This whole episode, good lord. Even people like myself who are new to all this knew the Chimera Ant King would be a force to be reckoned with, but god damn. That birthing scene alone would have been enough to tell anyone not to fuck with this dude. This arc has traded a lot in horror imagery and presentation, particularly where the ants themselves are concerned, but the King’s birth is definitely up there with Neferpitou fiddling with Pokkel’s brain as the most capital H Horror scene in this arc so far. (It’s also kind of a hilariously dark, “No, fuck YOU, mom!” moment when the King silences the Queen before punching his way out of her birth sac.) Just, man, the King tearing his way through that sac with all the pulsating veins while the Queen writhes in pain … ugh, oh my god. Fucking horrifying.
Though, to be honest, I also couldn’t help but laugh while seeing these ridiculous Chimera Ants like the basketballigator running like crazy to the scene of the birth. Togashi is a weird dude.
But, no, the King doesn’t stop there; he has to whack the hell out of his minions to establish dominance, because fuck those guys, who are they? I knew Peggy was marked for death as soon as he dashed toward the Queen — no arrogant monarch can stand attention drifting away from him for even a second — but the suddenness and impact of that strike is still terrifying. From a benign penguin professor one moment to decapitated corpse the next. Peggy, you were a penguin among Ants. ;_;7 And of course turtle dude was destined to die for being a brown noser. Kings like to have their orders followed to the letter, man. If he asks Colt to wipe the blood off his tail, then damn it, Colt is the one who’s going to do that shit. Don’t be a hero and try to score points with the King.
The true “You know — for KIDS!” moment is pretty easy to spot. Watching this episode back-to-back with the Hunter x Hunter movie (which I’ll try to write about tomorrow, though I promise nothing) is a bit morbidly funny, just because there are explicit scenes of child murder in both. (OK, maybe it’s not that funny. Or maybe I’m just an asshole. Also, I suppose the scene in this episode is none too explicit, since it’s all left to the viewer’s imagination.) I did wonder why in the hell this family hasn’t ditched this place yet, but then I remembered NGL’s complete lack of technology, so they probably didn’t know horrible monsters are roaming the land and munching on people. Anyone who could have told them about that is already dead. And now they’re dead. This is what happens when you live totally off the land — evil monsters decapitate you and stab your child through the heart. Lesson learned.
And, Christ, the tension during the scene when the King whacks Neferpitou across the face for assuming the King’s ignorance about Nen. The Royal Guard has pledged total devotion to the King, and I suppose that works as a test of that loyalty. No reaction at all and the King actually admits respect for Neferpitou for surviving an intended killing blow. If anyone were to be loyal to the King, I suppose it would be those who could actually stand up to him a bit. Man, actually conceiving of how anyone could actually defeat him is wrecking my mind, though. Presumably, the King is stronger than Neferpitou, or at the very least will be stronger eventually. Netero took one look at Neferpitou and was like, “… Huh.” I feel like shenanigans are on the way in some form, but who knows. That might be my recent experience with Yu Yu Hakusho talking (where there are shenanigans aplenty).
And the sad cherry on top of everything else in this episode. This whole scene is fantastic. I love how the viewer can tell the context of the scene immediately. One look at the creature on Gon’s shoulder, and you know he lost his bout against Knuckle. And if Gon lost, then Killua definitely lost, too. Then poor Gon’s optimism finally being broken a bit as he has to confront not being strong enough even after putting his whole heart into training to battle Knuckle and rescue Kite … the saddest, man, the saddest. ;-; Such a low point for Killua, too, who yet again doesn’t believe himself a worthy companion for Gon. All he thinks he can do is protect Gon for that one month Gon can’t use Nen, and then … he’s gone. Too bleak. Something’s going to give, though. I don’t believe Killua will simply leave Gon forever, even if he thinks it’s for the best. Something has to happen during that month.