「ムシ×ダケド×カシ」 (Mushi x Dakedo x Kashi)
“An x Indebted x Insect”

It’s not that often I can say this with anime, but I’ve truly never seen anything like what Hunter X Hunter is doing right now.

By my calculations something in the neighborhood of 20-25 seconds passed during the course of this episode. That means, in the last three, we’ve seen probably under two minutes of real-time covered if you don’t count the 60-year flashback in episode 111. I don’t think audacious even begins to cover this – it was audacious when Togashi tried it in the manga. For Koujina-sensei to adapt it in the same style for the anime is insane. And yet, somehow, it works.

I can easily see where this turn could be divisive among the fanbase. We’ve had copious amounts of narration and slowed time down almost to a stop. As a result of that there’s been very little in terms of the titanic clash we all know is coming, and we can go an entire episode (apart from a key few seconds at the end) without even seeing the characters who seemed most prominent at the end of the last one – The King, Komugi, Neferpitou, Netero and Zeno. And yet I don’t know that I would change anything, because this bizarre narrative device is really working – at least for me.

I think the most contentious part of all this is probably the narration – it’s certainly referenced often enough by fans of the manga. The reason this narration is so prevalent, I think, is because Togashi has twisted this story into a funhouse mirror of perspectives. We keep seeing the same moment – in truth, the same couple of seconds – play out in the minds’ eye of a large number of characters, and the narration provides what I see as a necessary anchor. Because of its presence rather than seeming repetitive or utterly chaotic, these perspective shifts are like planets orbiting around the narrator’s Sun. Effectively this part of the arc is an experiment – I suspect Togashi was conscious of the fact that he was in uncharted waters here, and fell back on the Narrator’s significant presence as a way to keep everything coherent.

A couple of things stand out for me in the situation on the ground. First, Killua could hardly have been proved more right by the way events have played out – you just can’t assume anything is going to go according to plan. Pretty much nothing has up to this point – but despite being the most adamant about expecting the unexpected, Killua still strays away from his own advice and wings it when he sees two soldier ants standing in Ikalgo’s planned path (it’s clear now what Ikalgo’s role in the plan is – or was). For Killua to actually leave Gon’s side at that moment was a bit shocking, even to Killua himself (having that moment play out in slow motion brilliantly conveys how surreal it feels to him), but it all ties back into the fact that Killua overthinks everything. When chaos breaks out I continue to believe Gon is the one who thinks most clearly, because he’s always sure of his purpose. Killua is always plagued by self-doubt, and it always intrudes when events force him to react in the moment.

Meanwhile Shoot seems to have been given a certain clarity of purpose himself by Gon’s display of clear-headed courage last week. Menthuthuyoupi has basically transformed into one of the Old Gods, and his massive attack destroys the main staircase and completely shuffles the deck. Shoot is badly injured, but never more sure of himself. Knuckle and Meleoron get in another attack on Youpi but his aura is so immense that Potclean has barely made a dent. Shoot’s fierce attack manages to buy time and get Morel his weapon back, allowing him to take the fight to Shaiapouf (more on him shortly). Cheethu and Brovada respond to the alarm that the two soldier ants raised before Killua eliminated them, and Welfin silently observes – aware that something isn’t right.

The battle has splintered into so many fronts now that I honestly feel that if Togashi had structured this traditionally it would be hopelessly confusing to keep track of. My suspicion is that Welfin’s nature – self-serving and secretive – will work to Ikalgo’s benefit here. Rather than act immediately on his (correct) suspicions, he’ll sit on the information and see how he can use it to his advantage. Meanwhile Togashi has deftly (once again) flipped expectations on their heads (poor Killua – nothing ever goes as planned for the boy who loves to be in control) by effectively taking Pitou out of the game and putting him on medical duty, and turning the drama queen Shaiapouf into the dangerous berserker. Pouf has, in a word, flipped out (OK, that was two). He’s consumed by self-loathing at having failed the King, he’s enraged at Komugi for having stolen the King’s attention, at the King for having allowed her to, and at himself for allowing his anger about it to cloud his judgment. I wouldn’t care to predict what Pouf will do now – as the Narrator tells us, Pouf’s emotions are both a source of great strength and great weakness (as he also said about Youpi’s magical origins).

Given all that, it seems to me that Morel is the best – or worst – possible opponent for Pouf at the moment. No one in the cast excels at head games the way Morel does, and he’s currently captured Pouf inside a prison of Deep Purple’s smoke. Pouf is desperate to get back to the King and has become completely unbalanced, and if Morel can survive the raw power Pouf’s anger and desperation will call up, his impatience will likely be Morel’s greatest weapon. But I don’t think that’s going to be easy, and if Togashi were a more conventional writer I might suspect that Morel and Shoot both raised death flags this week. The next moments are going to be key for Morel – the longer the fight with Pouf drags on, the more the balance should shift in Morel’s favor.

My favorite part of the episode, though, is the last minute-and-a-half (which depicts about five seconds of actual time). Gon has arrived (Killua has fallen behind as a result of his deviation from the plan, and whether he catches up to Gon in time is an open question) at the second-floor balcony from which he planned to jump to the third floor. But the “idiot” is as usual thinking with perfect clarity, and deduces from the location of Morel’s smoke cloud that his target isn’t on the third floor. The scene from here is nothing more than Gon’s face as he sees the King appear on the opposite balcony, and Netero’s when he too appears and notices Gon staring at him. No words (or narration) are needed – the two faces tell everything. Gon’s initial shock, Netero’s GAR smile as he gives Gon a thumb to tell him where Pitou is, and the pure rage that suffuses Gon’s eyes at that instant. That look in Gon’s eyes is what this arc has been building towards, and while it may be a while yet before we see him unleash it, the full measure of what Gon has become and the extent to which his feelings can fuel his power are about to be put to the test. It’s the ultimate shounen moment in a story that subverts every shounen trope in the book, but that’s the nature of Togashi’s genius.




  1. I seriously can’t wait untill I can see Gon unleash his rage. This anime is no mere anime anymore, the way scenes are played out make it look like an actual high quality movie. I almost want to stop watching so I can marathon this later in one go.

    1. I’m doing both, I’m going to watch it every week AND marathon it…multiple times.

      I feel that this arc in the manga(and soon to be anime) is the best arc of all time. Anime/or Manga.

      (I’ve read the manga that’s why I say this) but yeah, nothing comes close in just the sheer awesomeness of this arc.

      This is, like Citizen Kane, you don’t really realize that untill later.

  2. HxH ep #113 took place in a bit wider range of time(2-5 minutes?) than last time. but oh god, it was sure eventful and intense a bit. not to mention that we are still somewhat in the climax but only in its beginning.

    and both perspective and time are working here together in order to stretch and create the climatic atmosphere that will last longer. first, perspective – we have multiple mirrors here, and now that the battle field has spread a little, everyone isn’t gathered like the beginning – Morel VS Pouf at throne rome, Gon and Killua moving toward Pito, Netero&King will soon take a step to another area..this is indeed important to show all multiple mirrors here.
    and the second element helps to the first – dimension of time: everything happens in parallel and we must see what happen in all areas once at the time, but Togashi refuse to be like a generic shonen (for a good reason) and instead of just showing action scenes of two people fighting each other, he is doing unusual(or maybe usual) trick and playing with the dimension of time. it’s like watching slow motion, but not really(namely, not as we all think). he took the time frame of a fight in one area and examine it in a microscope over time, to see what’s happening. he is like a scientist(mad-scientist HaHa), trying to explore a phenomenon that occurs in time, so he is isolating it and examine it in time under microscope, trying to figure out what’s happenning, but it’s not slow-motion, because he examine only important events he wants to show, that’s why he can describe the first minute in 30 pages but the 10-20 minutes of the fight in maybe 20. that’s what he want.

    in a related matter – don’t forget that it’s much more common in manga, especially during fights, to have captions balloons of thoughts/explanations/narration and stuff. while in anime it’s quite hard to adapt since we’re used to see consecutive action scenes. but Togashi is doing it slightly different, yet the purpose remain the same, and I think this is something quite different that works, like in this very episode when things were certainly eventful even though it’s only like 5 minutes. if this was just action scenes, the climax and its special effect that Togashi is working so hard (see last 2 minutes as Enzo described)..it would all got to waste.

    and as I said above, Togashi is trying to induce climax and its atmosphere, doing it by perspective and time dimension so that it won’t be just a generic shonen climax battle. he is talking it slowly sometimes less slowly and is leading us the way he wants to. not to mention that in that way we aren’t getting just battle scenes, there is something more behind it. sure, in some moments it’s a bit slow like previous ep, but this time it was and Togashi has a purpose.

    as for the episode itself. the major characters stand for me are Killua and shoot. both are doing everything they can for the sake of the friends. sure, you can doubt it in Killua’s case because he left Gon’s side for a bit, but I don’t see it that way. I think the whole Chimera arc is once again showing the tremendous change that is happening to Killua. we all know that ever since he took that needle out of his brain/head, he has changed, but his action now, and all his previous interactions with Ikalgo (and with Gon of course) demonstrate once again that he has changed for the better and he keeps learning, like in this case, how he was sorta “ashamed” by his “mistake”, but eventually the value of friendship is so strongly affected him with Ikalgo’s simple reaction, the very reaction that Killua asked of Ikalgo when he let him join his side – to be “Nakama” (sorta like brothers in arms) and this is true friendship.

    same applies for shoot of course, he is sorta sacrificing from himself as much as he can bear for the sake of his friends – to help them, keep them safe, to make that plan work and all. Shoot is doing so much against Youpi and the same assists his friends Morel and Knuckle.

    the one who are in grave danger IMO are Morel and Netero.
    Morel is fighting alone, while he was supposed to fight along side Knov, not to mention he wasted lots of his power on his deep purple the moments before the infiltration. and Pouf might go totally berserk especially after being locked and separated from the king…this doesn’t look good.
    as for Netero, well sure he is the geezer and all. but not only he lost his first surprise move, he also made the king very angry after Komugi was hit and is on the verge of dying. we know that the king always goes all-out(never holds back), and now that he is probably angry..this doesn’t look good. but hey, he is the geezer..what can I say, we’ll have to wait and see.

    HxH climax stepping forward little by little. Gon is determined to defeat Pito and oh how sharp his senses now, King VS Netero probably gonna be explosive, and other wild fights are ahead of us. things never seemed so tensed and climatic in HxH.
    this gonna squeeze our brains…Togashi is lurking around the corner and who knows what he has in his mind… 😛

  3. I haven’t read the manga or the original series, but i have to say that i wait every Tuesday to see this anime, the last 3 chapters has been pretty awesome, but for me they have a little problems: the narrator
    its trully necesary that the narrator explains every little thing, every little thought of the character , and leave absolutly nothing for your own interpretation, i fell treated like a dumb.
    anyway its interesting how such a slow episode doesn’t get annoying at all.

    PD: sorry for my english.

    1. The show has really been doing that the whole time though, it just has been using the character’s voices instead of the narrator’s. It actually makes me feel spoiled when I watch other shounens waiting for something to be explained “hxh style”.

    2. The narrator and the narrative style is one of the things that makes this arc so great and epic, is a lot better and different than having the characters narrating everything they “think” and other people and themselves do, and/or explaining their tecniques. You better get used because the rest of the arc is gonna be like this XD

    3. I mostly disagree here. How could you pull these episodes off without a narrator? There is very little dialogue and the amount of actual time spanning these episodes is really small. I feel like the narrator really makes everything understandable and kind of gives the whole thing a gravitas it wouldn’t have otherwise. I suppose there’s a few parts where the narrator said something that was pretty obvious, but overall I’m really digging it.

      With regards to narration people often mention Bleach (and for good reason). There was recently a fight in the Bleach manga where a captain is doing rather well against some bad dude, so of course the captain explains his power. It was ridiculous. H X H style narrating makes way more sense if you need to explain to the reader what’s going on in a fight. Oh and that captain got stomped after the enemy knew how his power worked.

  4. There’s been a lot of preparation. A lot of hype. And a lot of build-up.

    Really hope the upcoming fights will live up to it all.

    Also, it’s been 3 episodes and it’s only covered like 3-4 actual minutes. Really interesting how the mangaka is giving most of the dialogue to the narrator.

  5. So I finally started watching Hunter x Hunter last night. I’ve kept telling myself I’m going to do it, and I’ve gotten started at last! Let’s hope it’s as good as you say it is, with the way you’ve hyped it up, I’m expecting nothing less than a masterpiece.

    1. I don’t see it as hype, merely expressing my genuine opinion that this is the best shounen adaptation ever. But there are never any guarantees that another viewer will feel the same way. All I can do is give my honest analysis – the rest is up to you.

      1. So I’ve watched the first 8 episodes… and it’s pretty awesome X_X
        Not masterpiece level just yet, but I know that it supposedly gets way better, and it’s already pretty damn good as it is.

      2. Have to agree with Enzo. In the unofficial anime genre called ‘shounen,’ there’s none that stands above HxH. It’s just a shame that Togashi takes ages to release his stuff. Apparently it’s been on hiatus since 2010.

  6. Well .. fucking epic

    i still cant believe they did adapt this part just like the manga, and how awesome is the result. I had my doubts if they were going to be faithful to the manga on this narrator thing. I enjoyed in the manga and fuck, im enjoying it even more in anime.

    To me this arc is truly a Masterpiece.


  8. The ending was great. Though the focus has been off Gon for a while, I suddenly feel that Gon is here, really here now, and he will change something a way we won’t expect.

    I love the narrator 😀 I find this way better than showing a full fight before going back 20mins to see another person’s fight. This way it feels like any moment now, something could happen that will affect not just one character, but all of them at the same time. Just like how Gon+Killua vs Pitou changes to Killua saving Ikalgo and just Gon vs Pitou all of a sudden. I wonder if I make sense =x Well nvm 😀


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