Hourou Musuko, otherwise known as ‘Wandering Son’. Is an Anime that many people don’t know about. According to myAnimeList at the time of me writing this, this Anime has just under 70k followers and to me, I think that’s low enough to say that this Anime is not well-known and is certainly, in my opinion, underrated.
For the topic, this Anime bases itself around is something really unique and inspiring. Especially for today’s society. I for one am really happy I saw this Anime, and I think if you do check it out, it’ll be worthwhile.
Characters – 9/10
I would imagine it’s really hard to write children, and as we’ve seen from many movies revolving around children (most recently the disaster is known as Ender’s Game), children can really suck if not done right.
Hourou Musuko has no such problems, and while I have to fault them for having some children (predominantly Chiba Saori, ironically one of my favorite characters) that act way older than they really appear, at the end of the day Hourou Musuko is powered by a really strong cast of characters that each fit their own role in their story, no matter how small it is. It’s really refreshing to see a cast that’s so varied and each serving a variety of important purposes and aren’t just lifeless plot devices.
Nitori’s best friend Mako is a fantastic foil character, bordering on the line of supporting his friend and envying him. The bombastic and tomboyish Sarashina serve as a surprisingly good comic relief and sort of early role model for Tataksuki, who is interested in wearing more boyish clothes. The little girl Sasa is a mediator, trying to keep her friends together despite various conflicts, and she might be one of the characters a good portion of the audience might sympathize with. There are too many others for me to cover, but for such a short show, Hourou Musuko gives life to these characters and give them purpose, though it could be said that they needed to be a bit more fleshed out.
But it’s the three main characters, Nitori, Takatsuki, and Chiba Saori that get the most amount of development, and I think the three of them played such an interesting dynamic. I think Nitori and Takatsuki speak for themselves as the show’s two main protagonists, but Saori is definitely one of the more complex characters in the show, and she played a kind of an antagonistic role, always causing problems for her own selfish needs. She’s blunt, and despite her brutal honesty to other people about her opinions she is least honest with herself. Her inability to externalize some of her deeper feelings and get along with people meshed her romantic feelings made her likable despite how mean she was to everyone else.
All in all, Hourou Musuko has great characters, and I think despite the fact that many may act over their age level, I think that’s a small and irrelevant point in the long run. While it’s true that children should be portrayed realistically, the end goal is the thematic elements that are what makes the show really powerful. To that extent, the children are portrayed realistically. They may have lines that hint at more deep thought, but it’s their quirks, confusion with feelings of love, innocence and inability to process between what is socially acceptable and what is not, and unpredictability that makes them children.
Art – 9/10
Hourou Musuko is a really good looking show, and it’s unique too. I must admit that the watercolor-ish look at the beginning seemed a bit too bright for me, but it really grew as the show went on. The character designs are also nice. I thought both Nitori and Takatsuki were drawn really well to demonstrate that they could look both like a boy or a girl. I think they changed Saori from her original appearance in the manga, but I think that only strengthened her presence in the show.
Other than that, there’s nothing particularly spectacular about the animation. The art is where the main compliments are had, and ultimately the show is less about animation as it is about the writing, but I do think their use of facial expressions were really spot on. You could really tell people’s attitude from how they were drawn, the look in their eyes, their smile or apathetic frown. I thought that attention to detail was really important.
Music – 8/10
I’m not particularly impressed by most of Hourou Musuko’s music, but I think that was intended since it was a kind of quiet piece that really didn’t have a need for any kind of outstanding score. The soundtrack was mostly very forgettable outside of three pieces, which was their rendition of Clair de Lune, the opening, and the ending songs.
The songs are composed mostly of a piano and a guitar, and I think that those make for quiet and peaceful tracks. They have melodies but are mostly unimpressive compared to the quality of everything else.
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