Hunter X Hunter: the Epic Journey – Episodes 396-397

The Ingenious Mind of Togashi Yoshihiro

Let’s take a moment to appreciate the sheer genius of Togashi Yoshihiro. There seems to be no limit to his audacity and creativity. Reading or watching Hunter x Hunter is akin to witnessing a divine revelation, as if Togashi himself is taking dictation from a higher power. While I must admit that my confidence wavered at times during the “Dark Continent” arc, just like many other manga readers did during the “Chimera Ant” arc, Togashi always manages to deliver a meticulously planned story that unfolds beautifully on the page.

A Noteworthy Arc

Although I’m not entirely sold on the “Dark Continent” arc, I find myself less engaged compared to its predecessors. I have concerns that the arc may be too burdensome to accommodate Togashi’s physical limitations. However, in the last five chapters, Togashi has brought some much-needed humanity to the arc. He has scaled it down and chosen to focus on characters with whom we have emotional connections, albeit not the most prominent ones among the vast cast. By effectively incorporating a side-story, similar to his approach with the Chrollo-Hisoka Heaven’s Arena mini-arc, Togashi ignites both anticipation and apprehension about the bigger picture. It has truly been a remarkable run of chapters.

The Transformation of Chrollo

Togashi’s decision to turn Chrollo into an endearing character is an unexpected move, showcasing his storytelling prowess. Chibi-Chrollo, or the “everybody’s little brother,” adds a new layer to our understanding of the Phantom Troupe. While it was already apparent that some of the Spiders were childhood friends, this expansion of their backstory has proven to be highly effective. Chrollo was an exceptional boy – intelligent, resourceful, and incredibly talented. Furthermore, his unwavering loyalty to his friends resonates profoundly. We knew that Meteor City was a disadvantaged place, considered the world’s dumpster, but now we discover how the Phantom Troupe came to be regarded as heroes by the downtrodden residents.

Confronting the Morality

It’s important to acknowledge that this new perspective does not absolve the Spiders of their past actions. We are well aware of the unspeakable violence they have committed, responsible for the deaths of countless innocents. Their atrocities against the Kurta clan are etched in our minds, even though we have only heard about them second-hand. While Chrollo may have what he considers valid reasons for leading the Spiders down their chosen path, it doesn’t justify their way of life.

The Influence of Sarasa

One pivotal factor in Chrollo’s journey is Sarasa, a member of the proto-Spider gang despite their differing social status. Instances of child kidnapping, murder, and enslavement were distressingly common in Meteor City. However, this doesn’t diminish the pain Chrollo feels regarding what happened to Sarasa. He carries the weight of self-blame, convinced that he failed his dear friend even at the tender age of eleven. The concept of turning Meteor City into a haven for criminals responsible for Sarasa’s death is a compelling twist, though it could have been given more room to develop gradually.

Kurapika’s Indirect Presence

Despite not being physically present during these events, Kurapika’s influence looms large. Young Chrollo seems to parallel Kurapika from the Phantom Rouge prequel manga, down to the inclusion of Sheila. Togashi-sensei aims to blur the moral boundaries surrounding the Kurta clan’s tragedy, which initially appeared wholly black and white. In “York Shin,” Togashi began to establish the extent to which Kurapika’s desire for revenge had consumed him, even raising concerns for Gon’s wellbeing. Now, he takes it a step further, revealing the reasons that led the Troupe down their dark path, if not exactly justifying their actions.

Unraveling the Threads

There may still be further revelations as the events surrounding the Kurta clan come into clearer focus. Togashi effectively highlights the personal affront Chrollo felt with Uvogin’s death, especially given Uvogin’s significance within the Spider ranks. This sheds new light on the audacity and hypocrisy displayed by the Spiders, who mourn a fallen comrade while thoughtlessly taking the lives of others themselves.

The Intrigue of Hisoka

No discussion of Hunter x Hunter would be complete without mentioning Hisoka, the ultimate wild card. Unlike the Troupe, Hisoka harbors no grudges. His sole motivation is the exhilaration of battle, and he delights in provoking Chrollo to engage in combat. Strangely enough, in this sense, Hisoka aligns with Kurapika, despite their disparate motives, casting doubt on Kurapika’s own moral standing. This dynamic creates a fascinating and tense situation that only Togashi could craft. The challenge now lies in how well he can weave it into the overarching succession plotline and the grand tapestry of the “Dark Continent” arc. To doubt Togashi’s ability would be a grave mistake.


In conclusion, Togashi Yoshihiro’s brilliance shines through once again in the unfolding chapters of Hunter x Hunter. Although the “Dark Continent” arc has its shortcomings, Togashi’s masterful storytelling skills inject a touch of humanity into this massive narrative. The complex characterization of Chrollo and the exploration of the Spiders’ origins add depth to the series. As we eagerly await the next developments, we cannot underestimate Togashi’s ability to surprise and captivate us.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will Togashi continue the “Dark Continent” arc after focusing on Chrollo’s backstory?

While Togashi has temporarily shifted his attention to Chrollo’s side-story, it remains to be seen how he will seamlessly integrate it back into the overarching “Dark Continent” arc. The precise trajectory of the narrative is known only to Togashi himself, leaving us eagerly anticipating the next chapter.

2. What impact does Kurapika have on the unfolding events?

Although Kurapika is not actively participating in the current timeline or the events surrounding Chrollo’s past, his presence and influence are undeniable. Togashi has carefully established parallels between Kurapika and the young Chrollo, blurring the lines of morality and challenging our long-held perceptions of the Kurta clan tragedy.

3. How does Hisoka shape the dynamic between Chrollo and Kurapika?

Hisoka’s unpredictable presence adds an extra layer of intrigue to the relationship between Chrollo and Kurapika. While their motivations differ significantly, Hisoka’s desire for exhilarating battles has aligned him with Kurapika in their quest for confrontations. This unique alliance further complicates the moral landscape of the series.

4. Will the mysteries of the Kurta clan and the Phantom Troupe be fully unraveled?

Togashi has hinted at more revelations regarding the Kurta clan and the actions of the Phantom Troupe. As the story progresses, we can expect a deeper exploration of the events that shaped these characters and the moral complexities surrounding their actions.

5. Can we trust Togashi to deliver a satisfying resolution to the intricate plotlines?

Togashi’s storytelling prowess and attention to detail have captivated readers throughout Hunter x Hunter’s run. While the series is known for its unpredictability, Togashi’s track record demonstrates his ability to craft satisfying resolutions to complex plotlines. We have every reason to believe that he will continue to astound us with his narrative skills.