Hunter X Hunter 2011’s Episode 68: “Pirates and Guesses” finally moves the Greed Island arc into its final phases, towards the most anticipated animation of the Chimera Ant Arc, confirmed to start airing on April 21!
Gon, Killua, and Bisuke work together with their group to confront the pirates, and Killua easily defeats one of them, gaining the group entry into their base and a meeting with Razor, their leader. Razor challenges them to sports-themed battles, and the trio intentionally loses their matches after quickly realizing their current group is no match against Razor and his pirates. Joining up with one competent fellow from their initial group, the trio search for more qualified members, encountering an old nemesis and a potentially dangerous secret he keeps.
Killua proves to be as ruthless and analytical as ever, quickly and effortlessly defeating one of the largest pirates in his game, while efficiently analyzing the strengths of their own group members. After the first two displays of Nen and sport skills from some of their members failed to meet the pirates’ level, Killua convinces Gon and Bisuke to simply lose on purpose, and relegate their objective to information gathering. As the group of fifteen members say goodbye to each other, the trio are left with one competent member – now they only have to find 11 more. The best friends fight over whether or not to contact the person who used the name Chrollo Lucifer, with Gon’s hardheadedness winning out. As it turns out, the person was Hisoka, who hides his own agenda from the two under a sublime combination of half truths, whole lies, and his special skill Dokkiri Texture. The new group of five decides to contact Tsezugera to see if they can enlist his aid in challenging Razor’s pirates again.
After the build up from the last episode, we finally get to see Razor’s pirates in action, and some much needed exchanges of Nen abilities, albeit short-lived, showed signs of what was to come. Unfortunately Gon, Killua, and Bisuke needed to retreat and regroup (literally), but now that they have the unpredictable Hisoka on their side, they’re sure to have a fighting chance. This episode leveraged a lot of subtle comedic moments accompanied by iconic “chibi” animations, helping lighten up the mood that Hisoka’s introduction into the group complicated. Greed Island’s City of Love, Aiai, was pretty well done too – in the group’s first few minutes inside its gates, four cliché meeting moments already occurred, with Hisoka showing some gaming (or dating?) savvy by briefly explaining how to proceed with the city’s romantic game subplots. Sadly its sole significant purpose was to lend itself to Killua’s thought patterns about what Hisoka was keeping secret. In the preview for the next episode, the group of five successfully contact Tsezugera, and seeing that Razor was shown again (alongside weird creatures that are not his pirates), it looks like they successfully formed a group of fifteen qualified enough to rise up to the pirates’ challenge.
The events of Greed Island seem to be reaching their climax, as it’s been confirmed that by April 21, the Chimera Ant arc of the manga will be animated. Fans and followers of the manga are most definitely looking forward to the arc, with mixed expectations. On one hand, the arc features some of the most epic clashes in the series and the manga, and throughout the length of the story Gon and Killua will have reached greater levels of Nen mastery. On the other hand, the level of some fights will inevitably stretch the viewers’ imagination regarding the power that is Nen, and it also features some of the weirdest creatures in the series thus far – with the main antagonist sharing a stunning likeness to a character in Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball Z universe. Madhouse has been doing a fine job of animating Hunter X Hunter 2011 so far, and the success of the first movie and the filming of a second seem to indicate that everything is going well for the series. Here’s to hoping that the Chimera Ant arc will be just as successful.[By G Dino]