Publish date- 2003, 2011 in English.
(A Brief) Synopsis:
The journey of a boy who wants to be a girl and a girl who wants to be a boy as they go through middle school and high school.
What I thought:
Wandering Son is a passion of mine. Beautifully, emotionally, honestly and heart-wrenchingly told, it is the story, primarily, of a boy who wishes to be a girl and a girl who wishes to be a boy. And it tells this story in a way that makes me want to swear colourfully and with passion in an effort to convey just how incredibly well done and real it is. The presence, the comprehension, the growing power of this need to be recognised as a gender to which our protagonists, Nitori and ? were not born carries the story and leads them to acts of bravery and friendship; they form a bond, these two incredible souls, and it does get risked. Aspects of their friendship get found out at school, and among the people who are real friends, quirky and ever present and full of childhood’s solidarity, are also bullies and manipulators and people who are scared or stupid or don’t understand. And they do hurtful things, these people, and they don’t even think about it. There is clever, wily manipulation that I loath and in the later volumes plot lines have strayed in directions, particularly with the most recently published edition (#8), that I’m not particularly happy with- mostly because I want my characters, these people I cherish and love and want to protect and hug, to be happy- genuine as these plot lines continue to be.
It is a detailed, gradual manga, the dialogue simple and fast to get through. Time isn’t sacrificed, though- we get to understand and comprehend the characters, the ones we love and the ones we loath, intimately and gradually, each volume taking us a step further on the path of their lives.
Rating: Big explosion MIND BLOWN.
Wandering Son isn't perfection. I mean, I don't really believe in perfection but that's another discussion I probably won't have. But it's real. It's genuine. It's incredibly heartwarming and breaking and excellent in many, many ways.