Hunter x Hunter #81 – Watch that fight scene in isolation, and it’s just another case of insanely exaggerated martial arts. But watch it with the weight of 80 previous episodes of struggling and training, and it’s amazing. We’ve seen the learning process behind every move they made in that couple of minutes. Here’s the first time Gon and Killua have gone into a fight together fully confident in their abilities.
And that confidence is well-deserved as they become the first people to survive a Chimera Ant attack by some means other than running away or hiding. Even if it did technically end in a draw, now they’ve got one of the stronger Ants more worried than ever.
One of the wonderful things about Hunter x Hunter is that it hasn’t yet had a major villain who simply watches our heroes’ advance and cackles and mocks them from a position of apparent security. Badguys in HxH take threats seriously. Badguy teams in HxH talk to each other, try to figure things out, and come up with sensible plans to deal with the threat. It’s a credit to Gon and his friends that they’re tough and smart enough that the villains never have to be dumbed down in order to be defeated.
As summer abruptly swings back to winter (well, it is Minnesota), Vince and Pico start to give up, only to discover that Rick died in a freak accident when he and his grandfather went to get more rocket parts, and thus they learn that being cowards is the way to survive life. No, wait, they learn that they feel horribly guilty and should rededicate themselves to their dream, even if it gets Vince more lectures and Pico another bruise.
Space Brothers has more than its fair share of lousy fathers. Vince’s is neglectful and drunk; Pico’s is abusive and probably also drunk; Mutta’s isn’t that bad but isn’t much help either; and then there was Yuuri Teshima, one of his fellow examinees, who was there entirely due to pressure from his own father. The fathers among Mutta and Hibito’s comrades– Buddy, Kenji, and Damian are the ones we know of so far– seem to be doing all right as parents, but the only father who exists primarily as an appendage to a main character and comes across as doing it right is Serika’s, who kind of has to be remembered as a good guy for story reasons.
It seems the commander of Gargantia is basically an empress-for-life, though the support of the nobility is essential to making sure her reign isn’t destabilized. And it’s a hereditary position, with Fairlock having served as a regent. Concepts like democracy or at least meritocracy don’t seem to have survived from the older world, though given the hints that the entire current population of Earth is descended from a military expedition, it’s understandable.