As morbid as it sounds, I’m honestly glad for all the scenes where the bad guys kill innocents and second-string Hunters. Yes, my heart sank for the brother and sister who were devoured by the Chimera soldiers. Yes, I cringed when they tore apart the gal with the beehive hat.
So… why would I say something so cold hearted?
Because it means the show actually has stakes, now. It’s not just one long training exercise (as it was during the “Hunter Exams,” “Heaven’s Arena” and “Greed Island” arcs), nor is it a convoluted dance with the various blackhats with no immediate aim to actually, you know, stop them (which was what “York New” more-or-less boiled down to).
Since YU YU HAKUSHO kept up an almost non-step level of tension, I can understand why Togashi would want to take edge off for a while and present adventure without any dire consequences. However, you can only play along with that for so long before it gets… dull.
The Chimera Ant Queen is evil incarnate. Her minions pose a formidable, ruthless threat to pro Hunters. Gon and Killua must head straight into a dangerous situation, where the clock’s ticking for all the innocent bystanders, and there’s a very real threat that nobody’s getting out alive. That’s drama I can get behind.
Again, this really seems less like Togashi fulfilling some long-ball plan to ‘age up’ the series and more like him just fitting another new premise under the broad HxH umbrella (instead of starting a new series). I mean, that one A-Side about the leader’s abused upbringing is so jarringly removed from everything that’s come before, it literally feels like it’s from a different show.
I’d place good money on Togashi getting the idea for this after catching ALIENS on TV (much like DBZ obviously started with Toriyama watching SUPERMAN II), but it also seems to have the strain of tokusatsu. The Chimera Queen has this wavering cadence that seems to be derived from traditional Japanese theater. The Witch Bandora in KYORYU SENTAI ZYURANGER spoke the same way, and there are some strong parallels in the way they both churn out this varied menagerie of bizarre beasts.
The major difference, of course, is that the Chimera aren’t taking any prisoners from the onset. So, yeah… 80 episodes in, and we’re finally past the set-up, baby!
Watch "Reunion × And × Understanding" and "Unease × And × Sighting" and "Very × Rapid × Reproduction" and "No × Good × NGL" and "Evil × And × Terrible" and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode.
About the Author
|Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - tompinchuk.com - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk|