The Zodiacs or Zodiac Twelve (十二支ん, Jūnishin) are a group of twelve Hunters whose skills have been recognized by Chairman Isaac Netero. They occasionally acted as his counselors, and the chairman would entrust the Hunters Association to them in times of emergency. Aside from that, they were also his sparring partners. They each have a codename associated with one of the Chinese zodiac signs, which most of them chose to match in appearance out of adoration for Netero.
The Zodiacs have a high standing within the Association, but it is still unclear how much of their power is dependent on the chairman in charge. In fact, although they managed the 13th chairman election, they could do so only because Netero himself authorized them; Pariston, on the other hand, appointed Cheadle as his successor without so much as consulting with them. However, as advisers to the chairman, they have the authority to decide on anything that is not specified in the Hunter Commandments. The 10th Commandment implies that advisers can be substituted by a new chairman. Their rank is inferior to that of the Vice-chairman, albeit not by much.
There does not seem to be any specific prerequisite to be a member of the Zodiacs, as Isaac Netero simply elected people he had interest in. The original group counted at least three Triple Star Hunters (Pariston Hill, Cheadle Yorkshire and Botobai Gigante) and just as many Double Star Hunters (Ging Freecss, Mizaistom Nana, Saccho Kobayakawa). However, neither Kurapika nor Leorio, the second Rat and Boar, have earned any star, and the latter does not even have a field of specialization. Aside from their activities as Hunters, nearly all the Zodiacs, Pariston and Ging being exceptions, had one or more jobs and qualifications outside the Hunters Association.
Each of the twelve original Zodiacs was appointed by the 12th Chairman of the Hunters Association, Isaac Netero, because of their skills and the interest they aroused in him.
|Botobai Gigante||Cheadle Yorkshire||Cluck||Geru|
|Mizaistom Nana||Piyon||Saccho Kobayakawa||Saiyu|
|Ging Freecss||Pariston Hill|
Codenamed the Chicken. A woman with feathers on her clothes and a short temper. She can control an undetermined number of birds. For this reason, she is tasked with delivering messages concerning the election to other Hunters. She is a Plant Hunter.
Codename the Boar, replaced Ging Freecss. After Leorio's reputation and regard within the Hunter Association boosted during the events of the Chairman Election arc, Cheadle requested Leorio to fill one of the vacant spots for their voyage to the Dark Continent to which he accepts on the condition that they use the other open spot to recruit Kurapika.
Codename the Rat, replaced Pariston Hill. Nominated by Leorio, Kurapika is asked to join the Zodiacs on their voyage to the Dark Continent. Although hesitant at first, he agrees after hearing that the Zodiacs have information on the location of a collection of the remaining Scarlet Eyes.
According to Mizaistom, there were three factions in the original Zodiacs. Even for normal missions, the factions used to work together. It is possible that they were disbanded following Cheadle's election and the division in teams in preparation for the voyage to the Dark Continent.
- Piyon, Saiyu and Cluck advocated for reforms within the Hunters Association. They were considered the "hawks" of the Zodiacs.
- Ginta, Cheadle, Mizaistom and Botobai formed the moderative conservative front, giving importance to balance. It should be noted that the members of this faction seem to be the closest to former presence Isaac Netero, at least in terms of corporate governance.
- Geru, Kanzai and Saccho were liberal, mostly apolitical.
Due to Pariston's many facades and deceptive behavior, Mizaistom could not understand his alignment, so he labelled him off as an "extreme left patriot", though he still considers him incomprehensible. Ging, on the other hand, is merely regarded as a stubborn "idiot".
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Following the death of the Chairman Isaac Netero, the Zodiacs gather in the Hunters Association Headquarters to decide the method of the election of his successor, as he demanded in his testament.
Pariston, the Vice-Chairman, announces his candidacy and suggests the election be skipped, but the other Zodiacs refuse, moving critics and accusations against him. After he suggests to rethink the process of voting, Cheadle proposes drawing lots. Beans is selected to randomly choose one of the papers. He announces it is Ging's, which establishes that all Hunters are both candidates and voters. He then proceeds to read out the other rules: if the candidate who has received the most votes does not achieve majority, the election will be held again with the top 16 candidates, which will then be halved to 8 and so on; if the voting rate is less than 95%, that particular round of the election has to be redone; voters must write their names onto their votes, lest they be considered null; Ging will be the chairman of the election committee. However, Pariston opposes the last rule, since the aim was only to decide upon the method of the election, and Ging unhesitatingly renounces the position.
In reality, these rules had been written by Ging days prior to the assembly. Anticipating the decision to draw lots, he had had Beans read them, since most likely he would be the one tasked with picking a paper, and told him to pretend to pull it out if he agreed with them. He also reveals that the fifth rule is only a ruse to lead the Zodiacs into accepting the other rules, revealing that he does not want to influence the outcome. With Ging's ploy succeeding, Cheadle sends the voting forms to all Hunters.
The 661 candidates and voters are to turn in their voting forms at a ballot box on the first floor lobby of the Hunters Association HQ on August 8th starting from midnight. Three members of the committee must be present for the election to be valid. Should a Hunter be unable to attend within the next 24 hours, he or she may vote from a separate location. The first night, Cheadle, Kanzai and Ginta are the appointed supervisors. Among the many voters is Hisoka, who starts a brief conversation with them. Eventually, Beans, the committee leader, announces the results of the first round of the election.
After the second round, the Zodiacs, minus Ging, gather to discuss the outcome. Pariston comes up with two proposals in order to avoid invalid votes: first, Beans should check each sheet before it is cast in the ballot box; second, those who abstain or submit null votes should have their license temporarily confiscated, all in order to hit the 95% mark. The second provision is meant to discourage those who will not vote unless their vote is counted as invalid. Pariston adds that, since they are going against Isaac Netero's will, they are betraying him. When Kanzai objects that abstentionists don't want to vote because they think Pariston should not win, the vice chairman replies that the majority seems to disagree and insults him. Other Zodiacs prevent a furious Kanzai from attacking Pariston. Some of them refuse to concede that abstaining goes against Netero's will and thus the previously established rules in spite of the Rat's attempts to twist it, while others, like Mizaistom, agree with Pariston. Before the proposal can be put to the vote, Cheadle asks Pariston if together with their license, Hunters should lose their status. After a brief silence, he denies it. Following Mizaistom's subsequent intervention, he also clarifies that Hunters who have had their license confiscated will still be able to vote.
The motion is approved and all Hunters are notified about the new rules. However, in the third round, the number of absentees has increased. Beans thus asks Cluck to send them two letters, one asking them to return their license to the HQ, and one in which to write down the reason for their absence. Pariston points out that now their licenses have been confiscated, they have nothing to lose if they still refuse to vote. He thus proposes to arrange a gathering of all Hunters and speak in front of them as the Zodiacs.
At the HQ, where the meeting is taking place, Pariston delivers a speech to discourage Hunters from abstaining, ensuring them that even the votes of minority opinions will have their weight. Piyon then proceeds to ask if anyone has a question, and Leorio steps up. He asks Ging why he hasn't visited Gon in the hospital. The Boar's answers infuriate him, and he punches Ging with his Nen ability, earning a wave of applause from all the Hunters gathered at the site. As in the previous ballots, in the fourth round Pariston is still in first place with slightly less than 40% of votes and Cheadle in the second, but Leorio suddenly becomes a prominent candidate by landing in third place.
Since the voting rate finally exceeded 95%, only the top 16 candidates will be eligible in the next election. Only half of the Zodiacs remain: Pariston, Cheadle, Botobai, Mizaistom, Saccho and Ging, but the Horse and the Boar drop out shortly afterwards. Furthermore, the Dog is suddenly overtaken by Teradein Neutral, who gathered consent by allying with Loupe Highland and Bushidora Ambitious, promising to review the Hunter Bylaws and the Hunter Exam, and actively trying to stop Illumi and Hisoka. However, the new Seirin Group is defeated, which results in them losing votes and in Teradein's death. The four remaining candidates are Pariston, Cheadle, Leorio and Mizaistom.
Cheadle finally seeks Ging's advice on how to win against Pariston, and he tells her the reason why Pariston is such a formidable opponent is that he really isn't trying to win or lose and that he's just having fun foreseeing how his opposition will move next just like Netero. He and Cheadle will be the remaining candidates and they will keep swapping positions due to Pariston ordering his Temp Hunters to abstain, until a certain day comes. When Ging mentions that Pariston is the only one who is carrying the late chairman's spirit, Cheadle becomes jealous, proving herself to be predictable, yelling at him and ordering him to tell her what day Pariston is waiting for. According to some pilots and engineers of the association Ging has befriended, Pariston secretly ordered 100 airships to gather about 5000 hybrid Chimera Ant cocoons ready to hatch from East Gorteu palace, and he intends to use them for his entertainment. The "X Day" could be the next Hunter Exam, when Pariston will free the hybrid ants to wreak havoc.
Later, Piyon announces that the eighth round of the election is about to begin. More than 95% of the Hunters are present at the event. She goes on to explain that the four candidates will make their speech, but first the comments of the candidates who had to drop out in the previous round will be broadcast. Due to Teradein's death and Morel having said all he wished in a previous video, the only comments are those of Botobai and Ickshonpe Katocha, the former supporting Cheadle and the latter expressing his lack of interest in the matter. Piyon then encourages all Hunters not to leave the building until the next chairman has been elected, with other Zodiacs guarding the exits. Mizaistom is called on-stage. In the hope of defeating Pariston by renouncing his own votes, he declares that out of the four final candidates, Cheadle is the most suitable to the position of chairman, while he himself is not ready yet, and urges his voters to respect his wishes so the election can end soon. To everyone's surprise, however, in her speech Cheadle invites the Hunters to vote for Leorio. When it is his turn to speak, the rookie states that he intends to make the Hunters Association his private property in order to save Gon. With the odds seemingly in Leorio's favor, Pariston prepares to speak.
Instead of reprimanding the Hunters who are using their phones, Pariston incites them to go on, as that is the spirit of a true Hunter. He promises to help Gon once the election is over, but maintains the matter should be kept separated from the election. With a shocking gambit, he claims that, in his opinion, the most suitable candidate to the position of chairman is Mizaistom, as he is the only one who possess all three necessary requirements: strength, experience and caliber. Understanding that Pariston is not being sincere in the least, Cheadle struggles to control her emotions. She tries to predict how the votes will be split in the next ballot. She glances at Ging in the hope of receiving a confirmation, but he is dozing off. In the meanwhile, Pariston replies to Mizaistom's protests by saying the election is about all Hunters, not just the Ox, and they should stop playing games and being selfish, irritating Cheadle and Mizaistom with his hypocrisy.
The Dog tries to figure out what the vice chairman is planning. She reflects that if Leorio is eliminated, his votes may go to Pariston, but if he remains, he will get the votes of the Zodiacs who support him, those of the anti-Zodiac and anti-Pariston voters, and the floating votes. Mizaistom understands and agrees they must absolutely push Pariston out of the election, as his intuition tells him that the Rat comes from the dark side of society, and not even Netero managed to control him. Piyon announces the voting sheets will be distributed shortly. Leorio comes in first place, but fails to achieve the majority of the votes. Cheadle and Mizaistom are eliminated. The Zodiacs react in shock upon feeling the enormous amount of aura released by Alluka. Realizing what it means, Ging lowers his head and Pariston smirks. Before the last round of the election begins, the Rat asks Leorio what he is going to do if he becomes chairman.
After hearing his reply, he tries to stall for time by asking more questions about the future of the organization. When Leorio states he has no questions for his rival, Pariston makes an urgent motion to rethink the 10th Hunter Bylaw, concerning the Hunter Exam. Everyone in the all is astonished. Kanzai jumps up and yells at him the Zodiacs decided the Bylaws are absolute, so there is no need to bring up that topic. Saccho and Cheadle silently disagree. Pariston objects that, since all the Zodiacs except him have been eliminated from the election and Leorio does not know what was agreed in the meeting, it is necessary to discuss about it before the election is over. He goes on to say he decided not to go against the majority because the Zodiacs were an important group to the previous chairman, and Teradein and Bushidora were right insisting that the third and fourth bylaws affect the exam negatively. Cheadle reflects that Ging was right: Pariston does not think about winning or losing, so he can remain calm and neutral no matter what happens. He manipulates emotion, abuses the rules and does what the other Zodiacs hate the most. In order to prevent him from obtaining Teradein's votes, Cheadle declares she will act as Leorio's adviser if he wins, promising also to review the rules of the exam.
Suddenly, Morel enters the hall. A healthy Gon walks behind him. As Leorio rushes to hug him, Cheadle understands she has lost. Leorio no longer has either a motive or support to become chairman. She asks Pariston when he predicted things would turn out that way. He replies he didn't, but Cheadle, admitting her defeat, insists. He answers he began to foresee such an outcome when Ging announced his candidacy. Following Pariston's taunts, he had replied that Gon would not die. However, he had imagined the last two candidates would be himself and Ging, with the latter eventually coming out on top. He had realized since the very beginning that, had he tried to work Gon into the election, he would have been defeated. In fact, as matters stood at the beginning, he had already lost. Then, when Leorio punched Ging and declared his intention to save Gon, the picture began to come together. When he felt Alluka's aura, he understood Gon had been saved, which meant he had won. All that was left was to stall for time until Gon made it to the hall. He promises to retract his motion. Cheadle is still dumbfounded that Pariston, of all people, would base his plans on someone he did not know. As a reply, he claims he trusts Ging as an enemy, and if the Boar had deemed Leorio trustworthy enough to leave his son to him, it meant he could somehow save Gon.
Gon spots Ging and, bursting into tears, confesses it is his fault Kite turned into a girl. Ging tells him Kite surely acted the way he did out of his own volition. He tells his son to go to him to apologize. Gon asks him if they can talk more later. His evasive response elicits the wrath of the Hunters around, with whom he starts a fight. Finding in Gon an opportunity to turn the tables again, Cheadle states the election is not over yet and prepares to ask him a question. However, Pariston interrupts her. He explains Gon cannot leave because of the rules of the election, but assures that if he makes a statement on who he is going to vote - Pariston or Leorio - his vote will be counted as valid and he will be allowed to leave. Cheadle wonders why he has said it, because, caught in the way of emotion, the Hunters might choose Leorio again. However, she is forced to admit her defeat again when Gon picks Pariston, since Leorio would be unable to become a doctor if he had to lead the Hunters Association. Ging's indifference to Gon's greeting causes another fight to erupt. However, he follows Gon and tells him about a number in Kite's Crazy Slot that had the power to augment his chances of survival. He then tells him not to assume Kite was sacrificing himself or he would beat him "next time".
Pariston wins the election and is thus the new chairman of the Hunters Association. He announces Cheadle will be his vice, and then quits the position. The other Zodiacs, astonished once again, become furious, while Ging declares he was not expecting it.Cheadle follows Pariston out of the hall, asking him how much he needs to make fun of her before he is satisfied. He confesses he did not become vice chairman because he wanted to succeed Netero; rather, he wanted to hinder him, which in turn caused the chairman to make fun of him, much to his irritation. On the verge of tears, he expresses his regret over Netero's death. He then orders Cheadle to revise the bylaws and the Hunter Exam, and threatens her not to make a "boring" association, or he will get serious.
Dark Continent Expedition arc
Not long after the election, Ging and Pariston request to withdraw from the Zodiacs, and Cheadle acknowledges them.
When she prepares to make an announcement to the other 9 Zodiacs, an agitated Beans bursts into the room.
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- Most of the Zodiacs who changed their appearance to match their sign, also sport references to real-life countries or cities. A possible way to explain this would be that they hail from their counterparts within the Hunter × Hunter universe.
- The only two members who haven't changed their appearance to match their Zodiac sign are Pariston Hill and Ging Freecss. Incidentally, they are also the only two members to quit the group.
- The original Rat and Boar have hair similar to that of their successors: Ging and Leorio (the first and the second Boar) have dark, spiky hair, whereas Pariston and Kurapika (the first and the second Rat) have long, blond hair worn in a fringe.