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Writer & baker based in Chicago. Likely eating too much pastry and listening to sad dance music. Co-editor for AniGay.

Celebrating my birthday feels like a leg that’s fallen asleep — dragged along the ground while the other grows more tired and agitated having to carry the weight of the other. Birthdays, well, my birthday, has never really felt like mine, not completely.

It is always something to be shared.

My sister and I were born on the same day, five years apart. It’s disingenuous to say we were born on the same day when I was, in fact, born on her day to celebrate life. My birth was frenetic and wild enough to be featured in the local paper…

I’ve looked forward to writing about the Zoldyck Family arc and more specifically, Killua’s trauma, ever since I first considered creating HxH Detours. He’s one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever encountered in fiction, and I felt legitimately proud of him when I watched how Killua fights for himself to grow past his family’s weighted expectations.

While the backbone of Hunter x Hunter follows Gon’s journey to find his dad, the real heart of the series is in addressing trauma — like Gon’s loneliness and (well-founded) abandonment issues and Kurapika’s grief — with the most rewarding growth centered on…

CW: brief mention of domestic violence and asphyxiation

Announcing my intended college major to the stunned faces of my Indian parents was the second time in 2009 that I disappointed them.

Why are you going to college to study East Asian culture and history and take Japanese? Can’t you feel more pride for who you are and your own culture?”

I tried to keep my smile from becoming terse (Rupa, you will not add fuel to the fire), and bit back the bitterness skulking beneath the surface as they reluctantly agreed to my decision. I was far-too aware that —…

Welcome back to HxH Detours! We’re now entering the short Heaven’s Arena arc which is focused on introducing the core of the Hunter x Hunter battle system. As I stated way back in my first character introduction, at the beginning of each arc I’ll introduce new, relevant characters as well as do recaps of ones we’ve already been introduced to in the past.

Now that we have all that preliminary information out of the way, let’s dig into our new (and old!) characters of Heaven’s Arena! And I’m assuming if you’re reading HxH Detours that you’re aware that there are…

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Promare. Consider this your one and final warning.

What isn’t Promare about? It’s an anti-assimilationist narrative of repressed queer people; a queer love story at the heart of it; a story with a colorful, deceivingly simple geometric symbolism guiding it, and that’s just where it starts. But what immediately struck me from my first of three watches of this movie is the commentary on racial issues and society’s rejection of not just queer people but all marginalized people.

From the moment Freeze Force descended onto the ruinous aftermath of the Mad Burnish elite immobilization, it was…

How Natsume’s Book of Friends Uses Yōkai as a Metaphor for Queerness: Intro & Part 1

MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD for Natsume’s Book of Friends. Consider this your one and final warning.

There are moments we find ourselves walking down a path we’ve followed countless times on the way to a familiar place where monotony becomes the norm. Then, suddenly, we encounter something from “the other side” — something fantastic, a surreal dream, a reminder of death. Those manifestations of the “other” serve numerous purposes, but in stories, they appear in order to illuminate a lesson or turn the subconscious into a tangible manifestation.

They may be supernatural, but those brief moments we stumble into a world…

CW: depression, bipolar disorder, brief mentions of bullying
TW: suicidal ideation, attempted suicide

A note before you begin: I created a Spotify playlist to listen to along with this piece (er, and quite a bit after — it’s fairly long), which also serves as a “get-to-know-me-but-through-music” mix. I created it to be listened to as is, but feel free to play it however you see fit.

Shin-Hakodate-Hokuto Station ( 新函館北斗駅) — image taken myself

I’ve been writing about depression my entire life. I began penning this long, sprawling essay the moment I was able to find any way to pour out the deluge of pain into my frenetic…

We’ve made it to the end of the main couples mini-series! In case you’re wondering what I’m referring to, start here before reading further.

*wipes brow* thanks for sticking with me and without further ado, I present to you the most fucked up, wonderfully dysfunctional couple: Hisoka and Illumi.

Digging Dirt Holes and Pillow Talk

In my last two pieces, I talked a lot about transitional moments being important to highlight the burgeoning confidence between Gon and Killua and Kurapika and Leorio respectively — so where does that put us with the sudden “shock” of Hisoka and Illumi? …

Welcome back, everyone! As I mentioned in my last post, I’m doing a mini series within HxH Detours to help parse through the main couples of Hunter x Hunter within our first, introductory arc. This time, I’m taking a look at the growing confidence between resident teenagers Leorio and Kurapika, and how their relationship illuminates their transition into mature adults. Also a reminder: I use terms like “couple” and “partner” interchangeably to analyze how characters are paired off narratively into relationships with specific intensity; this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m equating these relationships as explicitly romantic. Anyway! …

Hunter x Hunter’s strength and beauty lies very much in how it examines queerness both implicitly and explicitly via how its many queer characters settle into their identities through self-awareness and growth, and by exploring relationships, friendly and romantic, with other characters. Over the course of the series, we meet a number of queer and queer-adjacent couples who illuminate the multitude of ways friendship and romance can develop while the couples involved are learning more about who they are as people.

Within the first arc, we meet three of Hunter x Hunter’s main couples, each of which embodies a different…

Rupa Jogani

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