Yoshihiro Togashi went above and beyond with Hunter x Hunter, creating a world that isn't just internally consistent but also manages to stick to all its own rules while still creating new and unexpected things at every turn. One of the best things about it is the variety of outlandish powers its characters have – not just their abilities, but the inventive ways Hunter x Hunter forces its characters to use them creatively, too. With that in mind, let's look at ten of the most strange ones.
10. Wink Blue (Palm Siberia)
We start with a relatively “normal” power, though one that starts to highlight the interesting restrictions Nen abilities in Hunter x Hunter contain. Palm is an interesting character, although it requires some charity to keep from flat-out labeling her a stalker. Her original power enabled this bad habit of hers, allowed her to sacrifice some blood to observe anyone she's seen before through a dead merman carrying a crystal ball – a strange enough power as it is. After becoming part chimera ant, this evolves into the more powerful Wink Blue, which keeps a first in, first out record of every person she has seen with her right eye recently. By covering her right eye, she is able to track all three of the people currently loaded into Wink Blue. One of the most interesting aspects of this power is its flexibility – the requirement of covering her right eye also prevents new people from being loaded into her power, giving her some flexibility as to her current set of targets. It's clairvoyance with a queue!
9. Great Haiku (Basho)
Let's get a little more specific – and arbitrary. Basho, one of a handful of pompadour'd men in the series, is from the island nation of "Jappon", one of a few obvious parallels to the real world in Hunter x Hunter. Pulling from this inspiration, Basho's ability Great Haiku is implemented in the way you'd expect, but the results are pretty wild. At any time, Basho can write down a new haiku of his own composition on paper, the haiku itself being a condition of some sort. If the haiku is good, it essentially comes true. On the other hand, if it's bad, it will either not go as planned or just fail entirely. It's a weird power, but what might be the most strange is how it relies entirely on the subjectivity of his writing to determine his success. The saying goes "you're your own worst critic", but maybe Nen itself is a pretty picky fan of the art?
8. Beelzebub (Shaiapouf)
The supposedly clinicial but unexpectedly human Pouf has many powers, all weird in their own ways. His Cocoon power is even the catalyst that allows the ants to mass produce human-ant hybrids for their army and for their king Meruem to eat. His most fascinating might also be the one that is, on the surface, the most mundane – Beelzebub, which allows him to divide his body into smaller and smaller incarnations, each with power and durability proportioned to his full size. The tiny Poufs themselves are adorable yet also creepy with their constant wide-mouth smiles, and the flexibility of having much larger clones gives him some interesting combat tricks, too. However, the whole ability gets much more strange – and disgusting – as we see how he can use it to 'inject' himself into the severely damaged body of his king, essentially sacrificing most of himself in chibi form to keep Meruem alive.
7. Gungi (Komugi)
OK, first off, it's true, “Gungi” is not technically the name of this power. That's because it doesn't have a name – because its user doesn't even realize she is using Nen at all. Komugi is a rarity among rarities, a bona fide Nen genius, capable of using her talents without any training or even knowledge of her own abilities. In a shonen action show you'd think a genius at using the in-universe power system would be some sort of fighting master, but not in Hunter x Hunter. No, instead, Komugi has gone her whole life without ever losing at the complex, fictional game of Gungi. That kind of subversion is cool enough, but it's particularly neat how her prowess is justified by her personality alongside the Nen mechanics. The strength of a Nen power is roughly correlated to the restrictions placed upon its use – that's why Kurapika's chains are so absurdly strong, but only usable against members of the Spiders. Komugi puts her life on the line with each game, arguably the most consequential collateral one could offer, and in exchange her ability makes her better at Gungi every single time she plays. Talk about dedication.
6. Battle Waltz (Gido)
Going back a bit, Gido and his single peg leg are introduced in the Heaven's Arena arc, the same set of episodes that Nen is finally explained in detail to us. Already, though, Hunter x Hunter doesn't rely on the typical powerset for its early enemies; as Gon's opponent, Gido utilizes spinning tops as his primary weapon. The twist, of course, comes from their twists; Battle Waltz allows Gido to give basic commands to his spinning tops, forcing them to attack any nearby object that is not their owner. The whirling death toys aren't sentient, so he can't tell them anything more complicated than “attack”. But, in true Hunter x Hunter fashion, Gido actually uses this to his advantage; because they are given only that simple instruction, they have no discernible pattern, and it becomes impossible to predict exactly how they're going to move.
5. Indoor Fish (Chrollo Lucifer)
Chrollo uses many abilities over the course of the series, thanks to his main power Skill Hunter which, with a typical Hunter x Hunter-sized list of restrictions, allows him to steal the powers of others. Indoor Fish has to be the most bizarre one he's used to date, though, and not just because of its strange name. When his victim is inside a sealed room, Chrollo can create fish made of bone that eat his target. While this is happening, the victim remains completely aware of themselves and feels no pain – at least until Chrollo turns off the power, which causes all of the damage done by the fish to happen at once. It's such a bizarrely specific power and makes you wonder what inspired its original owner to come up with it in the first place.
4. Fleadom (Ikalgo)
Ikalgo is another of the human-turned-ant hybrids, and got the short end of the stick, ending up a small octopus with a vaguely human face. His power, though, is as interesting as it is strange – his tentacles become rifles of all things. Normally they shoot normal bullets, but combined with his other ability, which lets him take control of dead bodies, he becomes capable of firing special fleas from his tentacle guns. These super-fleas can leap 200 meters and are better than a typical bullet in speed and trajectory. However, they can only suck blood; they aren't capable of actually killing their victims. He can even fire blanks to push himself backwards. This gives Ikalgo flexibility as a sniper, able to typically take out his targets as well as subjugate them for other purposes and even escape a dire situation should the need arise. But really – why fleas? What does this or his sniping have to do with him being an octopus? Hunter x Hunter isn't afraid of combining things in ways you'd never expect.
3. Rental Pod (Leol)
Earlier we saw a power that Chrollo bases his entire fighting style on – stealing the powers of others. Poor Leol experiences a reverse power creep of sorts with his own ability. The whole conceit here is that Rental Pod steals powers, but unlike Chrollo, it is both more restrictive and less useful, yet as a result more weird and interesting. For Rental Pod to work, Leol needs to have seen a power or know its name – simple enough – but must then also do a favor for the user of that power. That's right, for Leol to borrow your ability, he has to do you a favor, and even confirm with you that you owe him a debt for that favor. If he manages all of these things, the power is stored in his cute, smiling iPod, and he can use it to print a ticket valid for a whole hour of using the ability. During that hour the original user can't use said ability, but even that is worse than Chrollo's permanent power stealing, and if the target dies, Leol can't use the stolen power at all. On the plus side, it does actually work as an mp3 player, which Leol actually uses to keep track of how much of his hour he has left for each power.
2. Missileman (Welfin)
By now you probably realize Hunter x Hunter has some weird powers, mostly because of how obsessed the series is with rules and restrictions. Welfin has a simple and useful ability it seems like anyone would enjoy – he can tell with 100% certainty if someone is lying. Why, then, does he consider it his least useful power? Well, first of all, it takes the form of a missile launcher of all things. Also, he has to ask his target directly the question he wants answered, and while it responds to lies or refusal to comply with firepower, it isn't very useful if the target doesn't care much about being hit by its missiles. It has more use than he is aware of, though – the missiles don't explode, but instead release centipedes that bore into the victim, literally eating their refusal to truthfully answer the question, only killing if their target tries to kill Welfin himself. Welfin's actually a relatively good dude though, ultimately causing his downfall.
1. A.P.R./I.R.S. (Knuckle Bine)
Of every power in Hunter x Hunter, Knuckle has to have the most absurd, interesting, and inspired of them all. Most everyone else in the series has powers that directly benefit themselves – they steal powers, they detain enemies, they grow their own power directly. Despite his name and appearance, Knuckle doesn't play like that; he prefers to go the long way around. His initial ability, A.P.R., is attached to a target and actually gives his own power to them. Whenever the target of A.P.R. harms Knuckle, the equivalent aura is returned to Knuckle, and the reverse happens to Knuckle's opponent. In both cases, no physical damage is done to either of them. Fair's fair.
So, what's the catch?
Well, when you borrow, there's a debt due, and Knuckle's power is no different. The flip side of A.P.R. is I.R.S. – every ten seconds the victim is borrowing Knuckle's aura, 10% gets added to their debt. When the amount of aura I.R.S. has let you borrow becomes more than your natural aura, you enter bankruptcy, activating I.R.S. This causes Knuckle's opponent to, technically, be unable to use Nen at all for 30 days – the technicality being that Zetsu is still possible, though it's really only useful for detecting other aura. In any case, Knuckle's ability is a roundabout, convoluted, and incredibly weird way to use Nen, but one thing is clear: the bill comes due, always!
These are just a handful of the crazy ways Hunter x Hunter takes advantage of its amazing, intricate, and completely off-the-wall power system. I'd love to see which of your favorite powers weren't mentioned here – let me know in the comments below.