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Translations: Bleach 600 (2)
I enjoyed a lot the whole growth of Meruem with Komugi
Kaito said that the birth of the king was meant to find a mate and produce a new queen. I think his purpose was to find love and that is more or less what he did.
It's amazing how he keeps doing this sort of chapters. In a shounen battle manga he has managed to produce such high class chapters filled with one emotion shared by two people. He's clearly a genius, If Komugi dies with the king that would be a masterpiece.
It's weird. Many of you seem to see Meruem's and Komugi's relationship as a romantic one. It doesn't seem like that to me. I always saw it as a form of friendship or companionship or something like that. I believe Meruem would treat Komugi the same way even if she were a boy (and no, I am not talking about boy love). I wonder who's right
Was that spoiler picture about that blonde haired man in the chapter somewhere?
I do not understand the rules, goals and moves of this board game that they are playing but I could still get all the dramatic and emotional moment of this chapter. Nice way to end the arc now lets get back to Gon and Kilua
It's pretty clear Komugi and Meryem are playing at a level far beyond human comprehension and if this was say, Chess, it'd be totally unbelieveable because everyone knows Togashi isn't exactly a grandmaster Chess player in real life, and again you're talking about two characters that can probably beat a grandmaster Chess equivalent level player in their sleep here. I got the feeling the two major moves played here (the moves after the move that is supposed to be checkmate) are all supposed to be "Hand of God" caliber play. That is, if Komugi was playing anyone but Meryem she would've already won with the first move she played, and likewise Meryem would've won in one move against anybody besides Komugi.
---------- Post added at 04:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 03:41 PM ----------
One thing I thought was strange was Meryem's reflection on the Royals. Clearly he views them as valuable, family-like members, but the only thing he ever said that was nice about Pufu and Yupi is that they taste great as a meal. I get that he values their loyalty, but Pufu and Yupi were plotting behind his back to get Komugi killed, and presumably he has to be aware of that with his godlike powers. He certainly didn't show any regret when he heard the news of the Royals dying (or even reacted at all for Pufu or Pitou). There's a reason why the fake HXH infos always has Pufu betraying the Royals, because he really hasn't been treated well by his King. Of course the Royals' loyalty turns out to be unshakeable, but I don't really think Meryem can look at himself and said "I treated my men well", especially not Pufu or Yupi. I don't think it's his fault, since Pufu was constantly plotting behind his back, but I really don't see how he could reflect on the Royals as if he actually got along with them back when they were alive, when he pretty much just slapped them around the whole time.
read the note on the bottom panel. also there are little hints eg Komugi blushing.
It must be easy if everything that doesn't make sense can be explained by imagination.
Meryem has already thought found the answer to why he exists all the way back here:
It's actually hard to tell what he decided was his true purpose, but since he never gets bored playing Gungi, it can be inferred whatever he decided, his purpose wasn't to become the best Gungi player ever.
Meryem takes his purpose very seriously, as seen here, where he basically credits his power as the result of the sacrifice of his race:
Further, this is not a story about a guy who missed out the good things in life due to duty. He has been shown to be able to enjoy life while carrying out his purpose at life. In fact, right after he decided whatever boring destiny he is supposed to fulfill, he went to Komugi's room to continue playing Gungi! He can play Gungi with an arm missing while still bleeding! His purpose in no way is a hinderance to his enjoyment of Gungi.
There's a large difference between "I was born for this" and "This is what I enjoy the most." Nobody doubts Meryem enjoys Gungi far more than conquest, but he has always shown that he must lead the Ants because it's his duty. Again, given his ability, it's not even a burden anyway. If there is no Rose, Meryem will be hearing the news of how his army steamrolled rest of the world while playing Gungi with Komugi.
The Viz translation of the king's catharsis in chapter 261 helps alleviate some of the ambiguity generated by the scanlations, consequence of subtle changes made both in the delivery of his lines and the direction of his words. He muses to himself that his is a borrowed castle; and he identifies his subjects as "mindless drones"--comments that are delivered in powerfully curt sentences which help to underscore the emptiness of his status, quietly suggesting that he is not at all content with his present function. These lines are spoken subsequent to the headline that he offers the page in large, bold letters, which question, "Who am I? Why am I here?" Notably, the comments he makes about his kingdom and his role do not provide any solution to his query; they describe his situation but do not tell him why he is there. The him asseverates that, if this is the mandate he's been dealt, then he "[fears] nothing, except the tedium that it will bring,"--which, tellingly, are empty words made yet more bleak when offset against the powerful image of the King laughing: the words give him no epiphany; there is no shocking reveal or cathartic sense of exhilaration at finding a purpose--his words simply denote a conclusion that he can handle the role, but it will not resonate with him; it will not be for him. The laughing imagery at once assumes two meanings: it can illustrate a mad and demonic tyrant; or it can, in the context of the King's word, spotlight his maddened desperation: the possessions that he has bring him no joy; they do not satisfy him as a reason for being.
Throughout his time in HUNTERxHUNTER, Meryem has consistently been depicted--both in Viz's official translation and in fan circles--as a grandiloquent, officious, and almost garrulous character, depicted through a dated speaking style. The words that he employs to communicate and to soliloquise are often grandiose, polysyllabic and--crucially--artificial. Meryem incessantly questions; he muses ad nauseam, revising his opinions and rethinking his perspectives in a bid to find a resonant meaning behind the artificial regulations and birth-rights he was born with. From his inception, Meryem possessed a wealth of beliefs concerning his role as a presiding species--whether that be displayed through his logical discussions with Ming's dancers, who he says thought nothing of the cattle their kind would slaughter; or whether that be shown through the first of his epiphanies in volume 24 where he discovers a primitive belief that violence is the "ultimate power" in the world--and his internal polemics with himself depict his efforts to actually find the meaning behind the grandiose, cryptic, and emotionless words that delineate his role as King. Meryem's journey through the series is one of perpetual discovery; his journey is almost a microcosm of life itself--to find meaning in life; to finding a fulfilling reason as to why we're here--something that strikes a vital chord and clicks with one's unique spirit. Togashi presents two conflicting epiphanies that seemingly satisfy this requirement, this condition: the first is an investment in violence. Meryem states that trampling out potential and the capacity to defeat him is "his" power; Komugi makes him realise his power and unique purpose in life--to nip opposition in the bud. It is the fact that he finds something unique to him that exhilarates him; this is not his "borrowed" castle with "mindless" servants--the former of which is testament to the fact that there have been other, ersatz kings in the world; and the latter who think nothing of him and who have had the capacity to be possessions of someone else. The role of king is something that others have done--but the ability to defeat all who should oppose him is something peculiar only to Meryem himself, as he understands it. When, in chapter 260, he states "I am king," he follows with "But who am I really; why was I born?" Meryem has reached a stage where he recognises that being king is just a role--his person isn't "the king", as the queen before him was just the queen and acted only as such and thought only as such. Many volumes prior, Togashi introduced the sense of individuality possessed by new ants; they wanted names--they acted in the good of the ants but wanted individualities. Togashi has kept this theme close at hand; the king and Meryem are mutually exclusive names: one is an artificial and unfeeling title; and the other has the human warmth of a name that was given by one's mother. This mental leap is crucial for Meryem: it shows his very independent and human state of awareness that's frequently defied the ant-like wishes of his royal guards--Pouf's bids to get his attention away from Gungi or to to redirect his attentions towards what he sees as the king's goals illustrate this most flagrantly--and has also offset the robotic and artificial words that come out of his mouth. This dichotomy is made all the more alarming when it can be observed just how humanly simple and emotive the words he uses privately in his head are, "Who am I? Why am I here?" compared to his academically protracted public speeches to others.
The second epiphany--the second meaning for living--that Togashi presents to us is love, partnership with the one you cherish and want to be with most in the world. And it is no surprise that, just as Komugi is used to give the King his first epiphany, she is also used to present the contrast--that of love. Though Meryem believed he had found his resonant desire through violence, the presence of Komugi immediately undercut his belief; his words and his heart completely fly in the face of the academic judgement he reached in his head just moments prior. Gungi is not the reason the King is here--that's proven in chapter 258; "it's just a game, after all"--that's not what the most recent chapter shows. Meryem academically reasons that killing Komugi is permissible and would not contravene the logical he's tried to create--but his heart tells her that she's a special guest. He doesn't know what he wants to do with her; he's spent the past 5 volumes trying to function by logic--but here it fails him. Logic doesn't deliver what he wants. When, in chapter 297, Meryem describes his role to Netero, his words have returned to the academic--they communicate once more the unjustified birth-rights that Meryem was born with, though this time tempered with some of the discoveries he has so far made. Meryem revises and revises his birth beliefs and mother's wishes because his elevated mindset compels him not to act like an automaton that takes its duty for granted and acts upon it; he instead tries to justify what he's doing in his own head. Meryem's beliefs change with such regularity in the story that his purpose is never clear-cut. It's startling that the first time he seems to reach a purpose, his renewed sense of belief is immediately--five mere pages later--completely blown asunder. The purpose that he's given himself is torn to shreds by the sight of Komugi, visually illustrating that the role he emotively and logically cut out for himself amidst the artificial and illogical rites and regulations his mother/servants lay out for him are not at all what he wants deep down. Only in the most recent chapter has Meryem enjoyed his second epiphany, and epiphany that, given its vocalisation so closely to Komogi's implicit and fittingly old-fashioned wedding proposal, is shown to be one that believes that love--nothing more nor less--was his reason for being alive. And the most utterly astounding and touching thing about this final realisation is that it's the same conclusion so many people reach in their lives when they look for meaning; and, more brilliantly still, it's something that's so quintessentially human.
It looks like Meryem's wish--"it'd be nice to live as a human"--didn't quite go unanswered after all.
Last edited by Refraction; September 24, 2011 at 10:45 AM.
If love is most important to Meryem, why did he leave Komugi behind with Pitou and head off against Netero by himself? He could've killed Netero before he had a chance to react when Netero was distracted, and that'd be the safest thing to do from Meryem's point of view (nobody on the Ants apparently knew anything about the Rose, so that's outside of what he knows). Wouldn't it be safer to get rid of all the intruders first?
If he finds ruling, his purpose of existence, to be too tiresome, why did he propose terms to Netero that would still require the unconditional surrender of humanity? He said that he will limit the number of humans he kills to some relatively small number. This isn't a condition humanity can accept unless they've given up. Therefore he is still intending to rule.
In his dialogue with Netero, Meryem said that his power was a gift from his species, and therefore he has a duty to lead them. While it's not clear what members of the race he's actually talking about (the number of Ants in the palace was in the single digits), he clearly feels obliged to fight for their best interest. The Ants cannot coexist with humanity since humanity fears their power. While Meryem is more than capable of fending for himself, not every Ant is blessed with such ability. I think it'd be utterly irresponsible if Meryem just say that thanks for hitting the equivalent of the genetic jackpot, but now he's going to head off to an island with Komugi while the rest of his species gets wiped out by humanity. Meryem doesn't care for conquest, but he's always recognized that for there to be peace for the Ants, they must be the prevailing species in the world of HXH.
I actually have no idea what members of his species he is fighting for, since the Royals can fend for themselves fine too, and it seems like the rest of species is already wiped out. Perhaps he is fighting for the Ants who have been wiped out. Again, look at the world from his point of view. He obviously believes the Ants have just as much right to exist as humans (probably more so, really). As far as he knows, there are something like single digit number of his species who survived the fight against humans. Sure, he can take his Royals and easily elude any human attack that doesn't including a Rose (which is totally Deus Ex Machina anyway), but what does this say about the rest of his subjects that either already died or about to be hunted down? That life as Ant sucks unless you're at least a Royal Guard class Ant? Should a King leave his people to die just so he can find true love? Especially when there is actually nothing stopping him from finding his true love and ruling at the same time?
Nobody on the Ants knew anything about the Rose for some incomprehensible reason (they didn't even knew about the poison, despite the fact Rose is a weapon that has been used in previous wars), so all their plan involves waging a world war without the existence of the Rose. Looking at the events in the invasion, without the Rose, the Ants would've prevailed rather easily. In the worst case Pitou dies versus Gon, though that can be averted if Meryem just killed Netero immediately the moment he had the chance (Gon isn't going have a chance to hold Komugi hostage if Meryem also stayed behind to watch her). Even without Pitou, Pufu can still control Meryem's army, and there sure doesn't look like anything outside a Rose that can stop that (which the Ants didn't know about at all).
I don't agree at all that Meryem has to give up his duty (to rule) for love. If there was a way for him to transfer all his power to another Ant (say, Pufu), then sure he can go with Komugi somewhere else and just learn the Hand of God of Gungi. But he can't do that, and his power exists to protect his species (which had been losing rather badly against humans until he was born). It'd be irresponsible for the King to just say 'not my problem' and forget the fact that pretty much every member of his species was wiped out humanity just because he is capable of defending for himself.
By that stage, Meryem had not yet reached the conclusion of needing love that he reaches in the most recent chapter. The conclusion that he reaches by the end is one born of the circumstances he has experienced in the intervening chapters. However, the love that Meryem feels towards the preservation of Komugi's life is explicitly sounded out by the narrator, "This was a moment full of love towards one human life." He leaves her in Pitou's care chiefly because he trusts Pitou to accomplish this goal; he believes that it is best for Komugi's safety--and he wants to ensure this. Even if it is to be believed that the king had an alternative course of action by killing Netero, it would be to ignore the staging Togashi has made if one interpreted his orders as not being influenced by love. Suggesting that there was an easier way of going about protecting Komugi is fine--but what he did do satisfies an exploration of the king's stoic virtues and his unspoken or yet unrecognised love for Komugi. Togashi bestows us with a fuller illustration of Meryem's character--but his actions don't represent that he doesn't care for Komugi. He hasn't, by this stage, come to terms with his relationship with her as a whole.
With regard to the second point, I noted that Meryem stated that he feared "nothing, except the tedium that it will bring." Meryem was introduced to the story with all his preconceived notions about the function of a king; he possessed, from the outset, a notion that he would rule as king. His statement that he would ask for the unconditional surrender of humanity fits with the notions he was born with--they represent the ideas he espoused from the beginning--but his dialogue with Netero shows that his beliefs are evolving. He's consistently appending to his beliefs, shifting gears and qualifying. He intends to rule--that's the belief he was born with--but the fact that the absolutism and starkness of his objectives have shifted in so short a time illustrates vividly that his mindset is organic. It is not set in stone; and it is because of this that he's able to reach his independent purpose of living for love that he finds in the last chapter. Again, his words here show his movement on his overarching trajectory in the story.
With regard to you third and fourth points, I really want to stress: the name of "the king" and "Meryem" are mutually exclusive. They represent two separate functions--two dimensions to one's life. Though they are disparate, that is not to say they are incompatible. I do not mean to suggest that he cannot espouse both roles; he need not just run off with Komugi and abandon the ants. However, it is worth pointing out that while Meryem acts in the interests of the ants on certain occasions, his own self-interests do prevail on occasion; and he is not altogether averse to offing his own people on a whim, whatever the justification. The king's sense of duty is organic and changing; it is problematic to take it on one occasion and apply it broadly to his being. Instead, it becomes perhaps more insightful to perceive the king from a more holistic perspective: his character is developed in the midst of a story arc that is largely consumed with love; Gon's friendship or "love" for Kite; Colt's love for Reina; Killua's "love" for Gon; Palm's love for Knov/Gon; Knuckle's friendship or "love" for Shoot; the Royal Guards' love for the king; the mother's love for her children, and eventual welcoming of Brouvda; and, importantly, the queen's love for the king--"love" in all its human forms permeates this arc so much. The king isn't developed in a contextual vacuum; he's deliberating duties, roles, and right over the role of the heart for much of the story. With such a broad amount of relationships being explored in the Chimera Ant volumes, it seems parabolic that the king, too, at the end of it all should find very human love: it's something that, I feel, Togashi really wants us to consider.
So that's my clarification: he would never have needed to give up one role to satisfy love--but this permutation isn't necessarily what Togashi wished to explore. The king's recognition of love in the last chapter can--if one wishes not to think of the two as compatible--be justified in the last instance because circumstances have confirmed that he will pass away anyway. Here, he would be allowed to disqualify himself of all the roles and necessities that his title would bring him, allowing him leverage to enjoy his love for Komugi.
Last edited by Refraction; September 24, 2011 at 05:04 AM.
I don't see how Meryem would've loved Komugi any less had he successfully conquered the world. Let's say the Rose never happened, then at worst Pitou dies while the Ants get a decisive victory. Pitou most likely won't even die because Pufu wouldn't attempt to lie about Komugi's safety if Meryem didn't lose his memory (it'd seem if he's absolutely bent on killing her he could always just do it at the cost of his life). I think the events in 317 would have still played out exactly the same way when Meryem returns home. Okay, he wouldn't be able to play Komugi at the same level at Gungi since he never absorbed Yupi and Pufu, but I'm sure their love wasn't founded on Meryem's Gungi playing ability. I sure don't see Komugi saying, "I'm not sure I can accept a proposal from someone who is so bad (relatively) at Gungi!"
The events in 317, to me, is inevitable. It is not a revealation of any sorts because it should have happened regardless of whether Meryem was going to survive or not. It's not an indication of character growth because Meryem always loved Komugi. It's not something he just figured out because he was on the verge of death. And because he always loved her that much, I think it doesn't make sense he's acting like he just finally figured this out.
While Meryem doesn't appear to care too much for other members of his species, you do see other Ants who are chased by Hunters take refuge in his palace. Presumably they're not just there to serve as emergency snack for the King. We know most things in the world, including conquest and his duty to rule, is merely a burden to Meryem, but he takes his duty very seriously. Even with Komugi on the verge of death, he still chose to negotiate with Netero over the surrender of humanity. If love is always above duty, he should be trying to find the quickest way to kill all the invaders and then get back to watch Komugi, no matter how confident he is in Pitou.
I'm going to assume Meryem has to know that Pitou is defenseless while using his special ability, so there's no way he's thinking 'there is no way Pitou can fail' no matter how confident he is in Pitou. If saving Komugi's life is the only thing that matters, then Meryem didn't come close to making the best decision possible. This is because he has a high sense of duty, namely even with Komugi's life at danger, he felt that it was important enough to discuss stuff like fate of humanity with a human representative so that bloodshed may be averted. Otherwise he wouldn't need to negotiate anything and should just kill all the invaders, conquer all the nations, and rule however he sees fit, merciful or not.
In fact, I think it says a lot about how merciful Meryem is that he negotiated with Netero at all. He knows the one he loves the most is danger. He knows humans are unlikely to accept the terms he outlined, and he certainly has nothing to fear from humanity once his army is complete, but he's still hoping he could convince Netero to deliver his message: surrender under these terms before he has to send his army in force. So I think it's a disservice to say to Meryem, love is the most important thing. He put Komugi aside in hopes of negotiating world peace, even though from his point of view he is quite capable of ruling the world by force, and that'd have to be because he does care about the citizens of the world.