Posted by psgels on 31 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Hourou Musuko




The past season had three series that really stood with head and shoulders above the rest. They were all genuinely good and took their genres into new and fresh directions. Hourou Musuko takes a look at cross dressers. Most of time when they’re portrayed in a medium, they’re portrayed for laughs or flamboyance. Hourou Musuko however is entirely built around showing the issues that boys who feel like they are girls (and vice versa) run into while growing up. And it does so brilliantly.

For starters, this is one of those series that has a slow pacing, yet somehow manages to make a ton of stuff happen in each episode. It’s full of subtlety, and because of this it can get a ton of genuine drama out of the characters using its limited time of only 11 episode excellently.

This show actually made quite a bold statement by not animating the first X volumes of the manga it’s based on, but instead starting somewhere in the middle. The great thing about this show is that despite this, it still doesn’t feel incomplete. Characters sometimes refer to things that have happened to them in the past, but it’s apparent enough to the viewers to figure out what happened. This method gave the characters both a rich past and future and it gives the impression that there really is much more to them than what we see in the series. It’s a terrific way of characterizing them, and the entire cast of this series pretty much feels incredibly genuine and believable. Oh, and finally we’ve found another show that takes a realistic look at romance, as opposed to the overly sappy view you see in nearly every anime.

It’s a series for which I’ve had hardly anything to criticize for. The story is perfectly balanced, the plot twists are amazing in their subtlety, the cast is amazing, the animation brings both the cast and setting come alive and there is hardly anything that this show does wrong. If I had to nitpick at something then it’s that the characters are portrayed a tad too mature for their age. But so what? This is a wonderful portrayal of growing up. The cross-dressing is only a tiny part of this series. There’s so much to this show, and it’s only 11 episodes long.

Storytelling: 9/10 – Wonderfully subtle, with some amazing plot twists.
Characters: 10/10 – Amazing portrayal of young teenagers growing up,and their issues dealing with it. Wonderful development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – This show is really good at far away shots, with restrained animation, still bringing its cast to life.
Setting: 8/10 – Excellent portrayal of a school in japan. This show knows how to ring its environments to life.

Suggestions:
Aoi Hana
Asatte no Houkou
Sasameki Koto

10 Responses

  1. Avatar Troyen says:

    I have to say, I’m left confused by your scoring system sometimes. When you say things like “Excellent portrayal of a school in japan. This show knows how to bring its environments to life” but only assign 8 points, are you leaving out what you didn’t like? The words don’t seem to match the numbers.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Troyen: I admit that those numbers are meant to be vague. With excellent I do mean that’s excellent, though just not good enough for a 9/10. I’m just not going to tread into detail for those blurbs.

  3. Avatar Sapphire says:

    What a wonderful series. That last conversation between Nitori and Anna was beautiful, it felt so nice to see they were still in love with each other. Chiba’s closure could not have been better either. This is one of the very few series that was able to give ALL the characters a proper ending.

    A couple of questions for the manga readers: Doi’s definitely in love with Nitori, isn’t he? Also, does the manga continue to be this good after the anime’s ending?

  4. Avatar Vanilla says:

    @Sapphire: Well, there’s never a definite yes or no, but it surely is hinted at throughout their interactions together. And yes, the manga continues to be awesome! The only downside is that its not finished yet. (At least, I don’t think so. Doesn’t feel like it.) I say definitely read it now that the anime is finished. :)

  5. Avatar c160 says:

    @Sapphire It hasn’t been outright stated yet that he’s in love with Nitori,but the hints are there.In the manga, the scenes before/after the visit to Sasa-chan’s house shows a bit more of Doi’s expression,and that’s where most of the shipping materials came from(for me at least). Personally I prefer that ship over Anna/Nitori :P

    Suprisingly,I think I like the anime version of the cultural festival better compared to the manga. To me,in the manga,the actual play didn’t make such an impact,and it kinda just flew by,with the climax being Anna’s talk with Nitori. And there’s even a cameo of a few characters from the author’s previous work too! This is a really good adaptation. Sure a few things were changed here and there,and some that I’d prefer they don’t but overall, they really did great!

  6. Avatar nightair says:

    That’s “long shots” for ya, psgels, not “far-away shots”.

  7. Avatar betawatcher says:

    I just have that feeling that Doi is attracted to Nitori’s girl side. (maybe why he was so interested in seeing Nitori cross-dress?)

    It feels weird though, Nitori wants to be a girl and he’s still attracted to girls… Will girls accept him as he is? And in the manga, it doesn’t look like Nitori cross-dresses as much anymore. Like he lost interest in it or something… but we don’t get as much of an insight in his mind in the later chapters, so we don’t really know.

    (haven’t watched this episode yet though :P I’ll feel sad for the ending of such a good series. Ah, the seasonal depression of all anime ending on the same week…)

  8. Avatar mds says:

    isn’t the production values should get a score of 10/10? because it’s SO gorgeous.

  9. Avatar Denizen says:

    Production Values deserve a 10/10, no doubt. The style is original, but it never becomes a gimmick because the art and animation is just so high in quality.

    Anyways, I already loved the manga, and this anime completely gave it justice. Everything about it just worked, and it’s definitely one of my favourites, of recently.

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