Thursday, 24 March 2011

Wandering Son - Episode 10 + 11

Somehow, only a series with the quality of Wandering Son would manage to ram two of its episodes together into a single instalment and still turn our a coherent and fascinating narrative, which is basically exactly what we get with this "episode 10 + 11" medley.

Of course, the entire resulting episode deals largely with the fall out which comes from Nitori turning up to school dressed as a girl - something he's forced to face and discuss with both his school teachers and parents, and something he refuses to shrink from as he calmly and directly explains his actions while he quite rightly internally ponders why it's okay for Chi and Takatsuki to turn up dressed as boys but it's alarming or offensive for him to dress as a girl.

For all of Nitori's bravery in the face of this embarrassing barrage of questions, the effects of his cross-dressing being cast out into the open has effects far beyond Nitori himself - his sister is blamed for causing his desire to dress as a girl on the one hand while she's too ashamed to go to school on the other, while Chi finds herself labelled as part of a "bunch of freaks" (not that she cares) and Takatsuki finds herself getting some unexpected attention from various quarters.

The real motif of this episode however is growth - Nitori has grown from a shy, retiring kid into one who will stand up for himself (however hard it is to do), Takatsuki is more comfortable in her own skin and more determined to do things her way, and so the list goes on.  The physical comparison of Shuu and Maho at the end of the episode is really the telling one - this isn't simply a comparison of physical growth, but a pointer that Nitori as a person has now outgrown his sister; a beautiful way to end a visually and emotionally beautiful series that has, itself, grown and grown in confidence with an increasingly assured hand guiding its comedy, drama and emotion to a fantastic finale.  Well, a finale of sorts, with full versions of these episodes and a bonus instalment promised with the Blu-Ray release of the series in Japan.  Let's hope it does well enough to get a second season - it certainly deserves one, and seems to have plenty of material to hand to fill it.

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