The Phantom Troupe sequence in Hunter x Hunter’s “Chimera Ant Arc” tells a lot about family values for the Troupe and Zoldycks through Kalluto.
Hunter x Hunter’s Phantom Troupe are kin to a hyper-violent and thieving Addams Family. While they may be a motley band of vagrants and misfits, they care for each other, even if it isn’t always obvious. The small stint with the Troupe during the Chimera Ant Arc brings out some of these familial aspects through Kalluto Zoldyck runs into issues created by his childhood.
Kalluto and the Troupe find themselves dispatching a group of Chimera Ants for their hometown: Meteor City. Still, without their leader, Chrollo, the current members make a contest out of slaying the Chimera Ants to decide who will fill in as intern leader until Chrollo regains his Nen and returns to his position. Kalluto embraces the contest, which speaks for the openness of the Troupe as they respect strength over age and appearance.
Deciding to participate in the contest speaks volumes for Kalluto’s confidence in his strength. Growing up in a family of infamous assassins blessed Kalluto with a slightly delusional sense of skill as he believes he can efficiently dispatch Chimera Ants and hang with seasoned members of the Phantom Troupe. This youthful naïveté likely comes from the sheltered nature that Kalluto experienced.
Even though Kalluto has committed murder, he spent a lot of time under the watchful eye of a controlling mother who seeks to limit her children’s exposure to outside influences. The concept of a sheltered child assassin is peculiar but visible throughout the Zoldyck children. Even Illumi displays a childish naïveté through his lack of social skills and whimsical approach to killing.
Kalluto’s clueless overconfidence quickly fades as he begins to release just how fast and robust the Phantom Troupe is. Oddly they are the perfect surrogate family for him because they understand his blind confidence without verbally sequestering his pride — the Troupe’s desire to keep things exciting plays to that childish aspect of Kalluto. As a result, he seems to mesh more comfortably with them than his siblings and parents.
As Feitan finalizes his fight with Zazan by using an immensely destructive move, Kalluto stands in awe at the spectrum of power he was unaware of, caught off guard and unprepared to run. Raised to kill and obey, not protect and survive, he delays his escape to take in the wondrous sight. Finally, thanks to the brotherly aspects of Phinks, Kalluto is carried to safety.
From a manipulative and ambitious family to a quirky and loyal found family, Kalluto is experiencing one of the wildest childhoods out there. Were it not for Killua seeking his freedom from the suppressive nature of the Zoldyck household, Kalluto might have remained a naive and controlled doll for his mother.
A Zoldyck childhood is rigid and calculated, keeping the youths a bit childish due to a lack of social awareness. The found family aspects of the Phantom Troupe almost look warm by comparison.