The Dark Continent Expedition arc (暗黒大陸編, Ankoku Tairiku-hen; "Dark Continent arc" in the Viz translation) is the eighth (officially seventh) story arc of the series, and spans from Chapter 340 to Chapter 348 of the manga. The arc was released well after the end of the original anime series and has not been animated in either adaptation. After its first chapter, Hunter × Hunter was put on a hiatus on March 14th, 2012, in which the mangaka used to fix some of the illustrations for the release of Volume 31 and 32 in tankōbon format. All the current chapters were adapted into tankōbon format including Chapter 340. The arc has been succeeded by the Succession Contest arc.
The Special Assignment
Beans comes inside a room shouting about a big emergency. Saiyu guesses Cheadle wants to resign her seat. However, she assures him that she won't, and lets Beans talk. He shows a video in which Kakin Empire's King, Nasubi Hui Guo Rou declares his country's intention to travel to the Dark Continent.
The Zodiacs are surprised, except Kanzai, who is clueless about the Dark Continent and Kakin's King. Gel explains that the Dark Continent is a place outside the world map. It is also where magical beasts are believed to originate from. Mizaistom adds that every time humanity had tried to venture there in the past, a disaster was brought back. 200 years ago, the continental V5 forum made an agreement not to go there. Cheadle explains that Kakin could technically be considered a new nation after their transition to a parliamentary democracy 30 years ago so they may have neglected to renew the treaty. Beans interrupts them with a more serious problem. The video shows King Hui Guo Rou as he introduces the person who will lead their expedition, Beyond Netero, the son of the late Isaac Netero.
The Zodiacs are once again surprised, not knowing that Netero had a son. Gel suggests they need a confirmation. However after Beyond starts his speech, Saiyu questions if there is any need to confirm him being Netero's son, as they notice their similar attributes. Beyond promises that he will take care of everything, and that all will have an equal opportunity to join his team as he encourages everyone to come to Kakin. Everyone in the room is shaking as the video ends. Beans lets them know that there is a second DVD that the chairman had left with him, which he is only allowed to show to all members of the Zodiacs if someone claimed to be his child. Since Ging and Pariston are not in attendance, Cheadle makes an announcement.
Meanwhile, people from all around the world are ready to follow Beyond, who decides to ignore the prohibitions of the V5 about exploring the Dark Continent and makes a speech to his Expedition Team (Pariston is seen there) saying that he is willing to go where no one has gone before. Cheadle tells the Zodiacs they do not need to wait for Ging and Pariston to see the DVD, as she approved both of their requests to leave the Zodiacs. She then announces the special assignment given directly from the V5: Hunt down Beyond Netero.
The Director and the Deputy Secretary of the International Permit Agency (IPA) discuss the role of their agency in restricting people from traveling to the new world. The director mentions that Kakin, however, succeeded in bypassing their screening process since they haven't signed the treaty, and now are demanding unlimited access. Should the negotiations fail at the summit next month, it will be difficult to stop them. The director opens a door to the agency's basement that's filled with various atrocities and wrung corpses that were a result of humanity's attempts to colonize the Dark Continent. Discussing the importance of preparation before the venture, the director hands over a book to the newly appointed man, explaining that it contains travels that were published hundreds of years ago. He instructs him to memorize every detail of the book as they move on through the basement. As they walk along, one creature slams against the glass wall which takes the young man by surprise. The director explains that the creature is the only survivor in their facility, which used to be human, and now has been self-sustaining for almost 50 years, unable to die.
The Zodiacs are shown a video of Isaac Netero discussing the V5's plan to explore the Dark Continent, and requests that his son be not elected as the head of this expedition. The Zodiacs debate on this assignment to hunt Beyond, and even mention Ging's possibility of joining. Beans then comes in, having received a call from Beyond himself. Beyond appears before the Zodiacs and orders them to tell the V5 that they have already captured him. The young man reviews a report on the previous Dark Continent explorations and the Five Threats that were brought back as a result of those explorations. Unnerved and anxious from the reports the young man believes that the Dark Continent is no place for humans to return.
Cheadle interviews Beyond, who is locked in a prison cell, and Beyond declares that the Zodiacs will release him. Cheadle dismisses this as absurd and continues the interview. Saccho interprets the interview for Kanzai, explaining that the King of Kakin has allowed for Beyond to go to the Dark Continent provided he makes the king famous. Beyond declares war against the Zodiacs, which Cheadle accepts. Mizaistom later informs Cheadle that the V5 has authorized the voyage to the Dark Continent, and the Zodiacs will accompany Beyond even against their will.
In the meanwhile, the Deputy Secretary of the IPA gives a speech to the V5, making them realize the only way to stop Kakin is through military might. He recommends they invite King Nasubi to join the Modern Nation Leaders and that they endorse his project, partaking in possible profits while letting King Nasubi take the fallout. To ensure the safety of the civilians, he advises the V5 pretend one of the islands close to the waters of the Dark Continent is the actual Dark Continent.
Cheadle contacts Leorio and offers him to be a Zodiac, as he was now a popular figure in the Hunter community. At first, he declines, but then asks if there's another spot in the Zodiacs. He recommends Kurapika, who is then scouted by Mizaistom. Mizaistom deals with guards and is approached by Kurapika himself. Mizaistom uses the Scarlet Eyes owned by Tserriednich Hui Guo Rou, the Fourth Prince of Kakin, as a motive for Kurapika to join. Kurapika accepts. While traveling by car, Kurapika communicates with Leorio for the first time in a while. He inquires about Gon's condition, and Leorio asks for Kurapika's email address. Kurapika refuses to share this information. Kurapika thanks Mizaistom for the connection to Prince Tserriednich, and assures him that he can deal with the prince's dark side.
They reach the Hunter Association building, where Leorio reunites with Kurapika briefly before they are taken to the meeting. At the meeting, Cheadle informs the Zodiacs that the V5 has been changed to V6, as Kakin is now a member. She reveals the reason for the failures of previous Dark Continent expeditions: the Five Threats. The danger of these threats were level A, one rank higher than the Chimera Ants (B). Cheadle reveals their objective: to travel to the new world, capture at least one of the threats and bring it back safely, as well as deal with Beyond. Kurapika asks the other Zodiacs if they have identified a member of Beyond's team in the Association, stating that Beyond must have planned this all for when his father died. He confirms that Pariston and some Temp Hunters are allies of Beyond. Mizaistom leads Kurapika out and advises him to not inquire about a mole because the mole would be on alert. When they return, all the Zodiacs explain their roles on the voyage.
Kurapika oversees the 289th Hunter Exam, where one stage is to answer a questionnaire concerning their knowledge of Kakin's imperialistic ambitions. Kurapika uses his dowsing to see who is lying and therefore working for Beyond. Mizaistom praises his ability, but Kurapika asserts that it isn't all that powerful and that someone with a similar ability could counter this one. Mizaistom explains that there probably is not even a person within the Zodiacs like that.
Meanwhile, Ging confronts Pariston in Beyond's lair, with the double objective of joining Beyond's expedition and putting a stop to Pariston's plans. He explains that depending on what the Hunter Association will do concerning Beyond's challenge, Pariston may send in 5,000 Chimera Ants. He promises to play with Pariston if Pariston can keep up with him. Pariston demands to know what he has deduced, so Ging explains that if the Hunter Association accepts the V5's terms, Pariston will let loose 5,000 Chimeras into the world, creating chaos and forcing changes in the policies, because to him that is a boring course of action. Pariston angrily interjects that Netero would never conform but would defy both the V5 and his son and go to the Dark Continent on his own. Ging then adds that if the Hunter Association does decide to go against the V5's wishes, Pariston will use the next Hunter Exam to infiltrate his 5,000 Nen-using Chimera Ants into the organization. The members show reluctance in having Ging be second-in-command. Ging promises to double Beyond's pay to them. Pariston shows no objection. Ging educates them on the Five Threats, and how their threat level surpassed that of the Chimera Ants since there was no countermeasure for them. A member asks Ging how he knows so much, and Ging explains that the Dark Continent was being recorded by Don Freecss.
Gon attempts to use his Nen, but is unsuccessful. Ging explains that it was there, Gon just couldn't see it. He tells Gon that it could have been much worse, and advises him to go looking for "something". Gon heeds Ging's advice and returns to Whale Island and Mito. When asked by Mito if he was disappointed that he couldn't go, Gon says that he would be a burden due to his lack of Nen, and that his goal was to find Ging, not meet him.
A month later, Ging continues to display his prowess in skill and knowledge with the Expedition Team, gaining their respect. Pariston suddenly shows up and divulges the failure of the assassins sent to the Hunter Exam. He acknowledges the ability of his successor, Kurapika. One of the assassins, Muherr, claims that Kurapika can read minds. He orders Ging to leave, believing him to be an agent of the Hunter Association. However, Ging assures him that his goal is to support Beyond, but stop Pariston. Usamen supports this claim, advising Muherr to wait a few days to see really why Ging should be Number 2. Just then, the other Temp Hunters arrive and reveal that Number 2 would not be in the chain of command. They force either Ging or Pariston to leave. Ging comes with with a third option: the assassins leave, whereas Pariston decided that the assassins should be killed. Muherr gets his assassins to shoot at Ging and Pariston, so they flee. Ging uses Leorio's remote punch technique to attack their assailants. He also uses his aura to produce an ultrasound which can be used to detect enemies. He uses this to find the other two henchmen and knock them out. When they find no enemies, Pariston reasons that they must have fled, but Ging corrects him by saying that their mission was complete. The entire scenario was set up by Pariston himself. He learned this when one of the Temp Hunters did not bring up both Ging and Pariston leaving as an option. Muherr wonders how they figured out his plan. Ging is more concerned about his men, stating that they are too weak for the Dark Continent. Muherr reveals that they are simply back up; shooting would be taken care of by Golem. Ging is impressed by Golem's capabilities, but Golem refuses to give any more details about their true identity. Ging asks that the soldiers take his money, but Muherr assures that the soldiers can't be bought with money. He questions Ging's motives for sponsoring the soldiers, and Ging says that he did not know the main reason, though there were a number of possible causes. He reveals that he simply wants to support Beyond but thwart Pariston, and the money would act as a gift and a convenience. Muherr finally agrees to talk to the soldiers. Ging declares himself as number 2, but asks him to lead, curious to see what he would do. Ging replies that he wouldn't hold back.
In Kakin, Prince Benjamin contacts his younger brother Prince Tserriednich to inform him that their father has accepted their offer that he who could survive the Dark Continent would be King. Overjoyed by the news, Prince Tserriednich declares that victory would be his while taunting his older brother's intelligence. His subordinates who have entered the Hunter Exam reveal their success in becoming Hunters.
After weeding out the spies during the 289th Hunter Exam, Kurapika and Mizaistom focus again on the possibility of a mole among the Zodiacs. Kurapika volunteers to test them in secret while Mizaistom gathers them to disclose details regarding their abilities. The normally politically-divided Zodiacs were working with each other to help with the mission to show their co-operation and thereby innocence. Since there was probably no risk of it failing, Mizaistom asks Kurapika to listen to the others as they state their abilities and find the liar. During the assembly, Mizaistom speaks openly of the possibility of a spy. As they speak in turns, Kurapika reveals the informant to be Saiyu.
- 200 years ago, 5 Kingdoms blocked off the Dark Continent.
- The Chimera Ants originated from the Dark Continent.
- It is Ging's ultimate goal to travel to the Dark Continent.
- Ging and Pariston leave the Zodiacs.
- Leorio and Kurapika join the Zodiacs.
- Gon realizes he can no longer use Nen and decides to go back to Whale Island.
|13th Hunter Chairman Election arc||Dark Continent Expedition arc||Succession Contest arc|
|340 | 341 | 342 | 343 | 344 | 345 | 346 | 347 | 348|