Shuuichi Nitori is a 5th grade student who likes to bake and has always been something of a feminine boy. When he transfers to a new school, Shuuichi is mistaken for his 6th grade sister on his first day. Then he ends up sitting next to Yoshino Takatsuki, a tall, boyish girl who everyone calls "Takatsuki-kun." They both have secrets they can't let anyone know...
The series deals with issues such as being transgender, gender identity, and the beginning of puberty.
Hourou Musuko was selected as a recommended work in the manga division by the awards jury in the 10th and 17th Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006 and 2013 respectively. It was also nominated for the 2012 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list by the Young Adult Library Services Association.
The series has been published in English as Wandering Son by Fantagraphic Books in hardcover format since July 5, 2011, in Korean by Haksan Culture Company since January 15, 2007, and in Chinese by Ever Glory Publishing but was discontinued on volume 4.
Hourou Musuko received an 11-episode anime adaptation which aired from January 14, 2011 to April 1, 2011.
Nitori has always been a bit of a girly kind of boy. He likes to cook, he’s sensative and has little in common with the other 5th-grade boys. He’s even cuter than his older sister, Maho, who wants to be a model. Saori Chiba is a classmate who seems to understand him, but mostly just likes dressing him up. He strikes up a friendship with Takatsuki, a tall girl who is very much a tomboy and who everyone calls “Takatsuki-kun”. They meet and befriend a gorgeous woman, Yuki, who is actually a transsexual. All the while, Nitori is discovering how good he looks as a girl, and how much he likes it.
Hourou Musuko centers around elementary- and middle-school children, but is a seinen manga, targeted at college-age readers. Although the look back at school days relies heavily on nostalgia, the issues the characters are wrestling with are very adult. Nitori isn’t gay in the sense that he has no real idea of, or interest in, sexuality or romance. He is more interested in having friends, and likes acting and dressing as a girl. For both him and Takatsuki, their friends and families are loving and supportive, but there is some tension with the schoolmates acting in proscribed manners.
Things move slowly in this manga, focused on social situations and the feelings of the characters. It almost makes you think it’s sort of shoujo, but there’s little in the way of overwrought interior dialogue (or screentone, either). It’s a slice-of-life story and despite the sexually liminal nature of the plot, it still manages to capture the reader with distinct and heartwarming characterizations. The crossdressing makes me think of sexual roles versus sexual gender…and those two versus sexuality. Hourou Musuko is much more concerned with sexual roles in society than with mere titillation, which I liked very much.
Shimura employs a very clean style, but somehow manages to retain a sketchbook sort of look, making it look as if she had simply sat down and effortlessly sketched her perfectly cute faces–impossible, as those of you who do art well know. Art this effective is always the result of hard work, and it certainly shows here. Most of her panels leave out the background of any kind, once she has set up the scene. She is an obviously very accomplished artist, since her figure studies are realistic and foreshortening of limbs or bodies (a sure giveaway of an artist’s skill) is very well-done.
Kotonoha’s scanlation is typically of high-quality for them, the whites are white and the blacks are clean black. The typesetting is well-suited to the style of the manga, while being easy to read. I highly recommend downloading this one.read more
From the standpoint of a storyteller, the slice of life genre is the biggest you can use and because it's slice of life it can make for a long story. The problem however, is that the genre is almost always filled with generic things. You'll get a protagonist in a high school full of tropes, and despite what the writer might want you to believe, if you've watch or read slice of life then you've probably seen it all before. That's where Hourou Musuko stands out. While it is slice of life, it is more specifically the characters' life, which makes it one of few manga in this genre that you can actually say you haven't seen before.
Despite being little more than its synopsis, Hourou Musuko has a very enjoyable story. This is because it is slice of life and surprisingly enough, it lives up to that point. When the story begins the characters are very young and naive, but as it goes onward they slowly grow older, and the hardships they experienced before leave a very imposing mark. When they approach situations that resemble these events, self-doubt manifested through the past billows upward, and makes them question if they should or could do it again. This is very realistic, which all slice of life manga don't need, but should have a little more of . It's a very character driven story, and Shimura's attention to character depth, makes it a very involving tale.
Because I'm not much of a visual artist myself, I can't exactly give Hourou Musuko's art any justice when it come to critique, but in my opinion it's suitable for the story. When done in color pages, it looks sort of like a water painting, and uses very pastel colors to go with the over all lighter essence of the story. Character design is simple and won't likely be how you remember them, but its clear that Shimura tries to make an effort, and she has admitted in one omake that her art isn't very good. This however is my critique, and while I can't say that it will appeal to the artist in you, I can say that its simpler look does a good job at giving form to its story.
The trait that undeniable ranks highest amongst all of Hourou Musuko's traits, is its characterization and and character development, which is important when going into a story like this. It is a manga that shows how far the slice of life genre can be taken when the mangaka isn't just looking for a plane to throw the characters into. What makes the story is the characters, and Shimura pays enough attention to all of them to make them stand out. It is not a cast of anime tropes, thrown into a typical setting but real people in a real setting, thrown into a fictional world. If you have a life that resembles any of the characters, or even if you don't it is possible to see a bit of yourself in them which makes them that much more endearing.
The enjoyment you'll find in Hourou Musuko is extremely high, if its not your type of manga then its likely that you won't read it but if you do you won't have to worry about drama being unnecessarily thrown in. Slice of life is an unfortunate genre that more oft than not, comes in two form. One is comedy which can be good sometimes, but is otherwise an excuse to make a story where nothing happens. The other is drama which goes out of its way to prove that it can be that. Again there are some dramas that are actually good, but its not hard to happen upon one that slings the drama into your face. At times, life can be hard, and at others it can make you smile, and if any manga I've read is a testament to that, then Hourou Musuko would be it.
The story is involving, the art suits it, the characters it portrays are very well done, and all of this only adds to its enjoyability. What adds to its overall score though is that it is a seinen, and unlike a lot of other seinen that are generally just gore and porn, Hourou Musuko has a reason for being classified as that. The reason it's a seinen is not just because it has things that can't be put in shonen, but because those things require you to think. You have to be mature to read it. This is of course debatable, but I implore you to give it a look before you make your decision. For being a rather well woven story,with a likable cast that drive it well, I award Hourou Musuko with a 9 out of 10. However it does have a lot of characters, and not all of them get enough time, which inevitably took away from the ending score.read more
Hourou Musuko is nothing more than your run of the mill shoujo manga with a crossdressing twist. If you are like me and come expecting a story about boys and girls growing up as transsexuals, this will leave you sorely disappointed. What this title offers instead is loads of teenage drama, love triangles, love confessions, first dates...- everything strictly heterosexual and involving kids as young as 12 years old.
There's one actual MtF, adult transsexual in the story, but she's presented as a sexual deviant and a predator, making sexual advances on a preteen child.
As for the main characters, they seem more confused than anything. The girl in particular does little to differentiate herself from the standard tomboy seen in so many stories before. The boy is fascinated with crossdressing in secret, but is otherwise a very passive and boring kid. You never get the feeling that there's an internal struggle going on, or that he even identifies himself as a girl. If you've ever seen testimonies of actual transgendered kids, this is nothing like that, even the parents don't seem to know about the situation!
With the main hook treated in such a superficial and drawn out manner, all that's left is a generic story about the romantic lives of preteens and some decent artwork (cute faces with little variation, some good establishing shots followed by many bland panel backgrounds).
At the time of this review there are 116 chapters published. I read the first 50 or so, but before writing this I made sure to check the latest chapters and found them to be more of the same, so I'm fairly confident in my judgment.read more
Hourou Musuko or The Transient Son is a beautiful slice of life story that you can relate to and seems so realistic.
It's about Nitori Suuichi, a boy who not only looks cute as a girl but seems so well suited as one. Thing is, he does want to become a girl. And his friend, Takatsuki Yoshino is quite the opposite. She is a girl who wants to become a boy...
When I first looked at this manga I first thought 'ewww, there are gays in here!'. Man was I wrong. The story is so realistic you can't help but continue to read. Not everyone has a friend who wants to be the opposite gender. Looking into the world of one of these people gives you a different view on how everyone and everything else is seen from their eyes.
I would've given the story a 10 but unfortunately, everytime I catch up on the manga I get bored. So bored I feel like dropping the manga entirely. However, I make myself read it because I know the manga is definitely worth it. Slice of life just needs to ease in before you get gripped.
The art is quite unique. Whenever I see coloured pages I'm very surprised, each and every time. The manga is water coloured. The colours are smudgy but it really suits the manga as the water colours give off a peaceful vibe.
As for the actual art, I really like it. Nitori does look like a cute girl and Takatsuki does look like a handsome boy. The art is really cute and suitable for this kind of manga.
I thought I would not like this style of art but turns out I really like it and is very suitable for the manga.
I love the characters. I absolutely love Nitori and Takatsuki. Their actions are just so realistic you yourself could even imagine yourself doing what they were doing. Chiba Saori is a very realistic character too. Even though I just hate her I really like her development. She tries to be good. She wants to be good but she just can't control her emotions.
I really do love the characters and it is also one of the manga's strong points.
Enjoyment & Overall: 10
Yes I have admitted that this manga bores me when I start to read where I left off but you have just gotta love this manga. It is very enjoyable once you get into it. I've pretty much confessed my love to this manga so I'm taking off now.
When you think of gay anime characters, you probably think of yaoi and yuri, but great LGBT anime characters can be found in other genres. Learn about the history of sexuality and gender in Japan, how their attitudes differ from the US, and which LGBT characters challenge stereotypes.