Original Airdate: October 23rd, 2011
Toonami Airdate: May 7th, 2016
Hello everyone, and welcome to another recap of Hunter x Hunter! The Hunter Exams are finally underway, but it won’t be a cakewalk. More like a long walk across a tunnel, if you know what I mean. Alright, enough with the awful jokes, let’s get on with the recap!
It’s been about 2 hours since the first phase of the Hunter Exams, which consists of following the examiner to the sight of the second phase, has begun, and there are already applicants that are dropping out because of exhaustion. Leorio comments on the monotony of this phase, and Killua catches up with him while on his skateboard. Leorio calles Killua out on cheating, but Gon defends Killua by claiming that the examiner didn’t say they had to walk. Leorio is frustrated with Gon and Killua, and Killua gets off his skateboard and starts running alongside Gon. After a while, Leorio starts to loose stamina and falls behind everyone else in the race. Gon stops to see how Leorio is doing, and after catching his breath, Leorio sprints ahead, catches up, and Gon uses his fishing rod to take Leorio’s suitcase from him. Killua then challenges Gon to a race to see who is faster, under the condition that the loser has to buy dinner for the winner, and Gon happily accepts Killua’s challenge.
Leorio then catches up to Kurapika and then passes him after a brief conversation. Interested in Leorio’s determination, Kurapika decides to catch up with him and asks him a question about why he wants to become a hunter. Kurapika doesn’t believe that Leorio is only becoming a hunter because of the money, because his nature doesn’t really match that of someone motivated by greed. Kurapika begins to explain that his clan was targeted by the Phantom Troupe because of their eye color. Whenever someone from the Kurta clan has their emotions heightened, the color of their eyes change to a shade of scarlet that is considered one of the most beautiful colors in the world. Their eyes go for a hefty price on the black market, so the Phantom Troupe began to massacre each and every one of the clan members and took the eyes from their corpses. Being the only surviving member from the clan, Kurapika wants to avenge his clan by capturing the Phantom Troupe and taking back the eyes that were stolen. By becoming a blacklist hunter, he could access black market information and track down the Phantom Troupe, thus putting an end to their criminal activity.
At first, Leorio claims that he doesn’t have any other motivations other than money, but after going on about how money can buy anything, he says that his best friend would still be alive if he had enough money. His friend was severely ill, and while there was treatment available, the procedure would cost a ton of money, and since nobody was rich enough to afford the treatment, the disease ended up killing him. Leorio thought that he would become a doctor who would treat people with the same illnesses as his friend for no charge, but after realizing that you need a ton of money to become a doctor, he decided that he wanted to get as much money as he could so he can get into a good medical school and become a doctor. And also, we learn that Leorio is a teenager, despite looking like he’s in his 20s. Oh Japan, you and your bizarre character ages.
We’re near the end of the first phase, and despite a good majority of the contestants dropping out, the main protagonists are still going strong. Killua comments on how he thought the Hunter Exams were going to be more challenging than this, and when Gon asks Killua why he wants to become a hunter, he responds by saying that he doesn’t really want to become a hunter, but he was looking for a good challenge. Gon then tells Killua that he wants to become a hunter because of his father, who left while Gon was still young, as we’ve heard from the first episode. The two finally reach the end of the tunnel, and because they crossed the finish line at the same time, they agreed that they’ll have to buy each other dinner at some point. However, the first phase isn’t over yet, as they still have to cross the foggy wetlands in order to make it to the second phase. Many different species of animals inhabit the wetlands, many of which are carnivorous and will use any means to deceive their prey into being eaten, so there is an extra bit of caution that goes into this part of the exam. After the examiner explains that, some random guy shows up saying that he’s the real examiner and the other guy is just an imposter. The man claims that the examiner is actually an man-faced ape who is trying to lure the applicants into the wetlands so his kind can gang up on them an eat them. Then, to prove if the examiner is really a fake or not, Hisoka throws some of his cards at both “examiners” to see if they could deflect the attack, saying that most examiners are skilled hunters themselves. The one accusing the examiner is revealed to be a fraud, and the examiner proves that he is the real deal. The actual ape was the stranger, who was trying to confuse the applicants and get them to let their guard down. The applicants enter the wetlands, thus continuing the ever challenging Hunter Exams!
Despite being considered a somewhat uneventful episode, I still really liked this one! Unlike the other show I’m currently recapping for this site, this episode’s backstories are simple, yet really effective. While vengeance and dead best friend aren’t the most original motivations, the backstories tell you enough about why the characters are here in the first place and why they’re behaving the way they are. It also helps that the backstories don’t overstay their welcome and stick around for just long enough to be effective, unlike certain other shows on the block (I’m looking at you, Shippuden and Dimension W). And hey, this episode begins the sickeningly adorable Gon and Killua friendship, so that’s a huge plus in this episode’s favor. Believe me, if you don’t love the dynamic between these two already, you’ll definitely start to see what I’m talking about in the show’s later arcs. Overall, I give this episode 9 bizarrely mature looking teenagers out of 10.