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Hourou Musuko

February 27, 2011

One of the series I have really been enjoying this winter season but hadn’t mentioned yet is “Hourou Musuko”, based on the manga by Takako Shimura, who previously saw her other series “Aoi Hana” also adapted into anime form.

Where “青い花“ focused more on yuri with teen girls Fumi and Akira discovering their sexual preference and what it means to be in love, “放浪息子“while similar, expands it to younger teens of whom several wrestle with their gender identity.

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Studio AIC who also did “Ore no Imouto Ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai” and “Amagami SS” delivers a superb job with the animation, for they keep to the same subdued, pastel-like animation style used by JC Staff for “Aoi Hana”. Everything looks as if you are gazing at a soft, watercolor based painting.

This subdued imagery and the gently, benign atmosphere the series creates visually is starkly juxtapositioned against the powerful emotions and life altering personal growth its characters go through.

Although have read that because of this some lament the series for lacking impact, as if it were hesitant to shout out the emotions that boil within the characters, but personally I feel this is one of the series strong suits.

There’s no exaggerated teenage angst or blown up melodrama in “Hourou Musuko” as is witnessed in many other series, instead it shows young teens going through torrents of emotions and having to live with serious personality defining questions through such subdued animation that it focuses on the characters and their emotions without sweeping the viewer away with unnecessary visuals or scenes.

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The defining content is brought to the forefront, the characters’ souls are laid bare allowing us to witness how they come ot terms with themselves and each other. With this “Hourou Musuko” shows it is a great life drama, often showing realistic behaviors, character traits and actions from its characters.

Most of the characters are likable, even though they may be a bit young for older viewers to fully relate to their respective situations, everyone went through those teenage years and struggled with some of the emotions portrayed, or had acquaintances who struggled with them.

Rather like Shuichi and Yoshino but also Anna, the girl who’s taken an interest in her friend Maho’s younger brother. Although Anna may look as if she’s rather cold towards Shuichi, subtle hints give away she feels differently about him.
Someone with a strong personality like her would suit Shuichi well, though his other love interests Saori and Yoshino are no pushovers themselves. Am anxious to see how their stories will evolve in the anime.

Luckily, like JC Staff did for “Aoi Hana”, AIC too is able to render the different characters as such that they are clearly recognizable, whereas Takako Shimura’s original manga sometimes suffers from drawing the characters in a manner that it makes them more difficult to distinguish from each other.

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Lead characters Shuichi and Yoshino are voiced by relatively unknown seiyuu Hatakeyama Kosuke and Seto Asami.

Momoko on the other hand is voiced by Toyosaki Aki who you may know from her roles as Yui in “K-ON!”, Uihara in “To Aru Kagaku No Railgun” or Miwa in “Aoi Hana”. Nana Mizuki who voiced Fate in “Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha” and Touma in “Minami-Ke” voices Shuichi’s sister Maho.

Maho’s modeling friend Anna is voiced by Yui Horie, who needs no introduction and previously did characters such as Tsubasa in “Bakemonogatari”, Akane in “Kämpfer” or Yasuna in “Kashimashi ~Girl meets Girl~”. Chizuru is voiced by Saeko Chiba who also did Mio in “Strike Witches” or Natsuki in “My Hime”.

So far have tremendously enjoyed this series and can’t wait for the rest.
Although with the manga still ongoing while already spanning 11 tankubon volumes and featuring several years in the lives of the characters, can only wonder how much the anime will cover and hope it doesn’t leave us hanging in the middle.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 1, 2011 1:54 am

    Nana Mizuki [ . . . ] voices Shuichi’s sister Maho.

    WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA THAT’S WATSUP!!! I hadn’t even realized that! Thanks for the tip~

    [ . . . ] that it focuses on the characters and their emotions without sweeping the viewer away with unnecessary visuals or scenes.

    Perhaps the manga version is less reliant on visuals, but I feel the anime takes advantage of both characters and visuals to tell its story. It’s not relient on one preference, which is why I love the animated version so much. It’s definitely subdued as you say, but I’d rather call it the “complete package”, not something that solely focuses on one aspect…. sorta like K-ON season 2!

  2. March 12, 2011 7:20 pm

    The style really does remind of Aoi Hana. I really like it. I love this animation. So soft and muted.

  3. March 12, 2011 9:37 pm

    @Jesus159159159
    The animation is striking and in its subdued style can capture all the emotions and heavy themes without being overbearing, flashy or resorting to most cheap animation tricks used to emphasize certain emotionally laden or angst filled moments.
    @Yi
    Well the original is by the same mangaka so I think AIC wanted it to look like what JC Staff did with Aoi Hana, it’s the best suited animation style for such a story and its atmosphere.

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