「コノヒ×ト×コノシュンカン」 (Konohi x to x Konashunkan)
“This Day x and x This Moment”

Togashi. Koujina. Madhouse. Nothing else really need be said.

Author’s Note: Please be very careful to avoid divulging any information about upcoming events from the manga. When in doubt, don’t post it – and even if it’s remotely possible to view it as a minor spoiler, please spoiler-tag it. Thanks for your cooperation.

That really isn’t fair, creating an episode like that and expecting me to say anything meaningful about it. Not after all the ink I’ve spilled over the previous 59 episodes of this glorious, difficult, contrarian and brilliant arc. Except that calling it an “arc” doesn’t really do “Chimera Ant” justice – on its own it’s longer than most anime and many shounen manga. It stands apart – not just from shounen and from anime/manga generally (Hunter X Hunter as a whole does that) but from Hunter X Hunter. It seems to me that “Chimera Ant” is the story which saw Togashi Yoshihiro take his own limiter off and take advantage of his status and track record to try everything he might have been hesitant to try earlier in the series, or his career. And thank goodness he did – and that we had Madhouse to bring it to the screen.

If I’m not mistaken (I might well be) this is the first episode of Hunter X Hunter 2011 to forgo the OP and ED themes. Given the emotional tenor of the episode and the intensity of the content it seems entirely appropriate (I only wish Koujina had also waived the usual preview music and irreverent content, which were rather jarring arriving when they did). I don’t know whether to call this the finale of “Chimera Ant” or whether that technically comes next week, but that’s clearly going to be a postscript (that all of the main cast should be a mere postscript says something about how unpredictable and unconventional this story was) – this was the true denouement of “Chimera Ant” and it’s only right that it shouldn’t be treated like other episodes. 60-episode storylines don’t come along every day, never mind ones this historically brilliant.

Above and beyond that, I sincerely don’t think there’s much point in my adding anything. In the end “Chimera Ant” turned out not to be about suspense but fate – not about action but quiet reflection. There was no question as to how this episode was going to play out – the die has been cast for a couple of weeks. It was indeed as Eliot said, “not with a bang but a whimper” (poor Shaipouf’s end was especially ignominious – both he and Menthruyoupi died off-camera, but Pouf’s was the more forlorn and wretched). But there was so much quiet power in that whimper, so much meaning and so much feeling and so much perspective. It’s so audacious of Togashi to choose this route – to make the arch-villain the emotional protagonist in the end. To conclude not with a titanic battle, but with the slow and tragic aftermath.

There are some larger themes I could touch on here, such as the extent to which Togashi uses “Chimera Ant” as an intentional subversion of shounen tropes, and the extent to which Meruem’s spiritual journey is meant to mirror that of Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha). I don’t want to cheapen the emotional triumph by “dissecting gossamer” too much, but in my view both of those aspects are very real. There’s also the matter of “Chimera Ant” as a contemplation of the nature of humanity – one of the themes I’ve been feeling for the longest. And it’s really in Netero’s role that we see all three of these elements brought together.

We didn’t see much of Netero in this arc, and not at all over the last ten episodes for obvious reasons. But his presence is crucial, and he casts a big shadow – right up the finale, in which we see his final message and the impact it has on Beans. He underwent a spiritual journey of his own, of course, and it’s no coincidence that it was shown to us in such detail. And he climbed the shounen ladder in his battle with Meruem – bringing out every one of the Nen abilities that made him the strongest human in the world. And when that failed, resorting to sheer brutality – the worst that humanity could offer. But when the big punches and the bigger explosion couldn’t kill the big bad, Netero (and Togashi) didn’t take the “We’re gonna need a bigger boat” storytelling approach typical of shounen. Netero’s plan had already worked – we just didn’t realize it, and neither did Meruem. He was right – Netero had him at checkmate all along.

In the final analysis Meruem simply wasn’t as good at being human as Netero. Netero was no idealist – he was fully aware of the depths of humanity’s capacity for cruelty and deception, and how it manifested in himself. Netero – he of the “mind like a plant” – had a lot more experience at this than Meruem. It was a very old and supremely clever man against a very young and supremely clever child, and Netero simply saw around more corners than Meruem did. I wouldn’t say Netero was proud of what he did, but neither would he ashamed – he knows he’s the same man who relished the chance to finally go all-out and try to kill someone after holding himself back all those decades. He recognized that in himself, and acknowledged it. And he did what he thought had to be done for humanity, because he knew there was no one else who could do it.

This is a very important part of the story in “Chimera Ant”, I think. Netero wasn’t wrong in what he did – in fact, if he hadn’t done it there’s no reason to think Meruem wouldn’t have enslaved and consumed humanity for his own purposes. Meruem was simply acting for the advancement and propagation of his own species, but that ideal was incompatible with the future of humanity and Netero knew it. But once Meruem discovered the truth, there was no anger or judgment in him – only acceptance, and a desire to spend his last moments with the being he now realized he loved. Komugi was certainly responsible in-part for Meruem’s transformation – but Netero no less so. And the Royal Guard, too, as Meruem came to understand the meaning of loyalty and love. Without any of it, he would not have died as the enlightened being he was.

Siddhartha too was poisoned, and he too felt no anger towards his (accidental) poisoner. Siddhartha Gautama was a prince who lived a life of luxury where the world was at his beck and call, and seeing the suffering and pain that existed in the world changed him fundamentally. Empathy and humility are awesomely powerful agents of change, and the final moments of Meruem’s story are a study in their effects. He came to believe that his entire life’s purpose was to sit across that crate from Komugi and play Gungi – that this one moment of enlightenment was more meaningful that world domination could ever be.

Of course, staying with Meruem to the end was in effect an act of suicide for Komugi. I was curious as to whether Meruem was going to tell her this or not, but he did give her the opportunity to leave – albeit halfheartedly, as I think he knew she would never do so. There’s so much irony here – this most humble and meek of the humans he encountered changed Meruem so much, and this monster who saw Komugi only as his next disposable source of entertainment was the one who finally brought meaning and joy to her loveless and lonely existence. “Chimera Ant” turned out to be a love story in the end, on top of everything else – a musing on the power of love to assert itself even in the most hostile and unlikely places.

I don’t want to sully those final moments between Meruem and Komugi with too much analysis – they speak for themselves. That so much emotion could be generated from these characters is a testament to how “Chimera Ant” defies all convention and predictability. The first moment that really hit me hard was when Komugi said she wanted to thank the Royal Guard for saving her after Meruem deferred credit to them, and he replied “I’ll relay the message – I’ll be seeing them soon.” Her use of “Kokoriko” is a tribute to Meruem, though he’s not aware of it at first and even displays a bit of his old imperiousness. He never does beat her at Gungi, but that was never really the point. In the end their love story is one of acceptance – of the flaws in others, and of fate. It’s as purely Buddhist a moment as I’ve seen in any anime, or film for that matter – including ones about the Buddha himself. It’s a beautiful, terrible sadness – exquisitely truthful in the writing and brought to life with great care and skill.

Another interesting element in all this was Palm’s role. She knew the truth from the moment Meruem found her in Bizeff’s bunker, and he as soon as he’d seen it in her Nen. Yet she resisted, and when Meruem went to take a knee and beg her to bring him to Komugi, she tried to stop him. Why? Because part of her was now a chimera ant, and that part of her couldn’t bear to see Meruem reduced to that. It’s an acknowledgement of the trials Palm has already and will continue to endure – she’s been changed forever, and even as Meruem marvels at the beauty of her aura it’s impossible to ignore the prospect of great difficulties in her future. When she accedes, Palm has only one request – she wishes to see Meruem and Komugi’s final moments. Why? There’s the strategic reason of course – as a representative of the Hunter Association she needs to verify that Meruem has died. But the real reason is deeper and more sentimental, and it’s perfectly consistent with the Palm we’ve seen from the beginning – a beautiful soul that’s riven with instability and anger.

Well, there I’ve rambled on again as I always do with this series – my apologies, I really did mean for it to be different this time. This story isn’t over, of course, and whether you view the next episode as the end of “Chimera Ant”, an epilogue or the start of the next arc, it has a lot of ground to cover. The world of humans has been saved, but many chimera ants remain – creatures who surely have the right to make some sort of lives for themselves. And Gon has been left in a terrible state, bereft and full of self-loathing that’s so unlike him, perhaps powerless. Meruem has found peace in the end, but Gon (and Killua) must live on, and carry with them all the pain and regret they’ve accumulated on this dark journey. Even if “Chimera Ant” has often turned its gaze elsewhere it’s that journey that remains the eternal spine of Hunter X Hunter, and it too has ventured to a place where no shounen series has ever gone. On top of everything else “Chimera Ant” is the tale of the end of childhood for Gon and Killua – and as it ends, Hunter X Hunter becomes a tale of the difficult road that lies ahead for them.



ED8 Sequence

ED8: 「Understanding」 by (Yoshihisa Hirano)



  1. I never cry when watching anime but that ending almost broke me. My chest was tight, my throat was dry and I could feel the tears coming but held them in. That was a sad and beautiful ending to this arc but overall I liked this arc a lot.

    Also liked how they showed Pouf already dead xD Never liked him at all lol

  2. https://randomc.net/image/Hunter%20X%20Hunter/Hunter%20X%20Hunter%20-%20ED8%20-%20Large%2006.jpg

    I’m sure most of us noticed that the ED is (at least partly) an arrangement of the frequent “sad theme” played many times during Chimera Ant Arc.

    Ending the arc with changing it from minor chord to major chord … hard to say. I can only rise from my couch and applause.

    Now when will they sell the OST. I mean, I didn’t hear anything at all about some kind of Hunter X Hunter OST release. I must have missed something.

    (And Yowamushi Pedal’s main theme. Can’t find it anywhere.)

    1. That ED is already out.. it has been used not very much trough thr arc… its called “Understanding” you can find it on the HxH OST 3, in fact you can find 95% of the music on thr Quimera Arc on that OST

      Im happy they used it, ia one of my favorite tracka from that OST

    1. dude where even is your brain

      Komugi’s age is never stated, but she says she came up with the professional gungi move “Kokoriko” and used it to win a tournament 10 years ago

      Meruem is less then 6 months old. In fact im not even sure he’s more then 2 months old.

  3. I came to Random Curiosity the moment i finished episode 135, last night CET time. Finally your post is up. About the OP and ED you may be right, but noticing it was missing immidiately drew my attention to the show (Generally i linger through the OP).

    Wow. What drama, what crushing sadness, what pity for both Komugi and Meruem. And even for the Royal Guard whos loyalty to the king, in the end, was betrayed by Meruem. How compelling.
    You are also correct, this could very well be a standalone show in itself HxH: Chimera Ant. I could not take my eyes of the screen from start to finish. It was engrossing.

    That final scene of Meruem being supported Komugi….Yoshihiro and Madhouse, take a bow. You have created what could be one of the most enduring stories in anime.

    1. I puzzled over that myself. Presumably it’s either that he secretly switched himself out and retired in quiet anonymity, or he was ousted and secretly exiled. The former seems more likely, and I suppose it’s sort of an ironic jibe by Togashi – all the consternation about power, and the figurehead actually found true happiness by giving it all up to pet his dog and write poetry next to a cornfield.

      1. I agree with the former, since it’s not unusual for dictators and other world leaders to have doubles of themselves or others who look similar to them. Saddam Hussein was known to have many doubles (they even made a movie about his son having one). US presidents also have similar looking men come out before them during televised speeches iirc.

        a box like hippo
      2. It certainly makes sense and fits into the narrative.
        I hope they give us the full details to Netero’s public will. Ep135 made it clear the breaking news overshadowed his message.

      3. I was confused too. I think it’s meant to show that the Supreme Leader Diego we saw before, when Meruem and co. first arrived at the palace, was not actually the real Diego but a lookalike (or brother) he had replace him 30 years before this arc.

  4. I’ll leave this here:

    “, did anybody notice kokoriko(a gungi technique) means King itself? This technique try to win the game by making King piece isolate. But komugi tells him this technique is Shiro(road to death) a while ago ( ep 104). Isolated king must die. But she shows him a new tactics to save king in ep 135. It means “king doesn’t have to die”. In reality, king didin’t be killed by Netero’s nuke attack. But king counterattacked her and shows that isolated king must die after all ( by poison). Komugi finds a new counterattack and said “I’ll go with you”. King is not alone anymore. Meruem tells her he can’t win even once(He couldn’t beat kokoriko). It means Kokoriko is not shiro anymore. She saved the isolated king.

    The black screen at the end has a couple meanings The dying king has lost even his sight. His mother named him Meruemu as “Light shining on everything”. It’s stated that “His en shined into the palace as if it’s sunshine” and “He manipulated light particles to search Palm in a house” a while ago. He got a god-like light power at that moment. But black pages suggests that he doesn’t have any light now. This is a view that Komugi was seeing from the beginning. She couldn’t see any light. To her, he was just Meruem.

    After all, those pages show us that he lost everything but gained what he trully wanted. He didn’t need any soldiers, palaces, countries, power, strength, even his sight(as Komugi). He just wanted to play Gungi with Komugi.

    This is the same to her too. She had nothing besides Gungi. Nobody loved her and couldn’t play Gungi as well as she did. She was lonely Gungi King(Queen?). But she gained Meruem. That’s why she cryed when he counterattacked her new kokoriko. She once needed to create and kill tactics on Gungi by herself. But she gained the perfect opponent and can create tactics with him(I guess to create tactics suggests to create a baby as she said kokoriko is her baby.)

    The one “Light shines on everything” loved (and was loved by) was a blind girl. What a story!

    They started a new(the last) game in darkness. “1-5-1 king”. “9-5-1 king”. Then it was stopped. These two king pieces don’t go anywhere anymore. Two kings (King of living things and Gungi King) are together forever.”

    taken from: http://www.reddit.com/r/HunterXHunter/comments/28zmwj/hunter_x_hunter_episode_135_links_and_discussion/cig1p0h

  5. What brilliant writing from Togashi and amazing adaptation from Madhouse! Also, thank you Enzo for covering this arc in such detail and consistensy. I almost shed a tear, it was so sombre, so emotional. What a tragic end to an unlikely love…

  6. This episode is the one that wins awards. There’s no manipulation, just real emotion. It unfolds like a real event, and we’re left to ponder over it, and it’s in thinking that our emotions pour out.

    I cried watching this. Not uncommon for me, if a show pushes enough buttons it eventually gets a rise out of me (like Angel Beats, AnoHana, etc.) But this felt different somehow. Like the sadness here stems not from the sadness of the characters, but from the sheer tragedy of what happened.

    Also, maybe someone should’ve suggested Gadhaffi and Hussein to retire in a cornfield somewhere when they had the chance XD

  7. This is strangest, saddest, dramatic love stroy that I have ever seen and they didnt’t say anything about love. This is a couple that Fanfic writers are going to try to save for many years.

  8. Yet another brilliantly unorthodox and masterfully executed ending to a HxH arc by Togashi.

    First, it was the York Shin Arc ending that took us HxH newbies by surprise. Getting the viewer to empathize or become emotionally attached to the villains is something uncommon in fiction. How we saw the Phantom Troupe care for each other and mourn the loss of one of comrades was unique. And then in the finale, we witnessed Pakunoda sacrifice her life to tell her companions the truth. The Phantom Troupe is undeniably evil due to their indiscriminate killing and thievery. But Togashi made us have sympathy for them right at the end of the arc when we were all rooting for Gon and Kurapika.

    And then the Chimera Ant Arc. The first half was focused on the Queen and Colt. Colt who became more and more human with each human hunt and put us human viewers into a morality conundrum. We humans eat animals for our nourishment in order to live on and reproduce. This is essentially what the Chimera Ants do as well. They fed on humans to advance the existence of their race. How could we blame them or view them as evil. It was Meruem when he first entered the palace that said to the dancers, “Do you listen to the cries of the pigs and cows you slaughter?”
    However, while we viewed Colt as someone who was simply carrying out his duty and loved his mother Queen and cared for the survival of his race, we immediately viewed Meruem and his Royal Guard as the complete antithesis of that. Pure evil. From when he ripped out of his mother’s womb, to killing Peggy like he was a nuisance, to slaughtering the human farmers and the child for mere entertainment. Meruem seemed to exist without remorse or pity and motivated by greed and narcissism. So we the viewers kept on damning that villain and waited for his eventual destruction – until the appearance of Komugi. Throughout this arc, we see many Ants start to have significant personality changes (whether directly due to human influence or due to remembering their human memories). But the biggest personality change happened to the biggest villain of them all. Meruem started to learn the feeling of caring for others. After numerous games with Komugi he could not bare to be away from her for too long. And finally, after the palace invasion by the Hunters and the grave injury from Dragon Drive, Meruem fell completely devoted to Komugi’s wellbeing. By that moment, we the viewers were completely confused about our own feelings. Meruem was no longer the center of evil but turning into a better person that we relate to. Even Netero could see this himself – which is why he wanted to destroy Meruem as quickly as possible.
    By the time Meruem was destroyed, revived and remembered Komugi, he became completely human. He no longer cared about world conquest, or the fate of his race, or anything else but to be with the person he cared the most in the world.

    It’s because of story-driven and emotionally-moving plots like these that I feel Hunter x Hunter has placed itself as King of the shounen anime genre/demographic.

  9. I wish there is a spin-off in which the Ants come to a truce with humanity. Meruem becomes a professional Gungi player (forever trying to dethrone his sweetheart, the Grandmaster Komugi). Pitou becomes a doctor without borders and Youpi becomes a benevolent student of nen. Pouf the violinist still dies horribly from rehearsing the Sonata of Darkness.

    LE ROI
  10. ahh. the feels man, the feels. it has been a long journey since kiLL and Gon started in this country. many chimera ants still remains and others are finding the truth about their past lives.
    though its the ending arc, a new one will emerge. Im excited on the next arc

  11. I really can’t stop the emotions flowing,it was one of the greatest arc,if not the best I’ve ever seen.Thank you Togashi-sensei and thank you Enzo for guiding in us in this emotional journey.

  12. Nothing to say… with everything and its little flaws this arc is a MASTERPIECE… this episode was beautifuly done…this episode should win something..

    I got teared eye and everything dammit.. lol

    thanks Enzo, reading your reviews had been a good complement to understand and to get another point of view on some things on this arc, thanks again!

  13. ‘Chimera Ant’ is like double Bildungsroman about two children of light. One child loses his natural optimism and falls into the abyss of vengeance and guilt. Another child overcomes his bestial instinct and attains enlightenment.

    The negative quality of each Royal Guard might together represent the ‘Three poisons’ of Buddhism.
    Pouf and Youpi definitely fit Raga(attachment/desire/passion) and Dvesa(anger/aggression), respectively. Pitou somewhat fits Moha(ignorance/bewilderment) due to his tendency to get distracted before the invasion.

    Posthumous Triple Boss Kills for the Chairman
  14. Kudos to Madhouse for taking some initiative for that final scene and improving from the original. A fantastic adaptation for the final act of the King of the ants Meruem, his light truly shined the brightest.

  15. No Hunter x Hunter manga next week…..

    I used to think that Togashi stockpiled dozens of chapter during the two year hiatus. I hope this is just Shonen Jump trying to gauge the difference in sales in volume with HxH and without HxH.

  16. I say this again….. HxH is the Shonen that other shonen need to strive to be. Togashi is unpredictable and does 360’s on the reader. There are times where this series doesn’t feel shoneny. I adore Yu Yu Hakusho, but I adore this series even more. Take notes Kubo and Kishi and any other low level shonen jump writers…THIS IS HOW YOU WRITE SHONEN!

    Corey lucas
  17. After a great period of constant episode superation, with great art, narration and more than physical fights we had great psychological fights!

    We could see the emotions (fears and expectation) from both sides and we also saw the ants human side.

    I would prefer that our King Meruem to be defeated in combat and not with a chemical weapon from the real world.

    The end of the ants arc was a little antt-climax, but it was a great arc from MadHouse Studio congrats!

    Visit inAnimeShadow

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