A few observations about ep 118 that might, or might not, be followed up with visual evidence post(s):
- Our friend Youpi has graduated from being noodly to being balloony;
- Shoot is like fungus - he grows on you when you aren’t looking;
- Killua’s muscles are really inconsistent and make me…
You touched on some interesting points there, but I’m going to have to disagree with some of them.
I don’t agree with the word “regressed”. And let me start the journey of telling you why.
Meeting Gon was Killua’s catalyst to change his ways. He always kept his violent side out of Gon’s sight unless he had outside ‘permission’ to go wild.
It’s true that Killua changed his ways, but that doesn’t necessary mean he himself changed. Killua is never seen keeping his violent side out of Gon’s sight, if that happened, then it wasn’t purposeful. It just happened that Gon hardly saw that side of Killua. Killua wasn’t trying to hide it. Killua changed his ways as in he stopped resorting to violence as a way to solve a problem. That doesn’t mean he wholeheartedly embraced clean living. The way Killua changed is: He doesn’t kill when he wants to. He kills when necessary.
Killua didn’t kill Sadaso and his gang in Heavens Arena because it wasn’t necessary. Also, because it’s not smart to try to take three relatively strong nen-users when you’re a nen-newbie. He didn’t kill Sadaso the second time because it was also not necessary. The way I see it, it is more brutal to scare someone into oblivion and force them to succumb to your way. That is how Killua handled Sadaso. That is the only time we saw Killua using other means than physical violence. But he still mentally abused Sadaso and that I also consider violence.
It wasn’t necessary to kill that Bomber either. In fact, I don’t see how Killua would like to appear merciful to Gon by not killing that Bomber dude, when Gon himself wasn’t showing any mercy to Genthru. You’re implying that Killua looks up to Gon because Gon always reverts to the non-violent way, but that is not true. Gon doesn’t use violence only when he doesn’t feel like it, when it’s not a part of his plan. He doesn’t do it because he is moral. Gon cannot be considered moral. He certainly cannot be considered a moral example to follow. Gon is seen ready to deceive, remain indifferent, and come up with indecent ways to win. Gon flat-out used the word “destroy” in front of Melereon.
On the other hand, Killua found it necessary to kill that assassin army of Ants in episode 100. And he did it without blinking, without hesitation. He hardly hesitated in killing the Ortho Sibling when he had the chance. He yo-yo punched two Ants’ heads off when they were a threat to Ikalgo. What I want to say, Killua has no qualms about killing when he finds it necessary.
Killua is influenced by Gon, yes. He is influenced by Gon’s “light”, Gon’s ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Gon’s ability to stand stronger than before after he falls. He is influenced by the way Gon influences others. But Killua doesn’t always approve of Gon’s agenda. Killua isn’t as influenced by Gon on the action level as he is influenced by the emotional/mental level. Killua doesn’t follow Gon’s Playbook of Plans and Problem-solving.
Underneath Gon’s influence, the Zoldyck assassin still exists. The same Zoldyck assassin that Killua has tried suppressing for those same 2 years in order to be ‘worthy’ in Gon’s eyes.
Killua did not change his style to be worthy in Gon’s eyes, because Gon saw Killua worthy no matter what style he had. Gon didn’t care if Killua was an assassin or a nuclear bomb maker. Gon thought that Killua was worthy either way. Killua didn’t embrace clean living to impress Gon and he didn’t do it to earn Gon’s “acceptance”. Killua did it solely for himself.
Gon wasn’t there when Killua saved Zushi. Killua wanted to keep that a secret. Gon wasn’t there when Killua showed mercy to Ikalgo, and I’m sure Killua didn’t announce when he got back. The point is, Killua wasn’t doing these good deeds to look good. He was doing it to feel good.
Killua doesn’t want to live up to his family’s expectations. It’s as simple— and as complicated—as that. He doesn’t want to believe that being an assassin is all he is capable of being, no, he is capable of not resorting to his assassin way. He doesn’t want to believe that his potential has a limit, and that limit is decided by his family. No, Killua doesn’t want to be held back by his family’s expectations of who he should be and where he should go and what he should do. He doesn’t want his family’s teachings to control the way he reacts to situations. He doesn’t want to be judged by the way he was raised to be. He wants to be judged by the way he chooses to be. Killua wants to have his own style. That is the reason why he left the Zoldycks in the first place. He didn’t stop trying to live up to his family’s expectations only to live up to Gon’s expectations instead. None of that. Killua doesn’t want to be held back by others. He wants to make his own choices. He doesn’t want his choices to be just one: kill or run.
It’s true that Killua is selfless but not to the point where every choice he takes is for someone else. Killua didn’t change his ways to fit Gon’s or anyone else’s standards. Killua didn’t become better for Gon. Killua basically realized he was better all along.
- And last but not least and what makes that last couple of minutes feel like a punch to my heart: Killua is regressing.
Killua is not regressing, at all actually.
Killua’s choice for a clean living doesn’t drastically change him, but it does change the way he negotiates the world around him. Killua wants to rise above what he once was—a killer, thorough and thorough—and he wants to prove to others, most importantly to himself, that he’s capable of being his own person. Someone who could make his own choices and not be led by what others want him to be.
And yet still, Killua doesn’t hesitate to take matters into his own hands when necessary. And he won’t feel sorry for it. He won’t think less of himself. Killua hasn’t changed his ways as much as he changed his limits. Now, Killua is the type of guys who are like, “I am occasionally good, but I have a limit. Cross my limit and you’re done for.”
You pointed out that his Zoldyck persona is still there, and that I agree with. Underneath that sweet-toothed, loyal, cheeky, kind side of his character, Killua is also scary, ruthless, and merciless. There are two sides of Killua. One side doesn’t automatically delete the other. They are both Killua and that is why we fell in love with his character. Because he’s an anti-hero ‒ because he’s so beautifully grey ‒ because of the delicious mash-up of light and dark inside him. Showing the dark in him doesn’t regress his character. It just shows that he is a well-developed character with his set of qualities and flaws.
Especially in that scene.
Why should Killua not resort to violence with Youpi? Youpi was not only a threat to the world in that scene, but he was a threat to Knuckle. Killua did what he had to do. How does it regress his character when he is only doing what is legitimately necessary? What is legitimately right?
Needless to say, Killua might have been doing “good” all these arcs. He might have been running the path of decency and patience in giving others a second chance. But he has not gone soft. He is not going to let morality or decency come between him and what he finds necessary or between him and protecting the people he cares about. Which basically amounted to saying that Killua Zoldyck has not gone soft, period—not to the point where it interfered with his overriding, overwhelming urge to survive or protect.