First Impressions – Hourou Musuko

What are little girls made of? Sugar. Spice. And…

Hato-kun: Turns out this isn’t my last first impressions! Which is fine by me, because the last show is actually awesome in it’s own right. However, Hourou Musuko (or Wandering Son, if you’re feeling particularly foreign)! For me, it will most likely be the Kuragehime of this season (not just because it’s 11 episodes), but because it’s just not something you see very often. It seems like it could be a pretty special thing.

Sassy: I’m pretty excited about this series, mainly because I thought the manga was so good. Here’s to hoping the anime delivers.

We start the episode with a simple and sweet monologue from a middle school student, asking ‘What are little girls made of?’. If you think about it later, it’s a little creepy. His name is Nitori Shuuichi, and he’s just entered middle school. After his monologue, we’re bombarded with introductions and new characters who are just about to enter an Entrance Ceremony. While it’s a little overwhelming, the art and animation keep things bubbly, bright and all round appealing. Combined with a catchy and upbeat OP from Daisuke, it’s a great start to a new show.

We return in the middle of the ceremony and things begin to take shape. Shuuichi has just moved to his new school with a lot of his old friends from elementary. And there are a few important ones to note. Ariga Makoto, a short boy with glasses and freckles and one of Shuuichi’s best friends, Sasa Kanako, a brown-haired twin-tailed girl, Chiba Saori, a seemingly violent dark haired girl, and as you’ll find out, Takatsuki Yoshino, a tall boyish girl. As Shuuichi makes his introduction, some rude bastard cuts in, blurting out that Takatsuki and Shuuichi dated previously. The kid in question gets slapped around by Saori after she gets agitated, and some students begin to think she likes Shuuichi. Oh, gossip. How we love you.

Now, we know that Shuuichi and Takatsuki have a past, but what kind? It also seems that Chiba is involved to some degree. Interesting. During the lunch break, Takatsuki runs into someone from her class by the name of Sarashina Chizuru. She’s a tall girl with long, flowing hair. And for some reason, she’s wearing a boys uniform. Chizuru suggests that Takatsuki joins the basket ball team as she’s rather tall, and jokes that she felt like wearing a boys uniform that day, so she did. Takatsuki somewhat admires her. As the day comes to a close, Makoto and Shuuichi part ways, Shuuichi runs into town and straight into a restroom to clothes. Not only clothes, but genders as well. You see, Shuuichi likes cross-dressing and desperately wants to become a girl.

Before they changed school, Chiba, Takatsuki and Shuuichi used to be close. They knew that he cross dressed and they accepted him, like real friends would, which is sweet. We also learn that Shuuichi confessed to Takatsuki, only to be turned down. The reason being was that she didn’t fully understand what love was at the time (that’s pretty deep…). We also learn a little something about Takatsuki as well. After a conversation with an older friend of hers, we find out that Takatsuki, is also a cross-drssed and desperately wants to become a boy. Now we start to see what’s going on. Shuuichi walks around the city dressed as a girl, thinking to himself and also genuinely enjoying himself. From what we see, it looks like it’s what he really wants.

When he arrives home he runs into his sister, Nitori Maho, and one of her friends. They leave the house to meet someone, and Shuuichi spots a dress hanging from the wall of his room. Inspired by something that happened earlier in the city, on a whim he tries on the dress, obviously pleased with himself. As he goes to put on the last touches, his sister barges in, claiming she forgot her cellphone. She fights with him, trying to rip it off him. He pushes her over and runs out of the house, his sister yelling out to him, saying he’s sick. As he runs through the streets, by chance he passes Takatsuki. He stops and tries to collect himself, but just ends up crying. Takatsuki gives him her sweater, saying she saw someone wearing a skirt and sweater earlier. After talking, it seems they finally make up, putting behind them what happened between them and Shuuichi realizes that they’ll still always be friends. D’awww.

End Thoughts

‘Come to the dark siiiiiiiideeeeeeeee. Join meeee!’

That dude in the background to the left has a MASSIVE HEAD.

Some would call this a wardrobe malfunction. I call it ‘hipster’.

The Grudge. Only cuter. And less dead.

Sassy: The art and music really did it for me here. By art, I mean the coloring specifically. Shimura Takako, the author of the manga, has this watercolor-like style on her color pages, which was unusually appealing, and I think the animators have definitely reproduced it faithfully here. The colors are a bit faded, and you can see the inhomogeneity in supposedly solid blocks of color, as if the artist was coloring by hand with a paintbrush and unable to keep the pressure perfectly stable. Watching this anime is like watching a moving picture storybook, which leaves you with this fresh feeling when it’s over.

The music is already leaving an impression on me, despite being very minimal and quiet. It’s mostly slow, tranquil tracks with only a few instruments, with several of them being piano only. It gives the story a feeling of being suspended in time, even though time actually passes very, very quickly in this series. This shaky sense of time is also a part of the manga, where the story often skips ahead, then filling in any gaps with flashbacks. On one hand, it might seem like poor planning, but I think it’s a fun way to experience the story.

I’m already familiar with this series, so I’m going to be biased in my overall impression of it, but as you can tell, I really enjoyed this episode. Obviously the series won’t be for everyone due to the subject matter, but it was definitely good for me. The anime also starts in the middle of the story, so I’m curious to see how they’re going to bring new viewers up to speed with all the characters’ relationships with each other. The story is written very realistically, so each individual character has really complicated relationships with each of the others. For example, Chiba is quite an interesting girl…

It might be difficult to get at first because it’s really fragmented right now, but I think a lot of you will enjoy this series. The serious theme is a nice change of pace from the fantasies and comedies. Even if the transgender theme doesn’t appeal to you, I would check it out for the great storytelling.

Hato-kun: I’m not quite sure how to put it into words. Probably because I’m so manly. Describing it as ‘brutal’ wouldn’t really do it justice, but ‘brutal’ seems to be the male equivalent. I can’t be like ‘Dude, Hourou Musuko was about these kids cross-dressing! It was so brutal!’, and if I did, people might start to question my sanity. I guess I’ll say that Hourou Musuko was downright sweet. It was cute in a weird trap kinda way, and the characters at times seem waaaay too mature for their age, but that’s what’s fun I guess. I was a little overwhelmed with how many character were introduced in such a short time, but the benefit of forcing so many on you in a short time, is that if it’s successful, you can create some wonderfully complicated stories. I’m hoping Hourou might to do something like that.

Another incredible high point was the art and animation. To me (at least) on first impressions it reminded me instantly of 5cm Per Second, which is brilliant because I loved that movie. I was also surprised that AIC handled the animation (Oreimo, Amagami), then again it’s most likely just different teams within the studio. The white was in the corners was a little annoying at first, but then I was like ‘Oh right, it’s only for outside in the light. That’s actually kinda cool.’ Though, the stand out was definitely when you first see Shuuichi cross dressing. For someone who didn’t know the plot, it would be a really interesting (or disturbing, whatever kinda person you are) twist in the story. And like I said above, Shuu really seemed like he (she?) was enjoying himself, and we really feel that that is who he’s meant to be.

I’m pretty sure you’ve guessed that there is an underlying romance in this show (well, I hope there will be). And it’s a very interesting one at that. I don’t know how many anime you’ve seen like this, but I for one haven’t seen one where both parts of the romance are cross-dressers and are desperately wanting to be the other sex. It’s slightly tragic in a sense that, if they were born how they wish themselves to be, they wouldn’t have to befall any of what will most undoubtedly happen to them. There’s always gonna be those few dickheads who tease them, you know it. And I’m looking forward to that episode. Because when it comes along, I’m sure as hell hoping their friends come up and beat the living daylights out of them.

Not too much on the preview front except for the name being ‘Hate, Hate, Despise ~Cry Baby Cry~‘. It sounds like something pretty nasty could happen, so maybe we should watch it. Luckily, I’ll be here next week to shed light on what will happen. This show seems good enough to do episodics on, yeah?


We live, laugh, enjoy and strictly believe on "more the merrier". When together, we usually come up with very chatty, conversation-based episodics and interesting posts.
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28 Responses to “First Impressions – Hourou Musuko”

  1. Captain says:

    You posted this right after I watched it! Ahhh, love the art <3

    • Hato-kun says:

      The art is seriously one of the high points. Each character actually looks different. They don’t need pink colored hair or something to differentiate.

  2. Bass says:

    Wow, someone upped the exposure in here.

    That said, the color and art style is really nice, has a very melancholic feel to it. Love the softness and the glow

    • Hato-kun says:

      After awhile the while really did start hurting my eyes…

      It was like actual sunlight so I think I did start melting.

  3. Goking says:

    It was kinda confusing in the beginning with all the different characters being introduced, took some time for me to understand everything ><

    Yup the art was really relaxing and easy on my eyes too, kinda complements with the story too ^^

    • Hato-kun says:

      I’ll be surprised to find a person who wasn’t at least a little taken back with all the character thrust onto them.

  4. Goking says:

    It was kinda confusing at first with all the characters being introduced, took me a while for me to understand the story ><

    The art was really relaxing though and easy on my eyes, complements well with everything too ^^

  5. Dan-go says:

    oh my god this looks so fluffy, arrggh watching too much, i promised not too many for my final school year

  6. Juliancan says:

    It is not only the art style that made me like the first episode but rather the rather detailed personal analysis of the protagonist of his very own nature as well as the nature of the people surrounding here.

    You can really see his dilemma as he questions what girls, boys and middle school students are made of.

    I also like the fact that this anime do not downplay, or mute the children’s personalities as opposed to many anime series. Indeed, this anime series rather seem to take their characters rather seriously, and not protray them as cliché, stereotypes of already existing series.

    So far, admidst all those fanservice and mahou shoujo fights, this seems to be my current favourite.

    It’s fluffay too ~~.

  7. Juliancan says:

    The character study done in this episode in this episode is quite impressive, and that is saying a lot considering that the cast was not even properly introduced. And the chemistry is quite nice too.

    The psychological analysis of the main lead has been perfectly portrayed through his questioning on the nature of people around him as well as what he really is. Also, I like the fact that the characters here, as kids, were not dumbed down. In the anime world, I notcied quite unfortunately that series tend to dumb down the children to as being either angelic or downright bratty. Here you can really see them portrayed as humans with a huge palette of personalities, they are not portrayed as neither too special nor too blended. Even though the protagonist is shown to be quite timid, he nonetheless does not seem timid to the point of stupidity and actually had a fight or flight moment.

    Definitely my favourite anime series this season admidst all those fanservices, those mahou shoujou fights and imaginary settings.

    And as Dan-go said, the characters look so fluffay~~

  8. Juliancan says:

    Sorry with the double post, the first one wasn’t showing so I decided to repost again however with different words because I did not manage to copy it…

    • Kyokai says:

      It’s alright. I fished it out of spam and sometimes with so many spam bots running in the background, our genuine comments get into spam, which I regularly rescue. :3

  9. Foshizzel says:

    Was surprised I liked this! story is going to be one of those dramatic ones I can tell. Amazing artwork its like watching a painting xD guess I will watch more of this.

  10. Hime says:

    Very cute and sweet characters, I’ll be watching for teh fluff and melodrama~

  11. Tofu says:

    Hourou Musuko was full cute and fluffy-like, the art was something I don’t see that often (rarely) and also the OP was so… x3 I loved the OP. But I gotta say, this show caught me off guard. Like if it had slide kicked me then axe kicked me while I fall towards the floor (exaggeration) I never expected any cross dressing to happen, but that also because I never bothered to search up what it was about detailedly :\

    Although it caught me off guard which I would say it was… surprising what happened in the first episode, I still think it’s a great anime, a very intriguing romantic situation and as Hato has said the animation is done by the same people who did Oreimo and Amagami which are two shows I really liked ^^ Looking forward to the next episode.

    The little sister doesn’t seem to accept his traits while his friends do… *sigh* (I have a feeling Baku’s gonna tease me about liking a show thats full of traps…) xD

  12. Tofu says:

    Is it just me or is Metanorn’s subscription mail thingy stuffed up??? O___O

    • Dan-go says:

      i turned it off cuz it kills my inbox

    • Kyokai says:

      Uhh, what happened again? Are you getting a lot of emails?

      • Tofu says:

        The messages don’t appear like they are supposed to, it’s either blank or just random text in a blog all mushed up together, I’m not sure if this is happening to others but I haven’t changed any type of setting so I don’t know what’s going on.

        Kyokai, didn’t Metanorn have a unsubscribe page where you can chose which posts you want to unsubcribe from? I can’t access it, it automatically sends me to the About page

        • Kyokai says:

          Fixed it. You are unsubscribed from all pages so when you now need to, just do it again.

  13. Amutofan123 says:

    This was very sweet. It might be my favorite of the season actually. It seems that many people (including myself) were reminded of Makoto Shinkai’s works when watching this. The art and animation were so pretty. The story seems very interesting so far and I am very excited to watch more.

  14. Kyokai says:

    I have been waiting for this! Very delightful and mind-wracking. Some really good animation and amazing in-depth characters, even if they are young.

  15. wildfire says:

    great art, loving the cross dressing and whatnot.
    very original storyline. The only turn off is the deep feminism of the protagonist. but that’s just me. nice review guys. keep up the good work.

  16. sassy says:


    If you guys are confused about the characters or interested in the backstory, read chapters 1-32 of the manga. The anime begins at chapter 33, and I have no idea if they’re gonna explain all of the parts that were skipped through flashbacks or something.

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