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branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
So, I'm re-watching HunterXHunter, and remembering exactly why I /hate/ the Chimera Ant arc, or at least the Gon parts. It's because that was the most smashing writing failure ever, and it could have been fixed so easily.

Because, see, as written, Gon is a filthy, selfish little traitor. We've spent the whole story seeing the bond between him and Killua grow, seeing what it's based on, seeing how iron-clad it is, and then we see Gon turn his back on Killua, deny him, lash out at him and ignore how selflessly Killua is supporting him, all for the sake of a man who, as written, means next to nothing. An old buddy. Someone who gave him hunting tips. That's all we're shown. And for that, Gon drags Killua, Killua who has repudiated his whole previous life for Gon's sake, through hell and finally tries to kill himself in front of Killua.

And it would have been so easy to fix! Just a sentence here and there, creating a persistent thread, about how Kite is Gon's only living connection to his father, stood in his father's place, taught him things like morals and ethics, is the one who made Gon who he is (the person who could pull Killua out of the darkness like he did). Just some subtle reinforcement of that, at key points, and this whole fiasco could have been fixed!

But no. We don't get shown any of that. All we get shown is Gon betraying the one relationship we have actually seen developed in depth. Total. Writing. Fail.

Fuck's sake, it's enough to make a person start shipping Killua with fucking Hisoka.


Nov. 3rd, 2008 01:45 pm
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

The problem with writing Leorio and Kurapika h/c is that Kurapika is consistently shown to be brisk and capable in an emergency and that doesn’t lend itself  to fluff; and given Leorio’s dedication to the medical profession I can’t believe his professionalism wouldn’t completely take over if it was the other way around.

*sighs*  One more bunny that’s not going anywhere.

On the topic of problematic things, though, the whole notion of tenipuri continuing is making me cringe in anticipation.  Because I remember the bit of gossip, way back, about how Konomi wanted to write them on in high school, and I’m dreadfully afraid that’s what he’s going to do.

And it won’t work.

The thing about shounen sports is that it is, by dramatic necessity, limited to one season unless downright heroic measures are taken to alter the venue and cast.  One season tends to exhaust the dramatic tension.  The progress has been made, the goal has been met, the crown has been won; going another round to do it over just doesn’t work.

Not that Konomi has ever really known how to do dramatic tension, witness the fact that the hero team failed to lose the penultimate climax (aka Regionals).  Losing an important one like that isn’t a genre convention just for the sake of convention; it’s a tried and true way to provide motivation, pathos that helps the readers identify with the heros, and (all together now) dramatic tension to keep the readers engaged.

For an example of how this can be done superbly, over and over, without becoming stale, read Eyeshield 21.

Back to the continuation, though.  What can possibly be left to accomplish? Fuji has started playing for real, Tezuka has taken his team to a Nationals win, Takashi has completed his third year with his friends and has an honorable win as proof of his strength, Echizen has found True Tennis… so what are they supposed to do to keep our interest now?  What goals can they strive toward in high school?

And even if Konomi does the sensible thing and shifts the venue to professional tennis, how can the characters possibly get any stronger?  After the disco ball lights and the two-places-at-once and the floating crack fairies, I’m really a little afraid to ask.

branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)

*prods at Killua's characterization*

At the very start, I think it really is all about finding something interesting to do while he indulges in some mild rebellion against his family. And, at the very start, I think he sees Gon purely as something interesting. An attraction, in the amusement-park sense--especially seeing as Killua seems to regard the entire Hunter exam as one huge amusement park.

Very quickly, though, he responds to Gon personally. Gon shows an interest, shows warmth and openness, isn't afraid of him, wants to know his name and talk to him like a regular person. That's the lynchpin for everything that comes after, because we find over the next little while that Killua isn't rebelling against the killing. He has no problems with killing. What he doesn't like is the lonliness. During his confrontations with the girl whose father was killed, he reacts most poorly to the inevitability of her hate and his isolation. When Gon asks about his family, Killua reacts with the greatest relief to Gon's lack of fear and lack of withdrawal.

Really, it's no wonder he latches onto Gon so promptly. And, having found something he needs from Gon, having been gifted with this warmth and closeness in face of his background, all his priorities re-order themselves around Gon and Gon's wishes. Killua wants to keep this, and so he'll abide by Gon's wishes in anything at all.

Up until Illumi's arrival.

At that point Killua faces the dilemma of his desire for this new thing, friendship, on the one hand, and his brother's threat to kill Gon, the latter being tangled up with the fact that Killua knows, vicerally, that he can't defeat Illumi. Can't protect Gon. Can't protect himself. Can't prevent Illumi from destroying the only warmth he's ever found. So he abandons friendship, which I think he knows, even as new to it as he is, isn't how it should go. He's been watching Gon's example, after all, and Gon is absolutely unyeilding about standing by his friends. Killua doesn't think he can be, so he abandons the whole thing and trudges back to his isolated life.

And then Gon comes after him, which is the second major turning point. Gon refuses to be content with Killua protecting him by parting from him, and demands Killua himself, totally ignoring any danger to Gon himself. Which both affirms that Killua was right about how friendship is supposed to work, and also demonstrates that Gon will hold up his end of it and more--that Killua can lean on him, depend on him. I think this may be the point at which Killua decides he will follow Gon's path, not just Gon personally--that he will cease to be an assassin and become a Hunter.

As if that weren't enough, Gon takes Killua home, offers him a home and caring people, and shows him still more of how this being a normal human thing works. In the fight against Killua's past, Mito is a knockout punch.

And Gon is the only one. The only one who truly isn't ever afraid of Killua, who can keep up with him, who values not only what he can do but his simple company. The only true source of warmth that drives back Killua's isolation. In light of that I don't think it's strange that, by the time of Green Island, Killua is totally devoted to Gon. He doesn't quite accept Gon's whims as natural law anymore; they argue more often, probably because they're in more dangerous sitations than they were during the exam, where it cost Killua nothing at all to acquiese. But it's nearly always Killua who capitulates, and when something is clearly important to Gon, Killua will follow without question.

What he doesn't seem to be sure of, yet, is whether Gon is equally devoted to him. That doesn't get answered until the match with Razor. When Gon says that it has to be Killua he works with, that he can only have perfect trust in Killua, Killua's reaction just makes me wibble. It looks a lot like he's been given something utterly precious that he never, ever expected to get.

It's clear, during Killua's scene with his father, that he isn't indifferent to Silva. But I think Silva is going to disappointed in his expectation that Killua won't find anywhere in the world to rest. As long as he's with Gon, he has somewhere. The killing isn't the issue, and I doubt it ever will be; the real crux is that Gon breaks Killua's isolation and doesn't seem very good at letting go, once he has a hold of someone. I'll be interested to see how Killua's eventual confrontation with his family works out. The longer he's left with Gon, the more of a non-event I think it will be. If Gon is somehow injured or threatened or taken out of the equation, that's when it will get explosive.

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