Management: Late by a week, and this isn’t a show I’m actually covering, but it’s a very good show and this kind of covers a good number of the reasons why.
This show is so damn good. Everything is just so well-written and well-paced and well-directed and blah. It’s close to the only thing that I can watch as pure entertainment, because while everything that’s happening is right there on the surface, it’s also creative and professional and expertly produced. The characters, who all feed off their great visual design to be understandable in a few broad strokes of characterization. The humor, which builds off without defining the characters. The many-strained plotting, at its best in Yorkshin and again now in Chimera Ant, which seems more reminiscent of a tightly written thriller/drama than a shounen. The very understandable yet still creative system of battle, the ever-shifting definition of battle, the… alright, I’ll stop. This show is awesome, and I haven’t talked about it before, so I just wanted to set something down.
This episode actually features the most significant step in Gon’s character development we’ve seen yet, which is nice. He’s been repeatedly warned about his pride and headstrong nature becoming a threat to both himself and the people around here – but now, with Kite’s loss fresh in his mind, he’s finally acting on that, and restraining himself. This episode was also damn funny, with street punk’s (yeah, I don’t remember character names pretty much ever) soft side getting me every time, and crazy hair’s knife-shaking kind of lampshading how silly her overall presence has been. I also like how Bisky has learned to rely on how goddamn charming Gon and Killua are in crafting her training schedules – it wouldn’t have worked on a less charitable Hunter, but it’s a nice beat of progression in their relationship.
The Ant side displayed some of the efficient plotting this series excels in, revealing the Hunter organization’s battle strategy and powers in a couple efficient, pretty intimidating beats. The cracks in the assumed unity of the Ants as they embrace their human-imbued independent streaks are doing more and more damage to their organization, with the original ringleaders now scared to even ask Neferpitou for help. Neferpitou is obviously just the best – her character is the clear breakout of this arc, with her whimsical love of violence and boundless curiosity now leading her to become some kind of mad scientist. We also got a breakdown of the ants’ overall organization, as well as both their response and the Hunter organization’s counter-strategy. I really love how a show with powers and setups as wild as this one can always ground its conflicts in reasonable stakes – managing exposition to keep everything grounded while avoiding losing tension is a difficult trick, and this show pulls it off with ease. And then it finishes off with by adding a new variable and next-episode cliffhanger that naturally ratchets the tension of Gon and Killua’s training. Again, if shounen writing and direction were always this good, I’d be in real deep trouble.