Takatsuki makes a big change, a change that only a girl can get away with?
What They Say:
Episode 9 - Cool Girlfriend
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Pushing boundaries is a difficult thing to do for many, especially when it comes to what a couple of these kids are going through. Takatsuki is really trying to find her place with her confused feelings, so when she goes further than she has before with the haircut she has and dressing up as a boy for school, it really separates her out. A bunch of the boys find it to be pretty cool overall with how she's able to pull it off, but the girls are mostly dismissive of her at this point. Takatsuki herself isn't exactly sure what it is she wants out of it after all though, but she can't help but to feel like she needs to be true to herself no matter the consequences.
Dressing this way does give her more confidence though and she actually asks Shu out on a date, though she backtracks a bit on it by not calling it a date since he is seeing Anna after all. Anna did give him permission to go out with Takatsuki though since she doesn't really view her as a threat, knowing the way Shu and Takatsuki are with their dressing interests, but there's still that level of hesitance about Shu when it comes to all of this. Shu's life is experiencing some mild tension from a different direction as well as Doi is trying to get closer to him by being friendly, but it's in a curious way where he feels kind of distant and aloof as he does so. The two different people in his life that are trying to make inroads with him certainly cause different feelings for him, especially since Doi wants to see what Shu looks like when he changes himself.
What becomes interesting is the way that Shu finds himself drawn to Takatsuki more now, but mainly because of the way she's now being more outgoing with her appearance. It's an envy that Shu begins to have more of, including one brief but well done little dream-like sequence where he wants to be out among friends doing the ordinary things girls do together, and has such a wistful look on his face. It's getting to the point where he's questioning more as to why he can't do what he wants to do, even though he knows it's mostly just that he'll be ostracized by some, including those that he may think of as friends at this point. The conversation he has about it is pretty blunt, in that it's his decision, but that he has to realize the consequences to it all. It becomes a curious avenue of discussion about why it's acceptable to some degree for Takatsuki to do what she does at school, but it's a bad idea for Shu to entertain doing the same.
Wandering Son pushes into some new territory here that offers up a lot of potential for where it can go with the next couple of episodes. Shu's in a real tough position as he wants to be himself, but is told in indirect ways that he can't be because he'll be made fun of and ostracized. Yet when someone he admires does the same thing he wants to do, albeit in a different direction, she gets labeled as cool and interesting. At least by some students, because it's not all sunshine and lollipops for her with friends and teachers. But there is something more acceptable about what she does compared to what Shu wants. Seeing Shu go through all of this, trying to figure out the best way to be himself, is endearing and heart wrenching at the same time. The end song continues to be one of the most appropriate ending songs of any series I watch and really manages to sum up a lot of things.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Sony KDS-R70XBR2 70" LCoS 1080P HDTV, Dell 10.1 Netbook via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.