’t realise until the episode was over that I didn’t see Gon or Killua. As for the king I guess he is just realising the joy of a healthy competition with a worthy adversary. I have had moments like this. Plus I like how the power of experience was brought into play here where the king came up with a strategy that had been created 10 years ago and had already been defeated and written out of books ages ago.

    1. I haven’t read the manga. But it’s most likely the King putting a new condition on the matches. For every loss, the loser loses a limb or something like that.

      Meruem is enjoying the matches no doubt but he wants more thrill in them. What’s more thrilling than putting life on the line.

  2. once again HxH isn’t committed to Gon and Killua, even though they are the MC. it’s not the first time this arc, and it’s really nice to get a full perspective of the other characters and situations.

    I like the battle between Morel and Cheethu. it demonstrated an important aspect of the HxH, something that differ HxH from generic shonen style. it’s called Nen. why is that so? because surprisingly, unlike other series which always search for “level-up” (ssj1,ssj2….ssj GOD WTF?), HxH’s Nen isn’t about always level-up.
    I recall in ep 85 when Killua and Gon ran away from pito while Kaito had to fight back. remember what Morel said back there?that Nen isn’t about the amount of Aura, but how you use it in a fight with your spirit, always think that the battle can change in any point.
    that’s exactly what we saw – although Morel has the advantage in terms of Nen and aura, yet Cheethu came up with a tough situation giving him the advantage, but the matter here is how well one is able to maneuver in a fight. it’s true Cheethu is still childish and inexperienced, but more than that, he simply can’t adjust himself in a fight. like when he met Knuckle and Morel, the moment Knuckle put on him the APR, he just ran away.

    the second interesting thing this ep was between Komugi and King. as promised to us 2-3 eps ago, Komugi is influencing the king in her own way(=Gungi). but it’s not only the game, but the heart she put into this game.
    the king was so close…but he realized he wasn’t close at all. now that is frustrating. I wonder if that how he really feels. as the butterfly royal-guard said – “it’s the first time the king has listened to anyone for such a long time”. moreover, the king reflected the situation saying he is enjoying.


    There are times, in fact, when I wonder if illness or financial security isn’t the reason for Togashi’s many hiatuses, but boredom. If he can’t think of a weird and different way of doing something, he just doesn’t want to do it

    interesting thinking.
    while it’s true writes suffer from “writer’s block syndrome”, I don’t think the Hitauses are related. although who knows..the last it pretty long right?so it might be.
    I still think as for Togashi, he has plenty of ideas. the last chapter in the manga was the beginning of a new arc..no way he hasn’t a clue how and what to do with it.

    I’d say one more thing which is somehow related, I don’t like mentioning it that way, and I hope no one would kill me for that, but..we definitely can see the similarities between HxH and DBZ..or other series (GI arc is an example)and it’s not like there aren’t ideas to pull out.
    again, I am not saying anything bad about that..even Stilts mentioned once that “Artists steal”, and it OK to have resemblance as long as it’s new and fresh. sometimes, that’s what Hunter is.
    so..I think Togashi has plenty of ideas he can put in HxH, that way or another. maybe I am wrong of course..it’s really hard to know in this situation..I don’t even know the man’s face…
    I wonder what Stilts would say in that matter, he is a writer 😛

  3. I like how many of the mainstream shounen fail to amaze me these days even with them pulling huge explosions and super-duper-awesome techniques, yet HxH makes an epic and exciting episode focused on… a board game.


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