Review: Hourou Musuko

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Anime: Hourou Musuko
Animation Studio: AIC
Number of Episodes: 12 (10 and 11 were combined into one episode for broadcast)
Length per Episode: Approximately 24 minutes

Turns out only this and Fractale finish airing today. Well, actually, IS: Infinite Stratos ends today, but I doubt the group I’m watching will release today. If they don’t, I’ll use another group to release a review tomorrow. I rarely mention the last episode, even vaguely, to avoid spoilers anyways.

I thought I had something more important to say before the review, but I can’t remember, so I guess not.


The story of Hourou Musuko is a simple one, dealing with a complex issue. For the most part, it revolves around Nitori, who likes to cross-dress as a girl.snap2

The first few episodes are mainly to introduce Nitori and his hobby, along with other people’s opinions on it. One of his best friends, Takatsuki, who is on the left in the above picture, doesn’t have a problem with it. Neither does Chiba, who is the one on the right in the picture.

However, others are not so fond of his hobby. Mainly, his sister.snap3

Of course, not to mention the public itself doesn’t really approve of this kind of thing.

The story doesn’t completely revolve around Nitori, though. It also takes the time to look at other characters. For example, Takatsuki is the opposite of Nitori, in that she’s a girl that likes to dress as a boy.snap4

However, the show only focuses on them for the first few episodes.

Spotlight is also given to Chiba, who I honestly think doesn’t deserve it.snap5

Chiba was probably my least favorite character in the show. While I do respect her for pretty much always speaking her mind, she’s also rude, and can be a giant drama queen at times. I can understand her obsession with Nitori, given how kids view love at that age, but it doesn’t excuse her from being rude to nearly everyone.

This is where the show starts to hit the low mark. It starts to drift away from the societal problems of Nitori and Takatsuki’s hobbies, and instead focuses on regular drama between kids. While not entirely a bad topic, that’s not what I was watching the show for.

Sure, they write the genderbender play in the middle, but it doesn’t really focus on the issue at all. It mainly deals with the drama behind writing the play itself, which in my opinion, wasn’t very exciting.

The show got my hopes up a bit around halfway through the show when this guy showed up.snap6
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I figured he was going to be the big bad antagonist, but instead we never see him again. He does show up in the last episode, but it honestly seems more like a cameo than anything.

What did save the show in the middle was this girl.snap8

Anna, like Nitori’s sister, Maho, is a model. When you first meet her, she seems like an unemotional character who doesn’t really talk much. Basically, she comes off as boring. However, that’s not the case at all.

Anna is just someone who doesn’t open up easily. She just goes through life, doing what she deems she needs to do. I guess you could say she doesn’t seem very enthusiastic. But when she opens up, she’s actually one of the most talkative, and nicest people you could meet. She was easily my favorite character in the show.

 

However, after dancing around the topic in the middle of the series, the show finally decided to stop being a tease and got back to the main issues at hand. It was set up very well, first by seeing what would happen when the girls showed up to school in male uniforms. This actually was somewhat addressed in the first episode by Chizuru, who did it, but it was Takatsuki’s first time.snap9

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While questioned about it, the girls still got to wear the boy’s uniform, and people in class even mentioned that they looked pretty cool.

Because of this, Nitori figured it would be okay for him to come to school dressed as a girl.snap11

He was very, very wrong.snap12

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Not only this, but everyone at school started to make fun of him, or call him a freak.

Double standards are a bitch, aren’t they?

 

Hourou Musuko is one of those shows that you know if you’ll enjoy right from the get-go. There isn’t really much to change the mind of anybody who’s doubtful, especially given the meandering the story does around the middle.

If anything, I’d say to watch for Anna, since seeing how different her character is when she’s opened up and happy is worth anyone’s time. Not kidding when I say she’s the best character.

For those who do watch, you’re in for a treat. The tackling of society’s standards through kids/teens is effective. Their innocence at not understanding how one thing is worse than something else that’s similar works especially well during the ending, when it tackled double standards.

Not to mention, all throughout the show, both Nitori and Takatsuki have to deal with what teens dread most: puberty. While their mind says they want to be the opposite gender, their body disagrees. It causes a very tough conflict.

I also really liked the ED.

Shows how you don’t need something to have big, flashy animation to be great.

While I didn’t enjoy everything about the show, mainly Chiba and the story around the middle, there was definitely a lot more that I liked about the show. Anna makes me almost completely forgive the middle of the show, but Chiba is still… yeah.

Nonetheless, it was definitely worth the watch, and the ending packed quite the punch. I was on the edge of my seat at some of those cliffhangers. Not to mention, the show’s presentation itself was very high quality. The very last scene was probably the best way they could have ended the show.

RATING: 9 out of 10.

P.S. I was listening to “Don’t Stop Believing” while I wrote this. For some reason, I find that very fitting. Don’t ask why.

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