Shoujo manga consists of more than stories about teenage girls in high school, pining after that angstbot guy they think they will never be able to attain. Shoujo manga is deeper than that. At least, the series I read the most are like this. True, I have my moments (okay, A LOT of moments) when I like to read shoujo that has no substance. But hey, it’s all in fun! ^_^
By writing this section, I am by no means hating on other manga genres. Don’t be absurd! I read Mirai Nikki, Gin no Saji, Bleach/Naruto, Hikaru no Go, 13 Club and a bunch of other non-shoujo/jousei just like lots of normal, non-shoujo-reading people! Also, the first manga I ever read was actually InuYasha. I didn’t start reading shoujo manga until I was two years into the fandom.
The think I would like to stress the most is that shoujo manga is not the formulaic predictable genre that people like to paint it to be. Yes, there are manga within the genre that fit that bill. But I’d just like to see that there’s a bit more to the genre as a whole than that one stereotype.
Anyway, let’s jump right in.
Reasons why I choose shoujo over most manga genres:
1. I am bored by action sequences. Not to say that I don’t like action. I watch FFXIII cutscenes like they’re the most often things ever. However, most action sequences bore me. Yes, I am an odd person. But looking at fighting scenes in manga doesn’t excite me in the least.
2. The art. Okay, I will admit that Kuroshitsuji is amazingly pretty and awesome despite the fact that it can’t be classified as shoujo. But shoujo manga is pretty as hell. I just…enjoy looking at it. I mean, there are plenty of talented shounen/seinen mangaka out there, but are shounen/seinen manga that tend to look…rather ugly. I think in general, male mangaka tend to have more variety in terms of visual styles, but then some of their stylistic points can be a bit too odd for my tastes. Look at Kaji, for example.
Please note that I actually do suffer through an awful lot of ugly shoujo. LOL. There are PLENTY of shoujo mangaka who produce shoddy art.
3. The plot. Not to say that shoujo is any better than any other genre in this regard. I would actually say that a lot of the jousei manga I read is a lot less formulaic than shoujo. In the end, shoujo manga is just very therapeutic for me. Reading shoujo manga after a long and difficult day is just relaxing for me.
In terms of substantial plot, shoujo manga does succeed, as much as its detractors would like to say otherwise. Fruits Basket was AMAZING. I look to it as a model of what shoujo manga can do right. Hana no Namae was uplifting, while depicting the sadness and inner turmoil of its male protagonist.
I also like how shoujo manga places a higher focus on dialogue and character thought. After reading Bleach when all of the characters are in a middle of a fight, I find myself becoming really bored. No, it’s not that there’s too much action. It’s just that fight scenes do not equal plot when I am reading manga. So sorry, Tite Kubo. Not buying it.
In short, I’d really like to encourage you to just…try shoujo manga. You don’t have to really DIG those romantic elements. I do believe that shoujo manga uses some compelling storytelling, and shouldn’t be written off as being only for girls.
This is all really disorganized, I know. LOL. But by reading THAT Shoujo Manga Blog ♥, I hope you can find a series that interests you! 🙂