Archive | Anime

Anime: 放浪息子

I just finished watching 放浪息子 (Hourou Musuko; Wandering Son), a Japanese anime based on a manga. As always, Wikipedia sums it up:

The story depicts a young boy named Shuichi Nitori who wants to be a girl, and his friend Yoshino Takatsuki, a girl who wants to be a boy. The series deals with issues such as transsexuality, gender identity, and the beginning of puberty.

It’s a beautiful anime, not only because of the sensitive way it deals with the issues mentioned above, but also because it’s painted in water colours. It’s also a kind of slow anime, perfect to spend time together with on a mellow afternoon. But most of all, I found 放浪息子 convincing and touching. I scored it 8 out of 10 at MyAnimeList, where I’ve started to document my anime adventure. (I haven’t really watched much anime until recently.)

Here is a trailer:

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An extra quality to 放浪息子 is added by the voice actors, and especially 畠山航輔 (Hatakeyama Kousuke – written with his family name first as the Japanese do it), who does the protagonist. Often in anime, young males’ voices are done by women. Such is the case in Loveless for example. Or, if the boy is past puberty, their voices are done by older male actors, as is the case in Junjou Romantica, where the 18 and 29 year olds’ voices are done by 35 and 50 year old actors. But in 放浪息子, the main character’s voice is done by a real and very talented 14-year-old boy. That makes a difference to me. Especially since he even looks like Nitorin:

Japanese Cinema: 4x Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki (born 1941) is the famous Japanese animator. I fell in love with his films when watching Spirited Away when it was running in Sweden. Among other rewards, it received an Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2002. I even have it on dvd!

Some year ago, I watched Kiki’s Delivery Service with my Japanese sensei. Yesterday I watched Princess Mononoke and today I’ve started watching Future Boy Conan, a children’s anime series from the 1970s, set in the future, after “the War” and “the Great Disaster”, when all continents sank into the sea. The future = year 2008 … Remember how exotic those 2000 something years were back then?

So here are my four Miyazakis:

  • 未来少年コナン (Mirai Shōnen Konan/Future Boy Conan, 1978)
  • 魔女の宅急便 (Majo no Takkyūbin/Kiki’s Delivery Service, 1989)
  • もののけ姫 (Mononoke-hime/Princess Mononoke, 1997)
  • 千と千尋の神隠し (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi/Spirited Away, 2001)

I already loved Spirited Away, with its wonderful bathhouse, whose guests of various shapes and sizes I always come to think of when I’m in a sauna.

Scene from Princess Mononoke (1997).

But Princess Mononoke actually topped Spirited Away. It’s a classic adventure, a saga of good and evil, the temptation of Man to destroy Nature, the challenge to live in harmony with it. Add some love between a beautiful boy and a wolf girl – I was sold! The battle scenes reminded me a lot of those in Kurosawa’s Ran. The forest with all its animals and fantasy creations reminded me of the rich worlds in Haruki Murakami’s novels – you just want to stay there forever.