I always feel that the winter season is the time of surprises. It’s a small season but delivers a memorable bunch. This is true again but the caliber and variety of good shows this time around is quite high.
The season preview was originally in broadcast order but since that made the first part depressing and the second part happy we decided to mix it up a bit so it did not seem as bipolar. That said I will reiterate out standard season preview rules. First and foremost we do not watch every show that comes out. We here at Reverse Thieves maintain our sanity and prevent burn out by skipping any show that seems absolutely retched although we on occasion take a risk and sample something that is probably dire but might have a faint hope of being entertaining. The second is that we don’t review sequels and continuations as you usually know exactly what you were going to get from the earlier iteration.
Holly came from Miami, F.L.A.
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
– Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed
Being a big fan of this manga, I was curious how it would translate into an anime. Wandering Son is usually talked about with words like quiet, sensitive, and subdued; but, this first episode was able to use all those things to its advantage to produce a dramatic and beautiful adaption into animated form. This is a coming of age tale where things are made that much more complicated by issues of gender. While it follows a group of friends, the most prominent characters are boy Shuichi who feels more comfortable in girl’s clothes and girl Yoshino who would much rather spend time in a boy’s uniform. Their struggle is tender and their bond joyous. The story starts in a place that allows for some mysteries; all the character have established relationships that we get to slowly find out about while the story moves forward. I was disappointed in the opening, I was hoping for something a little more active but the ending is nice. No surprise, but this is my most anticipated show for the season, I have high hopes that it can live up to this lovely first piece of the story.
While Fractale was my favorite first episode I think that Wandering Son was undoubtedly the best. It is just so well executed. It perfectly sets a mood of melancholy and isolation mixed with hope and friendship. It is a slow show that lets you into the lives of characters who are coming into who they are and how they deal with transgender issues. It is about creating an atmosphere that gives you an insight into the triumphs and sorrows of a characters with an alternative lifestyle. I think the subject matter might turn some people off as well as the slow pace that only picks up when it needs to. But for anyone looking for an anime that delicately looks at an overlooked social topic in a sensitive but not preachy manner than I think you are required to watch Wandering Son.