One of MTV Geek's Best Manga Series of 2011
Named to the ALA GLBT Round Table's 2013 Rainbow List of recommended books for young readers
Praise for Vol. 1:
One of MTV Geek's Best Manga Series of 2011
Named "Best New Seinen/Josei: Slice of Life" on About.com Manga's 2011 Best New Manga
Nominated to the ALA/YALSA 2012 "Great Graphic Novels for Teens" List
"...[L]ike the best coming-of-age stories—comics or otherwise—Wandering Son is meticulously accurate in its details, but universal in its emotions. Gay or not, readers shouldn't find it too difficult to identify with kids who feel like their bodies and their friends are equally culpable in the worst kind of betrayal, preventing them from realizing the potential they see in themselves." Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"With skill, restraint and a deep sensitivity to the roiling emotions involved, Shimura relates the tale of fifth-grade boy Shuichi, who wants to be a girl, and his classmate Yoshino, a girl who wants to be a boy. This is the first volume of the Japanese saga to be published in English, and translator Thorn does great work parsing the complex gender honorifics of the Japanese language. We only just begin to get to know our two leads, but Shimura's approach allows us to feel their confusion, their heartache and—when a perceptive mutual friend orchestrates a plan that starts them down the road to self-acceptance—their quiet, nervous joy." Glen Weldon, NPR - Monkey See
"While most manga about cross-dressing involve lots of shrieking and embarrassment, Wandering Son takes a quieter, more introspective approach.... It's a very sweet manga with realistic characters—no dead parents or crazy teachers, just ordinary, loving families and supportive friends. This manga is a beautifully produced, hardcover book, and... it's worth every penny." Brigid Alverson, MTV Geek
"...[Wandering Son] is absolutely fantastic and deserves every one of the awards it will doubtless win. ...[I]t's an honest look at what Shu and Yoshino are going through. There's no magic pool, no funny crossdressing, no easy solution to the dilemma that these two face. What I also like about the series is that its secondary characters are often just as interesting as the main pair: theyre all in fifth grade, after all, when everyone is struggling with their identities and the consequences thereof. Shu and Yoshino just get the worst of it." Ted Anderson, The Hub (YALSA)
"Gender-bending is nothing new in manga, but it's rare to see the transgender sexual identity issues depicted in a realistic way... With her spare, elegant art and slice-of-life storytelling, Shimura resists the urge to use sensationalism, to tell her sweet and sensitive, albeit unusual, coming-of-age tale.... Just as Shimura treats her two tween characters with respect, so does Fantagraphics' hardcover edition of this story. By presenting Shimura's simple, yet elegant artwork in a larger page format and reproducing her lovely color pages on thick, creamy paper, Fantagraphics has showcased this story in a very special way. The translation is also worth noting, for finding a happy medium between conversational English and maintaining the Japanese setting of this story. Wandering Son is a refreshing example of a graphic novel that gives readers a glimpse of a life rarely seen and a story rarely told. Worth a read, and worth sharing." Deb Aoki, About.com Manga
"The creator [of Wandering Son], Shimura Takako, is a well-established manga artist recognized for her LBGT focus, certainly not your usual manga fare. In the series debut-in-English, Shimura treats both protagonists journeys of self-discovery with gentle honesty; her characters are wide-eyed and adorable, uncertain and searching." Terry Hong, BookDragon (Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program)
"I've read many gentle, nostalgic manga about school and growing up, and in many ways Wandering Son is not so different from the best of them... On another level, the very fact that it can be so quiet and casual and natural, and say all the things that it says, makes it a deeply impressive work. What Wandering Son says, above all, is that the kids are alright. Maybe they dont believe it themselves right now. But theyll make it through." Shaenon Garrity, The Comics Journal
In the second volume of Shimura Takako's superb coming-of-age story, our transgendered protagonists, Shuichi and Yoshino, have entered the sixth grade. Shuichi spends a precious gift of cash from his grandmother on a special present for himself, a purchase that triggers a chain of events in which his sister Maho learns his secret, and Shuichi inadvertently steals the heart of a boy Maho in interested in.
The woman who showed so much interest in Yoshino (when she was wearing a boys school uniform) in Volume One reappears with her boyfriend, and, after discovering the important secret they have in common, becomes a mentor and friend to the two children. And the kids go on a class trip that is a rite of passage Shuichi would rather pass up. Shuichi is called a faggot by another boy, and the dramatic nature in which Saori comes to Shuichis defense leads the two to discover a shared fondness for Anne of Green Gables. But despite his propensity to cry (a propensity noted repeatedly by his more outgoing sister), Shuichi finds strength and courage he didnt know he had.
A sophisticated work translated with sensitivity by veteran translator and comics scholar Matt Thorn.
Download and read a 17-page PDF excerpt (3.3 MB).
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