This episode will kill something inside you, perhaps it’s the spark of hope you always carried in your heart.
We’ve come a long way since the bright colored days of the Hunter Exam arc, and this episode makes me yearn for those days once again. This episode proves the purpose of the fillers weaved into the overall narrative, we get to see who these people are and we get a better understanding of the ongoings surrounding NGL. Hunter x Hunter builds up these characters, they’re more than an afterthought.
The first half introduces Gyro we get a more intimate view of a world Togashi has only hinted at during the course of the series. His story is told entirely in black and white, laden with grimy noise and grain that take over the screen. It’s a great example of how to achieve mood with a few colors and an awareness of space. The sparseness of the visuals evoke the feeling of isolation, the central theme to Gyro’s story. Yes, a SHOUNEN sunday morning cartoon is showing you what good artistic direction is.
Gyro’s circumstances led him to rule NGL, and the prospect of him being eaten by the queen leads to a very scary thought. Even Chimera Ant Yunju regrets not having eaten him. This is important because the only people who experience some twisted kind of ‘rebirth’ in the series are the humans eaten by the Queen herself.
The second half deals with Pokkle’s team and them discovering the events that have transpired in NGL. Suffice to say, the next few minutes of this episode are grueling and exhausting to watch. The utter helplessness of the situation makes it hard to watch, even for a manga reader who should be armed with the knowledge of what’s to come. That knowledge doesn’t do shit, it just makes the journey more agonizing. The build up really serves its purpose here, we know who Ponzu and Pokkle are and we get small hints as to what kind of relationship they have.
Pokkle being unable to protect two of his comrades, and Ponzu trying to find help to the best of her abilities struck a chord with me, and all it took was a few seconds of her resting her head on Pokkle’s back while he talks about his dream.
Kaito, Killua and Gon witnessing the aftermath doesn’t make it any less frustrating. Their faces as they look at what’s left of Ponzu clearly tell that even as professional Hunters, they’re unnerved by the aftermath.
It’s funny how Hunter x Hunter can be just as horrific or even more so than other shows in airing in later timeslots. Fears of censorship have been pushed aside and now we’re seeing what Madhouse is truly capable of.