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Familiar Diversions

I'm a librarian who loves anime, manga, and reading a wide variety of genres.

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Wandering Son (vol. 3) by Shimura Takako, translated by Matt Thorn

Wandering Son, Vol. 3 - Matt Thorn, Shimura Takako

Maho drags Shuichi to her audition and asks to be accepted or rejected as a set. They're accepted, but their new modeling gig turns out to be both excitement and torture for poor Shuichi. Also for Maho, who is gradually beginning to understand that she is maybe being cruel towards Shuichi because she's hurt that Riku likes Shuichi more. She arranges a date for Riku and Shuichi, and

Shuichi finally can't take it anymore – he tells Riku that he's Maho's brother. At school, others read Yoshino and Shuichi's exchange diary and make fun of Shuichi. Yoshino tries to help by distancing herself from Shuichi and dressing as a girl. During their time apart, Shuichi makes a new friend, Ariga Makoto (referred to from here on out as “Mako-chan,” because he'd like it), another boy who'd like to be a girl (this phrasing becomes important later on - I suspect Mako-chan isn't so much trans as he is gay and interested in cross-dressing).

(show spoiler)


Mako-chan seems to be one of the most emotionally stable characters in the series, steady even when he takes on Maho at her worst. After she almost calls him a faggot:

“You were just about to leave a scar on my heart that would never heal. And I would never have forgiven you for it. But you stopped yourself first, so I'll let it slide.” (136)

Yuki's overly touchy feely behavior bothered me since her introduction, and in this volume Yoshino reached her breaking point, becoming so uncomfortable that she tried to slip away from Yuki's place without telling her. If I had been Yoshino, I probably would have too. No matter what Yuki, Shuichi, and Yoshino all have in common, Yuki is still an adult with a sometimes screwed up sense of boundaries.

In this volume we learn that Yuki's relationship with her parents isn't very good. Maho's near slip-up with Mako-chan and her behavior lately with Shuichi makes me worry about what Shuichi's relationship with his own family might be like in the future. I worry about what's going through Maho's head.

I wish Shuichi were more outspoken. He just allows Maho to drag him wherever she wants, never saying what he wants. Does he want to be a model? Does he want to date Riku? Then again, the problem may be that he doesn't know what he wants, or is afraid to say his wishes aloud. But, ugh, it's frustrating to watch.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)