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Fairly random thought, these are two characters in the boards I go to that I think are consistently overrated (Shalunark) and underrated (Nobunaga).
Let's start with Nobunaga. He's only got a radius of 4 meters with En. He got KOed by Shizuku, who is clearly near the bottom in fighting ability amongst Spiders (she's recruited for her special ability, not fighting ability). Generally acts without thinking and gets fooled by even relatively simple tricks.
Based on the picture in Pakunoda's flashback, the original members of the Spiders are: Kuroro, Machi, Pakunoda, Nobunga, Franklin, Ubogin, and someone else (looks like Shalunark, but can't see the face). Now, I'm not going to say this means he has to be strong. But he is certainly close to the core and presumably they didn't pick a complete deadweight at the start. His En only reaches 4 meters, but Killua can only do around 1 centimeter. Obviously characters with extreme ranges are pretty strong, but characters with low range on En isn't necessarily weak. After all, it's apparently not a technique you can use in mid combat (Zeno and Pitou both turn En off when they're in serious combat), so presumably you use En to detect enemies, and how often will you be fighting someone without knowing where they are?
Franklin said that Nobunaga's power can only be realized in 'special situations'. Since he does appear extremely weak compared to even a non fighting member, it'd follow that he should be very strong in his 'special situation'. Of course, he could easily die in a situation where he can't use his full abilities, but that's just life in HXH. I don't think he's any stronger or more special than the rest of the Spiders, but I don't think he's weaker than the rest either.
Now let's move to Shalunark. He's got really high intelligence. If you have an aura knowledge exam he might even beat Kuroro. He's got a Hunter license and probably doubles as the hacker member of the Spider. His combat ability isn't very high, but he's clearly not a combat member anyway.
But really, is Shalunark that important to the Spiders? When Kuroro was kidnapped, he attempted to lead the Spiders, but all that happened was that Spiders split into two groups. If Franklin didn't step in, it seems likely that the Spiders will start killing themselves and save Kurapika the trouble. While Kuroro says Shalunark, along with Pakunoda and Shizuku, are the supporting lifeline of the Spiders, unlike the latter two, in seems his support role is due to his intelligence. The ability to control other people appears to be pretty common in HXH. Shalunark himself said that if he died, other people can fill his place, but you can't expect someone to fill Pakunoda or Shizuku's place since their special ability is very unique. His intelligence is considerable, but he's not capable of leading the Spiders (only Kuroro and possibly Franklin exhibited the ability to actually unite everyone). Certainly, the Spiders shouldn't have a problem replacing either 'a very smart guy' or 'a guy who can control another person'. Maybe it takes two people to do it, but somehow I doubt the size of Spiders has to be fixed at 13 (they started with 7, and it's been at 12 for a while).
Again like Nobunaga, I don't think Shalunark is any more or less special or powerful/important for Spiders. Outside of Kuroro, the only truly essential members seem to be:
Pakunoda, for her special ability.
Shizuku, for her special ability.
Franklin, for his leadership (when Kuroro isn't around).
For everyone else, I think they are all interchangeable and can be replaced. Sure if you replaced 5 guys with newbies, the organzation's overall ability goes down, but they'll still be able to function at a reduced capacity. Take away Pakunoda and Shizuku, and the Spider's ability to commit crime is greatly reduced. Take away Kuroro and Franklin, and it's not clear if the Spiders won't just go into an internal power struggle and wipe themselves out.
Well, for the spiders themselves each member is as important as the last, that much we have been shown consistently. The one thing which they do value is special abilities and the manga has stated as fact that there is nothing all that special about their abilities and at large are easy to replace. I think you are kinda mixing two different concepts together, how strong they are and how rare their abilities are. I would think shalnark and nobunaga are a decent bit stronger than shizuku but that still does not mean her ability is any less valuable.
Nobunaga's designation is for combat while Shalunark is not (he's support).
Not every member is equally important in Kuroro's eyes. Kuroro pointed out that if they continue fighting Shizuku and Pakunoda might die. Shalunark said that if he or Nobunaga died they can be replaced but not Shizuku or Pakunoda. This implies that Kuroro considers the death of Pakunoda/Shizuku to be more serious than others. After all, he is interested in the survival of the organization, not any particular member, and you can infer that Pakunoda/Shizuku's ability greatly increases the capabilty of the organization as a whole. If Ubogin died they lose a 1 on 1 specialist. If Pakunoda died, the Spiders lose their major source of recon and that has a far more devastating effect.
But yes I agree beyond the two girls with the special ability and of course Kuroro (even if he's not aware of it), the rest of the members should be considered equally important.
I always looked down on Nobunaga, until I realized that a Samurai only needs a short distance to kill someone.
Anyway, I consider both characters kinda dull in their personality and I actually dislike them. From the Ryodan, I find Machi the most interesting one.
Machi, Franklin, Shizuku... Those are the ones i like most.
Can anyone filled me with what happened to Nobunaga? It's been so long that I forgot about him totally until I saw this topic. He's not dead, is he?