Original Airdate: January 22nd, 2012
Toonami Airdate: August 13th, 2016
Hello everyone, and welcome to another Hunter x Hunter recap, and another late one because of college stuff. I’ll try to follow the deadlines more strictly from this point on, but I can’t make any promises. But any who, let’s get on with the show!
After meeting up with Illumi in the last episode, Hisoka starts to observe Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio from a distance, remembering them from when they last met at the wetlands. Hisoka leaves the area to go after them, and shortly after he leaves, Gon jumps on top of the same rock Hisoka was at to observe him. He sees Hisoka running after Kurapika and Leorio, and he shortly follows suit. While Kurapika and Leorio are looking for Leorio’s target, their search is interrupted by Hisoka, who is just two points short from passing, so he plans on getting the tags from both Kurapika and Leorio. Kurapika offers to give Hisoka one of the badges that’s only worth one point, but if he wants either Kurapika or Leorio’s badge, they’re going to have to fight for it. After asking Kurapika for his badge number, he accepts his offer for the single-point badge, which Kurapika hands to him before walking away and continuing his and Leorio’s search. After watching this go down, Gon starts to think about what would happen if Hisoka’s next opponent doesn’t want to fight him either, since he only has one more chance to get the badge. As Hisoka’s blood lust increases, Gon starts to become more scared about eventually having to encounter Hisoka, and starts to have second thoughts about his initial plan.
The next morning, Gon starts to regain his confidence as he begins to chase down Hisoka. Gon then gets the idea to climb to the top of a nearby tree to easily hide from Hisoka when he’s ready to attack his next target. Gon then notices another applicant walking by, and he waits for both him and Hisoka to meet at the closest spot they could come into contact. He then jumps from this spot so he could get closer to Hisoka when he does attack. Hisoka and the unnamed applicant finally come into contact, and just as he takes out the applicant with ease, Gon is able to successfully take the badge from Hisoka without drawing any attention to himself. That is, until Hisoka finishes and notices that his badge is gone, looks over, and notices that his badge is missing. Though instead of going after Gon, he just smiles and lets him go about his business. However, before Gon could celebrate, he becomes paralyzed and collapses onto the ground. As Gon is lying on the floor, Gretta appears to tell Gon how many chances he had to kill him, which also happens to be the number of times Gon threw his fishing rod while training. Since Gon is his target, Gretta takes Gon’s badge as he’s lying on the floor. Just moments later, Gretta falls dead right beside Gon as Hisoka appears to give Gon his badge back, as well as his own badge. However, Gon refuses to take the badge, since he wanted to win it in a fair fight. Hisoka then tells Gon that he refuses to take the badge back until he’s able to match his strength, thus finishing this week’s episode.
To me, this was the episode that cemented my love for the series. I think I brought this up in an earlier recap, but Hisoka is one of my favorite villains in any shonen series for a good reason. He’s so unique in that he actually wants to push Gon to become stronger so that he could one day see him reach his full potential, and in no scene is this any more prominent than when Hisoka refuses to let Gon give his badge back, or even kill him for that matter, until he’s able to match his physical strength. It’s actually a nice change of pace to see an antagonist who wants to see the character grow and is looking out for their well-being, albiet in a very creepy and a borderline-pedophilic way. He kind of fits into a similar archetype as Funny Valentine from Steel Ball Run in that he’s still the antagonist of the story, but his intentions are still well-meaning, although a blood-thirsty pedophile is probably less honorable than a president who just wants to Make America Great Again. Overall, one of my personal favorite episodes of this arc, and I can’t until we get to more of Hisoka’s greatness. I give this episode 9 badges out of 10.