「トツニュウ × シテ × シンニュウ」 (Kougeki x to x Sekeiru)
“Charge × And × Invade”

After 111 episodes of brilliance – and a preview full of spoilers – Hunter X Hunter can still utterly surprise me. That’s brilliant writing and direction, plain and simple.

Here’s the truth – when this episode ended, I broke out laughing for a good five seconds. It’s not as if anything remotely funny had happened – it was just sheer amazement at what I’d just seen transpire. There’s no GPS in the world that could keep up with the number of unexpected turns Togashi takes, and no imagination in the world that could see where they take you and not be blown away. The adjectives may be running out, but the brilliance is seemingly a bottomless well.

There was another Hunter-related laugh for me this week. I’ve been catching up on the Watamote manga (it’s not like there’s any point in saving myself for another season), and got to Chapter 41. Tomoko, in yet another fruitless attempt to improve her lot, brings a copy of Shounen Jump to class as a conversation starter. One of the boys asks her hopefully (in tiny print you’d almost miss) “Is Hunter in this one?” That sums up the experience of being a Togashi fan pretty well. And here’s my honest opinion – if it takes him ten years to write another arc as good as this one, I’ll happily wait ten years. We may bitch about Togashi taking ten years to do it, but there’s not another mangaka who could do it in a hundred or a thousand – so really, we should be grateful for what we have.

I don’t know what you’d call the direction Togashi took the story this week – bodacious, audacious, definitely something with an “-acious” in it. Last week (well, two weeks ago – last year) we got an episode where the B-part took place in real time. This week we got an episode that lasted 22 minutes and depicted two – and most of that, really, was a matter of a few seconds. Almost all of the dialogue was narration, and most of the rest was narration that happened to be by a character on-screen – one we haven’t seen in months. It was, effectively, the slowest-paced buildup episode ever. And yet it was one of the most riveting anime episodes in years. Don’t for a moment think Madhouse and Koujina-sensei didn’t pull off a miracle here just because the writing was Togashi-level – what happened in this ep must have been unimaginably hard to translate to anime. But they pulled it off, again, stunningly well.

I’m pretty much at a loss for words to describe what I can only call “The Interview With an Assassin”. In fact it seemed like something the anime might have added to break up the flow of narration but I checked and no – it is in the manga. If you saw the preview last week you knew Zeno was going to show up (don’t watch this week’s preview if you haven’t already – it’s even worse), but damned if I could have predicted how he’d be used. I assume he’s the second man who jumped along with Isaac (and that the “Thousand Dragons” is his contribution, though I don’t recall seeing him use it before), though we’re never explicitly shown that, but his main role here is to give the audience a framework for just how strong Netero is – and how he got that way. We’ve seen something of Zeno’s own power, so when he says “He’s always had the upper hand, every time” you take it pretty damn seriously.

This whole scene is a marvel of quiet understatement – Zeno in a lavishly decorated parlor with a table full of Chinese delicacies, an old but fearsome man reminiscing about an even older man he clearly both fears and admires. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in anime, and it certainly does the job of setting the table for Netero’s entrance. His asides tell us much about the man – “He was a geezer when I was sucking my mother’s teat” for example. “His Nen is frighteningly quiet. He has a mind like a plant.” Zeno even reveals the name of Isaac’s signature move – the “Hyakushiki Kannon” (though if you saw The Last Mission, you were already spoiled on that).

Netero is truly the big dog here, the one we’ve never seen use his full strength. The very first time we met him he was fighting Gon and Killua literally with one hand tied behind his back, and he’s been metaphorically doing so ever since. It says something about how seriously he takes this threat that he should ask Zeno to help – they presumably have a complicated relationship to say the least. We get a glimpse of how Netero found his true strength, the four year “path of gratitude” that brought him a power we’ve seen from no one else in this superpowered cast. Netero is over 110 years old now – how much over we don’t know – and by his own admission, he’s somewhat reduced from the height of his power. But he’s still the last person in this series you’d want to face with death on the line.

Most of Netero’s first move, in fact, is seen from the perspective of Pitou. As Morel and his attack force count down the final two minutes Pitou – with pure animal instinct – detects a threat coming from above. This causes him to pull all of his En from inside the palace and project it upwards – his first mistake, and a boon for Morel’s team that we can now see was part of the plan all along. Pitou is conflicted here, and we see the wonder and joy on his face as he sees the dragon, and later witnesses Netero in action – this is a being that relishes the battle, and admires great strength. But he’s also hard-wired to protect The King at all costs, and Netero’s arrival prompts him to go straight to his top attack “Terpischora” (details still unknown). It only takes 1/10 of a second to engage, but that’s plenty of time for Netero to somehow, effectively, stop Pitou’s time – and to utter the memorable “Bad move, Little Ant”.

If Pitou’s signature move is of an unknown nature (sine he’s obviously a Specialist it could be almost anything), so in Netero’s – we know the name but not the nature of his ultimate attack. But we do see he launches an enormous wave of Nen at Pitou with the intent to blow him so far away that he’s out of the fight, and it would have been successful if not for Pitou’s quick thinking in using Doctor Blythe as an anchor to stop his progress. This leaves Pitou some distance away, plummeting to Earth – remember, he has no ability to fly – counting every nanosecond that he’s unable to protect his King who’s presumably under attack.

There you have it – an episode that lasts twenty-two minutes, depicts two minutes and spans sixty years. What a construction. It leaves us with all hell finally starting to break lose. Morel and his team have entered the palace and – thanks to the King’s tantrum – found Youpi on the stairwell instead of where they expected, at the King’s side. Pitou is somewhere close enough to get back into the game – but we don’t know how quickly. Shaiapouf has disregarded his King’s orders (and threats) and rushed to his side at the moment Neferpitou’s En was redirected. And Palm is… well, we have no idea what’s happening with Palm, or with Welfin’s plan, hatched last week. The only thing certain is that all of the machinations of the last months have been building up to this moment, and we’re finally seeing the collision of great and powerful forces that no one can build-up to – or execute – like Togashi and Madhouse. If you’re not excited now, you might just not have a pulse.




  1. Another masterfully crafted episode by author and anime studio every week these guys leaving me at my screen salivating for more. I can’t wait for the next episode, things are about to get crazy.

  2. For a 20 minute level to cover pretty much just 1-minute of the story, I’d usually be pissed (like with One Piece) but this time it was quite entertaining and tense as hell. Hopefully, the fights properly begin next week.

      1. you’re right, Pitou is considered as male. THO controversial sometimes since the whole thing around gender in chimera ants is unclear. as far as I know, the whole thing about reproduction revolves around the queen. it’s unknown whether chimera soldiers can reproduce, THO most likely the king can with other female species..

      2. Pitou has actually never been called a boy. Due to how easy it is in Japan to say pronouns with out giving away the gender.

        Anyway while Pitou may have been intended to be a boy in the manga Togashi unlike with Kurapika and Kalluto has never cared enough to make it clear. However she is clearly female in the anime and everything else.



      3. Her gender might be female but I think Neferpitou’s sex is ultimately male.

        Remember chimera ants take on the genes of what they eat. So the female-looking soldiers may simply have an outer resemblance to human females. According to the rules of Togashi, only the Queen becomes pregnant and give birth. The King and soldiers have to impregnate a female of another species to reproduce a new Queen. But soldiers are used as drones by the King/Queen and so they don’t go reproducing. But the drones we see in the story developed their own sense of individuality that led to many disbanding and becoming ‘Kings’ after the death of the Queen.

        So in nutshell, Pitou may have breasts, female persona and female voice but she is still male.

      4. This has already been hashed out, but just to restate my reasoning…

        Togashi refers to Pitou with masculine pronouns. He’s referred to as “he” in the official manga data book. He may be a she in the anime, but until they say so I’m going with the original.

      5. Togashi did not write the databook and has lots of info that is straight up wrong. (Plus the he may have been talking about Gon and even if it was not it is the only example and written by a 3rd party.)

        Pitou uses the masculine pronoun boku which along with boys using it is also used by Tomboyish girls and quite a bit by young girls.

        Togashi has never once hinted at Pitou’s sex or gender and it honestly does not matter to the character. Pitou being female is currently the popular opinion right now. (In japan as well it appears.)

        Anyway nothing was ever stated so HE is not the original.

        Only one character is more gender ambiguous in the manga and there Togashi is trying to bug people with about.

    1. Yeah, I notice Enzo had been refering to Pitou as he or him since sometimes ago. And everytime Enzo said that, I rolled my eyes. How could someone refering to Pitou as a “he” after seeing “her” with this cute pose .
      I refuse to accept this reality!

  3. HxH anime is back after a break. although only 2 weeks without Hunter..it was indeed felt.
    now here is something interesting: around that time in the manga, Togashi took a break. and after that long break he had back there, HxH manga has changed a bit and it was much more detailed. we see it exactly here. the anime took a break and now we can feel the exact same change. the narrator is much more active during the episode and everything is so detailed (and will be detailed a lot more).

    I liked the whole story of Netero past along side his actions in the palace. I am glad it wasn’t only flashback but some integration with past and present. we know that Netero was consider a monster (I think somewhere in the NGL Knov/Morel said he was considered the strongest man 50 years ago or something) and we finally see at least a tiny piece of his power and where he started as a monster geezer 😛
    as Zeno said, he is the only man who fight Zeno’s grandfather and lived to tell the tale. BTW, Zeno’s grandfather was introduced in the manga for a brief somewhere in Yorknew arc (chapter 100 I think in the manga)..but it was never shown in the current TV series started at 2011.
    besides, I really liked the fact it was Zeno to tell the tale. not so sure who he talked to(I guess Silva) but never mind that, it was perfect. the atmosphere was conveyed well by Zeno’s special descriptions. the whole sitting in the unique room and talking..reminded me the velvet room scenes from Persona LOL

    so, Netero showed up a little early by 2 minutes than our heroes, yet he seems to act in the same time when our Hunters will make their move. timing is critic here and I can’t wait to see them move on with that.

    as you said, Togashi is indeed unpredictable in the way he weaves the plot. he is doing it naturally and it’s shonen yet it’s not the generic shonen because this is unpredictable and different.
    that’s why I also wouldn’t jump into conclusions from a few shots in the preview.
    you can never know what Togashi cooked there 😛

    I think it’s worth to mention that HxH 2nd movie “The Last Mission” is doing great on box-office in japan and I am glad about it since people are still love HxH so much even though 1st movie wasn’t even near as awesome as the series.

  4. Its been harsh not being able to follow HxH during their winter break. I am amazed how HxH is keeping me so tense, after every watched episode I’m like, this is it, next episode they are going to fight!

    However they don’t really fight and are keeping up the dialogue, I’m certainly amazed that HxH keeps me entertained even when I’m a bit ”disappointed” that they don’t fight, this anime isn’t about fighting, but about the brilliant story and twists they come up with.

    I still can’t understand how my girlfriend can say she likes Bleach way more then Hunter x Hunter 2011. Can’t we send Killua after her to prove her otherwise? Please? Anybody?

    1. Lol I’m experiencing the opposite. I’m always waiting until the newest subbed episode of Hunter x Hunter comes out and my boyfriend prefers to read One Piece. I need to send Netero after him lols.

      And yeah shits going down next week!

  5. I didn’t know how much I missed the opening song until I heard it again today (and the last time I heard it was only 2 weeks ago =x) I was thinking that while not changing the song might not be good, I really don’t want them to change it, because I’ll surely feel like something is amiss.
    So many thoughts went through my mind this episode, but I can’t even remember them now because before I can properly think about it, something else happens and immediately that thought gets replaced by another. HxH is amazing :3
    Also, I really wonder how it is possible to count to 10000 without messing up the numbers halfway. It must require an insane amount of concentration :O Butbut I’d think the only thing on Netero’s mind then was gratitude and not numbers, so how did he do it?!

  6. “「トツニュウ × シテ × シンニュウ」 (Kougeki x to x Sekeiru)”
    Shouldn’t this be “Totsunyuu x shite x Shinyuu”.

    That aside, while I’ve loved the execution of all this buildup, I’m starting to get a tiny bit anxious for this party to get started. I suppose it also has to do with the fact that this is where I stopped reading the manga (funds got tight while I was repaying loans and I couldn’t afford to buy new volumes)…

  7. I LOVE they keep intact the omniscient narrator describing everything at all times like in the manga, get used to it cuz he will be there at all times trough the entire arc. and that IS AWESOME. Feels like a book, it gives a new point of view on everything and it really enriches the narrative and take it to a whole new level on a shonen… ItS one of my favorite things on this arc. 1 week waiting its too much >___<


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