Zeno is an old man of medium height with grey-white hair that stands upon his head and has a Fu Manchu mustache. He also wears alternating signs on his garb that say either "A Kill A Day" (一日一殺) or "Never Retire" (生涯現役). Most of the time he is seen with his hands behind his back and his back hunched forward.
While Zeno is a witty old man, his advancing age has not dampened his quick thinking and speed in battle. Despite his senior citizen status, he is a very formidable tactician and a skilled user of Nen. He remains calm and collected at all times and displays a unique sense of pragmatism. He takes satisfaction in being an efficient assassin and that seems to be his only conceit. Killing is just a job to him and emotion doesn't enter into it. He only risks his life if there is a reward to be gained. Zeno has high hopes for Killua, that is why he trusts the boy's ability.
While Zeno is violent and will kill without hesitation, he only does so when it is required to complete a contract; he avoids injuring innocents at all costs. Upon injuring Komugi accidentally, Zeno lost all desire to complete the contract on the Chimera Ant King and left, only after ensuring the fight between the King and the Chairman would not further injure civilians.
Despite his quick wits and pragmatism, he cannot escape the windbag stereotype attitude of an old man, often bragging about any new experience he encounters, much to Silva's annoyance.
Zeno is the previous patriarch of the Zoldyck Family. He only had one son Silva, who was born from an unnamed mother. He is the grandson of Maha Zoldyck. Being a member of the Zoldycks, Zeno was trained at a tender age in the art of assassination. He developed a great resistance against all types of poisons and has a high tolerance to electricity. Zeno estimates that in his long career as an assassin, he never killed a person he had not been paid to eliminate.
According to Killua, Zeno used to do infiltration in the Republic of East Gorteau. He is an old acquaintance of the Hunter Association's Chairman Netero. The two have known each other since Zeno was a baby.
Zoldyck Family arc
Zeno is first seen when he orders Milluki to let Killua go from the torture chamber. Milluki protests that Killua has not repented his actions, which Zeno states he is aware of. He then tells Killua that his father wants to talk to him. After Killua leaves, he asks Milluki about his opinion on Killua's potential. Milluki thinks that Killua is one of the best in the entire history of the Zoldyck family, but he lets his emotion rise upon the surface, which makes him a failure as an assassin. Zeno remarks he makes valid points. Milluki also tries to impress his grandfather by informing him of a new invention of his called a mosquito bomb, but he admits it has various flaws. Zeno comments that he is both a genius and an idiot.
Yorknew City arc
After the massacre of a large number of Mafia gangsters by the Phantom Troupe, Zeno and Silva are hired by the Ten Dons to assassinate them. Zeno and Silva attend a meeting of assassins organized by Zenji. When the assassins begin choosing color-based codenames, Zeno chuckles and thinks it is like a game. The two introduce themselves, with Zeno clarifying those are their names and not colors. One of the assassins recognizes them as the elusive, notorious Zoldycks, to which Zeno responds they do not really hide. He then gives the assassin his business card, offering a 30% discount since they are in the same line of work. Zeno and Silva go off on their own, refusing the floor plan.
The night of the auction, the Phantom Troupe launches an attack against the Mafia. The mobsters inside the Cemetery Building begin to riot, demanding to have their weapons back. After Silva attracts their attention, Zeno introduces himself. He announces that some of the assassins have already been killed by a man inside that very building. He adds that even if they got their weapons back, he could kill the lot of them in less than seven seconds and that the enemy is capable of doing the same, so he recommends sitting tight. He and Silva search the building for signs of the Phantom Troupe. They soon find the corpse of an assassin and Zeno asks his son's opinion on the skill of the murderer. He resolves to use En to locate him, lamenting that it is tiring. Silva estimates he will need a 100 meter (approx. 328′) radius, but Zeno replies he could easily do 300 (approx. 984′). As he prepares the technique, he sighs they are not getting paid enough.
After locating him, Zeno and Silva confront Chrollo in a spacious room. As soon as they enter, Silva warns his father that their opponent can steal others' abilities. The fight begins and, after Chrollo dodges a kick from Silva, Zeno appears next to him, performing a stabbing motion with his hand. The Spider manages to dodge the attacks, but one of them draws blood from his cheek. He manages to block Silva's punch before Zeno hits him with a beam of aura. When Chrollo cuts Silva's arm with a poisonous blade, Zeno asks his son if he is fine, then begins to analyze Chrollo's Nen ability out loud. He concludes that he is a Specialist who needs to fulfill four or five conditions before he can take an ability. From the poisonous knife, he deduces they cannot be satisfied while taking on both of them at the same time. Chrollo drops the knife and enters battle mode. Zeno tells Silva to wait until he has pinned him down and then kill the target, even if he must kill him as well.
Zeno activates his Gyo, whose power convinces Chrollo to resort to Skill Hunter. He selects and conjures Owl's Fun Fun Cloth. Zeno thinks it could be troublesome, especially as long as he ignores its effects, but noticing that Chrollo inches back as he approaches, he surmises his opponent is just trying to buy time. He combines Dragon Head and Dragon Lance to attack Chrollo remotely and follow him when he dodges. He infers that Chrollo must keep the book open to use a stolen ability and that the cloak is a close-ranged or counteractive one. When Silva unleashes his Ren, Zeno exploits Chrollo's momentary distraction by pinning him to the wall with a one-handed Dragon Lance. He quickly closes in, restraining his legs and unleashing a barrage of punches. He then yells at Silva to attack, which he does with two enormous aura orbs, causing a large explosion at the ground level of the auction building.
Chrollo and Zeno were however saved at the last moment by Silva's transmitter. Right before the Zoldycks can finish the Spider, in fact, Silva's Zoldyck Personal Transmitter rings, causing him to misfire on purpose, and Illumi tells him that the Ten Dons have been killed. Zeno dusts himself off and walks away, commenting they both had a close shave. He states Chrollo is no longer their target since their clients are dead. When Chrollo insists, Zeno retorts that the Zoldycks do not kill or risk their lives for fun. Asked who he thinks would win in a duel between him and Chrollo, Zeno replies that he himself would most probably win, but that if Chrollo fought with the intent to kill him, it would be a different story. The Zoldycks then leave the building.
Chimera Ant arc
Zeno is hired by Chairman Netero to assist the Extermination Team in separating the Chimera Ant King from the Royal Guards, in order to complete the mission with minimum human casualties. About three minutes before midnight of the day of the Selection, Zeno and Netero jump off a flying dragon from right above the Royal Palace of East Gorteau While still above the clouds, Zeno creates an aura dragon to ease their descent. Ten seconds before midnight, Neferpitou and Shaiapouf detect Zeno and Netero. Zeno's Dragon Lance come in contact with Neferpitou's En, causing each side to divine the others' capabilities. When the Royal Guard retracts their En to prepare for battle, Zeno breaks up his dragon with Dragon Dive, causing a myriad of aura shards to rain down on the palace.
The dragon shower pierces the palace, wreaking havoc. Exploiting the confusion, Zeno and Netero locate the King with En on the second floor of the west tower. Upon entering the guest suite, however, they are petrified by the sight of the King desperately cradling a blind girl who was mortally injured by Dragon Dive. The two stand by and watch, feeling that intruding upon the scene would result in the loss of their humanity. Unaware that Komugi would be in the palace, Zeno rebukes Netero. The King takes the initiative and decides to fight elsewhere. He casually walks between the two of them in the split second they are frightened by Neferpitou's aura, causing them to realize the King is even more powerful.
Zeno and Netero follow him out of the southern exit. He reveals he is aware of their intentions and agrees to be taken to another site. Without infusing his aura with the slightest mischief, Zeno uses Dragon Head to transport Meruem and Netero to a testing site for military weapons, above which the dragon disappears. As he prepares to leave, Zeno encounters Gon and his grandson Killua on their way to confront Neferpitou. He immediately notices Killua has changed. Proclaiming not to know anything other than what he has been hired to do, he cryptically tells them to make the call once they enter the room. Then, he leaps away, holding back everything else he wanted to say.
Cheetu spots him outside the perimeter wall and rushes to challenge him. Shaken by having injured and possibly killed an innocent by mistake, Zeno rejects his invitation to fight and tells him to go look for his desired opponent instead. However, due to being unable to enter Smoky Jail, Cheetu keeps pestering him, and Zeno comprehends he sees him as a warm-up. He tries to explain his feelings, but Cheetu cuts him off with talk of his new ability. Commenting he is very self-centered, Zeno surmises he will not be left alone until he accepts. He tells Cheetu to look behind his back. The former Squadron Leader bursts into a laugh, declaring he has learned never to take his eyes off the opponent, only to be squashed flat by a descending Silva, who has come to pick up his father, in a single punch. Zeno comments the result would have been the same either way. Silva asks him if he wanted the Chimera Ant to live, to which he responds he does not care. As they ride their dragon away from the palace, Zeno tells Silva that Killua removed Illumi's needle from his brain. He adds that he experienced a temporal condensation of sorts, which leaves Silva perplexed.
13th Hunter Chairman Election arc
While Zeno doesn't make an appearance, Killua mentions that, like Silva, Zeno wants to keep Alluka close in order to control her, and that Zeno doesn't want Killua to be in danger. Regarding Zeno's relationship with the rest of the family, he has a give-and-take relationship with Silva and Illumi and favors Killua most among his grandchildren.
Abilities & Powers
Zeno's enviable mastery over Nen, his training as an assassin, the experience gleaned over the years of activity and his calm and analytic mind make him an extremely powerful fighter. His name alone is enough to frighten anyone with knowledge about the underworld. Zeno confidently stated that it would only take him less than seven seconds to kill a whole group of armed Mafia members, and that Chrollo Lucilfer, the leader of the Phantom Troupe, would require his full strength to stand a chance against him. During their fight, he managed to force Chrollo onto the defensive. Neferpitou, a member of the Royal Guard, grew very excited to confront him, having sensed his power through their En. Zeno is also very perceptive, as he detected Killua had removed Illumi's needle from his brain.
Immense Strength: Zeno can effortlessly lift debris bigger than he is. He landed uninjured after leaping off his Nen dragon at a height of at least two thousand meters (the length of one of the tendrils of Neferpitou's En).
Immense Speed and Reflexes: Zeno can match Chrollo and Silva in speed. His reactions are fast enough to allow him to catch Chrollo's kick while at the same time unleashing a barrage of punches with his free hand.
High Intelligence: Zeno has a keen intellect and a considerable amount of experience to back it up. He is extremely analytic in a battle, predicting the actions of genius fighters like Chrollo and coming up with perfect countermeasures in an instant.
Master Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Zeno might be superior to Chrollo in unarmed combat; he drew blood from the latter with a strike with the side of his hand and later restrained him by grabbing his leg, keeping him off balance and cornering him with a series of extremely fast punches.
Zeno is a Transmuter. He is an extremely skilled Nen user, undoubtedly one of the finest to have been introduced so far. Aside from his natural category, he is at least also very proficient in Emission, as one of his aura constructs can remain into existence while being several kilometers away from him. He can create dragons that act as means of transport for himself or others in a straight line for a prolonged amount of time, aside from employing them in battle, to devastating effects. He also has a good theoretical knowledge of Nen, instantly realizing that Chrollo was a Specialist and that he had four or five requirements to meet before stealing an ability.
Upon seeing Zeno's Gyo, Chrollo, a powerful Nen user in his own right, deduced he would not be able to stop the assassin's attack with his defense alone and resorted to his Nen ability, suggesting that Zeno boasts a tremendous aura output. Another example of Zeno's superior skill is given by his En: a Nen master can produce En with a 50 m (approx. 164′) radius, while Zeno is capable of releasing his En over a 100 m (approx. 328′) radius and even stated that he could easily increase it to a 300 m (approx. 984′) radius if he so elected. Although he complained it is a tiring technique, the fact he was able to execute it, as well as the overall power of his attacks and the fact he never appeared tired, implies he has vast aura reserves at his disposal.
|Zeno's Nen Type: Transmutation|
|Type: Emission||Aura Blast*|
|Zeno can fire a blast of aura from his open palm powerful enough to knock back and lightly injure Chrollo Lucilfer while also breaking the ground under his feet.|
|Type: Transmutation||Dragon Head (龍頭戯画 Dragon-Head Caricature)|
|Zeno can transmute his aura into a tangible extension of the body in the form of a dragon, which he then hurls at the opponent as a straight shot. This ability is often used in conjunction with Emission, allowing Zeno to shoot the dragon as a projectile or use it as a means of transportation. The dragon can continue to exist for an unspecified amount of time even after being detached from his body, as demonstrated when he employed it to transport Netero and Meruem a considerable distance from the palace seemingly at tremendous speed.[note 1] This was probably the ability that caused Neferpitou to grow excited when their En touched it. On that occasion, Zeno created a much bigger dragon than in his fight against Chrollo and flew with it while showing no visible strain. Dragon Head can also serve as a basis for other Nen abilities, such as Dragon Lance and Dragon Dive. Used in conjunction with the former, it can inflict light damage on a masterful Nen user such as Chrollo by merely brushing past him and keep him restrained between its jaws long enough for Zeno to close the gap between them.|
|Type: Transmutation||Dragon Lance (牙突 Abrupt Fang)|
|This ability allows Zeno to control the dragon created with Dragon Head through precise motions of his hands, without emitting it. Due to its power and flexibility, it is perfect to attack while keeping the opponent at a safe distance. Zeno was able to make the dragon move quickly enough to prevent Chrollo from getting close to him, as well as to grip him the split second he was distracted by Silva. Since this ability essentially consists in Zeno extending his aura and altering its shape as well as properties without separating it from his body, Dragon Lance can be classified as a Transmutation ability.|
|Type: Emission and Transmutation||Dragon Dive (龍星群 Wyvern Meteor Storm)|
|After getting above his target and using Dragon Head, Zeno shatters it in hundreds of smaller aura dragons that rain down from the sky. This technique can cover an area as vast as Ming Jol-ik’s palace and everything else within the outer walls, with each shard being capable of piercing through several layers of concrete before dispersing. However, it is inefficient against Nen users of high caliber, such as the Royal Guard and some pro Hunters, unless they are caught unawares, as the shards are relatively easy to dodge.|
Anime and Manga Differences
Intertextuality and References
Translations around the World