Anime Review: Hourou Musuko Wandering Son

Makoto and Shuichi talk

I hope that everyone has been doing well, and getting plans for the weekend straightened out.

Things have been going well, though I did have a few troubles figuring something out, and I can still do what I like.

While waiting for the rest of a show that I got earlier this year, I decided to look up a show that I had attempted to watch once yet did not give it too much of a chance, since very few things in this world are undeserving of a second chance.

Today, I will be reviewing that show, which is called Houro Musuko Wandering Son.

Shuichi and Yoshino dress as who they want to be identified as

Shuichi Nitori is a seemingly ordinary boy entering middle school, or most people assume, but he shares a secret with a girl he has been friends with since elementary, in which they want to be seen as the other gender, and they are both determined to live how they want.

Shuichi getting a picture with his sister

Even though I was originally disgusted by the premise of this series, because my upbringing was in a setting where cross dressing was weird, I decided to try and come into this with more open mind, especially because I have already doubting quite a bit that has been preached as true by my elders.

And, after finally watching it, I kind of liked it, though not as much as I would have liked.

After only a few episodes into the show, I did not want to stop watching this for any reason, though I do have to satisfy the same needs as everyone else.

While I would have preferred it if I got was pulled into the series within the first few episodes, it took me a bit longer to get into it, as I was still kind of disgusted what this series seemed to be at first.

Now, some of you guys might be yelling at the screen, calling me intolerant and such, since that is seems to be the norm for many people today, but I do not need to share the same opinion as everyone else, as Mr. Garrison points out in The Death Camp of Tolerance from South Park, by saying:

“Tolerant but not stupid! Look, just because you have to tolerate something doesn't mean you have accept it. If you had to like it, it'd be called the Museum of Acceptance. Tolerate just means you're just putting up with it. You tolerate a crying child sitting next to you on the plane or you tolerate a bad cold. It can still piss you off. Jesus tap dancing Christ!镍

Mr. Garrison was saying this because he was doing things that should have upset the parents of the children of the class in a classroom and in public, yet they did not bat an eye at what he was doing because they were supposed to treat him the same way as those that they agree, instead of canning him, which he should have.

Likewise, I do not need to like the fact that something has something that I consider gross.

Still, even though it did take me a while to get passed that kind of bias, I am glad that I was able to immerse myself within the first few episodes, instead of making me wade through almost the entire series before things get interesting.

Fans of the visual mediums used to present stories, like avid readers, want to be able to sit down and immerse themselves in a show or movie, and if they cannot do that, they would be just as upset as any avid reader, as they are going to not be able to ignore any of the problems a show has, regardless of severity level, though they might be much more forgiving than avid readers are with books.

I also liked how the characters felt fairly realistic and believable.

In many works of fiction, the plot gets so much attention from the creator that characters tend to feel rather undeveloped or not feeling like actual humans, which can be seen in many American television shows and Hollywood movies, and that means that the work is only good when the plot has any focus, while it becomes garbage when you have works that end on an epilogue.

Slice of life works like this series, however, the characters and their own problems are the main focus, so the characters must be fleshed out to the point where they feel like human and we can understand what they are going through, as they try and find what makes them happy in life, and the staff that worked behind this series at AIC Classic seemed to understand this quite well.

After all, I do not think that shows like Barakamon would have been able to stand out in the slice of life genre if this aspect, otherwise the series might just seem to be as generic as K-On! Is said to be, 'which would turn people away, as opposed to attracted.

If the staff had taken this approach, I would have hated this show much more than I do, since I can only say that this series was not exactly my cup of tea at this point, as opposed to being truly bad.

However, because the staff did not do that and dealt more with the struggles of the characters, such as the hypocrisy of people not caring what clothes a girl wears, yet not accepting a boy that wants to wear clothes meant for girls, it helped me to become much more interested in the show just a bit more, as I could understand what they were going through.

Hopefully, more studios and people will realize the necessity of this aspect of a slice of life series, because people will not enjoy a slice of life series for just being a slice of life series, since that is the only way to turn around the image of the genre itself.

Unfortunately, I do not see that happening any time soon because the slice of life genre panders more to the audience than any other, as it is already perceived to be boring.

Still, the people who do do things differently deserve to be praised for going against that flow, and AIC Classic is one such studio.

The thing that I liked the most though was how the importance of doing what you want to be happy.

While this did not exactly stand out in the realm of finding oneself to be happy, like Barakamon, or even trying to accept yourself, it was still nice to be reminded of the importance of doing what you want.

In our lives, we have people telling us that we need to get married or we need to have kids, or even anything else that comes to your mind of things that you do not necessarily want to do, and while some of those things are necessary to survive, such work to earn a living or hunt or fish or gather edible plants, those things do not always lead to happiness.

For a human to be truly happy, they must do things because they want to and not struggle against who they are, but some people cannot really accept that not everything about a person can be changed, if at all, and they go about trying to fix the person.

In this series, Shuichi and his friend, Yoshino, try to dress the way that society thinks they should dress and they do feel as happy as about it as when they get to dress the way they want because they are not representing themselves for who they are, and they only feel happy when they can dress the way that they want.

A slice of life series is supposed to be able to reflect what life is life in a fairly realistic manner, and that means that not only do the things that can be changed about a person need to be present, but even those that cannot be changed easily, if at all, such as whether a person is mostly introverted or mostly extroverted, their sexuality, and how they process information and act upon it. A person cannot find themselves suddenly energized by social events after they had a mostly quiet life that they were happy with or a person that has been mostly practical to cannot start making spontaneous decisions based on emotion without a catalyst.

If Shuichi and Yoshino did find happiness by conforming to what people thought was right, this would not have been something that would have stood up well in comparison to other slice of life series, as it would have come off as feeling unrealistic.

However, because there were things about the characters that could not be easily changed, it did show well enough to show the importance of doing what you want that I would at least give the staff at AIC Classic praise for doing something right.

Outside of those things, I cannot think of anything that I particularly liked, at least that could stand out as much as what I actually talked about.

Because my attention was captured fairly quickly, though not as quickly as I would have liked, characters were fairly realistic and believable, and it had a reminder that people are happiest doing what they want, this series was somewhat decent.

Shuichi Nitori

Although I did kind of like the series, there are some issues.

However, aside from things that are too minor to talk about and things that I would probably complain about because the series was not exactly my cup of tea, there was only one thing that bothered me.

Nothing was really all that memorable.

This series is supposed to be a series about a boy who likes to cross dress and be seen as a girl, and that is fairly unique, since most of the male anime characters that I have seen who look good in clothing are used for comedic purposes, instead of serious exploration of a topic, but I can hardly remember anything from the show itself.

Many people consider this an anime that is a masterpiece and shows what life is like for a person considered to be part of the LGBTQ community that is very touching, but if I cannot really remember too much about it, even with a memory that is better than most, I cannot consider it a masterpiece.

A masterpiece needs to be able to stick in the minds of a viewer or reader, while being able to remember the best moments or have some meaning.

However, I cannot remember anything because nothing really happened or made me think of things too deeply, which made it difficult for me to find anything that I particularly liked, other than the fact that this series is only available for streaming.

Now, this series is not exactly viewed to be as perfect as Attack on Titan, as there are something that are said to be better executed in the manga, the only version of it available to people where I live for purchase, but if this series is supposed to make people more aware of the LBGTQ community and make people like me sympathize with them as much as Shoya and Shoko from A Silent Voice, this does a pretty poor job of doing that and actually gets me less interested in finding out more about such people.

Really, AIC Classic? Is this really the best that you can do for a series about such a controversial subject?

Anime fans, like avid readers, want to have what they know or believed challenged and walk away from with something to remember, but if nobody can remember what they liked so much, even if it was not their cup of tea, it ends up looking worse than if the things that stood out were all negative.

In fact, how I am supposed to grade this if I cannot remember anything?

The only way that I think that this could have been fixed is if things actually seemed like they were changing or the problems that people with gender identity issues were covered just as well as Shoko's difficulties in A Silent Voice were shown.

Unfortunately, because things were done on a level in which I could not remember much about what happened exactly, it just has me walking away indifferent towards those people, and no feelings of wanting to understand them better, and that makes the whole series worse.

Thankfully, this was the only thing that was bothersome, and I can just leave things at that.

While there was only one issue, the fact that it exists in a title that is supposed to help make people more aware of the problems faced by those with gender identity issues and such, the series ends up being nothing more than just another one of the grains of sand found in the world of anime.

Despite the fact that there were a few things to like, the fact that the series was quite forgettable overshadowed the good to the point where the series is only good enough to kill time.

I mainly recommend this to those that are truly interested in series dealing with gender identity issues, as they might be able to enjoy this more and have knowledge of what things are like for such individuals.

As for everyone, I can only say that you will not be missing anything by not seeing this show.

If you liked this review and would like to see more, please considering support me on Patreon, so that I can find more worthwhile anime to watch, and do whatever you do when you find something that impresses you.

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Copyright © 2015 Bryce Campbell. All Rights Reserved.