Mito Freecss is sorting fish when other people start talking about Gon Freecss, her twelve-year-old nephew. Gon is trying to catch the monstrous "Master of the Swamp," a feat done twenty years ago by Mito's cousin and Gon's father, Ging. It is a seemingly impossible condition set by Mito, for she is reluctant to allow Gon to take the Hunter Exam. Gon catches the fish and brings it to the harbor, to the amazement of the townspeople and to the dismay of Mito.
The night before Gon sets out, Mito tries to convince Gon not to pursue the exam and be like his father. However Gon replies by saying he wants to know why his father prefers to be a Hunter so much that he left his own son in other people's care. Mito says that it is dangerous, but Gon insists. Therefore Mito admits that Gon is just like Ging. The next morning, Mito and Abe bid Gon goodbye.
Upon boarding the ship, Gon bids goodbye to the inhabitants of Whale Island who flock the harbor to see him off. After he shouts that he will be the best Hunter, Gon is mocked by the ship passengers, who are also going to the Hunter Exam site. He observes the applicants on board, then he notices and helps Katzo, a crew member being bullied by its mates. The Captain of the ship goes out of the cabin and orders Katzo to hurry up with his chore. Gon then tells the Captain that a storm is coming. When the Captain asks how he knows, he says that the sea birds flying above them are warning each other of a huge storm. Gon confirms it by using his sense of smell. The Captain is suddenly reminded of someone.
While the storm rages, nearly every exam applicant on the ship is seasick except for Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio. The Captain summons them and asks for their reasons for taking the Hunter Exam. Gon quickly answers that he wants to know why his father chose to be a Hunter. Leorio and Kurapika refuse to reveal theirs; the Captain promptly tells them that he is hired to trim down the sheer number of Hunter Exam participants before they even reach the exam site, and thus he can pass or fail them depending on their response.
Kurapika reveals that he wants to be a Blacklist Hunter to catch the Phantom Troupe who annihilated his clan, the Kurta. Leorio wonders why Kurapika has to take the exam merely for revenge, to which Kurapika replies that a licensed Hunter has unprecedented access to information and places, as well as freedom to actions that are otherwise forbidden. Leorio says he wants money and the comforts and luxuries it brings like huge fortune and free use of public amenities to which Kurapika comments upon. Leorio is ticked by Kurapika not properly addressing him as Leorio-san several times already and he insults Kurapika's clan as disrespectful. This sparks animosity between the two and they go out to the deck to duel.
Meanwhile, the crew members try to stabilize the ship when Katzo is tossed and is about to fall from the ship, to which Leorio and Kurapika witness in horror. Suddenly Gon jumps out of the ship to catch Katzo and the other two promptly catch Gon's legs. The next day, Katzo thanks them, and Leorio and Kurapika also reconcile. The Captain is impressed with them and he promises to bring them to the port nearest to the Exam Site.
Upon finally reaching Dolle Harbor, the Captain tells Gon that going to the cedar tree at the top of the hill behind the city will lead them to the exam site. Gon relays the information to Kurapika and Leorio and they consult the map. They learn that the cedar tree is the opposite direction of Zaban City, the Hunter Exam site. Leorio says that there is a bus that directly goes to the city. Kurapika comments that the vague exam notice given to them is another test for the applicants. Gon chooses to go towards the direction of the tree; Kurapika follows suit after telling Leorio that he is curious about what Gon might do. Leorio bids goodbye as well and walks towards the bus stop when he overhears two senior applicants talking about the bus ride as merely a trap for new applicants. Leorio joins the other two and they reach a small deserted town. Leorio comments that there is nobody around there, but Gon plainly states that there are plenty of them.
A group of masked people appear and block the way with a stage where an old woman sits. She tells them that they have to undergo the quiz in order to reach the cedar tree. She posts a riddle requiring them to choose between two possible answers and giving the answer within five seconds. The three are taken aback by the question for it is something that has no correct answer. Unfortunately, refusing to partake in the quiz will disqualify them from taking the exam. A scheming participant who overheard the conversation between the captain and Gon has followed the three and goes ahead to answer. The masked people let him by as he continues up the road. The old woman then poses a similar question to the three, angering Leorio even more. It dawns on Kurapika that it is a trick question and is about to tell Leorio when the old woman forbids them from communicating with each other. When the time is up and no one has given an answer, Leorio angrily grabs a wooden stick to hit the woman, but is stopped by Kurapika. Kurapika tells Leorio to calm down for he will waste the correct answer, which is silence.
A door to a tunnel opens, and they are instructed to meet the navigators living in a house by the cedar tree. Upon reaching the cedar tree, they find the navigators, a couple being attacked by a shapeshifting creature, the Kiriko. While Leorio tends to the wounded man, Gon and Kurapika go after the Kiriko who kidnaps the woman. They are able to keep up with the Kiriko and Gon hits it with his fishing rod. The Kiriko drops the woman and is saved by Kurapika, but he notices a tattoo on her arm and he becomes wary of her real identity. Leorio comes, stating that he has given the wounded man painkillers. Kurapika then attacks him. This Leorio turns out to be another Kiriko in disguise and asks how Kurapika knew. Kurapika states that even if he was Leorio, he would have still hit him for leaving a wounded person alone. The Kiriko leaves and Kurapika asks the woman who she really is.
Meanwhile, Gon loses sight of the Kiriko momentarily, then it appears and he follows it. He loses sight of it again, then the Kiriko jumps from a tree and corners Gon. Gon is about to be hit when he flatly says that the Kiriko is not the one he is pursuing. The Kiriko laughs hysterically and calls out its partner. The three applicants reunite and the couple reveals themselves to be the offspring of the two Kirikos. They pass the three due to their unique characteristics and fly them to the exam site.
Gon, Leorio and Kurapika arrive at Zaban City and Gon is fascinated by the bustling selling and trading businesses there. They stop where a high-rise building stands, the three thinking it's the exam site. The navigator leads them to a small restaurant beside it instead. The navigator "orders" something from the chef, who tells them to go to the backroom. The "order" turns out to be the password to the backroom, which is actually an elevator that goes a hundred floors underground to the tunnel where applicants wait. The navigator praises and wishes them luck. He tells them that he will be willing to guide them again for the next Hunter Exam. Gon thanks him, the navigator is taken aback and is pleased.
While the elevator descends, Kurapika deduces that the navigator expected them to fail the exam, since a rookie passing it is rare indeed. Gon guesses that the Hunter Exam is a risk worth taking, to which Leorio and Kurapika reply with a list of great advantages of being a Hunter. They even argue about their opinions and ideals about being a Hunter and ask Gon what type of Hunter does he want to become.
When they reach the tunnel, they are given identification numbers by Beans. Later, they are befriended by Tonpa, also known as the Rookie Crusher. He tells them about the other applicants; the most notable is Hisoka, who nearly killed an examiner from last year's examination. An applicant bumps into Hisoka without apologizing, and Hisoka does something that makes the applicant's arms disappear. Tonpa then offers the three juice with laxatives. Gon and Leorio quickly detect that there is something wrong with the juice, saying that they might be expired already. Kurapika promptly pours the juice out of his can. Tonpa hastily leaves them after apologizing and remembers the other applicants who have not taken his bait like Hanzo and Nicole.
Another rookie applicant Killua, approaches Tonpa and asks for another can of juice. He drinks it, then tells Tonpa that poison (from the juice), does not affect him. Satotz, the first examiner, introduces himself and tells the participants to follow him through the tunnel as part of the first exam phase.
The applicants have run continuously for two hours; a distance of over thirty kilometers from where they came from. Leorio starts to get exhausted and he becomes irritated when he sees an applicant using his skateboard. He sees it as a mockery of the Hunter Exam, but Gon defends the applicant, saying that the examiner just told them to follow him, without forbidding them to use whatever means.
The applicant takes an interest in Gon and asks for Gon's age. Upon learning that they are of the same age, he jumps from and catches the skateboard with a maneuver, starts running alongside Gon and introduces himself as Killua. Meanwhile, exhaustion and frustration starts to take its toll on Nicole, a plump and geeky applicant. He initially thought they were near the exit, but his calculations seemed to have been wrong. The Amori Brothers taunt him even more, and leave Nicole slowly losing his mind from the emotional abuse and exhaustion. Tonpa approaches and pays them for what they did to Nicole.
Leorio, completely exhausted and covered in sweat, was on the verge of surrendering and the rarity of rookies passing the exam was all the more affecting his enthusiasm. The urge to give up was approaching him until he looked at Gon, who had decided to wait till Leorio wills to move forward. Killua is waiting for Gon and tells him to forget Leorio and just continue, but Gon does not even move an inch, to Killua's incredulity. Leorio gains the motivation to catch up with the rest of the applicants and starts running even ahead of Gon and Killua. Gon then happily 'fishes' for the briefcase Leorio dropped behind. Satotz starts increasing his pace when they reach eighty kilometers, marked by a long, wide staircase. Leorio now catches up with Kurapika, who asks him if he is alright. Leorio tells him that he can keep up if he does not mind how stupid he looks, for he has taken off his suit to make himself more comfortable. Kurapika follows his example by taking off his blue outer garment. Kurapika then asks Leorio if he really is after money, because he doesn't see Leorio as such a shallow person.
Eliciting no answer, Kurapika shares to Leorio about the Scarlet Eyes of the Kurta Clan as the reason for his clan's demise. Claimed as possessing one of the seven most beautiful colors in the world and prized by people as rare, wealthy people as well as thieves like the Phantom Troupe want to get their hands on the remaining pairs. Kurapika plans to become a Blacklist Hunter and be hired by wealthy families to get access to the black market, be able to collect his clan's eyes and also avenge them from the Phantom Troupe. Leorio comments that Kurapika would have to swallow his pride, to which Kurapika replies that his pride is nothing compared to the anguish his clan experienced. Kurapika prods Leorio about his reason to be a Hunter, but he says that he really is after the money. Kurapika does not believe him, and Leorio snaps that money can buy everything, even people's lives. Kurapika thinks he is insulting the Kurta Clan again and threatens Leorio.
Leorio snaps back that his friend would not have died if he had money, then becomes embarrassed by the revelation and turns away. Kurapika deduces that Leorio's friend died from an illness; Leorio says that it was treatable if they had the money for the operation. He wants to be a doctor to treat poor children for free, but realizes that he has to gain much more money to be able to study.
Gon and Killua also share their reasons for taking the Hunter Exam. Killua joined for fun, thinking that the Exam is challenging enough. Gon wants to be a Hunter like his father. When Killua asks what type of hunter his dad is, Gon cannot tell. Killua finds it weird and Gon explains that he is raised by his Aunt Mito, thus he does not know much about his father. Gon says he wants to know why his father chose being a Hunter over raising his son. They agree to have a race to the exit and the one to win will pay for dinner. They arrive at the exit also and Gon and Killua race ahead of Satotz. They bicker about who arrives first and asks Satotz to judge for them. Satotz answers that they both arrived at the same time. Gon proposes that since he and Killua won, they will treat each other to dinner.
Other applicants come and Satotz introduced them the location as the Numere Wetlands, also known as the Swindlers' Swamp. He had just warned them about the creatures' creative means to fool their victims, when a Man shows up and drags with him an unconscious ape with a face like Satotz's. He claims to be the Examiner and accuses Satotz of being a masquerading man-faced ape. The applicants become confused, especially Leorio and Hanzo, a ninja. Hisoka then attacks the two "examiners" by throwing his blade-sharp cards. The man with the ape is killed and is eaten by scavenger birds. However Satotz catches the cards with his bare hands, proving himself to be the real examiner and warns Hisoka not to attack him again lest he wants to be disqualified. He then tells the applicants to follow him into the swamp.
As the applicants run through the Numere Wetlands, Killua urges Gon for them to run ahead. Gon agrees so they can follow the examiner closely. Killua is more concerned with distancing themselves from Hisoka for he senses his blood-lust, saying that he can smell it in the air. Gon takes it literally and smells the air, before saying that Hisoka does not smell. Gon then yells at Kurapika and Leorio that they should move up, to which he receives a reprimand from Killua. Kurapika shouts back that they need not worry about them. Killua and Gon run ahead.
Kurapika and Leorio witness many of the applicants ambushed by several of the creatures. They also encounter Noggin Lugging Tortoises, large turtle-dinosaur hybrid creatures with strawberries as bait. Gon and Killua are captured by a large Frog-In-Waiting, who stays underground and swallows anyone who steps on a piece of ground that sits upon its open mouth. The frog then spits them out, after Killua spills inside the frog the spiked drinks Tonpa gave them. Gon expresses worry for Kurapika and Leorio. Killua tells him to stop worrying and move on.
Kurapika and Leorio have lose sight of the front runners. They run into some applicants surrounding Hisoka, telling him to discontinue taking the exam for he is too dangerous to become one. They want Hisoka to stop taking the exam to the point of disqualifying themselves. Hisoka muses that they want to play examiner, and proses that he plays examiner to see if they are worthy of becoming hunters. Hisoka promptly finishes nearly all of them with a circular sweep of his card. He hurls killer cards onto the leader and turns his attention to Kurapika and Leorio. Meanwhile, Gon notices that the two are still nowhere near and leaves Killua to search for them.
Kurapika and Leorio choose to escape by running in opposite directions. Leorio later turns back to face Hisoka, for he cannot stand to run away after witnessing such cruelty. Leorio attacks him, but Hisoka disappears in a whiff of smoke. Hisoka is about to reach Leorio when he is hit by Gon's fishing rod. As Hisoka walks towards Gon, Leorio tries to attack him, but is knocked unconscious with an uppercut. Gon defends himself while maintaining distance. He cannot attack Hisoka head-on so he uses a trick to distract him. Unfortunately, it is Hisoka who surprises him by reaching him from the back. Hisoka holds him up by the neck and enjoys Gon's pained face. He lets go when Gon is nearly passed out. Hisoka tells him not to fear for he will not kill his friend, and cites that both Gon and Leorio are worthy of continuing the examination, and offers to bring the unconscious Leorio to the next examination site after receiving a call from somebody. Hisoka leaves, carrying Leorio on his shoulder, and Kurapika approaches Gon.
Gon and Kurapika follow Leorio's scent to reach the next site. They discuss about what has just transpired among them and Hisoka: Hisoka playing examiner and "passing" Gon and Leorio, and Gon hitting Hisoka by surprise. Kurapika thinks that Hisoka seeks people strong enough to be a challenge to him, and sees Gon as one of them. Gon admits to Kurapika that it is his first time to feel such fear, but it has made him also excited. Meanwhile, there are only 148 applicants left.
Gon and Kurapika reach the gate to the next exam site and look for Leorio. Gon feels chills, then sees Hisoka pointing to Leorio sitting under a tree. Leorio is dazed and he cannot remember the encounter with Hisoka and how he got hit in the face. Gon and Kurapika opt not to tell him what really happened. Killua finds them, saying that he cannot believe they managed to come. Gon says they just followed Leorio's unique cologne, which Killua finds strange.
Satotz bids goodbye and the gate opens to reveal a mansion with a sprawling garden that is set up for cooking. Menchi and Buhara introduce themselves as Gourmet Hunters and examiners. Menchi states the Second Phase involves cooking, and the applicants laugh and deride both their profession and test given. Satotz, who is watching from a tree, is worried about the applicants' passing rate. Todo, a wrestler, asks what will they cook, and Buhara tasks them to cook pork from the Visca Forest Reserve around the mansion. Menchi states that they will judge the dishes by its taste and presentation, and that the exam is finished if they are already full.
Upon signal, the applicants dash to the forest, and later discover they are to hunt Great Stamp, the wildest, carnivorous boars in the world. They seem oblivious to most attacks, are deadly and are hard to take down. Gon is trying to catch one whose horns become stuck in a tree trunk, when apples from the tree fall on the boar's head, and knock it unconscious. Discovering its "Achilles' heel," many of the applicants are able to bring back boars, to the surprise of the examiners. Most of them just roast the pig, to the annoyance of Menchi. Kurapika present his pork dish in a different way, but Menchi does not like the taste.
When Buhara and Menchi are full, she promptly fails all of them. The applicants are surprised with the decision, and Todo destroys his workstation out of anger. Menchi explains that they have not exerted effort in creating a pork dish that both examiners find delicious. Hanzo comments that all pork dishes are the same, and he receives nagging from an angry and insulted Menchi. Buhara tells himself that Menchi's bad habit is showing again. Menchi concludes that they are not worthy because they are not willing to take risks and try new things. Todo berates her, but she just dismisses him, prompting him to attack out of frustration. Buhara retaliates by knocking him off with just a large sweep of his hand. Menchi tells Buhara not to interfere, but Buhara merely says that had he not interfered, Menchi would have killed Todo. Menchi stands and juggles her numerous knives while telling them that Gourmet Hunters venture into danger to seek ingredients, and that every Hunter knows some form of martial arts. According to her, the applicants' lack of focus and unwillingness to experiment are enough to disqualify them.
Satotz contacts the Committee about the situation. An airship hovers above the site as an elderly man jumps from it, landing on two feet, creating a crater. Menchi acknowledges him as Chairman Netero. The Chairman asks Menchi if she really failed them because of their unwillingness to try new things. Menchi admits losing her cool after her profession was insulted and making the exam harder. She informs him that she will resign as examiner and asks the Chairman to re-do the Second Phase. The Chairman proposes that Menchi think of another task, and she has to show them how to do it. Menchi requests the Chairman to bring them all to Mt. Split-in-Half, where Spider Eagle eggs are located. The re-test involves getting the so-called "dream eggs" dangling on webs at the ravine. Menchi even demonstrates how to procure the eggs by jumping onto the ravine and dangling on the webs, getting the eggs without falling, and timing the jump so she would be carried up by an updraft.
The applicants who are not fazed by the task, jump to get the eggs. Some of the applicants fall to their deaths, failing to realize that they should have waited for the updraft. The other applicants rely on Gon's senses, who signals when to release their grips from the webs. They cook the eggs and find them delicious. Gon shares the egg to Todo, who also enjoys it. Menchi tells him that they risk their lives for the joy of discovering delicious food like the dream eggs. Todo is humbled and asserts he will try again next year. The applicants learn that being a Hunter requires a great amount of determination, regardless of type. Only 42 applicants remain.
The applicants and examiners board the airship and Chairman Netero is formally introduced to them. Beans, the Chairman's secretary, announces that the airship will arrive at the site of the Third Phase the next morning at 8AM. The applicants are thus free to dine and rest. Gon and Killua decide to explore the airship and invite Kurapika and Leorio. The two refuse, saying that they would rather rest. Tonpa warns them that the rest time might just be another test for the applicants and that they must still remain vigilant. He wants to prevent them from getting enough rest to impair their performance for the next exam. Kurapika and Leorio sit with the other applicants, and Leorio falls asleep fast. Kurapika believes that it is unlikely that any surprise will come, and chooses to rest also.
Meanwhile, the examiners talk about the applicants over dinner. They agree that the batch is impressive. Menchi cites Hanzo is a dangerous applicant, Buhara mentions it was Hisoka who was on the verge of attacking someone when Menchi initially failed all applicants. Menchi corrects him, saying that Hisoka is already dangerous even before the Second Phase, and it is also the reason why she was edgy from the very beginning. Satotz comments that Hunters seek worthy rivals, but Hisoka is someone who hits the floor running when others would have slowed down already.
Gon and Killua eventually settle in to talk about their families. Gon wonders about Killua's parents and their occupation, to which Killua nonchalantly replies that they are probably alive and they are assassins. Gon is surprised and asks if both of them are assassins. Killua laughs for he finds Gon's reaction amusing and he is the one who has taken Killua's answer seriously. Killua shares that he comes from a family of assassins and he's pressured to perform as the future heir of the family's business. He had to attack his mother and brother in order to leave their home and find his own future. He even says dreamily that he will capture his own family for a bounty when he becomes a Hunter.
Chairman Netero sees them, and plays a trick by making them feel someone else is watching them from the other side of the corridor, and then appearing from the opposite direction. Killua knows that he is the culprit and praises his speed. The Chairman then challenges them to a game that involves getting a ball from him, telling them that they will automatically become Hunters if they succeed. Killua even uses an assassination attack, Rhythm Echo to confuse him with afterimages. Killua also hits the old man's leg, but it is him who feels the pain. Gon also tries to catch the ball, and even teams up with Killua.
Meanwhile, Tonpa discovers that he is not successful in sabotaging Kurapika and Leorio, who are already asleep. Gon and Killua are not able to get the ball from the Chairman. Killua says that he is so skilled he does not need to use all his limbs. Killua is secretly pissed off and decides to quit. Gon is adamant, and vows to make the old man use his right arm. Killua bids goodbye, saying that he will get some sleep when he sees Gon is determined to get the ball. Killua then bumps into two of the applicants along the corridor and they confront him for not apologizing. Killua kills them in an instant, and mumbles that he might have killed the Chairman in order to get the ball had he not left sooner. Meanwhile, Gon is able to make the Chairman use his other arm, to Netero's amusement. Gon lies on the floor in exhaustion and is fast asleep within minutes.
Difference Between Anime and Manga
- Hunter Exam arc (Ep. 1 – 21)
- Zoldyck Family arc (Ep. 22 – 26)
- Heavens Arena arc (Ep. 27 – 36)
- Yorknew City arc (Ep. 37 – 58)
- Greed Island arc (Ep. 59 – 75)
- Chimera Ant arc (Ep. 76 – 136)
- 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc (Ep. 137 – 148)
- Departure (Ep. 1 – 26)
- Departure second version (Ep. 27 – 49)
- Departure third version (Ep. 50 – 75)
- Departure fourth version (Ep. 76 – 136)
- Departure fifth version (Ep. 137 – 148)
- Just Awake (Ep. 1 – 26)
- Hunting For Your Dream (Ep. 27 – 58)
- Reason (Ep. 59 – 75)
- Sparkling Shooting Star (Ep. 76 – 98)
- Two Sides of the Same Coin (Ep. 99 – 136)
- Two Sides of the Same Coin (Ep. 137 – 148)
- Megumi Han as Gon Freecss
- Mariya Ise as Killua Zoldyck
- Miyuki Sawashiro as Kurapika
- Keiji Fujiwara as Leorio Paradinight
- Keiko Han as Mito Freecss
- Rikiya Koyama as Ging Freecss
- Hisako Kyoda as Abe
- Daisuke Namikawa as Hisoka
- Chisa Yokoyama as Biscuit Krueger
- Masaya Matsukaze as Illumi Zoldyck
- Shuichi Ikeda as Kite
- Aya Hirano as Menchi
- Toshihiko Seki as Wing
- Yuka Terasaki as Zushi
- Yukitoshi Tokumoto as Pokkle
- Haruka Kudo as Ponzu
- Toshio Furukawa as Satotz
- Mamiko Noto as Kalluto Zoldyck
- Motoko Kumai as Canary
- Kotono Mitsuishi as Cocco
- Daisuke Kishio as Hanzo
- Machiko Toyoshima as Khara
- Toshiharu Sakurai as Tonpa
- Junichi Kanemaru as Buhara
- Masatake Yamamoto as Lippo
- Takuma Suzuki as Togari
- Junko Iwao as Kikyo Zoldyck
- Maaya Uchida as Alluka Zoldyck
- Hiroshi Otake as Zeno Zoldyck
- Kenyu Horiuchi as Gotoh
- Megumi Toda as Amana
- Erica Mendez as Gon
- Cristina Vee as Killua
- Erika Harlacher as Kurapika
- Matthew Mercer as Leorio
- Rachael Lillis as Mito & Cocco
- Marc Diraison as Ging
- Barbara Goodson as Abe
- Keith Silverstein as Hisoka
- ??? as Biscuit
- Chris Hackney as Illumi
- ??? as Kite
- Amanda Celine Miller as Menchi
- Ethan Murray as Wing
- Kira Buckland as Zushi
- Bobby Thong as Pokkle
- Reba Buhr as Ponzu
- John DeMita as Satotz
- Lauren Landa as Kalluto
- Mela Lee as Canary
- Ray Chase as Hanzo
- Julie Ann Taylor as Khara
- Michael Sorich as Tonpa
- Tom Fahn as Buhara
- Derek Stephen Prince as Lippo
- Joshua Tomar as Togari
- Michelle Ruff as Kikyo
- ??? as Alluka
- William Doaks as Zeno
- David Mallow as Gotoh
- ??? as Amana
all information on the Hunter x Hunter (2011 Anime) came from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunter_%C3%97_Hunter
- Mito is played by Gon's Japanese voice actress' real life mother.
- In episode 25, "Yorknew City" is mentioned. It is clearly a reference to "New York City".
- In episode 41, on Neon's phone strap, you can see Pu, the little spirit bird from Togashi's other famous work, Yu Yu Hakusho.
- In episode 73, the background music during Killua's battle is the karaoke track from his character song, "Tell Me".