Hostility x And x Determination
Sigh. I had entirely forgotten what it was like to write for Hunter, but it’s really dawning on me how much I’ve missed by not doing so for the Chimera Ant arc. This isn’t the type of content you wanna miss.
The Chimera Ant arc, particularly the fight within and around East Gorteau Palace, has been a conflict on multiple fronts. Naturally this is on a thematic level, but also physically speaking. The punches have been thrown, and we’re narrowing down the final strands of conflict left. Netero and Mereum have finished their monumental clash. With that, we’re faced with an episode which moves our overall arc into its apparent final phase. And as expected, it’s as quality as one might expect at this point. This is an arc that keeps on giving.
Unlike some of swapping around we’ve gone through thus far, the episode almost surprisingly starts off from where the previous left off; the Rose Bomb. It’s literal purpose, both in general and in the conflict, is shown clearly enough, it’s a simple weapon of mass destruction. Easy to manufacture, and easy to kill with. It speaks well of the scale the thread of the Chimera Ants ever posed on humanity. It was cleverly clouded in all of this, in light of building up the ants as an unimaginable threat. Which isn’t to say they weren’t a threat on a horrendous scale, not at all. On an individual level, the ants reached a level where only the very top humans could see, with the King himself on a level that can’t be measured. The numbers of victims they had claimed, and the number of victims they could have claimed if left unchecked were great, making their threat a serious one. But as noted last episode, the King was in checkmate all along. It’d be more apt to say that the Chimera Ants were in checkmate by humanity all along. Even if as individuals the Chimera Ants are generally stronger than humans, as a group humanity had them trumped.
There’s a kind of plain brilliance at play here, in describing this bomb which proved to be too much for the unbelievable force that was Mereum. In describing it as cheap and easy to make, it shows just how far humanity has come to create a weapon of that nature, a destructive force so strong yet still on a low level. If this is what beat Mereum, it speaks numbers on what his true chances were at ever ruling the world. It wouldn’t require an individual like Netero to use, it could be an equal force in anybody’s hands. And speaking of numbers, this bomb alone shows that humanity has easily put itself on the level of destruction the ants have, not taking into account the many other weapons that humanity obviously has. All of these flowers, raring to bloom if given reason to do so. Backing up from the concentrated issue, the Chimera Ants were almost but a small blip on the radar. A problem to be dealt with for sure, but a problem that could be dealt with nonetheless. It’s great that after this information on the bomb, we’re set with the straightforward question “How are humans and Ants different?” Did all of this knowledge, as well as what he saw himself, prompt this question for Netero? Whether it did or not, it’s clearly meant to for the viewer. With how the question of being human or ant was something dealt with by the nature of the ants, it’s a natural continuation to arrive at this following question when viewing both the compassion and malevolence from both sides. This isn’t to be mistaken as seeing the King as a worthy choice for ruler, as he clearly would have been unacceptable, but what this bomb mostly set out to do, besides being its nuke-y self, was to put everything in perspective.
That aside, this episode is one I totally enjoyed for it’s focus on putting the nature of conflict into light. Not talking about the universal nature of conflict either, but in general how fights are handled in HxH. I’ve said this a long time ago with the Phantom Troupe back in Yorknew, but the fights aren’t entirely straightforward in this series. One can’t win simply by being generally stronger, a lot more goes into the fight than that. A lot can influence the fight, be it Nen or other factors entirely. It was about Nen back in Yorknew, at least what I focused on, but here there seems to be very much at play when thinking about mental state. Like with Knuckle going to confront Pouf, the fight was decided in a single moment. Pouf on the other side has seen the devastation of the Rose Bomb, his mental state in the palace shows off his true nature full of detest, and in that, the fight is no more. Knuckle, the ultimate compassion, saw no way of reaching out for communication as with Youpi, and the butterfly zooms off in rage to get to his King.
Beyond just a change in mental state, conviction itself sets a strong precedent for how a fight will go. As Ikalgo returns to the surface, a battleground worn out in every respect, he meets up with Killua and finally Palm, his mission complete. However instead of retreating, there’s a unanimous desire to continue on, despite death, as long as there is still a mission to wage. Naturally, Gon plays a big part here in their decision, and it’s his mental state more than anybody is dictating the nature of a fight. Pitou, a clear winner when it comes to strength of Nen, can only obey when it comes to Gon’s conviction and senses. His strength of mind, as far gone as it is, has weakened a beat, only grown tired of waiting. As with every exchange between these two, it’s intense to see Gon where he is now, and how far he would really be willing to go in his rage. Pitou’s attempts to buy time result in a threat on Komugi’s life, and without a drip of visible care, he devises a hostage situation where he can assure that Pitou will be under his control. Honestly, it’s scary to see Gon the way he is, but oh so wonderful considering how he came to be at this point. One can only wonder where his mental state will proceed from here, and that would more than likely depend on Pitou’s actions. But really, there’s nothing to worry about. Gon trusts Pitou, after all.
As an addition, Knuckle’s mental note as Killua describes a worst case scenario is a great show of his character, as well as where our two boys are currently.
Finally, the last portion of the episode is transitioned into with Komugi’s line of “Where is the Supreme Leader?” The blind girl really has no idea what’s going on, but when it comes to the Supreme Leader, we’re in the same mystery boat (anime-only people anyhow). The smouldering remains of the battlefield are all Pouf and Youpi can see, the former out of his paranoid mind. It’s not all too surprising to see Youpi take charge, as he’s shown himself to be shockingly level-headed, and it’s equally unsurprising to hear his new resolution. As much as his respect for his opponents was the stance he had arrived at, that all goes out the window when the King is concerned. It’s as Knov had said, these monsters will be monsters for the King’s sake. It’s also somewhat difficult not to think about this in similar terms as Gon’s situation, and could be taken as another point of where ants and humans would connect, if one would want to. Though when it comes to ants, their devotion to the King is something unique to them, even if they all have their slight variation on it.
So how is the King? Answer is charbroiled. The rose bomb proved as effective as it was advertised, reducing Mereum to a crisp. It’s as if he were a mummy of sorts, which is only fitting with him coming from the tomb. It’s honestly a freakish sight, and more freakish is how it’s impossible to not feel something for these two grieving ants. It may not be sympathy, but seeing the two monsters bawl their eyes out over their King being reduced to his sorry state is a strong… it’s a strong moment. What follows here is crucial. What will these two do with the husk of the King, and is this the sign of a rage which would dwarf even Gon’s? No, not likely. The next episode title would suggest otherwise as well, but I can’t at this point even imagine what these two royal guards will do.