Having begun the review of Part 3 of this series by mentioning some of the errors made by Manga Entertainment (or rather Funimation, seeing as how the brand is being taken over), it is only right to mention that the cover for Part 4 has some problems – and while I know you should not judge something by its cover, it is an annoyance. The 15 certificate warning displayed on the back of the cover says that this collection contains among other things: “Strong blooy images” and “viloence”. The illustration on the back of the cover also shows Leorio reading a newspaper. Leorio does not appear at all in this collection.
Part 4 of Hunter x Hunter is entirely a continuation of the Chimera Ant arc. To be exact, it is the middle of the entire thing, the introduction being given in Part 3. The story originally began with hunters Gon and Kite tracking down deadly Chimera Ants, which have gained a taste for human flesh. The Queen Ant has thus given birth to a race of hideous humanoid/animal/insect offspring, with these Ants having the abilities not just of humans but other animals that the Queen has consumed, leading to cat-like Ants, butterfly-like Ants, wolf-like Ants and so on. To make things worse, some have been eating other hunters and starting to gain their own Nen-like powers. An attempt to stop the Ants has ended in failure, with Kite being captured and tortured.
Gon and Killua escaped and when we join them in this arc, they have been training with another bunch of hunters. However, both failed their final test, meaning they cannot go back into the fight straight away. Things are also going badly for the Ants too. The Queen finally gives birth to a King, albeit prematurely. The King is utterly ruthless as well as strong, killing anyone who disobeys him, while the next three strongest Ants, who make up the “Royal Guard”, swear loyalty to him. Most of the other Ants with join with the King or go their separate ways, but the Ant most loyal to the Queen, one called Colt, surrenders himself to some hunters in exchange for medical aid. They agree, but the treatment comes too late, although the Queen does name the King: Meruem.
Meruem and his Guards formulate their own plan. They secretly depose the leader of a dictatorial, isolationist nation, and start to enact a plan to turn the dictatorial palace into a human meat processing plant. When the hunters eventually learn of the news, a plan is formulated to bring down the King, with Gon, Killua and their fellow hunters gaining some Ant allies who decide to work alongside them for their own personal reasons. Meruem meanwhile, while ruthless in his plans, spends his time educating himself and mastering tactics, mainly by playing a fictional board game called Gunji. However, he keeps losing to the best Gunji player in the world, a snotty-nosed blind girl named Komugi. As the days pass, he begins to form an attachment to her, despite him wanting to destroy all before him.
Out of all of the collections of Hunter x Hunter so far, this one feels the least interesting, partly because it deals with the middle of one story. You feel that you would rather go back to start of it before watching, or rather hold off until you get the rest to properly enjoy it. Having said that, there are enjoyable moments. Meruem’s relationship with Komugi shows that the central villain of this piece may have some redeeming qualities after all, especially when her own life is in danger when the hunters make their attack. The fact that some of the other Ants are happy to join forces with the hunters also shows that this race of creatures is a mixed bag when it comes to morals as well as powers. Two of the more interesting episodes see members of the Phantom Troupe returning to their hometown to deal with an Ant infestation there, separate from the rest of the story.
When the hunters do make their move on the palace, one of the more interesting elements is the heavy use of narration during so many of the episodes. At times it feels as if there is more narration than actual dialogue between the characters in some episodes. While the battles and fighting all have their part in the action, the narration also adds another perspective to the way the story is told.
When it comes to extras, once again textless opening and closing are the only offerings, and indeed the opening song is the same as ever. The first closing song is one that is already heard in the previous collection, “Nagaregoshi Kirai” by Yuzu. The second, and indeed the last opening song in the series, “Hyori Ittai” by Yuzu featuring Hyadain, is fine but nothing spectacular.
The next collection is the last in this series.