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
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:04 AM)
    @Badesh: which one? Cuz I played thru both the Dreamcast and the PS2 version. The Dreamcast one was a stand-alone story, but it was both a good one written by Miura, and it was set between Vol22 and Vol23, so it didn’t interfere with the manga’s story. The PS2 one was almost a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of the Holy Demon War section, and it featured the de-facto Berserk theme ‘Sign’ by Hirasawa himself:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpqV7RPnTE
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:50 AM)
    They did the same thing to promote the video game! Srsly?
    Besides, i really enjoy the new series as a long time fan.. can’t exactly point out why. I like the action and for every shitty shot, we get an awesome one.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:49 AM)
    Also Caska’s back to being brown. So I guess some things are getting fixed as we go on.
    /RantOver
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:40 AM)
    That’s why is disheartening to see that the post-credit scene of ep03 was ignored by so many, specially considering the quality of the animation and the importance it had to the plot and course of the show.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:39 AM)
    Now I’m not going to deny the toxicity of some of the so-called “hardcore” fanbase- the Skullknight community is a testament to that. I’ve seen too many people claim that they’re done with the series, only yo come back every week and nag about the same redundant points over and over again. The show has had much more traditional animation than I’ve originally anticipated.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:27 AM)
    The music is a great example of that. The 97 series created a surreal somber atmosphere, with a lot of that piggybacking on Susumu Hirasawa’s weird soundtrack. Look at the new series intro- that is as tone-deaf as it can get. I much rather preferred a black screen with a red Berserk logo over this shonenesque song. Caska’s rape as an eyecatch? yeah, they are seriously mislead as to the significance of that scene.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:24 AM)
    Now I’m a big Berserk fan, anyone here can attest to that, and I’m glad to have some Berserk, in whatever form we can get. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to overlook the deficiencies. I still stand by my point, which is that the new series doesn’t primarily suffer from the animation, as I think a lot can be achieved in the format as evidence by the last two episodes, but the main point of contention is the overall tone which doesn’t fit Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:20 AM)
    And Berserk is panned for the CG, not only because of the unconventionality, but also since it isn’t particularly strong CGI neither. Sidonia was well-received, and that uses CG a lot more than Berserk. Since the manga has extraordinary line work, people want to see the same level of detail. The 97 series also works against the New one, since although it had minimal budget, it still had much superior cohesion.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:17 AM)
    But that aside, FoE actually garnered some decent publicity. It’s also not really CGI, but a weird type of rotoscoping, which has been used for a long time. The show was alright. It started strong, had a lot of slack in the middle, and ended on a stronger note.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:15 AM)
    @afgm: Flower of Evil, it’s better to call it that since aside from me personally preferring English names when speaking English, the title itself is a reference to Charles Baudelaire poem, and we don’t say the French name Les Fleurs du mal, so why use the Japanese?

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