First Impression – Hourou Musuko

If the rest of this show is as strong as this first episode, it’s going to be an amazing ride. I have a personal bias for shows that take place in the early years of puberty towards the beginning of middle school – it’s just such a challenging and interesting period of life and of growth. And I have a certain fondness for coming of age stories. In my experience, anime which take place in this difficult period are quite rare, but when they do, they tend to turn out amazing and rank among my favorite shows of all time. Denno Coil, Noein, Kamichu, Haibane Renmei, Narutaru, and Simoun (although delayed it’s still basically puberty) all take place during this difficult age and basically compose half of my top ten list. (well, the Narutaru anime wasn’t all that great, but the manga was. And this makes me realize, my blog’s banner has a noticeable lack of Densuke and Hoshimaru. This will be addressed.)

So why is Hourou Musuko so great? First of all, the characters. Most shows which involve crossdressing either have the characters do it against their will or be hiding their gender. Not that I have anything against these memes, mind you! Certainly, bunny suit Hayate = win, and Maria = win. But in this show we actually have some heartfelt confusion about gender and what it means, as these children’s sexual interest first develops. And these people actually care what others think of them – and people think it’s weird to crossdress. But I appreciated that even these “antagonists” – such as the sister – are unsure about it and even feel guilty at lashing out, as evidenced by her attempt at an apology. The two main characters are not the only ones who have some depth in regards to gender issues. In addition, the size of the cast is quite impressive – and it feels like we have barely touched the tip of the iceberg.

Which brings me to the second area which makes this show stand out. The script. These characters already know each other well, and know much more about each other than the viewer does. They have a long past together and relationships which are already well-developed, a comfort zone which they fit in. This is as opposed to how so many shows have characters which meet each other for the first time within the series (with the possible exception of a few childhood friends who are all the same stereotypes). Creating a believable environment where the characters have known each other for a long time is much more difficult, but in my opinion is also much more rewarding and authentic. I should point out that Hourou Musuko also has some amazing visuals. I like the fabulous shininess.

So yesterday I promised a post on Madoka, but I’ve changed my mind. I think that on a weekly basis, I will attempt to blog episodes of Fractale, Hourou Musuko, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka, Star Driver, and Onii-chan, depending on how the second episode goes. I’m still not entirely sure where I’m heading with this blog, so I may change my mind as time progresses / miss a few episodes if I don’t have anything to say / etc. I’ll probably also do some random posts on whatever happens to strike my fancy. As for what I’m not blogging – the second episode of Dream Eater Merry bored me as much as the first, and GoSick has an interesting setting but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like they’ll be making much use of it, instead they’ll be making cute moe faces. Also the mysteries are painfully obvious. You know the only character in the room that matters is the one with strangely colored hair, plus it quite obviously shows her in the flashbacks.

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