So I finally jumped into the Hourou Musuko manga. I’ve always planned to read it since it aired a year ago but I didn’t know where to start. I already knew the main plot and the anime started somewhere in the middle so I kept on thinking if I should find the parts after the anime ended or just start from the very beginning. In the end, curiousity got the best of me so “beginning” it is.
Hourou Musuko tackles on crossdressing and gender identity crisis and this already evident since the very first few pages of the first chapter. What’s very interesting is the way it’s handled. It doesn’t stuff messages on how this should be treated or that but it sort of just acts on what’s happening around the characters and the changes they are having and it’s sort of up to you to figure out the message.
The first part of Hourou Musuko is the Grade School era. This was about 33 chapters and it’s in this part of Hourou Musuko when I realized the depth of this series is. It started by promptly laying out a plot of a boy who wants to be a girl and a girl who wants to be a boy but it slowly evolved into something else. The introduction of Chiba Saori (Ch.3) really made everything so fun and dynamic. There’s also the slow introduction of the relatively large cast with Sasa, Mako, Oka, Doi and of course Yuki-san and Shi-chan. It also showed how Maho became a model and how Shuu was one for a couple of chapters (it was only hinted slightly in the anime).
There really isn’t that much of a main conflict in the Grade School Era. There’s Seya, Maho’s to be boyfriend, thinking Shuu’s a girl, the whole Exchange Diary thing but nothing really sat as a plot. And with Hourou Musuko, this isn’t important at all as you just read to see how the characters interact with each other.
The Middle School Era is the part that the anime concentrated at and for a good reason. It’s certainly more massive than the Grade School Era and it contained probably the most important part of the manga. While reading this part of the manga, I was just completely amazed on how the anime managed to pull off telling this. The Middle School Era wasn’t exactly self contained and characters weren’t re-introduced or anything but somehow the anime made it work.
Probably the most amusing parts of the manga came after the part where the anime closed it off. The characters began evolving even more with puberty being injected from left to right and it was pure joy seeing that there was actually some closure to certain relationships. Saori and Takatsuki actually managed to make up and Doi wasn’t much of an asshole after all.
The current High School Era is really fun. The characters are now teenagers and somehow the theme changed from crossdressing to growing up in general. There’s a lot of blushing from the now slightly sexually charged characters and it’s really fun to see the differences in the way they act from when they were in Grade School til current.
It’s also notable on how Shuu and Anna’s relationship was handled. I swear it was really fun seeing how Anna changed her treatment to Nitori, from a cute little sister to someone she’s actually turned on by. I kept laughing in a certain scene where Nitori was changing to a girl’s outfit and Anna got all flustered because she saw Nitori’s body. Oh wait there’s also the massage chapter where Anna just used an excused to touch Nitori. Oh wait there’s also Anna admitting on getting slightly jealous when Nitroi complements other girls.
This manga was really enjoyable (to the point where it kept me awake in the early morning because I couldn’t stop reading) because on how dynamic it is. It keeps on changing and changing. Characters keep on developing and developing. The art of the manga keeps on developing and it really looks amazing now. I don’t like how I keep using this phrase often but it’s really legit with Hourou Musuko: “I’ve never read anything quite like this”.
Slice of Life in anime is something I’ve been watching for a long time but this is the first time I experienced Slice of Life in a manga setting.Very unique and different but very enjoyable at the same time.