Hunter x Hunter 11 – Horror Show

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.

Those aren’t cookies.

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.

Child’s Play

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.

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13 Comments

  1. I was initially freaked out by Killua, but looking back on it, Gon’s reaction was really far more disturbing. Like you mentioned, we already have the context for Killua being a killer in an earlier episode, but Gon’s “Whatever, he’s an assassin” response shows that he’s also messed up, contrary to the wide-eyed “Yay! Adventure!” stuff they’ve been showing so far.

    • It’s scary to think that the reason Gon is fine with Killua killing people is because Killua happens to be one of his friends and someone his age. It’s actually, a shockingly believable portrayal of a child who doesn’t really have a distinction between right or wrong.

      contrary to the wide-eyed “Yay! Adventure!” stuff they’ve been showing so far.
      THIS.

  2. You’re the only one so far who’s mentioned any sympathy for Jones, but I felt the same way. I definitely prefer the remake’s version of the scene, not only because of Killua’s terrifying portrayal, but also because it actually made me feel bad for Jones. In the ’99 version, Killua quickly crushes Jones’s heart and doesn’t even give you time to feel sorry for Jones. However in the remake Killua makes Jones suffer and gasp in desperation for a longer period of time, and I could feel the pain and suffering in Jones’s voice. Finally, when his heart stops beating and there’s that moment of silence where Jones’s eyes roll back into his head, I felt like my heart also stopped beating for a second, then starts beats again when Jones hits the floor with a dull thud and Killua announces his victory. The execution is just really creepy and disturbing, and I commend Madhouse for eliciting such emotional reactions from me.

    • Killua exploiting Jones in this version is disturbing. It’s somewhat like seeing a bunch of kids kill an animal for fun. Yes, Jones was a killer and probably a horrible person but he was human nonetheless and he too was afraid of death. The fact that Killua only gives him back his heart once he’s kicked the bucket says a lot about how the kid has no respect for human life.

      For Madhouse to create that feeling and atmosphere given the show’s timeslot, is a remarkable feat. I’ve seen shows like Blood-C, Deadman Wonderland and Mirai Nikki– shows that have a significant amount of blood and gore but I don’t think either of the three have successfully produced something as chilling as this because the gore is heightened to a comical level. HxH functions the other way around, it has a lot of fun and seemingly happy moments and music but all of that is switched off once Killua kills Jones, a reminder that the fun does stop somewhere.

  3. I think all old fans were waiting to see how the remake would handle the “heart issue”, and I have to say they went for something completely unexpected for me! I was expecting a sillouette or something, but I didn’t mind the method they took. (Except I wish they showed a bigger rip from Jonness’ shirt ’cause otherwise it has to be really stretchy!) I did like the extra bit where Killua gives back the heart though – I felt it added another layer of cruelty and playfulness to his character. And yes, Gon is a scary kid at this stage.

    • I wasn’t expecting it either, and like you, I was expecting silhouettes. But I can’t imagine the whole show keeping up the whole silhouette thing. I like that they do get creative at times though. I wonder how Killua managed to rip out so much of his shirt and I’m guessing he pulled it out from the front, given that there’s no hole from the back.

      …or maybe I shouldn’t overthink these things.

      Gon is scary in the Hunter Exam and he goes full-on crazy in the Ant arc.

  4. The hole in Jones’s chest was rather disturbing, even more than the ripped out heart.
    I still dislike the music though. They seriously need to fix that. This is the first show I’ve felt that music really IS important.

  5. Good review and way better than that TROLL at OTAKUNESS.

    • Thanks for dropping by Marven. I know Saranaufogus and read the HxH posts. While there are times I disagree with their opinions, I respect them. I’m sure they’re not trolling, they just view the new anime differently, that’s all.

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