The Preen Team is v. gay and v. loud about it. In #HeartEyes, we talk about our queer obsessions, from our childhood crushes to the characters we identified with strongly who we’re pretty sure were also gay.
How do I even begin to talk about the best anime character from the best anime series of all time? How do I explain to the folks who haven’t seen or read Yoshihiro Togashi’s “Hunter X Hunter” (HxH) why 13-year-old (a subject of debate) ex-assassin Killua Zoldyck must be protected at all costs? It’s a daunting task, but one I’m willing to do for my dream gay childhood BFF.
Let me start by admitting that I didn’t grow up with Killua, but I really wish I did. Long before I binged all four seasons of the 2011 adaptation from Madhouse Inc., I’ve seen our silver-haired sk8er cat boi prowling on the internet. Not that he was ever banished to near-obscurity like other anime deuteragonists, but there’s been a recent surge of lovingly made fan edits on my timeline. You won’t be hearing any complaints from me. I’ve bookmarked videos of cat face Killua, little fashionista Killua and Killugon’s exceptional bond.
— stares (@iwaoiist) June 25, 2020
Today, I tried to look into why I’m so fond of him (not in a romantic way, mind you) and I’ve come to this conclusion: he could be any young queer’s ideal support system. What makes HxH so appealing is its wholesomeness. Even though Killua and his best friend Gon are thrust in a lot of dangerous situations at their very young age (as typical in the shounen genre), the heart of the narrative is their friendship.
I don’t think Gon’s quest to become a Hunter and find his deadbeat dad is the main drive of the story. As his dad advises him, it’s about enjoying the little detours in the journey towards whatever goal you set up for yourself. And since Killugon were pretty much joined at the hip since the day they met, HxH is about doing your best with your favorite person. I mean it as a big compliment when I say that the idea of it seems super gay to me. All the Killugon shipping aside (some of the inner monologues do sound a lot like pining), Killua is the ride-or-die BFF who will go to the ends of the earth to make sure that you’re OK, doesn’t judge you and trusts you with their own life. He is the human equivalent of a safe space. Killugon are each other’s found family. Yes, I’m tearing up a little.
Another one of my favorite things about him that screams queer to me is his fashion sense. He’s like the Ryan Evans of anime. Seeing a new outfit on him is as refreshing to me as a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. While all the other shounen boys don’t even bother to switch up their style, we’ve seen Killua sporting tops like the pink sweater layered on a white collared shirt and the sleeveless hoodie. I’m also obsessed with his six-strapped backpack. Whether the additional straps are there to keep the bag more secure or just for the sake of dramatic flair, I’m all for it.
The 13th Hunter Chairman Election arc is probably the second-best of the series (with the Chimera Ant arc claiming the top spot) because it has Killua’s sister, Alluka Zoldyck. While it hasn’t been outrightly stated that Alluka is a trans character, there are scenes where members of the Zoldyck family misgender her and are wary of her (due to a dark entity that possesses her body). On the other hand, Killua is protective of her and introduces her to Gon as his sister. I’m not going into details so I don’t spoil it for you but the arc does seem like an allegory to families that abandon their LGBTQIA+ kids or force them into the closet.
Whether or not Yoshihiro confirms that he’s actually queer, Killua will always have a seat at my gay dinner table.
Art by Dana Calvo
Check out our other #HeartEyes stories:
Remy from ‘Ratatouille’ is my gay rat chef boyfriend
Kristen Stewart was my gay awakening
I’m not a gamer, but the FFX-2 girls made me want to be one
Do I wanna be like Sasha Luss or be WITH her?