Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wandering Son, Book 2 - Manga with Transgender 6th Graders

Wandering Son, book two by Shimura Takako, translated by Matt Thorn

Shuichi and Yoshino are now in sixth grade. Shuichi (the young boy who wants to be a girl) spends a precious gift of cash from his grandmother on a special present for himself, a purchase that triggers a chain of events in which his sister Maho learns his secret, and Shuichi inadvertently steals the heart of a boy Maho in interested in.

The woman who showed so much interest in Yoshino (when she was wearing a boy’s school uniform) in Volume One reappears with her boyfriend, and, after discovering the important secret they have in common, becomes a mentor and friend to the two children. And the kids go on a class trip that is a rite of passage Shuichi would rather pass up. Shuichi is called a “faggot” by another boy, and the dramatic nature in which Saori comes to Shuichi’s defense leads the two to discover a shared fondness for Anne of Green Gables. But despite his propensity to cry (a propensity noted repeatedly by his more outgoing sister), Shuichi finds strength and courage he didn’t know he had.

Add your review of Wandering Son, Book Two in comments!

1 comment:

Nicki said...

I've read all of the series that is out so far in Japan (it's a looong series) and it's really amazing. I'd recommend it if you're used to reading manga, otherwise it might be a bit confusing and hard to follow.

The series starts when the main character is in fifth grade, and in the latest manga as of when I'm writing this review, he is in high school.

What I like about this series is how realistic it is. Shuichi is in fifth grade and he's always felt different. Throughout the series he explores his interest in wearing women's clothing. Something like this could easily be simplified and flat, but you really see the conflict with him.

The female character, Yoshino, wants to be a boy. But their stories and their feelings aren't completely the same. Yoshino flip flops quite a lot about what she wants. It's nice to see that the two main transgender characters aren't portrayed exactly the same.

I would like the manga to explore sexuality in general more. It's never really explained if Shuichi and Yoshino are interested in men or women or both or what. It's good, because their sexuality is more fluid, but it's a bit frustrating. However, they're just in the beginning of high school so I believe that these issues will be further explored!

Basically, I like how realistic everything is (for manga) so far and how the author is really taking it slow with the characters figuring themselves out (because really, when is it ever that simple and quick to come out completely, even to yourself?)

I would definitely recommend this series, but I'd also recommend that you wait until a good number of them are out in English or you find them online because it's quite frustrating waiting for new manga volumes to come out!