Is Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji too formulaic?
This is going to be a rather short post since it’s midnight already and I want to sleep sometime in the near future. Plus this was something I wanted to talk about.
So I was re-reading Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji just now because I had missed some updates, and I was generally having a good time.
(You can check out my previous post about this manga if you’re interested.)
I then came across a thread on Mangafox that caught my attention. The forum thread in question was titled “Don’t the Japanese get bored of this?” The poster was referencing the plot of the latest chapter, which involved the unrequited love of a younger girl Kyouya was teaching, and how it was boring and formulaic.
If you look at the language and prose of the poster, I honestly wanted to discard their argument immediately due to their use of internet slang, which is honestly a pet peeve of mine. HOWEVER, I will admit that the poster did have a point. The story of the latest chapter was rather formulaic and unexciting – I already knew how the chapter was going to end the moment the new character was introduced.
The thing is, due to the (sometimes) formulaic nature of some shoujo manga, the important part isn’t the destination and outline, but the journey itself. Where male protagonists would normally be nurturing and kind in this situation, Kyouya was, in comparison, rather mean and short-tempered with the girl (which was actually pretty refreshing). Also, I really liked what Erika had to say about how falling in love is a process that is integral to personal growth…and stuff.
The nature of manga as a whole is that it has a bunch of tropes and repeated plot lines (the unrequited love of a younger girl/boy towards an older girl/guy, or better yet, the stereotypical onsen episode in any shounen manga). However, these things have become staples within the genre, and it’s almost difficult to imagine manga without them. Better yet, when authors manage to twist these situations to create great comedy, it’s a win-win because it goes against our preconceptions, and it shows that the author is able to see what other creators are doing and swim against that current.
Besides, shoujo manga is meant to be a reflection (an idealized one, perhaps) of life. There are bound to be a set amount of recurring situations because that’s the nature of life and human experience – not everyone finds out that they’re the reincarnations of researchers living on the moon. It’s a given that a vast amount of humanity has experienced unrequited love with someone, and shoujo manga, and manga as a whole, needs to reflect this fact.
In short, I wasn’t annoyed by the latest couple of chapters of Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji. But I wasn’t that enthralled by it either. I have faith that the author will pick things up in the coming chapters, so I’ll be looking forward to what comes next!