Wandering Son – Episodes 10 & 11 [END]

The Nitori’s have a family meeting where the parents initially try to put the blame on Maho for dressing Shuichi up when they were little, though their father seems a bit more understanding than their mother. Meanwhile, neither Shuichi or Maho go back to school the next day.  Yoshino tells Sasa about the incident, and is kind of in awe of Shuichi never flinching when he was confronted by his teacher over wearing the uniform. Not only that, but Yoshino and Chizuru start getting harassed for their previous dress up experiences as well.  Despite this, Shuichi’s class decides to do another genderbending play for the next cultural festival

Stepping Out into the World

Stepping Out into the World

It was kind of sad see Momoko not only being the least understanding of Shuichi’s friends, but she remained sour for the rest of the season whenever it came to Shuichi, or even Yoshino really for that matter.  Meanwhile, Doi, while still kind of his old self, such as by telling Shuichi he was an idiot for dressing up when he was the one who suggested it, seems to have turned over a new leaf to an extent, such as helping out with the play, and being genuinely upset when Shuichi told him off.

I’m glad we saw a bit more of Saori in the last episode since she had fallen off the face of the planet it seemed for a while, and while she still seems to have feelings for Shuichi, she seems to have accepted the fact that he doesn’t return them.  Meanwhile, I guess not unexpectedly Anna broke up with Shuichi, though in the last episode Shuichi still states his feelings for her.  The status of any of Shuichi’s romantic relationships seem up in the air, though.  I originally thought that him getting with Yoshino was a foregone conclusion, but there doesn’t seem to be anything going on there since he started going out with Anna.  I thought he would kind of strengthen his feelings for Yoshino and vice versa after that, but it seems like Shuichi is genuinely over Yoshino and Yoshino, while I think perhaps jealous at first, seemed fine with him going with Anna.

This series, in the end, was about Shuichi being unsure and shy about who he is, but ultimately coming to terms with it, and not being afraid of it, even if he decided not to go out of his way to show it after the school incident. I think the show has come under some criticism for being too unrealistic, especially when it comes to how understanding Shuichi’s friends are, but I’m not sure that’s the case. Most of Shuichi’s friends were either into cross-dressing or at least flirted with the idea beforehand – really Sasa is the only one who didn’t – and when they met Chizuru, Shuichi was drawn to her because she came to school in a boy’s uniform herself, and Momoko just kind of came along for the ride at that point.  Meanwhile, the reactions of Shuichi’s classmates when he came to the school as a girl are so negative that he basically has to spend a whole semester doing his classes in the nurse’s office.  I almost found it interesting that, due to who was in what class, Sasa really became Shuichi’s primary defender in the last couple of episodes, though there isn’t any hint that their relationship is anything but strictly platonic.

Unfortunately, the series has mostly caught up to where the manga is, though the start of the series started at volume 5, which seems to be unusual.  I think this series is definitely worthy enough of having a sequel, but it’s either going to have to go it’s own way, or wait several years for the manga to get far enough ahead again to do that. I think Wandering Son is a series for those with a particular taste; it certainly is drama-centered. However, for those who like drama series and thought-provoking series, I think that this turned out to be a pretty good little series.

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Wandering Son – Episodes 8 & 9

So the bunch of 7 gets broken up into different classes starting the new school year. Maho doesn’t think Anna will like Shuichi dressing like a girl, but she doesn’t care and they actually go out on a date with him dressed as one. Meanwhile, a boy that used to make fun of Shuichi in elementary school, Doi, is in his class. despite warnings from Makoto and Yoshino, Shuichi tries to become friends with him, with Doi asking to see him dressed up as a girl, and eventually convincing him to come to school in a girl’s uniform.

Shuichi finally "comes out" by coming to school as a girl

Shuichi finally "comes out" by coming to school as a girl

The end of this episode really comes to the head of gender equality, especially when it comes to transsexuals.  Shuichi’s coming to school wearing a girl’s uniform was effectively him coming out that he was trans, since everyone would know about it at that point, and I think he pretty much was aware of it, saying that his parents would be surprised by it.  However, we’ve already seen him being treated differently than either Chizuru or Yoshino was by being taken to the nurses office and being sent home right away, which is where the issue of gender equality comes in.  We’re obviously going to get the full brunt of the reaction of what Shuichi did in the next episode.  While I think most of his friends will be OK with it, what about his school and what about his parents?

Also, there is the question of Doi. Has he really turned a new leaf or was he, as both Yoshino and Makoto warned, just leading him on and trying to embarrass Shuichi in front of everyone? I have a feeling we’ll find out in the next episode as well.

I’m still kind of surprised that the Shuichi/Anna relationship is still going on, though we hardly saw any of it in episode 9.  I suppose this could impact that as well.  Anna may not be bothered with dating someone who dresses up in private or when no one can tell, but may have a problem dating someone known to everyone as a cross-dresser.  But we’ll see  I guess.

Wandering Son – Episodes 6 & 7

So they have the play, which is a blast, and gives Makoto confidence.  Meanwhile, Shuichi is growing through more growing pains as he starts getting pimples, and asks Anna for advice for controlling them (as his sister won’t help him with it).  The pair start hanging out more until eventually Shuichi gets a crush on  Anna and asks her out.  This causes Yoshino to start backing away from Shuichi and causes Saori to withdraw from her friends completely.

Love or just a crush?

Love or just a crush?

It looks like several things may happen due to this thing with Anna.  First, it looks like since the main reason why Saori has been stubbornly hating on Yoshino is no longer valid, the two seem like they may start making up now.  Also, I think Yoshino may be becoming aware herself just what her feelings for Shuichi are. Kind of ironically, I think she could ignore them as long as she was the focus of his attention, but now that he’s dating someone else, her real feelings will start to come out.

As for the relationship with Anna, I have a feeling it’s going to only be temporary.  I kind of feel that Anna’s feeling for Shuichi may extend merely skin deep because he’s cute, and Shuichi may only have a crush on her due to how much time they’ve spent together, but that’s it.  But I guess we’ll find out anyway.  I think she’s seen him crossdress before, so that shouldn’t be a problem I wouldn’t think.  It’s just a matter of how much they actually like each other and how far away Shuichi is willing Yoshino and Saori to get for Anna’s sake.  I”m betting not very far.

Wandering Son – Episodes 4 & 5

Shuichi and Saori are continuing to combine their two scripts together for the class play, but aren’t getting very far, so the teacher asks for volunteers to help them, resulting on the whole group of 7 (Shuichi, Saori, Yoshino, Sasa, Makoto, Chizuru, and Momoko) working on the play. Unfortunately, Saori’s “friend” Ninomiya swings by and ends up spilling the beans on Shuichi to everyone. They finally finish writing it (with it being little more than Romeo and Juliet) and end up drawing for roles, with Romeo going to Saori and Juliet going to…Makoto.

Summer Fun

Summer Fun

Shuichi and Yoshino have continued anxieties about growing up.  Yoshino is still trying to find away to make herself look flat, and got depressed when Momoko told her she had a womanly figure. Meanwhile, Shuichi is worried about when his voice deepens and he starts growing facial hair.  To pour water on him even more, Saori asks what he plans to do, such as have an operation when he’s old enough, but he just says he hasn’t thought that far ahead.

One kind of has to feel sorry for Saori in a way.  You know she’s going to be the one left out in the love triangle, and I”m pretty sure she knows it too, which is one reason why she is always in such a bad mood, especially when around Shuichi or Yoshino. The scene where Yoshino gets angry so Shuichi doesn’t have to I think just shows that, while even though Yoshino denies it, she and Suhichi will eventually get together. Though she may have another rival soon in Anna, who seems to have a thing for Shuishi.

H0wever, while Shuichi says that Yoshino is the one who knows him best, I think that’s true in some respects, but in others, I think Saori has him nailed down too, such as nailing the fact that Shuichi wants to be loved as a girl by a boy Yoshino.  Saori may very well know him best, but I just don’t think she’s the one for Shuichi.

Wandering Son – Episode 3

You can tell that either 1) Japanese schools are different from American schools and/or 2) this show is unrealistic in that, if an American 6th grade teacher ever allowed their class to do a “gender-bender play”, conservative parents would be rioting in the streets and the teacher would probably be fired before the school day was over.  Anyway, that was a nice idea by Saorin, probably in part to allow Yoshino and Shuichi to cross-dress without being embarrassed with their classmates.

Maho's secret home activity: dressing her brother as a girl then stripping him

Maho's secret home activity: dressing her brother as a girl then stripping him

In any case, this episode started dealing with Yoshino and Shuichi’s anxiety about going through puberty, with Yoshino anxious about her boobs getting bigger and not wanting to wear a bra, and Shuichi anxious about when his voice will start to change.

Saorin having to work with Shuichi on the play, though, seems to be making Saorin more anxious since the obvious person to play Romeo in their play is Yoshino, but that just reminds Saorin of the fact that Shuichi is interested in Yoshino instead of her.  I did have to laugh at the scene where Maho’s boyfriend comes in only to see Maho stripping Shuichi.  Probably the only reason Maho didn’t let Shuichi have it (again) was because she was sick.

Wandering Son – Episode 2

More teen angst in this episode, though none of it really about the transexualism, directly.  Basically, Saorin is mad (and has been mad) at Yoshino for being the object of Shuichi’s affections even though Saorin likes him.  After Saorin is still pissy, Saorin and Yoshino’s shared friend Sasa says that she won’t talk to either of them.  This ultimately leads to Yoshino and Saorin making up in the end.

Saorin gets her tsundere under control

Saorin gets her tsundere under control

So we still have the Saorin-Yoshino-Shuichi love triangle going, though at least a bit more stable now after two episodes.  However, we also have some other minor things such as Makoto wondering if he’s gay, and Shuichi’s sister Maho seems to be conflicted or even jealous over her brother’s crossdressing (becoming rather agitated when her classmates remark that he looks cute).  However, this has a payoff later when a boy in Maho’s class uses the incident to complement her.

We also have Chizuru and her friend Momoko who have now joined the Saorin-Yoshino-Shuichi-Makoto-Sasa friend circle, with Sasa becoming friends with Chi and Yoshino still admiring her for wearing the boys uniform on the first day.

I guess there isn’t really very much to dwell on as far as the future goes as of yet, just observations of what’s going on.  Probably the only thing that is for sure is that the teen angst will continue.

Wandering Son: Episode 1

Time for my second new show of the Winter season, and it happens to be the 2nd half of noitamina’a block (following Fractale), Hourou Musuko, or Wandering Son.  This is an 11 episode series about a pair of transsexual friends – one a boy who wants to be a girl, and a girl who wants to be a boy.  I thought it sounded interesting enough to give it a shot.

We Three Friends

We Three Friends

This show started off excellently, I thought.  It’s nice that the pair, Shu and Yoshino have some friends who understand, empathize, and even support them with their gender identity, but it’s clear they still have to deal with those that don’t understand, such as Shu’s sister, who finds his liking to dress up as a girl sick (though it seems that even at some level she understands too).

I think the fact that these characters are just starting junior high school makes this story more interesting as it’s teens trying to figure out who they are and not a high schooler or adult, which might be more seen as a fetish than a real internal conflict.  Also, it seems like Yoshino gets a little bit of a break since it’s easier (and more acceptable) for a girl to dress as a guy than vice versa, though she still seems hesitant to try to wear a boy’s uniform to school.  Of course, wearing a girl’s uniform to school is out of the question, though Shu obviously went out in public dressed as a girl, where people wouldn’t realize who he was.

Also, not only are the pair trying to get through their gender identity issues, but Shu confessed to Yoshino (before the start of the series) and, while they made up at the end of this episode, that’s gotta be an awkward thing hanging over them as well.  It’s hard to know exactly what their sexual orientation might be with gender identity issues too.  Shu still seems to be attracted to girls, or at least he is to Yoshino.  However, we get no clue about how Yoshino feels in that regard.  It could be that Shu likes her just because she’s masculine too, who knows.  I figure that might be some of the issues the show ends up covering before it’s over.

Also, I thought Saori was cool.  She seems like she could be sort of a brat, but she understands both Shu and Yoshino and gave the boy trying to bully Shu what he deserved.