The Hunter Exam continues in the second boxed set of Hunter X Hunter. When we last left lead protagonist Gon Freecss and his would-be Hunter friends, they were still in the midst of matching wits and strength with a gang of hardened criminals charged with keeping them from climbing down a tower within a prescribed deadline. At the start of the set, blowhard Leorio is pitted against a game-playing mistress of psychological manipulation, while kid assassin Killua (featured in the die-cut center of the second set's front cover) next faces off against the "Meanest Mass Murderer in the History of Zabin City." (When we're shown a flashback of his misdeeds, one of the bodies has a toe tag labeled "Jean Luc-Picard.") It's not giving away too much to indicate that our central foursome ultimately makes it down the tower, though the Exam is far from over.
In fact, Gen and company's participation in the grueling Hunter Exam comprises the whole of Set Two's fifteen episodes, though — unlike the first set — this 'un doesn't cut off mid-exam. Following their completion of the third test, the remaining candidates are flown via air ship to a small island surrounded by shipwrecks. All the wreckages provide a clue as to the nature of their next big test, though the first thing all our candidates need to do is find a way to pay for their prohibitively expensive stay at the "White Palace on the Ocean." During this initial part of the fourth test, we learn something about Kurapika, the third member of Gon's trio of friends: the eyes of his people, the Kurta Clan, become red with intense emotions.
It's in the next two tests that the competition between the Hunter candidates intensifies, though. In the first test, the candidates, who've all been assigned a number, are charged with stealing another's badge as they continue to hold onto their own. Our scrappy hero Gon is assigned the badge of one of the most menacing candidates, the sinister magician Hisoka. His participation in this test plunges our hero into a profound existential crisis, though we never really doubt the indefatigable Gon won't ultimately snap out of it.
Good thing he does, since the final test is one of face-to-face combat with another candidate. This proves even more punishing for the lad since his first contest is against the chatty ninja ("You sure talk a lot for a ninja," more than one character observes) Tonpah. The resulting fight sequence is plenty brutal within the parameters of "Older Teen"-rated teevee anime.