The Zodiacs or Zodiac Twelve (
The Zodiacs act as the chairman's counselors. The former Chairman Netero would entrust the Hunter Association to them in times of emergency, and they were also his sparring partners. They each have a codename associated with one of the Chinese zodiac signs, which most of them chose to match in appearance out of loyalty for Netero.
The Zodiacs have a high standing within the Association, but it is still unclear how much of their power is dependent on the chairman in charge. In fact, although they managed the 13th chairman election, they could do so only because Netero himself authorized them; Pariston, on the other hand, appointed Cheadle as his successor without so much as consulting with them. However, as advisors to the chairman, they have the authority to decide on anything that is not specified in the Hunter Bylaws. The 10th bylaw article implies that advisors can be replaced by a new chairman. Their rank is inferior to that of the Vice-Chairman, albeit not by much.
There does not seem to be any specific prerequisite to be a member of the Zodiacs, as Isaac Netero simply elected people he had an interest in. The original group counted at least three Triple-Star Hunters (Pariston Hill, Cheadle Yorkshire, and Botobai Gigante) and just as many Double-Star Hunters (Ging Freecss, Mizaistom Nana, and Saccho Kobayakawa). However, neither Kurapika nor Leorio, the second Rat and Boar, have earned any star, and the latter lacks a field of specialization. Aside from their activities as Hunters, nearly all Zodiacs had one or more jobs and qualifications outside the Hunter Association, Pariston and Ging being exceptions.
Each of the twelve original Zodiacs was appointed by the 12th Chairman of the Hunter Association, Isaac Netero, because of their skills and the interest they aroused in him. They were also his sparring partners.
Active • Defected
|Rat (子)||Ox (丑)||Tiger (寅)||Rabbit (卯)||Dragon (辰)|
|Snake (巳)||Horse (午)||Sheep (未)||Monkey (申)||Chicken (酉)|
|Dog (戌)||Boar (亥)|
|Rat (子)||Boar (亥)|
According to Mizaistom, there were three factions in the original Zodiacs. Even for normal missions, the factions used to work together. It is possible that they were disbanded following Cheadle's election and the division in teams in preparation for the voyage to the Dark Continent.
- Pyon, Saiyu, and Cluck advocated for reforms within the Hunter Association. They were considered the "hawks" of the Zodiacs.
- Ginta, Cheadle, Mizaistom, and Botobai formed the moderate conservative front, giving importance to balance. It should be noted that the members of this faction seem to be the closest to former Chairman Isaac Netero, at least in terms of corporate governance.
- Gel, Kanzai, and Saccho were liberal, mostly apolitical.
Due to Pariston's many facades and deceptive behavior, Mizaistom could not understand his alignment, so he labeled him off as an "extreme left patriot", though he still considers him incomprehensible. Ging, on the other hand, is merely regarded as a stubborn "idiot".
For their mission to travel to the Dark Continent, explore it, and return successfully, the Zodiacs divided themselves into teams according to the individual aptitudes of each member. The subgroups and functions are:
|Zodiacs' Teams and Functions|
|Science Team||Cheadle, Gel, and Leorio||
|Flora/Fauna Team||Cluck and Ginta||
|Intelligence Team||Kurapika, Mizaistom, Pyon, and Saccho||
|Defense Team||Botobai, Kanzai, and Saiyu||
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Following the death of the Chairman Isaac Netero, the Zodiacs gather in the Hunter Association Headquarters to decide the method of the election of his successor, as he demanded in his testament.
Pariston, the Vice-Chairman, announces his candidacy and suggests the election be skipped, but the other Zodiacs refuse, moving critics and accusations against him. After he suggests to rethink the process of voting, Cheadle proposes drawing lots. Beans is selected to randomly choose one of the papers. He announces it is Ging's, which establishes that all Hunters are both candidates and voters. He then proceeds to read out the other rules: if the candidate who has received the most votes does not achieve majority, the election will be held again with the top 16 candidates, which will then be halved to 8 and so on; if the voting rate is less than 95%, that particular round of the election has to be redone; voters must write their names onto their votes, lest they be considered null; Ging will be the chairman of the election committee. However, Pariston opposes the last rule, since the aim was only to decide upon the method of the election, and Ging unhesitatingly renounces the position.
In reality, these rules had been written by Ging days prior to the assembly. Anticipating the decision to draw lots, he had had Beans read them, since most likely he would be the one tasked with picking a paper, and told him to pretend to pull it out if he agreed with them. He also reveals that the fifth rule is only a ruse to lead the Zodiacs into accepting the other rules, revealing that he does not want to influence the outcome. With Ging's ploy succeeding, Cheadle sends the voting forms to all Hunters.
The 661 candidates and voters are to turn in their voting forms at a ballot box on the first-floor lobby of the Hunter Association HQ on August 8th starting from midnight. Three members of the committee must be present for the election to be valid. Should a Hunter be unable to attend within the next 24 hours, he or she may vote from a separate location. The first night, Pyon, Kanzai, and Ginta are the appointed supervisors. Among the many voters is Hisoka, who starts a brief conversation with them. Eventually, Beans, the committee leader, announces the results of the first round of the election.
After the second round, the Zodiacs, minus Ging, gather to discuss the outcome. Pariston comes up with two proposals in order to avoid invalid votes: first, Beans should check each sheet before it is cast in the ballot box; second, those who abstain or submit null votes should have their Hunter License temporarily confiscated, all in order to hit the 95% mark. The second provision is meant to discourage those who will not vote unless their vote is counted as invalid. Pariston adds that, since they are going against Isaac Netero's will, they are betraying him. When Kanzai objects that abstentionists don't want to vote because they think Pariston should not win, the vice-chairman replies that the majority seems to disagree and insults him. Other Zodiacs prevent a furious Kanzai from attacking Pariston. Some of them refuse to concede that abstaining goes against Netero's will and thus the previously established rules in spite of the Rat's attempts to twist it, while others, like Mizaistom, agree with Pariston. Before the proposal can be put to the vote, Cheadle asks Pariston if together with their license, Hunters should lose their status. After a brief silence, he denies it. Following Mizaistom's subsequent intervention, he also clarifies that Hunters who have had their license confiscated will still be able to vote.
The motion is approved and all Hunters are notified about the new rules. However, in the third round, the number of absentees has increased. Beans thus asks Cluck to send them two letters, one asking them to return their license to the HQ, and one in which to write down the reason for their absence. Pariston points out that now their licenses have been confiscated, they have nothing to lose if they still refuse to vote. He thus proposes to arrange a gathering of all Hunters and speak in front of them as the Zodiacs.
At the HQ, where the meeting is taking place, Pariston delivers a speech to discourage Hunters from abstaining, ensuring them that even the votes of minority opinions will have their weight. Pyon then proceeds to ask if anyone has a question, and Leorio steps up. He asks Ging why he hasn't visited Gon in the hospital. The Boar's answers infuriate him, and he punches Ging with his Nen ability, earning a wave of applause from all the Hunters gathered at the site. As in the previous ballots, in the fourth round Pariston is still in first place with slightly less than 40% of votes and Cheadle in the second, but Leorio suddenly becomes a prominent candidate by landing in third place.
Since the voting rate finally exceeded 95%, only the top 16 candidates will be eligible in the next election. Only half of the Zodiacs remain: Pariston, Cheadle, Botobai, Mizaistom, Saccho, and Ging, but the Horse and the Boar drop out shortly afterwards. Furthermore, the Dog is suddenly overtaken by Teradein Neutral, who gathered consent by allying with Loupe Highland and Bushidora Ambitious, promising to review the Hunter Bylaws and the Hunter Exam, and actively trying to stop Illumi and Hisoka. However, the new Pure Paladin Squad is defeated, which results in them losing votes and in Teradein's death. The four remaining candidates are Pariston, Cheadle, Leorio, and Mizaistom.
Cheadle finally seeks Ging's advice on how to win against Pariston, and he tells her the reason why Pariston is such a formidable opponent is that he really isn't trying to win or lose and that he's just having fun foreseeing how his opposition will move next just like Netero. He and Cheadle will be the remaining candidates and they will keep swapping positions due to Pariston ordering his Temp Hunters to abstain until a certain day comes. When Ging mentions that Pariston is the only one who is carrying the late chairman's spirit, Cheadle becomes jealous, proving herself to be predictable, yelling at him and ordering him to tell her what day Pariston is waiting for. According to some pilots and engineers of the association Ging has befriended, Pariston secretly ordered 100 airships to gather about 5,000 hybrid Chimera Ant cocoons ready to hatch from Royal Palace of East Gorteau, and he intends to use them for his entertainment. The "X Day" could be the next Hunter Exam, when Pariston will free the hybrid ants to wreak havoc.
Later, Pyon announces that the eighth round of the election is about to begin. More than 95% of the Hunters are present at the event. She goes on to explain that the four candidates will make their speech, but first, the comments of the candidates who had to drop out in the previous round will be broadcast. Due to Teradein's death and Morel having said all he wished in a previous video, the only comments are those of Botobai and Ickshonpe Katocha, the former supporting Cheadle and the latter expressing his lack of interest in the matter. Pyon then encourages all Hunters not to leave the building until the next chairman has been elected, with other Zodiacs guarding the exits. Mizaistom is called on-stage. In the hope of defeating Pariston by renouncing his own votes, he declares that out of the four final candidates, Cheadle is the most suitable to the position of chairman, while he himself is not ready yet, and urges his voters to respect his wishes so the election can end soon. To everyone's surprise, however, in her speech, Cheadle invites the Hunters to vote for Leorio. When it is his turn to speak, the rookie states that he intends to make the Hunter Association his private property in order to save Gon. With the odds seemingly in Leorio's favor, Pariston prepares to speak.
Instead of reprimanding the Hunters who are using their phones, Pariston incites them to go on, as that is the spirit of a true Hunter. He promises to help Gon once the election is over, but maintains the matter should be kept separated from the election. With a shocking gambit, he claims that, in his opinion, the most suitable candidate for the position of chairman is Mizaistom, as he is the only one who possesses all three necessary requirements: strength, experience, and caliber. Understanding that Pariston is not being sincere in the least, Cheadle struggles to control her emotions. She tries to predict how the votes will be split in the next ballot. She glances at Ging in the hope of receiving confirmation, but he is dozing off. In the meanwhile, Pariston replies to Mizaistom's protests by saying the election is about all Hunters, not just the Ox, and they should stop playing games and being selfish, irritating Cheadle and Mizaistom with his hypocrisy.
The Dog tries to figure out what the vice-chairman is planning. She reflects that if Leorio is eliminated, his votes may go to Pariston, but if he remains, he will get the votes of the Zodiacs who support him, those of the anti-Zodiac and anti-Pariston voters, and the floating votes. Mizaistom understands and agrees they must absolutely push Pariston out of the election, as his intuition tells him that the Rat comes from the dark side of society, and not even Netero managed to control him. Pyon announces the voting sheets will be distributed shortly. Leorio comes in first place, but fails to achieve the majority of the votes. Cheadle and Mizaistom are eliminated. The Zodiacs react in shock upon feeling the enormous amount of aura released by Alluka. Realizing what it means, Ging lowers his head and Pariston smirks. Before the last round of the election begins, the Rat asks Leorio what he is going to do if he becomes chairman.
After hearing his reply, he tries to stall for time by asking more questions about the future of the organization. When Leorio states he has no questions for his rival, Pariston makes an urgent motion to rethink the 10th Hunter Bylaw, concerning the Hunter Exam. Everyone in the hall is astonished. Kanzai jumps up and yells at him the Zodiacs decided the Bylaws are absolute, so there is no need to bring up that topic. Saccho and Cheadle silently disagree. Pariston objects that, since all the Zodiacs except him have been eliminated from the election and Leorio does not know what was agreed in the meeting, it is necessary to discuss about it before the election is over. He goes on to say he decided not to go against the majority because the Zodiacs were an important group to the previous chairman, and Teradein and Bushidora were right insisting that the third and fourth bylaws affect the exam negatively. Cheadle reflects that Ging was right: Pariston does not think about winning or losing, so he can remain calm and neutral no matter what happens. He manipulates emotion, abuses the rules and does what the other Zodiacs hate the most. In order to prevent him from obtaining Teradein's votes, Cheadle declares she will act as Leorio's adviser if he wins, promising also to review the rules of the exam.
Suddenly, Morel enters the hall. A healthy Gon walks behind him. As Leorio rushes to hug him, Cheadle understands she has lost. Leorio no longer has either a motive or support to become chairman. She asks Pariston when he predicted things would turn out that way. He replies he didn't, but Cheadle, admitting her defeat, insists. He answers he began to foresee such an outcome when Ging announced his candidacy. Following Pariston's taunts, he had replied that Gon would not die. However, he had imagined the last two candidates would be himself and Ging, with the latter eventually coming out on top. He had realized since the very beginning that, had he tried to work Gon into the election, he would have been defeated. In fact, as matters stood at the beginning, he had already lost. Then, when Leorio punched Ging and declared his intention to save Gon, the picture began to come together. When he felt Alluka's aura, he understood Gon had been saved, which meant he had won. All that was left was to stall for time until Gon made it to the hall. He promises to retract his motion. Cheadle is still dumbfounded that Pariston, of all people, would base his plans on someone he did not know. As a reply, he claims he trusts Ging as an enemy, and if the Boar had deemed Leorio trustworthy enough to leave his son to him, it meant he could somehow save Gon.
Gon spots Ging and, bursting into tears, confesses it is his fault Kite turned into a girl. Ging tells him Kite surely acted the way he did out of his own volition. He tells his son to go to him to apologize. Gon asks him if they can talk more later. His evasive response elicits the wrath of the Hunters around, with whom he starts a fight. Finding in Gon an opportunity to turn the tables again, Cheadle states the election is not over yet and prepares to ask him a question. However, Pariston interrupts her. He explains Gon cannot leave because of the rules of the election but assures that if he makes a statement on who he is going to vote—Pariston or Leorio—his vote will be counted as valid and he will be allowed to leave. Cheadle wonders why he has said it, because, caught in the way of emotion, the Hunters might choose Leorio again. However, she is forced to admit her defeat again when Gon picks Pariston since Leorio would be unable to become a doctor if he had to lead the Hunter Association. Ging's indifference to Gon's greeting causes another fight to erupt. However, he follows Gon and tells him about a number in Kite's Crazy Slots that had the power to augment his chances of survival. He then tells him not to assume Kite was sacrificing himself or he would beat him "next time".
Pariston wins the election and is thus the new chairman of the Hunter Association. He announces Cheadle will be his vice, and then quits the position. The other Zodiacs astonished once again, become furious, while Ging declares he was not expecting it.
Cheadle follows Pariston out of the hall, asking him how much he needs to make fun of her before he is satisfied. He confesses he did not become vice chairman because he wanted to succeed Netero; rather, he wanted to hinder him, which in turn caused the chairman to make fun of him, much to his irritation. On the verge of tears, he expresses his regret over Netero's death. He then orders Cheadle to revise the bylaws and the Hunter Exam, and threatens her not to make a "boring" association, or he will get serious.
Dark Continent Expedition arc
Not long after the election, the Zodiacs, minus Ging and Pariston, are summoned by Cheadle. Before she can make her announcement, an agitated Beans bursts into the room. After a small squabble with Saiyu, Cheadle, noting the urgency in Beans' manners, lets him proceed. He projects a video containing the speech of the Kakin Empire's King, Nasubi Hui Guo Rou. Kanzai does not recognize him, prompting Pyon to comment that even an elementary student would know him. As Botobai and Gel foreshadow, the ruler announces he is going to start the exploration of the Dark Continent.
Kanzai asks what he is talking about, earning himself Cluck's mockery for his ignorance. Gel and Mizaistom start to explain, mentioning that, due to the catastrophic outcomes of all past expeditions, the V5 has prohibited them. As the speech goes on, the Ox questions whether Nasubi can pull off such an endeavor, while the Rabbit remarks that Kakin is just an old country that has changed its name and the Monkey wonders if Nasubi's state has gotten bold enough to defy the treaty due to its economic growth. Cluck asks if Kakin has signed it, and Mizaistom replies it is the obligation of every country, but Cheadle contradicts him. Due to the regime change, the new government ignored all previously signed treaties. Saccho understands that this way, leaving the moral question it raises aside, the country cannot be sanctioned. Botobai concedes those are troubling news, but Beans' real concern is another: much to the Zodiacs' shock, Nasubi mentions Isaac Netero and introduces his son, Beyond Netero. The Snake suggests they investigate the authenticity of this parentage, but Beyond's words brush aside any doubt, leaving them even more stumped: it is as if the former chairman himself was speaking.
Beans reveals that besides his will, Netero has left another DVD, with the instruction to show it to all the Zodiacs if someone claiming to be his son were ever to appear. The group starts to ponder if they should watch it, due to Ging and Pariston being absent and the difficulty of finding them, but Cheadle invites them to listen to her. Since it is related to the case, she makes her announcement. After declaring that both Ging and Pariston have requested to withdraw from the Zodiacs and that she has acknowledged them, the Dog announces she has received from the V5 the mission to hunt Beyond Netero.
The Zodiacs watch the new DVD, in which the former chairman reveals what happened in some of the past explorations of the Dark Continent and the role played by his son. He expresses his wish to have the Zodiacs lead an even more successful expedition than Beyond's, repeating over and over it is not an order, which causes the Zodiacs to conclude it is indeed an order. When the video is over, Mizaistom asks Beans if Netero has left any other requests, which Beans denies. Kanzai and Botobai comment on the timing of Isaac's reappearance, while Saccho deduces this video has been recorded before the one on the election since the chairman's hair was still long.
Following Gel's cue, the Zodiacs start to debate what course of action they should take. Due to the ambiguity of Netero's request, they conclude the responsibility is entirely on them. Saiyu notes that he doesn't care about venturing into the Dark Continent, but he does not like the idea of going after Beyond. When Cheadle asks him what he suggests, he replies he loves going against established things, and that he does not like to settle matters that way. Kanzai argues it should be ok if Kakin and the Hunter Association compete fairly against each other, but Gel remarks it is not the case since Beyond has been preparing for the expedition for decades. The only other person who could have made preparations in advance is Ging. She states that if Ging joins the association's expedition, she too will go, even if she doesn't want to; however, he has already withdrawn, and probably asking him would be useless. She ends by saying that it is not about fairness, it is simply that Beyond's starting line and theirs are different. Botobai replies that is within the scope of their obligations, and so long as there is no objection to what the chairman said, Kanzai's and Saiyu's opinions only express their personal feelings.
While the Tiger tries to understand what the Dragon has said, Mizaistom asks if they shouldn't wait for approval from the V5 before deciding. Although Nasubi spoke about human progress, what is really at stake are natural resources. Cluck is determined to find an agreement, but Mizaistom replies it is not something that only five countries should decide on. Kanzai asks what all of this has to do with Hunters, but Pyon, looking at her phone and computer, replies she was not listening. Botobai tells Mizaistom that a single private organization cannot make such a decision, to which the Ox replies they can show their intentions through their actions. The Dragon objects he is forgetting the most important part, Netero's will, and asks him if he is really putting his political beliefs before it. Gel tells them to stop, stating they have not received any request yet. She then asks for Cheadle's opinion. The chairman answers that if Beyond is deemed to be a threat to the public order, the association might make it an official mission. The discussion is interrupted by Beyond's phone call. The Zodiacs rush to meet him, and he requests that they tell the V5 they have captured him, so he proposes to start a fair exchange.
Beyond is thus imprisoned in a room in the Hunter Association HQ and shackled. Cheadle interrogates him on his motives, while the other Zodiacs watch from behind a glass. They are surprised when Beyond announces he will eventually be freed and they will follow him to the Dark Continent. The Dog dismisses this possibility, but Beyond insists they know it, too. After agreeing to have what he says recorded, he proceeds to explain the official position of the V5 and what they will do in the future. After that, he reveals Kakin's open-door policy was launched to prevent the V5 from insisting on following the normal procedures, which would make the expedition fail. Cheadle objects that if civilians were not involved, the risks for the Hunter Association would be lower, but he replies that not having civilians to protect would leave the association without excuse if they failed. As the conversation goes on, Kanzai expresses his inability to follow it, and Saccho sums it up for him: basically, Nasubi has agreed to help Beyond reach the Dark Continent in exchange for making his own name legendary. The V5 has enlisted the association's help in order to save appearances, as normally they should not be able to take actions against Beyond. When the Tiger comments it does not sound too challenging for them, Gel replies that if they fail, they will lose the trust of their best clients, whereas if they succeed, they might receive the approval to go to the Dark Continent, drawing enormous benefits for humanity.
Beyond concludes by saying that if the Zodiacs are not convinced, they can contact the V5, only to be told the V5 approves of the expedition if the Hunter Association supervises it. Cheadle understands it is a battle that will take place in the Dark Continent, and if the association does not fight as a whole, they will lose. She accepts what he said, provided it is the truth, but clarifies there are things she must verify first. When he agrees to give them a sample of his blood or his hair, Cheadle realizes he knows his identity might be questioned, but she has no doubt he really is the former chairman's son. She orders Mizaistom to contact the V5 and reflects that Beyond has manipulated the V5 into forcing the Hunter Association to go to the Dark Continent with him. Exiting the room, she announces to the Zodiacs they will have to accompany Beyond as part of a top-secret mission assigned by the V5. Kanzai's ensuing confusion amazes Gel, and she explains their task will be to prevent Beyond from escaping by restraining his allies while also trying to find a solution to the Five Threats. She concludes they cannot know what will happen in that unknown continent. Mizaistom and Cheadle concur that after all, it is what a Hunter should do, and Ginta hopes they will be able to form an alliance with Beyond after getting to know each other better during the journey, which causes Cluck to frown at his unrealistic statement. Saccho volunteers to keep watch on the prisoner. Cheadle warns Beyond to prepare for a long arrest.
She later calls Leorio to offer him one of the vacant seats in the Zodiacs, declaring the Hunter Association feels he is the most indicated due to his competences and asks for his help in a mission that could change the association itself. Cutting him off, she tells him she has already contacted his university and obtained the approval to consider him an exchange student for an indefinite period, provided he joins the expedition as part of the medical team led by Cheadle herself. Even though his help will be crucial, she states that she will not be lenient and his grades will depend entirely on his abilities. Since it is a highly dangerous job and he will receive no compensation apart from his evaluation, he is welcome to refuse if he is looking for a safe, high-paying job. Satisfied that this is not the case, Leorio eagerly asks her to join. He then recommends Kurapika for the other empty slot in the Zodiacs.
Mizaistom is sent to recruit Kurapika. When he reaches the latter's workplace, he states he comes on the Hunter Association's behalf and inquires if Kurapika is there. Linssen denies it, to which the Ox declares he will wait for him. He also asks for a coffee, adding he will provide the milk. When three thugs in the room grow hostile, he shows them a yellow card with an exclamation mark and warns them not to come closer, stating he, as a Crime Hunter, has special investigation authority, and violence against him will not be tolerated. They ignore his words and proceed to attack him. He flips the card, proclaiming "Restraint". The offenders find themselves paralyzed, and Mizaistom simply walks past them, sitting on a sofa. He informs them they will be able to move soon, but if they try to attack him again, he will block them as many times as it is needed. Linssen reveals Kurapika is underground but asks the Ox not to irritate him as he is frustrated over a certain problem. He then confirms he is indeed a Hunter who has chosen to work in Light Nostrade's organization, specifying its revenues are entirely legal.
At that moment, Kurapika walks in. Noticing he is concealing his fighting appearance, the Ox introduces himself and asks him if he has heard about Kakin and the Dark Continent, to which Kurapika answers negatively. Mizaistom adds states Leorio was worried about him and invites him to take part in the expedition. Kurapika refuses and implicitly invites him to leave, but Mizaistom states Kurapika is still looking for the eyes of his brethren. Kurapika lowers his head, exhaling. He pulls out his chains and looks at Mizaistom with his eyes now scarlet. With a threatening tone, he advises the Zodiac to choose his words carefully and warns him that even though he is speaking with someone who is not part of his project, he ought to show respect. He then confirms Mizaistom's assertion, asking what is his point. The Ox informs him that six months earlier the Hunter Association received the report of a video showing a large quantity of Scarlet Eyes on a site for collectors of the most incredible items. When Kurapika replies he already knows, the Zodiac proclaims they have found the owner of those eyes. It was an accidental discovery made while gathering info on powerful people who wished to go to the Dark Continent. He assures Kurapika that it is impossible to discover the collector's identity from the footage, but he cannot say anything else to someone outside of the project. He invites Kurapika to reflect before pronouncing himself and explains the association wants him to join the Zodiacs and the expedition to the Dark Continent, requesting that he considers the implications carefully. Kurapika concludes the collector will also be on the ship. Prioritizing the retrieval of his clan's eyes, he accepts. Mizaistom shows him a photo of his target, revealing it is the fourth Kakin Prince, Tserriednich Hui Guo Rou.
Staring at the eyes he has retrieved and at Tserriednich's photo, Kurapika thinks back to all the people he has retrieved the eyes from, and the means he used. He silently declares his final journey his beginning, but wonders where it will take him.
En route back to the Hunter Association Kurapika talks with Leorio, who inquires about his final decision and renews multiple times his request to be told his friend's e-mail address, only to be turned down every time. Kurapika then says he has heard about Gon from Mizaistom, asking if there is anything he can do, but Leorio replies he is alright now. He tells his friend to come and support him because he is nervous among people he does not know, prompting Kurapika to reflect that it is not like he is shy. Mizaistom observes Leorio seems to hold Kurapika in high esteem, but the Kurta admits he is not sure his abilities will be of help. Nonetheless, he is grateful for the information on Tserriednich and will do whatever he can. The Ox responds it is fine and tells him he will be able to focus on his concerns during the voyage. However, he demands that the new Zodiac act mindfully, since the convergence of a historical event and a royal prince is a delicate situation; furthermore, there is a dark shadow surrounding Tserriednich. Even though he knows there is no need to say it, the Ox suggests that Kurapika be careful and not cross the prince. The Kurta replies there is no reason to worry since he is more adept at dealing with human-like beasts than people with an unknown background.
After a threatening call from the higher-ups, Cheadle brings a contract to Beyond. It details his restrictions and forces him to hand over to the association any object he might retrieve in the Dark Continent without informing the media. Saying it is as he had anticipated, Beyond signs the contract and tells the Zodiacs they have gained "approval". What they still need is "Capacity", "Means", and a "Contract".
Meanwhile, Mizaistom asks Kurapika what he will do with the prince after he has retrieved the eyes. He responds it is not a problem. Even if he were to resist, he is confident he can get them back without killing him. The Ox comments that would be ideal.
When they arrive at the HQ, Leorio greets Kurapika, expressing his concern about the mission. Kurapika replies he too wasn't told anything, but from what he has surmised, they are going to venture in the Dark Continent. Cheadle leads them to where the meeting is held and introduces them to the other Zodiacs. When the briefing starts, she projects the atlas of the known world and explains what is known about the Five Threats. Their threat level has been raised from B+ to A. She adds they will also have to keep watch over Beyond for an unknown amount of time when the expedition begins, with the related pros and cons. Leorio is astounded they will have to face a threat even greater than that of the Chimera Ants, which led to Netero's death. When Cheadle pauses, Kurapika bluntly inquires how many of Beyond's allies within the Hunter Association they have identified until that point, shocking the other Zodiacs. He explains a dubious Kanzai it is obvious there are moles, as Beyond has surely made preparations while waiting for his father's death, going as far as to use the Hunter Association. To succeed even after having been imprisoned, he needs a capable right-hand man and the support of a great number of allies. Cheadle confirms those would be Pariston and the Temp Hunters. With this, Kurapika concludes that everything up to the election is clear, but the answers lead to more unanswered questions from that point. Mizaistom invites the new Rat outside to discuss in private.
He reveals both him and Cheadle have already started investigating the internal departments, but have not informed the other Zodiacs because they have reached the same conclusion as Kurapika: there is a mole within the Zodiacs. However, since Beyond's plan was set in motion fifty years before, it is difficult to say who could be the spy. Kurapika wonders how it is possible since Isaac Netero himself picked each of his advisers, but the Ox replies he is the one who also chose Pariston and that he would do anything for fun. He believes Pariston's role is to divert their attention. If the former Chairman had placed restrictions on Beyond, he might have suspected his own son was after him. The reason Kurapika and Leorio have been chosen is that they are outsiders. When faced with an impossible situation, Netero would just laugh it off. It is not unlikely he had selected one of the Zodiacs knowing he or she was a spy. For these reasons, he urges Kurapika to keep what they have said a secret.
At the end of the meeting, each of the Zodiacs summarizes their preparations for the voyage. Cheadle announces she is forming a medical team made only of experts in various fields, hoping to have them pass the Hunter Exam, to reduce the risks to a minimum. Mizaistom adds that he and Saccho are leading investigations on the background of each applicant and, thanks to Botobai, are on the verge of obtaining the list of passengers of the Black Whale. The two of them will also be in charge of mediating between the V5 and Kakin. Botobai declares that if Kakin has started negotiations with Saherta and Begerossé, they will be able to reach an agreement. After landing, the Defense and the Intelligence Teams will communicate in secret to prevent Beyond from escaping. Countermeasures against physical and Nen abilities have already been prepared.
Pyon informs the others she is developing a software capable of calculating the risks of the voyage by extracting the data from ancient texts. She will update it as soon as the passenger list is available. Cluck states the collection of information on endemic flora will begin upon landing. Saccho announces the completion of the investigation on the auxiliary members of the Science and Flora/Fauna Teams. Since they are all prepared for a one-way trip, they are able to assess the dangers objectively. He specifies they are completely unrelated to Kakin. Saiyu has nothing to communicate, and he merely expresses his view on his guarding Beyond. Ginta informs the other Zodiacs that, due to Knov refusing to go any further than the New Continent, his team is on the lookout for Hunters with similar abilities, although currently to no avail. He adds Morel has accepted to sail the ship until the entrance of the Dark Continent, so navigation can be left up to his team. Kanzai entrusts everything until the landing to his colleges, as his only job is to repel threats.
Since her division will be inactive during the voyage, Gel states she has more free time than the others, but she and Sanbica Norton are also drafting a manual regarding the measures to take against the spread of contagious diseases. Leorio says his job is to assist Cheadle's team and he is glad that the recruiting of members of the association has gotten smoother after he joined the Zodiacs. He assures he will do his best in spite of his lack of experience, as the expedition means a lot to him. Kurapika starts by apologizing for the rudeness he displayed earlier, admitting he should not have spoken without first comprehending the width of the Hunter Association. He adds that, due to his job, he has connections with the underworld, which may provide information on Kakin and Beyond that would be unavailable through normal means.
Cheadle concludes by saying the date and modalities of the Hunter Exam have been changed to gather the necessary human resources and exhorts the Zodiacs to do their best to make the mission a success.
Kurapika is seen screening the candidates of the Hunter Exam and using his dowsing to determine who is lying. Mizaistom assists him in this task. When he comments he is surprised, Kurapika agrees, as he did not assume that so many spies could clear the thermography and lie detector after passing the mental test. However, Mizaistom was actually referring to Kurapika, as he had expressed doubts about the usefulness of his ability, although it seems to be exactly what they need. Kurapika demands that it not be overestimated, admitting he himself is not fully sure how it works. He explains that he can unconsciously perceive minute changes in the target that would otherwise go unnoticed by using the chain as a medium, but normally he would need to be directly in front of him. It is probably thanks to Emperor Time that the dowsing works with videos. Still, as he says, it is merely a power that finds out lies, no matter how well people hide them. Mizaistom wonders what is the problem, to which Kurapika responds that if he were a spy and wanted to deceive someone with his ability, he would have somebody erase or alter his memories; that way, since the target does not know he is lying, the chain would most likely stay still. While the Ox mulls this over, Kurapika inquires whether there is anyone in the higher ranks of the Hunter Association capable of doing so: if they were on the enemy's side, they could easily pass all the tests.
After reflecting some, Mizaistom concludes he does not deem it possible. He tells Kurapika there should be no one in the Zodiacs with such a power. He then proceeds to explain why he cannot be completely sure. In the past there were three factions among the Zodiacs, corresponding to their political orientation. The members of each faction tended to go on missions together, so Cheadle, Botobai, and Ginta (who, along with him, were part of the moderate conservative faction, supporting balance) can be counted out. Anyway, due to the Zodiacs cooperating in different teams in view of the journey to the Dark Continent, they all agreed to share information regarding their abilities. Kurapika asks if he will have to do the same, but the Crime Hunter says that Leorio has informed him of his case, so he will not need to. In return, Mizaistom won't tell him about the Zodiacs' powers. Kurapika is relieved and confesses it is thanks to his friend's intervention that things are going smoothly for him. Mizaistom concedes Leorio is also useful to the organization.
Continuing on with his rationale, he sums up that, to their current knowledge, none of the Zodiacs can alter memories, and they probably do not know anyone who can do it, as he has dug up data on the missions and history of all Hunters. Kurapika objects that a person with that power could have been given top-secret missions or work outside the association, but according to Mizaistom the results of the test rule out this possibility. In fact, if there were a mole-like that, it is clear that individuals of extreme talent such as the mercenary Muherr and the biochemist Juhnde would not clear the traps. The Crime Hunter was so surprised at the failure of the latter, whom he had hoped to put in charge of mediating between the Science and the Flora/Fauna Teams, that he had initially suspected the accuracy of the machine. There is also the possibility that they were used as mere decoys, but what really worries him is Pariston's quiet and quick departure after the election, as only the existence of an ally on the side of the organization would justify it. Kurapika then activates Emperor Time and agrees to test the Zodiacs in secret.
Mizaistom summons the Zodiacs minus the Boar and the Rat, causing Saiyu to joke that they are going to discuss about hazing. Botobai realizes it concerns their abilities and agrees to share them, advocating clarity as a member of the Defense Team. The Crime Hunter confirms it and, after trading glances with a dubious Cheadle, questions whether they would be willing to reveal them knowing there might be a mole in the group. Kanzai is baffled by the news and prepares to throw a tantrum, asking him many times how he can be sure. Mizaistom confesses that he himself would have helped Beyond had he met him before watching the chairman's video and that not even watching it afterward would have changed his decision, all to demonstrate it is not treachery, but simply a matter of what came first. He then repeats his question and proceeds to explain his power. He concludes by saying he has made it his mission to find out who is there under different pretenses, stating it is a matter of resolve.
Meanwhile, Kurapika watches them through a video camera. When it's Saiyu's turn, his Dowsing Chain starts to swing, indicating he is lying.
Succession Contest arc
Afterward, Kurapika and Mizaistom watch the recording of the latter's conversation with Beyond. As he eats, the Ox announces the departure date is in 35 days, on August 8th. King Nasubi Hui Guo Rou has requested that Beyond participates in the celebration on the eve of the voyage, appealing directly to the V5. If the benefactor was to miss, it would be awful for such a historical event, so Mizaistom promises Netero will be free to go, provided he reveals which of the Zodiacs is on his side. After a moment of silence, Beyond states that Mizaistom is wrong on two things: he knows nothing about any spy, and he does not care about the ceremony. All he knows is that he will have to eat and sleep in that cell for a month, and then wait two more months to reach the Dark Continent. Until then, he will behave in Hui Guo Rou's interest, but his true goal lies after that. He has been forced to attend those festivals because he is considered a legend who will lead the way to the new world. He is sure Kakin will put pressure on V5 to let him attend the celebration, and the Zodiacs themselves will beg him to go, ending up bowing their heads to him. At the end of the recording, Kurapika states Beyond has been telling the truth. Mizaistom concludes that Pariston is the mastermind behind Saiyu's conspiracy, and they plan to free Netero without his knowing.
Kurapika suggests they leave Beyond alone until landing, since he does not intend to escape, but the Crime Hunter is dubious, as Pariston and Saiyu might try to break him out before the end of the journey. Kurapika explains why it is not likely: Kakin agreed to treat Beyond as an ordinary man until they land, and in the worst possible situation V5 would sever ties with Kakin, forcing them to take back the boat; Beyond has announced a truce and let himself be captured in order to avoid it. On the other hand, it means the Zodiacs can do nothing about Saiyu at the moment. Mizaistom agrees but says he'd rather avoid sitting idly while Pariston and his spy are plotting. They discuss about Saiyu's Nen ability. Kurapika states that the Monkey had eased up considerably when talking about his power, relieved he did not have to lie. Thus, without a doubt, he was sincere about it, and he is on Beyond's side. The rest of the Zodiacs were notably tense while speaking, afraid to reveal their abilities at the presence of the mole, so they are torn between trusting the others and being wary of them: these emotions influenced their voices and movements. They all behaved as an innocent person would have, so it is feasible Saiyu is the only infiltrator. Kurapika proposes they keep tabs on Saiyu in secret, which would allow them to uncover his plans while gathering evidence. Mizaistom agrees it is safer than tailing him at all times, even if it means leaving him free to act.
Considering Saiyu's ability, Kurapika expects him to attempt to free Netero upon landing. If they were to restrain him too soon, Pariston may arrange something else. Additionally, there is also a high probability they will try to break him out during the celebration on the eve of the departure. The best course of action would, therefore, be arresting Saiyu right before arriving at the Dark Continent without Beyond noticing. Mizaistom asks him what would happen if they acted without evidence, and the Kurta confesses wondering as well. They would have to admit Mizaistom used him, and the Ox says the other Zodiacs would surely denounce and criticize him. Kurapika inquires if that would be due to his using a newcomer and acting independently, to which Mizaistom replies it is more than that: after speaking of dedication and resolve, he has been working behind their back to identify the culprit. Some of the Zodiacs give the same importance to means and results, and some are only concerned with the way those results are achieved. Things may even get so complicated they would have to change their approach to the mission. He states that sharing information about their powers has indeed strengthened the bonds among the Zodiacs, and Kurapika concurs that they will not react well if they discover it was a farce. The two then part ways. Mizaistom goes off with Cheadle, while Kurapika is called on his phone by Linssen. The two are told that six of the Kakin princes are recruiting bodyguards for the celebration and the journey. The Ox, Dog, and Rat realize this might mean that some of the spies they had screened out during the Hunter Exam will still be able to sail aboard the ship.
Kurapika is hired as a bodyguard of the fourteenth prince, Woble. Sometime later, the Zodiacs allow Beyond to attend the ceremony, as he predicted, and board the ship. Kurapika joins Woble's security detail while Mizaistom focuses his efforts on Tiers 3 and 4, where the crime rate is higher than expected. Botobai and he assist the military while Cheadle hires more medical personnel to compensate for Kakin's sloppiness. Once the Black Whale sets sail, Gel, Pyon, Ginta and Cluck hold a meeting in Tier 3 to discuss their plans for the New Continent and the ensuing journey to the Dark Continent with other Hunters, among whom are Sanbica and Tokarine. Kanzai, Saccho and Saiyu guard Beyond in Tier 1, beginning to feel like too many Zodiacs are being wasted on that role. Cheadle and Leorio assist the central medical clinic in Tier 3 while Mizaistom holds a meeting with officials of the Kakin Royal Army in Tier 4 and Botobai serves as a judge in the Tier 3 courthouse.
Immediately after departure, Kurapika comes across the body of one of his fellow bodyguards, whom he believes to have been killed by a Nen user. Bill, Kurton and Sayird however do not back him up. After the body is taken away by the military, Kurapika tells them that the circumstances supersede the rule of secrecy about Nen, but the three Hunters object that it is only infighting inside the military, prompting Kurapika to realize that the guards hired through Pariston know nothing of the succession contest. Kurapika and some other guards escort Woble and Oito Hui Guo Rou to a banquet, only to find four more corpses in their group when they return. Kurapika activates Dowsing Chain and pulls a gun on the other bodyguards and servants. He tells everyone about the succession contest and finds out that two of the remaining bodyguards are spies sent by other queens. He infers that the Seed Urn Ceremony gave Woble Nen abilities, and believes her new powers to have activated in self-defense, killing the guards. Bill floats the theory that the Nen from the ceremony might be parasitic. Suddenly, a multitude of Guardian Spirit Beasts floods the room, which Kurapika reports through all emergency channels. Melody reports not seeing any, but Biscuit Krueger confirms that she saw Marayam Hui Guo Rou's and that she believes it to be parasitic in nature.
Kurapika and Bill discuss parasitic Nen and agree to share information to collaborate. Bill confirms Kurapika's suspicions that Kurton, Sayird and he are in fact working for Beyond, while the Zodiac discloses his intention to come close to Tserriednich. Bill ensures Oito that there are three ways to get off the ship, but before he can expound on them, Sayird, who fell prey to the influence of a Guardian Spirit Beast, stabs Kurton and the two spies to death. Kurapika restrains him, ending the influence on the bodyguard, who is arrested by the military. Revisiting their previous conversation, Bill tells Kurapika that one of the three ways he mentioned consisted in using Kurton's symbiotic transportation ability to escape the Black Whale; the remaining two options, both remarkably difficult, require Pariston's and Beyond's help respectively. Kurapika's announcement on the emergency channels has the effect of alerting all princes to the existence of Nen, forcing them to revisit their plans and foiling Benjamin Hui Guo Rou's in particular. The First Prince sends his bodyguards to survey and potentially kill each other prince under the guise of security. Vincent is assigned to Room 1014 and he immediately proceeds to kill Sandra under the pretext of self-defense. Kurapika and Bill subdue him and, when Kurapika bluffs about having the ability to force Vincent to confess for Benjamin's benefit, the bodyguard kills himself.
Babimyna is assigned to Room 1014 next while Kurapika forges a truce with Tubeppa Hui Guo Rou and an alliance with Zhang Lei Hui Guo Rou in return for information on Nen. He proposes to teach Nen within two weeks to the employees of all interested princes, forcing a stalemate in the succession contest. It is decided that each prince will be able to send up to two employees to the lessons. The first lesson, which all princes but Benjamin, Camilla Hui Guo Rou and Tyson Hui Guo Rou send at least one employee to, provides an occasion for Furykov to analyze Kurapika and for a mysterious assassin to strike, killing Barrigen with their ability Silent Majority. Nonetheless, Kurapika is able to proceed with the lecture, after which he is able to form an alliance with Halkenburg Hui Guo Rou. Another guard is assassinated during the second lecture, but Belerainte manages to prevent an escalation.
Mizaistom oversees the investigation of the mass murder of 20 people in Tier 3. He questions the surviving witness, Cashew, who describes Luini's appearance and behavior, prompting Mizaistom to infer that Nen was involved. He holds a meeting with the officials of the Kakin Royal Military during which, unable to explain the nature of Nen, he attempts to convince them that prince loyalists are carrying out the murders on lower tiers to gain special powers much like the princes are rumored to do during the Seed Urn Ceremony. Conceding that suspending the succession contest is impossible, he proposes sending 800 soldiers to the lower tiers lest a mass panic causes the ship to sink. Botobai assists him with communication with the Hunters and gag orders. During a sweep of Tier 3, Illumi and Kalluto Zoldyck turn up. The elder assassin confirms that all of the Phantom Troupe is on board. They agree to be escorted to the police station while Mizaistom wonders about whether he should share his findings with Kurapika. His musings are cut short by a messenger telling him that Fugetsu Hui Guo Rou was taken in custody after being found in Tier 3. She refuses to answer any questions and is taken back to her room. Mizaistom has a coded message relayed to Melody, which, while appearing to order her to keep an eye on Fugetsu and Kacho Hui Guo Rou to prevent them from escaping, in reality, instructs her to help them however possible. While Melody transfixes all of the upper tiers with her performance at a banquet, Keeney escorts the twins to an escape raft before killing himself to prevent the blame from falling on the Hunter Association as a whole; however, the escape fails.
The following day, the eighth day of navigation, Kurapika tells his students that they are ready to perform Water Divination, but after escorting each of them to another room, he initiates them with Stealth Dolphin.
- The Zodiacs group has its general theme based on the real-life Chinese zodiac, which is also used in other cultures; more specifically, it follows the Japanese version of the Chinese zodiac, in which the Sheep (Hitsuji) is included in place of the Goat (which would be Yagi) and the Wild Boar (Inoshishi, I) instead of the Pig (Buta).
- Most of the Zodiacs who changed their appearance to match their sign sport references to real-life countries or cities. A possible way to explain this would be that they hail from their counterparts within the Hunter × Hunter universe.
- The only two members who haven't changed their appearance to match their Zodiac sign are Pariston Hill and Ging Freecss. Incidentally, they are also the only two members to quit the group.
- The original Rat and Boar have similar hair to their successors: Ging and Leorio (the first and the second Boar) have dark, spiky hair, whereas Pariston and Kurapika (the first and the second Rat) have long, blond hair worn in a fringe.