I believe that Hunter X Hunter is among the greatest anime series of all time. It’s manga is another matter. Obviously it’s the source material for the anime, however, the mangaka, Yoshihiro Togashi (Yu Yu Hakusho), has dealt with illness and lower back pain resulting in frequent hiatuses. It has been suggested that he’s a perfectionists and wants to do everything himself. Personally, I didn’t like the art of Togashi, who often produces “sketchy” line work and missing backgrounds. Apparently, he fixes the art when the volume is released. I say all this to say that after revisiting the manga (particularly after the 13th Hunter Chairman Election Arc) I have found the art of Togashi to be better. The Dark Continent Expedition Arc follows the 13th Hunter Chairman Arc and is the seventh story arc of the Hunter X Hunter series, spanning Chapter 340 through Chapter 348.
When You Stop Challenging yourself, Your Life is overBeyond Netero
An Expedition to the Dark Continent
The Chairman’s personal secretary Beans interrupts the Zodiacs conference to turn on EyeTube quickly enough for the Zodiacs present to see the Kakin Empire declare their desire to “advance their reach” to the Dark Continent. The continent is forbidden and recorded outside the world map. Kanzai, the Tiger Zodiac is clueless and is informed by Gel, the Snake Zodiac that magical beast originate from the continent. The Cow Zodiac, Mizaistom Nana, adds that “whenever humans tried to venture there . . . great calamities,” occurred. 200 years ago, the continental V5 signed a treaty agreeing to leave the Dark continent alone. The Kakin Empire is changed from a “Social Imperialist country to a Parliamentary Democracy,” becoming a new nation. Therefore, they could abandoned the treaty through a technicality. The Kakin Empire has hired the son of Isaac Netero to lead their expedition.
Beyond Netero is apparently the son of the former Chairman, but the other Zodiacs never heard of him. Beyond makes an enthusiastic pitch for others to join him in his exploration. Despite the Zodiacs shock, they all “hear Chairman Isaac Netero” in Beyond’s speech. Chairman Netero left a DVD for the Zodiac’s if someone claiming to be his child appeared. Before they watch the video newly elected Chairman Cheadle Yorkshire announces that Ging Freecss and Pariston Hill have resigned. With only 10 Zodiacs remaining, Cheadle tells them they’ve been given a special mission, “hunt down Beyond Netero.”
The Five Threats
IPA Director and Deputy Secretary Steiner discuss the Kakin Empire and the purpose of V5. Basically they’re suppose to make it so difficult for anyone to get to the Dark Continent. Beyond Netero and the Kakin Empire are a potential problem. The Director reveals that when humans have reached the Dark Continent the result has been tragic. In the International Permit Agencies Steiner sees the twisted and mangled human corpses. He’s then given a copy of Journey to the New World, and told to read “every word of it.” The book accounts the deaths of the “wrung out” bodies. Suddenly, a humanoid creature slams its hand against the glass. According to the IPA Director, its the lone survivor, who doesn’t eat food anymore, and has been “self-sustaining for fifty years.”
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Steiner watches the video Netero left behind. He explains that he forbade his son from exploring the Dark Continent until his death. Furthermore, he didn’t have the strength to survive the continent, but Beyond Netero has that strength and is probably “more suited to being a hunter” than Isaac Netero. He implores the Zodiacs to “overcome any of the risks” and gives a difficulty rating of “A”. The Zodiacs disagree on whether they should take out Beyond Netero at all. Kanzai argues it wouldn’t feel fair to do so. However, Gel notes Beyond’s advantage, he’s been preparing for years. Before they can decided, Beyond arrives to surrender. As Chapter 341 ends, Steiner reads the “five threats humanity brought from the Dark Continent.” The Botanical weapon: Brion, which “protects mysterious ancient ruins, the Gaseous life-form: Al, a beast that keeps people as pets, the Twin Snake: Hellbell, and the immortal, Zobae.
Ging Freecss heads to the Dark Continent
Beyond surprises the Zodiacs when he predicts they will release him and go to the Dark Continent with him. He promises to tell them the “truth.” The Dark Continent is a massive body of land with the recorded world located in its center surrounded by Lake Mobius. Steiner has a meeting with the V5 and explains that they need to include the Kakin Empire in the V5 making them the V6, It’s important to make the Kingdom believe they are still supportive of the expedition. They hope Kakin will suffer the same fate as the others and become united in banning travel to the Dark Continent. Meanwhile, the V5 hope the Hunters Association can convince Beyond.
While watching the interview with Beyond, the Zodiacs realize that the V5 have put them in an impossible position. If they fail to “babysit” Beyond they will lose the trust of the V5 but if they succeed they might be allowed to hunt on the Dark Continent. Beyond is aware of all of this and has manipulated the situation to gain entry to the continent. Beyond plan is to go to the Dark Continent as a “prisoner” of the Hunter’s Association but will escape and rejoin his comrades.
The King has provide transport capable of carrying 200,000 people and will be joining Beyond and 14 princes. Civilians also will join the voyage, being picked by lottery. I predict that all of them will die quickly including the royalty. Chapter 342 ends with Ging deciding to join Beyond’s expedition team and accusing Pariston Hill of having 5,000 Chimera Ants under his control.
Kurapika joins the expedition
So far this arc hasn’t mentioned Killua or Gon. I can’t imagine they won’t be apart of this series anymore. They were prime candidates for the newly opened Zodiac positions. However, Cheadle contacts Leorio and invites him to join the Zodiacs. He accepts and suggests someone else for the other position. Pariston Hill is looking to become this arc main villain as he plots to destroy the Hunters Association or at least use the Chimera Ants to take control of it.
Ging Freecss isn’t afraid to use his fists.
He claims that he “feels compelled to hurt the things that are dear to him,” when Ging confronts him. Ging is then ask to “get lost” by Usamen. Ging grabs him and he envisions his face getting pummeled. Seeing Ging is refreshing. He’s been a mysterious and absent figure in the Hunter X Hunter series and he’s surprisingly violent. Ging is quick to threat others with force and value strength above all else.
Mizaistom Nana looks for the person Leorio recommended, Kurapika. Since we last saw him he’s become the boss of a legal security and gambling association. He quickly dismisses Mizaistom until the latter asks about the crimson eyes. The Hunter Association has learned who owns a number of crimson eyes. If Kurapika joins them, the owner, Tserriednich, the fourth prince of Kakin will also be on the ship.
The treasures on the Dark Continent
Kurapika recalls all he’s sacrificed and everyone who possessed the crimson eyes of his brethren. Unfortunately, he has no home to go to and no one waiting for him. He’s suffered so much and has very little to show for it. If it wasn’t for his friendship with Gon, Killua, and Leorio he would truly be alone. Elsewhere, Beyond’s expedition team still doesn’t trust Ging, who demands to be made the number 2 behind Beyond. When they protest and prepare to fight him he offers to pay them double up front and to change nothing else.
Understandable the group doesn’t trust him. However, when one of the members give him his bank info, Ging transfers the money. Kurapika talks to Leorio over the phone, he begs Kurapika to hurry because he “doesn’t know anyone.” Afterward, Mizaistom asks Kurapika to be “discreet” when dealing with Tserriednich. He’s guarded by Dark Shadows and the matter is “delicate” considering he’s the King’s son. Kurapika reassures Mizaistom he can handle the prince.
For the first time in this arc, Gon makes an appearance. He notices he can’t use his aura. Back at expedition headquarters, Ging explains that the five threats are all more “dangerous than the Chimera Ants.” He expects a sixth threat will be discovered if they take the route Beyond wants. Ging is asked if there’s anything of value in the Dark Continent.
He claims an “unmanned rock” that “generates electricity under water,” a herb that can “cure all kinds of diseases,” Nitro Rice, the “secret to longevity,” the “trinity elixir, the mother solution for all sorts of liquids.” Each one was protected by one of the five threats. Ging reveals that Isaac Netero went to the Dark Continent with his friends, Zigg Zzoldyck and Linnet Horsdoeuvre. One explorer tried to travel the entire Mobius Shoreline himself and wrote the book, Journey to the New World, his name is Don Freecss.
The first half of this arc is a slow build. The Dark Continent is first presented as being forbidden due to it’s dangers. Then the arc slowly explores the consequences that killed those who have gone before. With each horrifying reveal, the exploration seems doomed and it makes sense that no one is allowed to return to the continent. However, when Ging explains the possible treasures found there you change your mind. Maybe it’s worth the risk, just send in the strongest.
If humanity could harness those treasures then it would have been worth it. However, the V6 only represents some of the countries in the world. Would they share the treasures or use them to enrich themselves? War could break out or at least exploitation. I thought the introduction and reintroduction of old and new characters was well done. Kurapika wasn’t involved in the Chimera Ant arc and it’s good to see him back.
He still doesn’t seem happy but maybe he’ll find joy after he get revenge. I’m surprised to see so much of Ging. Will he take center stage? He’s seems like a powerhouse like Gon but far more intelligent. I’m concerned for Leorio. Is he strong enough? He does possess some strength but it’s never been explicitly explained just how powerful he is. However, I doubt Cheadle would invite him to the Dark Continent if he wasn’t up to it.
The reintroduction of the Chimera Ants while only mention is intriguing. Are they still a threat to humanity or have they changed? How did Pariston gain control of them? I think they’ll join the Hunters Association with or without Pariston’s help. Finally, are Gon and Killua going to be in this arc or go on the expedition? Logic says the must join at some point, but Gon doesn’t have access to his aura. He’s likely going to have to retrain or something drastic. I think it might be refreshing to let other characters shine, especially Ging. If Gon and Killua don’t join the expedition at the start they’ll likely join to save one of their friends.