The finale, already? Yep, unfortunately it’s time to produce the final part of this series of “You Should Be Watching” for Hunter x Hunter. If you haven’t already checked out the Hunter Arc, Heaven’s Arena/Yorknew City arc, or Greed Island arc summations yet, please do so before proceeding. If you already have done so, let’s get started with this particular portion that’s all about one of the biggest and best arcs in Hunter x Hunter: The Chimera Ant arc. This arc is a pretty huge deal for the series for a bevy of reasons, but one of the more important reasons is that this is the first time it’s been animated. The 1999 series only did up to the conclusion of the Greed Island arc and never continued. Luckily the fine folks over at Madhouse continue their terrific abilities and bring to life a great arc that’s still bringing so much to the table: action, character growth, and stellar ideas that linger way past an episode’s ending.
Chimera Ants are a vicious animal, and the queen is especially troublesome as she has the ability to reproduce simply by eating other animals. This process known as “Phagogenesis” essentially can take certain characteristics from the ingested creatures and pass them along through its genetics. The queen’s only role is to form a colony and produce the King Ant. She spends her whole time eating and reproducing until the strongest of the strongest is finally created. If it sounds a little familiar to Cell from Dragonball Z, that’s not entirely in-coincidental; Togashi was influenced by DBZ’s creator Akira Toriyama and he did the main antagonist (definitely emphasis on ‘ANTagonist’) of the arc, Meruem as homage to Cell. But Meruem is, to me, far more tactical and ruthless than Cell ever was. As of this writing, Meruem has been painted as a completely brutal character, but knowing Togashi, and manga in general, at some point we’ll get some humanizing traits and moments that should allow us to connect or sympathize with his actions.
But, let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, as the Chimera Ant arc is a giant chunk of pivotal story that surpasses Greed Island immediately. As we start the new journey, Gon and Killua were headed off to meet Ging… or so they thought. They stumble upon a man by the name of Kite who Gon actually knows from years before. He informs them of the Chimera Ant threat and starts them on the right path to exterminate the beasts. Wasting no time, Gon and Killua, along with a slew of new faces, enter the area of NGL to confront the menace and deal with it. Of course, as with any series, the bad guys get their share of the limelight and we learn that the Chimera Ants are some simplistic hazard; they’re capable of evolving not just physically, but mentally. They’re a smart species and it seems every new birth brings about a stronger combatant. It’s even worse for humans when the Ants learn about Nen and the deliciousness it can bring.
Soon the Ants are hunting down any humans who can harness Nen and can pass it along to the next generation. Their pitiless, one-track minded, and amazingly strong; to the point where even seasoned Hunters either secede from battles, or die as a result. This arc is rather essential for Gon too, as although we’ve seen him lose in the past, in this particular story, he says something in a scene that resonates so well: “I never knew how frustrating weakness could be”. With tears streaming, Gon has realized he’s not on the level he should be, and whether it’s also fear mixed in, he weeps and sobs to his displeasure with his strength. Even Killua, a hardened assassin has tears forming seeing his best friend in this situation. It’s moments like this in anime, especially shonen series that rarely ever happens.
The protagonist realizes their shortcomings and rather than being abrasive and dismissive, accepts they’re not strong and break down from it all. It’s not a bad thing, I love it, and it shows humanity in the characters. In older series, like DBZ, if Goku wasn’t strong enough, he would just go to a chamber, or training area and train on-end until he was stronger. And that was fine, but hollow and empty. Hunter x Hunter is better with its characters and their plight and shares that through passages like this.
With us quickly reaching the 100 episode limit, it’s time we bid adieu to Hunter x Hunter and its amazing new series. I’ve consistently said it’s one of the best running shonen anime out right now, and I can say that having seen every Bleach episode, every Naruto episode (including that year and a half of fillers in 2008-2009). One Piece, eh, I’ll try and get through that, one day, but as it stands, Hunter x Hunter is the series you should be watching, don’t forget the series is on Cruncyroll, so if you like the first hundred episode, go there to continue watching it every Tuesday! For now, I say sayonara and be sure to stick to Geekenstein as I’ll be sure to continue my “You Should Be Watching” series with more forgotten, or older anime that are out there.