The fallout from Shu going to school dressed as a girl hits, but it's not what you would think.
What They Say:
Episode 10 - Untitled
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Shu's attempt at going to school dressed up in Takatsuki's school uniform has not gone well with the teachers taking them all into the office to talk about it. The teachers actually take some of the blame themselves, citing their allowing of the theme for the culture festival, but Sarashina is very quick to point out that it has nothing to do with that and that it's all just what they wanted to do themselves. Shu is actually more forthright about it than I expected him to be by saying plainly that he's always wanted to do it. Unfortunately, it all cycles back to his house when Shu's friend explains what happened and Shu makes it clear that he really doesn't want to go to school anymore because of how he's being singled out. With others having changed from girls into boys uniforms, only he's getting grief over doing it himself and it's making him curl up into himself a bit.
It's certainly not surprising with how cultures work, both in Japan and in the US, to see this kind of experience unfold for a young boy who is trying to find his way. Takatsuki actually makes the connection herself when she realizes that nobody really said anything bad about her when she changed her clothes and it makes her feel even more for Shu with what he's done, realizing just how brave he was to go the distance like that. But even though she got away with it for the most part, there's spillover now that Shu's in trouble and she's getting called out for it as well. Her struggles with it take more center stage here, but it's largely centered on how she's feeling about Shu's problems with it and understanding why he's acting as he is.
Strangely, with the talk of a new play coming up again since a good deal of time has passed, the new class is talking about doing another genderbending play and there's a push to use the one that was already done. You can see the teacher cringe over it since there was some resulting fallout from it of course, and there are those that fear that it'll just lead to Shu getting more grief as he tries to put all of this behind him. Even Doi is seemingly behind the idea and there's a certain acceptance of it as it's spilled into other areas as well, such as Shu's sisters class doing a genderbending café where all the boys will wear skirts. These little things add up and leads to various levels of uncertainty among some but in the middle of it all is Shu who is just trying to find his place in things. It's saddening to watch him struggle through this while being so unsure of where he really belongs.
Wandering Son takes a curious turn after Shu's attempts at wearing a girls uniform to school as it deals with the fallout from it and the way it's seemingly made it an acceptable thing on some level for culture festivals and the like. I wish there was more time spent with his parents over what happened and his sister with their reactions to it, as well as a better look at how the teachers handle it. But what we do get is a piece that shows things in a very controlled and quiet way where Shu is trying to cope with what happens and the reactions while making a choice about his future with how it all makes him feel. He's been pushed in so many different ways for so long, and has so many people prodding at him in a very nuanced way over time, that it's hitting him repeatedly and he's starting to make emotional decisions over it. Controlled emotions, but emotions nonetheless. This is another strong episode in a strong series that really shows the kind of things some kids have to go through and their internal anguish.
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.