「アルカ × ト × ナニカ」 (Alluka x to x Nanika)
“Alluka X and X Something”
The hits just keep on coming.
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.
There’s really not much left except for awe at this point – how can a series possibly be this good for this long, all while re-inventing itself so many times along the way? It’s a truly miraculous feat of writing, and as I’ve said before this is the adaptation every great manga deserves but almost none ever get. But with episodes like this one I find myself having so much fun that I even forget to be in awe. Can there really only be ten episodes left? What a gaping chasm Hunter X Hunter’s absence will leave in my anime existence.
I’ll be the first to confess I’m starting to get a little dizzy keeping up with all the permutations of Alluka’s ability, and further, that this ability seems to be the least readily explicable among all the Nen abilities we’ve seen in H x H so far. Yet there’s no denying that it allows Togashi-sensei to exploit one of his most astonishing talents, creating scenarios with a ridiculous amount of detail whose ramifications grow and grow far beyond what it initially appears. Get Togashi in obsessive geek mode and the results are exhilarating to say the least, and of all the Nen-related developments we’ve seen this seems to be about the most geeky.
This episode is loaded with stellar moments, but it would be hard to top the conversation between Hisoka and Illumi in the airship bar. This is exposition as it was meant to be done – not only does it actually make sense to have explanations here in the context of the story, but the scene is ridiculously entertaining. These two are quite the pair, especially Hisoka with his yoga poses and his facial expressions. And this is really about the most serious and even unsettled I think we’ve seen him, especially when Illumi gets to the part where he explains that with requests that are big enough, the victims extend beyond the one the requestor loves most to those they’ve spent the most time with. This news actually manages to solicit a Hisoka sweatdrop.
Illumi is very shrewd about many things – he’s certainly deduced most of the story behind Alluka’s ability – but astonishingly dumb about others. Perhaps my favorite comedic H x H moment since Gon’s date with Palm comes when Hisoka quite rightly points out that Killua’s mission will fail, because the one he loves most is Gon and he’ll be the first sacrificed when the follow-up requests aren’t met. Illumi has assumed he’s the one Killua loves most, and Hisoka gives him a look for the ages, followed by a line of dialogue to match: “I have issues, but you’re just bad.” Delusions of grandeur aside, Illumi has an idea what will happen – Killua will have someone else make the wish so his repercussions won’t get pawned off on someone else, and he’ll fail while trying to fulfill Alluka’s requests. And he has a plan for how to deal with it, which involves Hisoka taking Alluka out before things get to that point.
That’s a fascinating potential scenario, no doubt about it. But equally fascinating events are playing out already in Zoldyck Manor, as Killua plays a game of wits and wills with his father. It’s clear that Alluka’s ability has been investigated and exploited by the ruthlessly cold and practical Zoldyck family – butlers being sacrificed to test theories, innocent tourists sacrificed by Milluki for otaku goods. This is clearly a victim scenario, as terrifying as Alluka is. But that ability (Specialist abilities are the scariest to begin with, and this one is off the charts) is truly a great danger to the entire family. If 67 people died for the millionaire request, how many more would have to die to accomplish what Killua asks for – and if the list is determined by time spend with the one who fails to meet Alluka’s requests and Killua is determined to be that person, it could conceivably mean everyone in his entire extended family, much of the Hunter’s Association (who are still engaged in their election machinations, blissfully unaware) and even what’s left of the Phantom Troupe is sacrificed in the process of granting it. Togashi, you bastard.
Juxtaposed against this is the very human story of Alluka and Killua’s love for his sibling, and the more we learn of it the more if becomes clear just how different Killua is from the rest of his family (but we knew that already). Saving Alluka is clearly a co-priority with saving Gon, and having left Alluka to fester in a cutely decorated dungeon weighs heavily on Killua’s conscience (which already weighs as much as a small planet). Killua not only loves Alluka more than anyone else (though that’s not hard, since he’s the only one that loves Alluka at all) but he knows more about Alluka than anyone. And that means that he knows “secret conditions” with Alluka’s ability – we see at least two here, and I’ll eat Akiko’s jam if there aren’t more. One enormously powerful one is that a request can be made with conditions, and Killua exploits this secret knowledge as a way to escape from the family prison with Alluka in tow – he makes a request that Kikyo be killed if he and Alluka are still on the mountain in 30 minutes, and that Alluka kiss him on the cheek if they aren’t.
We’ve known for a long time that Killua is a stone-cold badass and fiendishly clever, and this is a great example of both qualities. What choice does Silva have but to comply? Even his mother whose life Killua has wagered is proud of his hard and practical genius. This is a strange and edgy situation Togashi has created here, intentionally casting Alluka’s gender in a confusing light and showing us this kind of physical affection being shared between siblings – yet the larger message is that what really matters is that Killua’s heart is as kind towards Alluka as everyone else’s is cold and cruel, and this gives him a moral advantage over the rest of his family. And seemingly a practical one, too, as Killua is privileged to know things about Alluka which they don’t – enough so that he seems to possess a great confidence that he can utilize Alluka’s ability to save Gon without someone (someone else or himself) paying an unacceptable price.
Truly, this is one of the strangest and most obtusely difficult scenarios Togashi has created, and it’s also a showcase for what a remarkable character Killua is. If you’re going to ignore the main character for an extended period, focusing on the likes of Killua and Hisoka certainly softens the blow – and Leorio will be re-joining the action next week at long last. There’s much we don’t know still about Alluka, and I’ll be very interested in seeing if Togashi can make the entire scenario of Alluka and the “other” that Killua has dubbed “Nanika” fit logically with the Hunter X Hunter mythology – I’m still not convinced he can, but either way this is proving to be yet another fantastically entertaining turn in a series that’s seemingly never going to run out of them.