Isaac Netero watched first the snow fall and then the seasons’ change around him as he perfected his technique. For two years, he stood fixed on the same spot as the world ebbed and flowed around him, reciting the same prayer and throwing 10,000 punches of gratitude, until, at last, he beat the setting sun. Upon achieving a state of symbiosis between his body, spirit and his surroundings, Netero returned to the world.
His devotion is only revealed in flashback at the apex of Hunter x Hunter’s Chimera Ant arc, in which Netero clashes with the King of the Ants. Before, Netero was simply the head honcho of The Hunter Association, the eccentric straddling the cool grandpa stereotype as he played keep-away with then Hunter hopefuls Gon and Killua. Though the show was still in its infancy, his aura radiated power, intelligence and a more than a little mischief, but as the episodes unfurled, his potential remained disguised.
Born god-like to his people, the monarch of the Ants is predestined to reign over humanity, and this unwavering, unquestioning drive pits him opposite Netero. During this climactic conflict, the King first identifies his enemy’s dedication, before comprehending it as madness when compared to his own existence – one of beastly urge and Darwinist betterment – as his adversary stands righteous against an accepted defeat. But in the end, it’s his example that inspires the King to overcome his preconceptions of humanity, overwriting the fundamental biological design of his species.
Passing the time until he can assert his rule with a Holocaustic selection ritual, the King plays board games against their respective champions. But there is one human he can never defeat. The Gungi mastermind Komugi is fragile in every other respect; blind, feeble and constantly sniffling snot. Lacking any sense or ability outside of her proficient gaming strategy, without Gungi she would be, in her own words, “garbage”. Confounded by her in defeat and his growing concern for her weakness, something’s awakened inside the King; a new aspect of his spirit that even he cannot define. He begins to question his very existence, what or who he is within the invented figure of prophecy. It’s with this confusion lingering that he goes into his clash with Netero.