Original Airdate: January 8th, 2012
Toonami Airdate: July 30th, 2016
Hello everybody, and welcome to another Hunter x Hunter recap! If you’re wondering why episode 13 was skipped, well, who the hell wants to read a review of a recap episode anyway? Plus, I don’t think I could do that without disturbing the balance of time and space or something, and lord knows we don’t need to deal with any Inception shit because of this site. Where was I? Oh yeah, this week’s episode!
The third phase of the Hunter Exam has been completed, and the 24 remaining candidates are getting ready for the penultimate phase, which takes place on Zevil Island. The third examiner then comes and asks the applicants to draw lots containing each applicant’s ID number, as a means of determining who will be hunting who. After the applicants finish drawing their numbers, they peel off the sticker that was obscuring the number, and Gon is particularly shocked at the number he drew, which just so happened to be Hisoka’s. After everyone is finished looking at their target’s number, the examiner goes on to explain that the target’s ID and the applicant’s own ID are worth three points, and that everyone else’s is only worth one. To move onto the final phase, the applicants must score at least 6 points, otherwise, they don’t get to pass.
After the examiner is finished explaining the rules of this phase, the applicants board the ship and head off to Zevil Island. While on the ship, Leorio tells Kurapika that if he happened to be his target, he wouldn’t show any mercy, and Kurapika says the same thing back to him. Worried that he might be Kurapika’s target, Leorio asks him just to make sure, and Kurapika tells him not to worry, since he isn’s his target. Meanwhile, Gon and Killua sit down to ask each other which number they drew. Killua says that his is a secret, and then they assure each other that they aren’t each other’s target. They then show each other the number they drew, and after noticing that Gon drew 44, Killua tells him that he has some really bad luck. Gon asks who Killua’s target is, but he has no idea. Afterwards, they wish each other luck, and the boat arrives at the island. Kara, the examiner for this phase, tells the participants that they will be on the island for a week and that they must get 6 points before then. The applicants then exit the boat one at a time, and Gon has to come up with a plan to get Hisoka’s badge without coming into contact with him. After remembering his previous encounter with Hisoka, Gon comes to the conclusion that he can’t face Hisoka head-on, and instead must find a method to take his tag without drawing any attention to himself.
He then notices that another candidate, Pokkle, has the ability to mask his presence while stalking his target, and that his opponent was able to sense his arrow before he even shot. Impressed with these abilities, Gon decides to incorperate these strategies into his plan to go after Hisoka. He then grabs his fishing rod and decides to test this strategy using some apples. He’s successful at capturing the apples off the wodden platforms, but he knows Hisoka will be in motion, so he has to practice on a moving target. He then ties one of the apples to the tree so it’ll be swinging, and he’s also successful at capturing the apple there. However, Gon knows that the swinging apple moves in a predictable pattern, unlike Hisoka, whose movements are harder to predict. A frog then jumps out from the bushes, and Gon tries catching it with his rod, but misses. During this time, Gon is also being watch by Geretta, his predator.
This gives Gon the idea to go down to the river and try to catch birds and see how they move. On the first try, Gon fails to catch the bird, but he understands that he won’t be able to catch it until after multiple tries. After a few hours of failed attempts, Gon eventually gets exausted and gets some rest, knowing that it’ll be too hard to see birds at night. The next day, Gon backs to his training and is still unable to catch any birds. As he’s about to give up, he notices that while the bird swoops down to catch some fish, the fish also has its attention on the fly. Gon then uses this to his advantage by catching the bird as it’s about to catch the fish, making this his first successful attempt at catching a bird. Geretta is impressed at Gon’s hunting abilities, and the episode ends as Gon releases the bird, now knowing how to go about hunting Hisoka.
After the admittedly monotonous Tricky Tower arc, it’s nice to finally move on to something else for a change. While most of the episode was just the characters on the boat (still a shorter boat ride than the one in Berserk) and Gon training for his encounter with Hisoka, I still really liked seeing Gon improve his hunting skills not through some long DBZ-esque training arc, but through trial and error and actual stategic planning. No time capsule or Sakura’s shitty food pills, just Gon figuring out how to go after Hisoka using logical reasoning and observations, which is what sets him and characters like Joseph Joestar (who we’ll see on Toonami in a couple of months) apart from the rest of the “brawn over brain” shonen protaginists out there. I give this episode 8 birds out of 10.