Hunter x Hunter Episode 56

Beloved x And x Beleaguered

It was about time the Phantom Troupe started being all rancorously murderous again.

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally down to the wire here in York Shin. Confrontation and strife have been plentiful, and I’m to assume this is the beginning of the end. At the very least, it’s ramping up to be a conclusion worthy of what we’ve seen here so far.

Getting ahead of myself though. I believe it’s now at it’s most poignant to remind ourselves how cool of a villain group the Phantom Troupe is. Often times run-of-the-mill Shonen series can have antagonistic gangs by the barrel full who a majority of turn out to be throw away cast members and are forgotten as if they had never started their pained existence. Hunter x Hunter on the other hand has this bunch of charming people who all have their specific valued role within the group. The chemistry amongst the Troupers is a fine line between camaraderie and independence, one which it treads nigh perfectly as the members makes themselves distinct from the rest. There’s no doubt to their evil nature, but at times you can’t help but root for them.

Such moments come up as the episode opens with Chrollo understanding the true motivation behind the chain user, leading to the search of Neon’s remaining bodyguards through Kortopi’s conjured Scarlet Eyes. IF I haven’t already stated this enough, let me say it again FOR GOOD MEASURE. Chrollo makes for a brilliant major antagonist, clearly a charismatic force to be dealt with and very nice looking in his coat, also.

What’s very nice to see as well is that Kurapika called upon Melody for assistance, a gesture of both trust toward her and the very harsh reality that all of this really kinda insanely dangerous. With her aid, keeping track of the Phantom Troupers after the Scarlet Eyes (reminder: Chrollo, Nobunaga, Pakunoda, Machi, Shizuku, and Kortopi) becomes significantly simpler, not to mention it kicks in some really KILLER soundtrack I don’t remember hearing before. There’s actually two new pieces I recall hearing in the episode I really liked. The second in relation to Squala, the sympathetic dog trainer.

Who soon becomes very really dead.

Yeah.

Not a good year for the Nostrade family. Back to that later.

Kurapika, who does his darndest to look even more feminine than humanely possible, after dealing with the emotional roller-coaster of the past day or two, let’s his anger flare far too strong, coating his rational judgment. If it weren’t for having the best of friends in Gon and by association Killua, his foolhardiness would have put this chase to an unfortunately quick end. Yet when dealing with the Phantom Troupe, there is no way to get out unscathed. Gon willingly sacrifices himself, and by association (totes bffs 4 lyfe), so does Killua, doing so under the full comprehension that Kurapika is their only useful weapon.

And the two are thusly captured, but not without Gon triggering Chrollo into one of the more interesting moments of the entire interesting moment extravaganza of an episode. See, as far as Kurapika does take his anger toward the Phantom Troupe, there is no denying that these people are ruthless killers who deserve punishment. So this takes back to Gon’s dislike of Nobunaga, adorable reaction from Gon upon hearing his presence on the phone by the way, their ability to kill without remorse while still mourning their own. Posing the esteemed leader of the Troupe the following question: “How can you kill people who have nothing to do with you?”

It sparks an oddly bothered and introspective response from Chrollo, further bumping him up my ranks, entirely bewildering to the capture boys. While he remains unsure of his answer, Chrollo’s leadership and trust in his Troupe members is what allows Gon and Killua the very fortunate ability to continue living, although still entirely in a hostage situation. Kurapika may have been overtaken by anger, but it appears with the appearance of Melody, he begrudgingly understands the nature of his blunder. Which is good, since he’ll need whatever concentration he can as something very compromising occurs with that almost now dead bodyguard.

In a tragic twist, what ends up sealing Squala’s fate was his decision to take the Scarlet Eyes with him as he escaped. If only he had decided to quit the job then and there as he was planning to, we wouldn’t have to deal with rolling of more heads. Not that I have big issues with that. Squala’s death, while obvious, was handled with such a finesse that it was simultaneously a joy and a sorrow. The little moments leading up to his death make it all the more stinging, as he realizes immediately, when Pakunoda, Nobunaga and Kortopi surround his getaway car, that he is about to experience the very last moments of his life. Releasing his dogs, he doesn’t reveal a single factoid of Kurapika until the cruel deed is finally done. Which would be great and all if Pakunoda wouldn’t have that whole memory power schtick to find out who Kurapika is anyway. With her Memory Bomb ability, the Phantom Troupe at last has their hands on the chain user’s identity.

There. This is now truly the beginning of the end. Awesome.

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