Friday, 18 March 2011

Wandering Son - Episode 9

For all of her self-doubt and reluctance to stand out from the crowd in general, Takatsuki shows herself to have rather a courageous streak during the course of Wandering Son's ninth episode.

Takatsuki's forwardness comes to the fore from the very off, as she (arguably unnecessarily) asks Anna for permission to hang out with Nitori sometimes (which is of course granted), before turning up at school wearing the boy's uniform - a first for her, and an event which brings forth questioning from teachers as you might expect.  Still, she manages to wear it well (both literally and figuratively) and thus achieves the admiration of classmates and the support of friends without too much effort.

Meanwhile, Nitori is having some interesting experiences of his own courtesy of his seemingly mismatched friendship with Doi.  Finding himself press-ganged into taking her to meet "the pretty woman" Doi spotted Nitori with, the former ends up learning that said pretty woman is in fact a transsexual... a pretty big culture shock for anyone, never mind a hormonal boy.  It's difficult to discern Doi's true reaction to this discovery, but next thing we know he's demanding to see Nitori dressed as a girl before suggesting that he try going to school wearing the girls uniform.  Is he just teasing or deadly serious?  Either way, Nitori seriously considers it, and despite the advice of both Chi and Takatsuki come the end of the episode he's turned up at school wearing full female garb - needless to say next week's episode is set aside for the fallout from this "stunt".

Once again, Wandering Son has turned in a fantastic and fascinating performance that happily prods at the oddities of gender inequality on the one hand (why can a girl dress as a guy and be cool but not vice versa?) whilst serving up wonderfully intriguing characters at the same time.  It isn't just the lead roles that still the "intriguing" adjective either, with Doi's character this week proving to be a decidedly interesting melting pot of hormones, experimentation and a big fat question mark over whether he's genuinely curious about Nitori's proclivities or simply a bully who has gotten smarter about dishing out his emotional pain.  It's this kind of clever writing and characterisation that keeps me glued to this series week after week, and I'll genuinely be sorry when it comes to an end - as an exhibit of how to mix these interesting elements with a genuinely entertaining viewing experience, Wandering Son is hitting all the right notes.

No comments: