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. 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. 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. 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. 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. nightair says:

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

  7. 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. mds says:

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

  9. 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.

  1. [...] as opposed to the overly sappy view you see in nearly every anime. Grade: 87.5/100″ – Star Crossed Anime Blog Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted [...]

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:30 AM)
    Watchmen was deemed ‘unadaptable’ for about thirty years, so just getting what Snyder got out of the material is a huge success; it is said that what he did was to write a book version of Ingmar’s Holy Mountain. Watchmen is the only graphic novel to ever win a Hugo award and is easily the most intricate and multilayered Alan Moore comic, so it’s no surprise that it continues to top ‘best comics of all time’ charts to this day.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:20 AM)
    I beg to differ. Doctor Manhatten is the most intriguing character of Watchmen and the comic is a giant in ,not only in the comic world, but the history of literature itself. It is a deconstruction of superheros and Dr. M shows how afraid the world would really be when faced with a ‘superman’ and how a creature in such a higher realm of time and perception would show apathy toward humans and their foolish struggles.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:15 AM)
    GitS just won’t work. Maybe in a world before the Matrix, but not now with so many elements of it borrowed liberally by so many franchises in various mediums. Scarlet Johansson is decent in roles that fit her. She was enjoyable in Lost In Translation, but race aside she has nothing in common with Kusanagi. This is a travesty and the franchise is dear to me so it especially burns my ass.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:10 AM)
    While I am no fan of man of steel, Nolan and Snyder, just about anyone would have a hard time taking a difficult character like superman and making him work on screen.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:08 AM)
    Apart from Veidt and Rorshach I could never get into the characters all that much in watchmen. I also found the film overly long and mediocre acted for the larger part. But to each there own. For Alan moores works I always preferred his Miracleman, swamp thing, V for Vendetta stories.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:06 AM)
    Nolan can produce the action plus personal and dark story that Alita would need, and he also brings talent such as composer Hans Zimmer and Cinematographer Sally Pfister to the table. Him and Snyder have too much combined integrity to make a mockery out of Alita like Spielberg did with the GitS license.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 06:03 AM)
    Well Snyder has respect for his source materials and that is key in anime-to-film adaptations. Hell I’m a big Watchmen fan and I thought his version was (almost painfully) close to the comic. You’re not going to get that anywhere else in Hollywood. Also the combination of Nolan/Snyder is quite different than them individually.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:34 AM)
    And directed it as a co-production with America, using a Japanese cast.
    Yeah…this is impossible…
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:32 AM)
    The only way a live action ghost in the shell film would work is if Mamoru oshii directed it.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 05:29 AM)
    Wait wait…his Van helsing film is a reboot sorry I confused it with the other one.

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