「ジュウニシン×デ×ギロン」 (Juunishin x de x Giron)
“Twelve Zodiac × In × Discussion”
Strap in – it looks like yet another amazing ride is about to begin…
Author’s Note: Please be very careful to avoid divulging any information about upcoming events from the manga. When in doubt, don’t post it – and even if it’s remotely possible to view it as a minor spoiler, please spoiler-tag it. Thanks for your cooperation.
When the OP alone just about makes your head explode, you know things are going to get pretty intense. That OP was a reminder that Hunter X Hunter is yet again embarking on a new phase of its illustrious history – the Election Arc is finally being animated, and it will almost surely be the last arc we see for a very long time (which is a horrible thought). The OP is an amazing sequence – it’s clear we’re not going to ever get a new song in this version of the anime, but the animation was a parade of fascinating imagery – faces old and new, building up anticipation almost to painful levels (even a new logo). We got a new ED sequence too (followed by the Narrator doing the preview voice-over for the first time), though “Hyourittai” carried over from “Chimera Ant” in remixed form – a very simple but pretty montage of stills, followed by a gut-wrenching framed photo of our separated four heroes in happier times that now seem very, very far away.
It should go without saying, but it truly is astonishing how Togahsi Yoshihiro is able to shift on a dime without losing any momentum – surely, he’s the most versatile mangaka in shounen history. This episode marks a complete turnaround from “Chimera Ant” even as the transition is utterly seamless – from the death, existential despair and moral contemplation we move into a cross between a political drama and a caper flick, and with a completely new cast of characters at its center to boot. That we already feel as if we know these twelve people is a testament to the groundwork Togashi and Koujina have done setting up this story, and the faith they’ve earned that every new character we meet is worth paying close attention to.
In the interests of time (mine) I’ll direct you here for the casting of the Zodiacs, making special note of Ohtsuka Akio (who earlier played Uvogin) as Mizaistrom Nana (“The Ox”), because he utterly commands the screen every time he speaks, and Takahashi Hiroki as Pariston Hill (he played Hisoka in the 1999 version). Of course Koyama Rikiya is back as Ging (“The Boar”), and it’s he and Pariston who immediately emerge as the prime movers of the gathered Zodiacs – though it’s clear that their fellows have little love for either of them.
The atmosphere in that conference room is really something – so tense that the air is positively crackling with electricity yet run through with a sense of whimsy we haven’t seen from Hunter X Hunter in months. Togashi is superb at this sort of material – snappy dialogue laced with subtext between formidable adversaries, underhanded machinations and trickery, battles of wits and wills. It’s a glorious return to a face of the series we haven’t seen for ages, yet also takes it into a new realm that feels totally fresh. One of the first questions that pops into my mind is why the canny Netero would have included Pariston – “The Rat” – in this inner circle of trusted subordinates. Even in a group full of iconoclasts he clearly stands as the odd man out – the only one, it seems, who didn’t step into the role Netero laid out for him.
Pariston seems the villain of the piece, to be sure – a self-serving and smug “Prince of kickbacks” who’s been laying the groundwork for his own advancement. He defends himself as someone who understands the weak, whereas the other Zodiacs and Netero were too strong to do so – and there’s a well-established syndrome of field Hunters scorning anyone who sullies themselves by working in administration. So there’s more to this than meets the eye, that’s certain, and given how many moves ahead Netero could clearly see I’m certain his reasons for choosing Pariston will become clear (perhaps precisely because he’s a hedge against all the others). The one thing everyone in the group can agree on is that Pariston should be stopped from becoming Chairman – until Ging’s declaration (a bluff) that he’ll run gives them two things they can agree on.
Togashi, as ever, drops fascinating clues about the past and the future here – for example, Mizaistrom’s pointed mention of the fact that 18 Hunters have gone “missing” since Pariston became Vice-chairman. There’s also a gloriously venemous exchange between Pariston and Ging where the former digs at the latter with the fact that Gon is in critical condition, and appears to make a veiled threat against him if Ging continues his campaign – to which Ging replies with amused contempt couched in politeness. The logical and persuasive Cheadle Yorkshire (“The Dog”) proposes that the rules for the upcoming election be set by drawing lots, with each Zodiac making their own list of rules – but Ging has foreseen this development with unerring accuracy, and gamed the system by meeting with Beans ahead of time to make sure his rules are picked.
That the seemingly honest and reliable Beans – who may be the closest thing to a figure all the Zodiacs trust – should be willing to cheat on Ging’s behalf is a sort of compliment about Ging’s character, I suppose. In a series full of enigmas he’s possibly the biggest one, and his claims that he’s only interested in making sure the election process is fun can’t be taken at face value. His rules are pretty simple – 95% turnout required, runoffs if no one reaches 50% (starting with the top 16 vote-getters) and, most interestingly, that all Hunters (there are 661 in total) are candidates and that no anonymous ballots will be accepted. For someone who sees as far as Ging does, it can be safely assumed that no rule is coincidental or unimportant – and those last two are definitely worth keeping a close eye on.
The first round of the election (held on August 8, which is the anniversary of the Nagasaki bombing, possibly not a coincidence given how “Chimera Ant” ended) is a cavalcade of old friends streaming in to cast their ballots – we see pretty much every major face in the Association from the earlier arcs, with some notable exceptions like the four main cast members (Leorio’s arrival is clearly imminent). Included is the long-overdue and rapturous return of the incomparable Hisoka (in a new outfit) who makes his presence known with a “May I put it in?” (everything sounds dirty when Hisoka says it, but I’m glad Gon and Killua weren’t around for that one) about his empty ballot paper. The results show Pariston in first but with only 37% if the votes, with a few interesting tidbits like Gon receiving one vote and Bisky six – but only 87.7% turnout, which renders the entire thing invalid anyway. Start again…
As always, Hisoka’s presence is fascinating. He’s there to see Ging – presumably as a potential worthy opponent – and also for the rare opportunity to size up the vast majority of his fellow Hunters in one sitting. He ranks them, most quite harshly, but when Illumi shows up he gets 95 points. Clearly this is one of the few in the world Hisoka considers worth listening to – maybe even considers a friend – and Illumi brings interesting news on many fronts. He correctly assumes Hisoka was clueless about the entire Chimera Ant fiasco and chides him for missing an opportunity to fight (“That would require stopping to think”) while he was out “chasing Chrollo”. The most riveting bit of news for Hisoka? That Gon is in critical condition, and that Killua is racing home to talk to their father – and that “at this rate both of them will die”. This brings us that rarest of sights, Hisoka being dead-serious – and Illumi talks of “another younger Zoldyck brother… I want to get rid of him.”
Oh, my… For a Hunter X Hunter fan this episode was an orgiastic feast for the senses on so many levels. The reset button has been pushed, and we transition from the most epic of all arcs to one that’s totally different, utterly fascinating, genuinely fun and promises to take Hunter X Hunter to places it’s never gone before. I loved the way Togashi gave us “Whale Island” as a breather after “Heaven’s Arena” and before the intensity of “York Shin”, but this kind of instant transition to a new story is exhilarating and incredibly hard to pull off (for a normal writer). Just like that, the table is set with a mouth-watering display of new possibilities, and I can hardly wait for the feast to begin.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for a gift for the Hunter who has everything, check this out:
ED8: 「表裏一体」 (HyourittaiPreview
Shocked Hisoka! Have to save that pic 😀
Def not what I was expecting when the Vice Chairmen showed up, especially after what some of you have said about him. Def threw me for a curve.
and that whole set up by Ging is truly superb. the prediction, set up, and execution are def what makes him a true hunter.
Hisoka was great to see again, and showing him sort of being absent minded about the outside world was pretty funny.
and time to see the other Zoldyck brother!
lastly, it was nice to see some faces that I didn’t think I’d see ever again in the line of Hunters.
Including mourning-dress Bisky as regal as ever.
I honestly believe that they should make a new ost for this arc. The soundtrack of the Ant arc has been repeated for 60 episodes straight and it really kills the mood of the story. The Election/Save Gon Arc have a total different mood to it, using the soundtrack from the Ants would only make it seem like the arc never concluded.
From what I heard, the OP doesn’t change because of the contract but it’s a different story for the soundtrack. It’s not like the studio is forced to use the same soundtrack again and again. I know there is the problem of the budget allocated to the series…
Sigh, even hearing your favorite song 60+ is prone to make you go insane /-\
This show likely has around 12 eps left so I guess MADHOUSE isn’t bothered to invest in some new tracks. Even the new ED is actually not new and just another part of the full version of Hyori Ittai.
I found it interesting they changed the Next Ep Preview theme and look though. Why now? Is it to make the show feel a major turning point in the story happened?
I thought I’m the only the one who realised that Madhouse is going to end the series. Damn
No, I do know it’s going to end soon. I follow the manga too after all, so I am fully aware there isn’t enough material for the series to continue. Still wished they could make at least a few tracks for these last episodes though, or use the more upbeat ones from the previous arcs instead of mostly the Ants.
Uh really? Most of the tracks I hear are ones used from earlier in the series. Or at least they aren’t unique enough to notice. The only noticeable one from CA arc is the Legend of Martial Artist.
Also, many of the tracks used in CA were from the Last Mission Movie OST. Examples are the epic ones during the Meruem vs. Netero fight and during Gon vs. Pitou.
AFAIK there are still many unused tracks from the movie ost so I guess they could bring some from there.
is not worth it.. there is only like 10-12 left..
😮 i see Leorio.
And Gon’s father’s codename is a pig?
The anime cuts out these erotic offerings to the late chairman.
This is pretty ironic considering that Netero’s nen manifests a Bodhisattva. Heck, he even wore Buddhist monk robes in the opening page of the chapter that Palm revealed the poison.
The Chicken Zodiac is voiced by Gon seiyuu, btw.
Kurukku (“Cluck”), yes. Also, Botobai the dragon is Issei Futamata (the Narrator) and Kanzai is Ohsaka Ryouta, among other interesting casting moves.
And the Ox Zodiac is voiced by the legendary Akio Otsuka who also voiced Uvogin back during the York Shin Arc.
It was so refreshing to see old faces again, gives a boost of consistency to the whole Hunter association.
Some of the zodiacs’ designs are hideous and a pain to look at. What the hell was Togashi thinking?!
I imagine the Dog and the Horse Zodiacs underwent massive plastic surgeries to match their appearance to the code names.
agreed, the Zodiac’s designs reminded me too much of One Piece designs.
Enzo, I thought it was the 6th ending. I seemed to be confused by the 8th, 9th ending label you’ve used.
Oh look! Gon is in this show! I NEARLY FORGOT!!!! >:
Hm, they never mentioned Killua had this other mystery brother before I wonder where this arc will take us? Looks like it will be a fun ride. In the previous arc, we received some hints of a lot of political forces going on in the background. Looks like this season will focus on it even more. Cool!
Yes they did actually, way back in the Zoldyck arc they mentioned “five brothers”.
The 5th brother has been alluded back in episode 97(same picture).
Actually, it even goes way back in episode 23 when Gon and the others went to the Zoldyck mansion(3rd silhouette from the right next to Killua).
Seriously? The first time I read it, I thought that it was some asspull of some sort but your comment enlightened me.. haha.. Faith in Togashi restored.. XD
Needs more fabulous Pariston.
(Yes, Cheadle’s color is wrong.)
You beat me to the punch, so here’s a different Pariston display.
That Dog Girl is Tsundere for Pariston
See, Pouf? This is true FABULOUS. You were just gay.
i got orgasm just by watching the new OP sequence
I like it when ______ happens and ______ dies even after _______ goes through huge lengths to _______ _________ ____________. Genie ________ evil _______ turkey ______ staircases are bad ______ Final Destination _______ horror ______ monkey’s paw ______ hospital freak ______. Especially the eggs on a plane.
I kid, I kid.
Just happy that even Uchida Maaya has a HxH role, Show Spoiler ▼
I think that despite those two never changing their appearance to match the Zodiac sign they represent, they represent the qualities of their respective animals to fullest. Ging is stubborn and purposeful. Pariston is … well, nothing like his supposed prototype Paris Hilton.
What kind of ‘leisure activities’ did the playboy bunny accompany Netero in?
love that ed, ive always wanted to visit that place.
What’s up with that Hanshin Tigers dude? lol
Pariston Hill? am I the only one that has seen the obvious about that name? I laugued hard when i caught that one, Oda sure is a master to make a Villain with that name.
Think you got the wrong mangaka there, Sport.
Ups mY bAD
the only thing that’s similar to Paris Hilton is the name. She’s a socialite celebrity with nothing to do with politics, not to mention, the personalities are totally different.
The character design and demeanor of Pariston is obviously a spoof of the young but ambitious good-looking politician wearing a happy public face over his deceitful soul underneath – and will do almost anything to win an election.
No wonder he’s the rat.
pariston is the perfect embodiment of the sleazeball politician that has a reputable public image.
His unchanging smiley face is reminiscent of the villager’s creepiness…love it!
Shoot probably is the one who votes for Gon in the election.
Is it just me or is the author just trying to force Hisoka’s relevance…. this is the first shounen anime i’ve seen that’s so ridiculously decommissioned its protagonist. While I like Killua, I do personally like Gon’s straightforward honesty more.
I hope he gets better soon.
“Strap in – it looks like yet another amazing ride is about to begin…”
This arc will only last 10ish episodes.
So happy to see Hisoka back on the screen again!