I’ve been following the 2011 remake of Yoshihiro Togashi’s “Hunter x Hunter” since it was released last year, and without getting in too deep regarding which version of HxH did it better – the 1999 one or this one – I’d have to say that I’ve been more than impressed with the turnout of every episode. Episode 47 is no exception, and just to give the readers a vivid mental image of how I feel about this episode…let’s just say, I couldn’t stop pausing the video because I kept squealing at the pure awesomeness of Kurapika vs. Uvogin.
A quick recap for those who are not following the 2011 remake, or Hunter x Hunter in general. The remake is slowly building up to the climax of a major story arc called “The Phantom Troupe Arc/The Yorkshin City Arc.” It follows Gon and Killua directly after an arc dedicated to their character development, wherein Gon finds a clue to help him track down his famous yet elusive father, Ging. At the same time, it gives center stage to Kurapika and his manhunt against the Phantom Troupe (or the Genei Ryodan, in Japanese). From the very beginning of HxH, Kurapika reveals that his sole mission in life is to hunt down all 13 members of the Phantom Troupe (called ‘Spiders’) in order to avenge his fallen clan, the Kurata. Five years prior to the beginning of the series, the Phantom Troupe came across the Kurata village and the Troupe’s leader, Kuroro Lucifer (Chrollo Lucifer) took a liking to their unique Scarlet Eyes. When the Kurata people experience strong emotions, their eyes turn into a shade of red so beautiful, they’re considered to be one of the world’s most sought after commodities. Yes, you read that right. A commodity. As a band of infamous killer thieves that just happened to come across the treasure that is a set of lovely Scarlet human eyes, you do what you do best; you take them for yourself, leaving a trail of bodies behind. You can just imagine the kind of trauma Kurapika had to go through, witnessing the death of his people for the sake of collecting a body part. Details regarding this tragedy are unclear as of now (there’s a movie coming up next year that might shed more light on this), but what we are certain of is that Kurapika is dead-set on avenging his brethren, take back their eyes which are now sold all over the black market, and to kill the Phantom Troupe for their ‘sins’. Yorkshin City is where all our heroes’ action takes place. (Leorio, the fourth main character, comes back too. Don’t worry.)
Heavy stuff, right? But Togashi is able to contrast the dark themes with some cute banter from the other side of the story – through our favorite little boys Gon and Killua. However, Episode 47 isn’t one of those instances. This episode serves as both the beginning and the end to Kurapika’s first victim of the Phantom Troupe – the powerhouse Enhancer, Uvogin. From a few episodes back, Kurapika’s been itching to test his new Nen skills on the Spiders, and this is more or less his version of a beta testing. If he can defeat the Spiders’ most physically powerful member, then he can defeat the other physically weaker members no problem.
The beginning of the episode is about 10-15 seconds worth of last episode’s recap, where Uvogin confronts a lone Kurapika inside a hotel room. He tells Kurapika that he has guts waiting by himself, and asks him in a serious yet somehow mocking manner where and how he wants to die, as he is prepared to humor any requests. Kurapika calmly answers him that he’d prefer to fight somewhere without any people, like a desert, for he confidently says that Uvogin will be screaming in torture by the time Kurapika is finished with him. Cut to the opening sequence, and the narration is to the point; “The inevitable showdown is about to begin.”
What I love the most about this episode is that it delivers exactly what it promises. The fight is brutal, painful, exciting, and you’ll find yourself on the edge of your seat in anticipation. This goes for everyone, regardless of whether or not you know what’s going to happen next. Compared to previous episodes where viewers are given Togashi’s trademark lengthy expositions first, before any actual fighting occurs, episode 47 jumps straight into the heart of the matter. The talking is cut down to the bare essentials, and Uvogin’s answers are reflective of the rest of the Spiders. They don’t care about the people they kill when they steal things. They don’t bother to remember victims either. They only make an exception if their opponents are “interesting.” This sends Kurapika off his rocker and the fight begins to his advantage. And again, the episode delivers in terms of executing an inevitable showdown. Even though Uvogin’s ridiculous power seemed to give him the edge against Kurapika, he is outwitted by his smaller, physically weaker opponent at every open opportunity. You’re 100% sure, for one reason or another, that Uvogin is going to lose this fight. Kurapika keeps surprising him, and he keeps on rebounding from every hit and every dodge Uvogin throws at him. Yet at the same time, even though there’s this nagging feeling in your head that Kurapika is going to win, Uvogin tries his hardest to turn the tables around. It’s this kind of seesaw, machine-gun-rapid-fire-back-and-forth action that makes this episode so hair-raising. As Uvogin said, “I wonder who is stronger? Your grudge or my power?”
I’m also particularly fond of the way the red moon is featured in complement to Kurapika’s disposition. Whenever Kurapika jumps high across the night sky, there’s this big, eerie, red full moon behind him, as if it was the symbol for the youth’s resentment against the dastardly Phantom Troupe. The animation was done with smooth technique and clean precision as well. It’s not as flawless as the Gon vs. Hisoka fight scene during Heaven’s Arena arc, but it’s still pretty good. I have to praise MADHOUSE for their animation, on how the characters just seem to flow with the fight scene, and none of their movements seemed awkward at all. Special mention to close-up scenes of Kurapika’s Scarlet Eyes, when he finally removes his contact lenses (he hid them from the start of the arc so as not to draw any suspicion on who he really was. Take note, Scarlet Eyes are still considered rare commodities!) Not to compare it with the 1999 version, but it really pays off to have more budget for animation. His eyes aren’t just red, they’re indeed scarlet, with tinges of light reflecting from his corneas, his irises sharp with hints of purple and prism. It really drives the point home on how they’re one of the world’s most beautiful sights.
If you have yet to realize, Uvogin does indeed lose the fight. There’s a brief explanation of Kurapika’s Nen ability – the chains on his hand – which is directly related to how he’s able to topple the giant Spider. Kurapika is a Nen user of the Conjurer ability, meaning he can conjure up anything within his imagination, like a sword or a shield. But he cannot conjure something impossible or outside reality, like a sword “that can cut through anything.” He can conjure up a sword that is extremely sharp, which is the closest to an impossible description. When his Nen teacher asked him what he wished to conjure up as his primary weapon, Kurapika chose chains, his reason being that he believes there are evils in this world (cough, Phantom Troupe, cough) that need to be tied down to hell. His teacher tells him that maybe, with that kind of outlook in life, he might only be tying himself down. Kurapika is offended and walks away from him, and this is when his Nen teacher explains a way to bypass the Conjurer’s rule. He cannot conjure up a chain that can tie everything down, but he can conjure a chain that is bound by “a contract and a contract.” If a Nen user makes a vow to himself, and promises to keep that vow under a certain condition, then his Nen will amplify to an exponential degree. In other words, the stronger the vow and condition are, the more powerful his Nen will become. It’s a double-edged sword though; if he breaks this vow and condition, Kurapika risks losing the ability to use Nen forever. But Kurapika is our steadfast dark knight! He doesn’t care about that. So he makes a vow and a condition. His chains can only be used against members of the Phantom Troupe. The power of his chains are only so he can defeat them all. And if he uses these chains against someone who is not a member of the Phantom Troupe, then he will forfeit his very life. It’s the ultimate vow and condition! And that’s not all. As he vows to use his chains only to kill Phantom Troupe members, his riled up emotions cause his eyes to turn Scarlet. His Nen teacher notices a spike in his aura, and he asks Kurapika to take the Nen test one more time – a.k.a. water divination.
Dun dun dunnnnn. Kurapika reveals to Uvogin – who has been wondering about why Kurapika is so unaffected by his massive amount of physical and Nen powers – that when his eyes turn Scarlet, he is able to fully wield all the Nen class types. From Enhancer abilities to Manipulator abilities, Kurapika becomes a Specialist that can use 100% of every Nen ability! This is called “Emperor Time.” It explains why Kurapika can take Uvogin’s punches at full impact unscathed, or why he is able to heal himself of all injuries in seconds. In Emperor Time, Kurapika can use Enhancer type healing on himself, despite his natural Conjurer type. Now it’s this kind of lengthy exposition that makes the fight worth watching. Episode 47 exemplifies how much thought Togashi actually put into fights. They’re not just all-out brawls like most action animes out there; there is a system, there is a plan, and there is a blueprint to how it all goes down. It’s beautiful and as a fan, it helps you appreciate the time and effort put into what you’re watching.
So Uvogin dies, and he dies in a rather despondent manner. Kurapika binds him with his chain and beats him up over and over again, blood splattered all over the place. Makes you wonder why they keep trying to pass this off as a “children’s show,” but anyway. Kurapika repeatedly asks him where the other Spiders are and what are their abilities, but Uvogin only answers him with one thing: “Kill me.” Eventually, Kurapika gets fed up with it and uses his Judgment Chain on Uvogin. The chain wraps around Uvogin’s heart, and if he does not answer Kurapika honestly, he will die immediately. He asks one last time where the Spiders are, and Uvogin, in some sort of touching loyalty to his Troupe, says his final words. “Die, you fool.” The layout of this scene is spectacularly artistic; the colors become inverted and he falls forward, blood spewing out like a fountain from his open mouth. The episode ends with the rest of the Phantom Troupe wondering about who this mysterious chain user is, and Kuroro surmises that if Uvogin doesn’t return to them by dawn, then it’s safe to assume he has died and it’s time for them to move out and kill the chain user.
I cannot wait for Episode 48, even though the preview showed that it’s more focused on Gon and Killua’s adventure in Yorkshin City, rather than Kurapika’s next move. It’s that perfect balance between lightness and darkness; Episode 47 was bloody and brutal, while Episode 48 is where the kids come out to play the big boys’ game. I’d rate Episode 47 a good 4.5/5.0 stars, and I’m really looking forward to when the rest of the Spiders make their move against Kurapika.
Image Credit/Watch the Episode Here: Anime Crazy