First, I want to extend a huge thank you to Natasha, who was amazing and posted her 12 Days post yesterday instead of me when my final ended up fucking me over! — Which gave me the premium opportunity to completely rewrite what I had already written.
Second, I want to wish every one of our dear readers here at ShibireruDarou a warm and happy holiday season this year!
Third, I want to say that I’m not good at writing things that are personal, or really relate to me in any way. I enjoy writing about the things that I love, but always end up doing so in a detached, academic way. But that is completely not in the spirit of the Twelve Days of Christmas, so I’ll try to make the effort. (I’m not making any promises though.)
Forth, on this day of Christmas I’m giving to you: Hunter x Hunter.
I picked the show up in late August of this year, and I haven’t chain-watched that much anime that quickly since 2011 when I watched about four-hundred some episodes of One Piece in the span of three months — I think I got through ninety episodes in about one-and-a-half weeks.
My inclusion of this show should come as no surprise to anyone who follows me on Twitter though, because even now I tweet (read: freak out about on twitter) at least once a week about this show.
There is one thing that brings me back to this show over and over every week with such a consistently strong emotional reaction, and it’s the relationship between Gon and Killua. In the revision I had right before this one I waxed on and on about how good the structural elements of Togashi’s writing — the construction of the premise, plot, atmosphere, and ever-changing genre — are, but I’m gonna level with you and say that to me those are just the icing on the cake. I could be “objective” and talk about how those “elevate the show to a level of perfection”, and I would just be bullshitting you because what makes the show really perfect to me are them.
And it’s really hard for me to identify why the relationship between Gon and Killua resonates with me so much and on such a personal level. I mean, there is a certain high level of investiture I have in something like Ringo/Shouma from Mawaru-Penguindrum, but it’s nothing like attachment I have to Gon and Killua.
I think that one of the major things about their dynamic that I love isn’t the shipping aspect (although ngl, that it a big part of it), but rather that the way they treat each other is exemplifying of the kind of friend I endeavor to be to the people I like to call my friend. As someone who has historically had difficultly making friends, keeping friends, and reading the status of a relationship, calling someone my friend now should signal to the other person huge step in our relationship and me really putting my faith in another person. It is me saying that I am going to put myself out there for you in any way I can, that I will be open with you and be willing to do anything for you; it’s also me saying that I expect you to at least attempt to be that way with me as well.
I’ve never had any reason to value the relationships I have with my family beyond simple “duty”, and so the relationships that I choose to have — the people I choose to include in my life — have always had a special meaning to me. So to see my own unique views on relationships and especially friendships really exist in a context external to myself and my own mind means so much; it’s as if the way I’ve been made to choose to view the world is almost validated.
On top is that is the, you know, pure fact that the romantic relationship between Gon and Killua is practically canon. It isn’t even hyperbole when I say that because the way in which Togashi frames their friendship almost begs that interpretation. When I started the show I was completely in the mindset that I didn’t ship them, but as the show went on — they are totally cute together and should grow up to be cute boyfriends!
Even if we ignore the fact that their romantic relationship isn’t canon and just compare fujoshi fodder across the board, there are specific reasons why this one appeals to me. Something like Free! feels incredibly fanservice-y and thus really fake whenever you try to ship the characters together, because that is completely not the nature of their relationship; and the same goes for Naruto/Sasuke in Naruto, Haruto/L-Elf in Valvrave, even if they aren’t fanservice-y at all. The relationship between Gon and Killua doesn’t feel as forced when you try to frame it as homosexual in nature though, and as a gay guy the fact that there is something even not canon that I can easily identify with is important.
Because in addition to struggling with interpersonal relationships another thing that I struggle(d) with was representation. If every example of a gay man that I’ve ever seen is an effeminate New Yorker who loves Broadway musicals and interior design and whose relationships are always fleeting or doomed, what is there for me — someone who would much rather play Borderlands 2 than go shopping — to identify with. If when I was younger there hadn’t been this horrible stereotype of who gay people are I would have had a much easier time seeing myself in them and coming to terms with who I am.
So yeah, even if Gon/Killua isn’t canon and will never be canon, the plausible idea of it is still something closer to the representation I want for myself and my community than anything any media has ever given me before. When I was a child, I would have loved to have been Killua with the ability to straight-up murder people and give zero fucks!
So yeah, Hunter x Hunter means a lot to me on a personal level with how I relate to it, but I swear it’s also just really good from beyond that perspective and I really need to write a post about that. Alas, that is something for another day, and so I leave you here dear reader with two final words: