Hunter x Hunter’s Nen is Shonen Anime’s best power system

Hunter x Hunter’s Nen is Shonen Anime’s best power system

Hunter x hunter follows the adventures of budding Hunter Gon Freecss, inspired to pursue the courageous lifestyle led by his renowned father, Ging. While taking the entrance exam, Gon met his very close friends Killua Zoldyck, Leorio Paradinight, and Kurapika Kurta, and the group began working their way around Nen.


No, Hunter x hunterits power system, is widely regarded as one of the best systems in all of anime. This technique allows a user to manipulate their own life energy, known as aura, allowing them to create a variety of abilities to be used in battle. All living things possess Nen and all people have the potential to become Nen users, but only a select part of society can master the power.

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Hunter x Hunter’s Nen is an extremely versatile power system

Gon teaches Nen in Hunter x Hunter

There are six different categories of Nen – Conjuration, Manipulation, Emission, Transmission, Enhancement and Specialization – and each user works to manipulate their aura within the structure of a particular type. Each user is born with the ability to use one of these types, as well as the two adjacent ones to varying degrees of effectiveness. This means that there is actually a hard limit to what Nen users can learn, what they can master, and especially what they are weak to.

The six main types of Nen also contain infinite sub-categories, which is essentially why a user like Hisoka is able to give his aura the properties of both chewing gum and rubber – and why Kurapika can use chains as his main weapon. This means that Nen users are able to make the most of their aura and manipulate it in many ways. Strong users who have mastered this make very formidable opponents in battle.

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Nen’s compatibility structure is easy to follow

Killua uses his Nen ability in Hunter x Hunter

With Hunter x hunter‘s Nen compatibility, much like Pokémon categories, there is a type-versus-type structure where certain types will always overpower others. Other factors must be taken into account — like how much Nen a user can muster and how dominant their skills are — but generally speaking, water still overpowers fire. This effect is more widely multiplied when used on category-versus-category, but with the bare bones of Nen, certain types will always be overpowered by their least compatible category.

For example, manipulators would have trouble fighting transmitters and magicians. Emissaries usually attack from a distance, so abilities with a contact requirement like Illumi Zoldyck’s Needlemen or Shoot’s Hotel Rafflesia would be at a disadvantage. But while there are some type of advantages within HxH, these are mostly just due to the same physics prevalent in real life. That said, these advantages don’t necessarily always guarantee victory in battle.

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Hunter x Hunter’s Nen is extremely effective

Meruem plans to take over the world in HxH

The effectiveness of Nen is like a great equalizer i Hunter x hunter. If a Nen user is far more efficient in their subcategory than another is in theirs, but they have a type advantage, the more competent user will win. By having a more comprehensive understanding of Nen and the details of life energy, a user’s aura becomes much more powerful. Essentially, the more someone knows about the basics of Nen, the more power they gain.

The best example of this is Meruem. The Chimera Ant’s true Nen ability is to consume other users’ brains and absorb their abilities – but this only happens once in the series. Despite this, he is the anime’s most terrifying antagonist and was the hardest to take down; his basic was so incredibly powerful that it would be a waste of time to enhance his core Nen ability in any way. Meruem was destined to overpower every opponent purely because his raw aura output and basic understanding of Nen beat everyone else’s by a wide margin.

While Hunter x hunter‘s Nen can initially be quite confusing, once fully understood there are certain aspects that stand out compared to other anime power systems. It is complex enough that the audience feels they have to learn something, but never so complex that it cannot be understood at all.

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