"When? When did I start waiting for my opponent to make the first move? When, indeed? It became a routine. The loser held out his hands in gratitude for the lesson and I graciously accepted without skipping a beat. As if that was what I wanted!! That's not how it should be!! For so long, I sought the height of perfection. I dreamed of giving my heart and soul to battle an unstoppable adversary!! I'm a lucky man. I'm thankful for everything that led me to this point... that led me to you!!"
Isaac Netero (アイザック＝ネテロ, Aizakku Netero) was the 12th chairman of the Hunter Association and the chairman over the Hunter Exam Selection Committee. In his youth, he was considered the best Nen user in the world, and retained dreadful strength even in his old age.
Isaac Netero appeared to be a helpless old man, but was surprisingly fit and muscular for his age. He had a ponytail, a thick beard, and stretched earlobes with two piercings in both ears. Netero was commonly seen wearing a traditional man's kimono and pair of Geta with one ha (tooth).
During the Chimera Ant arc, he changed his appearance for his upcoming fight with Meruem by trimming his beard, mustache, and ponytail. When in combat, Netero preferred to wear a t-shirt with the Japanese Kanji character for the word "heart/mind" printed on the front and track shorts.
During his expedition in Dark Continent in his youth, he was shown to have long spiky hair.
Netero was an energetic, playful to the point of being mischievous, and at times, a seemingly absent minded elder. Although he seemed to put on a facade of authority when called to intervene as the chairman of the Hunter Association, he was actually extravagant to the point of being sometimes called slightly insane. There were clear discrepancies between his words and his thoughts during the 287th Hunter Exam. However, he was a true martial artist, who was nothing but earnest during fights. He enjoyed challenges, and was thrilled by the prospect of a formidable enemy. This strange passion affected the way in which he governed the Hunter Association, frequently testing the physical limits of those attempting to become Hunters. Biscuit Krueger even called Netero a "twisted individual," as he often enjoyed giving Hunters he trusted impossible assignments, sometimes with deadlines of only a few months, that should take years to complete.
Netero had dedicated his life to the martial arts and prayer, intended as a form of appreciation. He displayed a great deal of pride when it came to his own abilities and had no respect for the weak. However, he was not arrogant, as he presented the possibility of Gon threatening him without saying the boy would stand no chance against him. His goal in life was to find a worthy adversary against whom he can fight with his all. His strength of mind and selflessness were beyond unwavering, and he did not hesitate to end his own life in a last attempt to kill Meruem.
Despite his tendency to act as he pleased, Netero was definitely not amoral. He banned expeditions to the Dark Continent as a consequence of Hunters trying to imitate him and dying. Nonetheless, in certain occasions he prioritized results over sacrifices: he was willing to let as many as five million people die if that ensured the end of the Chimera Ant kingdom.
The circumstances in which Netero became a Hunter and learned Nen are unknown. His proficiency was such that it earned him the title of most powerful Nen user in the world. At some point in his life, he fought Maha Zoldyck, and was the only one until then to live to tell the tale.
Netero was trained in the martial arts and, at the age of 46, he went to train in the mountains. During his time there he showed his gratitude to the martial arts and would do a set of ten thousand punches and prayers daily. On the first day of his training, it took him over eighteen hours to complete ten thousand punches. After completion of the ritual, he would collapse from exhaustion and fall into a deep sleep, only to awaken and repeat the ten thousand punches the next day. This would become Netero's daily routine for the next two years. One day after that time had passed, he realized that although he had completed his ten thousand punches, the sun had not yet set. Two years later, at the age of fifty, Netero had become capable of doing the ritual in under an hour. As a result, he spent the extra time in prayer, a development that led him to enlightenment. Some time later, Netero descended from the mountain, returning to the dojo he had begun his training in, and demonstrated his new strength. His time on the mountain had allowed him the ability to strike faster than the speed of sound, to the astonishment and amazement of his onlookers. Among his audience was the grandmaster of the dojo, who was moved to tears by the raw power and grace brought about by Netero's training. The man broke down at Netero's feet, begging to be trained, and offering the title of Grand Master in his stead. Netero accepted, under the lighthearted condition that he would be brought some food first. The dojo thus began teaching Shingen-ryū kung fu.
After becoming a Hunter, Netero joined the Pure Paladin Squad. He took part in two expeditions to the Dark Continent, one of which was unofficial, and returned alive both times. Two friends of his, Zzigg Zoldyck and Linne Hors-d'oeuvre, joined him for the unofficial expedition. However, the experience left him unsatisfied, as he wished for a strength that would allow him to triumph against his opponents, while there was no victory in the Dark Continent, only survival. After his son Beyond, whose existence he kept secret, embarked on a similar expedition, Isaac ordered him to never venture in the Dark Continent again and convinced V5 to make it a forbidden area even for the Hunter Association to venture in.
Years later, Netero, now in his mid-sixties, sought challengers at his dojo, fighters from places far and wide, determined to defeat him. Each challenger was defeated, but all showed respect.
Eventually, he was elected 12th Chairman of the Hunter Association.
Hunter Exam arc
Netero first appears during the Second Phase of the 287th Hunter Examination when Satotz calls to tell him that Menchi has lapsed back into her old bad habits again. When Beans asks him what they should do, he replies that he has no other choice and that he will come in person. He then jumps from the airship landing on the ground with tremendous force, without receiving any injuries, making everyone wonder who he is. Netero criticizes Menchi's attitude as an examiner and orders her to have a new test, in which she must participate in. This time Menchi asks them to make boiled Spider Eagle's eggs, which hang on the spider's web between two sides of a ravine. Netero watches as the participants start to take the eggs, impressed that many of them were able to obtain the eggs and make it back up.
A Game at Midnight
As the applicants and examiners board the airship, Netero formally introduces himself as the Chairman of Hunter Exam Selection Committee, followed by Beans who announces that the airship will arrive at their destination at 8 AM. After that short briefing, everyone is allowed to do as they pleased. While Gon and Killua were talking together, he made a little trick to make them feel like they're being watched from the other side of corridor, and then comes from the opposite side. Killua who realizes this giving him a suspicious look. Netero then invites both of them to play a game with the reward is becoming a Hunter directly. They only have to take a ball from Netero. The boys has made their best effort to take the ball, but to no avail. Killua, realizing Netero's skill, says that they have no chance against him, as he does not use his right arm or left leg all this time, and refuses to play any longer. Gon, however, still continues to play until Netero finally uses his right arm, much to the latter's amusement.
After the Third Phase finished, Netero is seen inside the airship with the other examiners talking about the rookies in this year's exam. He is very impressed seeing 6 rookies of 9 applicants are able to pass the Third Phase. Satotz then asks about the Final Phase, since Buhara mentions that Netero haven't told them yet. Netero replies that he intends to have them participate in a rather peculiar fight. He then says that he wants to talk to the 9 remaining applicants first, leaving the other examiner confused.
Netero first interviews Hisoka. He asks him on why do he want to be a Hunter, who he keeps an eye on and who he wants to fight. Hisoka answers all the questions and after he is done, the interview continues until the last applicant. Netero then comes back to where the other examiners are waiting, and shows them the bracket he has made. They are very surprised to see the result and asks the Chairman if he is really serious, to which he replies that he is dead serious.
When they arrive at a hotel owned by Hunters Exam Selection Committee, Netero greets the remaining applicants and shows them the bracket he made which leads into everyone's confusion. He explains that their placement is based on their performance during the exam. After he explains the rules of the battle, they begin the exam's Final Phase. Netero and the other examiners watch in silent from the first until the very last match. When the Final Phase ends, they gathered in a room to have an orientation, until Gon suddenly comes and confronts Illumi. Upon asking Illumi where Killua is, Netero interrupts their conversation to discuss about it. He says that the committee has been discussing the topic about Killua's disqualification, which Kurapika denies by defending Killua. Leorio denies it too by saying that Killua is trying to help him. But Netero does not agree and says that it is only a mere speculation. He returns what has Kurapika and Leorio said, but none of them could deny it anymore. He then clears the situation and asks Beans to continue the orientation.
Heaven's Arena arc
Greed Island arc
Chimera Ant arc
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Netero is called in to create a Chimera Ant extermination team. He arrives in NGL alongside Knov and Morel Mackernasey. The three work together taking down dozens of Squadron Leaders, working their way to the Chimera Ant Nest in order to kill the Chimera Ant Queen before the birth of the King.
During the Hunter Association's invasion of the palace, Netero decides that he is the only one with the chance of killing the Chimera Ant King, Meruem. The two fight, with Netero seemingly at a disadvantage. Netero eventually loses his right leg and left arm before striking with his ultimate ability Zero Hand. After this devastating strike, Meruem is considerably wounded, but still alive and able to act. Netero however has put all his Nen into this final, absolute attempt to stop the ant king. His body has completely withered, he is on the brink of death. Under the weight of Meruem's power, he ultimately pulls his final joker, and sacrifices his own life to save humanity. Prior to the battle he underwent surgery, during which a miniature nuclear explosive device, known as the Poor Man's Rose, was attached to his heart. He pierces his heart with his fingers, and detonates the Rose in a last attempt to put an end to Meruem's reign of terror. Although gruesomely maimed by the Rose, the near-death Meruem is soon revived by Shaiapouf and Menthuthuyoupi.
Unbeknownst to the Ants, the Poor Man's Rose was not a simple bomb — it also contained a lethal poison. This poison eventually kills not only Meruem, but Shaiapouf, Menthuthuyoupi, and the innocent civilian Komugi, although unlike the former three, she willingly chose to submit to the poison in exchange for playing Gungi with Meruem in his final hours.
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Before his death, Netero asked that the next chairman of the Hunters Association be decided by an election, with the Zodiacs overseeing and assisting with the process. To win the election and thus become the new chairman, one must receive a majority of the votes (50% or higher) with over 95% Hunter participation. After the election, Morel and Knov used the money they had waged on their past bet to buy a bottle of expensive wine and toast glasses in his office, placing a full one in front of his photo as a form of libation.
Dark Continent Expedition arc
Netero makes a couple of appearances via video recordings shown to the Zodiacs. The first being as a still image used by Emperor Nasubi Hui Guo Rou to help introduce his son Beyond Netero. This comes to a surprise as the Zodiacs believed Isaac Netero did not have any living relatives. The second being Isaac Netero explaining his few ventures to the Dark Continent and how he forbid his son to go back until his death. He informs the Zodiacs that there aren't battles that can be physically won or lost in the "new world": only a harsh losing journey against nature. He wants a group of people to lead a more successful venture than his son in the Dark Continent, but great risk will be sure to follow as he marks this task as an "A" level difficulty. Though not "ordering" the Zodiacs to be this group of people he heavily implies that he thinks they should go as it will be of much benefit to mankind.
Abilities & Powers
Isaac Netero had the greatest authority in the Hunters Association due to his status as the chairman. He is arguably one of the most powerful characters in the series, although during the infiltration in NGL, he claims that he does not have even half the strength he had in his prime. He displayed incredible strength and stamina for his age, shown in his first appearance when he makes a 60-foot free-fall jump from the Judging Committee's blimp without a parachute and lands without incurring any harm. He is also a very powerful hand-to-hand combatant, capable of unleashing punches reported to be faster than the speed of sound. Furthermore, he is extremely knowledgeable in martial arts, recognizing Killua's Rhythm Echo despite it being an underground technique. Netero has excellent control over his muscles as well, being capable of preventing blood loss from a severed leg, and great coordination, judging by his proficiency in using a 100-armed Nen construct as mean of offense. He seems to be good at hiding his true strength, as even a good judge of strength like Killua reckoned he could kill him during their ball game. By forming a circle with his index finger and thumb and peeking through it, he can see a person over a distance of a few kilometers as if it were only meters away from him. It is unclear if he uses Nen to enhance his vision, or if he can merely improve it by concentrating.
Immense Strength: Netero has incredible physical strength as he could jump from a 60-foot free-fall jump from the Judging Committee's blimp without a parachute and land without incurring any physical harm. He was even able to slaughter an army of Chimera Ants rather easily, in spite of the tough exoskeleton that many of them possess. He could easily pierce his own chest to puncture his heart with one finger despite having exhausted all his aura and depleted his life span.
Immense Speed and Reflexes: Netero's speed is considered to be among the greatest of any character seen thus far in the series. An example of this is that he could run by Gon and Killua without them even seeing him come by. Netero was also able to dodge almost all of their attacks rather easily and tiring them out quickly. He managed to out-speed Neferpitou and, even more remarkably, Meruem, as he was able to launch numerous attacks on Meruem with his 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva with the King unable to see the coming assault. It took him many minutes of incessant fighting and the ability to predict Netero's moves to counter his speed. This is due to Netero being able to deliver punches faster than the speed of sound, with equally quick reflexes. His attack against Neferpitou was known to last less than one tenth of a second. Meruem himself admitted that the only time Netero's speed surpasses his own is when he makes the motion to activate his 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva. In the last part of their duel, with his senses at their absolute sharpest, Netero launched thousands of attacks in under a minute: at the very least, this means that he could carry out his praying motion and strike, while also selecting the best move to counter Meruem's next assault more than 16 times per second.
Immense Agility: Netero is very agile as he was able to move around the isolated area where he fought Meruem, attacking him from nearly every direction. When against Gon and Killua, his agility easily surpassed theirs as his highly coordinated steps allowed him to easily escape their attacks and tire them out. His Nen Ability is also a hint of his immense coordination. How agile he truly is remains unknown.
Immense Stamina: When Netero was younger, he was able to perform ten thousand punches in only 18 hours but then would still collapse from exhaustion afterwards, however when he had continued to do this as a daily ritual, he would notice that the sun had not yet set by the time he was finished with the routine and he no longer would fall down to a sleep immediately after it. He also then fought many different kinds of fighters for the dojo for days on end. He took two fatal wounds from Meruem, fought him for a long period of time while exchanging thousands of blows, and spoke to him normally even after exhausting all of his aura and despite the seriousness of his injuries, showing his stamina is top-notch even in his old age.
Enhanced Durability: Netero has a very sturdy body. Even when not using Nen, his abdominals are so hard that Gon hurt his head trying to headbutt him in the stomach, and Netero worried that the boy might break his head if he tried to do it again. It was clearly stated that this level of durability is achieved through contracting his muscles alone, thus without even using aura. His bones are also unbelievably strong, so much that a kick from Killua caused the assassin to nearly break his own leg, whereas Netero took the blow without trying to block and still took no damage.
Immense Endurance: Netero is very resistant to pain as Meruem severed his left arm and right leg without him even flinching, though his sweating rate increased slightly.
Muscle Control: Netero is able to prevent blood-loss from a severed leg. It should be noted that Netero is only able to do this at least once since when Meruem struck him a second time on his left arm, he couldn't stop the blood loss. It could be because he knew he was going to die as he was beginning to use Zero Hand, though.
Genius-Level Intellect: Netero's seemingly nonsensical, whimsical behavior belies a vast intelligence. When preparing to exterminate the Chimera Ants, he had already prepared a way for Gon and Killua to participate before even meeting them; later on, he was able to guess both they and Morel's apprentices would join the mission, texting Morel the words the latter had used a moment before. He was also capable of deducing Colt's strategy to defend the nest. While he has been shown to be able to perfectly anticipate other people's actions, he is, on the contrary, completely unpredictable. Zeno Zoldyck described him as having the mind of a plant. However, it is in battle that he shows his full mental prowess: also thanks to his experience, his battle instincts are so honed that he is able to continuously making the best possible move in less than a split second even against an opponent of Meruem's level of intelligence: in fact, the Chimera Ant King claimed that, if not for the inevitable existence of a preferred attack pattern, Netero could have kept repelling his assaults indefinitely.
Master Hand to Hand Combatant: Being the grand master of the Shingen-ryū school of kung fu, and also being able to deliver thousands of different attacks with the 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva with it following his own hand motions on Meruem, Netero is displayed as being the best hand-to-hand combatant seen in the series. More examples of this is when Netero was 46 years old, he did 10,000 punches a day and it took 18 hours to finish 10,000 punches on his first day. After two years, when he completed the 10,000 punches, the sun had not yet set. And at the age of 50, he completed 10,000 punches in less than one hour and more time to pray. Because of this, Netero can also deliver punches faster than the speed of sound. He also defeated any fighter who would come to fight him in his dojo no matter how powerful, proving his skill.
Netero is an extremely powerful practitioner of Nen, claiming the title of the most powerful Nen user fifty years prior to the series. While Morel keeps considering him a monster, he himself admitted that there are at least five better Nen users than him in the world (though the truth of this statement is questionable). He has control over at least three Nen categories: his natural category, Enhancement, which in conjunction with his astounding martial skills and strong body make him a dreadful melee fighter, Emission, which he uses to activate his strongest attack, and Manipulation, which he employs to make the Nen statue mimic his movements. While his amount of aura is normally immense, enough to even impress seasoned Hunters like Morel who commented that it felt like being pierced by needles, he can increase it even further by concentrating for days on end, which he describes as getting back into shape. Although Colt stated Netero's aura is incomparable to that of the three Royal Guards, he managed to dispose of Neferpitou in an instant and injure Meruem himself, demonstrating his superior mastery over the art. It is said that because of the extremely quiet flow of his aura, one cannot read his next move. Netero has also been seen to be a master of "the other Nen". As it turns out, his hostile "Ren" (commonly known as blood-lust) was so powerful that it made Meruem, who managed to defeat the chairman without suffering much damage himself, experience fear for the first time in his life. A much milder version was also felt when he saw Gon and Killua on the airship going to the second phase of the Hunter Exam. There, he shot his blood lust at them before disappearing into another corridor almost instantaneously. This show of "Ren" was strong enough to put them on edge for a short while and make them wary of his presence, completely changing the atmosphere.
|Netero's Nen Type: Enhancement|
|Type: Emission||100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva (|
|Netero emits a multi-armed Nen construct behind himself which takes the form of a gigantic statue of Guanyin, a Bodhisattva that is associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists. To start an attack, Netero first clasps his hands together in a fluid motion, as if in prayer. After that, the arms on the statue strike down upon their targets in conjunction with Netero's own hand motions. Due to Netero’s own immense speed and the fact that the Bodhisattva follows Netero's hand motions, it allows him to carry out attacks with the statue in less than 0.1 seconds and to do so with leisure. The blows of the statue are so fast that they may appear to originate from another dimension, this impression is strengthened by the fact that the blow does not come from Netero’s position. A single palm strike from the Bodhisattva was enough to push Neferpitou a considerable distance away without the Chimera Ant fully understanding what had happened. Due to this ability's extreme speed, relentlessness and outright deadliness, Zeno Zoldyck considers the 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva the chairman’s most dangerous ability.|
|Type: Emission and Manipulation||First Hand (|
|Netero performs a chopping motion and the Bodhisattva mimics it, striking his opponent with a chop. The sheer strength of the blow creates a deep crater in the ground. When used against Meruem, it caused the King to spit out blood and comment that he could not see the attack coming.|
|Type: Emission and Manipulation||Third Hand (|
|Netero performs a clapping motion and the Bodhisattva copies it, attacking the opponent with a clap. Though this attack deals little to no damage to someone of Meruem's caliber, it still holds enough strength to restrain the King's movements momentarily.|
|Type: Emission and Manipulation||Ninety-Ninth Hand (|
|After clasping his hands together, Netero makes a sign with his hands that looks like the number ninety-nine. Afterward, the multi-armed Bodhisattva unleashes a barrage of blows in an instant directly in front of Netero to inflict massive damage, without needing to "pray" for each strike.|
|Type: Emission, Manipulation and Transmutation||Zero Hand (|
|This is Netero's last resort, meant to be used only when he cannot utilize any other of Guanyin's abilities. Netero first prays with all his heart. The Bodhisattva then appears behind Netero's enemy and tenderly clasps him within its palms. Netero then focuses every last ounce of his aura in preparation for this final attack, and the Bodhisattva mercilessly howls out an enormous flare of aura in an attempt to destroy the enemy. Netero ages rapidly as a result of his aura being completely drained.|
- (To Neferpitou) "I anticipated several offensive and defensive patterns, but that was a bad move, little Ant."
- (To Menchi) "Quitting also asks for some courage. This test takes place every year anyways!"
- (To Meruem) "An insect should not talk down on humans."
- (To Meruem) "King of the ants. You think if I don't have arms, I can't pray? Prayer is conduct of the heart."
- (To Meruem) "I am not alone. Don't underestimate the human race, Meruem. Meruem... that is your name. Meruem, king of ants, you understand nothing... of humanity's infinite potential for evolution! If there's a hell, I'll see you there."
- In Chapter 344, his name is written as "Aizack Neterro".
- During the Hunter Exam, when he tested Gon and Killua on the airship, Netero was able to fend them both off while using only his right arm and left leg. In his final battle against Meruem and prior to activating the Miniature Rose, he is left with only his right arm and left leg after Meruem's assault.
- One of Netero's most memorable quotes reads "I dreamed about giving my heart and soul to battle an unstoppable adversary". In the final moments in his battle with Meruem, he uses Zero Hand, a hatsu that focuses ones entire aura (or soul) into a final attack, completely draining it, and when he died, he did so by thrusting his fingers into his heart, a turn of events that almost exactly matches the quote just given.
- Interestingly, although Netero's 100 Type Guanyin Bodhisattva is considered his most powerful technique, his natural Nen type (Enhancement) however contributes rather minimally to the overall ability. The involvement of Enhancement Nen may be present in the vastly augmented speed of Netero's own hand motions in which he issues commands to the statue with, but that has yet to be confirmed.
- When he first was introduced, Isaac Netero displayed an incredible sense of balance by drinking with a straw from a glass on a plate he was holding up with his foot; when talking to the Zodiacs, his son, Beyond Netero, accomplished a similar feat, keeping a pen standing on its tip without touching it.
Intertextuality and References
- Netero's Nen ability is similar to the "Stand" power of the Jojo's Bizarre Adventure manga series, in which the user conjures and controls a spiritual being as a means of combat.
- The 100-Type Guanyin Bodhisattva could have been the source of inspiration for Chiriku's anime only technique "Welcoming Approach: Thousand Armed Murder Jutsu" from Naruto, which summons a spiritual Guanyin Bodhisattva that attacks with spirit fists. Later, in the same manga, a similar, canon technique was used by Hashirama Senju.
- In chapter 199, Vishvarupa is seen standing behind Netero. This may be a form of foreshadowing, as his Hatsu ability is based off another multi-armed deity.
- According to the "Hunter × Hunter Manual" section found in the Yu ☆ Yu ☆ Hakusho official character book (Shueisha Jump remix), Isaac Netero's stats are:
|Hunter Exam arc||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||4/5||5/5|
|Chimera Ant arc: NGL||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||4/5||5/5|
|Chimera Ant arc: Palace Invasion||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5||5/5|