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And Nen is a multiplier of the strength and if the Forumla were like that then we have trouble with anything that it's not Intensification.
Not counting any special multipliers (Ko, Hatsu), in the case of Reinforcement it's pretty clear that it's just physical strength * up to 2 (depending on the type). Remember that doing twice the amount of damage in one hit is not the same thing as hitting someone twice.
In the case of other schools, since a lot of abilities are not even physical in nature it's hard to come up with a formula. However, assuming you're just doing pure damage with no special conditions involved, Reinforcement establishes a hard cap (otherwise someone's Materialize/Emission may be stronger than a Reinforcement's fist normally) so for damaging attacks, it has to be limited by that guy's physical ability * 2 as well. That is, you can't possibly do more physical damage than if you were a Reinforcement guy using your fist all else being equal.
Of course the special effects may have effect that goes beyond damage. Feitan can set you on fire and that can pierce through high physical defense, but I assume the damage he does is still considered low compared to a Reinforcement user against a training dummy.
In the formula I mention Kou IS involved in the Nen Multiplier since you don't hit with all your body. And I think that the physical strength can be multiplied much more than up to 2 when there is something as the Big Bang Impact.
In case of Emission, it would be only Nen*Special multiplier due pledges and conditions. Since most emitters tend to go for special effects, damage is not calculated.
I have been thinking about illumi's needles for a bit now. Now, the way in which he uses them is overall simple, he uses them to control and manipulate other stuff by implanting them in people and himself. In this regard, illumi is indeed a textbook manipulator. The issue itself would be in the sheer amount of needles he uses. Normally a manipulator would be better off by manipulating a single object as the meaning the object has to you would affect the technique. On the other hand illumi just throws them around like beads at mardi gras and does not even bother to get them back for the most part. Now, there are two ways in which illumi could stock himself with needles, he could have them made or he could materialize them himself. Materializing them himself would have a huge advantage over him simply running out of needles as he could create a limitless number of them. There is the issue that he would get only 60% from materialization however I don't think that is in itself an issue if he is materializing such an overwhelmingly simple object and deriving its abilities from his manipulation skills. What does everyone think?
I personally believe that the needle technique came before He learned Nen, so the knowledge of how to use it to manipulate people may come from that training. It can be done in HxH world, let's not forget Pitou making Pokkle talk about Nen by using two sticks as if He was Chinese food.
Nen technique could be a more deep effect than that, making it subtle (subconsciously) and allowing En range by using Emission. They may be materialized but I find that strange on a Manipulator. Comes to my mind what Shalnark said about manipulators and how they're sometimes in disadvantage due needing always the particular item. And He was not a rookie to just assume that He lacked the ability to materialize a simple object like a cellphone.
If Ilumi carries around say a hundred needles that's more than enough for any number of fights he should expect to get into before he can restock. While Manipulate is dependent on objects, there's no reason those objects have to be very special. I'd assume the needles themselves are pretty ordinary so he can buy/steal more of them at anywhere you'd expect to have a hospital.
I'm guessing if you materialized your own needles, they wouldn't be as strong. In particular, you probably won't be able to control people with a materialized object, otherwise there's really no advantage to be a manipulation user whatsoever since whatever object you manipulate can be materialized.
A manipulator constantly make his manipulated item better, and i don't think a Materialized one would work like that.
OTOH, Look at biscuit.
^Well, one way or another illumi does not have the lifetime partner thing. We have no reason to believe he recovers his needles right? And for something as basic as needles I doubt much training is needed (we saw kurapica's chain training and it was not much traning at all).
Likewise Ilumi's manipulation abilities are always tied to having some needles around, regradless of their strength. Of course, the needles he use look pretty standard stuff so there's no reason why he can't literally have a hundred of those around. There's nothing saying the object you manipulate has to be one of a kind. Presumably Morel and Shalunark can make/buy more pipes/cellphones if they ever lose their current one, but they will always need to get the specific item back to use their abilities.
About the subject of materialization, I still say that size doesn't matter when it comes to training of materialization. Every object in mind has exactly the same size, so it's coherent to think that complexity or size is not a factor for a person with a regular talent.
^On that I disagree. At the very least there will be a difference in the amount of nen required to materialize an object. The object might have the same size in the mind but the object will have very real differences with other objects and its own attributes once it is materialized. The manga has portrayed nen as something from which you give and take, I can't imagine someone materializing a smaller or larger and more complicated object without the amount of work and power to correspond to that. Heck, even with kurapica it is not like he made the chain on the first try once he started materializing chains, he said he must have made thousands of them until he got it right. Complexity is definitely an issue when it comes to conjuring objects.
Well, I'm giving for assured that you have enough aura to materialize what you want to materialize. In 1:1 radio.
But complexity is something highly arguable. I mean, materialized items have always or most times a special property and not everyone is a physicist expert to understand how the effect is achieved. I mean, Leorio can make a fucking black hole and it's very likely He doesn't know how He did it. The sketches Kurapika did were probably in design and effect and what He said about Pledge and Condition. Since we know little about his training, we can't just assume that you get materialized thing JUST as you like in the first try but that doesn't depends on complexity rather than taste.
Leorio is likely an emission, I doubt it is a relevant comparison. I don't think the molecular makeup of something is very relevant for the thread although at least things which are in theory more dense should require more aura to materialize. The complexity is not an issue of the material itself but rather its shape and any mechanism behind it which does not work magically. Say, if you want to materialize a submarine it is very likely it will have a bunch of little parts and mechanisms which you have to be able to imagine to the required detail and that is not something easy to do. I don't think a complex mechanism would appear just because, you must be able to properly understand and visualize it.