Meruem (メルエム, Meruemu) was the most powerful offspring of the Chimera Ant Queen. He was known as the "King" (王おう, Ō) of the Chimera Ants, and served as the main antagonist of the Chimera Ant arc.
Meruem's anime design
Meruem appeared to be rather humanoid for an Ant. He was muscular and toned, despite his relatively small frame as compared to his servants. He had two long antennae on his ears, and a large shell-like armor over his head that resembles a helmet. There were dark pigmented areas on his arms, legs, chest, and head. Meruem was always barefoot. He also possessed a powerful tail equipped with a stinger that serves as his weapon. Both his hands and feet had only four digits each.
Meruem shows his cruel nature right after birth
Meruem was initially seen as a cruel and violent leader. The Queen's intention to give birth to a perfect offspring was reflected in Meruem's mentality, with the Ant being haughty towards all. He spoke in an eloquent manner and had refined tastes for one of his species. He considered himself superior to all other forms of life and felt no concern for his dying mother after his birth. Meruem was also merciless, killing and cannibalizing any Chimera Ant he deems as disrespectful, although he still held respect towards the strong, complimenting Neferpitou for surviving an attack that had killed many without much damage at all. He showed no empathy towards humans and viewed them as nothing other than a food source, killing and devouring a child not long after his birth and subsequent departure from the Chimera Ants' nest, only to spit out their flesh and call them disgusting compared to the sensations he occasionally experienced while in his mother's womb.
As the story progresses, however, Meruem started to grudgingly respect Komugi, a human girl. He eventually even grew to care for her. From there on, Meruem began to question the differences between the Ants and mankind. He battled with his identity as a half-human and half-insect, questioning the nature of violence and strength as true power. Meruem initially considered humans as nothing more than livestock to be farmed, however, through his interactions with Komugi, and after his fight against Netero, Meruem began to see humans as incredible beings with immense potential through their tenacity for breaking their own limits. As a result of these changes in perspective and opinion, he no longer considered farming humans for food and instead suggested the co-existence of humans and Ants, with humans being selected and controlled for quality.
Meruem begins to care for Komugi
Most of all, Meruem's defining trait was 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 displayed 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 tore off his own arm and kept his word when Komugi told him to allow for his arm to be treated by not killing her outright, and instead letting the game to decide her fate.
He was quite adept and learnt things at an astonishing rate, being capable of mastering any form seen of board games in just ten matches and defeated world champions with ease. After a brief loss of memory he seemed to become much more respectful and closer to his subordinates after being fed a part of them when he was dying, as he could feel things they can feel, and tell easily if they were hiding something or not from him; at the same time he could sense their loyalty to him, causing him to put their loyalty to the test before considering to punish them, even more so if they answered truthfully despite doing so may inquire admitting to a miscalculation.
Meruem becomes fearful after Netero commit suicide to detonate the Miniature Rose
Despite his extreme arrogance and superiority complex, he felt fear for the first time when Netero was on the verge of committing suicide with the Miniature Rose. Moments before he succumbed to the poison, he admitted to Palm Siberia that humanity had won and he was willing to accept his defeat. His desire to fulfill his last wish was so strong that he was willing to kneel before Palm.
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 would solely follow his commands and he would 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. His name means "the light that shines on everything".
Chimera Ant arcEdit
Meruem is prematurely born. When his mother feels him trying to come out, she screams it is too soon, only for him to tell her to shut up and forcibly rip himself out of his sack. In so doing, he causes severe internal injuries to the Queen Ant; however, he does not care about her and demands food from the assembled Squadron Leaders.
Meruem showing his ruthless nature by killing Peggy
When Peggy rushes to help her, Meruem decapitates him with a whip of his tail. He repeats his demand and expresses disgust for the filthiness of the room, demanding to be shown a bigger and brighter space. He then orders Colt to wipe off the blood off his tail. Turtle pulls out a handkerchief and volunteers, but Meruem instantly pulverizes his head as well. Annoyed, he admonishes Colt and repeats his command. The Squadron Leader obeys. The Royal Guards arrive and pledge their loyalty to him, then offer to guide him where his meal has been prepared. Unimpressed, Meruem scoffs and follows them. When Neferpitou tells him they are going to the roof, Meruem punches a hole in the wall of the nest and launches himself to the top with his tail. However, the food is not to his liking. Neferpitou states they do not use any seasonings, but Meruem replies that is not the problem. Neferpitou understands he is referring to the rares. The Royal Guards thus escort the King away from the nest, with Meruem being carried by Shaiapouf.
Meruem punishes Neferpitou
Before leaving, he devours Peggy and Turtle, but finds them distasteful. Spotting a family of three in a field, he drops to the ground and kills the parents, marveling at their lack of resistance. Their taste does not satisfy him, so, when Neferpitou informs him the most delicious part of a human is the brain, he stabs the crying child with his tail. He proceeds to eat her brain, but despite claiming the taste is better than before, he still does not consider it worth eating compared to the rares. Neferpitou tries suggesting using Gyo to spot humans with a large amount of aura around their bodies, but Meruem, interpreting the explanation as an act of disrespect, cuts them off by hitting them with his tail. He claims he enjoys not knowing how delicious his prey is until he tastes it, and adds that his hunger has been appeased. He then commends Neferpitou for their strength as he attacked them with the intent to kill them.
Meruem enters the Royal Palace
The King then has Menthuthuyoupi fly him. They leave NGL and enter the Republic of East Gorteau. Upon arriving at the Royal Palace, Meruem swiftly eliminates the soldiers stationed there and advances towards the throne room. When the four encounter a Nen-using soldier, Meruem claims he can feels his aura without focusing his eyes and, excited, declares he is a rare. Meruem effortlessly kills the soldier and, ecstatic, eats him, relishing in the aura surging inside of him. This leads Neferpitou to realize the King becomes stronger by consuming rare prey. They enter the throne room, where they encounter the dictator of East Gorteau, Ming Jol-ik, who threatens them. Disappointed and surprised he cannot feel any power from him, Meruem regards the human custom of being ruled by incompetents as a sign of idiocy, and plans to keep them on a short leash. He then easily kills the shouting dictator, mocking his weakness, and lets Neferpitou reassemble his corpse. The dancers that were entertaining Ming plead for their lives, but Meruem laughs mockingly and asks them if they listen to the cries of cattle and swine before slaughtering them. He then goes to the balcony, appreciating the view of the inner courtyard, which he intends to turn into a meat orchard where to store humans.
By having Neferpitou manipulate Ming's corpse, Meruem orders the citizens of East Gorteau to gather in the capital, within ten days for a three-day long national rally. His aim is to carry out the Selection, which consists in brutally awakening the population to Nen so as to turn the survivors in high-quality food and Nen-using soldiers before proceeding with the next step, Unification: world conquest. Contrary to the expectations of the Extermination Team, Neferpitou begins the Selection before all citizens are gathered in Peijin, starting from the country's western border and working their way eastwards. The Royal Guards manage to gather humans and place them into cocoons before someone begins to disrupt the Selection; to shut him down, the Chimera Ants have Ming Jol-ik appear on television again and declare the institution of martial law. However, the remote Sorting comes to a complete stop when two more enemies appear and surround the capital.
Meruem studying a rule book
The King, however, does not care, engrossed as he is in playing strategy board games to hone his tactical prowess, to the point he forgoes meals. He begins with chess, then, seven days before the rally, he defeats the national shogi champion. He enquires why his opponent did not surrender, since the game had been decided 22 moves before the checkmate. When he does not reply, Meruem tears off his ear and repeats his question, asking if he believed he would make a mistake. The terrorized champion tries to escape, but Meruem kills him. He then begins to read the rules of Gowhile Menthuthuyoupi orders the screaming and kicking national champion into the room. The King orders him to be silent and to choose between playing and dying right away. After only ten games, Meruem beats the Go champion, who laments he was tired and becoming ill. Meruem gives him eight hours to rest and medicine and dismisses him. Shaiapouf praises his progress, as he mastered Go in less than half the time he did shogi. Meruem responds it is simply a matter of learning the rules, finding the opponent's rhythm, and disrupting it.
Meruem and Komugi playing Gungi
The next game the Royal Guard introduces him to is Gungi. He adds that all the world champions of the game have been from East Gorteau, causing the King to remark that if he wins, he will be the best in the world, a conclusion to the diversion offered by board games he deems fitting. He is surprised to see the Gungi champion is a blind girl. When Komugi clumsily introduces herself, he orders her to be silent so he can learn the rules of the game. She observes his voice is different from Ming's, to which he responds the dictator is dead and he has replaced him. He cuts off her apology, threatening to kill her should she open her mouth again. This causes Komugi to shut it and, since her nose is stuffed, she passes out from being unable to breathe. The King notices she is unconscious after finishing the rule book and asks Shaiapouf for an explanation, later commenting dimwits of her level are rare. She recovers and begins to apologize, but he orders her to play.
As she focuses on the board, she opens her eyes and Meruem notices her vibe changes completely. he asks her if she can see, to which she replies she cannot and needs the moves to be announced out loud. In response to her question, he declares he is not bothered by her keeping her eyes open. They begin their first game. She checkmates him with standard tactics, causing him to deduce he is not good enough for a serious game yet. They keep playing for eight hours, and Komugi wins every time. He dismisses her to have a rematch against the Go champion, much to her displeasure. To Shaiapouf Meruem says that in four or five more games he will be able to make her play for real, then he will find her rhythm and destroy it. Menthuthuyoupi enters the room with a suicide note and declares the Go player has hanged himself, so the King has him call Komugi back. The King keeps losing to Komugi as her moves become sharper and more difficult to read. With one move, Komugi turns the tides once again. Meruem concedes defeat, thinking it is impossible that she anticipated all 72 of his moves, and demands another game.
Confident he has figured out and is about to disrupt her rhythm, Meruem isolates his king in a strategy he calls "Detached Castling". He then takes control of the central position, which, he reckons, would give him total control over the flow of the game. She pauses for the first time, but after a moment, she counters his move. Realizing there are no viable options left to him, Meruem surrenders. Irritated, he claims Komugi knew his strategy was a refuted variation, which she confirms, and asks her why she hesitated. She explains that she both created and destroyed the tactic the King called "Detached Castling", which she named "Kokoriko", and, welling up, reveals she hesitated because it was as though her child had come back to life for a moment and she had snuffed him out again. Her recount marks the first time Meruem has listened to someone for that long. Her sentimentality bothers the King, who loses interest in playing. He walks away, declaring there will be no more breaks.
Meruem, frustrated yet satisfied
Sitting on the throne, Meruem reflects that his rhythm is the one being disrupted, but instead of regarding it as an unbearable indignity, he finds himself both frustrated and amused by it. He is vexed that his skills in self-analysis are not yet refined. He returns to the game room, where, spotting Komugi seated in front of the board, he asks Shaiapouf if she did not rest. The Royal Guard points out to him that she is sleeping while sitting, drool flowing from her mouth. Her vulgar appearance leads Meruem to wonder how her mind can concoct such marvelous games. He wakes her up and makes the first move, then proposes they make a bet.
In order to disrupt her rhythm, Meruem attempts a psychological offensive by using greed and fear: he offers to give her anything she wants if she wins, in return for her left arm if she loses. Her desperate musings cause the King to ask her why she is reacting like that. She enquires if instead of her left arm she can wager what she usually does, which, much to the King's shock, is her own life. Confused by her concern that it might be offensive, Meruem demands that she explain herself. She recounts her family circumstances and her vow to kill herself if she ever lost a game, adding that since her life would be worthless when she loses, it may be considered bad manners to offer it to the King. Impressed, Meruem asks her if there is anything she would like if she wins. Komugi responds she has never thought about anything beside Gungi and resolves to come up with something after the game. The King notices there are no hints of greed or fear in her. He begins to laugh, admitting he was the one not to take their games seriously enough. He rescinds the bet, as she could have asked for his life in return. The notion horrifies Komugi, but he retorts it is a personal matter and tears off his own left arm as an apology.
Meruem threatens Komugi
Shaiapouf rushes to his side to stop the bleeding and insists he stops playing, but Meruem smacks him, stating he was the one to declare there would be no more breaks. Shaiapouf suggests Neferpitou administer treatment while he plays, stating that if the King refuses, he will have to kill him. Adamant, Meruem tells him to come closer so he can finish him off. He orders Komugi to play, but she refuses, even when he threatens to kill her. Faced with her stubbornness, he agrees to summon Neferpitou,who reattaches his arm as he plays. They keep at it for three days, until even Komugi's reaches her mental and physical limit. Claiming he would not enjoy beating her while she is weak, Meruem goes back on his word and allows her to take a break. When they resume, he is willing to accept her advice. Shaiapouf demands to talk to him in private, but the King bids he speak to him as he plays. Uninterested in the Sorting and the Unification, he leaves matters in the Royal Guard's hands and chases him out.
Meruem summons his Royal Guards
As he improves in Gungi, so does Komugi. He takes note of it and acknowledges her superiority, as she manages to make their games entertaining despite winning. During one of their games, she awakens to Nen, causing Meruem to realize she will grow even more skilled. For the first time, she asks for a break, leading Meruem to ask if anything is wrong. She replies that she wants to memorize the moves that are flooding her mind by arranging the pieces. Impressed that she has never forgotten a game she played, he grants her request. As he watches her leave, he asks her her name. She reciprocates the question, throwing the King into a state of confusion. He leaves without replying and summons his guards. Once they have assembled, he asks them what his name is. Shaiapouf answers he has no need for one, as after the Unification project is complete, he will be the only true King. Meruem objects that "king" is a title, not a name. He turns to Menthuthuyoupi, who deems himself unable to provide a satisfying solution, and then to Neferpitou, who recommends the King chooses a name that suits his tastes. Detecting his pensive mood, Shaiapouf offers the Royal Guards' support. Meruem states he saw Komugi's body bathed in light, and the fact he learned her name shocks Shaiapouf. He adds that she will keep growing stronger, although in Gungi alone, and asks Neferpitou if she would survive the Selection, which the Royal Guard denies. Meruem declares he has learned different kinds of strength exist and reflects on his actions, causing Shaiapouf to fear he is regretting his actions.
A baffled Meruem standing before Komugi
However, Meruem grins ominously. He states that all those others strengths can be easily destroyed by his: the ultimate force of violence. He heads off to Komugi's room, determined to kill her. As he barges in, he saw she is being attacked by a bird and, without a moment's hesitation, strikes down the bird. Noticing her injuries, he rebukes her for not calling for help, while remarking her fragility. When Komugi replies she did not want to be an inconvenience, he states she is an important guest. His own words perplex him, and he is even more befuddled when Komugi begins to cry. Unable to straighten out his emotions, he wonders why he did not kill her, and what he wants to do with her.
Meruem orders a change in security system
On the day before the Selection, he summons Neferpitou and asks them if they knew Komugi was being attacked. He then orders them to watch over her as well. 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. His musings continue well into the night. He admonishes Menthuthuyoupi not to follow him and, when the Royal Guard is about to object, strikes him. He then has him order Neferpitou to rescind their En. Neferpitou goes to him and suggests forming a circle around him. Meruem rejects the proposal, as that would require him to stay in one location or the Royal Guard to monitor his every movement. He allows Neferpitou to use their En around the palace. Neferpitou points out that would prevent them from sensing enemies coming from underground or rebellions inside the palace. Irate, Meruem rules that Neferpitou's En will only go up to the first floor, announcing that he will dispose of any trespassers himself, including the Royal Guards.
Meruem holding Komugi
At midnight, Zeno's Dragon Dive rains down on the palace. the King immediately rushes to the guest suite on the second floor of the west tower, where Komugi resides. Finding her mortally wounded, he clutches her limp body as his aura and his expression reveal his devastated state of mind to Neferpitou. The Royal Guard, Netero and Zeno, who located him through En, stand motionless, petrified by the sight. After recomposing himself, Meruem gently lays down Komugi and commands Neferpitou to heal her. He then requests the intruders and he fight somewhere else. The moment Neferpitou activates their Hatsu, Netero and Zeno freeze and Meruem disappears from their sight, casually strolling between them. He takes the southern exit, followed by the two assassins.Having realized their intent is to separate him from his Royal Guards with the minimum number of human casualties, he allows himself to be relocated. Zeno shoots his Dragon Head, which Meruem and Netero ride away from the palace.
Meruem wants to have a discussion
The dragon vanishes above a testing site for military weapons. He asks Netero why they must fight, stating his opponent will die. Netero warns him not to judge him by his appearance, but Meruem replies he is fully aware Netero has a grasp on their power as much as he does. Revealing he no longer sees humans as mere livestock, he states that he is willing to spare Netero if he surrenders. However, the Chairman refuses, on the grounds he cannot accept a deal that entails his survival alone. Meruem remarks that he fights knowing he will lose, and states that if he is doing it for the sake of mankind, he should endorse his project, as he can obliterate inequality and misery. He claims to have learned that power serves to protect the weak who deserve to live and sits down on the ground, resolute to exchange nothing but words with Netero. However, the Chairman activates 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva and strikes Meruem with First Hand.
Spitting blood, the King emerges from the crater, relatively unharmed. He commends the speed of the attack and sits down again, silently admonishing Netero not to make him repeat himself. Netero retorts with Third Hand. Prying the construct's hands open, Meruem's temper flares slightly, but it is enough to make Netero double the distance between them. The King sits down again. To get him to fight, Netero asks him if he knows his name. This elicits Meruem's interest, who accepts to fight until Netero is satisfied without killing him, which he likens to playing chess without a rook and a bishop.Ecstatic, Netero leaps up and activates Ninety-Ninth Hand. Meruem is assaulted by a barrage of palm strikes that burrow deeper and deeper into the ground, until the two fighters break through the ceiling of a massive grave. Netero strikes Meruem again, sending him crashing into a pillar.
Meruem vs. Netero
Tossed around but undamaged by the attacks, Meruem feels admiration for his opponent surge inside of him. Quickly finding his balance, he jumps at Netero and attempts to sever his arm, but Netero counters his offensive in time. The King realizes Netero must join his hands between attacks and that he turned an ordinarily wasteful movement into a powerful asset faster than he is. He speculates Netero trained it to the point of insanity for a decade. Emerging from the debris unscathed, Meruem praises Netero's ability to exceed his own limits through sheer effort. The sense of superiority implied by his accolade infuriates Netero, who attacks him again. This time, however, Meruem jumps off a pillar right after being struck, and decides to resolve only to that extremely simple tactic until he can