Nen Guide © Hunter אּ Hunter RPG 2009-2018
Nen Guide © Hunter אּ Hunter RPG 2009-2018
What is Nen?
Nen is the ability of freely manipulating the vital energy which also called "Aura," that comes out of the human body. Everyone projects a small part of this vital energy, but in general, it is only a simple uncontrolled leak. We call the technique which allows us to regulate it "Ten." Thanks to this, one could strengthen their body and protect it considerably from aging. "Zetsu," is the technique which allows one to split from their aura. It is very efficient, for example, when one wants to erase the traces of their presence, or when one wants to recover from exhaustion. "Ren," is the technique which allows one to make an aura rise in exceptional situations.
Aura is the energy that comes out of the human body. That's why one can make use of other human beings to give it optimal utilization. In the good, as well as the bad, meaning of the term. If a bad spirit attacks a man without defense. The bad spirit can kill him with only his aura. There's only on way to protect the victim's body from the bad spirit's nen. Using the nen themselves and protecting themselves with Ten. One could repel the opposite aura with their own aura. Otherwise their body will literally split into shreds.
A nen user trains to manually open and close their Shouko (aura nodes) so that they can control the flow of their aura. One can learn this process gradually, learning to control the aura nodes through meditation, or they can receive an influx of aura from an experienced user that forces these nodes open, forcing the new user to learn to control the flow or risk suffering severe exhaustion and/or death. The second method is generally frowned upon as it is very dangerous (although far quicker). Once one has opened their aura nodes, they will be able to see their aura as a shroud surrounding the body.
Some people are able to 'discover' and learn to use their aura subconsciously, without any teaching or guidance from another Nen user. These individuals are called geniuses and often stand at the top of their fields.
What Affects Nen?
Although the production of aura is unconscious and constant by all living beings, it is more than just a leaking energy. Aura carries with it the desires and emotions of the one who deploys it, which is what allows for nen to have incredible versatility to those who develop their skill at using it. Nen is also heavily influenced by mental condition and state. A basic application of this phenomenon is that one can channel their aggression or hatred into their nen and deploy it towards another person. The other person will then be able to feel that aggression as if it were physically palpable, and if unable to keep it from their own body by deploying their own nen, may be physically harmed by it.
Conscious Srengthening of Nen
Nen responds to the goals and strengths of the desire of its user. As a result, a user can make a commitment that results in an increase in their abilities. If a user, for example, damages their own body in such a way that an individual skill seems more imposing when used, their Nen will become correspondingly more powerful. It is also possible to increase the strength of an individual skill by imposing limits on it. For example, if a user consciously decides something along the lines of "I will only use this skill on Thursdays," or "I will only use this skill against short people," and manage to abide by the rule, that particular skill will become stronger. Theoretically, the more restrictive the condition, the greater the enhancement in power. It is also implied that restrictions which carry great meaning, or emotional value also bring about a greater benefit. Furthermore, restrictions which contain some sort of 'punishment' (i.e. "I will die should I break this rule") will strengthen the ability more. One example of this is the character Kurapika, who swore by death not to use one ability of his, called "Chain Jail", on anyone but a group known as the Genei Ryodan [Phantom Troupe].
These are the most fundamental techniques of nen. Everything else, including a nen user's specialized skill, is based on the basic manipulations of one's aura flow. These are the first skills that are taught to any student of nen. Often, for an experienced person able to use nen, these basic 'techniques' are second-nature. For example, a beginner must learn to use Ten, and concentrate to maintain it; whereas someone with experience will practically always be in a state of Ten, even during sleep.
|Ten [纏, Envelop]|
|Once a person has had their aura nodes opened, they must learn to keep their aura from leaking away from their body. Ten is the process of keeping the nodes open, but also having aura flow through and around the body rather than away from it. Having a shroud of aura surround the body is the most basic defense against the physical or emotional attacks from other users of nen. Ten also reduces one's aging; since the energy powering the body is no longer leaking away, one can keep the body from breaking down, thus slowing the aging process.|
|Zetsu [絕, Suppress]|
|While Ten allows a user to keep aura from leaking away from their body, Zetsu stops the flow of aura from their body altogether. By closing all of their aura nodes, the user is able to stop almost all outflow of their aura. Because the user is no longer surrounded by their own aura, they can become more sensitive to the aura of others. This can be useful when tracking another person, and it will also prevent other users of Nen from noticing them. Zetsu can also be used to restore vitality, since it forces the body's external layer of aura to be fully contained within. However, since Zetsu involves shutting off one's aura, it can be dangerous since it leaves the body defenseless against any aura attack. Even a weak attack enhanced with aura could do massive damage.|
|Ren [練, Refine]|
|Ren is a direct application of Ten. Since a user is capable of keeping aura from leaking away from the body, it's also possible for them to produce more aura around them without having to worry about losing it. Ren focuses on outputting a high amount of aura and keeping it on the body, expanding the size and intensity of it. This increases the user's physical strength and durability and provides a large pool of aura for any advanced techniques or individual skills they decide to use.|
|Hatsu [發, Release]|
|Hatsu (發, Release) is the release or usage of one's aura so it can be projected to carry out a certain function. In essence, the Hatsu is the technique of creating a special and unique ability (called a Nen Ability). A good Hatsu should reflect a person's own character; one can never truly master Nen if they only copy other people's abilities. Hatsu has several different categories, and the aura of every individual is aligned with a specific category. Upon learning their affinity, one can set about learning to apply Nen in a unique way that suits their personality, which can develop into a unique skill.
All abilities in Hunter x Hunter have a restriction or 'condition', even the simplest abilities. The relationship can be thought of as 'cause and effect'; the condition fulfillment causes an event to take place. For example, in the simplest case, Gon's 'Rock' attack requires all the aura of his Ren to be focused at his fist, and for him the throw a punch; with its power further amplified by the requirement that he state a number of words while preparing it. The result is catastrophic destruction. In a slightly more complicated example, Phinks' 'Ripper Cyclotron' ability requires him to wind up his arm a certain number of times to increase the power of his punch, the times wound being proportionate to the power. That relationship between cause (winding his arm 'x' number of times) and effect (the power of the punch thrown afterwards is proportional to x) is hence made possible by Hatsu, and almost all abilities found in Hunter x Hunter can be broken up into these two aspects. Hatsu is therefore just a deliberate way to establish a relationship between 'cause' and 'effect' that contains the user's creative input. Oaths regarding external factors such as the possible targets (Kurapika's 'Chain Jail') and the environment in which the ability can be used simply enhance the raw power of their respective abilities.
Hatsus can usually be roughly placed within one of six categories depending on specifics of the Nen ability. An ability that does not fit into the five common categories goes into the sixth category; Specialization. A person's aura usually only belongs to one of these six categories and thus it is better to base a Nen ability on the category they belong to. Using abilities not of your primary Hatsu type makes you generally less proficient at using them. The manga describes this proficiency as 'force and accuracy'. There are numerical approximations given by the manga to indicate just exactly how efficient you would be at using categories you were not born into. Starting at your own Hatsu category, you have the potential to be 100% efficient at using abilities based on that category alone. Then looking at the Hatsu Affinity chart (see below), you have the potential to be 80% efficient at using Hatsu types adjacent to your primary type, 40% efficient at the opposite or farthest category, and 60% efficient in the two remaining. Specialization is usually at 0% for non-specialists because you can either use a specialist ability or you can't (you cannot partially use it - (Kurapika is a rare case, when his eyes turn scarlet he can utilize all Nen categories up to 100% efficiency, which itself is a Specialist ability called 'Emperor Time').
The most popular way (and the only sure-fire way seen in the series) of determining one's aura type is through water divination. The test requires a leaf floating in a glass of water. It consists of a student placing their hands around the glass and using Ren. The effect of their Ren determines the student's affinity. If the volume of the water changes, the character is a Reinforcement user. If the color of the water changes, the character is an Emission user. If the leaf moves, the character is a Manipulation user. If an impurity appears in the water, the character is a Conjuration user. If the taste of the water changes, the character is a Transformation user. If a completely different change appears, the character is a Specialization user.
Hisoka also claims that he is able to judge a person's Nen type based on their personality (so according to him, all people of one Nen type are generally of the same personality type). However, he states that this method is not always correct, and is similar to trying to find someone's star signs or blood type just from personality analysis. According to his theory, Reinforcement users are determined and simple, Manipulation users are logical people who advance at their own pace, Transformation users are whimsical liars, Emission users are impatient and not detail-oriented, Specialization users are independent and charismatic, and Materialization users are high-strung.
Although everyone's Hatsu is different and unique, Hatsu can be divided into five rough types and a sixth type for anything that does not fit into the five. The most popular way (and the only sure-way seen in the series) of determining one's aura type is through water divination. The test requires a leaf floating in a glass of water. It consists of a student placing their hands around the glass and using Ren. The effect of their Ren determines the student's affinity. If the volume of the water changes, the user is an Reinforcement type. If the color of the water changes, the user is an Emission type. If the leaf moves, the user is a Manipulation. If an impurity appears in the water, the user is a Materialization type. If the taste of the water changes, the user is a Transformation type. If a completely different change appears, the user is a Specialization type.
Types of Hatsu
|Reinforcement [強, Kyouka]|
|Reinforcement (AKA Enhancement) is basically the ability to use aura to increase the efficiency of an object or one's own body. Therefore, Reinforcement users are able to greatly increase their attack and defense, and are best suited for close-melee combat. Reinforcement often involves directly strengthening one's aura, such as for hatsu like Jajanken Rock or Ripper Cyclotron - in these cases the attacks are not represented as a Might buff but an Aura buff. Reinforcement is the most well-balanced category, allowing users to spread themselves evenly between offense and defense and become very strong using only simple abilities. Examples of more complex Reinforcement abilities include enhancing a person's ability to heal or repair themselves promptly.|
|Emission [放, Houshutsu]|
|An affinity for Emission means that a user is capable of controlling the deployment of their aura while separating it from their body. Aura usually decreased in intensity very quickly when it is separated from the source body, but strong Emission users can separate their aura from their body for long-periods of time and still be able to maintain it. An application of this is the ability to throw giant balls of aura. Emission abilities are commonly mistaken for Materialization abilities. The two, however, are fundamentally different. Objects created by Emission users are made of pure aura, believed to be invisible to normal people, and requires Manipulation skills to control.|
|Manipulation [操, Sousa]|
|Manipulation is the ability to control living or non-living material. Abilities belonging to Manipulation allow the user to control living or non-living things in a certain way, the main advantage being able to 'manipulate' enemies. The degree of control is principally determined by a condition that usually puts the manipulator at risk (attaching objects on the enemy, touching the enemy in a certain way) and of course the larger the risk, the better the degree of control. For example Illumi's ability requires him to merely throw needles into his enemy's head which is not as risky as planting a kiss on the enemy, and as a result, Illumi's control is less powerful than Baise's (Illumi can only implant images into the enemy's brain and change their faces whereas Baise can make a man obey her every command full-heartedly). Another example of a Manipulation type user is Shalnark, who can control people by placing a phone antenna on their body.
The manipulating of objects generally fall into broad two categories: objects which operate without a direction connection to the user's aura, and those that are still connected to the user in some way. The former is shown through Shoot's ability to manipulate disembodied hands and requires some emission in order to maintain free control (thus making the ability slightly more complex). The latter is more basic in that it does not require emission (the nen is still directly connected to their main body, even if stretched out). For example, a whip or array of wires that the user holds in their hand and manipulate in physics-defying ways.
Rather than free control, a common method of manipulating objects or people without a direction connection is simply through the implanting of 'orders' into their aura. Take Morel's Smoke Soldiers for example: they were capable of operating independently of his will (and even without his presence) because he created them by implanting a series of orders into a central core which his smoke was then attached to. It cost more aura to produce more and/or more complex orders, so the more complex he made each soldier the less he could produce overall. For instance, during his siege of Peijin, he made a smaller number of higher quality smoke soldiers to occupy Pitou's own puppets - their 'orders' being to avoid combat and to throw objects at unsuspecting enemies.
|Materialization [具, Gugenka]|
|Materialization (AKA Conjuration) is the ability to create a physical, independent, material object out of one's aura. Once a person has mastered the materialization of a certain object, they can materialize it and dispel it in an instant, whenever they want. It is believed that Materialization is the only way in which nen can create things which ordinary people (unaware of nen) can see and touch. Furthermore, objects/entities materialized by this technique have a subtle "independence" to them. This means that they can continue existing even if they were at a considerable distance from the Materialization user, or even if the Materialization user themselves are not aware that they have yet to be de-materialized. However the use of In can hide an object materialized from aura from experienced users of nen.
Materialized objects can have special abilities imbued into them. For example, the Genei Ryodan [幻影旅団, Phantom Troupe] bandit, Shizuku, is able to conjure a vacuum cleaner that can infinitely suck up objects, but with the condition that it can't suck up living things. Similar to Manipulation, Materialization abilities tend to be very specific, complex, and conditional. Conditions can be imbued into conjured objects to make them stronger. Kurotopi, for example, is able to materialize a perfect copy of any non-living object that he touches. However, all of his materialized objects will automatically disappear after 24 hours.
|Transformation [変, Henka]|
|An affinity for Transformation (AKA Transmutation) means a person can change the properties of their aura to mimic something else. Similar to Emission, things created via Transformation are still pure aura. A simple way of thinking about it would be that Transformation allows your aura to mimic properties of a substance, whereas Materialization allows you to change your aura into actual substances. Transformation can copy the properties of real things. For example, Killua Zoldick uses his aura to copy the properties of electricity. Transformation users can also give their aura properties that don't necessarily mimic real things; Hisoka's "Bungee Gum" copies and combines the properties of rubber and gum. Transformation substances are invisible to people unaware of the existence of nen.|
|Specialization [特, Tokushitsu]|
|It is possible that the effect that occurs can give some insight into how they should direct their ability. Specialization is anything that doesn't belong into the other five categories. This is the most vague Hatsu category. For example, Kurapika's specialization ability allows him to use all the five standard Hatsu types at 100% efficiency. Kuroro Lucifer's specialization ability is a combination of the other five types, but in a way that no other user of nen can use. Neon Nostrade's specialization ability is unique, it has almost no relevance to any of the other five Hatsu types. It is possible to become a Specialization type later in life, although it is more likely for Manipulation or Materialization type.|
× Use of more than one Hatsu
A lot of nen abilities use more than one Hatsu type. Common combinations include Manipulation and Emission (allowing the manipulation of objects from far away) and Manipulation and Materialization (allowing the manipulation of conjured objects). A nen ability is categorized using the affinity it mainly makes use of, and, when secondary affinities are used as described above, it results in the overall abilities rank lowering (costing more).
× Human Boundaries
No nen ability can be beyond human boundaries. What this means is that you can't have an ability that is limitless. For example, you can't materialize a sword that can cut through anything. However, if you can set very strict conditions on it - then you can materialize a sword that can cut through anything given that the conditions are met. For example, Kurapika was unable to materialize an unbreakable chain. However, he was able to materialize a chain that was unbreakable by any Genei Ryodan [幻影旅団, Phantom Troupe] member - although that did not make it strictly unbreakable. Kurapika had to test his chain jail against Uvo, the Ryodan's physically strongest member, to ensure that it would hold up against the rest. If Uvo had been even stronger, it was possible that he would have been able to break out regardless.
As another conjurer, Shizuku is able to materialize a vacuum cleaner which can suck up any nonliving object not created by Nen.
× Basic Enhancement Hatsu
To clarify, due to some confusion of the topic, we will explain how enhancement hatsu often work - specifically attacks such as Gon's Jajanken Rock or Phink's Ripper Cyclotron. In these cases (and they are common enhancement techniques although the specifics might vary), these attacks are not represented as a buff to might; but instead as a buff to aura. Its worth explaining that this does not conflict with the rule against buffing one's aura because one's aura production is not actually increasing - the buff merely represents an increase in intensity due to the hatsu's conditions, dealing damage as if there were more aura. This is explained by Knuckle when fighting against Gon - the aura in Gon's Ko matched his total aura output at 1800, but due to the weight of the conditions he placed on Jajanken, the effective power was equal to 2000 units.
× Materialization/Emission/Transformation Befuddlement
These three Hatsu types tend to cause a lot of confusion to some people. To put it in short, a conjured thing is solid and material, anyone, whether or not they can use Nen can see it (unless In is used to conceal it); a transmuted thing is pure aura that copies the properties of other things, whilst emission abilities shoot pure aura able to be kept distant from the user's body.
- Kastro's Doppelganger [Materialization] - The Doppelganger was solid, ordinary people could see it, and it could be separated from the real Kastro as long as it stayed relatively close.
- Hisoka's Bungee Gum [Transformation] - Normal people are unable to see it. Furthermore, it is not solid, but rather pure aura energy copying the properties of rubber and gum.
- Razor's 14 Devils [Emission] - They were not solid and ordinary people couldn't see them. Razor's 14 Devils were pure aura, and they did not need to physically stay in contact with him to function.
These are the more advanced techniques. Most of them are achieved by using a combination of the basic techniques. Most nen users learn Ten, Zetsu and Ren first before attempting these techniques. The Hatsu, being a nen-user's individual 'skill', is often something that a nen-user will develop gradually over a long period of time.
|Shuu [周, Enfold]|
|Shuu is the advanced form of Ten. Shuu allows a nen-user to extend their aura to an object, allowing them to "use" that object as if it were an extension of their own body. For example, one could use Shuu to extend their Ten around an object (and not just their body), which would strengthen and protect the object like the way Ren strengthens and protects the body. This is the technique that allows Hisoka to make his solitaire cards as sharp and as hard as metal knives.|
|En [圓, Circle]|
|En is an advanced application of Ren and Ten. In Ren, aura usually envelops only a small amount of space around the user's body. En is when one extends their Ren so that their aura extends further than normal, then uses Ten at the same time to give shape to the aura, usually a sphere. Someone using En can feel the shape and movement of anything entering their En-covered area. The downside to this is that it is extremely tiring and draining for the nen-user to constantly deploy so much aura. Those who master En are typically able to extend their En to a circle of 50m radius. There are exceptions --Zeno Zoldyck, one of the most powerful assassins alive, is able to extend his En to a radius of 300m. Also, the chimera ant Neferpitou, has an irregularly shaped En and can extend a tendril of it up to two miles away.|
|Ken [堅, Fortify]|
|Ken is the advanced version of the basic Ren and Ten technique. Ken is a defensive technique where a Nen-user maintains a state of Ren over their entire body, allowing them to defend against attacks from any direction without the need to use Gyou (described below). Ken is as useful as a defensive position, but is tiring to maintain. Additionally, it is not as strong as Gyou on any given part of the body, since it protects the whole body evenly. Because of that, it is used to guard when one wants to be cautious. Ken is, however, a difficult ability to maintain, because it means doing Ren constantly for quite a while.|
|In is an advanced form of Zetsu that can almost completely hide a Nen-user's aura. In can also be used on a Nen-user's Hatsu ability to make it invisible to other nen users. In can be countered by using Gyō on the eyes, or by using the technique En.|
|Gyou is a technique where a nen-user concentrates a larger than normal portion of their aura into one specific body part. This ability to concentrate the aura is known as Gyou. Gyou increases the strength of that one body part, but leaves the rest of your body more vulnerable. Gyou is most often used on the eyes, which allows a nen-user to see things which would otherwise be hidden (e.g. nen objects hidden by In). This also allows a nen-user to analyze an opponent to find weaknesses that would otherwise be unnoticeable.|
|Kou [硬, Temper]|
|Kou is a technique that brings together Ten, Zetsu, Ren, Hatsu, and Gyou. An individual's nen-energy is concentrated into one particular body part. Zetsu is used to completely stop the flow of nen in all other parts of the body. An aura covered body has a very high defense but the attack power of Kou is even more powerful. This makes that one body part exceptionally powerful, but leaves the rest of the body completely unprotected. This is used by some nen-users as an offensive technique (a Kou-punch would carry all 100% of your nen-power with it), but it is a risky move (leaving the rest of your body unprotected in a fight against another nen-user is not generally a good idea).|
|Ryuu [流, Flow]|
|Ryuu is the term for real-time use of Gyou (adjustment of aura concentration in various body parts) by a nen-user in battle. Using Gyou to adjust offensive and defensive values according to the situation. This is the foundation of Nen fighting. A form of sparring where offense and defense are purposefully carried out slowly, to ascertain the correct flow of each and every basic technique. However, against an expert opponent, the low level practitioner has no chance of defending himself. So the exercise has meaning only between people of the same strength. For example, the use of Gyou to increase the amount of nen in a fist as one strikes with it, to increase damage done; or to increase the amount of nen in an arm as it is used to block a blow, for extra defense.|
Hatsu Training Examples
A basic rule of specific type training is that you only train one type per day, because you cannot neglect basic training. Don't forget to keep training the different nen types by rotating them (depending on your Hatsu type. This is Transformation for example): Transformation, Reinforcement, Transformation, Materialization, Transformation. The examples given below are simple though of course you can come up with your own methods to train your character's Hatsu type.
- Specific Type Training for Reinforcement Type, Level 1. Stone breaking. It consists of breaking stone using another stone. One clears this level when they can break 1,000 stones with one stone in a day. It is over when the stone you're character is holding breaks! The character can can use only one stone each day. Doing this training requires the character to use Shuu and Kou to strength the hardness of the stone, putting 100% attack and defense around the stone at the exact moment of impact is nothing in itself.
- Specific Type Training for Transformation Type, Level 1. Shape Manipulation. Make the numbers from zero to nine appear from your aura. As you get better you can time yourself. Final aim being able to do it within five seconds or less.
- First, one has to select the object they desire to materialize, starting off by forming a mental image of it. For that, one spends all their time with the real object that they desire to materialize. The object has to be by the character's side day and night. One has to close their eyes to feel and visualize it. Making sketches of the object could further aid the character to materialize faster. They have to watch it, touch it, caress it, and listening carefully to the sounds it made. One has to literally enjoy themselves with only their desired object. After a little while, one could begin to dream of their desired object and I could separate themselves from it. Then they begin to have visions of this desired object. When darkness feel, visions become even more real. They could hear it, feel its weight, and the coldness of the metal or whatever the object is made of. Without realizing it the vision comes true. Thus eventually materializing the desired object.
- Varies depending on the users Specialization.
- Wrap your aura around a small insect and control its movements for period of time.
- Level 1: Emit a ball of aura and maintain it as one throws it up to fifty meters away from themselves.
- Level 5: By performing a handstand then using Emission to levitate oneself off the ground for a period of time.