Hunter x Hunter: What is so special about Hunter Exams?

Hunter x Hunter is a story of a boy whose father is the world’s greatest hunter but ended up abandoning him just to achieve his goal. Now Gon Freeces, the 12-year-old boy wants to become just like his father and in the process find him. The life of hunters is not easy as they have to face many challenges and their job includes finding cons, animal and plant species as well as treasures and artefacts.

To become a hunter, one has to take the hunter exam. It is during the first round of the exams that two new friends of Gon are introduced. Krupaika and Leoria both want desperately to become the hunter but for very different reasons. For Krupaika the exams matter a lot because he wants to become a hunter in order to find out the people who killed his clan and avenge their deaths while Leoria says he is only interested in money and fame. But Leoria wanted to become a hunter so that he can use the money to get himself through medical school. Unaware of his real motives Krupaika hates Leoria’s lame reasons for which sparks an argument between them. Hunter x Hunter successfully shows the many faces of the competition just by introducing three characters and their motivations for becoming a hunter.

In the first phase, the participants’ endurance is tested by making them run a marathon which seems unending. It is in this marathon; the show introduces us to another character Killua who is intrigued by Gon. They both hit it off, as they start competing with each other to complete the challenge first. But Killua seems like a very secretive character and appears to tell less than he knows.

Each challenge tests a new dimension of the participant’s personality. In the egg-retrieving challenge, the participants are tested over their wisdom as they realize that simply jumping would be suicidal and they have to take into account the updraft as well. Similarly, the hunters are asked to go through the Trick Tower in 24 hours which is full of traps and challenges which is made even tougher when they reach the top but are asked to leave two of the five friends that they reached the top with or they will have to take a much longer way to finish the challenge. Gon chooses the latter as his group finishes the challenge just in time.

In the next phase of the exam, the participants are given the role of hunter and prey. They are told that in order to win in this phase they have to steal the badge of their opponent. Gon is tasked to get the badge of a magician named Hisoka who is undoubtedly the toughest participant of the exam. Gon, aware of his weakness, trains for a few days before he eventually gets the badge of Hisoka but is not thrilled as he believes he has not really defeated him.

In the last phase of the exam, the participants are asked to make their opponents concede defeat and only in this way that they can win. This adds a different level of toughness to the competition as the participants were very adamant, so it was very hard to make anyone concede defeat. In this phase, Gon faces Hanzo who is a ninja. The fight turns out to be suicidal for Gon as he can hardly stand against Hanzo who is way tougher than him. Gon gives his best but Hanzo completely dominates him and breaks his arm. But Gon being the type of fighter that he is, refuses to give up. He shows great courage even in the face of death and makes for a mind boggling display of determination.

Hunter x Hunter introduces different characters with different motivations for becoming the hunter in the hunter exam. This characterization is so perfect that it is hard to believe how beautifully it is done. The ambitions and fears of the characters make them look more realistic and relatable. It is hard to believe how beautifully it is done. As they go through their struggle to achieve their dreams, it does also remind the viewers of the dreams that they failed to pursue. But it also gives hope that it is never truly late to give it all to the ambitions that one cares about.

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