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Shingeki no Kyojin may be getting a lot of attention as the dark shonen action series of the season, but Hunter x Hunter does a good job in reminding us that it came first.
The Chimera Ant arc is well underway for Hunter x Hunter and it's bringing us back to what made the series famous; the dark plot. The same one which established the series as a breakaway from the plethora of Shonen Jump series centred around "Friendship, Effort, Victory." Things have gotten pretty desperate since the Greed Island arc to say the least.
First half of the episode, we focused on Gyro. As we learn, Gyro is a poor soul who was used by his father for economic means and was tossed aside when he was in need. Gyro exemplifies one of Hunter x Hunter's central themes: humans can be utter scum. I use the word "can" because we also have contrasts whenever Gon and Killua are together, but in this case we're back to looking at humans like the self-serving animals we are and it comes at such an appropriate time.
Chimera Ants have been undergoing a change from the start. Initially introduced as regular ants serving a queen with no questions asked, they've been breaking away from the animal instinct and becoming more individual and, in turn, self-serving creatures like the humans. We've seen this start with the squadron leaders naming themselves and now as we see them not adhering to the rules of the colony. Gyro's tale might just be the cautionary tale of humanity's ugliness and the fall that ensues, so the ants better watch out.
The transformation of the ants continues on more than just a physical level. Colt's outburst about saving Rena is a good example, and hints to them inheriting more than just the muscles and abilities of the humans the ants ingest. Emotions, ideology and morals could be penetrating these ants who carry human DNA and that'll undoubtedly have bigger implications later on in the story.
Going back to the despair, we're back to seeing Hunter x Hunter kill off a good number of characters. Pokkle's crew comes under fire first and all of them meet the unfortunate fate of death, the most brutal of which was Ponzu's. Say whatever you will about the death - truly brutal is all I can say - what it does is prove this arc won't be for the faint of heart.
Hunter x Hunter (2011) Episode 81 Preview
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