I expected a silly comedy but it turned out to be top notch drama/life series.
Shuuichi Nitori was always a feminine boy. In addition to his girlish physique, he’s also shy and quick to cry. Hence, it didn’t come as a surprise when a teacher mistook him for his sister… or when the deliveryman thought he was a she.
Nitori didn’t understand his feelings until he met Yoshino Takatsuki. Starting out as an innocent suggestion to wear a dress, that idea latched to his mind and eventually, with the some aid from others, Nitori gave in to cross-dressing.
Nitori wasn’t the only one to find cross-dressing natural. Takatsuki made the same discovery while participating in a gender-reversed school play. Having the same interest, their friendship quickly blossomed into something more…
However, that didn’t mean a “happy end” for them. Their new habit caused rifts between friends, family, and society as a whole. Not everyone could accept them as the opposite gender. Not everyone could tolerate how close they were, almost being a couple. But with friends who understood their rationale, they withstood the pains together.
Yet, all good things must come to an end. When they moved to junior high, everyone was split up into different classes, and they rarely saw each other. Making new friends, they drifted apart.
Those happy days became mere memories… of a time that once was and possibly never will be…
After reverting back to male clothing for school, Nitori felt something missing within him. Dressing as a a girl once more, he entered class expecting the same lukewarm response in elementary school…
Instead, his transformation generated a quick response. Almost immediately after reaching school grounds, Nitori was whisked away, his parents contacted, and himself removed from class. He quickly became the topic of conversation and when he returned to “normal”, people shunned him.
Nitori wants to be a girl. That’s all he ever wanted. Society just saw otherwise.
Personally, I find gender discrimination grossly unfair under most circumstances. This applies to same-sex marriage, armed services, and relating to this series, gender swapping. The only exception that comes to mind is pregnancy and the physical changes/labor involved. I don’t intend to use this series to justify one opinion or another. That is up to you and your (hopefully) well-informed reasoning.
I admit, the first thing I’ve noticed about this series was that it’s labeled as a gender-bender. Relating it to others works in the same genre (e.g., Maria+Holic, Marugoto Anjyu Gakuen), I thought I’ll get a humorous light read. Needless to say, I was wrong.
I found this one of the most interesting and emotionally charged works I’ve ever read. Nitori and Takatsuki both want to be different, wishing that they were born with the opposite gender. Their solution was to change their physical appearance with different clothes (and a wig for Nitori). They haven’t gone so far as Yuki to become a transvestite… yet.
Still, it brings to light how society views such people, scorning them just because they have different beliefs. This is focused more on Nitori’s actions rather than Takatsuki’s. From the latest chapter, the school was far more tolerable to the concept of a girl dressing as a guy than the other way around. The students and faculty were repulsed by Nitori’s change, either mocking him or thinking it’s the result of bullying. No one really accepted him for who he is and who he wants to be.
It is this clash with society that makes Hourou Musuko such a great read. Poking at what’s considered “right” and “natural” versus “wrong” and “abnormal”, it gets readers involved more than other series would. When I was going through the chapters, I constantly ask myself “Why?”. Why does Nitori want to be a girl? Why should he be allowed to dress as a girl? Is it wrong for him to act as a girl? These are only a few questions that I ask myself, causing internal debates that test the core of my beliefs.
Overall, an excellent series to pick up if you don’t mind some philosophy. Provocative for some but I believe it’ll be a meaningful read for the majority. On par with Bitter Virgin, longer run but (personally) less character attachment.