June 14, 2009

The negative connotations to “transient” really help sell the feel of the comic.

This manga is very good. I wish it were officially translated, so I could give them lots of money.

I like Shojo manga. I mean, I do. Granted, I’m past the point where I will read most everything, much like I’m pass the point where I’ll enjoy just about any Shonen manga… though fun, especially your first one, there are definitely tropes and a set pattern to putting them together that, eventually, you get tired of reading again and again. Then you look for something different. You look for something with deeper characters than most and an interesting world, like xXxholic. Or you look for something with amazing twists, such as the intense, constant hatred and forced submission take on the standard shojo love triangle in Hot Gimmick. (Which I need to get back to. I hope it stayed as fresh as it started) Most of the time, the gimmick (which is almost ironic to say after I just mentioned Hot Gimmick, huh) is all a shojo manga has, and that isn’t enough to mask the generic, formulaic plot.

Hourou Musuko is formulaic, in ways. It’s got your love triangle action. It’s got kids growing up and finding themselves. And, honestly, it has a gimmick. But that gimmick is that two of the main characters, Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki, are transgendered. Not only does that idea change the tone, the plots, everything about the manga, but it does so in a realistic way, which characters true to life that it can bring me to depressive tears. Sure, there is the standard awkward romance stuff in there, and perhaps some of the things that occur is a little unrealistic, (The schools they go to seem a little too eager to put on many plays where guys and girls switch their roles, for instance) but that stuff is always fun, and the comic doesn’t let it stop this strong look at how kids dealing with knowing their body is wrong try to figure themselves out. So much of what they say to themselves, at times, seems like things that have come out of my own mouth. Their problems are realistic.

And hell, it even does a very admirable job of dealing with how their friends, who know about their issues, deal with them as well. I think Saori is a pretty fantastic character. She’s in love with Nitori, but doesn’t know how to deal with the fact that “he” is leaning towards Takatsuki. Is it because Takatsuki is really a guy? Or does “he” like girls and is just not interested in her? Her dealing with these things in anger, in religion… it’s pretty intense as well. I love it.

I also think it pretty great (although another one of those crazy coincidences that seem unrealistic, but you let it go because it works so well in the story) that Both Takatsuki and Nitori end up meeting and befriending an adult named Yuki, who turns out to be an MtF transsexual. She’s a very awkward character in many ways, oddly sexual with these young kids, for instance, but at the same time, she too is a complete character, and not a stereotype. We see her family situation, the good and the bad, and we see how she views gender, which to her is kind of invisible and inconsequential. It’s also nice for the characters to have someone to come and ask for advice, which makes her a good plot helper, as well.

Anyway… this comic is the real deal. It’s very well written, moving forward at a slow, but purposeful pace. I’m not done with everything translated on the website I linked up there, but it’s been nothing but great so far. I am a fan. I think the fact that it affects me so much just says how well it’s put together.
I highly recommend giving it a chance. Highly.

[…] that this DOES complicate a relationship. You could explore that. That’s one of the things Wandering Son does so well.) and a lot of it is left on the table so that the story can include more super […]

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