Hunter Exam Arc
Hunter Exam arc
Arc Info
Manga Chapters

Chapters 1 - 38


Episodes 1 - 31 (1999)
Episodes 1 - 21 (2011)

Arc Guide
← N/A
Zoldyck Family arc
List of Story Arcs

The Hunter Exam arc is the first story arc of the series. The arc spans from chapters 1 to 38 of the manga, episodes 1 to 31 of the original, i.e., 1999 anime series, and episodes 1 to 21 of the 2011 anime series. In this arc, applicants from all over the world attempt the Hunter Exam in order to professionally become Hunters. The main characters of the series are also introduced in this arc.

Summary Edit

Pre-Hunter Exam Edit

Gon trying to catch the master of the swamp

Gon trying to catch the master of the swamp

Gon is first seen at his home of Whale Island, fishing for the Master of the Swamp — a fish that five grown fishermen pulling together couldn't land. Gon made a wager with his Aunt Mito that if he could catch the fish, she would allow him to take part in the Hunter Exam. After a week of work, Gon finally succeeds and his aunt signs his application. Gon proceeds to go visit his friend, a grown-up Foxbear named Kon, who Gon had raised since he was a cub. Gon tells Kon that he's going to become a Hunter and that he will do things the animals of the forest won't like. Since Kon is the king of the forest, he can't talk to Gon anymore. Kon walks away from Gon to a gathering of other animals.[1]

Gon & Aunt Mito

Gon valedicted Aunt Mito

Gon returns home and speaks to his aunt. She asks if Gon always knew his Father's trade, and also tells him his father left Gon with her when he was still a baby; Gon replies being a Hunter must be an important job that family comes only second and that it's time for him to meet his father. He is then seen preparing to board a ship heading for the Hunter exam. Everyone in the town comes to say bye and wish him luck. Aunt Mito comes and tells him his father didn't abandon him; she made him give up Gon through the courts. Gon says he knew because she never looks at him when she's lying. He gets on the boat and yells back to her that he will return as a great Hunter.[1]

Preliminary Phase Edit

Gon & co

Gon & his new friends

The first night on the boat, there is a huge storm that tosses about most of the would-be Hunters. After the storm, the ship's drunkard of a Captain walks around to see only three candidates still able to move (one of them being Gon is running back and forth trying to take care of the sea-sick). Later on, Gon is standing on the front of the boat where he predicts they will be hit by another storm, but this time it will be three times the size as the previous night. The captain knows he is correct and not guessing; he sees Ging in Gon. He asks who Gon's father is, and finds he is correct. The captain shows Gon how to steer the boat, he also announces that the next storm was coming and anyone who wanted to get off should right now.[2]

All but Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio leave. The captain asks why they all want to be hunters. Gon answers while the other two don't. Leorio asks why they should tell him when he just steers the ship. The captain replies he screens applicants and it is up to him whether or not they pass. The remaining two tell him. While explaining, Kurapika annoys Leorio to the point they go out into the storm to fight. When a crew member jumps in to stop them he falls overboard and Gon jumps after him, narrowly missing falling into the ocean thanks to Kurapika and Leorio grabbing his ankles in time to pull them both back on board.[2] When they reach land, the captain gives them a hint to head to a lone cedar tree outside of the city to find their navigators. Gon decides to go, and Kurapika decides to tag along. Leorio stays until he finds that there was another trick to weed out the weak. And he runs off to join the other two.[3]

Two choice quiz!

Two choice quiz!

Later they reach a village that seems to be deserted but Gon says he can hear them and so can Kurapika. Then the whole population of the village comes out to start The Mind-Boggling Two Choice Quiz. The leader of the village asks two questions and all they can say is 1 or 2. The man who heard the clue walks in and says he'll go first. She asks him, "Men have taken your mother and your true love captive. Who do you save?" He chooses 1 thinking that's what she wants him to say. She says he may go. Leorio starts yelling because of the preposterous question. Kurapika tells him to be quiet seeing Gon has heard something. She asks another impossible question and Leorio attacks her. Kurapika blocks it stating they passed, since silence is the answer. He adds he heard the other man scream, meaning he was killed, but no one knows how.[3]


Kiriko's Family

After a short walk, the trio reaches a house and find the navigator couple being attacked by a magical beast called a Kiriko. The beast takes off with the lady followed by Gon and Kurapika, with Leorio staying behind to take care of the man. While chasing after the creature Gon pulls ahead of Kurapika, closes in on the Kiriko, and bashes him in the head. The Kiriko drops the wife, who is caught by Kurapika. The creature still manages to get away from Gon, who continues chasing it. Soon he comes to clearing where the creature attacks him. Gon merely greets it and asks where the one he hit went to. It is revealed that both the Kiriko and the couple are a family and the ones who would take the three to the Hunter Exam.[4]

The next day, they arrive at a small restaurant. The disguised magical beast orders a specific meal, then the cook sits them in a room and delivers the meal. The room is actually an elevator that starts to drop. As they make their way down, Kurapika and Leorio try to find out whether Gon is taking the test for the wealth, or for the adventure. He doesn't answer.[5]

Hunter Exam

Hunter Exam Begins!!

Gon's Hunter Exam begins with him getting targeted by Rookie Killer Tonpa. Tonpa first introduces himself as a friend trying to help Gon. Tonpa then introduces some of the other regulars, Such as Bourbon the snake charmer, Todo the wrestler, The Amori Brothers, Cherry, and Geretta the huntsman. While doing the introductions they hear a bloodcurdling scream, and they look to see a man missing his arms courtesy of Hisoka the magician who maimed him only because he bumped into him. Tonpa then offers Gon and the other two some juice. Gon, being the first to taste it, spits it back out saying it tastes funny, leading to Kurapika and Leorio dumping theirs on the ground.[5] Afterwards Tonpa makes a hasty apology.[6]

First PhaseEdit

Chibi Gon & Killua
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Satotz, the first examiner, begins the 287th Hunter Exam with an extremely long run down a tunnel. A kid on a skateboard ends up next to Gon, and he asks how old Gon is. He jumps off his board and introduces himself as Killua. Gon looking back, seeing Leorio back and falling he drops his briefcase, he then gets his second wind and runs past. Gon uses his fishing pole and carries while he's running.[6] After running for 80km they come to a set of stairs and start climbing, while Satotz starts to pick up the pace.[7]

Second PhaseEdit

Kurapika, Gon, and Leorio cooking test

Cooking Test

The second phase of the exam takes place in the Visca Forest Reserve, where the examinees meet Gourmet Hunters (and proctors) Menchi and Buhara.[8] Buhara's test is to find the world's most dangerous pig and bring it back to him so he can eat it. Gon and his friends complete the task easily along with 70 other applicants.However, Menchi, the second examiner, baffles the examinees when she tells them to make sushi, a traditional Japanese dish, as none of them knows what sushi is. Menchi overreacts because of an examinee making them all fail as a result, no one passes,[9] which requires the Chairman Netero to intervene. The test is taken to Split Mountain where examinees hunt for Spider Eagle eggs. At the end of this stage, there are 42 applicants left.[10]

A Game at MidnightEdit

Showdown On The Airship Netero, Gon, and Killua

Showdown On The Airship

The 42 remaining applicants board the Selection Committee's airship, where it is revealed that their next phase of the exam will begin at 8:00 A.M the next day. As everyone rests up for tomorrow, Gon and Killua encounter Netero who challenges them to a game; if they win, he'd issue their licenses on the spot. All they have to do is take away a ball from Netero. Killua eagerly goes first but fails. Gon then takes his turn to take the ball but he also fails.[11] Time passes and when it seems Gon and Killua have tried every possible tactic, Netero suggests they attack together. Though they come seemingly close to it at one point, Netero rockets in between them at lightning speed and takes the ball. Killua calls it quits and ends up killing two applicants in his frustration; Gon, however, decides to play until he forces Netero to use his right hand. When he succeeds in doing so, Gon collapses in exhaustion where he is.[12]

Third PhaseEdit

Trick Tower

3rd Phase: Trick Tower

In the morning, the airship arrives at the top of Trick Tower. The 40 applicants are informed that the objective of stage 3 is to get down from the tower alive within 72 hours. The group is forced to team up with Tonpa.[13] The first serious test is to win 3 out of 5 matches against tower prisoners. Tonpa takes the first match with a hardened-looking criminal, and promptly gives up.[14]

Gon faces the next prisoner, a serial bomber by the name of Sedokan, in a match to see who's candle can burn the longest.[15] Kurapika engages in a death match with the next opponent, Majitani, but refuses to kill him after seeing red (literally) and knocking the criminal unconscious. Majitani feigns unconsciousness in an attempt to run out the clock.[16] Leorio and the leader of the prisoners bet on whether he's faking. Leorio holds the man above a long drop, and Majitani wakes up. He concedes the match to Kurapika, but the group loses a large chunk of their time because of the bet. Leorio goes next. His opponent is Leroute, an attractive woman. He loses ten hours in a bet. He then loses the rest of their betting hours to her.[17]


Kilua kills Johness

Killua then faces Johness the Dissector, a man responsible for the murder of at least 146 people with his bare hands. Killua rips out his heart, explaining afterwards that Johness is an amateur and he is a pro.[17] The last test to get out of the tower has two paths: one is too long and the other will only allow three of the five to enter. Leorio and Tonpa start fighting to see who will stay, when Gon thinks outside the box. They choose the longer path, destroy the wall between the paths with axes provided so they could fight, and all five make it out.[18]

Fourth PhaseEdit

Zevil Island

4th Phase: Zevil Island

The fourth phase is a manhunt on Zevil Island, wherein the 25 remaining competitors being required to target and acquire their prey's plate.[19] Gon draws Hisoka, and spends much of his time strategizing.[20] He manages to get Hisoka's plate, but is attacked in the process by Geretta and paralyzed with a neurotoxin. Hisoka then kills Geretta, but gives Gon back his plate and then his own.[21] Gon recovers in three days and comes across Leorio and Kurapika; he eventually helps Leorio to acquire his target's badge.[22]

Final PhaseEdit


Seven new Hunters

The final phase was a tournament with each of the participants. After being selected by the judges as being the most exceptional applicants, Hanzo and Gon face off first.[23] Gon is outmatched when it comes to combat, but his unwillingness to submit causes Hanzo to forfeit the battle — making Gon the first applicant to pass the 287th Hunter Exam.[24] Hanzo knocks Gon out and he doesn't awake until the Exam has ended. Satotz fills in the details and explains to Gon that only two people didn't pass the exam — Bodoro and Killua. It is revealed that Gittarackur is actually an alias for Killua's older brother, Illumi.[25] Killua was manipulated into murdering another contestant and subsequently failed the exam.[26] Gon, enraged, confronts Illumi and gets Killua's address. Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio all then depart to Killua's home on Kukuroo Mountain.[27]

Major FightsEdit

Story ImpactEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 1
  2. 2.0 2.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 2
  3. 3.0 3.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 3
  4. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 4
  5. 5.0 5.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 5
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 6
  7. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 1, Chapter 7
  8. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 10
  9. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 11
  10. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 12
  11. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 13
  12. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 14
  13. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 15
  14. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 16
  15. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 2, Chapter 17
  16. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 18
  17. 17.0 17.1 Hunter × Hunter - Volume 3, Chapter 20
  18. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 3, Chapter 21
  19. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 3, Chapter 22
  20. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 3, Chapter 23
  21. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 28
  22. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 31
  23. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 33
  24. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 34
  25. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 4, Chapter 35
  26. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 5, Chapter 36
  27. Hunter × Hunter - Volume 5, Chapter 37

Arc Navigation Edit

N/A Hunter Exam arc Zoldyck Family arc
N/A Chapters
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38
N/A Episodes (1999 series)
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31
N/A Episodes (2011 series)
1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21