Manga Review: “Wandering Son” Volume Four

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Wandering Son’ Volume Four by Shimura Takako on Blogcritics.

Wandering Son Volume Four is a manga by Shimura Takako, and it was published in North America by Fantagraphics Books in 2013. I don’t see a rating listed anywhere on this volume, but I would personally recommend Wandering Son to manga readers who are 13 or 14 years of age and older.

The main characters of the series are two transgendered kids named Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki. Up to this point in the series, they have been going to elementary school; however, at the end of Volume Four, they are just about to enter junior high.

Now that the cast is getting older, love and romantic feelings are major topics that appear in this volume. Shuichi’s older sister, Maho, admits her feelings to the boy that she’s liked for several volumes. Meanwhile, the class bully in Shuichi’s class spreads rumors about Shuichi and Yoshino being an item, which causes their friend Saori to become rather upset. It turns out that Saori likes Shuichi, but that Shuichi has developed feelings for Yoshino.

While there has been drama to appear in previous volumes of Wandering Son, it tended to fall a little more into the “childish” realm. In Volume Four, however, the drama factor has drastically increased. The drama taking place in the love department between several of the characters is causing some friendships to fall apart. It’s going to be interesting to see what repercussions this will have as the majority of the cast moves up to junior high school.

The drama in Wandering Son continues to feel natural and realistic for the age group that the characters are in. My 15-year-old daughter commented to me after she read this volume that she recognizes a lot of the drama that she saw in this volume as being rather similar to drama her classmates went through during their junior high years.

While Takako’s overall art style may be a little on the simplistic side, I think it works for the story that’s being told. While things in their world may be starting to change and become a little more complicated compared to the previous volumes, I still think the simplistic art style helps to emphasize the fact that the characters are still at a point that they still have some sense of innocence and that their lives are still a little on the simple side.

The Wandering Son manga series is a sensitive and well-done portrayal of young people who are growing up and discovering who they are. I’m very interested in being able to read Volume Five in order to see how the characters and their storylines progress.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Wandering Son Volume Four that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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