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  • polymetrica 11:05 pm on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Hourou Musuko, , Shimura Takako   

    【Manga】放浪息子 / Hourou Musuko 

    Found out about this slightly overlooked manga thanks to Enthousiaste on Twitter. Thank you!

    06

    NITORI Shuuichi (short-haired boy), who is the protagonist, and his elementary school friend CHIBA Saori (black-haired girl). (Illust: 志村貴子)

    Title: 放浪息子 (Hourou Musuko/Transient Son)
    Author: 志村貴子 (SHIMURA Takako)
    Volumes: 9+ (78 chapters at the time of posting)
    Genre: Seinen (Drama, Slice of Life, Gender Bender)
    Status: Ongoing, scanlated by Kotonoha (Ch.1-34) and anonymous (35+)
    My Rating: 7.7/10

    Fifth-grader NITORI Shuuichi is a very girly boy, and his friend TAKATSUKI Yoshino happens to be a very boyish girl. Nitori wishes he was born a girl, and Takatsuki wishes she was born as a boy. They soon find out about each others’ odd wishes, and throughout the course of growing up together, they’re made to question their genuine wishes of becoming the opposite gender.

    Despite being based on the theme of transgenderism, this manga felt more to me like a regular life drama/growing up story than anything else. We have a relatively large, memorable, and diverse cast, and the character interactions are usually developed through childhood classmates or crushes, which makes the manga pretty easy to relate to. There’s also a lot of internal agonizing about personal issues and friendship problems too. The instances of actually showing them doing something kind of controversial things (cross-dressing, befriending a transvestite) are pretty few and far between, and mostly come off as trivial or even not-as-ordinary child’s play. I do enjoy seeing the issue addressed, and to do it this subtly makes it seem more realistic and accessible, but on the other hand, it just seems so insignificant at times. I’ll admit that it made me very curious about non-fiction Japanese crossdressers, though.

    As for the cast of characters, they are all unique and impressionable, but I wholly failed to develop any real attachment to any of them, even after reading 78 chapters. I also found myself hating about 80% of all the characters in the manga (especially the secondary classmate characters, who are almost all absolutely detestable.), and if I didn’t hate a character, I was indifferent to them, save for two or three. The only character who I can say I actually like seeing was the gorgeous CHIBA Saori, whom I despised at first, but after seeing some much-needed character development (and fashion), she became my favourite. Having a slightly despotic and weird personality helps as well. A close second is Yuki, who steals almost every scene she appears in, and a distant third is Takatsuki, who looks awesome, but lacks a definable personality for the most part.

    The artwork looks exactly like it’s from a children’s storybook, with round faces and eyes on all the characters (even for the teenagers and adults!), lots of white space and clean lines, as well as a watercolour-like colouring style for the covers. (Those familiar with Shimura’s other work, like Aoi Hana/Sweet Blue Flowers, would not be surprised about this.) The art is incredibly fitting and impeccable, and Shimura’s lovely fashion sense along with the simple but recognizable character designs also makes (mostly) everyone look attractive and recognizable.

    Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hōrō_Musuko
    Scanlation at Onemanga: http://www.onemanga.com/Hourou_Musuko/

     
    • Enthousiaste 7:19 am on October 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      I think that the treatment of the themes of transgenderism feels very natural because there is a kind of sincerity in Shimura Takako’s works that makes it feel very authentic, if not realistic. It’s a theme she writes about quite often, and I feel like she might identify strongly with several of her characters.

      It’s indeed true that even as a fan of Hourou Musuko, I failed to develop a true relation of affection for any character; if I often feel moé and/or empathic for one or the other members of the cast, it’s mainly a temporary feeling caused by Shimura’s genial arranging of glances and blushes. I must say, however, that (for personal reasons) I identify very well with Ariga Makoto, and that the last chapter made my heart skip several beats.
      On the other hand, I’m not really familiar with the idea of hating characters, except in the frequent occurrence of a series with a frustrating protagonist; that is not Hourou Musuko’s case. Most of them, even if full of human flaws, end up exhibiting problems and conflicting feelings that make them attaching.
      I also disagree about Takatsuki Yoshino’s personality, which is indeed less obvious than Ariga’s or Chiba’s, but that I find nevertheless very interesting. I think her way of struggling and her position on her own gender is very different from Nitori’s. That makes it at the same time less obvious and more interesting, because the contrast makes their relations more subtle.

      I must say that, despite being a fan of Shimura, I can’t agree with your affirmation that the character designs are recognizable. I came to like them, and I’m now in an instantly moééééé/o\ state when I catch a glimpse of any drawing by Takako Shimura (especially if the character is blushing), but on the other hand, I often find some characters very hard to recognize.

      Well, anyway, can’t wait for the next chapter!

      • polymetrica 12:57 pm on October 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply

        Authentic is a really good word to describe this work (and her other works too?), and I could really feel the sincerity in the manga, but there wasn’t so much of it that I was splendidly overwhelmed by it. (Does this even make sense orz)

        I don’t hate the protagonists of HM at all, but it’s the frustrating side characters (MAHO FFF, Shirai, Doi, Doi’s stupid little friend) who continually pick on the helpless kids that drive me insane. I guess they were created to be sort of the antagonists, but I really detest them through and through.
        Takatsuki might be interesting, but I find it really jarring that I’m unable to describe her personality at all, and that might be because she displays so much inconsistency in character.

        Wao, I personally thought that the character designs were really varied within the manga, and as long as the characters are shown in the manga, I could recognize them, but if they were drawn in unlabelled fanart or something of the sort, I wouldn’t be able to tell them apart because they’re ordinary looking otherwise.

  • polymetrica 5:21 pm on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    RE:Kimi ni Todoke 4 

    I swear I’m not obsessed with this series.

    knt4-1

    Does that look like the face of a terrible mastermind to you!!

    Another superb episode titled “Rumours” that follows chapter 4 of the manga exactly, with select modified scenes from Chapter 5 and about two anime-original scenes. Unlike the last episode, episode 4’s tone was quite heavy, with only three or four humourous scenes, but being the high quality shoujo that Kimi ni Todoke is, it’s not overly dramatic or silly at all, and is pretty easy to relate to. The internal agonies of the four main characters here are slightly heartwrenching(?), and the episode might make one break out in a few tears if one is highly sensitive to the plights of our dear characters. If I remember correctly, the manga version of this arc drove me insane with grief or whatever it was for a few minutes.

    Gist(?) of the episode: Continuing from Episode 3, the drama being brought up here is that Sawako is supposedly spreading rumours about Sano and Yoshida, and that she’s also a terrible mastermind who commands Kazehaya with Sano and Yoshida backing her up. Obviously that’s not the case, and Sano and Yoshida don’t believe the rumours, but the two start to have their doubts after seeing a few things that test their confidence in the matter. Sano and Yoshida ask Sawako what she thinks of them, she half-replies that she “doesn’t like them, but…”, and the two just cut her off and assume that Sawako really doesn’t like them. Sawako notices that her friends look down, and after hearing the rumours about how she herself is supposedly making Sano, Yoshida, and Kazehaya miserable, she decides that the best action to take is to avoid her three friends so she doesn’t hurt them anymore. This avoidance technique makes the three sad and worsens the situation.

    knt4-2

    Production I.G. is so Incredibly Great that it looks nice even in crapres.

    The next episode is called 決意 (Ketsui/Decision), which has the same title as Chapter 6 in the manga. Ketsui also happens to be the title of a very good shmup by CAVE, but that has nothing to do with this series (Unfortunately!).

    On another note, the Kimi ni Todoke DS game (育てる思い/Sodateru Omoi/Nurturing Feelings) came out last week! I haven’t played it, but it basically puts you in Sawako’s shoes as you go through all the manga scenarios, with a few original scenes written especially for the game. The limited first press edition version comes with a cellphone strap with a Sawako charm on the end that changes colour depending on how much light it gets. (Termed as a UV strap)

     
  • polymetrica 12:24 am on October 27, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: PV,   

    【Touhou PV】 Bad Apple!! 影絵 (Bad Apple!! Shadow Art PV) 

    I try my best to avoid posting insubstantial material, but this is far too incredible.

    badapple_kage

    Posted on October 27th, 2009 by an anonymous uploader (with an account name of あにら/anira), this is an entirely black and white PV with the silhouettes of moving 3D models choreographed to Alstroemeria Records’ Bad Apple!! Touhou vocal arrange song, sung by nomico. The PV maker used the storyboard drawn on MS Paint by someone called MMM, who posted his story board video in June 2008, and fully fleshed out the whole video, making incredible sense of a mostly poorly-drawn, vague plan. The video is currently 1st on the hourly rankings at the time of posting.

    The fluidity of this PV is nothing short of impeccable, and might as well have been a professional work, though I guess that’s what Touhou seems to elicit a lot from its super large fanbase. I’ve watched this about 3 times now, and I will probably keep watching it a few more times. I’ve embedded a Youtube video on the bottom of this post, but don’t forget to take a look at the comparison as well if you have a niconico account. (Links below)

    【東方】Bad Apple!! PV【影絵】
    Nico | Youtube
    Original Storyboard | Comparison (Both are niconico only)

    (More …)

     
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