Wandering Son Vol. 1 by Shimura Takako

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[Edit: Originally published July 23, 2016]

This was quite possibly the sweetest thing I have ever read and I am ridiculously disappointed that I can’t find the next two volumes of the manga for under 100 dollars. 

Wandering Son is about two transgender children and their self discovery and how it progresses through a year at school. There’s a young trans girl, Nitori Shuchi, and a trans boy, Takatsuki Yoshino. It was very sweet and it portrayed the gender discovery process very well.

There’s a school play that the class both kids are in puts on at the end of the year for the graduating students. The play is gender swapped, meaning the girls are playing the boy roles and the girls are playing the boy rolls. For Shuchi and Yoshino this plays a large role in them experimenting with their gender. Yoshino gets her hair cut and finds she really likes looking like a boy. Shuchi, who’s been conflicted about wearing dresses, finds something that he’s comfortable with. Neither of them are out to their parents and they find comfort in each other about what they’re going through. 

There’s an introduction in the beginning of the book that talks about gender in Japan. Japan and the Japanese language deals with gender differently than English does. The introduction is definitely important to read in order to understand the translation choices that have been made regarding gendered language for Shuchi and Yoshino. 

You may have noticed I referred to them with gendered pronouns that reflect their gender assigned at birth in an earlier paragraph. I did this because both Suchi and Yoshino are in that pre-transitional not out state where they’re only out to each other and no one else and that’s how they’re gendered, for the most part, in the manga. This may change in later volumes, but I’ve only read volume one.

You can find the book here.

Related Reviews: The Heart of Thomas and Symptoms of Being Human