February 21, 2020
The Soul of Hunter x Hunter’s Phantom Troupe

The Soul of Hunter x Hunter’s Phantom Troupe

“We will accept anything you leave here…but
don’t take anything away from us.” The motto of Meteor City is a pitiable and
lamentable one, a phrase that speaks of the sacred and unique sort of suffering that comes
from being stifled and oppressed and unable to leave one’s marks on the world. A trash heap of a city whose residents have
been tossed to the side and forgotten within the faded remnants, it is a place whose sheer
presence speaks volumes about the types of people who call it home. While it is clear that it is possible to foster
connections and find some sense of life in Meteor City, this is a place for the lost
and forgotten, a place where no one officially exists.. and a place whose own existence is
unknown by many of the outside world. And this in itself fully substantiates the
methods and motives of the Phantom Troupe, the majority of whom hail from Meteor City
and have been tossed aside and forgotten before. The residents are viewed as living ghosts,
nearly translucent, pale imitations of people just drifting and wasting the days away in
this purgatory. It’s a mockery of a life; treading water,
impacting nothing, being forced to find value with far less than is humane. The denizens do share a strong bond between
them, but that bond is one founded upon the mutual amount of suffering they’ve endured,
and as such, it cannot truly be called a life that is anything close to fulfilling. It is no wonder at all that Chrollo believes
in ghosts, because living in Meteor City turns you into one in essence. And as such, being saved from something like
that and being given a means for true value is so profound because to have meaning is
to live. Chrollo, through the Spider, imprints his
will upon his limbs, fosters connections and as such, provides them with the means to be
reborn. And so, their lives are in essence a raucous
yet solemn tribute to the will of the Spider. They’re all given identity, the freedom
to express themselves and the ability to be liberated, as long as the Spider survives. And they all share that common background
of being tossed aside by a society that tried to neglect them. The Phantom Troupe as an entity is an incorporeal
aura that surrounds each member and the group as a whole, but this common thread among them
is totally tangible regardless. Phinks alludes to this upon hearing of the
council of Meteor City’s lack of agency with regards to avenging the victims of the
Chimera Ants – saying that they always lose sight of what’s important. Meteor City is a place that, despite being
forced to be quietened, does not rise up and allow itself to be heard through its actions. And that is where they and the Spider diverge
– the Spider have found a way to express themselves and enforce their desire on the world, and
have had their lives changed because of this purpose. And so, to act as this band does is the essence
of life itself for them. It is the means and the end, Every murder,
every theft, every massacre – They’re leaving imprints and echoes of a sincerely selfless
nature – because while this may satisfy and gratify the members individually, these actions
are in and of themselves a demonstration of this sacred bond, proof of their lives now
being one of value, and a celebration of the sheer fact that they are able to enact their
will on the world – simply put, a symphony of life. For the Spider, to paint the streets red with
blood is to proclaim to the world that had forgotten them that they will not be silenced. It’s not an easy concept to grasp even for
the Troupe members, and thus it is not ideal to try to put these motives into words. None of them including Chrollo consciously
take note of this, but it’s something of an unspoken, unconscious sentiment. They are products of their environment, but
just as that environment initially provided them with nothing, they have now learnt the
value of being able to share something so sacred with one another. It’s an expression of life and love, in
a beautifully ironic way. And so of course they act. Of course they murder, steal, maim. They are imprinting this will as a proof of
existence that the world cannot ignore. And, psychopathic tendencies aside, what better
way to proclaim this? Simply put, these acts are a haunting melancholy
of a chorus composed by those who would have been lost and gone.. if not for the purpose
provided to them by Chrollo Lucilfer and the Spider. And just as these souls conduct a bloody orchestra
of love and life to impact the world and express the bonds that are shared, so too do they
express deep grief and agony in the same way. The members are far from homogenous and harmonious
in their philosophies and what they view as the best things for the Troupe, and that is
obvious from the minor interactions and squabbles to Pakunoda’s act to shirk her duty and
save Chrollo despite the latter’s insistence on refraining. But they all work in what they each view as
the service of this entity that is greater than the sum of its parts, this entity that
represents a second chance at a life that seemed to be stolen from them. And so, when these people die, it isn’t
just the loss of a loved one, it isn’t just losing a part of one’s identity – it is
a sad indicator of the finite nature of life, and a sobering reminder that the rebirth of
these people will never go on as long as they’d like. Both Pakunoda and Uvogin’s deaths were examples
of them going out their own way, living life on their own terms the way they were taught
– all the while ensuring the best for the Spider. These deaths were deeply sad for the members,
but there was a sense of finality and closure to them, with the departed being entirely
willing to be selfless if it meant that their entity lived on. With Uvo clearly not divulging any secrets,
and with Pakunoda making an active choice to help her brothers and sisters, ending her
life in a way she could be proud of. The two deaths caused grief, but with an overall
impression of continued health for the Spider. They are forever a part of the group, regardless
of their lives ending. Their will is carried on in spirit, and through
their intent to preserve the Troupe, the future acts of the Spider would be an expression
and celebration of their lost lives in totality, carrying on the torch for them. But with the murders of Shalnark and Kortopi,
things are different. There is no final act – just a snuffing out. The Spider is dwindling, and the possibility
of an end to it all is very much real. Yet the head of the spider cannot allow this
to happen. This is not only a threat to Chrollo’s loved
ones, identity and sense of self, but the end of the Spider would mean that the wills
of Uvogin, Pakunoda, Shalnark and Kortopi would no longer be able to live on. The everlasting would become transient and
those loud ghosts that Chrollo mentioned would be forced to lay to rest. Forced to be silent once more, despite resolving
to never be silenced again. He cannot allow this to happen, because any
end for the soul of the phantom troupe would be too soon, and if they are to leave this
world for good, they will not submit to the will of this world that tried to smother them,
and they will go out their own way – in an orchestra of life, love, connection, celebration..
and destruction. Many thanks for watching.

100 thoughts on “The Soul of Hunter x Hunter’s Phantom Troupe

  1. Hey guys! So this video is essentially a much better presented, more insightful and more cohesive version of the Phantom Troupe video I released in 2016. That one was in need of an update of sorts, so I thought to put together a short little piece communicating the resonance of the Spider. I kept the individual character sections out because I felt like adding something like that would make this one feel bloated and unfocused and take away from the message I was trying to present. Anyways, hope you enjoy this one.

  2. What I don't understand is why Chrollo is so angry at Hisoka but was way more calm and accepting against Kurapika and the troupe didn't even bother seeking him out and killing him.

  3. Am I the only one who waits a little while after the video is uploaded then watch to see the comments?

    (Lol I probably am.)

  4. Always love your videos especially the HxH ones and man you got me all sad with remembering with the members getting killed. Which is awkward since I love Hisoka lol.

  5. I found Yorknew really cool and similar to Chimera Ant in that the villain group is effectively the protagonist of the arc. However, this is much more subtle in Yorknew because it's not a clear redemption arc like with Chimera Ant. It still feels like you're meant to root for the Phantom Troupe, for reasons well explained in this video. Often the "heroes" fighting against the Phantom Troupe are even portrayed negatively. This is extremely obvious with Kurapika's role in the fates of Uvogin and Pakunoda.

  6. For me the most disturbing thing about the troupe is their lack of enjoyment. There are a few moments where they are happy but overall they seem to be severely marked by their hard lives, but it is so natural for them because they presumably have never known any other way of living. It's quite interesting that Kalluto seems to fit in even though he has a family but Killua just wouldn't because he has that strong desire for happiness and is fully capable to feel it.

  7. Hunter x Hunter gets way way way more praise than it deserves, if people want a video that shows you how good or bad it really is watch this video by Salter Sam: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9aEWvNFrc4

    He also has some great videos about My Hero Academia, I included them on a playlist on my channel with other videos that critique the series, some of which are even by fans of the show. I also want to briefly mention how it copies One Punch Man and Mob Psycho 100, you can find several examples of this, some really obvious ones are how Shigaraki looks like Sho in season 2 of MP100 or how Deku punched the giant robot like Saitama.

  8. Ok, if they are a group that shares something that unites them, then how did they allow Hisoka to be part of it ?

  9. Amazing and high quality video. It's truly interesting to hear ur thoughts on hunter x hunter because you express our feelings and understandings of the different characters and other thematic elements into analytical words. I'd also love to see a video explaining the thematic or character driven significance of all the other arcs combined… I feel like other arcs excluding the chimera ant and phantom troupe arc are not talked about enough and it would be amazing to analyze how, the election or the tournament arc for example, contribute to the show.
    I've basically binged your channel's fate/zero, hunter hunter vids (and the Nier Automata one is also epic, and it's my fav game ever!) And i love your content. Keep it up!

  10. While I do prefer the Chimera Royal Guard as my favorite villain group in HxH, this video pretty much explains why the Phantom Troupe aren't so far behind them imo, nice work

  11. The scene where Pakunoda meowed at the kitty always makes me very sad, it was the moment that I realised how much I liked her and that she was going to die

  12. I'm digging these recontextualized versions of your OG videos (which are still great, btw). It makes your growth as a writer and analyzer all the more prominent.

  13. It's been awhile. I knew u wouldn't let us down. The deepest and most intimate anime reviewer I've found. You're the man!!

  14. Probably I am saying more
    But without your analysis it's hard to understand hxh how togashi sensei put depth in philosophy is hard to get in single time

  15. uhh thank goodness your still uploading,im new here so i saw 3 hunter videos and i instantly fell in love with your videos,then i saw last video 2 weeks ago and i panic ed lul,well at any rate,keep on the good work!

  16. The Spiders are quite cold individuals, probably because they built solid walls around their hearts. I believe Chrollo led them to care deeply about each other's life by creating the rule that the Spider is more important than the individual legs. Somehow, he gave them an excuse to protect each other and bond together. They are working towards a common goal, and that's what make them a family. Well, I think there are more reasons as well, but I like this theory.
    Thanks a lot for this one, I almost screemed when I saw you posted another Troupe-related video <3

  17. Please help!!!Thank you for your time! https://www.gofundme.com/f/fga4ku-international-student-aid?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cf+share-flow-1

  18. It’s always a pleasure to see a new HXH video from you! Can’t wait to see how the dark continent brings this all to a conclusion

  19. The first paragraph of this script reminds me of the many favelas throughout Brazil. The familiarity aches at the heart.

  20. When i think of the leader of the Phantom Troupe i think of that time when Hisoka got off the Blimp to fight Chrollo and when he found out that he couldnt use Nen the face Hisoka made had me rolling on the floor

  21. I feel like you HxH videos are the connection between Togashi and the viewer/reader. Despite having seen and read the show several times, I learn something new about what is by far my favourite anime every time you upload.

    P.S.: I have read several comments of you stating that your old HvH videos are bad and hard to watch. I heavily disagree, as I have seen every single one at least once (most more than that) and I thoroughly envoyed every single minute.

  22. This was wonderfully done. I think you have done a fantastic job capturing the underlying theme and the emotions thurout! As always ur voice makes me feel zen as all get out. I loved that you used the subbed for this! As always thank you for making this❤

  23. This actually makes even more sense to me after running across another video that brought up the fact that netero and Maha Zoldyk were both insanely old yet youthful because of something they ate on the dark continent. I'm pretty sure that's a huge reason why the Troupe is actually going to the DC

  24. Awesome song choices my friend! Hearing "The Immortal Country" soundtrack is so nostalgic.

    Any chances you would review Bravely Default? Now is a great time since there is a new Bravely game that was announced.

  25. I only got to episode 148 in the anime and apparently its chapter 339 I'm missing out!! But I dont know where to read the english manga! T^T

  26. The Phantom Troupe are truly profound and the origin and concept for them is truly haunting and beautiful. Lonely, in a way, but bittersweet. There's nothing like them in anime.

  27. So excited to see another post! My sister is finally almost finished hxh and I've been waiting to send on your channel once she is not in danger of major spoilers 😊💛

  28. I love your videos, they make me appreaciate a show even more. I like all your videos but I would love if you do another video on Gintama, it's my favorite anime of all time (liked the one you did called "The Soul of Gintama"), thanks for making this videos!

  29. Thank you for such moving insight on one of my favorite shows ever. I think there's an interesting comparison between Chrollo's desire for this "existence" and Bojack Horseman's desire "to be seen". While Bojack's self image was dysfunctionally constructed by abusive parenting and celebrity culture, Chrollo didn't even have the basic societal luxuries that are often lauded as the pride and product of capitalism, like shelter or medicine or or hardly anything recognizable from the "developed" (colonizers') world. And so while Bojack at least could at least find some superficial catharsis through acting, as the Horse from the very famous 90s sitcom Horsin' Around (hold your applause), Chrollo was left to fester in squalor, orphaned and forgotten by a world he could do little more than grow to loathe. And yet, both live their lives in pursuit of "recognition," whether by playing the game and garnering fame for the sake of acknowledgment and validation by society, or by making an existentialist declaration to the heavens that they will leave their mark on history like a red-hot, cast iron brand on Cthulhu's ass.

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