Now, this is what I’ve been waiting for…
If you’ll indulge an analogy relating to the focus on games in Togashi’s oeuvre, I’d say that the first few episodes have been like playing… Uno, or some such, while this one feels like we’re finally on AMERICAN GLADIATORS. Which is to say - - this adventure has finally grown some teeth to complement its whimsy. Instead of feeling like I'm indulging something that's good-natured, but still generally harmless, I was finally just swept in the tension of all the varied twists and turns that our heroes run through here.
Hell, seeing Gon’s crew stand together on the precipice of that bottomless pit, united as comrades-in-arms, pleasingly reminded me of Yusuke and his Spirited Detectives during the video game portion of the “Chapter Black” saga in YU YU HAKUSHO.
The stand-out of the episode was absolutely the part where Tonpa suddenly starts channeling his chi in anticipation for his duel with the convict (screen cap shown above!). If there’s something fundamental amusing about the sight anybody powering up, that something is doubly amusing when a hitherto useless schlub abruptly starts busting that secret and terrifying technique out.
Actually, at the risk of reading too far into things (who? me?), I can’t help but wonder if Togashi might be weaving in semi-objectivist subtext here about the true enemies being insipid norms who conspire to weigh life’s true achievers down.
Think about it - - this episode centers on the heroes being bound by the “will of majority,” right? As soon as they get grouped with this jobber, his very presence muddles their achievements. The same heel who once tried to poison them with spiked soda is now intentionally quitting on them when he’s counted on. He's that much of weasel that he isn't threatening them through any direct, respectable means. And he goes on to explicitly state that he’s just trying to sabotage any potential Hunters out of spite because he know he’ll never be qualified, himself.
For any respectable sportsmen, the worst adversary isn't a worthy opponent. It's an underhanded, bottom feeding cheater... just like our pal, Tonpa.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|