Classic Anime Binge: Hunter x Hunter Season 1 Part 2

Season One Part Two

Here the remaining applicants will be tested by… hunting! Wow, finally something relevant to the job they’re trying out for.  Everyone gets a random number that signifies their target and must keep their number badge from being taken from other applicants. The test is based on points: 3 points for their target’s badge and 3 points for keeping their own. This will allow them enough points to move on to the final phase. If they are unable to take their target’s badge, they are allowed to take 3 other badges at 1 point each.

Well, this will definitely weed out the rest of the competition. By this point about 20 people remain and after drawing their targets the group finds they won’t be targeting each other.

But Gon’s target is…. Hisoka! Dun dun DUNNNNN!!!!!

On the other hand, Leorio doesn’t even know who his target is. At this time, everyone has hidden their badges away so applicants can only go by their target’s number. Tonpa is still around trying to ruin our rookie heroes’ chances of becoming Hunters; he targets Leorio since he’s the weakest of the group and with the help of a random competitor they manage to steal Leo’s badge.

Dammit Leorio!

Luckily, Kurapika has been watching over him and together they finally put Tonpa out of commission. Turns out Tonpa’s badge was Kurapika’s target all along and the two decide to team up to find Leorio’s target. Teamwork guys, teamwork.

In the meantime, Gon is stalking Hisoka when suddenly this guy appears

This guy has the right idea.
Hisoka’s… friend? Teammate? Boyfriend? They are definitely working together for something. He hands Hisoka a random badge so right now the clown as 1 point. Random Stranger already has all the points he needs so he decides to relax in a hole until the end of the test.

Hisoka decides not to focus on finding his target, and plans to just take as many badges as he needs to pass the phase. Gon continues to stalk him, completely forgetting that he is someone’s target as well.

*Documentary Voice* As the majestic Gon stalks his prey he realizes just how insanely creepy Hisoka really is. Seriously. It makes even naïve Gon want to run away. As Hisoka strikes another unwitting applicant, Gon STRIKES…..and manages to get his target!

As much as I hate Hisoka I love how he is the center for such high tension for the show. We never really know what we’re going to get from him, or if our heroes will actually be able to best him, so this moment was amazing! Yay Gon, you beautiful spikey haired child!!! You did it! But before we celebrate…

Gon runs away.

Smart move, but while he’s trying to put as much distance between himself and Hisoka as possible something hits him from behind. He quickly realizes that he forgot someone was hunting him all along and they’ve decided to take advantage of the situation.

A man, whose name I really don’t remember but we’ve seen him in the background plenty of times, comes up and takes Gon’s badge. He hit Gon with enough tranquilizers that will have him out of commission for days! Laughing like the villain he is, he leaves Gon to lie in the dirt to think about his mistakes.

Things are looking bleak. But then Mystery Man’s corpse drops to the ground with Hisoka standing above it. What a strange twist, especially since Gon’s two badges are dropped in front of him.

Hisoka was impressed by the effort and wants Gon to continue to the next stage of the Hunter exam. It is still unclear why he wants this, but I suspect he knows Gon will be a great fighter (in a couple years) and he’s trying to have a hand in molding that fighter.  Gon refuses to take the badges, saying he doesn’t want to cheat.

It’s all very noble… but take the damn badge. Hisoka agrees with me (a scary thought) and he punches Gon in the face with some parting advice:  “When you’re able to return this punch, you can give me back that badge.”

A new spark enters Gon’s eye: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Without much surprise everyone passes Phase Four: Killua had no problems and Leorio went through an ordeal about getting his target’s badge that really doesn’t need recapping- It was boring.

Finally, we come to the last phase. The Chairman heads this part and has decided it will be a tournament. It’s not a Shounen anime without one tournament every season, right guys? But this one will be different, everyone just needs one win. The losers will progress in the tournament until there is only one – and that person will not become a Hunter.

So chances are that everyone will become a Hunter… well, except Leorio. I’m a little worried about Leorio. How will he pass without his friends to help him?

I make sure to get comfortable on the couch because tournaments tend to last episodes on end, and we’re only on episode 18. There are roughly 8 more until the end of Season One. Alright- let’s do this.

 

Gon is up first against Ninja assassin Hanzou and…

He wins!

But not how we expect him to. Hanzou thoroughly kicks his ass and breaks his arm, but he knows Gon won’t give up unless he dies (killing your opponent means disqualification). Hanzou knows he’ll win the next match so he forfeits, and knocks Gon out so he won’t complain (too much.)

Alright, first match done and it only took one episode. This is good, this is very good, maybe this won’t be bad after all.

Gon wakes up in the hospital where he’s told he’s been out for three days and the tournament is over.

What!?!?!

I mean… that’s cool. So we won’t be watching eight episodes of tournaments, will there be a re-cap episode about what we missed?

Not really.

Wow Hunter x Hunter, good for you. Now give me all the details about what we missed. Only one person wouldn’t be passing the Exam, so who was it???

The surprises for this episode aren’t over yet because we’re told the person who didn’t pass the exam was…

“NOOOOO!!!!”
Gon learns everything that happened while he was asleep. Most surprisingly (and really the only thing I care about) is what happened to Killua. He went up against Hisoka’s Danger-Stranger friend and we find out this guy is actually Kil’s brother Illumi.

Illumi is also an assassin and he needs a Hunter’s license for his next job. Well that’s… ominous. He also doesn’t approve of Killua leaving the house and making friends- pft, assassins don’t need friends- and threatens to kill Gon. He also does some strange evil aura thing that cannot be good. I’ve seen enough anime to know purple aura = bad.

To save his best bro Kil forfeits the match, everyone thinks it is kind of strange but there will be another chance for Killua to get his license. The next match is between Leorio and a Kung Fu Master. Again, I’m worried about Leorio. He doesn’t know Kung Fu, but he gets his hunter’s license so what happens?

We quickly find out that Killua is what happens. For some reason Kil interrupts the match and kills Leorio’s opponent; he is disqualified from the mini-tournament and after, he walks away.

Gon is shocked by the news and quickly goes to the room where all our new Hunters are getting their orientation lessons. Confronting Illumi, Gon learns that Killua must have returned home.

Gon is shocked by the news and quickly goes to the room where all our new Hunters are getting their orientation lessons. Confronting Illumi, Gon learns that Killua must have returned home.

Either way it doesn’t matter. Gon decides he’s going to go save his best friend.

Leorio and Kurapika aren’t going to let him go alone so it’s a team effort. As the team leaves, a few of the veteran Hunters watch them go and mention that the Exam isn’t over yet. Another surprise! I think now is a good time to say that I think they handled this mini-tournament arc really well. It was fast paced and definitely full of surprises.

Together, Team Gon goes to Kukuroo Mountain- which the famous Zoldyck family owns. There’s no time for me to take snap shots and go into detail about all the Zoldyck family members so here’s a picture so you can see Killua’s dysfunctional family for yourself. The place is one of the most heavily guarded homes in the world, which means they’ll have to do some training before they can actually break in.

Meanwhile we get a glimpse of Killua and how he’s doing. The answer: not so good. His mother and brother aren’t exactly happy about being stabbed. In a very short exchange between the three we get the sense that his mother is incredibly over protective of her prodigy son and brother (Milluki) has major jealousy issues. But Killua is sure his friends will come see him!

The Gon Gang infiltrate the Zoldyck home, but the Butler staff take their jobs very seriously and will do anything to keep them from reaching their friend. There’s hope though because one of the staff members, a young girl named Canary, wants to help the so-called friends of Master Killua.

She knows how desperate for friendship Killua has always been, and I would make a bro joke- but this goes a little beyond bro jokes. It’s really touching that Killua has found that friend he’s always been looking for in Gon. It must be hard being a child assassin with incredible talent. All the other kids just can’t keep up but Gon can.

Killua’s mother then shows up to tell the Gang that her son doesn’t want to see them and pretty much just bad mouths them. Jokes on her  because when she left the house Grandpa Zoldyck took over Killua’s “torture” session and gave Killua permission to leave. Kil breaks his chains with ease and doesn’t look too badly hurt. This kid is such a badass. Grandpa Zoldyck tells him his father would like a word though, and who knows what that means. So far, everyone in the Zoldyck family has been insane and Killua has mentioned once or twice that his father is downright terrifying.

But instead of something terrible happening I’m delighted to find out Killua’s father wants to hear about how his son’s trip outside the mansion went. Killua tells him everything and is beaming when he talks about his bestest best friend Gon.

Here’s the best part: Kil’s dad fully supports his son’s happiness and encourages him to be good to his friends. If he gets tired he can always come home. I’m sure there was some sneaky assassin manipulation going on here, but I don’t care- this was a great scene for me. Killua decides to listen to his dad and leaves the mansion again.

Killua finds his friends still being preoccupied by the Butler staff and is finally reunited with Gon and the other two (whose names he barely remembers.) But mostly- GON!

Now that the group has saved Killua and is reunited again it’s time for them to… split up. Kurapika still wants to hunt down the Phantom Troupe and his biggest hint is a black market auction happening in six months. Leorio wants to study for Medical School and  now that he has a Hunter’s license he can pretty much get in for free. They all promise to meet up for the auction to help Kurapika hunt down the baddies, but where does that leave Gon and Killua?

Gon still wants to fight Hisoka but right now he’s no match, Killua tells him this as politely as possible but also knows a place where they can train. Best friends forever!

—-

Wow, soooo much happened in Season One. Now time for overall impressions:

Season One is a big introduction to the world and characters; and like any good Shounen, we learn a lot about our main cast as they face predicaments that force them to grow.

The internet was right, I love Killua, but even more than that I love his friendship with Gon. It reminds me of the relationship between Kid Trunks and Goten from Dragonball Z, which I love and could never get enough of. There is something very sweet about their friendship. Even though Killua is a trained assassin he tries not to kill after meeting Gon. Not because Gon asks him to but because he knows his new friend wouldn’t approve of things like murder.

I’m still not over Gon’s ugly outfit though.

As for Hisoka… Well, besides being a terrifying rival for Gon he has some sweet character music that plays every time he’s involved with a fight. For some reason the Spanish guitar suits him.

The second part of Season One really was a blast to watch. By that point I was invested in each of the characters and the tension was amped up pretty high with the twists thrown in. I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully reading this doesn’t ruin the experience for those of you at home who haven’t watched it.

If the show gets better from here on I think these upcoming seasons are going to be very emotional for me.

 

 

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