Hunter x Hunter 07 – Natural Born Killers


There were a couple of things this episode did that grabbed my attention and kept me immersed in what was going on. The last two episodes have been good but a bit lacking in terms of anything worth noting. This episode had two things I really liked:

  1. Killua’s maladjusted behavior and…
  2. …the gradual introduction of distortion.

The Kid’s Wrong in the Head

I’m impressed with the way this adaptation is handling the characterization. I find that the most riveting parts of this remake happen to be the ones that spend time fleshing out the cast. This one, was particularly clever with how it slowly revealed Killua’s issues. Like Gon, he’s breezing through the exams. Upon Netero’s arrival however, Killua’s nonchalant attitude rapidly crumbles. The series does this in a very subtle way, the boy’s facial expressions speak a lot about how he reacts to a stronger opponent.

Gon happily accepts the challenge. Even as he finds out that there’s no way he can steal the ball from Netero, he adjusts his goal to a more realistic one. Killua, on the other hand realizes that there’s no way he can win. That is, unless the game turns deadly and he opts to kill the Chairman. Considering a scenario that he doesn’t manage to kill Netero, getting into trouble with the whole Hunter Association is just not worth it.

Stuck in a bad mood, two unfortunate men make the mistake of harassing Killua. Which ends up with the two being brutally murdered. Something that Killua probably did to ‘vent’ out his frustration. It’s obvious that another parallel is being drawn here. This time it’s is between Killua and Hisoka. One is raised to be an assassin and the other is– well, he’s just Hisoka– a pedophile clown who enjoys killing people. The funny thing is, Killua’s murdering method is less ‘cartoonized’. No flower petals here. We see blood and the scene is free of any fancy guitar music. We only hear the sound of the blimp engine playing the in the background as Killua effectively kills two grown men.

The face of a loving child.

This is going to be an odd comparison to a Sunday morning cartoon, but the contrast reminds me heavily of the contrast between Ichi and Kakihara from the film, Ichi the Killer. I think this effectively highlights the differences and similarities of two killers.

I originally had no intention of comparing this with the ’99 series, but I just have to say that it was very clear that the main characters all had definitive set of morals. Don’t get me wrong, this was very well done in the anime and used to create some very compelling characters. However this is a different study of a boy raised as a murderer for one simple reason: Killua in the ’99 series was conflicted. He was–regardless of his upbringing, was a ‘good’ child who didn’t necessarily enjoy killing but was somehow manipulated into doing so.

With the Madhouse adaptation following the manga closely, the Killua we see here is very different from the ’99 one. He is a lot like Gon with his ambiguous set of morals, but he was raised in a way where he just didn’t care much about people’s lives. It can be said that Killua and Hisoka are characters where Togashi explores the thought of  ‘nature vs. nurture’, something I will look forward to in the future.

Distortion

This remake’s aesthetic is divided into two categories. One uses a bright, almost fluffy set of colors and the other is one that uses heavy contrasts of shadow and light, usually using hues of purple or blue. Here’s a side by side comparison:

I think we’re slowly seeing how the lines are being blurred between these two styles along with how the exam is turning darker and more sinister, compared to how it began. I also liked the part where the camera zooms in on Satotsu’s face while he speaks of Hisoka and Hisoka is building a house of cards. Hisoka’s groans make me feel dirty and violated. Urgh.

I’m just glad I’m not a little boy.

This series introduces itself as your usual shounen tripe but it almost feels as if it’s waiting to launch a sneak attack on the audience once the studio gauges what it can and cannot show on television. Yeah, it sounds like wishful thinking but I think it’s possible. There’s going to be a very ‘infamous’ scene in the coming episodes that will be a real test to censor, the ’99 anime didn’t censor it at all which really changed the way most of the people saw the show back then.

End Notes

I enjoyed this episode and the Netero vs. Gon-Killua team was decently animated. The next episode in the tower is an awesome part of the series! It should be one hell of an episode to watch. Hopefully they don’t rush through it. By they, I mean you, Madhouse!

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10 Comments

  1. My reaction:

    “Man, Killua looks mad enough to kill somebody.”

    Two minutes later: “HOLY CRAP HE REALLY DID KILL SOMEBODY ASDFGHJKL”

    • Two minutes later: “HOLY CRAP HE REALLY DID KILL SOMEBODY ASDFGHJKL”

      Am I a terrible person for laughing?! I was watching this episode and was pretty surprised myself, I was expecting this show to go LOLCENSORSHIP on me again!

      • No, I wouldn’t say so. I was just shocked because I had no idea it was coming. And I forget where I read it, but someone else mentioned that the censoring has been gradually getting better since the flower petals scene. It’s like they’re testing to see how far they can push it with the 10 AM kids cartoon thing.

        Honestly, I’m okay with the censors in this episode since it made it a lot more surprising to me. I have no idea how he did what he just did, and with my overactive imagination, not knowing is honestly scarier to me.

        • Yeah, it seems the censors are getting lesser and lesser! This is a pretty good thing I guess.

          and with my overactive imagination, not knowing is honestly scarier to me
          Yeah, I really liked the way they imply what’s going on without showing it fully. And it was pretty unexpected, given how Killua is a main character and all…

  2. It’s kind of interesting seeing this show from the perspective of someone who has seen only the original anime . . . your post makes it all the clearer to me how subtle changes in adaptation can be. It’s not only the anime-original plots and whatnot that can shift in an adaptation, but also bits of character development that can subtly alter how a viewer looks at a character. I like how you point out the differences between how Killua is developed in the manga/remake and how he is developed in the original series. It’s something I don’t think much about, since of course I have experience with the anime only.

    • And here I was thinking no one wanted to read about my silly rants.

      The ’99 series tampered a lot with Gon and Killua’s personalities, however I do believe that it still managed to do some excellent characterization. It’s one of those cases where changing something doesn’t really mean it’s bad. It should be nice to see another side to Gon and Killua as the author intended though, since the neither represent a clear moral standpoint.

  3. Hisoka’s laugh, or whatever it was, made me think of something else. He is such a perv

  4. It would be nice if they didn’t censor /that/ scene, but I was just glad they had any blood at all. XD Hisoka’s pretty flowers had me a bit worried for a while.

    Speaking of Hisoka, it’s good to see he’s just as much of a freak as ever. That part where he came while knocking down his house of cards probably should have been disturbing, but the first thing I thought was “AWWW YEAH, THAT’S THE HISOKA I KNOW AND LOVE!!”

    Since Gon is even more Shota-bait than he was in the ’99 version, I seriously fear for him though… O.O

    • Hisoka’s pretty flowers had me a bit worried for a while.
      Yeah I can see where you’re coming from. That being said, this adaptation is slowly giving me more hope with the censoring. When it comes to violence I believe it’s the idea that’s important, no need to fill the screen with intestines, the power of suggestion shouldn’t be underestimated!

      DAT SCENE. I felt dirty just watching it. Hisoka will always give me the creeps, and that’s an effective Hisoka!

      Since Gon is even more Shota-bait than he was in the ’99 version, I seriously fear for him though… O.O
      Hahaha! The poor boy.

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