That Word x Is x That Someone
That said, the only other scene in the episode manages to lose me a little. I’m talking about the pre-OP bit, the montage of disgusting and cruel world we live, saddled with the many children and otherwise people who inhabit and foster such an environment.
I’m not feelin’ it.
It’s not that I don’t get it. We have the images of human cruelty which is meant to be compared to that of the ants, we have the images of children who are exposed to such a cruel world much like how Gon and Killua went headlong into such a world themselves, and we have a lead-up to the confirmation of rose bomb’s poisonous nature. What it might work best for out of these is the last one. It provides a little build-up for the eventual line, and I can kind of dig that. But it’s more so on the former two front where I can’t exactly settle myself on. The first of which I’ve conveniently touched upon before, on how when talking about ugly humanity, it’s really easy to come on too strong. For the example then, what we got was appropriately devious. I could get behind that.
For this montage, we’re receiving what we already had on our plate. It’s telling too much, which is an odd thing to say when I haven’t feel particularly perturbed by the narration for the majority of this arc, while telling very little. Cause damn. That was just “humanity is cruel” cliches one after the other. Not that’s the kind of stuff which isn’t already present, but man, if that’s meant to be taken seriously? I can’t do it. There’s barely anything to take seriously. What my major issue with it is, in the end, is that it isn’t interesting. It’s not that the plight of beleaguered children is beyond me, but in the context of this story, it’s not interesting. Beyond the parallel screens of the bug and human used above (which I thought was neat as far as imagery goes), the screens didn’t drive me with any particular purpose that hadn’t already been driven enough. It’s an overly cynical knocking over the head with every screen, with no substance to it.
Human cruelty had been well set in place already. The additional poison was enough poison already to that. But going for a widespread generalization on how damn cruel people can be feels overly simple in a way that doesn’t befit the topic. All of it before now has had some silliness to it, like the entirety of Peijin is in the right way, or it was in sensible amounts, like during Netero’s fight. This is overblown, yet lazy and kinda weak. Not entirely sure what the reaction to this montage is in general (and am curious in knowing what it is), but if it was intended to be taken seriously, wow. Why am I laughing instead.
In that sense, I guess I WAS feelin’ it, but not in what I bet was the intended effect? Whatever. This is like 2 minutes of an episode that was killer otherwise.
Cause like said. These single scene episodes tend to be consistently great. It may be that many of them capture that sense of tension so well, a tension which is well known to HxH at this point. And the scene we get the pleasure of viewing for the entire episode is a direct continuation of where we left off last episode, the beginning of the King’s search and Pouf’s realization that something is wrong with him currently. Physically speaking. Of course, we know it’s the poison at work, but Pouf knows nothing of that. So to add on top of all the stress he has in dealing with the King and protecting his secret, something strange is happening to him as well. The butterfly really has way too much to deal with. Which is nice. Even more nice as the King uses his one allowed En, and discerns an insane amount of information with it. If the poison weren’t going to kill him, I’d seriously like to see what could at the moment.
Who it wouldn’t be is poor ol’ Welfin, who’s really grown on me a good deal. The guy is the right mix of paranoid, and sympathetic, while having this slightly goofy air about him. That said, none of that is gonna protect him from the King, who instantly heads to him and begins an impromptu interrogation. What aids him in this is not simply that he has gained Pouf’s powers, but that his capability at them far exceeds what the butterfly can manage. The King can ascertain why Welfin is where he is, and this is where Pouf hits yet another roadblock in his attempt to keep his secret a secret. While Welfin doesn’t know what Pouf’s secret is, he does have some sensitive knowledge pertaining to it. An interrogation can obviously lead to that information coming out, even if the interrogation (why Welfin feels his rage at the King) isn’t relevant to the secret. But this is where Pouf’s true values really shine. This is where his insane loyalty is at its brightest. He sticks to his secret, and he tells the truth of what he worries might happen by talking to Welfin. This alone isn’t enough to convince the King, but as the King didn’t strike Pouf and Youpi for scheming behind his back, Pouf’s unbreakable steadfast loyalty keeps him alive. The tension here is palpable. This is approaching the end, and Pouf is playing his final hands in face of inescapable death.
Now as the King shifts his gaze to Welfin once more, this time with no intention of interrogation, only consumption, Welfin is stuck. He has no clear way out, having come into this situation only due to a flare in his emotions that Ikalgo and Youpi gave rise to. But now having his youth scared out of him, and with a less than 0% chance of beating the King in a fight, he’s doomed. He’s so doomed, he’s beyond freakin’ doomed. So doomed, yet his desire to live is still there. And within that, he falls back on his greatest weapon; his mind. A mind full of lovely little visual treats, but no clear answer to his dire predicament. One word is all he has to save himself, and believe you me when I say loved this scene. It really hits his notes of desperation as he goes through what information he has, and it’s just a lot of fun see him finally arrive at an answer he wouldn’t consider under normal circumstances.
The name Komugi is finally said.
With that, the game is done. Pouf has lost, and has to face the profound meaning Komugi holds to Meruem. As the King was sliding closer to his Ant side in his approach to Welfin, it’s as simple as remembering Komugi which brings Meruem to his human side. As Welfin holds on to his life, he gives him the information on Komugi’s whereabouts while also screaming his anger at the King. It’s the response to this which breaks Pouf entirely, and serves as a wonderful cap to Pouf’s failed attempts here. “I hope you find him… And if possible, I hope you can live as a human.” Meruem has chosen his humanity. Now we simply wait until the end.