Meruem started out as one of Hunter X Hunter‘s hated characters but quickly became one of the most loved ones as soon as fans watched the Chimera Ant arc’s touching climax.
Series creator Yoshihiro Togashi admitted in a recent Q&A on “Iwakura and Yoshizumi’s Show” with the former Sakurazaka46 member, Yumiko Seki, that he was aiming for that moment to be as impactful as Ashita No Joe‘s and Fist of the North Star’s in their most startling moments.
Essentially, what he was referring to was probably:
- Ashita No Joe’s final panel where Joe smiles, covered in all white, after fighting the match of his life.
- Raoh from Fist of the North Star, having proclaimed to have no regrets and sent his remaining life force into the sky, restoring light to the world as he died standing proudly.
(Left – Ashita No Joe; Right – Fist of the North Star)
He further enunciates that the reason why he used them as references is because of their use of kakeami [a shading technique that can involve crosshatching] to portray an emotional moment.
Togashi stated he always wanted to take on that challenge, and his wish came true with the double-page spread of Komugi and Meruem.
(Hunter X Hunter Chapter 318)
While talking about the storyboarding, he says he initially thought of a part from Fumiyo Kōno’s “Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms” but later realized, upon rereading, that he mistakenly confused it with panels from another scene, which he didn’t state.
Here’s the exact words of Togashi while talking about Meruem’s touching moments with Kogumi in the Chimera ant arc:
“Almost all the panel layouts are decided right before or during the storyboard process, when the tension is as high as possible, and this was the case for the idea of “having several pages of speech bubbles on black backgrounds divided vertically.”
While drawing the chapter’s storyboards, I thought of a part from Fumiyo Kōno’s Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms, remembering the scene as a sequence of monologue-only panels on white backgrounds divided vertically (when I reread it later, I realized it was my imagination and that I had mistakenly confused it with panels from another scene…). It was then that I decided to continue the exchange between Komugi and Meruem in simple, pitch-black panels.
Most people from the generation before mine will remember Ashita no Joe when they think of a famous scene of a character who burned as brightly as they could. For my generation, Raoh from Fist of the North Star would get a piece of that pie. What they both have in common is their use of kakeami [a shading technique that can involve crosshatching] to portray an emotional moment.
I’ve always wanted to take on that challenge, and my wish came true with the double-page spread of Komugi and Meruem. It was really enjoyable to depict two characters who found the meaning of life in the process rather than the result, and I’m satisfied that I was able to reach that double-page spread as the culmination of everything.”
About Hunter X Hunter:
Hunter × Hunter is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Yoshihiro Togashi. It has been serialized in Shueisha’s shōnen manga magazine “Weekly Shōnen Jump” since March 1998, although the manga has frequently gone on extended hiatuses since 2006. Its chapters have been collected in 37 tankōbon volumes as of November 2022.
It was first adapted in anime format in 62 episodes by Nippon Animation, which ran on Fuji Television from October 1999 to March 2001 but stopped until the York New City arc.
A reboot by Madhouse aired from October 2011 to September 2014, totaling 148 episodes, with two animated theatrical films released in 2013. This reboot covered everything from the 1st arc to the Zodiac Election arc.
My Anime List describes the overall plot of Hunter X Hunter manga as follows:
“Secret treasure hoards, undiscovered wealth… mystical places, unexplored frontiers… ‘The mysterious unknown.’ There’s magic in such words for those captivated by its spell. They are called ‘Hunters’!”
Gon Freecss wants to become a Hunter so he can find his father, a man who abandoned him to pursue a life of adventure. But it’s not that simple: only one in one hundred thousand can pass the Hunter Exam, and that is just the first obstacle on his journey.
During the Hunter Exam, Gon befriends many other potential Hunters, such as the mysterious Killua; the revenge-driven Kurapika; and Leorio, who aims to become a doctor. There’s a world of adventure and peril awaiting, and those who embrace it with open arms can become the greatest Hunters of them all!
Source: Hunter X Hunter Fandom