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Begging Kite’s Forgiveness} ?> “To love righteousness is to make it grow, not to avenge it.” This is a quote by George MacDonald that I read recently, but instead of reminding me of the poet’s further thoughts, it makes me think of a TV show I’ve been watching: Hunter x Hunter.
One of the subplots in Hunter x Hunter detours to capture the story of a minor character named Koala. Koala is a Chimera Ant, a species that takes on the likeness of other beings depending on what creatures the Ant Queen has devoured before giving birth (hence why he looks like a koala wearing a suit). Hitherto he was used only to illustrate the barbaric nature of certain Chimera Ants who mutated into random grotesque human likenesses.
When we first meet him, Koala is a stone-cold killer. He’s essentially the James Bond of the Chimera Ant world.
The job of most Chimera Ants is to harvest (kidnap) humans for the Queen’s food. Most of them are ruthless and enjoy seeing their victims scream in terror and attempt to flee. Not Koala, though. He would emerge out of the shadows, killing in an instant, the expression on his face somewhere between contempt and pity.
Koala shows up near the beginning of the Chimera Ants’ rise of power and we don’t see him again till the end of their story. The Ant Queen and King have fallen. The mutated Ant colony is essentially destroyed. Koala is among the few remaining Ants who survived.
Many of the surviving Chimera Ants are no longer purely Ants. They have regained memories of their former lives, their human lives before they were consumed by the Queen.
Koala is in this state and it has apparently changed him. He’s looking as sharp as ever in his suit as he sits on a couch, but the usual gun that accompanies him is nowhere to be seen. His hard eyes are focused; he is on a mission to kill. But it is himself he is out to destroy, not another person. His own self he has created.
Koala is sitting across from Kite, a human he had killed and who had been reborn as a Chimera Ant. He gives her his confession. He confesses that he is a killer, ruthless and efficient. Even when he was a human, he would kill if the order came. After becoming a Chimera Ant, that instinct was almost unstoppable.
But after killing Kite, he felt something. This time he somehow knew that life mattered. He felt the guilt for what he had done and was doing, even if he couldn’t stop himself. He had created for himself a cycle and he was trapped, doing what he hated and hating himself for it.
He says he was the worst monster of them all because he knew the wrongness of what he was doing and didn’t change. “The price for cleansing a tainted soul was too heavy.”
In Koala, there is a breach of righteousness. A brokenness. His soul is being suffocated by his own sin. And before him is Kite, in whom his fate rests. She has the power, and a real choice in front of her. She could avenge all of those he had slain, including herself, or she could forgive him.
The promise of violence hangs in the air. But the avenging blow never comes. Instead, anger at the injustice bursts from her lips in fiery speech. Through the torrent of words from Kite I feel a familiar echo of demands and promises.
Koala must surrender his all, not just his guilt and apologies. Every day he must serve Kite. Kite will set work before him and he will do it even though it exhausts him. He will lose himself. Only during through this act of selflessness can he focus on living.
For the first time, tears come to Koala. Packed away in Kite’s words is not only her forgiveness, but a way for Koala to forgive himself. And a way to break the cycle he is trapped in, a way to live a new life.
I think Koala accepts her offer, not just because of his guilt or duty, but because of that promise. It’s a similar promise made by Jesus to mankind.
I saw then what Macdonald meant by loving righteousness. There is no thirst for vengeance here, only the desire that Koala be made right. This is how one makes righteousness grow.