Wednesday, October 30, 2013

wandering son, vol. 3 & 4

wandering son, vol. 3
wandering son, vol. 4
shimura takako
graphic novels/drama/manga
fantagraphics books
published 2012 & 2013

Wandering Son has garnered extensive praise (from the LGBTQ community, from manga fans, and from comics fans in general) for its uniquely funny, warm, and sensitive treatment of the travails of two Japanese tweens who find themselves coping with the knotty issue of gender identification, as they slowly realize that maybe they aren’t who they were meant to be.

In Volumes 3 & 4 we're settled in for more serious topics.  Shu & Yoshi's secret is out and not everyone thinks it's cute.  Constantly getting bullied and harassed at school leads both kids to hide out at home or in the nurse's office.

Moving on, everyone is falling 'in love' and there's more than one love triangle going on!  Despite the idea of love, the two volumes are heavier and laced with despair.  We're left with everyone sort of unhappy with where they are and a bunch of friendships hanging in the balance.

As it was with the first two volumes I did feel lost at times.  While I could get the idea of the story and what was happening things get muddy and it's a little frustrating. But the artwork is gorgeous, simple and unencumbered.  I would buy these books just for the books & artwork themselves.  There's something about a hardback manga...

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