Hunter x Hunter should be back soon. But there is one important detail that can be difficult to understand in the story: Nen. So what exactly is Nen?
Very recently, fans of Hunter x Hunterexperienced real euphoria. The manga, on hiatus since 2018, should be back very soon! And Togashi, author of the title, seems to take pleasure in prolonging the wait by regularly posting update tweets. However, there is one detail of the Hunter x Hunter story, or rather a technique, that can be difficult to fully understand. This is Nen.
In Togashi's manga, Nenis presented as a technique for manipulating one's aura, the vital energy produced by every living being. This manipulation makes it possible to deploy various attacks whose power varies according to the level of the user. The rules related to the use of Nen are particularly complex, making the subject obscure for some. So now is the time to get up to speed on what precisely Nen is.
What exactly is Nen?
Throughout Hunter x Hunter , we are told that the aura constantly escapes from the body through aura nodes, causing a slow energy drain. Nen users, with practice, are able to open and close their aura nodes at will. By doing so, they can not only block the loss of energy, but also harness it and alter its flow. In order to achieve this level of proficiency, Nen users must first master the Four Great Principles:
- The Ten, which keeps the aura around the body,
- The Zetsu, which completely blocks the flow of aura,
- Ren, which increases the flow of aura,
- Hatsu, which is the release or transmission of aura. It’s the latter in particular that allows each Nen user to have their own special technique.
Once the Four Great Principles are mastered, they can be combined to create advanced techniques, such as shaping a user’s aura or concentrating their entire aura into a single point to create a devastating attack. It is these combinations that have created the most dangerous techniques in Hunter x Hunter. In the case of Hatsu, the effects are determined by the user’s aura type, which is further divided into six types:
- Empowerment (user’s enhancement or object)
- The Transformation(changing the aura into another element)
- TheMaterialization(creating building with the aura)
- TheEmission(separation of the aura from the user’s body)
- TheManipulation(control of things or beings)
- Specialization(unique effects that are unrelated to other types)
Specialists are reputed to be among the strongest Nen users in Hunter x Hunter. For example, Gon Freecs has a reinforcement type aura. Specializing in close combat, this allows him to strengthen his attacks or create a shield. For his part, Killua has an aura of type transformation and he can transform it into electricity. The easiest and most effective way to determine one's other type is called water divination. The test consists of facing a glass filled with water in which a leaf is floating. The Nen user will then need to concentrate and emit Nen towards the glass and watch for the effects this will have.
What really sets Nen apart from other energy-based systems found in manga is that auras convey the desires and emotions of the users. This factor allows Nen users to have impressive versatility. As Nen is an expression of willpower, self-imposed conditions can increase the potency of abilities.
Nevertheless, Nen is much more complex than what we have explained to you here. Indeed, the author of the series, Yoshihiro Togashi, has a real talent for developing complex systems. He is also renowned for enjoying challenging his characters and placing them in desperate situations, or almost. Thanks to the unique characteristics of Nen, combat in Hunter x Hunter always involves much more than just physical confrontation. These clashes become tests of the mind and therefore require the fighters to discover the limits of the opponent in order to hope to beat them. With Hunter x Hunter serialization returning soon, it's going to be important to get up to speed, whether it's story-wise or story-wise.