Manga Review: Wandering Son Volume Three

Article first published as Manga Review: Wandering Son Volume Three by Shimura Takako on Blogcritics.

Wandering Son Volume Three is a manga by Shimura Takako, and it was published in North America by Fantagraphics Books in 2012. I don’t see a rating listed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend Wandering Son to manga readers who are 13 or 14 years of age and older.

Wandering Son Volume 3
Written by: Shimura Takako
Publisher: Enterbrain
English Publisher: Fantagraphics Books
Release Date: July 16, 2012

Shuichi’s older sister, Maho goes to a modeling agency in the hopes of being selected so she can work with her idol, Maiko. She makes Shuichi come along with her to the “cattle call.” When it’s her turn, Maho and says that if they accept her, they also have to accept Shuichi because she says he’s cuter than most girls when he’s dressed like a girl. Maho also gets the idea to make Shuichi dress up as a girl and go on dates with Seya, her classmate who surprised Shuichi in Volume Two.

Meanwhile, one of the school bullies gets his hands on the diary that Shuichi and Yoshino have been sharing back and forth; the bully reads it aloud. Yoshino becomes angry and rips up the diary, and refuses to acknowledge Shuichi. Shuichi makes friends with a classmate named Makoto; it turns out Makoto shares Shuichi’s secret.

This volume of Wandering Son contains a lot of teenage drama, and it’s very realistic teenage drama. My 14-year-old daughter has also been reading this series, and when we talked about this volume, she said that while the exact situations may not have been the same, the type of drama taking place between the characters was reminiscent to a lot of the drama she saw during her years in middle school. Considering that many of the characters are in sixth and seventh grade, her comparison with middle school drama and antics are right on.

The art continues to be rather simplistic in nature, but the simplicity works for Takako’s storytelling. However, there is one drawing that really stands out in this volume; over pages 130 and 131, there’s a detailed drawing of Seya standing in front of a tank at the aquarium. Not only does the fact that it spans two pages make it stand out, but it’s also one of the few drawings in this volume to utilize quite a bit of detail.

I have to say that the cover and the first couple of pages confuse me. On the cover, a winter scene is being depicted, and on the inside pages describing the characters, Shuichi and Yoshino are dressed like Santa’s elves. However, there is nothing in this volume that is set either during winter or during the Christmas season, so these art choices are a little puzzling.

The Wandering Son manga series continues to impress me with its frank look at both the lives of young people and at LGBT issues. Wandering Son is a manga series that’s really worth checking out.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Wandering Son Volume Three that I checked out through the King County Library System.

Additional posts about Wandering Son:

3 comments

  1. Anon · November 7, 2012

    Nitori is still a girl. Why do you call her “he”?

    • Lesley Aeschliman · November 7, 2012

      After some feedback I got on my review of the first volume of Wandering Son, I’ve been trying very hard to avoid using pronouns in regards to these characters. After seeing your comment, I looked at my review again, and I assume you’re referring to this:

      “When it’s her turn, Maho and says that if they accept her, they also have to accept Shuichi because she says he’s cuter than most girls when he’s dressed like a girl.”

      I believe this was a case where I had intentionally left the pronoun, because Maho sees Shuichi as a boy. Unfortunately, since I read a copy of this volume of the manga from the library, I no longer have it in my possession to check, but I believe she may have referred to Shuichi as “he” when talking to the judges.

      Oh, I do see a second one that did slip through: “Shuichi dress up as a girl and go on dates with Seya, her classmate who met Shuichi when he was dressed as a girl.”

      That is one I will change, because that one was not intentional. Dang it, I found another one.

      OK, I’m going to go through this with a fine tooth comb and try to weed out the pronouns that slipped through and make those changes. Thanks for pointing this out!

  2. Lesley Aeschliman · November 7, 2012

    I believe I found all the pronouns that I wanted to remove. I did leave the one I used in the sentence about Maho at her audition, because Maho sees Shuichi as her brother, and I was essentially paraphrasing what she told the judges.

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