Thursday, 3 February 2011

Wandering Son - Episode 4

Although the play agreed upon last episode for the school culture festival continues to take up the lion's share of Wandering Son's consideration this week, before that episode four begins with a swimming lesson; an event which really underlines the difference between the out-going, attention seeking Sarashina and Takatsuki, who continues to loathe her growing body.

As well as that swimming lesson, this episode also offers a few other brief asides from its main focus, with Takatsuki looking (and possibly) finding a way to hide those budding breasts, while Nitori continues to find himself the centre of attention for some of his sister's friends who seem to have an odd fascination with him which sits somewhere between teasing and flirting.

In the midst of all this, the play being written by Nitori and Chiba starts to have a very definite impact upon the real lives of some of the show's characters, thanks largely to an outburst by Chi as she openly questions what Shu wants from a relationship with Takatsuki - does he love her while seeing himself as a boy and her as a girl, while seeing her as a boy and himself as a girl or something else entirely?  It's a question which Nitori can't easily answer, but over the course of the episode he seems to come to the realisation that the unique take he's written on the Romeo and Juliet story is a reflection of his own desire, that is to be a girl and to be seen as a girl by Takatsuki, while looking at her as a boy.  Of course, this makes for a mighty complicated relationship in the first instance, and with Chiba still in love with Nitori this seems to give her some similar conflicts and issues of her own to deal with.  Throw in the addition of some more hands to work on the script for the class play, and it seems as though there's plenty more drama to be wrought from this event before it's through.

By this point in the series, it feels like Wandering Son is now well and truly comfortable in its own skin - ironic for a series about characters who aren't comfortable with themselves, isn't it?  Now that we have a handle on its major characters, its far easier to be swept up in their emotions, desires and confusion, making the drama that much more compelling and those little slithers of humour which are sneaked in here and there all the funnier.  Coupled with the fact that those characters are all quite likeable, sometimes in rather odd ways, this is very definitely turning into a series which is as worth watching for its story and character development as it is those beautiful visuals.

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