「10+11 ~Better half~」

As the episode title suggests, this week’s showing is actually a compilation of episodes 10 and 11, whose fully unedited versions will be available on the Blu-ray releases. The finale next week is technically episode 12 and will wrap up this adaptation’s short look at a middle school years for Shuuichi, Yoshino, and their friends. Judging from this episode alone, the series looks poised to end on a low note after Shuuichi was sent home for cross-dressing to school. Surprisingly, his parents were pretty understanding, though only because they perceived it as a phase he was going through. Had they known how unsatisfied Shuuichi is with his sex, I wonder how they would’ve approached the issue.

In a day and age where women strive for equality with men, it’s ironic how many widely accepted double standards there are when it comes to genders. The female sex still benefits from the convenient ones, preventing women from truly becoming equal with men. Until things like leniency, physical competitions, and responsibilities in a dating (e.g. who should initiate in Western cultures) are completely standardized between sexes, men will probably be silently acknowledged as the dominant sex regardless of how much society tells us otherwise. This includes how boys are looked upon with very negative stares if they wear female clothing, whereas girls are often perceived as cool if they do the opposite. It’s odd when I stop and think about it, as there really isn’t any unbiased explanation for it other than saying it’s something that’s widely understood. However, simply stating that it’s a social norm is a very weak justification for why it contradicts the other social norm about sexual equality.

If it just ended as a slap on the wrist for Shuuichi by being sent home, then there would already be a discrepancy on how dress code is enforced at school. Reality is not so forgiving though, as he now has to endure rumors about being “queer”, “perverted”, or much worse. In addition, the ripple effect to Shuuichi’s friends shows just how warped human society can be — something that both Maho and Anna get a sense of right away. I sometimes feel we’re such a pitiful species, particularly in our adolescent years, gossiping and spreading rumors simply because our own lives are incredibly dull to the point that we need to berate others just to feel a little better about ourselves. I don’t claim to be completely benevolent by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s for this very reason that I hated rumors and people talking behind people’s backs, even though I was technically in the “popular” circle of friends in high school. At the lowest level, it’s a pathetic and cowardly way of trying to feel superior.

Shuuichi and his supportive friends put up a good fight against that ugly part of human nature, which has been the most refreshing aspect of this series for me. The premise revolving around his discontent about being a boy mainly serves as a window into it all, where we get to see quite a few different views from our social upbringing. In relation, it’s not a given that those close to Shuuichi are completely understanding, much like Momoko (Toyosaki Aki) showed when she tried to convince Chizuru to stop hanging out with him. Kanako (Nanjo Yoshino) on the other hand was extremely supportive and wary of Shinpei, who had the audacity to ridicule Shuuichi after he encouraged him to cross-dress to school.

Naturally, I was pretty happy about seeing Shuuichi tell Shinpei that he hates him, plus the latter genuinely frustrated about it, but I was a bit disappointed that Anna broke things off. She was understanding of how serious Shuuichi is and didn’t seem to have any romantic feelings towards him, so it was just the inevitability of their relationship that was a bit sad to see. Whether intentional or not, their breakup did contrast heavily with Saori, who seems like she would’ve stayed with Shuuichi even if he did want to undergo any surgical operations. I suspect her feelings are slowly changing after being turned down, but it was that initial faithfulness to her character that I liked right away.

With only one episode remaining, it looks doubtful that any attention will be on the new gender-reversed play that came about again. Maho’s relationship with Riku made some noticeable headway, so I can’t imagine that subplot garnering any more attention either. What’s left is Shuuichi with his longer hair and growth spurt as he starts dealing with puberty. He’s expressed concern about it before, so all I’m really hoping for is an uplifting conclusion where he doesn’t get terribly discouraged.




      1. I know, I already read about it lol.
        I wouldn’t expect explicitly mature content from this series, anyway.
        I’m still confused if this is a mashup of 10+11 or if there’s still another episode haha.

  1. doi being frustrated surprised me a bit.. i know he wasnt a douche to the core, but to think he wud get that pissed off O_o … implication of doi going gay for shuuichi? >:) if thats the case i wud enjoy seeing him suffer from the decision of his new found love and social survival.. ¬_¬ im a horrible person ¬_¬ ..doi aside, i think what momoko said was even more unforgivable, never really did like her.

    1. implication of doi going gay for shuuichi?

      That’s the impression I had too when he got so frustrated. I don’t feel sorry for him one bit, he’s partly to blame for Shu going to school like that.

  2. I really love how this series actually addresses legitimate problems that happen in peoples’ lives. I was getting a bit tired (ever though I still love ’em!) of completely idealistic romance animes that would not possibly work out if they took place in a real situation. And also, seriously, I look at this and then I look back on my middle school life and think: Geez I had it easy…

    Anyways this series is completely NOT what I expected and I am pleased by that. I can’t wait for the last episode though I will be sad when it is over!

    1. I agree with you. Usually, at first thought, topics like this are felt disgusted by most of the people. However, this series was able to address this issue in such that manner that people understand the struggles and even end up supporting the characters whichever path they decide to choose.

    1. From what I heard, this episode was actually episode 10 and episode 11 spliced into one episode. However, it wasn’t due to the tsunami and was done for other reasons. The full episodes should be available on the Blu-ray discs. The television run for this series was and still is 11 episodes, making next week’s episode 12.

  3. @Divine: Sorry if I’m wrong, but when you said that their “middle school years”, are you implying that this series continued on till they’re like in high school or something?

    Despite the awkward setting this series had IMO, I am kinda interested to know what happens to Shu after puberty hits him hard, I mean I cant imagine him to still crossdress, not unless he still can like the guy in “Yubisaki Milk Tea” which I would suggest to people who finds such setting in this series to be interesting. Though Milk Tea had a lot more complications than this series.

    1. The series is supposed to start in elementary school (fifth grade) so this is actually just a snapshot of it. I read it’s supposed to lead into their high school years, but someone else who’s read the manga will need to confirm that.

      1. @X
        I read Milk Tea. The main character there didn’t have a gender identity issue but just wanted to cross dress. A little different from here.

        I get the feeling that the manga is nearing its end. Show Spoiler ▼

  4. Great episode! It didn’t feel like 2 episodes crammed into one so they did a great job with it. I gotta give Shuuichi props for not taking the super depressed route. I was seriously expecting him to get really, really depressed over everything that happened this episode but it seems that wasn’t the case. I mean, he was hit kinda hard by everything but he’s still moving forward. I wish this anime wasn’t ending next episode but, since it is, it seems I will have to go looking for the manga.

  5. Wonderful job combining two episodes into one, leaves me wanting the extra half hour of story though. will have to see what can be done about that dvd/BR ^^;.

    haHA! love that last scene where shuu is taller than his sister ^_^;… hehehe. Was wondering all ep if he was starting to look older.

  6. I’m actually starting to think that Saori is into girls, in at least some way. She may not realize it yet, but the way she interacts with Yoshino and girl-Shu was a bit telling to that end.

    This show is rather intriguing though, I’m enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would.

  7. It seems something good came out of that crossdressing incident. It seems like Maho and Shuu have gotten a better brother and sister relationship. It has bothered me watching Maho beeing mean to him all the time. And it was really fun to watch Maho actually care about him.


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