Hello, and welcome to the final Monster Appreciation Week for MHGU!
This week we finally look at the Final Boss of MHGU, better known as the Walking Treasure or Pavilion Mantis, Ahtal-Ka!
Interesting Facts About Ahtal-Ka
- When a Lao-Shan Lung was invading the Fortress, a Living Fortress tore through the outer walls of the fortress like it was paper. The armies were dispatched to attack the unidentified monster, but their attacks weren't effective against it. As soon as the monster broke through the fortress' defenses, the outer wall and surrounding streets vanished with it, and the fortress was left in a poor state after the attack. Lavanda, the Pub Manager, was dumbfounded by the attack and had no idea what the monster could be, so she eventually started her own investigation on the monster. During her investigation, she discovered that the monster gathers natural and man-made materials, which it uses to encase its body, to create a giant nest, a "walking fortress," and that there is something smaller inside it. This monster would stay close to its nest but descends to human communities when it has to renew its armor, bringing disaster and ruin with it. The Guild decided to call the fort-like monster Ahtal-Ka, the Pavilion Mantis (Japanese 閣螳螂).
- Ahtal-Ka has sharp, sickle-like claws that allow it to slash at foes and pick up objects. Though these claws are weapons, they are mostly used as tools for manipulating her silk. This beautiful silk is sticky and strong, allowing for Ahtal-Ka to pull and hold objects together with ease.
- Though Ahtal-Ka can use her claws for defense, she is known for pulling in objects with her silk before wrapping them on her back, and using them as a weapon. She has been seen using iron girders, turbine wheels, and even Dragonator spears as weapons against foes.
- Ahtal-Ka mainly uses her golden silk to weave together materials she has gathered into a giant, mobile nest called Ahtal-Neset (Japanese アトラル・ネセト). This walking fortress is giant in size, nearly dwarfing Lao-Shan Lung. By manipulating her silk, she is able to make the Ahtal-Neset walk and even attack threats that dare stands in her way. In this mechanical monster, she is practically invulnerable to all incoming attacks; however, if the silk is cut, she'll lose control of it, causing Ahtal-Neset to fall apart.
- The Ahtal-Neset encountered in-game is incomplete, the Ahtal-Ka wasn't finished perfecting it.
- Early in development, it was proposed for many males to control the Ahtal-Neset with the Ahtal-Ka acting as the queen controlling them. It was also proposed for Ahtal-Ka's ecology that she would give her young females a piece of her own Ahtal-Neset. When the young females reached adulthood, they would leave their mother's side with a piece of her nest, so they could start building their own colonies.
- It seems the Ahtal-Neset can vary from region to region.
- Ahtal-Ka will use the best materials they can find to create their Ahtal-Neset and will go to great lengths to obtain what they want. In ancient times, Ahtal-Ka only used natural materials like wood and rocks to create their Ahtal-Neset, however, that changed when humans appeared. As time went on, Ahtal-Ka soon realized that the man-made materials and metals that humans used were better than the natural ones they grew accustomed to, leading to them invading fortresses and settlements for the best possible materials.
- Ahtal-Ka are extremely picky. They will only take the materials they want and will leave the rest behind if it isn't to their liking.
- The reason the Ahtal-Neset looks like a dragon is because Ahtal-Ka has figured out that most creatures avoid confrontations with large dragons, so she gave it that appearance to scare off threats.
- All Ahtal-Ka encountered in-game are female. Male Ahtal-Ka are golden in color, while females are brown in color. By eating a large number of males, a female Ahtal-Ka will turn gold in color like them. The more males she eats, the brighter gold she'll be.
- When Ahtal-Ka pulls her Ahtal-Neset out of the ground, she pulls out a large amount of sand as well as golden silk, changing the appearance of the area around her.
- A part of the Ahtal-Neset is sometimes taken over by the young Ahtal-Ka while it is in the nest with its mother.
- The tensile strength and great beauty of her golden silk make it a valuable item. Some finer silk spun by her contains beautiful crystalline patterns.
- The surface of her ancient shell is filled with mysterious beauty. The purple parts of her shell are more valuable.
- Some of her changes color depending on the angle of the light.
- Her sharp forelegs have a fantastic cutting ability and an attractive glitter.
- The scent of her pheromones can be detected for miles.
- Ahtal-Ka's alluring gem is a jewel that will bewitch a beholder forever. Created after an eternity deep in the ruins.
- Royal Pyroxene: The pyroxene throne created such fear among the people that they could only kneel before it.
While in development, the MH Team wanted the Final Boss of the game to be a fun monster, something that combined aspects of large monsters with giant monsters in the series in a single hunt. They also wanted the Final Boss to be able to create and manipulate large structures at will as well. They first thought of making Ahtal-Ka into a Fanged Beast that could somehow grow bigger in combat and grow trees but thought the idea was overkill. Eventually, they decided to make her into an insect with an Egyptian theme. Spiders were initially chosen to be a key base since their silk could be used to construct powerful formations. At first, they thought of combining spiders with scarabs, giving Ahtal-Ka a unique appearance and shape, but they eventually decided to switch to mantises. At the start of the final design for Ahtal-Ka, the MH Team combined a idolomantis diabolica with Egyptian-themes. The overall color for her chest and exoskeleton came from a necklace that Queen Elizabeth's husband gave her in the past, giving Ahtal-Ka a more royal, divine appearance like a queen. The gold on her is meant to resemble pharaohs while the markings on the gold were meant to resemble the bandages of a mummy or necromancer.
A key component of her concept was her intelligence, which is very close to humans but still within the realms of an animal. The idea for Ahtal-Neset came from how human influence caused the behavior of animals to change like, for example, how some crows now use man-made objects like hangars to build their nest rather than natural resources. The overall design bases for this monstrosity was tortoises and sauropods, while the skeleton used for it was Seltas Queen's, excluding the head. Athal-Neset was going to be twice as big originally, but the MH Team felt it would've taken away from the fun factor.
Back to the New World
In two weeks, we return to the New World to see a familiar friend, but, before that, I have something special planned for next week.