Rembrandt, Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662, (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg)
Hourou Musuko – Episode 1 Impressions
Transvestism vs Transsexualism
First and foremost, I would like to point out that this anime is very different from others featuring similar characters. So far, like Kuranosuke for instance, the characters in Hourou Musuko have cross-dressing tendencies, but they are not just transvestites, as we’ll see further in the series: both present with gender dysphoria and might have gender identity disorder.
ICD-10: Gender Identity Disorder in Children
F64.2 Gender identity disorder of childhood: A disorder, usually first manifest during early childhood (and always well before puberty), characterized by a persistent and intense distress about assigned sex, together with a desire to be (or insistence that one is) of the other sex. There is a persistent preoccupation with the dress and activities of the opposite sex and repudiation of the individual’s own sex. The diagnosis requires a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity; mere tomboyishness in girls or girlish behavior in boys is not sufficient. Gender identity disorders in individuals who have reached or are entering puberty should not be classified here but in F66.
DSM-IV-TR: Gender Identity Disorder
- Long-standing and strong identification with another gender
- Long-standing disquiet about the sex assigned or a sense of incongruity in the gender-assigned role of that sex
- The diagnosis is not made if the individual also has physical intersex characteristics.
- Significant clinical discomfort or impairment at work, social situations, or other important life areas.
Hourou Musuko is a pun on hōtō musuko (放蕩息子) – “prodigal son”. Most of you are probably familiar with the story. We don’t know the ending of the series yet, but, in the context of this anime, it might represent the resurrection that the protagonists will reach at some point, fully integrating their new identities.
“But it was appropriate to celebrate and be glad, for this, your brother, was dead, and is alive again. He was lost, and is found.” – Luke 15:32, World English Bible
The Bridge Scene
One of my favorite moments of the episode was the bridge scene. Chopin’s Etude no. 3 in E major, Op. 10 no. 3, “Tristesse” made it even more special. Tristesse means sadness in French. Here is a violin version.