Original Airdate: October 30th, 2011
Toonami Airdate: May 14th, 2016
Hello everyone, and welcome to yet another Hunter x Hunter recap! I don’t have any witty introduction for this, so let’s get on with the show!
After the encounter with the man-faced ape in the last episode, the run in the Milsy Wetlands begin! One of the applicants is contemplating taking Hisoka out before he could put anyone in danger, and Killua plans on moving up to the front to get farther away from Hisoka. Kurapika and Leorio start to worry about getting lost when out of nowhere, a group Noggin Luggin’ Tortoises show up and starts preying on some of the applicants. Those aren’t the only creatures that are out for the applicants, since there are many more organisms that end up poisoning, eating, and leading the applicants into traps. If you thought that was going to be the most brutal the show is going to get, all I can say about the later parts is that there is a reason this show moved to a late night timeslot when it was airing in Japan. Anyway, while Gon and Killua are running, they fall into a trap and get eaten by a giant frog, thus ending the series short run…
Alright, fine, the show doesn’t really end like that. Leorio and Kurapika continue fighting the tortoises, and after Kurapika stabs one of them in the eye and saves Leorio from getting eaten, they both run off while the tortoises are distracted. And also, Gon and Killua make it out okay after the frog barfs them up because of the leftover juice Killua had from Tonpa. While Leorio and Kurapika are continuing to catch up to the rest of the crowd, they come across a group of applicants threatening Hisoka into dropping out of the Hunter Exams. After he refuses to comply with their threats, the applicants charge at Hisoka, but all except for one were killed before they could get a hit in. Before the last one could get away, Hisoka stabs the last guy with one of his cards. After finishing his applicant slaughter, he notices Kurapika and Leorio watching him from the distance, and they decide to run off before Hisoka could pick a fight with them. However, after they leave, Leorio decides to run back and fight Hisoka, as he doesn’t believe in running away from a fight. Leorio dashes at Hisoka, but he ends up evading the attack. Before Hisoka could finish him off, Gon throws out his fishing rod and catches Hisoka’s attention. Hisoka’s interest is piqued by Gon’s ability, so he doesn’t end up killing him and lets Leorio live. Hisoka takes Leorio off to the site of the second phase, and Kurapika joins Gon on the way. Gon is able to make it to the second phase from the scent of Leorio’s cologne. Kurapika explains to Gon that it was likely that he and Leorio “passed” by Hisoka’s standards because of the potential he saw in the both of them to become great hunters, and that killing them would’ve been a waste because of how much he wants to see them grow. Only 148 candidates remain in the exam, and the second phase will begin next week!
This episode is a little bit of a sneak peek for what the tone will be in the later parts of the show. As in, the show’s tone getting progressively darker with each arc. Again, won’t spoil too much, but you really shouldn’t go into this series expecting it to be all sunshine and rainbows (inb4 “I THOUGHT WE COULD SMILE AGAIN!”). I would also like to bring up that this episode does a perfect job at establishing Hisoka as an interesting rival to Gon. Unlike most villains who want to keep the protagonist from succeeding by all means possible, Hisoka actually wants to see how powerful Gon could get at his full potential, and refuses to keep him from reaching his goal until he reaches his standards. That’s a really rare trait for an antagonist to have, so in a lot of ways, Hisoka is a breath of fresh air when compared to others of his archetype. Re-watching these first few episodes have actually given me a new appreciation for the series and how the earlier material still works so well even if it doesn’t compare to how crazy some of the later parts can get. Overall, I give this episode 9 giant barfing frogs out of 10