「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.

 

Preview

36 Comments

  1. I just had to laugh when Hisoka even though Illumi had issues XD

    Its kind of amusing and creepy how Illumi’s brotherly love for Killua goes into such a far extent, so I’m curious to what else he’s going to do to Killua.

    And we get to see Leorio again! 😀

    Dualash
    1. If unsure always go by the Anime Golden Rule: when in doubt assume the character is a guy 😛

      IIRC correctly though Alluka is a boy; do believe it was mentioned a few times that Alluka was the “fifth brother”.

      Pancakes
    2. Togashi first said it’s 5 brothers
      Killua refers to Alluka as “she”
      Illumi refers to Alluka as “he”

      Therefore, Togashi likes to fuck with our minds… Just relate the situation to Schrödinger’s cat and you’ll be fine

      vacadude
    3. She could just be transgender. Mind of a girl in a male body. The family just refers to Alluka as ‘he’, because they don’t interact with her besides just for her ability. Killua has a better relationship, so he understands Alluka’s gender issues.

      Another possibility is that Nanika is male and the original personality for the body, and the surface Alluka is a female personality created as a mask.

      Show Spoiler ▼

  2. while I liked the episode, I’m still on the fence about Alluka’s powers, as I still feel like they don’t fit the universe they’re in. I like the idea of her powers, but I think it’d be more interesting in a show just about her and how people deal with her.

    the episode also brings up another issue which I’m sure others are thinking about. Obviously Gon will be healed and Killua and/or Gon will figure out how to deal with the requests, but the problem it creates is that this is the second time Gon has been healed after doing something that should have had a permanent cost (Greed Island – Angel’s Breath). While I didn’t mind the conceit in Greed Island, as it fit perfectly with the game environment they were in, it just seems like Gon getting healed again just takes away any real stakes of danger for him in the show. Gon will possibly do something again that will permanently damage him for the time being until something else comes along and saves him.

    And as a viewer I find that to be somewhat of a copout. I’m sure many of you will disagree, but the result is the show has taken away any real consequences for his character actions. that’s fine, and I don’t think most shows want their main character dying or severely altrered, but, usually they’ll keep the MC’s actions within reason to limit the consequences. in HxH’s case, it seems they’ve crossed the line where there are no lasting consequences, which makes the actions that led up to them not much of a sacrifice at all, and that’s really too bad from a narrative point of view as that takes away from the show.

    Impel Down Hippo
    1. I don’t see how Alluka’s ability doesn’t fit in this universe. We have already seen things like Greed Island where all kinds of crazy things were possible through nen and we know that it was not all inside a video game or anything but did indeed take place in the real world. We also have seen Neon’s ability to predict the future and Pakunoda’s ability to read minds. Alluka’s ability to seemingly manipulate probability to grant wishes doesn’t seem outside of the realm of possibilities of what nen can do.

      Skizzit
      1. I see what you’re saying, but Neon and Pakunoda had abilities that didn’t change the course of events, they just influenced them, and for me that’s where Alluka’s powers cross the line. Greed Island’s powers did go outside of the game (transporting them to Kite), but I was willing to go with it. there are indeed a lot of character’s powers during York Shin and on that made me feel on easy with the power creep.

        Impel Down Hippo
    2. Thing is, a bunch of characters are on edge about Alluka in the story right now BECAUSE Gon made the mistake of going too far and Killua is trying to use Alluka’s ‘powers’ (more of a curse) to save him. So I wouldn’t say there are no consequences to Gon’s actions.

      Sure, the power to heal him back to could possibly negate all the damage done to his body, but I doubt there aren’t going to any ramifications for that in the end. That’s why I’m not too bothered by the prospect of Gon being completely healed, because there is always a give and take. Gon is a child, and sometimes he doesn’t worry about how his actions affect the people around him. Maybe the end of this arc will teach him a good lesson on being less selfish.

  3. I do not believe that Alluka is Specialist, nor is her ability a Nen one. Given that no one said anything about Nen when referring to her ability, as well as calling “Nanika” that is from some twisted unnatural place, I would assume that her ability isn’t Nen at all. This explains why it doesn’t seem to fit into the Hunter X Hunter Universe currently because it is a concept that does not have any known basis behind it.

    I certainly think that people should not debate regarding her powers currently because it’ll only lead to nothing. Whether her power is Deus Ex Machina or something that is properly planned into the story, only time will tell.

    P.S. Hisoka’s exchange with Illumi was definitely amusing to watch ahah.

    Hater
      1. Not a spoiler but a teaser…

        The Ox Zodiac’s nen ability (we all know he is a nen user, I hope) has a similar name to one of Enzo’s favorite manga/anime.
        It’s not ‘Ikoku Meiro no Mizaistom’, btw.

        Chagum
    1. Alluka’s ability is nothing compared to Neon’s–granting wishes can theoretically be accomplished through some sort of sensing/teleporting (and healing requires direct contact?), but seeing the future involves accurately predicting the electrical signals of countless human brains. Both abilities have elaborate conditions to use them which Togashi obviously put in there to balance them out. I can’t recall anybody saying anything explicit about nen, but maybe that’s to maintain the horror/mystery of Nanika (like the exaggerated facial expression of the butler who collapsed and crawled backward in fear when Alluka asked for body parts).

      allrightokay
    1. Alluka = アルカ (pronounced Aruka)
      Nanika = ナニカ (pronounced just Nanika)
      There’s also an extremely common Japanese word “nanika” (何か) which means “something” (as in, a thing that one doesn’t know the identity of). Killua is using Nanika as a personal name, but he obviously borrowed it from that common word.
      Maybe KIJIN is also referencing the contrast between “nani” and “aru”. “Aru” is basically the Japanese verb for “to be”, implying presence, and in contrast, Nanika is depicted as weird or unknown. I don’t know if Togashi intended that, though…
      The official subs translated Nanika as “Something” by the way. That’s bound to come back to bite them, unless they quote the word something every time they use it to refer to Nanika.

      Watcher
  4. Y’know, I’m kind of surprised that Silva would let Killua go so easily, even if Kil threatened Kikyo’s life. I mean, Silva seemed like he would never allow Kil out of that room, even at the cost of his wife. He’s an assassin for goodness sake. What does the life of a single person weigh vs the lives of the entire family?

    One other thing that wasn’t mentioned, and probably the funniest moment in this episode for me, was when Hisoka said(paraphrased), “If the person Kil loves most and/or spent the most time with will be killed, at the very least, the revived Gon will die.”, with sinister music playing in the background, which abruptly stops with Illumi being surprised and correcting Hisoka that it’d be him(Illumi) and Kil.

    frubam
  5. Wow this arc is looking very Epic. The first episode in the arc seemed like it was setting everything up and it was very good. But for some foolish reason I was worried it would not be up to par with the rest of the seasons. Glad to see I was being very foolish! This arc is looking quite stunning. It’s a little creepy; but so was the last arc (Human sized Ants!)

    Rick Anime
  6. Another great episode. The secret rules Kill is aware and slowly divulges to his family was very striking. Silva must be very impressed with his sons growth and cunning.
    Seems to me poor alluka is possessed by some creature, spirit, alien? and that is what kill wants to save her from.

    Hisoka, man we just need more Hisoka. Those faces.

    Anyhow what we’re gonna do once HxH ends I dont know. No other show consistently delivers like this.

    Miaminights

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