(Warning: This post contain some spoiler to the Chimera Ant story arc of Hunter x Hunter
Just a few months ago, I’ve finally finished watching the entirety of Chimera Ant story arc in Hunter x Hunter. On the whole, I can definitely see the reason for why so many people praises what it seems to be one of the most ambitious story arc that has ever been told in any anime, despite the fact I didn’t quite connect to the arc emotionally. Granted, I’m not exactly a big fan on how the series decided to narrate every single thoughts and action character go through in a way to create tension, but there’s also on the fact that I………secretly wanted to hate this arc. But that’s a whole different story for another time.
The arc itself has quite many greatly executed dramatic moments. Killua’s breakdown, Meruem’s forgiveness, Meruem last moment with Komugi, Reina’s return. But if have to say the one that’s really impressed me the most however, is Gon’s downfall on episode 131.
The idea of a shounen protagonist fell into the dark side in order to obtain more power is nothing new to the genre (off the top of my head, Naruto’s Kyuubi trans, Ichigo’s Bleach hollowfication, Kazuki’s Busou Renki Black Kakugane trans), but what made’s Gon ‘turn’ effective is on the way the series constructed it as a tragedy, while also reflecting the arc’s overarching theme of human condition (it’s dark side on this case), which is the core reasons why that moment stood out for me the most.
Gon’s transformation isn’t just simply one horrible moment that he did on impulse, but it was a top bottom of his gradual descent to inhumanity. The start of his darkness was when he found out about what Pitou has done to his respected mentor, Kite. It begins with his off hand remark on how he’ll kill all the ants during his first conversation with Meleoron. When he finally confront Pitou, Gon lose it, but even more infuriated over the act of empathy displayed from whom should’ve been a mere monster in his eyes, causing him to have no one for his anger to lash out on.
He became more and more determined with his personal quest to the point of obsession, ignoring every help his friends reached out to him, sacrificing a blind helpless girl if its necessary. Finally, he breakdown over the realization that his friend couldn’t be helped anymore all the while arguing with himself on who to blamed on.
But of course, a good build up means nothing if the finishing can’t keep up to it. Thankfully, Madhouse pour their resource to the climax of Gon’s arc, the episode 131. The direction, the visual, and the sound design all working together and perfectly.
As he noticed Pitou is trying to kill him, Gon, alone and loss purpose for why he’d come so far, trade ‘everything’ to attain power, transforming him to an adult version of himself to kill Pitou. The sequences begins with a silence, but slowly, haunting chant begins to play as dark aura surrounds Gon. The aura obscures Gon’s transformed appearance while only showing his distorted ink-like figure and face with no facial feature other than a pair of white eyes. After finally killing Pitou, Killua arrived, shocked over what have Gon turned into, while Gon himself looked upon his form, letting out tears.
When Pitou was revealed to still be alive and took Gon’s arm, Gon had a final conversation with Killua, comforting him that everything is alright. The whole sequence is portrayed with white and black color scheme with only piano version of the arc’s ed accompany it while everything else is silence. As Gon finished Pitou once and for all, a bright light engulf him, the camera honed on his face as he let out tears, realizing for what he becomes.