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Recap / Hunter Hunter Chimera Ant Arc

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  • All Your Powers Combined:
    • Averted. While the Chimera Ant Squadron Leader Leol can conditionally steal other users Nen abilities, he has to see the ability first and then stores them in his mp3, which prints a little receipt that he then rips apart, allowing him to perform the ability once for one hour. However, he cannot use the ability if the subject has died, and he needs to do a "favour" to said person before being able to use the skill.
    • A straight example would be the Chimera Ant King, who gains the ability to use Pouf's spiritual message and Youpi's transforming and rage based explosions after consuming a large portion of their bodies.
  • Alternate Character Reading: During the climax of the arc, at the end of Netero and Meruem’s battle, a dying Netero tells Meruem that he knows nothing of humanity's "infinite potential for evolution/malice"; the manga renders the word "evolution" (進化) above "malice" (悪意), implying that the word is meant to be read out loud as "evolution" with the hidden meaning of "malice", as is appropriate for the context of the scene. As such, the word that's spoken out loud in the anime adaptation is "evolution", while the "malice" part is implied via the context and dark, haunting visuals. Interestingly, the English dub chose to use "malice" as the spoken word instead ("You know nothing of the bottomless malice within the human heart").
  • An Arm and a Leg: Occurs several times over the course of this arc:
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    • Kite loses an arm when Neferpitou attacks him after jumping at him from miles away.
    • The Chimera ant King attempts to use a life or death game to unnerve his opponent and has it back fire and make him feel like he was the one lacking life and death resolve. To apologize for trying to use this tactic, he rips off his own arm to the horror of everyone.
    • Meruem easily cuts off one of Netero's legs and arm, showing just how outmatched Netero was.
    • Main character Gon loses an arm when Neferpitou's Nen-animated corpse lunges at his back while he's distracted. Without missing a beat, Gon pinned the corpse down using his own torn off arm.
  • Award-Bait Song: The fourth ending of the 2011 anime, Nagareboshi Kirai, which takes place during the emotionally-heavy Chimera Ant arc and has a much more low-key sound than the previous three ending themes.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
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    • Welfin's Nen ability consists of him triggering four missiles mounted on a band around his waist. Though it's fearsome looking, Welfin has to ask three questions for the missiles to actually shoot and seek their target. If the questions do not satisfy Welfin's conditions, the missiles would be shot and explode, but it doesn't work if Welfin is not able to ask the questions or if the target moves from the location in which Welfin estimates they are, meaning that they won't work blindly. As such, the ability is mostly for show.
    • Cheetu has this very tendency with everything he comes up with, which is shown when he traps Morel in a conditioned Nen room that requires Morel to catch Cheetu to be able to escape. Morel quickly realizes that the Nen conditions for the imprisonment made by Cheetu have huge logical gaps, meaning he doesn't actually have to pursue Cheetu to catch him or that Cheetu cannot actually attack him if he doesn't want him to leave, so he sits the whole way through, playing with Cheetu's impatience. Eventually, Morel is able to trick Cheetu by using his smoke.
      • Cheetu spontaneously creates an ability while keeping Morel imprisoned which consists of a crossbow on his right arm. Though Morel is impressed at his coming with a weapon on the spot, he wonders why Cheetu would need a weapon that’s slower than Cheetu’s innate abilities. Frustrated with this quandary, Cheetu lets Morel leave.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Played with, as Killua and Palm annoy the hell out of each other and were more than ready to come to blows, but they come to admit that they are valuable friends for the sake of Gon.
  • Back for the Dead: Pokkle and Ponzu from the first Hunter Exam return in the Chimera Ant arc only to be brutally killed by the ants soon after.
  • Blind and the Beast: The Chimera Ant King and Komugi.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Chimera Ants enter this territory from time to time, as well. Although most of the ants are evil and some are good, the king, Meruem, is a master of this trope. All the experiences he goes through continually shape his moral code which fluctuates wildly through the arc, turning him from what appears to be a Cell ripoff into one of the most deep and interesting villains in Shonen manga. And yet he always seems to have his code stuck somewhere in the Blue and Orange territory, possibly due to the mental divide he faces between his ant personality and human nature.
  • Breather Episode: Surprisingly, the Villain Episode with the Phantom Troupe (Chapters 224-229/Episodes 96-97) is this. While its placement is early enough to not be in the darkest parts of the arc, it still manages to lighten the mood after the horrific content we've seen, with its campy Monster of the Week, being more action packed, and the lack of tension compared to what else is going on in the Arc.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Netero stops his own heart to activate a bomb inside of his body in the hopes of killing Meruem. He nearly succeeds, but two of Meruem's Royal Guard heal him soon after...though it turns out the bomb was made with poison powerful enough to kill Meruem and anyone who comes into contact with him for too long.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: Meruem is able to strengthen his aura by devouring active users of Nen.
  • Cartesian Karma: Possibly subverted when one of the side characters gets kidnapped by the ants, brainwashed and altered to be one of them. She eventually comes to her senses, and as Killua points out, Gon's not one to judge and the Hunter organization isn't going to persecute her just because she's now a chimera ant.
    • Also it's a pivotal point played straight with Gon. Blinded by his rage, he activates a technique that allows him to rapidly age/grow and defeat an enemy vastly superior to himself. Unfortunately after calming down, he's still mutated and puts himself on the brink of death.
    • Also his teacher and role-model Kaito, who is made into a living rag doll for the ants to manipulate that Gon desperately wishes to bring back. The realization that he can't do so, and Kaito truly is 'dead' is what pushes Gon into the transformation alluded to above.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Komugi is the best Gungi player alive by a large margin, but this has left her severely lacking in all other aspects of her life; she is timid, fragile and borderline stupid. As she argues, playing Gungi is the only thing that prevents her from being either destitute or even dead.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Gon vs. Pitou.
  • Darker and Edgier: The darkest arc in the series to date, and arguably darker than most shonen stories in general.
  • The Darkness Before Death: Meruem ends up suffering from radiation poisoning in the aftermath of barely surviving a Fantastic Nuke. After recovering his memory and remembering the existence of Komugi, a little girl who was the key towards his character development, he seeks her out in order to enjoy playing games with her until he finally succumbs. He explains to her that the poisoning is highly contagious, and Komugi will pass away soon as well. She is happy to be with him, so she doesn't mind. It is implied that his vision began to fade, as every few seconds he would ask:
    Meruem: Komugi, are you there?
  • Ditch the Bodyguards: Meruem’s Third Act Stupidity undermines his own guards on several occasions:
    • He behaves like a spoiled child and complains that Neferpitou’s aura is grinding on his nerves (so could Neferpitou please disable it inside the castle?);
    • He tears his own arm off so Neferpitou has to stitch it back together, doing which makes her disable her all-seeing aura for several crucially important hours;
    • He directly orders Neferpitou to stay in a fixed position away from him when two top-level assassins arrive to kill him, and willingly leaves the other two of his royal guards.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: After his memory loss Meruem also gains some addition abilities. To stretch the plot suspense a little longer, he agrees to enter a contest of sorts with his royal guards and not use these abilities too often. Same with how he wasn’t inclined to attack Netero at first.
  • Eleventh Hour Super Power: Gon transforming into Adult Gon right after Pitou tells him they are going to kill him. Not that Gon was listening to Pitou.
  • Ensemble Cast: The arc doesn't seem to have a focus on any singular protagonist. The story shifts between multiple characters at a time, including Gon, Killua, multiple members of the Hunter Organization, and even the Ants themselves.
  • Ephebophile: 22-year-old Palm Siberia and 12-year-old Gon Freecss go on a date, much to Killua's horror. It doesn't end well.
    • When Killua asks Gon whether he has been on a date before, Gon tells him that while on Whale Island, he was taken out by passerby women from docking ships as an escort and that they "taught him things", much to Killua's surprise.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The very reason Colt betrays the Chimera Ant King. As such, Colt retains the memories of a human boy that was tasked by his own mother to protect his sister Reina. This is why Colt tries to preserve the Queen's legacy and structure, albeit unsuccessfully, not only as her son, but as her second-in-command too.
  • Evil Luddite: The citizens of Neo-Green Life reject any technology newer than agriculture. While they seem to do this because they feel strongly about preserving nature, their extreme take on the ideology is quickly shown to be impractical and dangerous—having medical implants is a capital offense, and no one in NGL would try to stop an epidemic, for example. The country's founder is later revealed to have created NGL because he had a hellish upbringing and wanted to ruin other people's lives on a grand scale.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Many of the combatants during the assault on Meruem’s castle are top-level fighters and used to operating at scales of minutes, if not seconds and microseconds. So there happens so much during the opening moments of the battle that entire episodes are required to convey it all.
  • Face Death with Dignity: The Chimera Ant King and Komugi.
  • Fictional Document: During the epilogue of the Chimera Ant arc, there is a peculiar scene where Ming Jol-ik (the real one, not the body double who was killed by Meruem in the story) quotes a profound speech cited as being from a book called "The Creature Called Man" (published by "Minmei Publishing") by one "Masao Kikuchi". The very high-level Japanese used in the speech combined with the strangely specific citations given seems to suggest that it's taken from some piece of obscure Japanese literature, but no such book, author or publisher seems to exist in real life or the series' world, suggesting that the prose was written by Togashi who used "Masao Kikuchi" as a pen name of sorts. This is also a Shout-Out to Sakigake!! Otokojuku which quotes fictional books from the very same "Minmei Publishing" in a similar way.
  • Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the raid on the Chimera Ant Palace in East Gorteau, Morel decides to test Gon and see if he's really able to come onto the team. Gon then thinks of Kite's butchering at Pitou's hands and gives an extremely unnerving Death Glare, before powering up one of the most devastating Ja-Janken's seen yet. This is a major hint that Gon is not mentally well during this arc, and it further hints at the fact that Gon's hate for Pitou will give him immense power.
  • Godzilla Threshold: The Hunter Association did view the Chimera Ants as an existential threat to all mankind (with good reason), so they resolved to use a weapon who's production is banned by an international treaty and called the "ultimate evil" by Palm Sbieria: The "Poor Man's Rose", the Hunter x Hunter universe's equivalent of a nuclear weapon, but in some aspects even more insidious: It is cheap, easy to produce, very compact, can be mass-produced fast and not only causes a big explosion, it also poisons the survivors and lets them even infect others. It is so compact or at least can be built compact enough to be implanted into people: Netero had a Poor Man's Rose with a fail-deadly trigger implanted into his body before going to battle against the ants. When he fought against Meruem the Ant king and saw that he wouldn't be strong enough to defeat him, he killed himself by stopping his heart, triggered the explosion, and mortally wounded the king. Even though he was restored to apparent health by his guard, he and the two guards died of the poison a few hours later.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: In Neferpitou’s and Meruem’s cases, the sheer intensity and strength of their aura can be so overwhelming for a regular Nen-user, that even a momentary exposure to it can have severe permanent psychological and physiological consequences. Knov, for instance, who was specifically picked up for the highest-threat and highest-difficulty level mission against Chimera Ants, became almost completely demoralised after seeing just the brink of Neferpitou’s aura at close range and soon after lost almost all hair on his head. Similarly, Welfin rapidly aged and his fur fell out when he felt the King’s killing intent focused on him.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Chimera Queen absorbs the DNA of anything she eats and gives birth to hybrid children, and the Chimera King can mate with the female of any species and turn her into a Chimera Queen.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly cruel one during the Chimera Ant arc: after Neferpitou attacks Kite and Killua chooses to knock Gon out and run away, he's deeply troubled over whether or not that was the right choice. In one of the most heartwarming moments of the series, Gon cheers Killua up by assuring him that everything is fine because Kite would never lose to someone like that. The next scene shows the aftermath of the battle. Pitou is relaxing by a tree and strokes Kite's severed head on their lap.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: Chimera Ants, though they're more intelligent and not aliens.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: And yet the better human qualities, like the ability to learn and change, and the ability to express empathy for others is ultimately what shines through in a lot of cases. By the end, not a single malicious ant is left alive, and even the morally ambiguous ones are looking for a positive goal in life.
  • Human Resources: The Chimera Ants prefer humans as fodder.
  • Humans Are Bastards: A recurring theme near the end of the Chimera Ant arc, that humans can be just as ruthless and horrible as the ants. Especially when they break out the "Rose." Even then, it's possible to interpret the message that humans are at the top of the food chain because of our capacity for horrible things, and that it's through doing these horrible things that we evolve as a species. It's no coincidence that Meureum isn't defeated through brute human strength, but rather a nuclear detonation and it's subsequent radiation poisoning- what one could potentially argue as being one humanity's greatest weapons of all time, one powerful enough to subvert any individual's personal strength.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: The true Supreme Leader of East Gorteau was not revolutionary leader Diego Masadoru/Ming Jol-ik, but a body double. Unlike other examples of this trope, the real Diego/Ming is still alive, having retired to live peacefully and anonymously shortly after the revolution, and gets a single short scene towards the end of the Chimera Ant arc.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The Chimera Ants.
  • Interspecies Romance: Meruem and Komugi, it was being subtly developed along the Chimera Ants arc, mostly one-sided by Meruem's infatuation with Komugi, although in the arc's climax/closure it was developed into a mutual relationship.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: While HXH has largely averted this use of the trope (see its entry on the page for more details), this arc is closest the series has gotten to utilizing this trope in a more straightforward manner. The arc begins with low-level grunt soldiers who are easily dispatched. Then they learn about and develop their own nen, and while Gon, Killua, and Kite have little trouble with them, they begin posing more of a threat to the NGL as they feed more citizens to the Queen. The heroes start really having trouble when the Royal Guards are born, as they quickly overpower Kite and force Gon and Killua to retreat and getting the higher ranks of the Hunter Organization involved. Finally, the King is born, who winds up becoming the most powerful character in the series and poses a threat to the world at large.
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