I love my dorks in Japanese media, if this wasn’t already obvious enough, and I’m back with yet another darling who fits the brief perfectly.
Knuckle Bine, who first appears in the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter, not only provides as a comforting and humorous break from the sheer horror and shock of the events that transpire, but he remains as one of the long-running series’ most compassionate and endearing characters to have ever existed. Here’s to celebrating the shining beacon of Hunter x Hunter.
Who is Knuckle Bine?
Knuckle Bine is a Beast Hunter in Hunter x Hunter. He is the apprentice of Morel Mackernasey, and both are seen at the beginning stages of arguably the best arc of the series: the aforementioned Chimera Ant arc.
By this point in Hunter x Hunter, we’ve seen countless amounts of eccentric and colourful characters in this universe — though in some cases we only saw them briefly, since series creator Yoshihiro Togashi dealt them a swift and unfortunate fate. And by the time you reach episode 86 of the anime or chapter 200 of the manga, we’re introduced to yet another fun addition to the mix with Knuckle.
He initially appears to be nothing more than a hot-headed fighter who is quick to duel Gon as soon as they meet. But the depth to his character makes for not only plenty of comedy gold to provide us with breathing space from the ruthless arc, but provides some satisfying progression in his own development.
As a significant character in this infamous arc, Knuckle’s existence should not be undervalued, as his character encompasses the other extreme side to the arc’s central conflict. Rather than being in favour of exterminating his enemies, Knuckle instead always believes in the value of seeing his foes eye-to-eye, and holds out hope for an outcome no one else even considered.
Why we love Knuckle Bine
Before we dive deeper into the crux of his character, the basics should be laid out first. As a tough guy who is actually a massive softie, Knuckle is a joy to see, no matter the situation. For audiences and characters alike, Knuckle always appears ready for a fight, but as seen with him feeding homeless dogs, he has a thoroughly soft centre. On first look, he’s yet another intense and endearing knucklehead, but it quickly becomes clear that his strength is both physical and emotional.
Knuckle is in tune with his emotions and he’s not afraid to show it. He’s a highly sympathetic and compassionate person, and at times this can even get in the way of his duties as a Beast Hunter. We also see this side of him through the bits of information we get about his past — such as the time he protects a friend from cops so he can escape, ultimately punching the cop and outrunning them to safety. He will absolutely get himself into trouble for the sake of upholding his values and wearing his heart on his sleeve, that’s an absolute certainty.
This is made even more abundantly clear during the midst of the chaotic and despair-filled Chimera arc at the point where Knuckle decides to not follow the carefully laid out plans made up by his Extermination Team. Instead, Knuckle pursues honour for his defeated comrade, Shoot, after Youpi looks down on him as less than a worthy opponent, deciding to not even bother spending a couple more seconds to end his life after he committed to a fight to the death.
Knuckle also decides to save Morsel by using up his nen ability, the A.P.R., that effectively turns him and his opponent’s auras into “interest” until his enemy goes “bankrupt” and reverts into a Zetsu state during a critical moment at the cost of the mission’s sake. Knuckle advances towards Youpi and fully commits to his emotional intentions of punching him for revenge whilst comically skedaddling straight out of the battlefield. Balancing heartfelt and comedic during such a tense moment is one of Knuckle’s finest abilities!
So while I feel particularly disappointed that we never got to see more of Knuckle in order to find out more about his past and future, I have just one wish really — for Knuckle Bine to appear in an otome as the only tsundere I’d willingly take wholeheartedly. He’s such a brilliant guy.
Why you will love Knuckle Bine
If it wasn’t obvious enough as is, there are many reasons to love this dork. He’s evidently an upstanding guy with morals — if he says he’s going to fight to the death, then you know he has every intention of doing just that.
And as yet another perfect boy designed with his central visual appeal element being his stylish pompadour, he’s a “bad boy” with a heart of gold that goes against this stereotypical archetype of a character. It also doesn’t hurt that he reminds plenty of us of JoJo characters either, and makes a habit of taking off his overcoat during the heat of battle. He’s ticking all the boxes here.
He’s also emotionally captivating, with a personal journey of realising his significance to his teammate Shoot and vice versa. His camaraderie with the other characters is also always a highlight, such as how he quickly becomes a mentor to Gon in the Chimera Ant arc, giving him instructions and tips during their battle while also being patient, encouraging him to improve and develop a certain technique of his.
Furthermore, as a Nen user of the Hunter x Hunter universe, his one happens to be one of the most unique and memorable of the lot, in the deceptively simple form of a floating mascot. The cute creature and nen ability perfectly captures and reflects his personality — it doesn’t hurt his opponents, and it nullifies his attack power and instead lends his opponents his own aura. And at the same time, he’s also being a teacher to the audience through how his humorously confusing nen ability references bankruptcy and debt. He’s a reliable, surprisingly resourceful and helpful guy all in every way!
I also can’t help but add that he is almost a textbook example of the himbo, with his ability ironically being one of the hardest to understand in the series — but he is, however very good at maths. It’s also safe to say that he can be looked on as a reference to Yu Yu Hakusho’s Kuwabara — something that will ultimately also have a hand in making others favour him enough to see him come out alive in the infamous Chimera Ant arc.
We finish up with the very best element of his overall — that being his unique ability to stay positive and hopeful for the future. He’s naïve in the most wholesome way, believing in the good of others and as one of the only fighters to see the humanity in the Chimeras. He does not want to harm them — nor anyone, really, despite all his strength and battle knowledge. Extermination is most definitely not on his mind.
Knuckle is an absolute comfort character. He behaves and believes almost blindly to the true cruelty of the world he inhabits, and holds out hope no matter how dire the situation is, or how ruthless his enemies are. I find him sorely underestimated and undervalued for this reason alone.
He’s the only reason I managed to ever finish the Chimera Ant arc with all its doom and gloom. That fact in itself makes him deserving of a spot in my husbando pool — and yours too!
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