Review: Hunter X Hunter Part 5 (Eps 119-148) (Blu-Ray)

The fight against the Chimera Ant King and his Royal Guards continues, with the extermination team scattered throughout the Chimera Ants’ headquarters while far away the battle between Chairman Netero of the Hunter Association and the King begins in earnest. Having cornered Neferpitou, Gon reluctantly agrees to give him an hour to heal Komugi, a young woman important to the King who was wounded in the attack on the headquarters, if Neferpitou accompanies Gon to restore Kite. But as Gon waits, the battles outside wage on and the extermination team desperately tries to adapt as the Royal Guards seek to protect their King using any means necessary.

Hunter X Hunter Part 5 contains the final episodes of the 2011 Hunter X Hunter series, covering the last episodes of the vast Chimera Ant arc and the entirety of the Election arc (also see my reviews of Hunter X Hunter Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4). These two arcs both act as excellent points of closure – bringing an end to the 61-episode long Chimera Ant arc, and more broadly the Hunter X Hunter anime series in general which reaches its conclusion under the auspices of the Election arc. In true Hunter X Hunter fashion, these episodes expertly navigate the tricky leap from one complete arc to the next, carrying the actions and consequences from one into the other and bringing everything back to the beginning – Gon’s mission to find his father, Ging. Though Hunter X Hunter Part 5 is by design a part of the series focused on endings, it continues to make room for its characters and story to grow and twist, often taking routes that can be both entirely unpredictable and intensely satisfying, even up to its final episodes.

The final episodes of the Chimera Ant arc continue to impress and escalate the ongoing attack on the Chimera Ant headquarters by the extermination team. With such a large cast of Hunters and Chimera Ants involved in the attack, the episodes jump focus throughout these episodes to characters on both sides of the conflict, and like Part 4, continues to prioritise focusing episodes equally between new and existing characters. This allows for the desires and ambitions of the different Chimera Ants to unfold and shows the continuous struggle of the extermination team to simply stay alive. A fun example of this are the episodes detailing the confrontation between octopus Chimera Ant Ikalgo (now working for the extermination team) and his confrontation with the Chimera Ants Bloster and Welfin. These episodes include some really fun strategic thinking, involving various security doors and an elevator, and follow Ikalgo as he tries to evade capture and search for Palm, who has been missing since infiltrating the headquarters. The episodes give the characters a lot of time to carry out their plans and try and outwit each other, giving the audience a really solid understanding of these characters and their goals, while also maintaining the tense atmosphere pervading the entire invasion of the headquarters. The chaos of the different parties fighting, hiding and scheming across the headquarters makes for a lot of fun confrontations, and it all comes together to form a cohesive picture of an intense, chaotic couple of hours as the night unfolds and advantages shift and change.

Something that felt very refreshing about the Chimera Ant arc as a whole and in its conclusion was that it continuously subverted expectations in a really natural and satisfying way. Gon’s decision to focus exclusively on Neferpitou because of his fervent desire to fix Kite means he is missing in action for a lot of the large-scale conflicts happening at the headquarters, but this is still a really interesting direction that emphasises his obsession with fixing Kite and what lengths he will go to in order to achieve that goal – and results in major consequences for various characters. Netero and the King’s battle is also a particularly interesting case of subversion, as the decisions that take place in that fight initially feel meaningless, but come back in a really significant way that is not immediately obvious. The pay-off of this encounter results in a really interesting set of choices that leads to the Chimera Ant arc finale, and plays with the traditional concept of sacrifice while providing a really interesting de-escalation of the conflict taking place. As a whole, the Hunter X Hunter series is a really interesting subversion of the shonen fight anime as its approach to conflict resolution is often rooted in strategy, puzzle-solving or really interesting character choices rather than pure contests of strength. This is true for the Chimera Ant arc finale, which is a great example of how a major story conflict does not have to be resolved by a world-ending battle, but rather dissolved based on a culmination of choices made by every character involved in the conflict – the choices of Gon, Killua, Netero, the King, the Royal Guards, Komugi, the Chimera Ant soldiers and each member of the extermination squad are all significant to the ultimate ending of the finale, and is one of the most satisfying story culminations I’ve seen in quite some time.

Following the Chimera Ant arc finale, the Hunter Organization comes together to cast their votes on an important decision and Killua must return home to confront the Zoldyck family and seek help from a figure from his past. The Election arc is return to normalcy of sorts and gives the audience room to breathe after the intensity of the Chimera Ant arc finale, while also dealing with the fallout of the decisions from that arc. As one of the shorter arcs in the series, it is a solid set of episodes that acts as a return to simpler Hunter X Hunter storylines, and reminds the audience of the initial purpose of the series – Gon’s mission to find his father. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this arc was the return of characters that have been missing in action from the series for quite a while like Leorio and Hisoka, and with all the hunters gathered in one place it was fun to pick out familiar faces that had made appearances throughout the show, and it was a great way to bring the series to a close.

Hunter X Hunter Part 5 has a significant role to play as it wraps up the final episodes in the Hunter X Hunter series, and it doesn’t waver in its journey towards the show’s conclusion – it bounds and leaps towards it with all the energy and excitement that has been present since the very first episodes of the series. Having finished the complete series, it is easy to see why Hunter X Hunter is widely considered a part of the pantheon of beloved shonen titles. I implore anyone who hasn’t seen Hunter X Hunter and is looking for a really good series to throw themselves into, to make watching this show a priority.

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A review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment to the author for the purpose of this review.

POT (Yoshihiro Togashi) 1998-2011 ©VAP・NTV・Madhouse