Goodness it's been a while since I last talked about this series, and since I'm not sure if my current library system has volumes three and beyond it might be quite a while again before my next review. But at least all of this material is still new to me, I believe the material the anime covered started in volume 5 (ie, the ones that people who actually purchase the books are receiving now) so I still have a ways to go before I'm in familiar territory!
Wandering Son by Shimura Takako
Summary: Shuuichi and Yoshino continue to muddle their way through life as elementary school kids and deal with gender and sexuality issues that would confuse many a full grown adult.
The Good: I remember feeling frustrated after the first volume since something just seemed off and, when I looked online, found that many other people felt that way and that the story really hit it's stride around the third volume. Perhaps I just approached the manga differently this time, I don't feel like I did, but I felt like this was a much stronger, more interesting work with a firmer grasp of where it wanted to go and how to get there. The side characters were more interesting, I was able to follow the story better, I connected more with the character emotionally, it was great, I just have no idea why it changed so quickly!
The Bad: Having seen the anime I know that ultimately Yuki and her boyfriend Shiina are good people but, after a lifetime of being told not to talk to strangers as a child it still made me feel weirdly protective of Suuichi and Yoshino visiting them by themselves. Well, that and Shiina's actions, that felt almost out of character for this story and that was easily the biggest dissonance for me. I do wish that Yuki had been introduced differently, although I can't think of a way myself, but that's really a complaint I should have been making about the first volume, not this one.
The Art: Even though much time can't have passed between drawing the first two volumes I already liked the style here a bit better (it seemed more sure of itself, more polished) and it was easier to tell the side characters apart. In fact, the only compliant I have is that when I was looking up images for the review I noticed how odd the title looked and I'm a bit baffled by the word placement choice since I thought you never split up a word in a title. Although honestly I'm just as confused why I didn't notice it earlier, I must have had it piled under some other books when I wasn't reading it.
So I'm once again interested in this series and really hope it doesn't take me nearly two years to find the next volume, although I suppose in the meantime I could go rewatch the original show if Crunchyroll is still streaming it.....