Bodoro was a Hunter x Hunter contestant in the 287th Hunter Exam, which Gon, Killua, Leorio, and Kurapika attended. He was an honorable, elderly martial artist. Bodoro adhered to a strict moral code that he would never fight a child, no matter how strong they were. He proved himself strong enough to reach the Fourth Phase of the Hunter Exam. After defeating Ryu, he enters the Final Phase. In his first fight, he’s defeated by Hisoka. In his second fight, he’s up against Leorio, but before the fight begins, Killua swiftly stabs him to death from behind. This shocked viewers, as this was against the rules, and Killua had no grudge against him, so why did Killua kill Bodoro in cold blood?
Killua killed Bodoro because he recessed back into his murderous nature. He had just confronted his eldest brother Illumi, who was disguised as one of the contestants. Killua’s family raised him with the idea that he could do nothing other than kill. Although Killua was running away from them, Illumi found him and reinforced the idea that Killua should be an assassin, he can’t be a Hunter, and he can’t have any friends. Illumi is a Manipulator, so we don’t know the extent to which he was controlling Killua’s actions, but his psychological control on Killua is strong enough that Killua breaks the rules and murders an innocent man because that’s what his brother wants. It might have also partly been because it would help Leorio.
To understand why Killua killed Bodoro, we have to take a look at Killua’s relationship with his family, his confrontation with Illumi, and why Bodoro was the one Killua chose to murder instead of any other passerby. There’s a lot to discuss regarding the dynamic between the Zoldycks, so let’s begin the analysis.
Killua’s upbringing and childhood
Since Killua was born, it was thought that he would inherit the family business. The Zoldyck family is made up of extremely skilled assassins, so that’s how they raised Killua.
Killua’s training was tough and thorough, making him immune to most poisons, tolerant to high amounts of electricity, able to deal a killing blow with or without weapons, keep his brain alert while sleeping, walk without making a sound, and use his exceptional analytical thinking to always come up with a winning strategy. None of these skills can be taught without having to go through some pain, and Killua went through a lot of pain.
We catch bits and pieces of what he’s gone through when he remarks that what he’s going through is nothing compared to what he went through back at home, remarks which he often makes offhandedly and not thinking he said something weird. We can also see it in the punishment he receives after returning home, which is torture.
Killua is special, even among his siblings. He’s the heir of the Zoldyck business, as he has the most potential while keeping some of his humanity intact. However, his family doesn’t like that he doesn’t have the mindset of a real assassin, implying that his morality is troublesome for them.
That’s saying something because Killua isn’t a beacon of good morality, especially in the first few arcs when he kills many people without thinking about it. This shows that he’s been raised to be a perfect killing machine, a human weapon that wants nothing but murder. At least, that’s what his family tries to convince him of.
Killua and Illumi’s relationship
If Killua is the family’s golden child, Illumi also fulfills his role as the responsible eldest child. We don’t know the kind of training Illumi underwent in his childhood, but we can see the results of it.
Illumi is a ruthless, cold individual with a very matter-of-fact, selfish way of thinking. Despite this, he is very protective of Killua and thinks everything he does to Killua is for Killua’s benefit. It’s a twisted form of familial love, and you wonder what Illumi went through to make his thinking so discordant with reality.
When Illumi confronts Killua in the Hunter Exam, you can immediately see Killua start sweating and looking nervous. After some small talk about his escape, Illumi tells Killua that he was born and raised to be a killer. When Illumi asks his brother why he entered the Hunter Exam, Killua admits that he doesn’t want to be a Hunter, but his true wish is to be friends with Gon.
This reflects Killua’s desire to make human connections with others, which he has been denied his whole life. Illumi echoes that denial, saying that Killua doesn’t want a friend and that if he keeps being around Gon, he will eventually want to kill him because he has a killer’s soul.
This makes Killua think back on all the times he killed his enemies during the Hunter Exam and was happy about it. He starts to believe that since he derived joy from their deaths, that’s who he is. Illumi’s manipulation tactic isn’t just to make Killua believe that he is a cold-hearted killer but that he will always be a cold-hearted killer because that’s what he’s been molded into since birth.
Whether Illumi hopes his speech will make Killua come home or not, he’s successful in emotionally torturing his younger brother. Killua goes into some trance and kills Bodoro in cold blood. This behavior is what he’s used to and what’s always been expected of him before the Hunter Exam, so it’s possible he just regressed to it out of confusion.
He broke the rules, killed an innocent man, and disqualified himself from the Hunter Exam. These are all things Illumi wanted him to do.
Why was Bodoro chosen?
If Killua just wanted to kill someone, why not kill anyone else? Killua doesn’t seem to have a grudge against Bodoro specifically. Bodoro swore never to fight a child, which may have contributed to his death.
Killua targeted Bodoro partly because he was the first person available to kill, and killing him would also disqualify Killua from the Hunter Exam. It’s against the rules to interfere in scheduled fights.
The other fighter was Leorio, who was Killua’s friend. Even though Killua was out of it, it doesn’t mean he completely submitted to his brother’s command not to have any friends, so killing Leorio would have been too far. Killing Bodoro was preferable because it would help Leorio.
In the end, Bodoro was just an innocent man caught in a psychological battle between two Zoldyck members. He couldn’t have known what was coming, which is what makes his death all the sadder.