The Chimera Ant Arc is one that seems to have a mixed reaction in the anime community at large. I, like a lot of people, love it for how it goes about its themes and ideas. There are also a number of people who find it long and tedious and I can understand why. I mean, there can be too much narration and it can be a little slow at times, but the ideas at large with the great character stuff is what sells me on it. I honestly think this arc wouldn’t work without the narration. Maybe that is a problem with how Togashi writes or how the arc itself is put together. Either way, it all works for what it does and I couldn’t imagine how the arc would work if it was written in a different way. I mean York New City is my favorite arc, but this one is pretty good too.
Now, it is impossible to cover the Chimera Ant Arc in a singular short post and I am not going to try too. I’m also not going to try to write many posts either because I am sure that other people have probably written better things, but there is one thing that gets my attention that I want to at least discuss. The concept around the darkness of humanity that has been present in Hunter X Hunter through outs its run and how the Chimera Ants sees them. Also, the way the portrayal of Chimera Ants has changed over the course of the arc too. Something which the arc needed everything it could do to complete its really interesting journey.
I find it for how all the structure and other things in anime, the Chimera Ant Arc changes and yet doesn’t at the same time. I mean, it’s always about the ants preying on humans for food and building their castle. That never changes. But the evolution of the ants is so interesting. From the classic soldier ants to them finding diversity to eventually finding their own personal ideas and thoughts, they have a very clear idea. Its the way that humanity does and doesn’t perceive the which drives them into so much. Especially with our dear protagonist Gon who has the closest thing to his father to this point, Kite, was taken away from him like a monster out of hell. How else was our simple protagonist with his very inflexible way of thinking going to take that?
The change comes from a drop of humanity, Komugi, enters the chimera ant owned capitol. A cute girl that causes all sorts of tension in there as she plays a game with the king and while the king tries to win, but constantly loses. A mind set that starts affecting all of the ants while also pushing their individuality a bit more too. The idea of them enslaving humans for food never stops, but how each of ants sees humanity does change. Especially since each guardian ants thinks the best of the human opponent they face. If not at first, possibly later when respect comes. That comes from the best hunters that could be scrounged up quickly come to face all of them. Something which eventually leads to all of their down falls.
While the ants constantly see what they perceive as the smartest and best humans out to fight them possible, they never see or am able to perceive the worst of humanity. They evolved too fast to get a complete idea for all of them. They never noticed much of the complex political system they just took over because they only saw those people as victims. When the king fought against Netero, our King just saw what he could perceive as humanity as its most refined. That’s why he never could see them doing a trick at all. The nuclear bomb, the dirty rose, was an evil that our guy never expected and it continually stacked on top of each other as King’s guard never knew about. They don’t know about nuclear blasts, they don’t know about radiation, they don’t know how cruel humanity could be so even when the ants are killing people and are strong, they are too pure for the world to really survive in it for too long.
That doesn’t mean this arc just has the cruelty of humanity in it or just the cruelty of the chimera ants at play. There are so many moments of our human cast making friends with ants that defected and all of them fighting together for one singular cause. There are plenty of moments of ants showing a lot of mercy and humanity in their own rights there too through Komugi. If anything, the complexity of humanity and the ants were still on display as we see some ants moving into the sunset or joining human communities in the end. It’s a very fun arc that does and doesn’t go in many ways one would expect it too. Not a deconstruction of anything in a shonen arc because other shonen series have faced these issues, but the issues have been pushed a bit more to the side to make them more interesting. Staying with those shonen battle ideas while changing them in their own way with the special Togashi touch.