Hourou Musuko Episode 4
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! Shows from the Winter 2011 Season that received a “thumbs-up” review after the first, second and third episodes now advance to the fourth round. For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
About the series: Hourou Musuko, a.k.a. “Wandering Son” is a weekly television series that aired between January and March 2011, based on a long-running manga series by Takako Shimura. Shuichi is a boy who wants to become a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to become a boy. Both of them are on the cusp of puberty, exploring their own identities and such unexplored topics as transsexualism and gender identity as they enter the difficult years of junior high school. More about the series: Wikipedia Entry.
Click on the thumbnails below to view the picture in full size in a new window:
ep. tl;dr review: More junior high school girl/boy/boy/girl drama as the play starts to spin out of Saori’s control.
Episode Summary: Yoshino becomes increasingly troubled about puberty, and visits her adult mentor for advice. One of Shuichi’s older sister’s friends buys him a phone-strap as a token of apology about teasing him over the Romeo and Juliet play. Due to the teacher’s meddling, several people end up getting involved with the play, much to Saori’s aggravation. Saori sees right through why Shuichi wants to write the play, as an obvious fantasy of Shuichi wanting to put himself in the role of Juliet. On a shopping trip, Shuichi asks Yoshino to play the role of Romeo, but this only bothers Saori more.
My Impressions: You can almost feel the key slowly turning, very slowly ratcheting up the tension one click at a time. I mean, it’s all just budding kids fumbling through new emotions as they try to figure out all this confusing adult stuff…but it all feels so real and authentic, and that’s where the show excels. One one hand, the very reason for Hourou Musuko’s existence is an exploration of gender roles and identity, which I really don’t care about at all. On the other hand, the whole story itself is wrapped up in the larger story of teenagers growing into adults, and that is something everyone can relate to.
As for this episode, the tangled web of relationships between Shuichi, Saori, Yoshino and the rest of the class is only becoming more tangled. You want to feel a little sorry for Saori as her cherished project is hijacked and it seems like Shuichi is slipping away from her a bit. But she’s really boxed herself in by spurning practically everyone she knows. I really wonder what the whole phone strap thing was about (sort of came out of nowhere), I’m sure it is setting up something for the future.
For more information:
- My review of the third episode on June 30th: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/673560.html
- My review of the second episode on May 21st: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/653350.html
- My review of the first episode on April 10th: http://matthigh.livejournal.com/629443.html
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, and AniDB
- Watch complete episodes online, licensed by Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/hourou-musuko-wandering-son
The Blog-Roll of Reviews:
- “It established that both Saori and Shuuichi are too stubborn to give up their crushes. I also like how they are constantly talking about this and their feelings, instead of keeping it all cropped up. Grade: Good.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “I like how they show snippets of other characters, but it doesn’t break from the flow since everything shown is still revolving around the main characters while at the same time making the interactions so much more intricate.” – Random Curiosity
- “his episode was a bit on the slow side in terms of pacing, but it did do a pretty good job of fleshing out some of the relationships between our characters. Grade: 4.0/5.” – Emory Anime Club
- “It’s little touches like this that really bring out the potential of anime as a visual medium, which are so often neglected by shows which seem to think their viewers are idiots who needed to be pounded in the head with a fifty pound hammer to get a point across.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
WINTER 2011 SEASON ROUND FOUR RESULTS!
Fourth Episodes from the Winter 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-up: Fractale, Hourou Musuko
Fourth Episodes from the Winter 2011 Season receiving a thumbs-down: Is This A Zombie?
Coming up next: Yumekui Merry, Gosick, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica, Level E