One of the shounen anime series that was part of my childhood days is Hunter x Hunter. In 2011, it had a reboot and that aired till 2014. After a long time, I finally got in the mood to watch the Chimera Ant arc. I already watched Greed Island arc twice (one when it aired on TV and one a year after, I think?) but every time I get into that arc, I lose my mood. Recently, after re-watching Yū Yū Hakusho, I got determined to watch the whole 2011 series. And so I did.
WARNING FOR SPOILERS! This post is mainly about the Chimera Ant arc of Hunter x Hunter 2011.
Chimera Ant arc starts right when Gon and Killua came to Kite’s place through the Accompany card they got. The two got worried at first because Gon was sure the person they found was not Ging, then they got attacked. Later, they found out that Kite wasn’t an enemy, but actually a “student” of Ging and that they were not really attacked but protected by the so-called Chimera ants.
I think this is an intense beginning and it effectively set the mood for the whole arc. There is an evident shift of tone and mood as compared to that of Greed Island. GI arc definitely has a lighter feel to it despite Bomber’s rampant killing. Once CA arc starts, we know that we’re bound to some serious stuff.
The problem here is the chimera ants and they have to identify where they are to stop them. But they did not know where they are as well as their capabilities. If we would think about it, it’s really alarming. Giant ants? Gradually able to eat humans? That’s a bit scary, but to think that they “evolve” and become Chimera ants that doesn’t look like ants but lions, cheetahs, and others. And some even look crossbreeds with those that can fly. That’s real scary!
At first, they were just scary because they were big and powerful, but then there came those who are able to think (since the queen ant started feeding on humans), then they learned about Nen. Then, all hell broke loose after the birth of the “king”. Or actually he just forced himself out. Then the colony were left only to be separated because of own desires.
The moment when some chimera ants got into the humans’ side is the moment when the boundary between chimera ants and humans vanished. It was great seeing Gon and Meleoron, Ikalgo and Killua, and Colt, Knov, and Morel interacting. It was even more fun watching Meruem and Komugi playing Gungi!
As the series unfolds, we get to see the human part of the chimera ants. There definitely exist the concepts of loyalty, trust, jealousy, betrayal, care, love, and others. We are able to sympathize with them because of those feelings and some memories of their past human selves. By the end, I just wanted for all of it to end to give everyone a happy ending (except Pouf).
Passage and use of time
So many things happen in a short period of time (like, 10 seconds haven’t passed yet and Shoot was already beat up? What??) but the ten days that they had to wait seemed so long. The build up seems slow, but the gradual increase of intensity of preparations and emotions of the characters help make up for it. It builds expectations which for me is pleasantly met.
In addition, I think Togashi-sensei managed to balance the narration of what’s happening. I mean, there are a lot of characters doing different preparations. We get to see what each of them are doing and each scene even adds to the excitement felt as we anticipate the day they were waiting for.
Plus, this arc has a lot more intense battles as compared to the previous arcs. Just watching it makes me think, “Ahh… this is obviously shounen“. Because of the diverse characters with different abilities, we get to see different kinds of battles and it’s interesting to see how one would win it.
The Royal Guards
Meruem has three royal guards: Neferpitou, Shaiapouf, and Menthuthuyoupi though they go by Pitou, Pouf, and Youpi, respectively.
Pitou is probably my favorite out of these three. Yes, I hated her because she brutally killed Kite and Pokkle. She messed with Kite’s body and Pokkle’s brain! She was the reason why Gon broke down. And yet I liked her because of how she she showed her love for Meruem. She understood that Komugi was important to Meruem so she did all she could just to carry out her task. Her looking so vulnerable yet determined, like a mother cat as noted by Killua, was a good moment. Toward her end, she almost made me cry when she said that she was glad that she was the one being killed by Gon.
Pouf is probably the one I hate the most in this arc (well, aside from that baldy who were with Welfin who head to Meteor City by the end). Yes, his devotion to Meruem is notable, but he doesn’t even develop a heart much like what happened to the other two guards. He had this fixed idea of what kind of king Meruem should be, which is different from what Meruem was turning out to be because of Komugi, so he took it upon himself to attempt to murder Komugi.
Youpi, on the other hand, did not appeal to me that much, but I liked the battles he had with Knuckle and how Youpi ended up having an attitude much like his (and by extension, Morel’s).
Large ensemble of characters
There are a lot of characters introduced in this arc, as in the previous ones, though sadly, we don’t get to know everyone deeply as there are only select characters that are important to see. I’m still disappointed that a lot of characters are introduced in a way that I expected them to have some kind of important role, but they didn’t.
Like Kite’s friends. Kite, obviously, was important because he is the one who led Killua and Gon around NGL and he became the reason Gon fell into an emotional mess. He was shown in only a couple of episodes, though. And his friends! I thought they were going to play some major roles for the climax or something, but they were only present during the buildup of the story then they were gone. Kite said that they’re amateurs yet skilled hunters, but if they’re not to play much part, why introduce a lot of them?
Colt, too. Just like Kite’s friends, he was barely seen after asking Morel and Knov’s help. Though, yes, he had to protect that small baby who turned out to be Kite, but I still find it kinda vexing.
Then, there was that appearance of Pokkle, Ponzu, and friends. I guess it’s not totally surprising that Pokkle got into the chimera ant matter because he aimed to be a beast hunter, but Ponzu’s involvement is somehow kind of random. Sad that they became an instrument for us to know how powerful the chimera ants could be.
When it comes to the chimera ants, I thought that there were too much squadron leaders. (But I guess it’s because they’re ants.) Some served the purpose of letting some Phantom Troupe members gain an appearance, though, so I guess it isn’t all bad as we got to see more of the Troupe’s capabilities.
I’m glad that the supporting characters who do play much more important roles, like Morel, Knov, Knuckle, Shoot, Palm, and others, are definitely memorable. I especially appreciate what happened to Knov, who, faced with the tremendous dark En cast by Pitou, lost all the will
and hair to join the battle. Thought he wasn’t going to appear again, but no. Episodes later, we see him helping his friends.
Personally, I think one of the best conflicting moments that happened is the scene on Komugi’s room where Gon found Pitou healing Komugi. Thinking about it still makes me well up with all kinds of emotions.
There we finally see Pitou who destroyed Kite but she’s not able to use En to fight because she’s given the order to heal Komugi at all cost and she’s got to focus on that. I found this heartbreaking because Gon was so full of anger and he could not direct it to his object of rage. I found myself in Killua’s shoes when he made Gon stop because Komugi was there. I know Gon was so broken while Killua was trying to make sense of everything and Pitou was desperately trying to protect Komugi.
Then, Killua’s heart was crushed again.
“You have it easy, Killua. You’re perfectly calm because this means nothing to you.”
REALLY, GON? REALLY? HOW CAN YOU BREAK MY BABY’S HEART LIKE THAT?!
Actually, Killua suffers a lot of heartaches in this arc that it’s heartbreaking for me, too. It made me think of their relationship. I actually enjoyed seeing them together. They’re two adorable characters. One is that competitive, persistent, sincere ball of sunshine while the other is a powerful, sensitive, cool guy with family issues.
This is where I questioned their relationship a lot. I wondered if their friendship is healthy. Or if Killua’s mindset regarding it is healthy. Gon treasures Killua a lot. He asked him to come with him to Whale Island and he actually wants to introduce Killua to his dad. Killua is undeniably his precious best friend. Of course, it’s obvious that Killua feels the same. Gon is the first ever friend he has in his whole life. He was “rescued” by Gon after the Hunter Exam arc. They were both willing to fight for the other. They trust each other. But there were times when I think the relationship just isn’t balanced. But maybe because we get more of Killua’s thoughts than of Gon’s regarding it?
Komugi, are you still there?
THIS. EPISODE. RUINED. ME.
Seriously. This will be one of the most memorable anime episodes for me. It is such a beautiful and heartbreaking ending for the villain. I have already noticed in YYH that Togashi-sensei is good at making villains relatable in some way so we won’t hate them that much. Here, it’s heartbreaking because Meruem is actually just part human, but what he showed is so human-like. He just purely wants to be with Komugi for the remaining time of his life. He was ready to do anything, even going as far as attempting to kneel down before Palm, so that he can be with her. Meruem, that once cruel ant-king who wanted to rule over the world, humbled down to be with that snotty adorable girl who gained his heart.
And I’m going to take this opportunity to commend Uchiyama Kouki, Meruem’s CV, too! He’s one of my beloved seiyuu, and though I loved his voice as Gin (Hotarubi no Mori e) and Yuuta (Kimi to Boku.), his most memorable performance is that of Tsukki (Haikyuu!!), so I’m happy to be reminded of how lovingly soft his voice could be whenever he talked to Komugi, especially in this particular scene.
Their last moments together are so touching! I appreciate that they were shown on the last episode, too, even if that was after New Chairman Election arc.
And even if it’s only their hands.
I had fun watching the whole Hunter x Hunter 2011. Though things got crazier on this arc which almost threw me off initially, I’m glad I stuck with it. Now it’s going to be one of the most memorable arcs out of all the anime arcs I’ve watched.