In some shows, most notably Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, they use crossdressing as comedy. This mostly involves a male dressing as a female to make it really difficult to tell the real gender of the person. However, in Hourou Musuko (aka Wandering Son), the show takes a more serious and realistic approach. They focus on the issues of transgender people similar to what transgendered people faces and growing up through two people, Nitori and Takatsuki.
The story skips ahead when Nitori and his sister entered middle school. There are some flashbacks where Nitori dressed as a girl and took pictures as a model with his sister and later Takatsuki. The next flashback shows his confession with Takatsuki, which brought embarrassment. These are shown while he changes into female attire in the restroom after school. When he locks his stuff in a locker, he went out in public and went to a shop to buy a four-leaf clover pin.
The most important part in this episode is his sister’s reaction that happens after trying on her clothes alone. He probably wants to try it since he is curious how he would look. Unfortunately, his sister comes into the room and suddenly realized that he crossdressed. They get into this fight until he punches her and runs away. Afterwards, she called him “sick.”
The reaction from his older sister is pretty important since she doesn’t understand what he is going through. He is a very delicate person, especially at his age where he faces puberty. He loves to be cute. This is the reason why he prefers wearing female clothing. It allows him to feels better about himself. Unfortunately, people don’t understand and society looks down male crossdressing and thus, they face ridicule or even bullying. Ultimately he finds Takatsuki that understands his feeling since she likes wearing boys clothing. She eventually calms him down and then escorted him back.
Ironically, Takatsuki does not face the same discrimination like Nitori faces. Society seems to accept a female dressed as a male since it’s not too obvious as the former. Nevertheless, the issue is easier said than done since there is a psychological part with gender identity.
Lastly, the production values are very good from only the first episode. The colors are pretty soft and the characters look great. It’s in no doubt that this show has very high productions values. On the other hand, the OP/ED was unexpected with a male singer doing the opening and an English ending. Nevertheless, I give props to AIC for a great production just from the first episode.
Overall, Hourou Musuko covered the transgender topic in a rather emotional and seriously. While there is no clear genre for the show, it has a few comedic moments and drama. It’s more like a documentary in anime form that wants to share important issues in story form. Lastly, the first episode had some plot holes since it jumped ahead in the source material. As a result, it made the first episode slightly unclear, but it still understandable for people new to the show. Otherwise, I can’t wait until the second episode to show more of the issues that both of these character face gradually.