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HUNTER X HUNTER #81-85 Gives You Evil with a Smile!

Ep. #81-85 Watch & Learn. This arc's already the best one!

I can’t help but read into this Ant Queen and her minions, and find some kind of meta-commentary on mangaka and their creations. It’s as a tenuous a comparison as when Sam and i equated the goony giants in ATTACK ON TITAN with otaku stereotypes, sure, but… still… this kept making me picture that self-portrait Jack Kirby drew where he was surrounded by his legion of superheroic creations.

The whole conception of these villains is just so darkly whimsical. You’d expect the Queen to be hatching legions of insect-like drones, not a random menagerie of creatures who are born full-clothed, fully-sentient and with a full range of distinct personalities. There probably isn’t any point to that, per se, but it stills seems like the metaphorical equivalent of Togashi dreaming up all the varied bad guys in HXH and YU YU HAKUSHO.

Anyway… the speed at which this arc is ramping up stakes and digging into meatier drama is really making “Greed Island” look even more like filler, in hindsight. What did we gain from that arc objectively? Gon met Bisky, and he learned his Rock/Paper/Scissors attack, right? Those both could’ve been addressed in the space of an episode over the course of “York New.”

I’m not as quick to dismiss “Heaven’s Arena” because Nen has proven to be so complicated and essential that you really did need a whole, long arc to explain it. (And, for the record, the notion of these Chimera minions stumbling on some innate knowledge of Nen is actually quite creepy).

Again, I’m down for all of this, now. The threat’s actually dire, and it’s getting exponentially more so with each episode. I just find it amusing that another part of Togashi’s M.O. is still about softening the blow of these dark turns by filling the cast with ridiculous looking characters.

Gon can crush an enemy to death with his bare hands, but it’s OK, because he’s a kid!

One bad guy can be a cannibalistic psychopath, but it’s OK, because he’s a bunny in a thong with feather arms!

Watch "The × Fight × Begins" and "Kite × And × Slots" and "Inspiration × To × Evolve" and "A × Fated × Awakening" and "Light × And × Darkness" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.

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
Lurkeroon April 10, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

After watching a large portion of Chimera Ant arc, York New is still my favorite. I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that the Chimera ant arc has dragged on for far too long with little progress. None of the characters use common sense to try and get this situation over with.

Marshal Victoryon April 10, 2014 at 8:26 p.m.

@Lurkero: What common sense solution is there? If they nuke the area that does not mean they will get all of them. Hunters can well hunt them down. The ones that can become queens an kings . A tactical option is on the table an may well be the end of a character before its over.

Biological weapon would hit to many people as well. Plus might not work on many ants as they are mix of animals an or people. Conventional weapons did not fare well vs them at all.

sickVisionz moderator on April 11, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.

I agree with @Lurkero: This arc starts great but its ironic. All of the buildup is pretty great but then the series slows to a crawl once the actual final mission starts. It's went from best to extremely disappointing on a week-to-week basis for me. This week they stated that 30 minutes had passed since the final mission started... its been like over two months of episodes.

@Marshal Victory: One common sense solution would be to attack the enemy rather than agreeing to sit there patiently while they finish up doing what they're doing. Both sides are screwing up though. We're on the verge of this arc potentially ending where everyone turns into a good guy.

Kino88on April 11, 2014 at 12:38 p.m.
Oh man, I gotta catch up to these episodes I'm practically done with Greed Island, That whole arc was nothing but bollocks, can't wait to start this one up,
jj_jacksonon April 11, 2014 at 3:36 p.m.

despite how it does come to a crawl in the middle /ending of this arc I would still say its the better of the arcs. it seems to me nostalgia is playing a part in why people always say the York new city arc is the best arc.

I just don't get it I like the other arcs as well but it doesn't bring danger element to the main characters or the sense that they are ready to put their skills to the test. gon and killua were highly out classed in that arc and how can they live up to the title hunter if they don't actually hunt things.

this arc has character development, suspense, danger, horror and action.

sickVisionz moderator on April 11, 2014 at 4:22 p.m.

@jj_jackson: This is shonen, there is no danger to be had for the main characters. Nostalgia isn't really clouding my views on York New considering it aired only like a year ago so there's no real nostalgia. I just like it better. I like Kirupika considerably more than anyone in this arc, there is no annoying hot blooded character like Knuckle who gets like 10 episodes dedicated to him, and it doesn't turn into a slog in the middle/end. If anything, York New gets better and better and it left me excited to see what was next. As Chimera Ant goes on and on I lose faith in the series and feels like it's turning into standard shonen drivel and honestly, it's not even delivering the cool fight scenes so I can't enjoy it on even a superficial level.

Hunter x Hunter does a lot of stuff that seems horrible on paper but they somehow manage to execute it really well and it comes off a lot better than it should. The Chimera Ant arc continues that trend up to a point, but where it's at now I feel like it is as bad as it seems on paper and going from Greed Island to this makes me feel like it's a downward trend for the series.

The one thing I will give it is that the start is really good and The King is an interesting character, although I haven't seen him in a while due to a bunch of fights and subplots that aren't any good like octopus dude, Knuckle, the butterfly guy's lame battle, Gon coming in bad ass only to decide he'll just sit down and chill out for 20 episodes, and the search for Palm seeming like it was going to take an interesting turn only to be completely reset to nothing interesting in like 10 minutes.

SpectroRaphaelon April 11, 2014 at 7:25 p.m.

@jj_jackson: I just caught up with HxH 2011 about a year ago, and Yorknew is still my favourite arc, so no nostalgia here.

In fact, the danger there was more palpable precisely because the protagonists were so outclassed. It made it altogether more thrilling and suspenseful. Now it seems to me that the ants won't be making much of an appearance after this arc, so it seems like just one whole big segue into a huge side story.

Lurkeroon April 12, 2014 at 7:17 a.m.

@jj_jackson: York New was exciting because Gon and Killua were outclassed, so they actually had to think and plan in order to come out victorious. In the Chimera arc, when Gon and Killua are outclassed it seems more like luck and convenience that they get anything done. They even had time for training while ants were building up an army to take over the world. I rewatched York New when it aired recently. This isn't nostalgia for the old series.

@Marshal Victory: I think that when powerful creatures start killing powerful hunters it's a good time to either bombard the area with explosions and destruction or send every hunter imaginable to stop it. I don't want to spoil anything since Tom hasn't made it to that point yet, but I think you know what I am talking about. In shonen anime characters rarely, if ever, call upon the strongest even when the greatest danger approaches.

World's about to be destroyed? Don't worry about asking for help, just spend a few episodes training and take on the danger by yourself.

Marshal Victoryon April 12, 2014 at 2:04 p.m.

@Lurkero: But they do end up sending their best . Thats why at some point soon it feels more like the Dirty Dozen than just a war movie to me. Bombs would work on the drones mostly but not the king an his guards or even some of the higher ones.

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