Neferpitou is the best antagonist Hunter X Hunter has and one of the best antagonists of shonen anime. From the moment they were introduced in the story, they stood out as a villain. And they only got better with time. In the beginning, every time Neferpitou appeared on screen, they terrorized every single character in the frame, with the exception of Meruem.
With time, the character changed in many significant ways. As layers began forming around the character, Neferpitou became one of the most interesting aspects of the already amazing Chimera ARc in Hunter X Hunter. Let’s dissect what makes Pitou the most impactful antagonist of the Chimera arc. We will be comparing Pitou’s character with Pouf and Gon to some extent to get a better idea of how the character changed with time.
Origin of Neferpitou
Neferpitou was the first of the royal guard to be born. A natural predator, they were born with many feline traits. Their curiosity and lack of empathy mirrored that of a baby who doesn’t know any better. Since they were extremely strong, they didn’t see most people or even ants, worthy of a second glance. This made them capable of being extremely cruel and apathetic.
Pitou was sharp as a razor and very vigilant. They were often on guard duty because of their specialized En and sharp instincts. Nothing went past Pitou and their aura was so sinister, it froze people in their boots. With all the physical and mental prowess, their mind was still that of a child with a lack of any worldly experience.
Pitou did not understand the weight of their actions. Moreover, they lacked any concept of death or the sanctity of life. After killing Kite and decapitating his head, Neferpitou reanimated his physical body just to “play” with him.
Pitou and Pouf
Neferpitou and Shaiapouf were deeply dedicated to the King's wellbeing and safety. As King changed and grew, so did Pouf and Pitou. One constant- is their unwavering loyalty towards Meruem. However, that manifested very differently in the two characters.
Pouf wishes what’s best for the king of chimera ants, and Pitou wishes what’s best for the king himself. When Meruem ponders what his name should be, Pouf says just the King is enough as he sees Merum’s existence to be the one at the top, nothing more, nothing less. For Pitou, this doesn’t matter.
Pitou says the king should select a name that pleases him the most. They want for Meruem what Meruem wants for himself, even if it contradicts the best interests of the Chimera Ants. Due to these contradictions, Pitou and Pouf end up developing a mistrust toward each other. Pouf goes so far as to actively lie and hide things from Pitou which turned out to be detrimental to their life eventually.
Pitou and Meruem
The three royal guards were created with the sole purpose of serving and protecting the king. However, from the moment Meruem is born, this instinct to serve and protect grows into something more in Pitou. In a way, all three guards represent different aspects of motherhood.
Youpi seeks to be an indestructible physical shield for the king. Pouf is more of an extension of the actual mother of the king. He seeks to protect what the king ought to be. He is afraid of any distractions or changes that might deviate the king from his path. He seems to think he knows what is best for the king.
For this, Pouf would choose to even deceive the king himself if it aided the king’s protection. The two guards represent motherhood towards an infant. Pouf in particular seeks to close the king’s eyes and ears from all that deems dangerous for the king, like a mother wanting to create a happy bubble for her child, away from all things bad.
Pitou is different. Pitou sees Meruem as his own person and would never hinder his personal growth. Their care for the king is genuinely nurturing and preserving and it grows thicker with time. Both Pitou and Pouf observe the King’s growth very closely. Pouf is greatly troubled by it and sees Komugi as a hindrance. He comes to despise her and is always devising methods to dispose of her.
Pitou, on the other hand, comes to care for Komugi. Their unconditional love for Meruem manifests itself as unconditional care for Komugi as well. In a gut-wrenching scene, Pitou pleads with Gon to spare their life for just as long as it would take them to heal a gravely injured Komugi. As they offer their arms and legs in a desperate bid to bargain with Gon, Pitou tries to articulate why they are trying to save Komugi.
Gon asks who exactly it is that Neferpitou has to save. In a deeply vulnerable moment, they reply: “Someone who’s important to someone important to me.” Without using the words “love” or “care”, Pitou is able to convey something much bigger than that.
Pitou and Gon
Pitou’s path first crossed Gon when they were ready to fight Kite. At the time. Gon was unconscious and Pitou did not think him worthy enough to spare a glance. The next time they meet, the situation is completely changed.
After seeing Kite’s “undead” body, Gon is infuriated with rage. He swears revenge on Pitou with utmost sincerity. During the Hunters’ attack on the chimera ants, Gon found Neferpitou with Komugi. He was, however, so blinded by his hatred, that he couldn’t notice that Pitou was trying to save Komugi and not give her the “Kite Treatment”.
Before their eventual fight, Gon asks Neferpitou to fix Kite. Now, since Pitou has developed a conscience of their own, they earnestly tell Gon that Kite is dead for good. For the first time in their life, Pitou apologizes sincerely. In a very short period of time, Pitou is able to learn basic empathy.
This confession, however, has an adverse impact on Gon. Blinded by ruthless hatred and vengeance, Gon asks of Nen for everything it has to offer. His body turns into an adult form with his power at its peak on the condition that his Nen will be sealed forever.
In a symbolic turn of events, Gon loses his arm and shortly thereafter he decapitates Neferpitou’s head. However, Neferpitou’s dedication for the king is so strong, that their decapitated body continues to fight Gon until they are completely demobilized.
In their last moment, Pitou was glad it was them someone like Gon went against and not the King. Meanwhile, Meruem was blown to bits by Netero’s Poor Man’s Rose. Pouf and Youpi went on a search for the King and were able to revive him using their physical selves.
However, where Pouf and Youpi saved the “king”, it was Pitou who saved “Meruem”. By saving Komugi’s life and the cost of their own, Neferpitou saved Meruem’s soul, his being.
However, in my opinion, Pitou’s end was the tragedy of all ants. Among all ants, including Meruem, Pitou showed the most drastic growth as a character. However, their journey towards growth was cut short by their actions. Pitou’s unbecoming was the sins of their past. Pitou’s first significant action on screen was the cruel act of killing and reanimating Kite. Their last significant act was healing Komugi using the same Doctor Blythe that they used to reanimate Kite. In a cyclical fashion, Pitou’s death was rooted in their first act of cruelty which is killing Kite.
The real tragedy of it all, however, is that Pitou never got to act for themself, not once. Everything they did, cruel or kind, was in service of a king whose name they could never learn before dying.
Thanks for reading!