In the latest volume of the manga series about transgendered kids struggling with adolescence, the casting of Romeo and Juliet, coupled with a friend's urging, is the catalyst for the protagonist to figure out if a crush on another transgendered student is that of a boy for a girl, a boy for a boy, a girl for a boy or a girl for a girl.
Shimura Takako's sensitive and charming manga series about two middle-schoolers wrestling with their gender identities continues. Faced with unwanted changes to their growing bodies, male-identified Takatsuki-san discovers the wonders of "breast binders," and female-identified Nitori-kun explores the limits of his ability to "pass." Also: the success of their performance of The Rose of Versailles in the fifth grade - in which the boys played the women and the girls played the men - inspires our protagonists to put on another gender-bending play for the junior-high school festival. They riff on Romeo and Juliet. Nitori-kun and his friend Chiba-san write the script together, but Chiba-san has an agenda: She wants to play Romeo, with Nitori-kun in the role of Juliet. But Nitori-kun wants Takatsuki-san to play Romeo... Chiba-san forces Nitori-kun to confront a question he's been avoiding. Are his feelings for Takatsuki-san those of a boy for a girl, a girl for a girl, or a girl for a boy? Meanwhile, Maho plans a trip to the beach with her boyfriend, and Nitori-kun must chaperone.
About the Author
Shimura Takako lives in Tokyo, Japan.
Rachel Thorn is from in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She is a cultural anthropologist, writer, and an associate professor in the manga department at Kyoto Seika University. Her translations include the New York Times Best-Seller Nijigahara Holograph by Inio Asano and Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind.
...[B]eing a trans woman means I'm used to seeing awful depictions of
my lived experiences. I do not see me, and that is when I see trans
women or trans people in general depicted at all. Until [Wandering
Son]... I had never seen my own narrative depicted. At least not closely
— Kat Callahan - Jezebel ROYGBIV
Wandering Son is an important manga series, much celebrated for the sensitive treatment of its two young transgender protagonists. It offers nuanced portrayals of these two middle schoolers, their friends, and their families. The tone is sweet, gentle, and hopeful, making it a pleasant reading experience. At the same time, it doesn’t turn away from realistic issues like bullying and the pain of experiencing puberty when your body already doesn’t match the way you feel inside.
— Nic Willcox - No Flying No Tights