Today I’d like to talk about Wondering Son, a 12-episode anime also known as Hourou Musuko. The transgender protagonist, Shuuichi Nitori, is considered one of the cutest girls at the school but is feeling discomfort related to her gender identity, as she usually takes the appearance of the boy, at least at school. In this episode, “Romeo and Juliet,” Nitori begins writing a genderbending play (not like the strange thing Bender did) where girls will play boys, and vice versa, with Saori Chiba. The latter, also known as Saorin or Chiba, tried to encourage Nitori to cross-dress. Anyway, in this scene, they try to first combine their two plays, Nitori’s original and Chibas’s modern adaption of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, first meeting in the library. Below are some screencaps from this scene (which I think is only 1-2 minutes long at most).
At first, it seems fine.
But then they are made to feel unwelcome.
This makes Nitori admit the library is not a good place to talk…
Then, Chiba suddenly invites Nitori over to her house, to write the play, surprising her, promising it won’t get weird.
But…it ends up getting weird in the sense she gets really into taking dresses out of her closet for her to wear, throwing them onto her bed. She doesn’t want to do that (although she was worn dresses in her home), but they work together, diligently, on the play. Later, she ends up getting jealous and hating everyone and everything in the world…but not in this episode!
In the last two episodes of the series, the library returns like an apparition! This time it’s seen as a welcoming place where Nitori writes another gender bender play, where the girls play boys and vice versa, beginning in episode 11, “Confession ~Each season~” (which was edited into a single episode with episode 10 when broadcast on Japanese television). Here are some screenshots from that scene in the library, which I think is about 1-2 minutes long:
It’s kinda interesting because the scene in this episode parallels the one in the third episode, showing the characters have improved and matured since then. Saori, with the black-brown pigtails, is much more relaxed here than she was in the third episode, less constrained. I think that is part of the point. I like that Nitori is using the library as a serious place of study. There is also a brief scene in the show’s last episode, “Forever a Wandering Son ~Wandering son’s progress~”, showing a library, but it’s only for a couple seconds:
© 2020 Burkely Hermann. All rights reserved.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on my History Hermann blog but has been re-edited and fixed before being posted on this blog. Enjoy!
3 replies on “The role of libraries in the anime, “Wandering Son””
[…] the same in 65 episodes in animation shows. Anime, for me, is any animation produced in Japan, like Wandering Son or R.O.D. the TV, to give an example. This is in line with how the Anime News Network defines it, […]
[…] Warriors, Sym-Bionic Titan, Kandagawa Jet Girls, Gargantia, Paradise Kiss, Kuttsukiboshi, Ice, Wandering Son, She-Ra: Princess of Power, Carmen Sandiego, and Steven […]
[…] Saori Chiba, but feels unwelcome at first, and later sees it as a serious place of study as I wrote in August 2020. Additionally, in a webcomic of Sophie Labelle, known as Serious Trans Vibes, a curation of her […]