「ツミ×ト×ツメ」 (Tsumi × to × Tsume)
“Sin × And × Claw”

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.

I just wish this series would go on forever. Is that really so much to ask?

I’ve been operating under the assumption that Hunter X Hunter 2011 would be ending at Episode 148 or 149 (for logistical reasons I’m actually happier it’s 148), so this week’s announcement by Han Megumi really didn’t come as a surprise. It’s probably for the best, in fact, as I would hate to see this unimpeachably great anime suffer from a decline in quality, as it surely would if it transitioned to original material. That doesn’t change the fact that hearing the news quasi-officially really brings home the immediacy of the situation, and Hunter X Hunter’s absence is going to leave a pretty big hole in my life – it’s been a part of it for three years. After today, five episodes left.

It’s funny how the “Election” arc feels almost light-hearted after “Chimera Ant”, because there’s an alarmingly high body count here. Tone means a lot with Togashi – while violence is nearly a constant with Hunter X Hunter, there are times when it carries a heavier weight of consequence and tragedy. One might even say that the series has tended to alternate between arcs with a more action-driven “shounen” tone, and those that are more reflective and melancholy – Hunter Exam-Zoldyck Family-Heaven’s Arena-York Shin-Greed Island-Chimera Ant-Election – with the even-numbered arcs being the graver. I suppose the D*** C*** arc will be the one to put that to the test.

This episode packs a lot into 22 minutes (maybe even a little too much, though that’s a minute quibble), but what really stands out for me is the reminder of just how crazy – and crazy strong – Hisoka and Illumi are. I think they’re a different sort of crazy, even if it’s interesting to speculate on which one is the crazier. Hisoka is more of a true psychopath – he’s quite rational and even-keeled. It’s just that he’s operating from an incredibly venal set of priorities. Illumi is more delusional, more the straight-up nutjob – he has much less of a grasp of reality than Hisoka does, and seems convinced that what he’s doing is perfectly normal and for the best interests of everyone (and the ones he sacrifices aren’t worthy of factoring into the equation). For that reason (among others) my money would be on Hisoka if he ever decided to take Illumi out, but we’ll touch base on that shortly.

The election is continuing, with Pariston continuing to more than triple his nearest rival (Cheadle) but not seriously threaten 50%. It becomes clear pretty early on (and much more clear not much later) that the so-called “Seirin Group” is no match for Pariston strategically, even if Loupe fancies himself a smarty-pants. It’s also clear that the troops they sent off to do battle with Illumi and his army (in truth, an army of one is all he really needed) are no match for them – they’re wiped out, to a man (including Bushidora – so much for ambition), by Hisoka and Illumi. Hisoka tips his hand that he plans to pull a double-cross on Illumi after finding a map on one of the victims, but Illumi is already ahead of him, because of his “bird” in Killua’s camp. And it turns out that bird isn’t a Canary but Kikyou herself – who’s planted a spycam on Tsubone, and used it to see everything she sees.

This, of course, tells us that Kikyou is flat-out working with Illumi here – not a surprise, but I wouldn’t take it as confirmation that Silva is on-board with that approach. In fact, it could be argued that Illumi is working on Kikyou’s behalf and Tsubone – who seems to have been genuinely unaware that she was being used – is working on Silva’s. Unfortunately when Tsubone uses her “Rider’s High” ability to allow she and Amane to take to the air and scour the sky for anyone spying on Killua’s airship, she was actually spying on it herself, and this allows Illumi and his needlemen (and Hisoka, though no one seems aware of his presence) to be present when Killua lands the airship with the intent of taking the car he’s asked Canary to have meet him the rest of the way to the hospital.

This is where we get a good notion of the depth of Illumi and Hisoka’s particular psychoses. When Illumi offers his own life in a trade-off for the rest of the family not being at-risk, he’s genuinely willing – convinced he’ll live on in Killua’s heart forever as his most-beloved person, causing him terrible guilt. Meanwhile Hisoka is nearly orgiastic in contemplating which double-cross will bring him the most fun – should be kill Alluka and earn Killua’s wrath? Or save Alluka from Illumi, earning his wrath? After Illumi makes his offer – which would lead to a boring result for him – Hisoka decides the best course is to kill Alluka and turn Killua against him, than take out Killua and enrage Illumi. Seriously, this dude is all kinds of fucked up. Thank goodness for us.

It’s Tsubone who’s thrown a spanner into the works, though – by revealing herself she re-activated the request-wish cycle with Alluka, which allows her to try and make amends for having unwittingly sabotaged Killua’s mission. At the cost of two more fingernails she earns a wish, which she grants to Killua, and rather than wish for Illumi’s death he tells Nanika to heal Tsubone’s hand. In doing to he turns over one of his hole cards, because this reveals a secret Illumi didn’t know – Something never makes a cruel wish after healing someone. This is a big moment, because it tells us in fact that Something isn’t evil in at least one sense – the ill-fortune that results from Nanika’s actions is laid at the feet of the wish-maker’s intentions.

That’s enough to buy off Illumi as to Killua’s mission to save Gon, but not as to Alluka in general – and each brother makes a threat. Illumi promises that unless Killua tells him everything he’s hiding about Something, he’ll keep trying to kill Alluka. And Killua (who’s turning into a regular Lag Seeing) tells Illumi that if he refers to Something as a “thing” again, he’ll disown Illiumi as a brother. But Killua is a good poker player, and he refuses to show that last card – the “final rule” that if known, Killua is convinced would turn the entire family against him. In the short term, it seems, he’s free to pursue his goal – he can use Alluka to try and save Gon. But in terms of the family struggle this has been a mere skirmish, and the war rages on.

All this has convinced Hisoka that he has no choice but to let events play out for the moment – which frees him up to perform another errand. Teradein has proved a paper tiger, and he goes on the air with news of Bushidora’s death and involves Morel’s name as an ally – which pisses Morel off in a big way, as he’s not interested in Teradein for anything more than his temporary usefulness. Rather than allow his identity as the killer to potentially be revealed, Hisoka calmly takes out Teradein – the news of which hits in the midst of the sixth vote, which ends up reducing the field to four candidates – Pariston (who seems to have a sizable faction prepared to vote against him at any cost), Leorio, Cheadle and Mizaistrom (who actually strikes me as the best of the potential chairmen). Here as with Killua’s quest to save Gon, it seems the rendezvous with destiny is fast approaching.




    1. As someone who suffers from serious lower back issues (including at this very moment) I can’t even imagine the idea of trying to draw weekly serialization when it’s bad. If Togashi has a serious and chronic back problem, that would explain a lot about his hiatus problems – though I don’t know why they’d admit it now and not earlier, as it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

  1. Wow, Illumi probably has the worst brother complex in recent anime history.

    And that Takahashi Hiroki five-star performance! I’d love to see Pariston and Hisoka battle it out, which I’d imagine would be an explosion of charisma and darkness.

    1. Indeed, it is rather depressing that the expression, of “brotherly love,” is put in the form of making Killua both miserable and lonely. Among the brothers within Shonen Genre, this “type” of brotherhood can be seen as “unique” as compared to how bothers, like Edward and Al, that can actually get along; as well as compared to brothers that hate each other like Inuyasha and Sesshomaru.

      I find how the poor Killlua has so many different aspects between Monkey D. Luffy. Luffy is a rubber man yet Killia is an eletric man. Luffy likes his brother and (spoiler) mourns for Ace’s death while Killua would likely prefer to see his older bro dead as one side hatred is involved. While Ace showed no affection to Luffy, when they first met, but changes learns to love his brother and would like him to make friends, Illumi loves his little brother to a rather disturbing level from the start and wishes to make sure that Killua doesn’t make friends. Luffy, in a sense, has gained someone he would treat as a little sister, which is Shirahoshi, who has special powers like Alluka as everyone can be after the mermaid but Luffy had wished Shirahoshi, who is rather big, can stop being a cry baby as he finds defending her to be a bother as opposed to Killua who is willing to always protect Alluka and never minds such a thing.

      Then I also find the similarities, but stark differences, between Sasuke Uchiha and Killua. Both are lighting users and had their elder brother teach them at a young age; though the only difference is “something to protect” where Sasuke doesn’t have a little sister to protect or he would have chosen a different path other than revenge. Then is the difference motives with Illumi and Itachi; Itachi is a pacifist who would avoid killing always yet Illumi is the type that would sacrifice any innocent bystanders without a second thought. While Itachi and Illumi made their little brothers hate them on purpose, so they can grow stronger, the methods are as clear as day where Itachi (spoiler) had a reason to kill his entire clan yet Illumi is willing to kill anyone to prevent Killua to form bonds outside his family. Finally, while Sasuke loves his entire family, Killua does not get along with some of his family members, especially his rather deranged mother.

    1. my moneys on illumi…….even if he fails to win, he’ll probably get away..just like he brainwashed killua to flee from an enemy you cant beat…but he seemed pretty confident that he could body hisoka when they were up on the cliff.

      BROOKLYN otaku
  2. This was a very confusing episode which I had to read a synopsis and the manga chapter to understand.

    From what I can understand, Nanika does not require Alluka to make any more (expensive?) requests after healing someone. Meaning that healing Gon would not make the next “wisher” have to sacrifice humongous amounts. And the only reason Killua did not make the wish back at his mansion was because Nanika has to touch Gon in order to heal him.

    So Killua was always going to make the wish himself anyway and Illumi was wrong about his theory that Killua would ask someone else to do it in order to bare the burden himself.

    But Illumi still remains weary of Alluka since making normal wishes still has a cost on the next “wisher.”

    And then Killua knows of a final rule that apparently is worse than all the other rules. This will be interesting.

    P.S. I had no idea that Illumi actually cared deeply about his family. He has a funny way of showing it. Back when you first meet him during the Hunter Exam, you just think he’s a heartless evil prat. Well he is still kinda a prat anyway lol since he harms/kills innocents.

    1. I think all those points are correct, but I thought they were more or less clear from the episode itself. I didn’t do any research in any event and more or less came to the same conclusions.

      I’m not so sure I agree that we can take from Illumi’s actions that he’s not evil. He still sacrifices innocents by the dozen to fulfill his plans, and seems motivated his his desire to be viewed as the supreme coolest guy in the universe. I think the notion that he could die a hero and make Killua feel guilty forever for killing him appeals to his massive ego.

      1. lol dying for his own ego is certainly a possibility. But he did say he wants to keep the Zoldyck family safe and alive – and he was willing to sacrifice himself for his family.

        Not to mention, remember when Hisoka played around with the idea of killing Killua 2 eps ago and Illumi’s hostile reaction.

    2. Í don’t know if it’s really sympathy for his family members. Perhaps the existence of the Zoldyck family as a whole is just beneficial to Illumi, I guess that mysterious characters such as him won’t reveal that very easily though.

    3. Are you referring to the final rule as a consequence or as advantage to Killua/his family? Because from what Killua said, if Illumi or any of his family learn of the final rule, they would stick needles into him, which I would assume means that Killua has some kind of special privilege from Alluka/Nanika which he doesn’t want anyone to find out or else people like his brother will try to control.

      I actually thought Illumi was interesting, but also strange when I first saw him in the hunter exam; ever since learning that he was Killua’s brother and seeing how he forced Killua to quit the exam, I could kind of see Illumi as caring for Killua, but also egotistical since he’s gone to great lengths to influence Killua like when he put a needle into him, or helped train him as an assassin. And ever since I still see Illumi as that way, especially when he thinks Killua cherishes him as a brother. XD

      1. Yeah I know that, but it was the way that he did it and the reasoning he provided that I was talking about. Focusing on that point of the series, Illumi said that Killua did not need friends since he would eventually betray Gon and he said that assassins did not need friends in the first place;although Illumi mainly did it so he could pass the exam, necessary for one of his jobs, Illumi showed how self-centered he was when he forced Killua to do what he thought was best for his brother, and it was one of the interesting displays of how Illumi showed his affection for his brother and the behavior of a professional assassin.

    so here is the deal , Hisoka is one evil SoB and i’m even surprised he is viewed as a normal ” if not good ” guy by most . this guy kills people for fun so yeah he is the definition of EVIL
    and one day he might get killed for pissing the wrong people off
    Illumi is a pure Psycho who has this sick sense of love for his younger brother and has a point in not letting killua risk the entire family for one person ( makes sense ) but his methods of actually doing this is absolutely WICKED
    so a pair of psycho killers who hold no value to the life of others … interesting

  4. Just as the end of the GI arc was a decent place to end the first run, I feel the end of the election arc is a good place to end this one as well. Given Togashi’s hiatuses, fillers are not an option.

  5. Grrr…. So they plan to just let the series die? That sucks cause this thing has been such a fun ride 🙁

    It is so hard to find a good anime where everyone isn’t in high school clothes with the typical generic male character that doesn’t have the whole cast in love with him. Hunter X Hunter is such a breath of fresh air.

    Rick Anime
    1. Consider it a hiatus more than death, there’s no way HxH will be disappearing from the anime sphere anytime soon. Might have to wait a few years for Togashi to build up enough material to adapt, but HxH will return without a doubt.

      Personally glad they’re going this route too, making anime-only episodes would be an insult to this series.

  6. Only 5 more episodes!!!! You’ve gotta be kidding me. Fuuuuuuuuuuuk. Man this has been an incredible ride. I don’t mind a few year hiatus if we KNOW it’s coming back.
    This arc is as equally intense as every other and has so many levels of intrigue it’s no surprise we’re all dissapointed it will go on hiatus.

  7. sigh. over too soon. just realized i have been watching this as long as i have been with my partner. my weekly ritual: watch tuesday night;read randomC wednesday night;repeat for 3 years. what the heck am i gonna do those two nights now!?? :-). hope we can get a decent adult anime to replace…really sick of the generic rubbish out there. i can hardly recommend anything to anyone nowadays.

  8. some quick thoughts:

    very disappointed Bisky didn’t make the cut for the second runoff.

    Tsubone’s like one of those old triple changer transformers!

    and loved that Ging didn’t bother showing up for his election endorsement.
    Panda Ging must be tired from this:

    Impel Down Hippo
  9. It’s not like he works construction. Back problems shouldn’t be too much of an issue to a job that primarily uses the mind. I know. I’ve worked construction with back problems.


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