It’s so satisfying that VIZ Media has been/will be releasing sets of Hunter x Hunter episodes. Since it debuted back in 2011, many fans were hoping and begging for it to be published in the West. We are now off and running, with Volume Two now available to fans. It has gained quite the following, and now it’s up to VIZ Media to continue to release quality sets to the fans. If you are curious as to whether you should pick up the first set, I recommend reading my earlier review to help you make that decision. So does the second part of this series stack up to the first volume? What should fans expect as they finish the Hunter Exam arc in this volume?

Here we have VIZ Media’s second installment of the popular franchise Hunter x Hunter. This volume includes episodes 14-26 and finishes not one, but two arcs in the series (The Hunter Exam and Zoldyck Family arc). And while I was a bit harsh on the first 13 episodes, feeling that some of the tasks during the Hunter Exam were boring, the second half of the arc more than made up for it. While some could consider the activities dull compared to the knockout fest fans are given in a typical shōnen, I’d argue that we see more intense thriller moments that aren’t usually seen as often in anime. I’m left speechless at how simply watching someone as prey can become quality television.

We continue to follow Gon, Kurapika, Leorio, and Killua as they begin the fourth phase of the Hunter Exam. This test is a game of hunting, where contestants have to take the application badge of another participant. A competitor’s badge and target badge are each worth a total of six points, which is needed to pass the exam. However, candidates could take badges from people who weren’t their target for one point. It seemed like a pretty important test, because to become a hunter you must show you can hunt. In essence, it was the proof the Hunter Association needed to see who had what it takes.

As I mentioned earlier, this phase brought an element of suspense that I enjoyed. Watching the intense scenes with Gon trying to stay hidden from the likes of Hisoka was a treat, knowing what might happen if he was caught prematurely. It was a game of high stakes hunting, because if you crossed the wrong competitor, any one of our heroes could have been killed. In fact, fans were close to seeing that play out when Hisoka ran into Leorio and Kurapika. During this phase there was a lot of watching and spying, which could feel dull to some. I can understand that, considering I don’t watch hunting events. However, I liked the way Mad House adapted this part to keep it suspenseful and exciting.


If you had any thought about Gon being an annoying lead character, the second half of the hunter exam arc put that idea to rest. He was easily the character who impressed the most, given all the time we watched him in this phase. Seeing him pick up hints on how to hunt from flies, fish, and birds were fun. Instead of Gon being perfect, he realized he needed a strategy and worked on his craft to be a better hunter. Unlike other shōnen characters, we see Gon grow before our eyes in a manner that made sense. Plus, we see him fail against the contestant who was hunting him down (a story line that was just as suspenseful as Gon hunting Hisoka). It was endearing, as was seeing his unwavering will later on in the final phase—all of which made him a fantastic lead character to follow.


While the fourth phase blew me away, the last stage was a bit more exciting than I thought it would be. Whenever you hear the word tournament in anime, fans feel a little uneasy (due to how long and cliche they can become). However, seeing Netero (Leader of the Hunter Association) create the bracket was a nice touch. The more a contestant impressed, the more chances he got to fight and become a hunter. Of the nine finalists, eight would become hunters, with the “winner” of the bracket being the only one not to pass.

The ending of the tournament, where it was Killua who flunked out (due to him killing a finalist), was a surprise. If anything, I thought that either Leorio or Pokkle would lose out. I wasn’t invested in Killua’s brother Illumi “manipulating” him to kill, but it didn’t hurt the overall enjoyment of the Hunter Exam. Plus it was nice seeing Gon get angry at Illumi and break his forearm. Gon, most of the time, is an optimistic lead character, but giving him this emotional moment, where he’s upset at how Illumi treated Killua, as well as feeling down at how he earned his hunter license, gives him more layers than fans were led to believe.

After the Hunter Exam Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio travel to Killua’s home to have him join in on their adventure. This arc was very short, as we watch our heroes train at the front gate of Killua’s mansion and eventually meet up with Killua’s servants (all who are fierce fighters). This arc did feel a bit dull. We do get to meet a few new characters, such as Killua’s family and servants Gotoh and Canary, which neither good or bad. The Zoldyck’s have the whole dysfunctional family bit down pat, which helped hold my interest. However, watching Gon and friends try their hands at the game they played in the butler’s quarters did add some more enjoyment out of this arc. Of course, Killua being allowed to leave and travel with Gon felt weird, considering Killua’s father believes that his son will return without force. Apparently, some plan is in the works, but we won’t know what for a while.

There were a few things I would have done differently if I was working with Mad House on this anime. For example, I’d prefer instead of having a recap episode (episode 26), that they give more time to see everyone else’s battle in the final phase of becoming a hunter. Instead of listening to Satotz explain everything, I’d like to see the fights in real time. It’d add a bit more action in this series, which has been limited up to this point. I certainly would’ve love to see Kurapika and Hisoka’s battle while hearing his spine-tingling tidbit for Kurapika. So instead of rushing through to explain every fight to Gon, fans could get a taste of the action that’s to come in this series.

Another direction that the series went in that didn’t feel right was Canary’s flashback to when she was tested as a butler’s apprentice. What made it weird was that right before we see her backstory, she was attacked, and this leads the viewer to believe she was killed. It was misplaced, and it left an odd feeling for viewers. I think it’d been better if this flashback was presented after she recovers and takes our heroes to the butler’s house as they wait for Killua.

I also had a flashback to One Piece, back when they explained Gol D. Roger’s story at the beginning of every episode. In this series, viewers are told over and over that Gon, Kurapika, and Leorio is at Killua’s home and how his family’s estate is a tourist destination. It felt weird and unnecessary to me, especially considering how short the arc itself was.

The dub cast shines once again, with our main cast sounding perfect in their roles. Voice actors like Cristina Vee (Killua) and Erika Harlacher (Kurapika) both continue to blow me away as the series goes on. Erica Mendez (Gon) continues to capture what I imagine Gon would sound like if he were real. However, it was the villains’ turn to shine, as both Keith Silverstein (Hisoka), and Chris Hackney’s (Illumi) performances were great. Hackney especially was able to nail Illumi’s bored voice without sounding as if he was just reading the lines.


The release itself comes in a standard case with a cardboard slipcover. Unlike the first version, this one does not have any additional interviews. Fans are given an art gallery, along with trailers and textless opens. In fact, the release did give out postcards to those who preordered this set. I wouldn’t mind if other members of the cast could’ve sat down and done an interview or commentary, but that’s not the main reason fans would get this release. This series is one of the best and doesn’t need a ton of bells and whistles to grab consumers’ attention.

Now with the first two volumes released, fans are now out of the early arcs of Hunter x Hunter. Viewers can dive into the meat of this world and see a little more action when more sets are released. The journey to get this far wasn’t hard to get through, and I’m sure many are enjoying the fact that Hunter x Hunter is getting another chance to shine. It’s one of the best anime adaptations of its time, and fans have now just gotten past what some may call the worst arcs of the series (that was fast!). It’s another win for Hunter x Hunter, and I cannot wait to start the newest arc in volume number three.

Rating: 8.5/10

Pros: The fourth phase was the best phase of the Hunter Exam; watch Gon grow as a character; Hisoka getting more screen time; the voice actors.

Cons: Went through the final phase too fast; odd flashback placement; little extras included.

C.J Maffris is an editorial writer for Toonamifaithful.com. He hopes fans of Hunter x Hunter can smile more knowing that more episodes are on the way. You can follow C.J on Twitter @SeaJayMaffris