Since Shinmaru over at the Cart Driver already took my Hunter x Hunter moment of the year for the first of his 12 days and wrote about it far better than I ever could have done (except that he forgot to include a picture of Hisoka’s glowing crotch), it’s time to move on to Plan B. Spoilers for Hunter x Hunter (2011) episode 47.
The battle between Kurapika and Uvogin is essentially the trigger for everything that happens in Hunter x Hunter’s amazing Yorkshin arc. Kurapika wants revenge on the Spiders for killing his fellow Kurta, and the Spiders want revenge on Kurapika for killing Uvogin. This is the fight where it all starts, and this is the fight where Kurapika is finally able to let loose his emotions and pain on one of the people who wronged him.
It is fitting, then, that for so crucial a moment in the series, Madhouse let their animators loose as well, and this episode is up there with the above-referenced Gon vs. Hisoka fight in terms of animation quality. Every blow contains an insane amount of visible power to match the emotional power of the battle between the hardened killer who thinks nothing of having helped to wipe out an entire clan, and the one whose otherwise caring heart overflows with rage enough to kill despite the pain it causes him to do so. You can truly get a feel for how terrifyingly powerful these characters are, and the intensity of the conflict between them.
This is perhaps the defining moment for Kurapika’s character. Kurapika’s chains represent both his desire to bring the Spiders to justice and the enormous burden that revenge has put on his shoulders. These are the chains – both literal and metaphorical – that weigh down his heart. And Madhouse gives them the treatment they deserve. The chains look beautiful yet deadly in motion, as we are served up an extended action scene containing perhaps the best animation Hunters has demonstrated to date.
It was the episode that set the tone for the entire rest of the arc to follow, and what a tone did it set.