Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wandering Son - Episode 3

Come the end of Wandering Son's previous episode, it seemed as though everyone was friends and all was well in its world for the first time... of course, this was never likely to last given all of the trials and tribulations surrounding its cast of characters.

It's Chiba who causes some of this initial drama once again early in this episode courtesy of another of her outbursts, although it seems that by this point everyone else is so used to it that it isn't such a big deal now.  However, what is rather a big deal for Takatsuki is the arrival of puberty and her swelling chest, with friendly taunts about her needing a bra proving to be something that she really doesn't want to have to deal with given her longing to be a boy.

Of course, she isn't the only one wishing she could avoid adolescence here, but that aside the main focus of this episode is on the school's forthcoming culture festival, where Nitori et al's class have opted to create a play.  Not just any play though - thanks to a suggestion from Chiba, in this play all of the girls roles will be played by boys and vice versa.  Pretty much everybody in the class seems strangely excited by this idea (outside of the usual suspects who you'd expect to like it), and so the concept is passed by their teacher, with Nitori and (it later turns out) Chiba both working on a script idea for said play.  Throw in yet more embarrassment for Nitori's sister caused by his cross-dressing and an assortment of other little points of interest, and you have yourself another episode of Wandering Son.

Really, the "wandering" part of this shows title couldn't be much more apt - Wandering Son really does prove to have quite the roving eye, skipping between characters and scenarios with gay abandon and never spending too much time focusing on a single subject before moving elsewhere and then occasionally moving back to its more important story lines intermittently throughout.  Somehow, this series so far has managed to avoid most if not all of the pitfalls of this tactic - rather than being disjointed it remains fresh and entertaining from beginning to end with its subtle blend of drama, slice of life and humour sprinkling itself throughout to good effect.  Indeed, subtly is the name of the game here - Chiba aside, we're left to read the thoughts of most of the characters here through their actions and expressions rather than having major points of interest thrust at us via flashing neon lights.  This makes for a quiet and thoughtful take on growing up and adolescence, and helped along by those gorgeous visuals it continues to do pretty much everything right.

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