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Hunter X Hunter 2011 Episode 77: A Threat to the Species
In Hunter X Hunter 2011 Episode 77 titled “Unease and Sighting”, Gon and Killua help Kite and his team track down a mysterious creature believed to be a giant chimera ant, but unbeknownst to them, the ant they track is already becoming a great threat to the entirety of the human species.
Hunter X Hunter gives its best in this arc: presenting a complex, pseudo-scientifically explained species of animal as the next antagonist of the series, just as Kite’s team is on the track of the species’ matriarch. Gon and Killua join Kite’s small team, much to the team’s excitement, seeing Gon is Ging’s son and Killua is a Zoldyck (not to mention they’re both pro hunters). As the team track down a mysterious creature that appears to be a gigantic chimera ant, Kite reveals just how unique the species is, managing to pass on the genes of its prey to its next generation. Killua voices out Kite’s concern: a chimera ant of the size that they’re after can easily devour a human being. Worse, using the unique reproduction method called phagogenesis, the next generation of ants would then have human genes, making them equal or perhaps superior to humans. Far away from where Kite’s team tries to track down the ant, the giant chimera ant Queen is already busy collecting her now favorite food: humans. She has already given birth to a soldier ant with human genes, and will soon hatch more powerful soldiers and find a more suitable nest from where she can safely give birth to the King.
While the episode can be summarized quickly, its depth lies in the nuances that hint on how far this new arc will go. First, the unique animals of the Hunter X Hunter universe haven’t been a focus of attention of the series until now. In the manga and the 1999 series, the animals were noteworthy for how strange they were – Gon had a kitsuneguma (foxbear) friend back at home in Whale Island, the one he adopted after Kite had to kill its mother when Gon strayed into their territory. In the Hunter Exams, in one strange phase of the exam dangerous animals took out a majority of the exam candidates, and Gon, Leorio, and Kurapica made good friends with a group of magical beasts that can speak and morph into human form. The Hunter X Hunter universe is rife with unique and startlingly powerful species animals, and chimera ant is perhaps the most dangerous. Another nuance hinted on how potentially violent this arc can become. The 9-year old Kurt and his younger sister Reina – mere children – were served up to the queen and devoured. There will be no lack of blood in this arc.
If we take a closer look at the new opening sequence, we can see the types of soldier ants the queen will hatch, and we can even see Chairman Netero having a role to play in the events to unfold. If the Chairman of the Hunter Association himself – one of the most powerful Nen users in the Hunter X Hunter world – needs to get involved, it’s exciting to think just how big the fights will be. The Hunter X Hunter series is more than just the big shounen fights, however, and also delves deep into character development. We’ll see how Madhouse handles this facet of the series as the arc progresses. So far, the arc is building up quite well just two episodes in – a good precursor of things to come. [by G Dino]