Hourou Musuko Episode 8
What this is about: Watching all of the anime shows so you don’t have to! For more information about me and my reviews, click here.
Series Premise: 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.
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ep. tl;dr review: Class shuffle! Unplanned karaoke session gets reeeeeeeeeeally awkward.
Episode Summary: The start of a new school year and the students settle in to their new classes, including Shuichi having to deal with Doi, who gave him trouble in elementary school — has he changed with time? Yoshino and Saori are getting along better. Shuichi confesses to Anna that he likes to dress up in women’s clothing, and she suggests he dress up for their next date. While on the town, they run into Yoshino and Saori, and the four of them go to a karaoke bar. Anna needles Saori, Yoshino blurts out Shuichi’s uncomfortable past relationship with everyone, and Shuichi sings his heart out.
My Impressions: What can I say? Other shows have had their ups and downs, but Hourou Musuko has consistently been good from the very beginning to present. No need to pile on the superlatives that I have already talked about in earlier episode reviews.
Everyone undergoes the “class shuffle” as a new school year starts, and I would have expected that would shake things up dramatically. But interestingly, it seems as it everything is going along as swimmingly as possible, given the uneasy polygon of relationships between the characters. The only real potential point of conflict is an added point to that polygon with Doi, a bully from elementary school (that I’m sure fans of the manga know about, but is totally new to the anime in this episode), and I foresee dark clouds on the horizon with that uneasy “friendship” between Doi and Shuichi.
The karaoke scene got extremely awkward with glam-rock-Shuichi caught in the middle between a verbal sparring match with his current “girlfriend” and his *ahem* exes (after a fashion). Saori starts acting out, Anna calls her on it, Yoshino says too much, and they’re off to the races. It was awfully uncomfortable to watch it all go down, but seems to have resolved itself and everyone coming out stronger for it. Only three more episodes to go!
For more information:
- My earlier reviews: Episode 1 (April 10), Episode 2 (May 21), Episode 3 (June 30), Episode 4 (July 29), Episode 5 (August 18), Episode 6 (September 3), Episode 7 (September 22)
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Watch full episodes online: on Crunchyroll
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “It can’t be helped. Hourou Musuko is a great series, and there hasn’t been a single misstep in its episodic run thus far…Sure, this episode has two almighty coincidences (Anna and Nitori go to the same place as Chiba and Saori; Doi sits right in front of Nitori), but the characters more than enough make up for that. Especially Anna who has quickly become a favorite.” – Sekijitsu
- “What’s great about this episode is that it shows some of the character growth our characters have been going through rather well through the Nitori x Anna relationship. The strange oddity here is the involvement of the former class bully; introducing a new character with only a few episodes until the end of this series certainly sounds rather risky. Grade: 3.8/5.” – Emory Anime Club
- “This show is moving really quickly, which is both a strength and a weakness – there’s no risk of getting bored, and they’ll be able to fit more into the short timeslot, but some parts need less time spent on them than they deserve…But the creators have been doing a great job at fitting as much in as possible – the show flows really smoothly in spite of how much they’re stuffing into every single episode.” – Draggle’s Anime Blog
- “You know, after watching this episode, I realized one of my main reasons for loving this show so much. Its realism. That realism makes it extremely easy to relate to the characters.” – The Kotatsu
Coming up next from the Winter 2011 Season: Yumekui Merry Episode 8, Gosick Episode 8, Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica Episode 8