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Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 129 »« Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 127

Hunter X Hunter 2011 – 128

「ムジョウノヨロコビ×ト×ムショウノアイ」 (Mujounoyorokobi x to x Mujounoai)
“Unparalleled Joy x and x Unconditional Love”

Well, damn – I hardly know where to start with that one…

This is a snippet of what I wrote two weeks ago, after the blooming of the miniature rose:

I’m very, very reluctant to try and dig into the deeper meaning of what we saw… It will simply invite a flood of spoilers, some tagged, some disguised as jokes or hints, some just laid out for all to see. I have my own notions about all that, but I’m going to stick mostly to what we saw on screen and the symbolism of it.

And here we are.

It’s fair to say I pretty much expected Meruem to be alive. Let’s be honest – it doesn’t make a lot of sense to kill off the top boss ten episodes before the end of the story – even for a maverick like Togashi. And as much poetry and symbolism as there was in Chairman Netero’s actions (rife with contradictory moral and ethical implications to a staggering degree), that just didn’t feel like the way The King was going to go out. But wow – Togashi and Madhouse sure pulled out all the stops bringing him back. That was…. out there.

I hardly know whether to start with the implications of this development (both for the past and future) or the development itself. I suppose it makes sense to start with the latter. We’ve seen some pretty edgy stuff from Hunter X Hunter before, especially since the beginning of “Chimera Ant” – acts of unspeakable violence, children being terrorized and killed – but for outright ballsy outrageousness it would be hard to beat the first ten minutes of this episode.

In essence (no pun intended – I was going to say “in a nutshell” but that would have been even worse) what we saw was Shaiapouf and Menthruyoupi feed themselves to The King. But it was so much more than that – it was graphic, it was homoerotic, it was loud and long and absolutely unapologetic. The soundtrack of orgiastic moaning and screaming from the seiyuu alone (honestly, it’s almost impossible to believe this is really the normally comatose Hatano Wataru) must surely have made the scene even more impactful than it was in the manga. If there were any worries Madhouse was going to tone down anything in this arc, I would think this would put them to bed and turn out the lights.

Truthfully, I’m not sure if I believe it was absolutely necessary to take things quite this far – it speaks of a certain amount of mischievous defiance from Togashi and Koujina as much as anything. But the effect is undeniable – make no mistake about it, Meruem inspires absolute loyalty among his followers (the Royal Guard, in any case). Even as Meruem himself is moderating his views (more or less) we can see that for the R.G. this is effectively a cult of personality. The intense jealousy of Pouf and Youpi as they compete with each other to see who The King finds more delicious is testament to just how unreservedly and passionately his elites love him, and an ominous reminder of the lengths they (most obviously Pouf) will go to in order to jealously hoard his love.

All of this is contrasted with the increasingly Buddha-like imagery of Meruem himself as he ingests his followers, becomes shrouded in golden light and eventually begins to regain his strength. The Meruem that emerges is dramatically different from the one that fought the duel with Netero, in ways whose import we cannot yet begin to judge. He’s developed a taste for this food, delicious beyond all others – how will that play itself out? We’ve already seen the impact this has on Pouf and Youpi – presumably there’s a finite amount of themselves they can feed to Meruem. He’s lost much of his memory, though it seems as if that’s largely or entirely a temporary impact. And he’s come back even stronger than before, having survived humanity’s best shot, emerging from his charred cocoon with elements of both Youpi and Pouf’s powers, seemingly.

Let’s consider that one. The King was already so strong that he survived what was effectively a nuclear explosion – what in the world can the Hunters or anyone else throw at him now that he’s even more formidable? Not only that, but this turn of events seems, on appearances, to have rendered Netero’s last act of self-sacrifice futile – a sad legacy for the old man, if indeed that turns out to be the case. Netero threw the best Nen attacks humanity had to offer and when those failed, turned to the most powerful of its mundane weapons of destruction. Surely that’s not the ending Netero had in mind for himself, but I wonder if he engaged the possibility that even the miniature rose would fail. He was an incredibly clever , experienced and meticulous man – I wouldn’t doubt he had some sort of contingency plan that he left behind just in case, but one wonders if this is simply a greater enemy that Netero had in him to defeat.

Indeed, I see one weakness with Meruem and one only – Komugi. Pouf sees it too – now that he and Youpi are linked to The King they sense his confusion directly – though petty jealousy is as much guiding his actions as that concern when he decides to take advantage of The King’s loss of memory to send his clone to the palace to kill her before Mereum has a chance to remember her. “It’s a gamble” Pouf muses – ya think? Pouf has proved himself a rash and fearless wild card, capable of almost anything – but there may come a time when it’s not only he that realizes Komugi is Meruem’s greatest (only?) weak spot. What would the “good guys” – the Hunter’s party – do with that information, once they realized it?

Those answers, for now, remain a matter of conjecture. Pouf’s plan, if it succeeds, will not do so smoothly – when his clone arrives back at the palace “two or three minutes” ahead of Meruem, Komugi is missing – along with Neferpitou and Gon – and the clone is attacked by a cloaked Knuckle. He slaps a Hakoware on clone Pouf’s ass, which promptly causes Potclean to appear behind the Pouf clinging to The King’s tail. Not only that, Palm, because of the fact that she’s seen Pouf before and her Ants-formation, can use her “Wink Blue” ability to see Pitou – and his clones – wherever they are. That means she now knows that Mereum is not only alive, but returning to the Palace at high speed.

It seems hard to envision any scenario now where Meruem can be beaten with physical force. That means if he is to fall – or at least be stopped from world domination – it’s going to have to be for another reason entirely. Persuasion, compassion, deception, despair – through some combination of these or other like factors Meruem is going to have to be compelled to effectively stop himself, because it’s more clear than ever that he’s the only one strong enough to do so. And there’s not a shadow of doubt in my mind that Komugi is the key to all of that, practically and existentially.

 

Preview

May 7, 2014 at 2:40 am
51 comments »
  • May 7, 2014 at 2:59 amEamonX

    Well… the first half of this episode wasn’t homoerotic at all.

    • May 7, 2014 at 1:26 pma box like Hippo

      not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  • May 7, 2014 at 3:01 amDevastator001

    The Innuendo…. is strong with this one XD (At least the first half) Also reminded me of the Reactions from Cooking Master Boy and Yakitate Japan XD

    • May 7, 2014 at 5:08 amguardian enzo

      Innuendo, out the other…

  • May 7, 2014 at 3:10 amYoungGun

    Poof and Youpi look so cute when they are in chibi form :D!

    The king makes a come back, being stronger than ever. I agree that its hard to see him being defeated by force, since even Netero failed to stop him. It would be interesting to see how he will be stopped from total world domination!

    • May 7, 2014 at 11:07 amL002

      Death from radiation is still possible in my belief. You would be shocked just how dangerous radiation is so the King can be stopped, just not in a “heroric” sense.

      • May 7, 2014 at 11:22 amfordalels

        Whenever I see “radiation king” I just can think of the Simpsons and Fallout.

      • May 7, 2014 at 12:54 pma box like Hippo

        “Up and atom.”

        “Up and at them.”

        “Up and atom!”

        “Up and at them!”

        “UP AND ATOM!”

        “UP AND AT THEM!”

        “Better.”

      • May 7, 2014 at 4:39 pmRamon

        The more I spend time thinking about it, the stronger is my belief that the King will die from radiation. No final epic fight after Gon spending weeks practicing a new killer technique that’s sure to beat Meruem. Just an anticlimactic demise caused by cellular degradation. That would be classic Togashi trolling, and another “Fuck you” to shounen tropes.

        I’m so excited.

  • May 7, 2014 at 3:19 amCrook

    I don’t remember how the first half was in the manga. Probably the same with how faithful this adaptation is. Still kinda silly.

  • May 7, 2014 at 3:57 amSatyr

    The King was already so strong that he survived what was effectively a nuclear explosion – what in the world can the Hunters or anyone else throw at him now that he’s even more formidable?”

    Several nukes of the same nature and possibly in one single go. If it wasn’t for his crew, he would still be like that hamburger left out on the grill at a barbecue. Hell i was actually shocked to find him in that state last episode. He is not invulnerable.
    And i’m kind of surprised none of them were affected by radiations as any living thing would be standing so close to the explosion. Maybe it’s a question of time but then again those creatures aren’t exactly conventional.

    • May 7, 2014 at 4:54 amLGrey

      IIRC, the miniature rose is said to be free/ low radiation – hence the minimal fallout.

    • May 7, 2014 at 5:29 amEamonX

      If Hunter x Hunter’s universe is set around the same period as 2014, then they’d also have nukes with controlled fallout. As far as I’m aware, nuclear weapons these days emit far less radiation than they used to.

      The explosion is obviously a lot more dangerous and if Meruem can survive direct contact with an explosion that is capable of literally vaporizing living things into nothing, then I doubt radiation would be much of a problem. First there’s the King’s and Royal Guard’s tough exterior and then there’s their natural Nen abilities and insane amount of aura.

      • May 7, 2014 at 7:08 amSatyr

        I don’t know if surviving an explosion can be compared to be immune to radiation. With an explosion it pretty much comes down to how robust your protection is to that explosion. With radiation it’s kind of different(it acts at the DNA level). You can be rolled up in tones of protective layers but if you don’t have the right kind of protection, you are still pretty much fucked. It’s like a tank being able to withstand explosions to a certain degree, but that doesn’t protect people inside from radiation or bacteriological/chemical attacks.
        But from what Lgrey said the miniature rose has low radiation level,(i only remember it being very low cost) so maybe i will watch the past episode again to see if i missed something.

      • May 7, 2014 at 7:17 amSatyr

        2-” If Hunter x Hunter’s universe is set around the same period as 2014, then they’d also have nukes with controlled fallout. As far as I’m aware, nuclear weapons these days emit far less radiation than they used to.”
        That’s assuming those are properly made in the same conditions. Considering how low cost those are, i sincerely doubt they have the same kind of quality as ones produced now.

      • May 7, 2014 at 8:23 amfordalels

        If the King can’t die from a plain heat explosion, I wonder what kind of weapon can defeat him. Maybe something that vacuums or disintegrates matter, like the FLEIJA bomb from Code Geass.

      • May 7, 2014 at 11:26 amEamonX

        Satyr, the DNA level you speak of is only after someone has been in direct contact with radiation. Those are the mutations, cancer and other symptoms one gets.

        But to prevent exposure and contact with radiation, all you basically need are a layer of protection to prevent exposure and contact. For instance, an underground shelter uses the natural earth to stop radiation from reaching the shelter. Another way is lead shielding – using the material lead in thick quantity to prevent almost all radiation from penetrating.

        Since we have Nen users, shrouding oneself with aura could be a way of shielding from radiation.

        We also don’t know if Miniature Rose is a nuclear bomb. It could have a similar explosion power but be of a different source.

    • May 7, 2014 at 10:40 amEy

      “What in the world can the Hunters or anyone else throw at him now that he’s even more formidable?”

      You’ve answered your own question a few moments later…

      • May 7, 2014 at 11:24 amSatyr

        I was quoting the reviewer…

    • May 7, 2014 at 11:53 amSatyr

      @EAMON
      I don’t know all the properties of NEN shielding and i’m not sure if we can apply laws of physics to them but i don’t think that would be enough, the king has to breathe at some point lol.

    • May 7, 2014 at 2:08 pmkamen rider Dragon

      The King technically did die from the bomb. He would of been all but dead had Pouf and Youpi not been there.

      • May 7, 2014 at 4:18 pmguardian enzo

        “Would have been all but dead” is not “technically dying”. And who knows what would have happened if they hadn’t shown up? Maybe he would have recovered on his own and it would have just taken longer. All speculation, either way.

      • May 7, 2014 at 6:38 pmkamen rider Dragon

        I doubt it. Meruem needed Pitou to heal his arm when he severed it. I think it’s safe to say he can’t regenerate on his own.

  • May 7, 2014 at 4:33 amMiaminights

    Cant believe the king is still alive. Old Man Netero went down and his legacy with it. I’m curious if he had a backup plan as well, but i doubt we will see it playout. Its all about Komugi

  • May 7, 2014 at 4:39 amShootPointBlank

    Damn. I really do wish I hadn’t talked to my annoyingly spoillerific, manga-reading friend. Still, it’s a mark of a great show that HxH still entertains despite being spoilered.

    Hehehe, “unconditional love”, that sounds just about right.

  • May 7, 2014 at 5:40 amPeter

    Well, it could just as well happen, that he will now hunt other ants instead of humans, seeing as they are obviously more delicious .p

  • May 7, 2014 at 6:14 amZJZJ

    The front part felt a bit weird to me, but I’ll just not dwell on it any longer…
    I’m looking forward to the next episodes being animated. Would love to hear all of your views on it!

  • May 7, 2014 at 7:13 amComp Lit

    That display of maternity is probably the most profound yaoi sequence in the history of fiction…

  • May 7, 2014 at 8:17 amfordalels

    So… the comment about the “gay episode” was true.

  • May 7, 2014 at 9:37 ampasserby

    Too bad he isn’t a cockroach chimera, It is just a matter of time.

  • May 7, 2014 at 10:30 amBaka Ouji

    Any baseball analogy for this episode?

    • May 8, 2014 at 1:59 pmfordalels

      You seriously want to read a description of a homoerotic episode using baseball analogies?

    • May 8, 2014 at 2:27 pma box like Hippo

      Togashi pulled out early and gave us the knuckler!

      • May 8, 2014 at 3:42 pmfordalels

        Btw Knuckle, Shoot, Palm and Gyro are pitch types.

      • May 8, 2014 at 4:43 pma box like Hippo

        just no spitters!

        baseball is full of unintentional homoeroticism. you could probably hear a few choice lines during any game. I heard that line during a Braves game over a decade ago. “Smoltz pulled out early and gave him the knuckler.” that may have been Don Sutton doing the commentating. that was priceless.

  • May 7, 2014 at 10:34 amShio

    Netero threw the best Nen attacks humanity had to offer

    I don’t think that Netero was the strongest Nen User. Or was it stated somewjhere?
    But wouldn’t be suprised if the Top 5 Nen Users were all a good deal ahead of Netero.

    • May 7, 2014 at 10:45 amMiaminights

      I’m pretty sure he mentioned once he isn’t even in the top 10 anymore. Don’t quote me ;)

      • May 7, 2014 at 1:07 pmEamonX

        IIRC, Netero didn’t mention top 10 but said that his power isn’t even half of what it used to be 50 years ago. But from the reactions of Knov and Morel, it still appears that Netero might still be number 1.

        Regardless, he’s definitely one of the best humanity had to offer. He’s the chairman of the Hunters Association. And he only took this mission after he was told by Kite just how dangerous this chimera ant outbreak could become.

  • May 7, 2014 at 11:33 amM.rose

    All’s Well That Ends Well

  • May 7, 2014 at 12:45 pma box like Hippo

    Oh man, little Youpi in his small hemet was so great. now I want a little Youpi figurine!

    • May 7, 2014 at 1:02 pmfordalels

      Boku no Youpi.

  • May 7, 2014 at 1:11 pma box like Hippo

    Youpi seemed like he was just massively overjoyed and blissed out when compared to Pouf, who was definitely very orgasmic. Though Pouf’s always been that way!

    I actually thought during the episode maybe Pouf or Youpi would’ve completely sacrificed himself for the King.

    and the King certainly had a child-like Buddha quality as he was feeding. sth sth the Golden Child.

    I def agree that the Hunters cannot defeat the King head on. If we look back at past arcs, it’s certainly within Togashi to go with more unconventional finales. It’ll certainly be something that makes specific narrative sense as opposed to an epic fight of course.

  • May 7, 2014 at 4:50 pmmac65

    I see one weakness with Meruem and one only – Komugi

    Actually, I see Komugi as the King’s greatest strength, the person that will guide
    him to his best future. I’m going by the OP sequence where his Royal Guard bow to
    him on that mountain. I think that’s sometime in the future. We have to remember
    that these past few episodes have amounted to something around two hours in real-time.

    I guess I’m a romantic at heart, but that’s what I’d like to see — I don’t want to see
    Komugi die
    , it’d make me sad :(.

    But as far as defeating Meruem, it should only take a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; am I wrong?

    But I don’t think it’ll play out that way and I’m expecting the next episode to pick up
    with Gon and the return of Kite to the mix.

    Can’t wait!

    • May 8, 2014 at 6:02 amfordalels

      Meruem fights with physical strength alone, slapping APR on him won’t do anything.

      I bet this will end with an agreement and/or Komugi’s influence.

  • May 8, 2014 at 2:33 amKissTheChef

    Great episode as always. Can’t wait for the manga to resume soon.

  • May 8, 2014 at 10:02 amCorey Lucas

    Wow. The Homo tones are STRONG with this one. Still, Hunter x Hunter is ALWAYS bringing it’s A-game and showing Shonen how it’s done, son!

  • May 8, 2014 at 11:30 amRick Anime

    I’m a little upset, I thought episode 128 would end this arc for some reason. But apparently there is 10 eps left. Might let the episodes build up a bit and then marathon through them.

  • May 8, 2014 at 9:55 pmChromeNova

    I wouldn’t say Netero’s sacrifice was in vain, the King may have become a much bigger threat, but two of his royal guards are significantly weakened. Now it makes sense that the rest of the hunter group can take on Pouf and Youpi, but obviously they cannot physically contest with the King. Even if the King did not become more formidable, no one except Netero would of stood a chance. So essentially, I feel like the situation may have been worse if the royal guard were to live with full strength, the hunter group would surely be killed by their wrath.

  • May 9, 2014 at 12:09 pmDRUNKEN MASTER

    KNUCKLE AND MELEORON DIE
    THE KING KILLS POUF FOR TREASON ABOUT KOMUGI
    KOMUGI HELPS HUNTERS AND ANTS ACHIEVE A PEACEFUL SOLUTION
    GON DIES BUT IS REBORN AS A CHIMERA ANT HYBRID
    LOL

  • May 10, 2014 at 5:46 amPgod

    So who wins in a fight, DBZ Cell or HxH King lol

    • May 14, 2014 at 4:01 pmAnswerGuy

      Though this is now an old article, I felt your unanswered question needed attention.

      Goku’s Kamehameha at the end of Dragon Ball could destroy mountains. That makes Dragon Ball Goku a mountain buster.

      Goku’s Kamehameha in early DBZ could destroy islands, maybe even continents.

      Piccolo destroyed the moon in early DBZ.

      Vegeta threatened to destroy the Earth in early DBZ.

      Frieza did destroy planets, including Namek at the end of the Namek saga.

      Cell at his peak was far stronger than any of the aforementioned. He could easily destroy planets.

      Meruem is strong, probably the strongest thing in the known and unknown HxH universe. He’s probably at most mountain buster. Maybe even just city buster. Meruem can’t destroy a planet with a single attack.

      Suffice to say, Cell would punch Meruem with his pinky and probably explode Meruem body. Teenage Goku from Dragon Ball would whip Meruem.