The fifth grade. The threshold to puberty, and the beginning of the end of childhood innocence. Shuichi Nitori and his new friend Yoshino Takatsuki have happy homes, loving families, and are well-liked by their classmates. But they share a secret that further complicates a time of life that is awkward for anyone: Shuichi is a boy who wants to be a girl, and Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy. Written and drawn by one of today’s most critically acclaimed creators of manga, Shimura portrays Shuishi and Yoshino’s very private journey with affection, sensitivity, gentle humor, and unmistakable flair and grace. Volume one introduces our two protagonists and the friends and family whose lives intersect with their own. Yoshino is rudely reminded of her sex by immature boys whose budding interest in girls takes clumsily cruel forms. Shuichi’s secret is discovered by Saori, a perceptive and eccentric classmate. And it is Saori who suggests that the fifth graders put on a production of The Rose of Versailles for the farewell ceremony for the sixth graders — with boys playing the roles of women, and girls playing the roles of men.
Wandering Son is a sophisticated work of literary manga translated with rare skill and sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn.
Download a 20-page PDF excerpt of the entire first chapter (3.3 MB).
"Transsexuality is often used in manga for laughs or escapism, but Wandering Son is one of the few
manga I've read that takes its subject matter seriously. Shimura Takako is
known for drawing LGBT-friendly manga, and...
in Wandering Son she sympathetically and subtly depicts two young people
who are transsexuals, or at least have transsexual leanings.... It's a tasteful psychological portrait, with a lot of
unexpected little meanders and detours... and a pleasant lack of either over-the-top tortured drama or
polemic speeches about the subject matter. Just wandering along the road
of adolescence, watching our heroes discover themselves, is fascinating
enough. Recommended." – Jason Thompson, Otaku USA