Manga Wandering Son Discussion

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05:04:02 AM Nov 21st 2014
edited by
Shouldn't Yoshino be a girl? As I understand it, while Shuichi decided to identify as a girl, Yoshino ultimately chose not to identify as a boy. This would mean that the description should not label her as a boy. If the identities are defined by their final decision, this isn't about a girl and boy who were assigned as boy and girl, or a boy and girl with gender issues, it's about a girl who was assigned as a boy and another girl who struggled temporarily with her gender identity before deciding to also identify as a girl.
03:23:54 PM Aug 16th 2015
This is super old, but I had to reply to this - just because Yoshino decided not to identify as a boy does NOT mean they are a girl. There are numerous gender identities that do not fit specifically on the binary - I personally use 'they' pronouns for Yoshino unless we are eventually told otherwise by other material.

Yoshino's dysphoria was HEAVY. It's unlikely for them to realize they are a girl after coming through so much. It's far more likely that they'll get out of the mixed-up, confusing situation they're in (and it IS confusing for them) and figure out their gender identity, whether that be boy or non-binary, or something that they'll struggle with for years and never truly figure out.
06:54:31 PM Oct 8th 2015
I'm only going by the standards that we're supposed to use both on Wikipedia and supposedly here. No matter how strong her dysphoria was, if a girl says she's a girl you're supposed to call her a girl. As I understand it, she completely set aside her past feelings and accepted herself as a girl by the end. This would mean that no one has a right to say she's "confused" or some other "binary" gender or that she doesn't realize her true gender. She is what she says she is, and what she's last found saying decides what she's always been and what her past feelings were. By that standard, as far as I am able to understand it, Yoshino should be called a "girl". Just like one's not supposed to insist on using the assigned gender with a transsexual, you shouldn't force some other labels on characters whose stories declare a decision to agree with the assignation.
11:54:47 PM May 1st 2013
For some reason I don't really like the description of the show. It almost feels like a lecture in etiquette surrounding the trans community, and while I certainly believe that's important, I think that it should be presented in a different way, perhaps in liner notes separate to the description of the show.

After all, the show itself isn't particularly concerned with these nuances, and I won't be the first person to mention that it's confusing for newcomers.

Perhaps a fair compromise might look something like this?

Shuichi wants to be a girl.* He**...

and then at the bottom of the description:

  • It might be more proper to say that (italic)she wants to live as herself.

    • It's proper etiquette to acknowledge a transgender person's gender with the pronouns they themselves choose. Since Shuichi is still undergoing this discovery, we refer to Shuichi with male pronouns only tentatively.

What do you think?
06:47:08 PM May 21st 2013
edited by
This appears to be an ongoing conversation, but I would second the above.

Especially because the current framing of the synopsis is... not how the story plays out. And it's confusing. To go for an entire paragraph describing Nitori as female and Takatsuki as male and then say that they are biologically the wrong genders in the second paragraph both confuses and delays the main conflict at work in the story: that of wanting to be a different gender than your biological one. I would actually say that, at least for as much of the series as I have seen (which is not nearly everything, but does cover the first 3 volumes and the anime, and so reasonably could be considered "the start of" the series), neither of them is confident enough to actually identify as a gender different from their biological one, but remain in an in-between state of being "a boy who wants to be a girl" or vice versa. Saying that Nitori identifies as female strongly enough to use female pronouns exclusively ignores the fact that the series' drama is as much about what goes on in Nitori and Takatsuki's heads as it is about what other people think of them. The series does not frame things as "Nitori is different from other girls" and "Takatsuki is made fun of for things he cannot help." Rather, the main thrust of the series is that both Nitori and Takatsuki are capable of "passing" as their biological genders, but are balancing the desire to express who they are against pressure to be "normal". The way that the synopsis phrases it, it sounds like they've already reached a decision to live as a girl (for Nitori) and a boy (for Takatsuki), which is not how the story starts.

I also think that our attempt to be PC inevitably frames things from a Western perspective, ignoring some important cultural distinctions. Japanese barely uses gendered pronouns to begin with (they exist, but you can get around using them pretty easily), except for the word "I," which the person using it obviously has some control over. There's gendered honorifics but even those are kind of fluid (there are situations where it's appropriate, or at least not particularly strange, to use "chan" for a boy or "kun" for a girl). The point being that our insistence on using he or she for these characters, and calling attention to the fact that we're doing something different from what the story is doing, kind of puts a lot of disproportionate focus on a thing that, as far as I can tell, is really a pretty minor facet of the story itself.

I'm all for respecting people's gender identities, but I think that contradicting how the story itself handles things imposes our notions of political correctness onto a work from another culture, and drags our ideas of pronoun trouble into a culture that has fewer, or at least different kinds of pronoun trouble.

Besides which I think it is an unclear and unappealing synopsis that trips all over itself in its efforts to be PC (and then has to explain why it's being PC in a way that the series itself isn't).

Is there some way to get consensus on whether we could fix the synopsis somehow, and keep pronouns consistent across the page? I don't really want to edit everything myself. Spoilers notwithstanding that seems like kind of a big decision to make unilaterally.
11:20:41 AM Sep 3rd 2013
I agree with the above. First of all, sentences like 'Nitori Shuuichi is not your average girl' when what we see at the beginning of the manga is a (biological) boy, whose name is 'Shuuichi' and whose plain stated dream is to 'become' a girl - those sentences look downright silly. Second, I feel the pronouns are forced and politically correct, over the narration of the story, where the in questions characters themselves tend to refer to themselves in their biological sexes. Not to mentions the others - Seya didn't see Maho's younger 'sister' in Shuuichi, like the current state of this site wants, he saw her younger brother. Also, I'd say (now, when the story's reached its conclusion) that Shuuichi is the only clearly transgendered kid out there. Yoshino and Mako's cases are more open out to interpretation, as the former is stated to 'outgrow' desire to be a boy and might be a tomboy all along. Mako's desire to 'be a girl' was in turn shown as far more superficial than Nitorin's and more oriented to 'looking cute and being able to attract boys', thus adapting the trans behavior in attempt to find a place with his (homo)sexuality more than really identifying oneself as a woman.
03:54:48 PM Aug 1st 2012
What do we refer to Makoto as: Male or female?

It hasn't quite been confirmed that Mako is not transsexual or somewhere on the transgender spectrum.

11:05:21 PM Oct 20th 2012
At this point, it's pretty safe, I think to refer to Mako-chan as a girl, given she came out to her mom in Chapter 113.
03:29:43 PM Feb 23rd 2014
I thought they came out as gay but not gender queer?
06:42:07 PM May 9th 2012
What pronouns should we use?
07:32:48 PM May 9th 2012
I am in favor of addressing the characters as their true and proper genders, seeing as this is a niche fandom about transsexuals I feel it is fitting that Nitori Shuuichi be referred to as female consistently and Takatsuki Yoshino be referred to as male consistently. I'm linking the page where we discussed and showed a majority interest int supporting this change,
11:16:48 PM May 9th 2012
edited by sgamer82
My feeling, as it has always been, is that we should use pronouns matching their physical gender. No special reason for this beyond simplicity. Though there is the added fact that the story itself, in Japanese and official English translations alike, uses the physical gender pronouns.

Were this a Wandering Son fansite or even a fan-made wikia or something, I wouldn't argue the point. But TV Tropes is a site for general info that anyone and everyone can and does read. To this end, in my honest opinion, using their "proper gender" pronouns over their physical gender pronouns makes things needlessly confusing for any random reader who happens to come by. And that's without getting into Makoto, who is apparently referred to as "zhe". Honestly, who outside of the transgender community will even be aware of that and not just assume it's some oddly consistent typo?

Not to mention that some of the entries make zero sense when read out loud with proper pronouns, such as Double Standard, where it would read as if a girl is being punished for wearing a girl's uniform when a boy got away for dressing as a boy.

Why not add a notation explaining why it's preferred within the transgendered community to use one set of gender pronouns?
11:53:04 AM May 14th 2012
I still say we refer to the by the proper pronouns. It's common courtesy.

Also it's "ze".
11:38:57 PM May 15th 2012
edited by anonymiss
I am a giant fan of Wandering Son and have been following it every month since volume 1 was released in Japan. And I'm a transsexual. While it's important to refer to transsexuals as their preferred gender identity, I have to agree with the notion that it's only natural to use the pronouns the series uses for its own characters when discussing it.

The drama is wrapped up entirely in the main characters trying to make sense of their confusion, and feeling like there's no space for their feelings in a society that makes sex and gender inextricable and binary. Shuu and Takatsuki as characters, they have never concerned themselves with this kind of LGBT activism and terminology (like ze and hir), the latter which I don't think exists in Japan, probably since it's not as difficult to speak gender neutral in Japanese. Wandering Son has never really been about these issues. It's always been more about the melancholy and internal conflict of living with GID. The drama is accurate and cuts to the bone of anyone that has ever had these feelings, but it's really quite light hearted compared to the harrowing abuse trans people commonly receive.

It's also a little unfair to make the assumption about some of these characters. We still don't have any real evidence that Makoto is genderqueer other than that he wore girl clothes as an elementary schooler and very seldom wears them in adolescence. He even said in an early chapter that he wonders if he just wants to be a girl because he likes men. Even Takatsuki's gender identity hasn't been fully defined as (s)he doesn't often make clear statements on it and skirts with the idea of being more feminine fairly often.

But the main characters clearly see themselves to be a man and a woman that are uncomfortable with the gender assigned to them, and only Shuu thus far has really shown resolve to transition. All they know is what they feel, what everyone in their life has told them about who they are, and what their bodies say about their sex. Which is about all children and teenagers with GID usually know, if they even know that much. Considering the syntax of the series, and the context of the series, and how confusing it'd be to new readers and viewers, it'd be fine to continue using the assigned pronouns. There's little reason to drag real world politic into this.

Yes, it's cruel to deny a transgender or transsexual their preferred gender identity, yes studies suggest a neurological basis for Gender Identity Disorder, etc. But making the article of a manga and anime a battleground for these hot button issues is only going to serve to alienate people from it, and it's really quite needless here.
05:17:54 AM May 21st 2012
Maybe we can skirt around pronouns then (use things like "they" and their names), and delete gendered tropes for Takatsuki and Nitori?
11:36:58 PM Jun 11th 2012
Trying out a "test run" of sorts of that style in the series description.
07:57:16 AM Mar 6th 2012
Is this an example, and how?
08:24:43 AM Mar 6th 2012
No, it's not an example (it was used for "cute young boy"), so there's no reason to put it back in.
03:45:54 PM Jul 26th 2011
What do you think of making a character page?
10:00:47 AM Jul 28th 2011
edited by Pichukun
Already done. It just needs more editors to help with adding tropes.

I see no reason for the series not to have one either.
09:49:24 PM May 15th 2011
edited by Pichukun

This page refers to the two protagonists in different pronouns. Some people refer to them by their gender, and some by their sex. It can be confusing for a newbie or someone who just happens to come across this page.

Is there a way to make a compromise?

Speaking of pronouns, what about the tropes? Bifauxnen doesn't fit Takatsuki, but why does Dude Looks Like a Lady fit Nitori?
10:03:06 PM Sep 18th 2011
I would say that, whatever their preferences and mindsets, Shu & Yoshino are still male and female respectively. That, and the fact that the story's all about him and her wanting to be her and him, leads me to feel that using their physical gender pronouns is the way to go. Otherwise things just get confusing. Especially when an entry would only refer to "Nitori" since then it becomes possible to mix up Shu & Maho.
08:54:58 AM Oct 21st 2011
I'd say the same. Also everyone in the series including themselves (at least in Shuu's case) keep referring to them by their biological sense. And she-Nitori makes Maho.

So pleeeaaaseee, stop "correcting"?
03:39:14 AM Aug 14th 2015
My feeling:

Definitely female pronouns for Yoshino. This one is easy. As far as I can recall, she identifies as female at every part of the story. She presents as male sometimes, and is uncertain about her gender at times, but ultimately decides to identify as female; describing her with male pronouns like this is straight-up misgendering her.

Nitori is more complicated. If we were talking about a real person, I'd say use female pronouns throughout, no question. But for a fictional character, it's different; every part of the story is always happening. We're not describing someone's life, we're describing chapters and volumes of a story, and the way to describe those chapters is as if they're happening "now". So I feel we should go with whatever gender is appropriate to how they identify in the part of the story under discussion. (Which would mean that Nitori usually gets male pronouns, but gets female ones when talking about parts where she identifies as female.)

Dude Looks Like a Lady clearly does fit Nitori in the early chapters, for instance; it'd be odd to leave it out. The description can clarify how this changes as the story progresses.
09:33:15 AM Sep 14th 2010
Previous discussion threads can be found here and here
05:50:31 AM Aug 20th 2010
Hello. I just stumbled on this page and saw this, "Fan Dumb: It's remarkable how much of the fandom is Completely Missing The Point", and I realized I had no idea what exactly they were talking about, there is no further information. It's not really a big deal, but I was just wondering. So if someone could clarify this for me..? Also, a bit odd there is no discussion here, should I be asking elsewhere?
03:15:06 PM Aug 26th 2010
edited by Miijhal
A lot of fans of the series seem to completely fail to understand that the series is about two transsexuals...

The Mangafox forums have a lot of comments about Nitori being gay, how she should stay male, and things like that.
05:33:33 PM Oct 3rd 2010
Also, I think it should be added to the fandumb section that the same occurs to Takatsuki. Many fans comment that she is lesbian, and that she will stay female, and things like that; when we haven't had any real evidence of her having a crush for... anyone, yet she is more doubted to be transsexual than Nitori
07:00:21 PM Oct 20th 2010
Well, there is "her" comment in chapter 90...
10:37:33 PM Jan 26th 2011
Hourou Musuko is trying to have depth. Of course as a young transsexual you go through points of denial and confusion. It's a drama, so of course it will explore different moods they go through.
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