"Who am I? Why am I here? A king with no name. A borrowed castle. My subjects are mindless drones. If this is the mandate of Heaven I have been given...I fear...I fear nothing...except the tedium that it will bring!!!"
Meruem appears to be rather humanoid for an ant. Meruem is muscular and toned, despite his relatively small frame as compared to his ant servants. He has two long antennae on his ears, and a large shell-like armor over his head that resembles a helmet. There are dark pigmented areas on his arms, legs, chest, and head. Meruem is always barefoot. He also possesses a powerful tail equipped with a stinger that serves as his weapon. It is worth noting that both his hands and feet have only four fingers each.
Meruem is initially seen as a cruel and violent leader. The Queen's intention to give birth to a perfect offspring is reflected in Meruem's mentality, with the Ant being haughty towards all. He speaks in an eloquent manner and has refined tastes for one of his species. He considers himself superior to all other forms of life and feels no concern for his dying mother after his birth. Meruem is also merciless, killing and cannibalizing any Chimera Ant he deems as disrespectful, although he still holds respect towards the strong, complimenting Neferpitou for surviving an attack that had killed many without much damage at all. He shows no empathy towards humans and views them as nothing other than a food source, killing and devouring a child not long after his birth and subsequent departure from the Chimera Ant castle, only to spit out their flesh and call them disgusting compared to the sensations he occasionally experienced while in his mothers womb.
As the story progresses however, Meruem starts to grudgingly respect Komugi, a human girl. He eventually grows to even care for her. From there on, Meruem begins to question the differences between the Ants and mankind. He battles with his identity as a half-human and half-insect, questioning the nature of violence and strength as true power.
Most of all, Meruem's defining trait is his pride. From the time of his birth to the moments of his death Meruem exhibited a strong confidence in himself and conviction in his actions. Because of his pride and confidence in his abilities he displays a code of honor as when he tried to defeat Komugi by shaking her resolve. Believing that all humans would succumb to fear or desire he challenged her with the conditions that should she win he would give her anything in his power but her failure would mean one of her limbs cut off. Contrary to his assumptions she displayed neither fear nor greed, even asking that if she was to fail, instead of losing a limb, to take her head; and as an apology for thinking so low of her, he tears off his own arm and keeps his word when Komugi tells him to allow for his arm to be treated by not killing her outright and instead letting the game decide her fate.
He is quite adept and learns things at an astonishing rate, being capable of mastering any form seen of board games in just ten matches and defeat world champions with ease. After a brief loss of memory he seems to become much more respectful and closer to his subordinates after being fed a part of them when he was dying, as he can feel things they can feel, and tell easily if they are hiding something or not from him, but at the same time he can sense their loyalty to him, causing him to put their loyalty to the test before considering to punish them, even more so if they answer truthfully despite doing so may inquire admitting to a miscalculation.
Meruem was the next to the last ant born of the Queen and held the title of Chimera Ant King. He was born prematurely, forcibly birthed through rupturing through her abdomen. According to the sociology of Chimera Ants, upon the birth of the King, the Royal Guards will solely follow his commands and he will leave the nest to find various creatures to mate with and impregnate in order to create the next Chimera Ant Queen. Soon after he was born, Meruem left his original nest in NGL with his Royal Guards in search of a place to start his kingdom at. His name means "the light that shines on everything."
Chimera Ant arc
The Chimera Ant King, Meruem, is the most powerful offspring of the Chimera Ant Queen. While still within the egg of his mother, Meruem was prematurely born. Meruem was so eager to be born that he forcibly ripped himself out of his sack. By doing so, he caused severe internal injuries to the Queen Ant, however, Meruem didn't care about his mother at all; his greatest concern was food.
When Peggy, along with the other Chimera ant squadron leaders saw their Queen in such a state, Peggy tried to help her; Meruem decapitated him with the mere whip of his tail. Meruem then told Colt to wipe off the blood off his tail and Turtle tried to be thoughtful for the newborn Ant King, but Meruem decapitated Turtle as well. Still hungry, Meruem tried to taste Peggy and Turtle, but he finds them distasteful. Afterwards, his royal guards arrived to escort and guide Meruem around.
Hungry for power and food, Meruem leaves the hive and NGL with his royal guards in search of a place to start his kingdom. He descends on the Republic of East Gorteau and takes over the country by killing its dictator, Ming Jol-ik, and having his Royal Guardsman Neferpitou manipulate his soldiers. Meruem then has Neferpitou use Jol-ik's corpse as a puppet to place East Gorteau under martial law. The nation's entire population is then ordered to gather simultaneously in the capital city for a national rally, in order to create a situation in which entire towns and villages could be secretly abducted for a "selection": the forcible awakening of Nen in order to create an army of super soldiers to conquer the world. The Hunters Association mobilizes an extermination team in response in order to raid the East Gorteau kingdom and assassinate Meruem, composed of the Hunters Netero, Morel, Knov, Knuckle, Shoot, Palm, Killua, and Gon; the Chimera Ants Ikalgo and Meleoron join them later on.
Nine days prior to the selection, Meruem takes an interest in various board games and gathers various champion-level players to his palace. Simply by reading the rule books, he becomes able to master any game in under ten matches, simultaneously learning from his opponents while disrupting the flow of their playing styles. After defeating the best player in each game, Meruem proceeds to kill them—as they are of no further use to him. The final game Meruem learns is Gungi, a fictional shogi-like board game invented in East Gorteau. The world champion for the game is Komugi, a seemingly dimwitted blind girl. However, as Meruem plays against her he finds himself unable to disrupt her flow; simultaneously, the challenge of playing against Meruem causes Komugi's skills to increase.
Much to the shock of the Royal Guards, Meruem even starts show respect for Komugi and concern for her well-being. In one instance he rips his left arm off as an apology to Komugi, for asking her to bet her left arm on a game (to which she replies that she always bets her life instead). In another instance, after watching Komugi's Nen suddenly awaken and realizing she would grow exponentially stronger (but only in terms of Gungi), Meruem begins to understand other forms of strength. He momentarily concludes that the power of "violence" is sovereign and befitting of a ruler and that other abilities are meaningless. Yet moments after, Meruem finds Komugi being attacked by a crow and he cannot help but protect her. Being unable to understand his own emotions towards Komugi leaves Meruem in a contemplative state in which he ponders on the purpose of his existence in the world.
During the Extermination Team's charge into the East Gorteau palace, Komugi is gravely injured by Zeno's Dragon Dive technique—initially a diversionary tactic meant to cause confusion within the palace. Meruem orders Neferpitou to save Komugi's life and then goes with Netero to a military weapons testing site. During his confrontation with Netero, Meruem develops a desire to recreate a world in which everyone would be so equal that the term "inequality" would become obsolete. Meruem reveals that he has finally realized that he should use his strength to create a perfect world and save certain humans that are "worth saving," but only a special few. Recognizing that the king is caught in between his Ant instincts and emerging humanity, Netero decides to destroy him quickly but is ultimately no match for his powers and intelligence. Having admitted defeat, Netero commits suicide by detonating the Miniature Rose in his body as a last ditch effort.
Meruem is horribly injured by the bomb but manages to recover after his Guards Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi offer to feed him their own flesh. With this, they win Meruem's unconditional love and trust while he gains their abilities and becomes even stronger. He recovers quickly but loses his memory of recent events due to the explosion and seemingly reverts to his original mentality, losing his humanity. Meruem begins to display Menthuthuyoupi's abilities, as well as Shaiapouf's ability to read emotions, to a higher degree of skill and control. Once he returns to the palace, Meruem uses his "En" to find the remaining members of the Extermination Team—promptly knocking out Knuckle and Meleoron first due to their close proximity. Fearing that the King might regain his humanity once he finds Komugi, Shaiapouf delays Meruem's search by proposing a competition on who could find the remaining intruders fastest (while secretly plotting to erase Komugi's existence).
Meruem accepts the engagement on condition that if he wins, he wants to know all of Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi's secrets. After the death of Youpi and finding a Gungi piece, Meruem decides to find them himself. Using his "En" a second time, he finds Welfin and begins to interrogate him. Meruem eventually regains his memories after learning of Komugi's name from Welfin and realizes Shaiapouf's betrayal. With that, Meruem learns to distrust his former ally and tells Welfin that he would like to meet with Gyro and maybe live as a human if was possible. He later finds Palm in the Underground Hanger and persuades her to reveal Komugi's location for him, knowing that the Roses' poison is destroying him quickly from the inside.
Accepting his mortality despite his great power, he goes off to search for Komugi to enjoy a final game with her. The two spend the remainder of their lives playing Gungi, with Meruem failing to win even a single match. He comes to terms with the nature of his existence and they die in each other's arms. Meruem died in peace, not disturbed by foes.
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Meruem is seen holding Komugi's hand, even in death.
Abilities & Powers
Despite being a newborn, Meruem is the most powerful Chimera Ant, and the most powerful character to be introduced in the series so far, as well as one of the most intelligent. Born as the ultimate biological weapon, his physical power is only matched by an unparalleled intellect. His overwhelming talent allows him to analyze and learn anything almost instantly, and hone his strategies to perfection. Meruem is also endowed with unwavering - and well-placed - confidence in himself, which prevents him from hesitating; however, the relationship with Komugi and the fight with Isaac Netero led him to question himself. His power increased even more after absorbing Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi.
Unfathomable Strength: Meruem's physical strength is inconceivable as he was able to use only one powerful strike with his tail to kill several other Chimera Ants. He was able to shatter a massive wall inside the Queen's nest with only one punch. He also was able to rip off Netero's left arm and right leg easily. He can also rip off his own arm easily. He even injured all three of the Royal Guards with his tail strikes, however they weren't serious injuries (However it should be noted that he didn't use anywhere near his full strength). After absorbing Menthuthuyoupi and Shaiapouf, he could knock out Knuckle and Meleoron with a tap on the shoulder. However, there is a possibility of this being used with Nen.
Unfathomable Speed and Reflexes: Meruem can rip off limbs and obliterate entire bodies before a regular human can even react. He can move at extremely fast speed when fighting Netero, despite Netero landing multiple strikes upon him. Meruem can easily rip of Netero's left arm and right leg in a flash, dodging the attacks of the 100-Guanyin Bodhisattva at the same time, meaning he could travel at speeds approaching mach 1(the same speed at which the Bodhisattva is summoned). After absorbing Menthuthuyoupi and Shaiapouf, he gained the ability to fly, allowing him to move at super-sonic speed in mere seconds.
Unfathomable Agility: Meruem is able to move from angle to angle deftly, as seen from his fight with Isaac Netero, in which he repeatedly avoided being blown away by strikes faster than sound.
Unfathomable Durability: Meruem is extremely durable as he was able to take thousands of incredibly-powerful super-sonic blows from Netero without suffering even a single scratch, although it was said that he began to feel dull pain around certain points in his body, hinting that he may have sustained some damage before even Zero Hand was used, and possibly significant damage had he not created a strategy to defeat Netero. He was also able to take on Netero's most powerful move, the Zero Hand, which launches Netero's entire aura upon his opponent (aura so strong that simply being in the presence of it can feel like needles on the skin) and he only received cuts and bruises. He was able to survive the ultra-powerful explosion of the Poor Man's Rose that was released after Netero's death and despite his body being nearly destroyed in the process, he was still alive after the fatal attack.
Immense Endurance: Meruem ripped off his own arm without hesitation, barely flinching afterwards.
Immense Poison Resistance: While he inevitably succumbed to the poisonous Poor Man's Rose, he was the last Chimera Ant to do so despite being at the epicenter of the explosion. While it should be taken into account that Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi (Menthuthuyoupi especially) had given a significant amount of their power to the King in order to save his life (and so had less energy themselves), it is still an amazing feat surviving for such a prolonged period of time.
Genius-Level Intellect: Meruem has extraordinary intelligence being able to learn and master nearly anything he comes across of, he also uses his intelligence for Gungi in his battle against Netero and eventually succeeds by doing so. Also, seeing as how he epitomizes the meaning of melting pot, his intelligence is far beyond the likes of even the most intellectual humans.
Master Strategist: He can create quick and effective means to defeat Netero during his intense battle and found a way to elude through Netero's powerful defenses and was able to severely injure Netero in the process. The time that he spent when playing Gungi with Komugi have greatly bolstered his skills in perception and has gave him supernatural foresight as he can disrupt the flow of his opponents efficiently. This enhanced perception is what allowed him to win in his fight with Netero, as he was able to pick up on what was called a pattern so small it couldn't even be called a bias, which caused him to take Netero's left arm and right leg.
Proficient Hand to Hand Combatant: Meruem relies entirely on bare-handed combat to kill his opponent. His fighting style seems to be based on a combination of his superhuman physical attributes and unmatched intelligence. He mainly resorts to chops and attacks with his tail, which are so powerful they can easily destroy anything they come in contact with and so quick they are invisible to almost anyone. He usually aims for critical spots right away, ending the fight in an instant. He has also shown to be capable of knocking out significantly less powerful people, such as Knuckle and Meleoron, by applying pressure on their neck, controlling his movements perfectly in spite of moving at arguably supersonic speed.
Meruem was born with an exceptional amount of aura, which soon surpassed even that of the Royal Guards. By feeding on human beings, he increased the size of his aura even further. After he consumed part of the bodies of two of his guards, Knuckle, upon witnessing his Ren, assumed that his power could rival the firepower of an entire nation. The first time he used En, it covered an area much wider than that of the palace and spread at such a speed that it was perceived as a real flash. With the second use, his mastery reached the point that he could even discern fresh footprints. His talent is so great that it took he has been shown using exceedingly powerful Nen abilities at the first try and without effort. It is possible that he is a Transmuter because the only ability he uses that is primarily his own is a Transmuter ability, Photon.
|Meruem's Nen abilities|
|Type: Unknown||Aura Synthesis|
|Meruem's initial ability gives him strength through consumption. Meruem's aura grows every time he devours a user of Nen, with their aura synthesizing to his own.|
|After absorbing large parts of Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi, he is able to use Menthuthuyoupi's ability to transform--including gaining wings to fly. This allows him to fly at speed that Shaiapouf considered would take 15 minutes in a mere 5 minutes.|
|Type: Emission||Rage Blast|
|After absorbing large parts of Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi, he is able to use Menthuthuyoupi's ability to use "Rage" in a concentrated blast of aura.|
|By combining the abilities inherited from Shaiapouf and his own En, Meruem created his own version of Spiritual Message, which consists in turning his aura into microscopic particles akin to photons. Each photon maintains his aura, allowing Meruem to measure the shape, quality, emotion, and other informational content about the things the photons interact with, and as stated by Welfin and Shaiapouf, he can detect everything, even lies. The precision of the information he can gather depends on the quantity of photons directed at the object of interest. Meruem deploys these photons in his En in a flash.|
- (Repeated line) "Do not make me repeat myself."
- (To women begging the King to spare their lives) "Ha-ha, these humans are definitely foolish creatures. Think as hard as those weak brains of yours can manage. Do you humans ever listen to the cries of mercy coming from the pigs and cows you slaughter?"
- (To the Royal Guards) "Because of Komugi...I've learned that there are different forms of strength... Even on my way here... I killed a child. That child may have had the talent to surpass me in something... I trampled over that seed. For no reason at all... I trampled over it!"
- (To Netero) "I was born as the King of Ants, the crowning glory of life. All of your kind evolved solely to produce me. I am the culmination of generations of their unhesitating service. You are one of many, and no king. Of course you could never win!! The ecology of the Chimera Ant is focused on the endpoint of all evolution... on me. Humanity, with its messy diversity... its individuals... never had a chance."
- (To Netero) "I see now... Yes... I see... You had me in checkmate from the start."
- (To Komugi, referring to his Royal Guards) "I was unworthy of their loyalty."
- "Fear and desire hold the power to disrupt one's rhythm. Desire clouds one's vision, while fear stills one's step."
- (To Netero) "This battle is really nice."
- (To Netero) "I am the King who holds the destiny of all other species, that's why I will win this battle."
- Meruem's name resembles the Arabic name مريم, which can be romanized as either Maryam or Meryem, and is equivalent to the English name Mary.
- In Viz's translation of volume 21, the Chimera Ant Queen gives his name as "Meryem". This is amended to "Meruem" in their translation of volume 28. Japanese Hunter × Hunter goods also feature this romanization of his name.
- In Hunter × Hunter Battle Collection, Meruem is considered a Specialist.
- Meruem shares traits with some of the main villains from the Dragon Ball series. Meruem's body vaguely resembles Frieza's with the purple color scheme (namely, the deltoids and shins). Meruem's appearance is also similar to Cell's (in particular his hands, tail & color scheme of green & purple). His characterization is possibly inspired by the villains of the Dragon Ball series as well. Like Frieza, he began as someone who was very arrogant in his power and had no problem in killing his subordinates along with the way he treats them. Like Cell, he wanted to have purpose in his power and learn his potential, as such he challenged those who were the mightiest in their field similarly to how Cell started the Cell Games. He was also born to be an ultimate being much like how Cell was born from the collection of the mightiest fighters. Meruem's relationship to Komugi is also reminiscent to Majin Buu's relationship to Mr. Satan. Buu's change of character started with a meeting with a blind person too, similar to Meruem's first meeting with Komugi.
- In Togashi's other work, Yu Yu Hakusho, Raizen and his decision to not eat humans until death resemble the possible resulting character of Meruem had he continued to live with Komugi. Both Raizen and Meruem ate humans until they met the human female they each fell in love with.
- According to the Hunter × Hunter Official Databook, Meruem's stats are:
|Chimera Ant arc: NGL||?/5||?/5||?/5||?/5||?/5||?/5|
|Chimera Ant arc: Palace Invasion||5+/5||5+/5||5+/5||5+/5||5+/5||5+/5|
|Members||Chimera Ant Queen • Meruem • Neferpitou • Shaiapouf • Menthuthuyoupi • Kite|
|Squadron Leaders||Colt • Zazan • Leol • Cheetu • Peggy • Meleoron • Bloster • Welfin • Bihorn • Yunju • Alligator • Turtle • Chimera Ant Octopus • Chimera Ant Panda|
|Officers||Boki • Centipede • Flutter • Hina • Frog • Ikalgo • Mosquito • Pike • Rammot • Ortho Siblings|
|Soldiers||Baro • Bat • Bombardier Beetle Chimera Ant • Coburn • Gorilla • Gun-toting Ant • Gyro • Hollow • Inzagi • Koala • Maenore • Palm Siberia • Pell • Pig • Rhino • Shidore • Snake • Stag Beetle • Taragette|