Hourou Musuko Episode 9
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: Shuichi goes to school dressed as a girl; Shock! Surprise! Scandal!
Episode Summary: Yoshino finds the courage to go to school dressed in a boy’s uniform, raising many eyebrows at school. Horn-dog Doi wants to see the pretty woman that was with Shuichi earlier, so he convinces Shuichi to arrange a meeting. Yoshino crashes the party, and Doi is shocked to learn the “woman” is a transsexual. A confused Doi then asks Shuichi to dress up for him, and says he should go to school as a girl. Despite warnings from Chizuru and Yoshino that doing so would be A REALLY BAD IDEA, he’s made up his mind, and Shuichi goes to school in a girl’s uniform.
My Impressions: You’ve really done it now, Shuichi — there’s no going back now. This episode was really difficult to watch, because you could see the train wreck a mile way.
You could see that this was going to end poorly from the very beginning. The warning klaxons were blaring from the get-go, and it seems the only person who didn’t hear them was Shuichi himself. But it doesn’t matter how much you scream at the screen, “No, don’t do it!”, you know that he has to do it. For better or for worse, he’s made up his mind.
But I suppose that if Shuichi is really and truly serious about how he feels, then it was the only possible choice he could make. He could continue “living the lie”, keep his thoughts and feelings bottled up inside for years to come (like most people), only entrusting himself to his small group of trusted friends, until it is relatively “safe” to reveal his secret. Even though that’s the most common path transsexuals take, it’s not exactly healthy for the psyche. OR, he can leap into the deep end feet-first and reveal himself to the entire world. After seeing his comrade-in-arms Yoshino take the plunge, it was the only path left for him to take.
He may dream of a fantasy happy life living as a girl and everyone smiling and giggling and accepting him as before. But of course he knows it is going to cause problems. Of course he knows it is not going to be easy. Of course he knows things will be different forever. And now we get to see the fallout, and what will become the “new normal”.
Oh, and does anyone else just get totally creeped out by Doi? There’s something just sketchy and slimy about the guy.
For more information:
- My earlier reviews:
- Info resources: My Anime List, Anime News Network, AniDB, and Wikipedia
- Watch full episodes online: on Crunchyroll
Sampling of Online Reviews:
- “But Hourou Musuko does have another purpose aside from emotional beatings, and that’s transgendered issues. So far, I’ve looked at this series as a characters-first, issues-as-background show, but the issues have finally been brought to the forefront. I’m glad Nitori went to school dressed the way he wanted to despite the inevitable backlash coming his way.” – Sekijitsu
- “This was a terrific example of the heights that subtle drama can reach. The entire episode was quiet, but so much was going on. The red thread was Nitori doing the impossible and coming to school in his girl outfit, being nudged by Doi in order to do this. It brilliantly made use of his insecurities as a girl in a guy’s body. It all culminated wonderfully until the climax of this episode.” – Star Crossed Anime Blog
- “I can’t say I understand what Shuuichi’s going through, but glimpses into the life he’d rather be leading as a girl did make it apparent how much happier he would be. At times I just want to scream out, “Why!? Why couldn’t Shuuichi and Yoshino just be born in the other person’s body!?”, but evidently the contrasting dissatisfaction from both genders is what makes this show so interesting.” – Random Curiosity
- “When Nitori ended up showing up at school dressed as a girl, I literally couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. I mean, I knew that this moment would come eventual, but man was it nerveracking. What makes it even more nerveracking is knowing how Nitori is genuinely a good person, but he will receive some serious lectures/punishment/bullying because of this. It’s rather a shame, especially if you consider how much courage and determination it must have taken him to get this far. Grade: 4.5/5.” – Emory Anime Club