Anime Review: Hourou Musuko
April 25, 2011 4 Comments
Title: Hourou Musuko (Wandering Son)
Directed by: Ei Aoki
Aired: Jan 14, 2011 – April 1, 2011
Genre: Drama, School, Gender Bender, Slice of life
Every once a while flower blossoms, the pedals begin to open for the whole world to view the beauty of sprouting and what lies underneath. Puberty is a transformation for growing up and leap into adulthood; Where boys and girls are at a stage of maturity and finding their gender identity. Hourou Musuko is a tale amongst young children going through “Coming of Age” where boys become men and girls become women. The Anime questions “What are little girls made off?” or “What are little boys made off?”. What distinguished the identity that keeps boys and girls different between each other, what gender qualities I must have to say I’m a boy or I’m a girl you may ask? Is it okay to have different qualities of the different sex that isn’t suspected for oneself to have?
Shuuicihi Nitori is a young boy entering Junior High, He is a timid shy boy and feminine for his gender. Nitori enjoys viewing himself as girl and cross dresses as female in public whenever he is not in school. He is a boy who wishes to be born a girl instead. Nitori isn’t the only character that shares Gender Identity confusion, Another Protagonist Yoshino Takatsuki, is athletic tom boy in the same grade and class as Nitori happens to be a girl that wishes to be boy. Takatsuki is viewed more as boy and likes to be addressed as Kun, enjoys being appeared as a boy than a girl. She refuses to wear skirts, dresses, long hair and make-up despite her mother always advising to dress more feminine. Back then Nitori and Takatsuki were once close friends back in elementary school with another girl Saori Chiba who is just an average short tempered girl in the Anime who is considered normal compare to those two who was also a close friend of theirs. Nitori and Takatsuki are indeed well obstructed characters that play a great in the theme of the anime and well likable. Chiba plays a crucial role support in both of their lives in the past and present aging circumstances and the one that stands between them. The roles of support characters; classmates, family and public help play a role with the main characters observations of their social ideals and debate of their morals plays well.
But the majority of anime focus on Nitori telling a specific event in each episode that occurred at time in his life that either deals with a specific event or struggling through his nature growing up as long with the two other characters that get their turns to shine and share common experiences.
For only Eleven episodes the anime seemed pretty slow and subtle but I guess they didn’t want to fit too much in the anime since it is based on an Ongoing Manga. A series so short can sometimes feel like things are allocated with structure, Things that was really done was not being to high on the Drama. Most series tend to be very to drawn out on Drama and Hourou Musuko was surprisingly moderate on emotions keeping a balance between it’s share of; peace, enlightenment, drama and frustration with the series.
I was very pleased with the Art direction of this, The anime had a mix of art into it like a scrapbook with water color animations with the characters and environments. Gentle soft colored tones with background and white blurring on part of frames making it like as if the anime was a memoir or a dream, Which is perfect because sometimes the narration talk about past moments in life. Every now and then it seemed like they change art animations at some scenes, some looked more pencil and water color like or digital graphic. Though some animation frames did seem a bit awkward… like each character had to much shine on them that made them seem like they were almost plastic like and even in night frames the characters were still shining and I was very confused. But that’s the only thing the art bug me about but overall the art was just remarkable and unique that fitted the theme perfectly.
Music and voice acting was pretty good, I was able to get a impression from the voice acting and they suited the characters nicely but needed some arranging. They had brought in artist “Fiction Junction”: Yuuka Nanri to do Chiba, Seto Asami doing Takatsuki, Kousoke Hatakeyama as Nitori, Nana Mizuki, Horie Yui and other famous voice actors to doing roles. Great voice actresses and actors but, the roles didn’t suit all of them in my opinion. They felt a bit mellow, moderately emotional and kind of slow where you have top notch wanted voice actors but you have them mellow sounding when you know they’ve done better and step it up a notch. It could be Directors choice not to make it over dramatic and keeping the mood subtle.Well I am going to give props to Nitori’s voice actor was done pretty well for an amateur who just started voice acting at thirteen, he did a good job for someone new and captured that essence of shy and gently feminine at some times. I felt like it was a bit hoarse at some time but for a male voice actor to play a character nearly the same age as him and being new at it, He did a fine job. Soundtrack to the anime was good, display a nice atmosphere and mood also featured songs from Rie Fu album For you; being one of my favorite artists.
Hourou Musuko was a good short anime from this Winter 2010 – 2011 catalog but not as good as the Manga version. It’s something to watch if you want a quick slice of life and Drama anime to watch that isn’t too over dramatic and slow paced. If you enjoy it, you might wanna read the Manga since its still ongoing and you have a better understanding with the characters and doesn’t have allocated details or scenes in the anime. If your interested in Takako Shimura (Original Creator) work, you should check out her manga: Aoi Hana.
Final Score: 7.3/10
Story and Concept: 7; I really liked the concept of Gender issues and social problems but felt like they put more work in other irrelevant scenes than trying to display more of Gender bender social issues.
Art and Animation 8: I really loved the sketchbook style art style with nice water color textures, it looked very subtle and gentle with the atmosphere.
music/Cast/Audio: 7 Voice acting wasn’t bad but it was watchable, a really good crew of well known Seiyuus but they didn’t use their potentiality. The anime voice acting was a bit mellow for me but I like better than other animes with Over dramatic tones and cliche lines.