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Wandering Son, Book 1 Hardcover – July 5, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Wandering Son is a delightful, quiet manga about a girly boy and a boyish girl.... This is not your typical gender-bender manga playing a gender switch for laughs (and fanservice); it's a quiet, subtle story of a boy coming to terms with himself.” (Brigid Alverson - MTV Geek)

“In the series’ debut-in-English, Shimura treats both protagonists’ journeys of self-discovery with gentle honesty; her characters are wide-eyed and adorable, uncertain and searching.” (Terry Hong - BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program))

“Shimura balances a full plate in this story, all the while offering it with the kind of easy grace that makes the balance appear to be almost magical.... In Shimura’s sympathetic hands, this manga is neither gag nor message heavy: both main characters, their peers, and their family members are credible and developed with enough depth that readers can think about them beyond the bounds of the book. ...[Wandering Son Vol. 1] belongs in every high school library, as well as in public collections that are accessible to both youth and adults.” (Francisca Goldsmith - School Library Journal)

“...[B]eing a trans woman means I'm used to seeing awful depictions of my lived experiences. I do not see me, and that is when I see trans women or trans people in general depicted at all. Until [Wandering Son]... I had never seen my own narrative depicted. At least not closely or accurately.” (Kat Callahan - Jezebel - ROYGBIV)

“...Shimura Takako is a master at portraying subtle events in a slice of life story about adolescence that never feels didactic.... Like the storyline, Shimura’s art is simple but nuanced.... As you’d expect from Fantagraphics, the production quality for Wandering Son is excellent.” (Anna Neatrour - Manga Report)

“What makes Wandering Son work is its slow-burn pace and calm atmosphere. It takes a delicate subject – transgender children- and explores it slowly and carefully. Much like its characters, it moves at its own pace, easing the reader into the characters’ lives.” (Shannon Fay - Kuriousity)

About the Author

Shimura Takako lives in Tokyo, Japan.
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Product Details

  • Series: Wandering Son (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Fantagraphics (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606994166
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606994160
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 0.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #264,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
The paper and printing quality is great and the images on the sturdy hardcover striking.
para
If you've been in such a place, this may be something of an emotional roller coaster, but it's a good ride.
Lisa Lees
Still, the story is interesting enough and brings out the character's personalities well.
Ellen W.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lisa Lees on June 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a wonderful edition, with large clearly printed pages, including almost all the color pages that appear in the Japanese edition. The translation and localization is nicely done. (As the afterward makes clear, this is a particularly difficult series to translate because gender is quite different between Japanese and English, and gender is what this series is all about.)

Wandering Son is a very gentle story, with no politics and no drum to beat. What Shimura Takako does best is to convey the emotional turmoil of people who are dealing with being, and especially just realizing that they are, different in a way that is going to cause trouble, one way or another. If you've been in such a place, this may be something of an emotional roller coaster, but it's a good ride.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ellen W. VINE VOICE on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nitori Shuichi has always been an effeminate boy. When he transfers schools in the fifth grade, he meets Takatsuki Yoshino, a girl who looks more like a boy. The two end up in the same group for a project, and they become friends. But when Takatsuki starts giving dresses she doesn't want to Nitori to give to his sister, he finds that he'd rather wear them himself. Even the girls in his project group say that dresses would look good on him. One day, when he's home alone, he tries on a dress and a headband and discovers that he really likes how he looks as a girl. Meanwhile, Takatsuki keeps rejecting the girly fashions her mother buys her, preferring boyish clothes and haircuts. She is open about her preferences, but Nitori knows that boys who dress like girls are not accepted the way girls who dress like boys are. But their classmate Saori knows about Nitori's secret and likes seeing Nitori as a girl. A blunt, seemingly mannerless girl who does what she wants, Saori suggests putting on a play where the boys play girls and the girls play boys for the 6th grade farewell ceremony. Nitori is excited when he finds out that he'll get to wear dresses, but what would his classmates think if they knew he was enjoying it so much?

A manga about crossdressing fifth graders sounds like a terrible idea, but Shimura Takako's "Wandering Son" is a gentle, sensative portrayal of two children finding their identities at an already awkward age. Actually, it's more than that. Shimura takes time to develop other characters and their struggles as well, so it's also a story about childhood and growing up. Saori is a strange girl who doesn't get along very well with others, but she secretly struggles with herself, feeling like she's a bad person.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Dmitry Murashchik on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a ton of stories, manga, and anime out there. This is a rare gem that stands all on it's own, tackling very serous topics without relying on them for comedic relief, and is a rather eye-opening experience to read through.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Kitsune Girl on June 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I watched the anime and was left wanting more... so I looked it up on google and found out that the anime is set in the middle of the series. The anime was really awesome, and had me crying a lot because it is somewhat personal to me, as I have always been gender-dysphoric. If you liked the story in the anime, I would recommend buying the manga and reading that to get the full story... or as much of the story as can be had. I haven't bought the manga yet, but I plan on it. I just felt the need to fan-girl about the series as a whole.
If you like emotional, thought provoking stories and are not turned off by the watercolours I would suggest watching the anime before or even after reading the manga. :)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel on June 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm glad that it *finally* came out. To echo the other two reviews, the production values are great (though there's a glaring typo on the front cover. Hint: "wandering" has one "r.") That being said, I'm not exactly in love with the translation and for that I'd give this a 4.5 By now, most manga-readers are familiar with Japanese honorifics. What many people don't know about are the cultural references in the story itself: the fact that Takatsuki's dad is a huge fan of takarazuka (all-female productions of heterosexual romance stories that promotes an interesting queer subculture) has a lot of bearing on the story. But that's lost if there aren't any explanations of these terms.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dom on August 31, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm going to separate this review into two sections, making it a little more organized and easy to follow.

Book: The book as a product itself is absolutely flawless. Heavy hardcover with a brilliant cover, as well as a few colored panels at the beginning. I am an avid reader of manga and own several series worth of books and I can say that this by far is the best looking, feeling, and reading book I've ever owned.

Story: The story is, for lack of a better word, brilliant. Shimura Takako is tackling a very real, but sensitive issue here, and manages to do so with ease. With the characters being so young, one can imagine how tough it is to capture the mindset and inner feelings of each person, however the reader easily finds them likeable and relatable. Shuichi, the main character is absolutely adorable, possibly the cutest of all male characters in manga history, and I find myself falling more and more in love with him as I turn the pages. His counterpart, Takatsuki, is strong, courageous, and handsome, just the opposite of Shu. Together they combine with some supporting characters to set up the beginning of what will truly be a wonderful story.

I really cannot recommend this enough.
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