Wandering Son ( Hourou Musuko ) Manga
The manga Wandering Son was written and illustrated by Takako Shimura. It was serialized in the monthly seinen style manga ( manga aimed at younger adult men) magazine Comic Beam, from the December 2002 to the August 2013 issue. The individual chapters were collected and published in 15 tankōbon volumes by Enterbrain from July 25, 2003 to August 28, 2013. Wandering Son was one of several manga titles included with the launch in December 2009 of the manga distribution service of the PlayStation Store for the Japanese PlayStation Portable handheld game console.
The series is licensed in English by Fantagraphics Books, which began releasing the series in North America in hardcover format starting with the first volume on July 5, 2011. Gary Groth of Fantagraphics Books said in an interview that he licensed Wandering Son because "it's not a typical choice for a manga title published in the U.S. and it's not typical subject matter for comics in general," further saying that the subject is "perfectly legitimate ... for literature or comics." Although Fantagraphics Books released eight volumes by June 2015, the release of further volumes was hampered by low sales. The series is also licensed by Ever Glory Publishing in Taiwan and by Haksan Culture Company in Korea.
The story depicts a young student named Shuichi Nitori, described by the author as a transgender girl, and Shuichi's friend Yoshino Takatsuki, described as a transgender boy. The series deals with issues such as being transgender, gender identity and expression, and the beginning of puberty. Shimura was originally going to write the story about a girl in high school who wants to be a boy, but she realized that a boy who wants to be a girl before entering into puberty would have a lot of worries related to growing up, and changed the story to fit this model. Wandering Son was selected as a recommended work by the awards jury of the tenth Japan Media Arts Festival in 2006. The series has been lauded for its use of gender identity and gender expression as the core of the story, though the depiction of the emotional realism of the young characters has been called into question as somewhat advanced for such young and inexperienced children and teenagers.