Hello again everyone, this week I'm going to continue where I left off last week talking about the magical abilities present in the world of One Piece. This time I'll be describing Haki the magic like ability wielded by characters in the later part of the series. Warning potential SPOILERS AHEAD.
Haki is loosely defined as an inherent ability all people possess but most never gain awareness of. It is described as similar to fighting spirit, force of will, or resolve given a more tangible form. There are 3 types of Haki, 2 of which anyone can achieve with training and a third which only a small number of individuals have the potential to use.
The first of these is Kenbunshoku Haki also known as Mantra. It enhances the users senses allowing them to sense people and things beyond their range of sight or that are behind cover. The user does not actually see the target but gets an impression of them similar to an aura. By interpreting this aura it is possible to use this ability to predict an opponents attacks. This is the primary use of the ability and it increases the ability of the user to avoid attacks by giving them more time to respond. The ability is also shown to have a mild empathy component as well as granting some form of power level detection of entities in the vicinity. Both of these are just alternative applications of the aura reading ability. This ability can be countered in several ways. The first weakness shown is an inability to predict random action, since the ability to predict attacks is based on gaining information about the opponent if the opponent does not know where their attacks will land you cannot learn that information from them. Another major weakness is that the ability does not actually improve the user's ability to dodge, so attacks that are too fast or large to evade will still connect since the user cannot evade them even with advanced warning. The ability also requires some level of focus and if this is broken the ability ceases to function. Also the ability can overlook things if the user is not aware that they are present, so an ambush is still possible since it will only be detected if the user is looking for it.
The second type of Haki is Busoshoku Haki. It's use allows a person to coat themselves or an object they are holding with an aura of invisible armor. This invisible armor increases both the defensive and offensive capabilities of whatever it coats. It can be used offensively to increase the force of an attack or defensively to reduce the damage dealt by an incoming attack. The main advantage of the offensive use is that in addition to increasing the strength of the attack it also causes the attack to ignore the devil fruit powers of the target. This is incredibly useful against Logia and Paramecia type devil fruit users whose abilities can make them nearly invincible. While the ability does not disable the target's devil fruit the ability to physically grab Logia type devil fruit users is vital to combatting them. The main defensive use manifests as a darkening of the skin to a dark black and grey color. This effect is referred to as hardening and basically serves to make parts of the body more durable as well as offering some protection from devil fruit abilities. It is unclear if this protection blocks attacks by devil fruit users such as fire or simply prevents their abilities from acting directly on the body such as cutting or other effects that occur directly at the point of contact. The main weaknesses of this Haki form are that it's defenses can be overcome with enough raw power and that there has been some evidence that there is a way to completely ignore this ability but details on this are very unclear.
The third type of Haki is Haoshoku Haki which is only usable by a select few individuals. This ability basically allows the user to knock out weaker individuals in their vicinity. The simple application of this is a burst of Haki which will knock out any nearby people who are considerably weaker than the user. More skillful users can generate this same effect but can selectively target specific individuals instead of just affecting everyone. The ability is also shown to be usable continuously which exerts a constant pressure both on the people and objects in the vicinity. The only other application is the use of the ability to assert dominance over animals. The ability's main weakness is that it can be resisted and it's effectiveness is determined by the difference in power of the user and the target. Therefore the ability is basically useless on anyone of similar strength and many opponents are likely to be able to overcome the effect even if the user is relatively powerful. This relegates this ability to more of a scare tactic or crowd control measure than anything else.
Well that will conclude my presentation of Haki in One Piece and I will be back on Saturday for the fan content post.