Shojo Titles are Tripe with Romance and a Pursuit of Happiness: Which is Why We Love Them!

Posted by Linda Yau on Mar 7, 2011 in Comic Books |

arina staple
Samples of Arina Tanemura’s art work..

Shojo titles target audience is the opposite to Shonen Jump‘s target audience. Literally translated from Japanese, shojo means little girl, and titles are fashioned for females to appreciate. Themes in shojo titles cover romance, self-discovery, and friendship. For a period of time in the United States, Viz Media did release a sister magazine publication to Shonen Jump in Shojo Beat, however citing financial reasons the magazine ended its print run in 2009. Viz Media though, still uses the imprint of Shojo Beat to sustain its branding for releasing titles toward female fans. Consider this list of shojo recommendations in titles and creators, do you dare to see if you’re interested in this genre?

binaca

A Drunken Dream and Other Stories by Hagio Moto was released in English last year, and many manga critics have praised its release as a positive one for letting graphic novel readers know of a classic work. Hagio is considered to be a pioneer in publicizing what is considered to be the modern shojo themes. Manga at About.com is currently running a reader’s poll, and this title is in running for best title last year. In the image above, if you notice the large round eyes, and the presence of a female character, this is often the characteristics of shojo and manga art.

Arina Tanemura: Outside of Yuu Watase, who is another popular shojo creator is Arina Tanemura. Many of her work has been translated into English, and though some of the series has went into an out of print status. She is a favored shojo mangaka for reading among many readers. She is also an active social blogger, with a updated blog and twitter, all in Japanese though. Tanemura writes of a strong heroine with an interesting background, with dreams to accomplish, and situations or conflicts to overcome. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Full Moon, Time Strange Kyoko, The Gentleman’s Alliance Cross, I.O.N., and Mistress Fortune are among her titles.

For You in Full Blossom by Nakajo Hisaya shows a common theme in shojo, gender bending and romance. For You in Full Blossom is known in Japanese with the shorten name of Hana Kimi. The story centers around Mizuki Ashiya who enters into a all boy school following after Izumi Sano, who is the male lead in this story. For You in Full Blossom is a story with a colorful cast, comedy and youth. How hard should a female have to pursuit a guy she likes?

high school debut

High School Debut by Kazune Kawahara is a story of a growing girl’s insecurities in developing and maintaining a relationship. At the beginning, Haruna asks for the assistant from Yoh on how to be attractive enough to date, Yoh helps. The series eventually turns to them dating through high school, as you can see from the image above. There can be much misunderstandings and other people, but under the consistent and watchful eyes of friends and family can a love develop and be maintained?

Emma by Kaoru Mori wrote this popular slice of life historical manga a couple of years ago. The publisher is no longer in business, so getting this book is going to be relying on a used market. Mori as a creator when she drew this manga, went for historical accuracy for 1800’s England. Emma is a love story across social classes. This love story is definitely not as fatalistic as Romeo & Juliet, but to survive and live in a time when there is no equal rights for females, shows off a different world. Emma is educated, so this fits in to the motif of how a shojo heroine usually is, someone that a reader can admire. Still she fitting to her time period, Emma is quite humble and walking on the path of making choices.

nana

Ai Yazawa: At this time her two most well known works in the United States are Nana, and Paradise Kiss. The image above shows off the cast of Nana. Yazaea writes of heroines that are contemporary women who are faced with ideas of what can make a female happy. Is there success in career or in romance? What about choosing to continue with a difficult relationship, and will there be friends around to assist with the changes? Themes that are not necessarily covered in other types of shojo are mentioned, and questioned in Yazawa’s titles.

Linda Yau is a fan of Japanese culture, and various anime/manga titles. She writes for other online publications under animemiz. Her main blog is here and she has Twitter.

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