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Wandering Son, Vol. 1 (Wandering Son #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  2,335 Ratings  ·  248 Reviews
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 gi ...more
Hardcover, 210 pages
Published July 5th 2011 by Fantagraphics (first published June 30th 2003)
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Raeleen Lemay
Jan 13, 2017 Raeleen Lemay rated it really liked it
Dec 03, 2014 Sesana rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
At heart, this is a sweet, simple story about two two transgender kids, a boy who is a girl and a girl who is a boy, discovering themselves and each other. What was most surprising to me about this book is how restrained it is. It's way, way less dramatic than it could be, trading big scenes and shocking revelations for something as simple as Takatsuki modeling a headband in the mirror. For me, it made the story that much more emotionally effective.

The art is very nice to look at. But the charac
Seth T.
Aug 19, 2013 Seth T. rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Wandering Son by Shimura Takako

I was in elementary school in 1980 and in high school in 1990. I predated by a few years the rather briskly paced evolution of alt sexualities from something horrifying to kids to something that kids could dabble in without too much fear of ostracizing. I grew up in a town whose homosexuals-per-capita population was second in the state behind San Francisco. We were all pretty well aware of how common open homosexual lifestyles were in the town. We knew about the Little Shrimp. We knew about Snea
Feb 16, 2013 MLE rated it really liked it
A sweet, and almost gentle story about identity, friendship, acceptance (of yourself and others), and belonging. Not a sexually charged, or exploitative book. It made me happy that this series was avaible to order through my library, and was part of more than one library's collection.
... how do I even begin to review this volume?

I picked it up at the library today. I wasn't expecting to see it there, so I grabbed it at the first opportunity. The reason I was interested in this book is because it is a wonderful manga about two young trans people who become friends. I was desperate to read it because Japan's attitude to homosexuality and trans issues is a little bit of a mixed bag. Homosexuality (and everything else surrounding it) is kind of a niche, it is in and of itself i
Sean O'Hara
Sep 21, 2011 Sean O'Hara rated it really liked it
Shelves: manga, lgbt
I want to break into a school in a really conservative district and plant copies of this book in the library, just to watch the ensuing outrage from moral guardians. In terms of content, it's absolutely G-rated -- no cursing, the only fight takes place off screen, and the closest it comes to nudity is someone changing clothes off screen. But Certain People will still object.

The story concerns two fifth graders, Nitori Shuichi and Takatsuki Yoshino. Shuichi just transferred to a new school and en
Jan 04, 2017 Lea rated it really liked it

Super fast read, and my first Japanese graphic novel. I was REALLY confused by the layout, so it took me a while to figure out the story. I have a hard time with graphic novels to begin with, so this was especially challenging.

As others have mentioned, it can be a bit difficult to tell who the various characters are. I found the action and transitions a bit abrupt -- I knew what the story was going into it, which is a good thing because I think I would have been completely lost otherwise.

Chiara (delicate eternity)
Shit, this was adorable. I need the next one ASAP.
Wandering Son is a beautifully drawn hardcover manga, that feels a lot like what you would normally expect from a North American graphic novel. Whenever I think manga, I think of things like Inuyasha and Fruits Basket, but among all the shojo and action fantasy romps we also have books like this one. Wandering Son is a quiet book. It's a slice of life look into the lives of two main characters, Nitori and Takatsuki. What makes this book unique is that Takatsuki is a girl who wants to be a boy an ...more
Why I picked it up: It's on the list for the YALSA challenge I'm doing it and my friend Snow got a dreamy look in her eye when she described it.

Shuichi Nitori is a 5th grader in Japan. Most of his friends at school are girls, including the new girl, Yoshino Takatsuki. And there is a reason for that: secretly, Shuichi wants to be a girl. And Yoshino has a secret, too: she wishes she were a boy.

I loved the idea of two transgendered kids finding each other as they are on the verge of puberty. I am
Dec 11, 2011 Kogiopsis rated it liked it
This is a very subjective three stars, because I think this volume could have been a five-star read if it weren't for a few problems I had with it that may well be specific to me. The idea is interesting and the plot seems to progress slowly enough that it will be thoroughly explored over time. However, I have trouble remembering and distinguishing Japanese names, so keeping characters straight was a constant challenge - one not helped by some strong similarities in appearance.

That said, this is
Mar 01, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, children-ya, manga
Bittersweet coming-of-age story about two adolescents questioning their gender identities. It's my understanding (based on Goodreads reviews, if nothing else) that the later volumes get a little messy in their treatment of gender and sexuality, but so far there's nothing here that gives me pause. Takako Shimura's art is simple and effective, and she captures the anxious rhythms of middle-class childhood in a way that reminds me of my own early life. Kudos to Fantagraphics for the A+ packaging of ...more
Sara Lynn
Feb 28, 2017 Sara Lynn rated it really liked it
This is a very sweet story about two people.
Shuichi is a boy that wants to be a girl.
Yoshino is a girl who wants to be a boy.

The art is simple.
The story is simple, yet complex.

I'm looking forward to reading the next volume.
Theresa Marsala
Jun 07, 2016 Theresa Marsala rated it liked it
When it comes down to it I really enjoyed the heart of the story~ 2 young internally- struggling transgender kids who try to figure themselves out & how to be comfortable with their true selves, but because of culture & language differences between American & Japanese I found it confusing to follow at times. Some characters are very similar & even though there is a Honorifics guide along with a pronunciation guide to help you out, I still felt a little outta whack with who was wh ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Sarah rated it it was amazing
A sweet, tender, and engaging look at the friendship between two pre-teens -- Shuichi, a boy who wishes he were a girl and Yoshino, a girl who wishes she was a boy. The book pulls you in with these adorable and introspective little characters, on the cusp of becoming adults but not quite there yet and not quite sure how to be what they are on the outside or the inside. Drama with friends, family, and school creates a highly realistic world. It's a natural read-alike for "With the Light" or other ...more
Oct 18, 2011 Kelly rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-shelf
"In the future that I want to inhabit, it will be considered a classic." That quote is from Erica Friedman's post about the anime (which I haven't finished yet) which you can find here and I think it sums up my thoughts about the first volume of this series perfectly. It is a beautiful book that addresses a difficult subject with remarkable subtlety and grace.
Nov 15, 2011 Edna rated it really liked it
A good book for late-elementary, early-middle school aged kids who are curious or interested in material that addresses gender-confusion. The manga formatting makes it an easy, quick and non-threatening read - the characters, ironically, look a great deal alike which fits with the "confusion" theme - I was confused and had to re-read or return to panels to confirm who was who (!). Will definitely read V. 2
Dec 24, 2015 Jasmine rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those wanting a manga with a simple tone to a serious issue.
Recommended to Jasmine by: Tracey Dunne
I will admit the beginning is a bit jumbled and the art might be a little too plain, however it's important story, realistic characters, and relaxing tone definitely makes it stand out in the slice-of-life genre.
Dov Zeller
Nov 07, 2015 Dov Zeller rated it really liked it
I read this a while back and keep meaning to read the next ones in the series. I'll have to reread this one, too!
Feb 27, 2015 Damon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites, manga
Interesting read. Appears to be about boys who like dressing up as girls and girls who like dressing up as boys.
Joseph Jeffery
Mar 27, 2017 Joseph Jeffery rated it really liked it
This is an interesting manga and though the translation falls down in a few places, works well as a setup for the ongoing story.

As Nitori and Takaktsuki prepare for a play in which the boys play girls and the girls play boys, they both have feelings that they would be be better off always being that way.

This is something that has long happened in the shadows of people's minds but is now getting exposure as more children openly identify as gender-fluid or Transgender. Thus, sensitive and well wri
Mar 10, 2012 Cameron rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who works with kids.
Shelves: queer, manga
Wandering Son: Volume One is a graphic novel written and drawn by Shimura Takako, and published by Fantagraphic Books. The book is about two fifth graders, both who are exploring their respective gender identities. The Wandering Son series spans over 11 volumes (and counting) though only the first two volumes have been translated into English, with the third volume to be released soon (I couldn't find an exact release date, though you can pre-order it on Amazon.)

First, this book is a manga. It w
Charles Hatfield
Jul 08, 2012 Charles Hatfield rated it really liked it
This is a provocative but also endearing example of manga: a school story about the friendship between two classmates edging into adolescence, one a boy who longs to be a girl, the other a girl who longs to be a boy. A nuanced, remarkably understated, and yet emotionally fraught study in gender trouble, Wandering Son explores the feelings of its leads with a light but knowing touch, braiding recurrent images, remembered encounters, dreams, and fantasies into a subtle, insinuating weave.

More than
Kristin Fletcher-spear
Taken from my Book Obsession ( blog post:

I just got back from lunch and I liked this manga I was reading soooo much that I had to immediately blog about it. Usually, I like to percolate about a title first, but this one just touched me as a reader I want to gush about it. I know this title isn't going to be for everyone. But there are very few titles --prose novels and graphic novels -- that delve into this topic that when one appears as shining as this one did to m
Feb 17, 2017 Chelsey rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, manga, read-2017
This is so important! I'm very happy that this exists, we need more transgender literature for younger audiences.
Wandering Son starts with a group of elementary school children. One boy among them wants to be a girl, and one girl among them wants to be a boy.

So far so good. It's definitely a unique subject and Shimura seems to be a talented storyteller. The art is quite basic, Shimura herself says as much, yet at the same time manages to be touching.

After only one volume I can't say too much about the characters. They feel a bit too mature for small children, but that's certainly better than having annoyin
Nitori Shuichi is a boy with a secret: he would really like to be a girl. When he starts fifth grade at a new school, a couple of startling things happen. One girl in his class, Chiba Saori, discovers his secret, and seems to find it fascinating. She even helps arrange for a surreptitious way for Shuichi to cross-dress in public: a performance of "The Rose of Versailles" with the boys playing the girl parts and the girls playing the boy roles. Meanwhile, another classmate has a similar secret to ...more
Jennifer Lavoie
This manga was such a sweet, refreshing read. The story is beautiful but the art is simple and beautiful as well, and it matches the story perfectly. Nitori is a boy who wants to be a girl, and his friend, Takatsuki, is a girl who wants to be a boy. Through most of the first volume neither knows the others secret, but when they find out, it's sweet. They are able to get strength from each other and go out, dressed as the opposite gender together and enjoy their time.

What I most enjoyed about th
Nov 02, 2014 Lem rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favourite series. Wandering Son is not only beautiful to look at, with a gorgeous hardcover watercolour cover; but also contains one of the most delicate and heart-wrenching stories I've ever encountered in a manga series.

Wandering Son follows the tale of two transgender children: Nitori Shu and Takatsuki Yoshino (and their rag-tag group of friends), as they make their way through adolescence. Shimura deals with their journey in a sensitive but bold manner, with very little su
Holly Hodson
Jul 18, 2012 Holly Hodson rated it it was amazing
One of the primary complaints I hear about manga is that it isn't a REAL book, or it's all rubbish. I utterly detest this suggestion and all others that come with it. This book proves those suggestions wrong as far as I'm concerned.

Wandering Son tackles the issues faced by a boy who, over time, realises he really wishes he was a girl. Passing comments from other characters and a series of events eventually lead Shu to eventually put on a dress. There are many pages in this book that cut deep. Sh
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She-Geeks: February 2016 Read: Wandering Son, Vol. 1 2 11 Feb 23, 2016 01:56PM  
Manga Manga Manga: Wandering Son V1 1 6 Mar 16, 2015 09:22AM  
Josei and Seinen ...: Wandering Son Discussion 4 12 Dec 16, 2013 03:15PM  
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Takako Shimura is a manga artist primarily known for her manga works published in Japan which feature LGBT (especially about lesbian and transgender) topics. Originally from Kanagawa, she now resides in Tokyo.

See also 志村 貴子
More about Takako Shimura...

Other Books in the Series

Wandering Son (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Wandering Son, Vol. 2
  • Wandering Son, Vol. 3
  • Wandering Son, Vol. 4
  • Wandering Son, Vol. 5
  • 放浪息子 6
  • 放浪息子 7
  • Wandering Son, Vol. 8
  • 放浪息子 9
  • 放浪息子 10
  • 放浪息子 11

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