Today’s Menu contains high amounts of philosophy as the coffee beans we’re using today are quite old…
So, as you’re drinking your morning coffee, ponder this:
“What are little girls made of?”
Why, sugar, spice, and everything nice of course! However, the same ingredients can be found in all cafés, including this one. Does that make Café Daifuuku a girl…?
Today’s order will come to you in 2 Parts. They are as follows:
- Part 1: On Roses and Violets, and
- Part 2: First Impressions
Part 1 would be a general summary of the first episode, while part 2 would be exactly what it sounds like it would be.
To help you further wake up your mind (if the coffee isn’t strong enough), why not hover your mouse over the images?
Part 1: “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue”
Much of the first episode of Wandering Son was dedicated to introducing the many characters and their relationship with each other though flashbacks. This episode seemed to be mostly from Shuichi Nitori’s point of view, since he narrated many times throughout the story.
The story begins with an interview-styled segment in which Shuichi briefly talks about his school boy’s uniform, and how he feels uncomfortable and stiff while wearing it, but still required to do so nevertheless. Here we also learn that the story starts from the Middle School entrance ceremony.
The next little bit contained what was perhaps the
most action fastest pacing you will ever see in this anime. Five characters were introduced within a minute. That must be a new world record!
I love these 2 shots. It makes me feel tall (yes I’m vertically challenged at the moment, shhhh!)
[cue opening song]
And of course, we all know exactly what a school entrance ceremony looks like in anime:
In class, we get a
more detailed glimpse of many of the characters and their personalities…
…plus some of the juiciest gossip.
That would explain why Shuichi and Yoshino were so awkward when they met each other earlier…
Fast-forward to after-school. The story starts to branch off into several separate plotlines as the characters make their own way home from school. A lot of character-development occurs.
Saori Chiba Mini-Arc
Saorin arrives back home only to find an unknown boy in the house. They get into a small argument about “cute-ness”, and we are given a photo of a real “cutie” by Saori’s standards.
Yoshino Takatsuki Mini-Arc
Yoshino meets an unnamed adult female friend at a café and receives a school boy outfit from the woman as a present for entering Middle School. She briefly talks of her experiences at the first day of school, and mentions the “Cool and Spicy” Chizuru, who (if you still remember) came to school wearing a boy uniform. Yoshino voices her wish to become more free-spirited and strong like Chizuru.
The unnamed women then asks her of her recent fall-out with Shuichi. We learn that the woman originally met our main heroine in the café when Yoshino and Shuichi were together cross-dressing as a couple. Of course, Yoshino becomes flustered and quickly denies the use of the word “couple”. The unnamed women then smiles and tells Yoshino about how lucky she is to have a friend who she could trust, who liked her for who she was.
Shuichi Nitori Mini-Arc
A boy runs into the Men’s washroom with a shopping bag. A few minutes later, a girl carefully runs back out, carrying the same bag. The boy and the girl is both Shuichi. He is at first uncomfortable being outside alone while cross-dressing (since he’s only done it before with Yoshino), but a phone call to Makoto Ariga calms him down and allows him to act more natural.
As a boy, Shuichi-kun is shy, quiet, and soft-spoken. As a girl, Shuichi-chan finds herself exploring around town freely, watching a lazy cat on a wall, and buying a 4-leaf clover pin for her long
After changing back again, he returns home to see his older sister Maho with Anna, a fellow model. The 2 girls then leave Shuichi alone in the house, and his eyes fall upon his sister’s outfit for the next photo-shoot.
Just before Shuichi-chan was able to put on the finishing touches, the 2 girls return home to get a forgotten cellphone
An upset Shuichi-kun-chan runs out of the house in a weird ensemble of clothes (and no shoes). Bystanders turn to watch.
As anime luck will have it, Shuichi bumps into…
Although the 2 have been avoiding each other since their fallout back in grade school, it seems they are still great friends and still can understand each other very well…
With the help of Yoshino and a 4-leaf-clover, Shuichi was able to regain the -chan in his name.
They walk home together, and talk about their hopes and dreams in Middle School. Yoshino does a little scream and promises Shuichi that she will be trying her best this year at everything she does.
At home, Shuichi-kun finds forgiveness from his sister in the form of 1 fried (and crispy) shrimp.
[/end of arcs]
The next little segment involves an “interview” with Yoshino that was taken after-school. Like Shuichi, Yoshino expresses her feelings towards men/women clothing, and her desire to change.
What’s this? Looks like we’ve received word from the Shuichi Mini-arc again! What do you think he’s doing?
Part 2: First Impressions
The anime itself is fairly slow and calming. Of course, such is to be expected since the storyline is more serious compared to other genres of anime. The “watercolour-like” art style compliments the pacing well. A possible turnoff is that this type of anime may put watchers to sleep if they were feeling sleepy prior to watching the episode.
Another problem I found while watching Musuko was the style they introduced their characters. Wandering Son must be the one anime this season with the most characters (who all actually have a personality and a storyline). With the huge mass of characters that were so briefly introduced, the confusion was somewhat bigger than I had anticipated.
Of course, those who have been following the manga well before the release of the anime will have already had a heads start in the Who’s-Who department, but for all the rest of us, it looks like the beginning might be a bit rough to sit through. In this case, patience really is a virtue.
I really enjoyed AIC’s take on the Slice-of-Life genre. In most animes, secondary (and even sometimes main) characters are generalized to fit one specific personality/description, but in real life, people are
usually more sophisticated than that. It’s nice to see Musuko dabbing in on the sophistication, with many of their characters already showing the prospect of becoming more “complicated” and “layered” in terms of their personal storyline and characteristics. I’m looking forward for the possibility of more intricately linked mini-arcs as well as maybe seeing the main plot develop from many different points of view.
I also really loved how AIC is experimenting with different angles for their scenes. It really ups the “WOW” factor in this anime, especially since not much action is going on.
And of course, with this type of art style, the scenery are worth drooling over!
Music isn’t one of Hourou Musuko’s stronger points, in my opinion. The opening theme felt a little off compared to the anime. Although the voice was mostly slow and calming, the background music kept building tension. The ending song was also a lot more upbeat than the anime itself, but since it’s Rie Fu singing her English/Japanese style of music, and since I’m biased this way, I enjoyed it more.
Ending off, here’s the answer that was promised in the beginning:
“What are little boys made of?”
Frogs and snails, and puppy-dog’s tails.
That’s what little boys are made of.