An article on the history of shojo-demographic manga.
I’ve mentioned before how I often I see misconceptions about shojo manga in my group of anime-fan friends. The most common misconception that pops up is that shojo is a one-note genre (rather than a demographic, which it is by definition), but a close second is the assumption that female fans are a small minority among those that follow anime. While that’s somewhat true in Japan, it couldn’t be further from the truth in America. Indeed, female fans may make up the majority of manga buyers in the United States. So why so few shojo anime? I’ve got a take on that.
Last week for the shonen/seinen bracket, I wrote about how shonen manga cleverly taught kids a variety of fairly useful life lessons. I originally wanted to start the shojo/josei series the same way, but the “shonen/seinen/shojo/josei is not a genre” frustration stuck me at the right time and before I knew it I had an article. But there’s plenty of juice left in this battery, and 2 weeks left in the first round of competition. Let’s get to it.
There’s one theme I’ve noticed which shows up a lot in shojo manga (and still quite often in josei manga). Call it peer adversity, bullying, social stress, or whatever, but it’s fairly common for the lead character in manga targeted towards women to be on the receiving end of nasty treatment by her peers. They way different characters respond is a study in variety, and while my experience with shojo manga is by no means exhaustive, what I see shows me a medium with a mission of teaching women young and old how to cope and fight back.
This post represents the second of three entries our blog is submitting to the Manga Olympics for Bloggers. Voting begins on June 16th, so just enjoy the article for now. Or check out our illustrious competition.
Maybe it’s because I have fewer female anime/manga fan friends than male ones, but there’s no demographic of manga I see misconstrued more often than shojo. The idea that it’s synonymous with sparkly, tween-appeal school-life romance seems to show up at least once a week in conversations I have. Fortunately, there’s one very easy way to dispel this misconception; look at some of the shojo manga that actually exist.