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Translations: Gintama 515 (2)
Pitou is my favorite character from the Ant arc, and Pufu is probably my least favorite character from the Ant arc. Both are unquestionably loyal to Meryem, but what loyalty means is completely different for these two characters.
Pitou is clearly unconditionally loyal. Whatever Meryem says, he does. Pufu, on the other hand, is loyal to what he thinks is the best. Most notably, Pufu constantly thought about assassinating Komugi because he feel it'd be better for the King, while Pitou would never dare think about such a thing once he found out how important Komugi is to Meryem.
That said, I don't know which of their loyalty is truly right. When Meryem cut off his own arm, Pufu rushed in and was patching up his wound, even if it defied Meryem's orders. During that time, Pitou had the whole palace covered in his aura, so he'd have to know what's happening, but he didn't leave his guard post until Meryem summoned him. Presumably this is because he was never ordered to leave his post, so he'll continue to stand on guard until Meryem decides he needs his arm reattached. I don't think you can say either of them is more correct than the other in this case.
I think it's a missed opportunity that we never saw these two characters with such drastically different definition of loyalty fight each other. The fights in the Ant arc are mostly greatly lopsided toward one way, and while Togashi does a good job at making things interesting, he is also not giving the illusion that the weaker side can win unlike most shonen manga. Yupi fought 5 guys back to back and it never really looked like there was a way he would be defeated, and indeed he was not defeated at all. Pufu got bogged down against Morel but again, it felt like Pufu was always in control the whole time. Pitou was only limited by Komugi, and it's stated quite a few times that without Komugi in the way, the Hunters weren't going to beat him either. Netero was never in a position to threaten Meryem as a function of his physical power (even the Zero only did superficial damage to Meryem). Since Togashi rarely awards out miracles, these fights, as good as they are, are rather predictable and the stronger party prevailed as expected.
Pitou versus Pufu would be the two most powerful characters that actually fought in a battle that can conceivably go either way. Netero is arguably more powerful than either, but I never got the feeling he could've won against Meryem. We may have thought Super Gon would be evenly matched against Pitou, but that illusion only lasted until the first time Super Gon attacked. Pitou definitely have a reason to fight Pufu, for he consider protecting Komugi to be above all else. He flat out said if Komugi died, then the King is no longer the King, so I see no problem he'd decide he'll need to kill a fellow Royal Guard if that's what it takes to protect Komugi (and by extension, the King). It might be a bit of fan service, but it wouldn't be worse than the "meanwhile, Spiders are fighting Ants too!" detour. I always have the feeling that if Pitou wasn't so afraid of Gon, he may very well decide that Pufu is the bigger threat and just say, hand over Komgui to the Hunters after she's healed, and then kill Pufu first, as it's obvious Pufu is a far bigger threat to Komugi's safety compared to the Hunters at that point.
I would argue pitou was the more loyal one in the context of the word. At chapter described pufu's loyalty and it made it sound as if it was something more along the lines of obsession than loyalty. Pufu had his own vision of what the king should be like, and he was dedicated to that vision perhaps as much as he was dedicated to the king. In pufu's view, the king must necessarily and inequivocably become the absolute center of all that is, anything less is but an insult. This applied to the point where even the king would be at fault if he wanted differently. Pitou in turn was more flexible IMO, he was willing to take the king to where he wanted to as long as his safety would not to be compromised.
Pufu is clearly obsessive to a vision of the King that isn't necessarily who Meryem really is. I don't know if that makes him less loyal. I think the difference between him and Pitou is that if Meryem ordered Pitou to kill him, Pitou will do it but Pufu will not. Pitou seems to process commands strictly in a literal sense. Even when he sensed Gon could be a threat to Meryem, he did not attempt to strike until he believed Komugi is safe. I don't think this is because he values Komugi more than Meryem, but rather his order was to bring back Komugi safely, so that's something he must do even if it means putting Meryem at risk. If Pufu was in the same situation, and assuming he isn't trying to get Komugi killed on purpose, he'd definitely decide that he must eliminate anyone who is a threat to the King first, even if he is aware of what losing Komugi might mean to the King.
Let's say Komugi was really an undercover spy trying to kill the King, and the King is not aware of this but Pitou/Pufu is (and neither has any preexisting bias toward Komugi). Pitou would still protect her because that was what he was ordered to do, and Pufu would try to kill her even if it means his own death. I don't like Pufu, but I don't think he is necessarily wrong. He and Pitou seem to have irreconcilable differences over what it means to serve the King, which is why I think it's a shame we never see those two fight.
Actually I just noticed why it looks like Pufu is less 'loyal', it's because Meryem is never wrong in the story. Pufu often tries to second guess a command, and since Meryem is never wrong in HXH, that means Pufu has to be the one who is wrong. But what if Meryem is not always right. Take the time Meryem ripped off his own arms and refused to get treated. Let's say Komugi didn't force Meryem to take back his words, so they continue to play Gungi while Meryem's missing an arm, and this information somehow got relayed to the Hunters? The Hunters would obviously launch an all out attack during that time. After all, if you don't count the damage done by the Rose, the entire assault team put together didn't come close to doing damage comparable to losing an arm to Meryem. What if the fact that Meryem didn't get his arm treated means he somehow was defeated by Netero or some other guy? Pitou would simply say, "King didn't tell me to treat his arm", while Pufu would risk his life to get the King treated. In this case, Pufu would be the correct one.
Last edited by Phantron; September 25, 2011 at 10:21 PM.
He was more loyal to an idea than Meryem itself, I believe. That's why I think Pitou and Yupi were more loyal.
It's only matter on how you see loyal and if that involves disobeying in extreme circumstances. It's a hard concept to work, actually, the one I most detest.
It's not about who is right or correct, in the end it all reduces if the things done are what they're suppose to do. That's why I think Pitou is definitely the most loyal one.
That's why I'd have liked to see those two resolve their differences in battle. Had the Ants won the battle against human, it seems almost inevitable those two would fight. I can't see Pitou turning a blind eye if Pufu attempted to kill Komugi in front of him.
It doesn't matter if Meyrem was wrong or not.
Loyalty is not about friendship, or doing what's best, after all.
Also, Pufu got to the Point where the King was the important one, not Mereum.
I think it has to do with how they see things: Pufu sees things as cause-and-actions, while Pitou and Youpi is much more about Instincts. As such, Pitou can't help but think about what is a good King- and as such, Pufu becomes the King in his own mind in some limited fashion, and tries to fit Mereum into that role.
Pitou and Youpi don't give a damn about all of that- just about Loyalty.
Actually Yupi agreed with Pufu's plan to eliminate all evidences of Komugi, so he's more supportive of the "King" over "Meryem". But Yupi has pretty minimal interaction with Meryem, so I don't think there's much to draw from him.
The problem with Pufu is that his way of doing is more about Loyalty to himself than Loyalty to the king, in many ways. As his idea of the 'King' exists only within his own mind.
Well, in the very moment that He thought that He alone could make a kingdom it's the biggest proof that it's only an idea what He's following.
If he was loyal and caring for the King, He wouldn't actually want less guards for the King.
The whole time seems more like a weird fetish and obsession than loyalty.