In a slew of anime obsessed with honor, heroism and justice– Hunter x Hunter presents us with an unsettling picture of people being killed by the hundreds and children being thrust into dangerous situations, only to find out that the children themselves are just as unsettling as the mass murderers they’re pit against.
Leorio vs. Leroute
Turns out that Leroute is the most useful member of the prisoner team, winning them a grand total of 100 hours– that’s a hundred hours off their sentences I believe. Even if they did win 50 hours, that’s still 50 years off their sentences, none of the men would have been able to achieve that number. Unless Baldy had the chance to torture Tonpa for 72 hours that is.
It was embarrassing to watch Leorio get so easily owned by Leroute in this match, but he had it coming. As Tonpa, puts it: He gambles conservatively and while it worked in his favor to get Kurapika his deserved win, it was ultimately his downfall. The guy is afraid of risking too much.
Killua vs. Jones
Every episode of Hunter x Hunter 2011 has a ‘defining moment’ for me. In this one, it was Killua and Jones’ onesided fight. From what I see on Animenano, there are only a few blogs covering this series. After reading through a few entries, it’s easy to see that there are mixed reviews coming from old fans whereas new viewers seem satisfied with the implied gore.
This scene, for a 10:55 am anime– is rather brutal. Killua rips out Jones’ heart, wrapsit up in what appears to a part of his torn shirt and holds it up in plain view for everyone to see. Jones’ begs him to return it but Killua keeps it dangling, sadistically taunting him and reminding the man of his own mortality.
We hear slow heart beats echoing throughout the tower.
Jones finally keels over and dies, Killua ‘returns’ his heart with a small bemused smile on his face.
During the first viewing, I was slightly disappointed how Madhouse interpreted the scene. In the 99 version and in the manga, Killua plucks out Jones’ heart and crushes it. In the 99 version, this is pretty shocking considering there was no censorship whatsoever, proving Killua to be a very capable fighter. In the manga, it’s less shocking because we’ve seen Killua chop up to men into several pieces like nothing (for reference, this is the scene in episode 7 of the 2011 version).
While much less intense or shocking– this version provides a completely different feel– it’s a mixture of creepiness and black humor. In fact, this scene feels like it had stronger elements of horror in it compared to the manga and the 99 version. Effective horror doesn’t simply rely on simple shock factor, it’s something that needs to get under your skin and that’s what this scene did effectively. I’d love to see more black humor from this series, especially when Togashi pulls it off seamlessly in the manga.
Both Hunter x Hunter anime adaptations build up Jones as a mass murderer. What they didn’t tell you was that in the manga, Jones also pulled out the heart of a living 11 year old child. This adds an extra layer of irony when Killua rips out his heart and how unfazed Gon was seeing him do so.
In this series, children can be just as cruel as grown ups and not be aware of it. It’s hard to say whether Gon is ‘messed up’ but his apathy is truly disturbing. He’s a bit of a blank canvas or rather, a dry sponge. He’s an unlikely protagonist and Togashi’s subversion of the heroic, wide-eyed and enthusiastic adventurer especially when it turns out his ‘adventure’ is a cruel and treacherous exam.
When he and Killua walk into the waiting room and the first thing they check out are books and whether or not the television set is working, I thought back on Jones and his pitiful death and for the first time, I felt sorry for the guy– and he was a mass murderer guys!
Also, it’s only Kurapika who questions Killua regarding his ‘technique’ and that’s because it all clicks with Kurapika’s personality, someone who does care about honor and justice. Leorio is a bit more cautious. Again, this is because he’s someone who makes conservative choices. All these small interactions give us a better understanding of the cast and how they’re a bit more complex than they appear.