"Now I can tell you, that you would not make a good Hunter. Your calling is as an assassin. There's no fire in you, just darkness. It sustains you, drains you of any desire. Your only joy is in causing death, and even that is fleeting. That is how Dad and I molded you."
Illumi Zoldyck (イルミ＝ゾルディック, Irumi Zorudikku) is the eldest child of Silva and Kikyo Zoldyck. During the 287th Hunter Exam, he appeared under the guise of Gittarackur (ギタラクル, Gitarakuru). At Hisoka's request, Illumi joins the Phantom Troupe as Uvogin's replacement, becoming Troupe member #11. He served as a secondary antagonist of the Hunter Exam arc and the primary one of the 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc.
Illumi is most often expressionless. He has very long, jet black hair, usually combed behind his head as well as large, black, pupil-less eyes. To disguise himself as Gittarackur, Illumi uses large, round head pins to reconstruct his facial structure, musculature, and voice, beyond recognition.
When he was younger, Illumi's hair only reached his shoulders. He wore long sleeves with a shirt underneath, as well as gray pants.
Illumi, for the most part, displays very little expression. In contrast to his expressionless demeanor, Illumi often speaks in a somewhat joyful and absent-minded tone. He is generally a stony, ruthless person with an extremely cold way of thinking and reflects solely on his own interests. Still, he holds a twisted and overprotective form of love for his younger brother, Killua; this manifests to the point that he used his Nen ability to control Killua in order to ensure his survival and obedience. He and his father raised Killua to believe that the only thing sustaining him was darkness and that he could only obtain joy in causing the death of others. As a means of protecting his little brother, Illumi implanted a needle in Killua's brain, forcing the latter to run from battles he wasn't sure he could win.
Illumi cares for most of the Zoldyck family members. He is willing to handle Alluka's power, even if it costs him his life. He has stated, however, that family members are not allowed to kill during an inner mission (a mission where there is an internal conflict), but insinuates that he would be fine with killing Alluka and does not consider Alluka a member of the family.
While Illumi seems devoid of many human emotions, he is not without a sense of desire as he greatly hankers Alluka's wish-granting ability. Tsubone implies that Illumi's sinister ambition to control Alluka's power even caused him to stray from the path of an assassin.
At some point, Illumi formed an unusual relationship with Hisoka, which he described as "give-and-take". He once came to the aid of the magician by standing for him as a double in the Phantom Troupe's hideout while Hisoka attempted to find Chrollo. However, when Hisoka asked Illumi if it would it be okay if he killed Killua, Illumi displayed a horrifying side of himself and asked if Hisoka wanted to die then and there. His demeanor and bloodlust were very similar to how Hisoka reacted to Illumi's indecision on whether or not to kill Gon, whom he sees as a threat due to his closeness with Killua during the Hunter Exam, albeit on a much lesser extent. Despite the mutual benefit of their relationship, Illumi always believed one of them would wind up killing the other. He, therefore, accepted to form a contract with Hisoka with the condition that if the magician is killed, Illumi will receive his reward. The assassin cryptically refers to it as an "engagement ring" and "prenuptial agreement".
At some point during his childhood, he learned Nen. In order to control the development and actions of his younger brother, Illumi inserted a Nen needle into Killua's brain under Silva's order; the needle prompted him to run away from the battles he wasn't certain he could win. Sometime prior to the 287th Hunter Exam, he also established a relationship with Hisoka, however, this is not explored.
Following Killua's escape from the Zoldyck manor, Illumi was sent by his mother to watch over his brother at the Hunter Exam.
Hunter Exam arc
Illumi briefly appears during the first parts of the Hunter Exam, under the name of Gittarackur, though his appearance is highly distorted by countless pins. He first appears when Tonpa considers offering him his laxative-laced juice. When Hisoka lags behind to play judge, Illumi helps him find his way to the second stage with a walkie-talkie and a transponder. He almost fails the second phase due to Menchi's temper. He is amongst the examinees who pass the third phase.
Before the fourth phase on Zevil Island, the examiner, Lippo, gives each of the 25 remaining candidates the number of another's badge. Gittarackur phones Hisoka and offers his help, but Hisoka turns down the offer. He later finds his target, Goz, but is interrupted by Siper, who has Gittarackur as her target and attempts to kill him by sniping at him from a distance. However, she hits Goz, who is fatally injured. Gittarackur then kills Siper. Later, he goes to Hisoka and gives him the number badge belonging to Siper. He then digs a hole and sleeps in it with until the end of the fourth phase.
The final phase is an elimination tournament where the winners are removed from the tournament and the losers given more chances; winning match results in the victor receiving his or her Hunter License. Killua must fight Gittarackur as his second match after taking pity on his first opponent and letting him win. When the match begins, Illumi reveals himself to Killua. He mentions that his reason for taking the exam was not only to obtain a license, which he needed for an assassination mission but also to watch over Killua because of their mother's worries about Killua going off on his own. Illumi then tells his brother that he will never make a good Hunter because he cannot break free of his training as an assassin. He states that Killua's only purpose in life is killing others and that he is only a puppet who wants nothing. Having severely disoriented him, he asks what it is that Killua expects from becoming a Hunter.
Killua replies that he does not want anything from the Exam, but he wants to stop killing people and wants to be friends with Gon, whom he had met during the Exam. Illumi deems it impossible since he and his father raised Killua to be a cold-blooded assassin. He also claimed that if Killua were to stay with Gon, he'd eventually hurt or even kill him because it's in his nature. Leorio, upset by Illumi's speech, claims that Gon already views Killua as his friend. Illumi, troubled by this, begins to consider murdering Gon but realizes that killing him would break the rules of the Exam. He asks Netero if he would be disqualified if he killed Gon after his match with Killua. Netero replies that his actions wouldn't be breaking any rules since he would already be considered a licensed Hunter. Illumi tells Killua that he will kill Gon unless Killua fights him. This is a trick question, however, the needle in Killua's head makes him unable to attack opponents he cannot defeat. It's due to the needle's influence that Killua surrenders. Illumi wins the match by forfeit, going on to obtain his Hunter License.
Gon, awoken from his sleep, hears about how Killua lost and was disqualified for killing a fellow contestant from Satotz. He then asks Illumi to apologize to Killua, but Illumi does not understand Gon's reasoning. Gon claims that Illumi is not qualified to be Killua's brother. Illumi asks if one needs a qualification to be a brother. Gon, further angered, lifts Illumi up using one hand and breaks his arm. Netero, who was discussing the topic with everyone else before Gon came in, notes that they are examining the nature of Killua's act. The verdict they arrive at is that Killua was rightfully disqualified, but he is still eligible for the following year's exam.
Illumi, aware that Gon would not stop bothering him until he knows where Killua is, tells Gon that Killua went home to Kukuroo Mountain. He is later seen discussing with Hisoka on the matter. Hisoka asks Illumi if it was a good idea for him to reveal the location where Killua was. Illumi says that the location is already famous and that there is no harm in revealing it to Gon. Illumi thinks that Gon is dangerous and suggests that it would be best if he killed him, but Hisoka warns him that Gon will only die by his hands.
Yorknew City arc
During the Southernpiece Auction in Yorknew City, it is revealed that Illumi is an acquaintance of Chrollo Lucilfer. He, Maha, and Kalluto are hired by Chrollo to assassinate the Ten Mafia Dons, who placed bounties on the Phantom Troupe's heads. After he accomplishes this mission, Hisoka hires Illumi to disguise himself as him and infiltrate the Phantom Troupe's hideout. Illumi uses Kalluto to distract the members in the hideout while switching places with Hisoka.
Chimera Ant arc
Illumi does not formally appear in this arc, though Killua discovers a needle in his brain that Illumi had planted in order to control him and removes it during his fight against Rammot. Shortly afterward, Silva and Zeno deduce that Killua has removed the needle.
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
Illumi shows up at the election for the next chairman as Gittarackur. He talks with Hisoka about what had happened during the Chimera Ant crisis, the death of chairman Netero, his younger sibling Alluka (whom he wishes to eliminate), and the current situation with Killua. In Killua's flashback, Illumi experimented with Alluka's wish-granting ability using a servant named Kasuga, resulting in the death of the servant and at least 66 other people.
Illumi appears again sitting with Hisoka in an airship bar, where they discuss Alluka's ability. Illumi explains to Hisoka the magnitude of and the rules related to Alluka's power, stating that tens of thousands of people, including the Zoldycks and Hisoka, may die if Killua's wish to restore Gon goes awry. He fears that Killua will make the wish in a dangerous way—having somebody else make a wish and pay the price himself. Illumi asks Hisoka to help him kill Alluka if Killua refuses to make his wish in a safe way.
While Killua travels to Gon's hospital with Alluka and his servants in a car, Illumi calls him by the phone and asks about the removal of the needle, which Killua confirms. Illumi says he will go into action. Killua then asks if he wants to kill him, to which Illumi replies that family members are forbidden to kill each other in an "inner mission," implying that he does not view Alluka as family and wants to kill her. Killua immediately issues a challenge to Illumi. As soon as that happens, Illumi manipulates the drivers of a car and two trucks to drive Killua's car off the cliff. Watching from a distance, Hisoka remarks that Illumi is too extreme. Illumi replies that he has no choice because Killua is hiding some rules of Alluka's ability and asks Hisoka to eliminate the servants. Hisoka then asks if he can kill Killua, resulting in Illumi's momentary release of an intense murderous aura. Illumi wonders if this was a deliberate provocation to reveal their location to Killua, but Hisoka claims it was a joke.
Illumi arrives in an airport to meet up with Hisoka. He knows that Killua used 8 airships to escape them. Hisoka suggests ambushing the hospital but Illumi tells him it's not a good idea because Killua's friends are wandering there. Instead, he relies on his Needle People to do the job for him. Killua and Morel create a plan to capture the Needle People first, then targeting Illumi. Killua wants to "sell" out his big brother by asking for help from other Hunters. Illumi makes his first move, while Hisoka hunts the "misses" for him.
Hisoka and Illumi talk over the phone after killing the Hunters sent by Teradein, Bushidora, and Loupe. Hisoka informs Illumi that he has found a map detailing the airships' paths and destinations. He offers to send Illumi a copy, albeit an altered one, but Illumi says that he also has a map from one of the attackers and that he already knows which airship Killua and Alluka boarded. Illumi deduces that the airships will not land any time soon and sets out to aid Hisoka in finishing off the other attackers before going to where Killua and Alluka land. There, he gets hold of Hishita and controls him. It is only when Killua and Alluka are already in the car that Killua discovers Hishita is already under Illumi's control.
Illumi arrives and tells Killua to hand over Alluka. Just then, Tsubone also arrives, revealing that she is the "peeping Tom". She states that Milluki cooperates with Illumi by sending a video. The Zoldycks may be watching everything through the video feed from her scope. It is an order from Kikyo Zoldyck that she never removes her scope. Suddenly, Alluka requests for Tsubone's nail from her middle and ring finger, activating her wish-granting mode. Tsubone prompts Killua to make his wish; concurrently Illumi announces that Killua may sacrifice dozens of innocent people to save Gon. Illumi states that killing within the family is prohibited, and he is willing to die in order to ensure the whole family's safety. Instead of wishing for Illumi's death, Killua wishes to heal Tsubone's left hand. After this, Illumi tells him that he is assured that there is a way to heal Gon without putting Killua at risk, but he still believes Killua is hiding information. Later, Illumi watches from afar and wonders about what would happen if he would be able to control Alluka's ability. He requests Tsubone to watch while Nanika heals Gon.
Illumi feels a huge force, along with the other Hunters, and laughs to himself, saying that he will have and control "it." He approaches the hospital, stalking Killua and Alluka again. Upon reaching the hospital room, he analyzes the rules of Alluka's abilities. When he arrives, he assures Killua that when he [Illumi] manages to control Alluka properly, he will guarantee minimum freedom for Alluka instead of being locked in a room all the time. Killua refuses and tells Illumi that he will be the one to protect her. Illumi becomes impatient and demands that Killua hand her over. Killua wakes up Nanika and wishes for Illumi to go home. He is immediately teleported back to the Zoldyck mansion, much to the amazement of the entire family. This event makes Illumi crave to control Killua in order to control Alluka's ability as well while all his family members give up their effort and let Killua and Alluka go.
Succession Contest arc
At Hisoka's request, Illumi joins the Phantom Troupe and boards the Black Whale 1, beginning his search for the magician. On the fourth day of the voyage, the Troupe gathers at a table in Tier 5. After stating that they failed to find Hisoka on that tier, Chrollo invites Illumi to introduce himself. Illumi complies, explaining the nature of his relationship with the magician and that he has joined the Spiders on his commission so he can kill him. Due to the seriousness of their "game of tag", Illumi was not told where to find him. When members of the Cha-R Family arrive to claim their table, the Troupe leaves without a fight and splits up. Chrollo declares they will meet next when one of them has taken Hisoka's head.
Illumi and Kalluto successfully gain access to Tier 3, higher than the other Spider members. However, they are cornered by the military on the boat's Vista area after their emergency announcement of a dangerous stowaway. The two Zoldycks comply to the soldiers, and when Corporal Mizuri brings forth an I.D. from Illumi's pocket, the soldier identifies them as VVIP and asks why they are in that place. Illumi replies that he has business there. The soldier informs them of the quasi-martial law situation and insists that he should escort them back. Still, Illumi declines and reiterates that he has business there. Botobai and Mizaistom interrupt the exchange, with the former identifying Illumi as a Hunter. Mizaistom asks Illumi if the Phantom Troupe is on board, which the assassin bluntly confirms while implying he is a Spider as well, much to Kalluto's surprise. Illumi calls himself an honest person, though he adds that he cannot answer more questions due to confidentiality. Mizaistom understands and offers the two Zoldycks residential units in Tier 3. Misunderstanding the Zodiac, Illumi requests a single cell with a shower. After he is set straight by Mizaistom, Illumi and Kalluto follow him, until he rushes to another urgent matter and leaves them with Botobai and Ginta.
Needles: Illumi is in possession of three sets of needles which, when infused with his Nen, can be utilized in different ways. The ones he employs most commonly are round head needles that come in various sizes and have a yellow handle and a silver shaft. They enable him to change other people's appearance or his own. He can also use them to manipulate corpses to an unknown extent (in the 1999 anime, the needles used for this task were light blue). The second type of needles he has shown allow him to brainwash a target when implanted in their head. They look like golden sewing needles. Illumi also possesses a third set of needles, which he rarely resorts to. Compared to his usual set, they have a much thinner and longer shaft with a spherical, yellow handle. When stuck in the skull of a target, Illumi can turn them into a Needle Person and freely control them.
Abilities & Powers
Illumi has all the benefits granted by his status as a Hunter. Furthermore, as a member of the Zoldyck Family, he has vast wealth and capable underlings at his disposal. His family name alone is enough to scare those familiar with it. Hisoka rates Illumi's overall power 95 points, ranking him higher than some members of the Zodiacs. Thanks to his training, he possesses rare abilities such as strong resistance to poison, high tolerance to electricity, great agility and physical strength, and advanced armed and unarmed combat techniques. He was able to single-handedly wipe out a squadron of more than 20 amateur Hunters without any of them managing to press the emergency button. He might have superhuman control over his body, as he told Hisoka he was going to sleep for five days. Illumi is also a very skilled impersonator, and he seems to be able to conceal his strength and other aspects that might give him away when disguised since he managed to fool Killua and the Phantom Troupe. This skill is seemingly accompanied by the ability to hide his real power, as none of the Examiners seemed to be aware of his capacities until he revealed himself in the last phase.
Enhanced Speed: While the true extent of Illumi's physical abilities is unknown, he is at least fast enough to run through a crowd and stick his needles into multiple targets without being noticed. His speed allowed him to kill a group of Hunters before any of them could ask for help.
Advanced Stamina: Illumi was able to complete a long-distance run more than 80 kilometers long, and taking place on uneven terrains such as ascending stairs and a swamp, without breaking a sweat.
High Intelligence: Illumi is able to formulate accurate predictions as seen concerning Alluka's power since he was able to completely understand the method in which Killua's wishes were granted with no further consequences.
Illumi is a Manipulator and has an incredibly sinister Ren which can at least be felt from a distance of several hundred meters. His aura is so powerful that, if injected into a normal person, it will cripple them for life. His Hatsu abilities allow him to change his physical appearance, control the dead and the living alike with overpowering mind and body control, and influence others with subtler types of Manipulation, a range of applications that suggests a great mastery over this Nen category. He might have made a different use of Manipulation when he closed a hole in the ground seemingly without touching it, moving the soil with Nen. Illumi appears to have abundant aura reserves, since, despite coercive Manipulation being rather taxing, he is capable of controlling dozens of targets at the same time.
|Illumi's Nen Type: Manipulation|
|Type: Manipulation||Body Alteration*|
|Illumi uses large, round head needles mainly to alter the shape of his own body and skin color. Removing the needles will cause him to revert to his original appearance. According to him, the transformation is quite painful. He can also change his appearance without needles, but in this case, he is able to maintain the disguise for around five hours, and his eyes remain the same. He can use this ability to infiltrate into places where his targets may reside, as shown when he fooled the Phantom Troupe into thinking he was Hisoka after switching places with him in the Phantom Troupe's hideout. This ability was also at one point used by Illumi on another person, warping the target's face while inducing incapacitating pain.|
|Type: Manipulation||Hypnotic Spell*|
|By placing a needle into the target's brain, Illumi is able to condition them into following pre-set orders as long as the needle remains embedded. In Killua’s case, the activation triggered a crushing fear, which he associated with Illumi, that in turn caused varying degrees of paralysis depending on the severity of his contravention. The conditioning activates automatically as soon as the victim intends to take an action that violates Illumi’s orders. Willpower alone is not sufficient to break free from the hypnosis; however, through resisting it, the victim suffers headaches that grow increasingly localized, making it possible to detect the presence and position of the needle. The ability is also subtle, leading the victim to think that the commands they receive reflect their own emotions or are a result of their habits. Not even Biscuit Krueger, who trained Killua to help him overcome his fear, and Isaac Netero, who used to be revered as the best Nen user in the world, were seemingly able to detect the effects of the needle. It seems this ability can also be used to suppress specific feelings until the needle is pulled out, as Killua attributed to it his having turned his back on his sister.|
|Type: Manipulation||Corpse Control*|
|By piercing their head with several needles, Illumi can manipulate one or more deceased individuals. The victims can perform complex actions, such as speaking and driving. They have no will or reflexes of their own, and can be made to take suicidal actions. Although some victims show evident signs of being controlled, others can fake normal behavior to deceive onlookers, which Illumi can facilitate by positioning the needles so that they are not immediately visible. This method of producing henchmen to do Illumi's bidding was implied to require more time than Needle People. Despite being dead, no victim of this ability appears to have suffered wounds apart from the insertion of the needles, possibly suggesting that is how they were killed.|
|Type: Manipulation||Needle People (|
|Illumi sticks a special needle imbued with a large amount of aura into the skull of a person and gives an order. The target of the ability loses all sentience and follows his order until they die trying or from overexertion. Should a Needle Person survive, they will be crippled for the rest of their life. Illumi generally sticks one needle in the back of the head of the target, whose ungainly movements and expression make them easy to recognize as being under the influence of the ability; however, Needle People who had two needles embedded into their forehead have been seen speaking and driving normally.|
Anime and Manga Differences
Intertextuality and References
Translations around the World