Hunter x Hunter is an anime based on the manga written by Yoshihiro Togashi and centers around Gon, a young boy who possesses incredible strength and natural talent matched with boundless enthusiasm. In a world where Hunters ⏤ individuals with incredible physical, martial, and powered skill ⏤ are needed to fight criminals, mythical beasts, and powerful otherworldly entities, Gon seeks to follow in his father’s footsteps after being abandoned as a baby. Gon’s first step is to take the Hunter Examination to earn his Hunter license, as his father did at the same age. Here we are introduced to Kurapika, Leorio, and our next main character after Gon, Killua Zoldyck, as well as a range of other characters that often pop up again within the series. This is an adventure/fantasy/martial arts anime that’s jam-packed with epic fight scenes, crazy powers, and even crazier plots, taking us all over the world and even giving us a glimpse into the terrifying dark continent beyond.
Both the anime and manga have been massive commercial successes and have cultivated a large and loyal fan base. The manga has had 72 million copies in circulation as of November 2021 and the anime has also been hugely popular with critics, some of whom believe it to be one of the best anime shows ever made. Even the anime streaming site Crunchyroll placed it in their top 25 anime of the 2010s. Unfortunately, Hunter x Hunter ended in 2014 despite the manga’s continuance, and while it’s not unusual for anime to have big gaps between seasons, this one doesn’t seem to be ending, leaving fans wondering if they’ll ever see more of the show they love.
This list will look at the top 10 strongest characters that appear in Hunter x Hunter. What makes them strong? Who has fought who? And how does that strength show itself? This list will not be looking at characters that have yet to show us just how strong they are, so though we get the impression that characters like Ging Freecs and Beyond Netero are super strong, we have yet to see any actual proof of that strength and will therefore be focusing on others who openly exude it. Let’s get to it!
The bloodthirsty magician’s kill count alone would give anyone pause, but beyond that, he actually seeks out strong opponents just to have the pleasure of taking them out. Creepy, perverted Hisoka does seem to draw a certain amount of sexual delight from the thoughts of fighting and killing strong opponents. His nen ability is transmuting and he changes the texture of his aura to rubber and gum calling it “bungee gum,” a fact Hisoka willingly gives out at numerous points in the anime.
He is also a master at deception, using another technique called “texture surprise” that allows him to hide the extent of his injuries and fool others, including the dangerous Phantom Troupe. Hisoka is one of the most self-serving characters in the show, happily teaming up with characters when it suits him and happily killing them once they no longer serve a purpose. He may be at the bottom of this list, but he has still beaten out plenty of Hunters to get here.
9. Zeno Zoldyck
Former leader of the Zoldyck family of assassins, Zeno is a formidable trained fighter both physically and as a nen user. His speed and strength is shown during his fight with Chrollo alongside his mastery of hand-to-hand combat. His nen ability is that of a transmuter and he’s able to shape his aura into a dragon, which he is able to physically ride. His move “Dragon Dive” can reign down destruction from above and he uses this ability to assist Netero against the Chimera Ants.
Most masters of nen should be able to expand their aura to a 50-meter radius, but Zeno is easily able to expand his to 100 meters and admits that he could push it to 300 meters, though doing so may tire him. Though an assassin, Zeno does not kill out of anger or for joy, but rather only if he is paid to do so. Even then, he aims to keep collateral damage to a minimum. Because of his assassin skills, physical superiority, and outstanding abilities as a nen user, Zeno fully deserves to be on this list.
8. Silva Zoldyck
Silva is the current head of the Zoldyck family of assassins. Son of Zeno and father to Killua, Silva is actually not seen as much as other Zoldyck members in the show. As head of the household, we know that Silva is extremely strong. This is displayed when he takes on Phantom Troupe leader Chrollo, as Silva came away from the encounter unscathed. He has superhuman strength and speed due to being trained as an assassin from a young age and is also immune to poison. Also, his skin cannot be penetrated by normal blades.
In regards to some of his other abilities, Killua tells Gon that his father can remove a man’s heart without spilling a drop of blood, which is incredible and terrifying. Like his father, Silva is also a transmuter, able to turn his aura into balls of destruction. Though we don’t see as much of Silva as we may want, we know that he’s a formidable opponent.
7. Chrollo Lucilfer
Leader of the Phantom Troupe, a band of extremely strong fighters and nen users, Chrollo is formidable and one of the strongest characters we see in Hunter x Hunter. He’s so strong that he’s able to take on not one, but two of the Zoldycks in a fight, and not just any Zoldycks, but both of those already mentioned in this list, Zeno and Silva. When he asks Zeno at the end of their fight who would win in a one-on-one, Zeno believes that if Chrollo intended to kill him, he quite likely could.
His nen ability is that of a specialist, and Chrollo is able to steal the powers of other nen users by placing them in a book which, when conjured, allows him to use that ability. This means that it’s almost impossible to plan against him, as he could simply switch out one ability for another. On top of his combat strength and nen abilities, Chrollo is exceptionally intelligent, able to strategize in an instant, and has almost no fear of death, making him extremely dangerous to go up against.
6. Shaiapouf (Pouf)
The next three on our list are the chimera ant royal guards, starting with Shaiapouf. Being part of the royal guard, he has access to huge quantities of nen and superhuman feats of strength and speed. His nen count is off the charts, with some saying he had access to more nen than even Chairman Netero (who we will see in just a bit). His aura was so frightening that it caused a veteran Hunter to have a breakdown in the mere presence of it. His natural nen ability is as a manipulator and is focused on support and strategy, where he shows incredible intellect. He’s able to bestow nen abilities on other chimera ants that compliment their natural skills.
The scales from his wings allow Pouf to read the current psychological state of whoever they touch and also completely hypnotize them, taking over thousands of minds at a time. He can also cause his cells to split either breaking himself down into smaller versions of himself or readjusting them to look like someone else. This ant has a lot of abilities and the physical strength to boot, making him a terrifying adversary.
5. Menthuthuyoupi (Youpi)
Menthuthuyoupi, aka Youpi, is the brawn of the royal guards, and that’s saying something. He took on multiple talented Hunters in one go, barely breaking a sweat. Unlike the other two royal guards, Youpi had magical beast genes, allowing him to shape-shift and may also have contributed to his extreme Hulk-like strength and durability. His nen ability is as an enhancer, able to greatly increase his already remarkable natural strength using his aura. Unlike Shaiapouf, Youpi gets angry very easily and allows this rage to build up inside him, making him extremely volatile.
During one battle, he lets the rage build inside until he explodes, creating a crater over 12 meters in diameter. He very quickly learns how to control this power and allows it to transform himself into a terrifying centaur-like beast that the Hunters have no chance of overcoming. If Shiaipouf could be considered King Meruem’s strategist, then Youpi is his shield ⏤ an indestructible force that stops everyone in their tracks.
4. Neferpitou (Pitou)
The cat-like royal guard is an entity to be feared. With a desire to play with their food, much like a cat, Pitou kills Kite (a strong Hunter in his own right) and uses their nen ability to put his corpse back together again just to have the joy of fighting him once more. They are one seriously messed-up kitty. Alongside their immense physical abilities such as super strength, durabilty and abilities of detection, such as keen eyesight and smell, their aura is huge and makes them perfect as a guard, as they can send it in multiple directions to detect intruders like they do when Netero and Zeno Zoldyk launch an attack from above.
They are classified as a specialist nen user, creating a slew of abilities, mainly in the form of a puppeteering systems to enact their desires and the desires of the king. Their strength in wielding aura means they can keep puppets animated for days with no fatigue whatsoever. Their sheer natural physical abilities and her command of nen, paired with their sadistic nature, make them one of the strongest and most dangerous characters in the show.
3. Chairman Isaac Netero
Netero is the 12th Chairman of the Hunter Association and is probably one of the strongest Hunters we see in the anime, though even he admits that there are stronger Hunters out there than him. Netero was once considered to be the strongest Hunter of all time back in his prime, and despite his advanced years, he certainly packs an amazing amount of strength and ability. Through years of practice and meditation, he reached a state of enlightenment, honing his body’s abilities pushing them beyond normal human limitations.
He’s able to drop from great heights unscathed, punch beyond the speed of sound, and outrun even characters with enhanced bodies, such as Neferpitou. His nen technique, 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva, is enough to give even Meruem difficulty, as it attacks from multiple directions so fast and powerful that he is able to complete an attack process in less than 0.1 seconds. Netero has spent his entire life seeking out a strong enough opponent that he can go all-out against and he’s overjoyed by the idea of fighting Meruem and even thankful that he got the honor of doing so despite the battle being his last.
2. Adult Gon
During the chimera ant ark, our young and positive Gon shows us that he does indeed have a dark side. This comes out when he loses Kite to Neferpitou and becomes desperate to get him back. We enter a bit of a moral grey area here for a protagonist, as he is driven purely by emotion, and once he’s told that bringing back Kite is impossible, he loses all grasp on rationality and humanity. He creates a crazy condition that he be granted all the nen he will ever have in order to murder Pitou, not caring that it will cost him his own life. With Gon already having exceptional nen potential, this pushes his body to a crazy limit, aging him and granting him power that Pitou believes is even a threat to Meruem.
It would be impossible to say out of the Meruem and adult Gon who would win, as we never get the chance to see that fight, but adult Gon is certainly able to wipe the floor ⏤ or mountainside ⏤ with Pitou, who really doesn’t stand a chance, making their fight more of a one-sided slaughter than battle. Even after Pitou’s death, her nen tries to battle on with her corpse, managing to take Gon’s arm, but Gon simply uses that arm to beat the corpse further until it can do nothing more.
Meruem is the pinnacle of the chimera ant race. He is their king and everything that they are is merely building blocks leading to his conception. Stating the obvious, his strength, durability, speed, and combat skills are off the charts from the moment of his birth. He wields more nen than any other character in the show and his desire is simply to dominate the human world. He’s able to take on and defeat Chairman Netero and could easily best any of his own royal guards. His intellect is also superior and he enjoys testing himself against the best in the world at a variety of board games, killing them once he is victorious.
The only opponent that he was unable to defeat was a blind Gungi player named Komugi, who causes Meruem to contemplate humanity and his own position in his life. His nen ability is that of a specialist and he’s able to add to his already considerable nen count by consuming the flesh and brains of nen users. His control over nen is extreme, but due to the fact that he only lives for 40 days, we don’t ever see him as a refined nen user, as he focuses very much on his raw physical abilities. His death comes at the hand of Netero, who sets off a nuclear bomb, “The Poor Man’s Rose,” containing a poison that Meruem eventually succumbs to.
Alluka Zoldyck, or more specifically the entity that lives inside her called Nanika (or “Something”) is able to grant any wish asked of them, bending reality to do so. These wishes can come at an extreme cost, however. To be granted a wish, you must first accept three requests made by Alluka and then Nanika appears to grant a wish. If the wish is small, the next set of requests should be fairly easy, but if the wish is large, they can be difficult if not impossible. If four requests are not met, then the person the requests are being directed at ⏤ plus a multitude of others linked to that person ⏤ will implode.
This power scares even Alluka’s family, a house of trained and deadly assassins, and as yet we don’t really now what the limit on their power is or if they even have one. The only thing that keeps them off the top 10 list is that Alluka has no formal combat skill or any other physical traits that would make them a threat in a fight, meaning that, though extremely powerful, they are also extremely vulnerable, leaving Killua to commit to protecting them. The other issue keeping them off the list is that someone else has to make the wish, so though they could even kill a strong character like Meruem, someone else has to wish it. Killua is the only exception to the rules and can command Nanika, arguably giving him control of this extreme power.