Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter! Celebrate another year with MH and read our yearbook.
Manga News: Check out this week's new manga (9/8/14 - 9/14/14).
Forum News: Visit new sections for Nisekoi and Kingdom!
Translations: Bleach 595 (2)
I thoroughly enjoyed the battles in this arc. One of the things that makes HxH so attractive to me is that it doesn't follow the typical shounen battle flow chart. Sure, we have the elements in there (Gon and Killua getting their power ups, and the training scenes), but keep in mind that Gon, and Killua, although powerful and gifted in their own rights, are not the strongest characters in Hunter. By far. I'm not counting "adult Gon" in this since this isn't a form that Gon can easily switch back to by will, and he actually suffered consequences in his fight against Pitou. As was mentioned before, each of the royal guards and Meryem are like "last boss" characters, and aside from Netero (maybe), none of the palace invaders could have solo'd any of them. None of them are easily beatable, but it's still exciting to see how things play out. It makes things unpredictable. If by sheer force none of these ants could have been beaten, how the hell are the characters going to manage?
I won't deny that there are flaws in the arc, but admittedly it gets boring watching the same shit over and over again. Main characters meet a new and powerful enemy and his friends, main characters sans the protagonist (who is one of the strongest good guys in the universe, if not the strongest), get beat up and have to rely on the main character to come and save them. Oh, but wait! The main character isn't strong enough just yet, so now we commence the training stage. Then, everyone on the good side gets a little stronger to beat the new baddies, and the main character is the only one capable enough to take on the main baddie, while everyone else takes on the lesser baddies who are also decently strong (but usually not as strong as the main baddie). Rinse and repeat. It's the same formula that gets boring eventually.
Granted, there are parts where I'm like "this arc is going on for too long", but that's really my main gripe about it. The art could have been better in some places, but I won't criticize it too much.
Anti-climatic? Isn't that how Togashi normally rolls with HxH? I mean, look at Yorknew. Plus, the palace invasion itself and Meryem's fight with Netero were pretty climatic to me.
We're not talking about not being able to solo even a Royal Guard. It's more like it's not even clear if the entire assault team put together can even defeat a Royal Guard let alone Meryem plus the 3 Royal Guards at the same time which is the original intention. It turns out Meryem plus Pitou is pretty much more than capable of wiping out the entire assault team. It's only through some kind of incredible fortune (mostly due to the existence of Komugi, and that Meryem somehow was unable to shield her despite his nearly infinite powers even though not a single Royal Guard was hurt by the initial attack) they were even able to separate the Royal Guards, and even with every break going their way it still wasn't close to enough. Pufu said that Morel lost his chance to defeat him and if there are several characters of his tier outside the smoke jail, he'd surely eventually realize the other Pufu isn't the real one. Except we know there aren't 'several guys of Morel's tier' outside. That was how far apart the two sides are in terms of strength. Even with the optimal strategy (Pufu's real self trapped in smoke jail) it'd take several Morel class characters (which is clearly beyond the capability of the entire assault team) to defeat him at 50% power to discover his vulnerable body.
This entire arc is the same as 5 ordinary guys fighting 4 tanks and 4 of the guys futilely trying to outsmart the tanks (and some of them getting ran over) and the last guy called in an airstrike and blew up the tanks. The victory has literally nothing to do with the effort of the characters involved, and as long as the airstrike or the Rose exists the actions of the protagonists are completely irrelevent to the outcome. For all we know Netero could've just jumped down face-first and crater into the ground, exploded the Rose, and the outcome would pretty much be the same as what they originally planned since it took an unbelievable stroke of luck to separate Meryem in the first place. In any reasonable scenario the Hunters could've imagined, Meryem would've multiple Royal Guards by his side and they'd have defeated Netero rather easily, and then the bomb would go off anyway. In fact, in light of that they could've just strapped a bomb on anyone and just toss him down and get the same results.
Here Hunter's refusal to embrace your generic 'pop some pills for extra power' concept of Shonen makes the Ant arc terrible in terms of combat. If you're in DBZ or Naruto or whatever you can say well I'm going to fight someone I don't have a prayer of beating but historical data shows it is likely to suddenly increase your power by tenfolds in combat so I like my chances. In HXH there is no historical data that'd suggest you'd have any possible chance against someone ten times as strong as you, and given HXH's emphasis on planning this makes the entire mission a joke. There was no amount of planning that could've defeated even the Royal Guards. They had a defector (Meleoron) with an unbelievable power on their side that clearly wasn't the original plan too. Without Komugi, Novu couldn't have put the teleporters anywhere near the presidently palace either so they'd basically have to run into their deaths. Netero and Zeno jumping down from air should likely get instantly killed by Pufu who can fly and do ranged attack in midair (he's only one away from Emission, by the way). For that matter no one on the assault team could even deal with the power of flight at all.
All in all the attack on the palace, even with the crazy number of unbelieveable breaks was still a total failure and the Rose did about 99.99% of the total work relevent to the goal of defeating Meryem (Morel did the other 0.01% by separating Pufu). Without these breaks the attack would've ended up as instant failure, and this is a series that prides itself about having coming up with a good plan, when you've the main characters participating in the equivalent of the generic Shonen suicide mission without any historical data to back up the fact that you're supposed to survive suicide missions. If Luffy D Monkey led the attack saying, "Guys I've survived far worse so it's got to work!" I can at least believe he has a valid historical anecdote to come to that conclusion.
To add insult to injury, the Election arc apparently makes the whole fight as if there are other resources available because surely you withheld your resources in a fight that was supposed to determine the survival of humanity. It seems rather bogus even before the Election Arc that this is all Netero could muster on a fight where just losing an entire nation's worth of civilians is considered acceptable losses (that's what'd happen if Netero was killed anywhere near the palace) but you can sort of handwave it and said 'yeah there really isn't anyone else left to use'. And then of course we found out in Election Arc they actually had more people they could've used. The bodycount at the end of the fight was around 530K deaths. That's several order of magnitude higher than the total number of deaths anywhere in One Piece + Naruto + Bleach combined, and you can probably include several more manga comfortably as long as you stay away from stuff like Dragonball. More people died in one day of the battle than most manga's equivalent of world war and yet HXH universe's characters can't be bothered to devote all the resources possible to mitigate this incident.
Last edited by Phantron; January 02, 2013 at 12:34 PM.
Hxh is not a typical shonen and it is special for that reason IMHO. So when I read HxH I dont expect a final battle where the main character defeats the villain. The concept of the battles since the beginning of the series is more realistic than most shonens.
The Chimera Ant issue was indeed solved just by the Rose explosion, but I think that was Netero's plan all long. A nuclear device is probably more strong than any Nen user attack and it didnt kill Meruem. So Togashi gave us one of the few reasonable conclusions to the arc, death due to Bio weapons.
To this task the composition of the team was not that important as the only objectives of the other members was to separate the royal guards from the king and hold them for a while. The royal guards alone were not a big threat to mankind so they didnt need special attention.
Moreover the Chimera Ant arc is more about the ants than about the hunters. Neether Gon or Killua's characters were really developed during the arc, the other hunters were not that interesting too, either Netero was just a secondary character in his final fight. The main focus of the plot was to show the influence of the human behaviour in the chimera species. And that was the main reason for their defeat in the end.
People say HXH 'isn't like the average Shonen' but the point is that without the rather miraculous presence of Komugi and the fact that she somehow got injuried (because Meryem is somehow unable to protect her from an attack that was useless against the Royal Guards) there's like a 99.99% chance Netero died somewhere inside the palace, setting off the Rose and killing everyone. The end. And in this case there was never a reason to sacrifice anyone when you can just drop a bomb from air instead (or a suicide bomber) because it's not like hitting a bomb somehow defuses it so even whoever jumps down gets shredded in midair, the explosion would still work. Now you can say the Hunters are going for that 0.01% chance to save the 50 million civilians but that's not how people in HXH works. This isn't the average Shonen where you can find the memoris of Goku that will recount his life's adventure using miracles as a measureable unit ('in my fight against Vegata I needed 3 miracles, or 2 more than the time I fought Freeza"). Either the Hunters completely underestimated the power of the Royal Guards and Meryem, or that they somehow knew of their power and still decided to gamble on a 0.01% chance while risking their most elite Hunters instead of just dropping a bomb from midair (which accomplishes the identical result as Netero geting killed anywhere inside the palace).
The manga probably goes more along the lines of 'Hunters greatly underestimated the power of the Royals'. For example, Pufu expects 'several characters of Morel's level' outside the smoke jail and we know they don't got this even if every member of the team was there. And that's what it'd take to bring down a single Royal Guard. And then you got to ask, what the heck is this talk about studying your opponent and have a good plan if the entire attack team had problem defeating a single Royal Guard even in the most ideal situation (Pufu trapped and only need several Morel tier characters to finish off his clone), when all along we're led to believe they're supposed to face the combined power of Meryem plus the 3 Royal Guards? Are we supposed to believe Zeno, someone who Meryem can pretty much kill any time he wanted to, is supposed to be the trump card that allows Meryem to be separated? He wouldn't even be able to separate Meryem from Pitou if Pitou wasn't ordered to stay behind, and the other two Royal Guards can fly!
Yes originally the Hunters have Novu too but it seems totally ridiculous that Novu could somehow crawl up to Meryem in a cardboard box and then mark an area with his ability and then wait for Meryem to fall in there or whatever. Besides, Novu dropped out rather early so if they originally thought he was going to miraculously ran up to Meryem and teleport him to a different spot, that sure wasn't going to happen after he left the team. They had no contact with Netero the whole time, suggesting Novu's ability isn't how they attempted to achieve separation (otherwise Netero should be waiting inside the pocket dimension and fight Meryem when he gets teleported there).
Last edited by Phantron; January 02, 2013 at 06:35 PM.
I think you are thinking about this the wrong way.
Netero wasn't thinking "I will use the Rose", he was thinking "Worse come to worse, i will use the Rose". Likewise, "Sacrificing Netero" isn't something Netero himself is aversed to- he was VERY glad that he got to be killed by Meyrem.
Also, Pufu and Yupi over-estimated themselves and under-estimated the hunters- it could have very, very easily went their ways, really. I think here Nef was shown as the one with the greatest 'Insight'.
As for the whole Rose thing, this was a "hunter matter", as in, the hunter needed to take care of it because it is a neutral association, and just sending a rose bomb from other countries would...not have gone well. Using Netero to do it was a way to "legitimize" it (and it's also why they got the country of NGL i think afterwards?).
The really important thing there was to seperate the royal guards from the King, really, because it could be expected that at least one of them had an ability that could protect Meyrem from a Rose- or else Netero REALLY wanted to fight Meyrem, whether it was because he believed he could win the fight normally or because it is just so damn fun.
And, yes, Netero did Believe he could win the fight normally.
1. Netero believing he can beat Meryem. Netero was not surprised that his regular moves did practically no damage to Meryem. It's clear that Netero knows Meryem is overwhelmingly stronger than him by any measureable quantity. His moves inflicts no status effect and is pure power. Why would you expect to be able to overpower someone unfathomably physically stronger than you with more power? He sure didn't go "THIS IS IMPOSSIBLE" when he sees his strongest move still only inflicting a flesh wound. Maybe he expected more damage but honestly, you've a guy who is possibly the most experienced hunter in the world of HXH who can't figure out that attacks that do pure damage cannot overpower a being with unfathomable physical strength?
2. Even if Netero believes he's somehow supposed to be able to overpower Meryem, how is he supposed to separate him from the Royal guards? Meryem could've killed him and Zeno during the moment they were distracted by Pitou. That's with only one Royal Guard besides him who isn't even particating in the battle. Just Pitou's sheer presence is enough pressure to get them killed, and again Netero and Zeno both acknowledges that single moment mistake could've got them killed. Again you've to ask, what exactly is the plan to separate them? Is Zeno just going to go in and line up Netero and Meryem in an exact line in the middle of a fight and blast them away? Here Novu's power is the more likely explanation but we know that plan wasn't going to work due to him quitting. Let's say Meryem ordered the Royals Guards to not interfere with a 1on1 against Netero, and Netero somehow killed Meryem with his strongest attack. Then the remaining Royal Guards would've instantly jumped Netero and killing him (his strongest attack leaves him on the verge of death already), then the Rose blows up (I sure don't see how he can stop it from detonating) and killing everyone including the 50 million civilians outside. Note that even if Meryem said something like 'let the human go even if I somehow died because it's a fair fight', you can be sure Pufu and Yupi won't follow that order if Meryem actually was killed (Pitou might, since his obedience is absolute).
Unless the Hunters actually thought they were going to win every matchup while inside the palace like a typical Shonen (which is clearly not the plan), Netero would've died no matter what. The Hunters were expecting to lose all the Royal Guard matchup, but the problem is that if they were losing these matchups then it'd take very little time for a flight-capable Royal Guard to get back to Meryem even if Zeno somehow just knocked Meryem and Netero through 3 Royal Guards never mind how implausible it is to do this in the first place (you'd think Meryem could dodge such an attack trivially or just block it).
Probably a big thing is that Meryem without Komugi's shogi training would not have defeated Netero, at least not so easily. The statue is too fast, and it would have been a continuous beatdown with no break in sight.
With Meryem dead, it's more likely that the guards would kill themselves. They have lost their raison de'tre. It would be such a massive blow there's no way they would be thinking of things like revenge.
Also, I wonder: just how seriously did the Hunter Association think the Ants were? They had a ton of guys to spare and could've flooded the place.
There are also other issues you have to take into account.
Aside from the Hunter Association's arrogance that they can beat the King and his guards with only a handful of Hunters (which was crushed down when they actually met them), politics - red tape - also got in the way preventing them to call in reinforcements in time. Instead of waiting for the higher ups/union to get their act together fast, Netero hired Zeno instead and basically took a gamble with the only resources he have to save the citizens.
Without Komugi everyone jumps in to find all the Royals and Meryem in the same place and dies immediately. End of story. Even if for whatever reason Netero fought Meryem 1on1 anyway, Netero still cannot hurt Meryem so it wouldn't matter. Meryem can simply sit still until Netero gets tired and then kill him. Netero was also given the rather absurd ability of infinite knockback against a character he cannot even do damage to. Meryem is physically faster than Netero and without the knockback effect the fight would've ended instantly (he can just take whatever damage the statue dishes out and grab Netero). Yupi and Pufu could've dealt with Netero rather easily as both possess flight (Yupi limited at the beginning) and ranged and area effect attacks. It's not like they can possibly lose while exchanging hits with Netero especially if Pitou is still around. Of course Meryem could just ranged attacks himself. The only reason the fight was difficult for Meryem was because he wanted to subdue Netero, not kill him. He obviously values his name a lot more important than just about anything the humans may have to offer, and he more or less saw Netero as some kind of diplomat where he can send his message to humanity and was hoping he'd be able to earn his respect so he'll deliver the message to the rest of the humans and then peacefully surrender.
The Ants are an extinction level event. The leader of the Hunters doesn't carry a bomb that can wipe out the entire civilian population of a small country just for fun. If was clear that if the coverup failed the Hunters are supposed to take responsiblity for this incident, and that most likely means the Hunter's Association gets dissolved since even a major nation would have a hard time justifying wiping out an entire nation's worth of civilians let alone just a group of special guys who still takes order from nations (Netero sure didn't just find the Rose in the HQ basement). Having more fodder Hunters would not help because Meryem can just eat them and Pitou can animate them. The Hunters don't know about these abilities but they always assumed there's a possibilty that the Ants can absorb weaker members. That said, having a few more guys of Morel's level would certainly allow them a better chance at the Royal Guard matchups, which is essential to defeating Meryem since whatever plan they may have had against Meryem can easily be foiled by a Royal Guard.
Note that Pitou being the only Royal Guard near Meryem is incredibly fortitous because he is absolutely loyal. That is, if Meryem got killed and his last words said Pitou should go join a zoo as the star attraction that's exactly what he'll do. Pufu and Yupi aren't like that. They will disobey Meryem over what they think he ought to do. Pitou is the only Royal that will obey a command to stay still while Meryem goes off to a 1on1 fight himself. If Yupi or Pufu was near, they'd simply leave whoever they were fighting originally and join Meryem instead.
---------- Post added at 11:17 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:54 AM ----------
The political red tape makes no sense too. It's like sorry we can't get you the special forces guys you might need to fend off an extinction level event, but we got this bomb that can kill all 5 million civilians in the capital (this is known in advance) that the Ants rounded up if your martial arts magic failed you. While we clearly cannot get more special forces guy because the evil Pariston is behind the scenes manipulating stuff, surely the evil Pariston wouldn't take advantage of a fact like having a bomb wipe out the entire civilian population of a nation which is the most likely result of this assault. Netero's action can't be about saving citizens. It basically requires an unbelievably turn of events to get Meryem out of his palace. If Netero fought Meryem inside his palace, even if he killed Meryem he'd still die when any of the Royal Guards saw since he cannot possibly defend himself after using his strongest move. So unless he really thinks he's supposed to beat Meryem with his normal moves (which he said he expected them to do no damage to Meryem) this means all the civilians plus the entire assault team is dead whether he beats Meryem or not. Yes they say Netero is excited at the chance of being a challenger again, so apparently this means it's okay to go with a plan that will almost surely kill all the civilian of a nation? In that case he's no hero. He's just insane.
Of course the argument would be that Netero always had a plan to get Meryem out of his palace but it doesn't make sense why he'd think it'll ever work. For those who say all this is planned out, what do say was the original plan to get Meryem out of his palace? Just have Zeno charge up and knock him away? Novu crawl up in a cardboard box to teleport Meryem into his dimension? Netero invoking the DBZ 'let's fight somewhere else' clause? The primary motivation Meryem had for changing location is to get away from his own Royal Guards! He said he agreed to Netero's offer because this is a place where they can talk without distraction. Since it's obvious that Netero is the strongest/leader of the attack Meryem is not talking about distraction from other humans (they'd surely defer to Netero). Meryem knows negotiation with humans is impossible with the ultra-hawk members of the Royals around (Pufu, and most likely Yupi). But there's absolutely no way the Hunters could've known this ahead of time.
Last edited by Phantron; January 03, 2013 at 11:19 AM.
2) It was a covert mission. This is to avoid international ramifications because violating the law of a country IS a serious issue; much more if it got publicize.
3) Why political red tape is a good enough reason? Change Hunter Association to UN and NGL to Egypt. There you go.
4) Actually, the rose was intended to be used by the higher ups at the start (as there are 2 "ways" for it to detonate - automatically and manually) but Netero wanted to save the citizens at least, so he made a gamble. Getting the fight he craves with his life on the line out of said intention is a good bonus.
There's no event that can possibly be comparable to the equivalent of exploding a nuclear device on a sovereign nation if you want to take about political repercussion. Therefore the argument about red tape is completely nonsensical because if someone is going to hand you a nuclear device 'just in case' then that guy is definitely willing to hand you as much resources as you can possibly get to not use this 'just in case' scenario. Using a real life analogy would be saying that the UN doesn't want to get involved with say Syria, so they sent a special forces guy to the Syrian capital carrying a nuclear device 'just in case' whatever the original plan was didn't work, even though the 'just in case' scenario is way worse than an outright declaration of war.
Saving the citizens is irrelevent because there is no plausible scenario Netero could've gotten Meryem out of his palace. If Netero dies the bomb explodes and kills everyone. Even if he wins the bomb will still explode because Netero isn't going to beat Meryem without using his strongest move (he knows ahead of time Meryem vastly outclasses him physically). The only halfway plausible scenario to successfully get Meryem out of his palace would have to involve Novu, except Novu quit the team before the assault even began.
If Komugi didn't exist, the assault team would have to start running from a 2km distance away because Novu would never have a chance to put the teleporters so close to the palace. Assuming the team runs at a 60km/h speed (this speed is too fast to realistically defend against any ambush and would result the assault team getting wiped out before reaching the palace but we'll just ignore that) it'd take them 2 minutes to even reach the palace. During this time they'd be bombarded by Pufu from air and Pitou can literally reach anywhere inside his En radius an instant, and Yupi probably can do something from range too. After 2 minutes of the assault team getting pummeled, Netero and Zeno jumps down from above as the assault team finally arrives (if they jumped earlier, they land next to 3 Royal Guards + Meryem with no reinforcements and die instantly). At this point half of the assault team is probably dead and all the Royal Guards are going to be very close to Meryem, but maybe Zeno is supposed to just aim at a magical angle to 4 guys who are all way stronger than him in an entrenched position to create the 1on1 opportunity? Or does Netero challenge Meryem to a 1on1 and asks to fight elsewhere because Cell would've done the same thing so he cannot refuse?
It seems like people don't get that Hunters got an unbelievable number of breaks (mostly due to Komugi's presence) in this entire fight and was still always flirting with disaster. Just the fact Pitou's En was momentarily down alone is an incredible break. Without Pitou's En being down, there would be no chance of a surprise attack and the direct assault team would simply be picked apart and slaughtered as they have to run through the 2km range that Pitou's En covers, and Netero and Zeno would almost certainly die pointlessly as they'd land either too early and die, or land too late and die. Even if they magically land at the exact same time the assault team arrives at the palace, at this point all the Royal Guards will be firmly entrenched in their defensive position and it'd be impossible to separate them from Meryem, let alone separate Meryem and get him far enough away such that the Rose explosion does not end up killing every civilian outside.
Firstly, it wasn't just Komugi responsible for the breachs that made possible the hunter's plan to work but the human factor in the King and most ants behaviour that deviated the ants from their natural mindset. Komugi was indeed a important factor in the ant's defeat, but I dont think the hunters underestimated the ants that much, even without Komugi or a gate inside the castle their plan could work. The main assumption behind the plan seemed to be that the King himself was not going to deal the intruders. So, or the royal guards would expect the intruders with the King or part of them would left the King's quarters in order to deal with the intruders. With Zeno's assist, Netero could choose the right moment to assault the castle depending how the royal guards behaved. The original assault team (Morau, Novu, Knuckle and Shoot) was in theory capable of holding the 3 royal guards for a while. The main problem would be how to separate the guards from the king, in the worst case scenario where the Royal Guards would be firmly entrenched surrounding the king the same cannon atk used to push Pitou could be used from an unexpected angle to break the formation and pushes the King outside the castle. I dont know if the original plan was to get Meryem far away enough from the civilians, I think it was just a bonus chance that became possible due to Komugi. Netero probably only hoped for a solo fight and the assurance that the Rose would harm the King in the case of his death.Quote:
Netero says he's looking forward to the chance to be a challenger again at this age (versus Meryem). This means he knows Meryem is stronger than him. You also have to look at Netero's moveset. All his move revolves around doing damage and more damage. We know the Ants have unfathomable physical stats, so what exactly is Netero's plan of winning? He didn't expect his regular move to hurt him, and if he needs to use Zero he's going to die shortly after he uses it even if it kills Meryem if any Royal Guards are nearby. How do you underestimate your opponent (which they really did not) and yet also carry a nuclear device 'just in case'? Aren't these two actions totally contradictory? Did Netero just went to the basement and found a Rose and strap it on himself after failing to mobilize the Zodiac because nobody took the Ants seriously? No matter how you look at it, the Rose has to be absolutely the last option compared to any other solution. If Netero thinks having more money to hire more Zs and send a team of people to find Ging and rest of the Zodiacs would've reduced the need to use the Rose he should've done so, and whoever supplied him the Rose is certainly capable of providing that kind of resources.
Within just the Ant arc itself it's probably supposed to be that there really aren't any better people to use for the job and sending more people just means more food for Meryem and/or more puppet for Pitou. It's a suicide mission but these are the best guys you could get for the suicide mission (though it doesn't explain why they didn't just launch a nuclear missle at Meryem if they're so sure it's a suicide mission). The Election arc really messed up by implying there are more resources available to use for this fight which makes the entire endeavor insane.
Also note that originally the civilians are pretty much assumed to be dead anyway. As Gon pointed out, an aura user can 'select' at most about 1000 people per day, and this part is independent of power because you can only punch people so fast. That is, by the final day the 'selection' process would've already been pretty much complete and it'd just be a coronation ceremony to celebrate the completion of Meryem's army. Meryem's presence would make very little difference on how fast new humans are born into his army because even he will not do significantly more than the 1K/day standard speed (most of the work is done by Pitou's puppets).
So that means originally, by the time Netero leads the assault almost every civilian would be dead anyway minus a token amount still left in the capital (because Meryem wants to participate in the selection process too) and of course at this point it's not like you really care whether 4.9 million or 5.0 million people died (assuming 100K survived to the final day, which is unlikely because the number left should be at most 10K range given there are only 4 aura users left at that point, assuming Pitou no longer uses puppets to spoil Meryem's fun).
But then this brings to the question is, if the original plan basically assumes 99% of the civilians would have died before the assault began, why on earth is Netero have a plan that involves getting Meryem so far away that a Rose blast wouldn't catch bystanders (which requires an impossible set of lucky coincidences) when he should expect nearly the entire civilian population to be wiped out by the time he arrives at the palace?
I'd say originally the plan basically goes like this. It's a suicide mission and they expect 99% of the civilians to have died before the assault is even going to begin so they don't care what happens if the Rose happens to get the remaining 1% survivors too. Netero gets to do whatever he wants for the last challenge of his life, and it's expected he'll fail but either way the Rose ensures (hopefully) the defeat of Meryem, and the loss of the Hunters are presumably worth it to ensure a point blank blast kills Meryem. Yes this ends up to be completely unnecessary due to the poison part, but I'm guessing that wasn't the original intention, and it's only a direct, point-blank detonation could've killed Meryem and only Netero can get that close to him to do it.
Of course in this case Gon and Killua and everyone else dies too and that'd be a rather inconvenient end for our main characters. Honestly, every Hunter minus Netero are basically a pawn in this suicide mission and none of them should've expected to survive this fight no matter what because the Rose would just clean everything up.