The fight between Kurapika and the Genei Ryodan enters its first phase.
We start off with episode forty-two, which serves the purpose of setting up the events for coming few episodes. One of the more notable aspects of this episode is the return of Leorio, who has met up with Killua and Gon in York New City. A chunk of the episode is focused on them and their schemes to build up their funds to purchase Greed Island at the upcoming auction. It is here that they unknowingly come across a female member of the Genei Ryodan.
Speaking of the Genei Ryodan, the episode spends some time showing off the boss and the entire troupe assembling for their big job in robbing every single item at the underground auction. The group is a colourful troupe of characters with varying designs and personalities, at least from the few that have spoken. They’re all quite eccentric and so Hisoka fits in with them quite perfectly despite being a new member. This leads to the smallest aspect of the episode, which focuses in on the Nostrade family that is employing Kurapika. The teams have been assigned duties for the upcoming auction and has both them and the Genei Ryodan on a collision course. The tension is building up because we know all hell is about to be let loose.
And all hell is set loose in episode forty-three as the Genei Ryodan unleash their assault on the representatives of the mafia at the underground auction. Despite their being nen-users among the Nostrade family’s representatives, they are quickly overwhelmed and overpowered by the strength of the Spiders. Here we have the arc’s first casualties as Tocino, Ivlenkov and Blaise all meet their demise at the hands of the Spiders.
Typically I would write off deaths like these as unimportant because they were underdeveloped secondary characters; however, what gives these deaths some impact on the story is that Kurapika has just lost three allies, all nen-users, and at the hands of the Genei Ryodan, his sworn enemies. This will help fuel his rage and anger against them in his fight and at the same time it is the manner in which they died that is impactful. They didn’t go out in a blaze of glory. Instead, they were simply killed off like regular people and to me that humanizes them because they can die, and so I felt something for them.
We know that the Mafia won’t stand pat for this, so we get to see another one of the Spiders in action in Uvogin. He easily takes out the mafia henchmen sent after him, but it’s the tease at the end of the episode that left things exciting for episode forty-four, the appearance of four members of the Injuu (Shadow Beasts) who are the elite nen-users of the mafia.
Here’s one of the more action packed episodes of this group. We get to see four members of the Injuu take on Uvogin and they’re quite the unique group of fighters. All of them are named after animals (wolf, leech, porcupine and worm) and each has nen-enhanced abilities to match their names. Though their powers are unique and interesting in their own way, they quickly find that even they are no match for Uvogin. Despite the odds of it being four to one, Uvogin’s skill as a nen-user completely overwhelms them and it’s quite apparent that he’s a beast unlike anything the Injuu have ever faced. He easily handles each of the four members, and though it comes as quite a shock to see four so-called elite fighters taken out so easily, it also builds up the tension of just how a character like Kurapika will be able to take on such a monster.
Now the Injuu had disabled Uvogin thanks to Wolf’s tranquilizer fangs which allowed Kurapika to capture Uvogin and take him into the custody of the Nostrade family. The chase is on as the Spiders head after Kurapika and company.
Following the capture of Uvogin by Kurapika, the chase is on and the group has some time bought for them with the appearance of the remaining six members of the Injuu. At this point we can tell that the Injuu are just no match against the Genei Ryodan based on Uvogin handily defeating four of them on his own, so when the remaining six are defeated in quick succession you’re not quite left feeling disappointed since showing them fighting and losing would have rather been pointless and needless. Instead, the quick victory by the Spiders adds to the tension that there is very little that Kurapika and the others can do to stop them.
At the same time, we finally get to see a glimpse at the weapons Kurapika has forged through nen to combat the Spiders, and they’re quite the specialized weapons. We learn a new aspect of nen that can strengthen a person’s ability, but at a cost to match the increase in strength. All these points will come to the forefront when Kurapika faces off against the Spiders, but in the meantime they’ve tracked down Uvogin to a Nostrade hideout and have done away with Dolnezze. Kurapika and the other have lost their current leader and another ally and things are looking even bleaker for them.
This is where I was disappointed with how things went in episode forty-six. It’s very much like episode forty-two in how it divides up its time among the various groups. There is time spent with the Spiders, Kurapika and his group, and a short bit with Gon, Killua and Leorio. There is a lot of time wasted here showing how the trio will tie into this arc focusing in on Kurapika. This is one of the more unique arcs that I’ve come across in shonen because it completely shifts focus away from the lead protagonist to one of his friends. In essence, Gon and the others have been reduced to less than being secondary characters—and rightfully so, because they absolutely do not fit into this arc at all. It’s a different take on shonen, but an interesting one at that. The episode does end off on the beginning of Uvogin and Kurapika’s showdown as their clash is about to begin in the next episode.
Now, I was quite a fan of the original series’ fight between the two as it had excellent animation, so it’ll be interesting to see just how this series tries to match it, if not improve upon it, though I’m quite certain it won’t be up to par.
Overall, the last five episodes have been fairly consistent, but the real meat of this arc is about to come.
GO Rating: 3/5 (average rating)
How will Gon, Killua and Kurapika factor into this arc?