The Shojo Manga Thread

Jimi-Jam

Dandy Guy, in Space
Bit of an experiment this – the idea being an open thread to chat about any manga in the shojo genre you happen to be reading, thinking about reading, recommendations for reading etc. - see where it goes.

Not sure how this will work out, but I know there is a least two other shojo fanatics out there – the drifting Hot Gimmick thread was the inspiration - this can be thought of as the continuation of that but without the constraint of talking about just about one title.

There is some irony in shojo officially being ‘manga for girls’ and the fact that I’m not one…but what the heck…I seem to be entertained by it one way or another.
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I’ll attempt to kick things off with Nana – having not long received and read volumes 1&2 of this series.

It’s a slightly more mature shojo, from what I can gather, featuring a pair of women/girls in their early 20s both called Nana (funnily enough)
The first volume is split between each Nana – one half filling you in on the background for each character. You know right away when you meet Nana K in chapter one who is - not sure what the best word to describe her – ditzy(?), flakey(?) - that the Nana O is going to be the complete opposite. As predictable as that may be, it in no way detracts from the entertainment.
So with volume 2 you have two contrasting characters, with contrasting backgrounds, each with their own little clique of friends, both making the move to Tokyo and by the not so stranger-than-fiction coincidences of fiction - they end up sharing a flat together and striking up a friendship, both there to try and find their way in life.

To sum up - I really enjoyed it so far; found it funny, entertaining and touching in equal measure, nice to simply loose yourself in the characters for a few hours per volume.
It took a great deal of will power not to gobble up both in one extended sitting, and so I’m now patiently waiting to afford the further volumes in the series.

Nana…anyone else?
 
Heya Jimi-Jam

I think I mentioned before, but I'm reading Nana in Shojo Beat at the moment, and the storyline is getting really good. I never read it from the beginning, so I have become caught adrift in the series. I'm a big fan of Nana O, as especially in Shojo manga, I like they way, girls or women are a bit more strong willed.

I think I will deviate to another Nana, but this time from the Othello Manga. Nana in this series, is a split personality of a timid little schoolgirl called Yaya, who is too trusting and niave to see how fake her friends really are. In steps, Nana, exacting revenge, doling out 'Justice is Done,' to anyone who has wronged Yaya. Its nice to see characters who aren't thinking about boys all the time either, as shojo, often gets sidelined as being about romance. Anyone who ever read about my Hana Kimi story, will understand what I mean...

But personally, I think its great that guys are getting into Shojo too. I remeber reading a letter in Shojo Beat a while back about a boy who went into a manga store to buy Yu Watase's 'Absolute Boyfriend,' and the cashier gave him really funny looks. I mean, have you seen the cover on volume 1? (If you haven't, go have a look)

Any guy who's got the guts to buy that, certainly has my respect. :p

M.G xx
 

Lupus

Baka Ranger
Manga Girls - Do me a favour, recommond me some good Shoujo. XD

I've only read/watched Fruits Baskets and loved it. Ah, I've heard of Absoltue Boyfriend, not my kind of thing. XP
 

butch-cassidy

Straw Hat Pirate
Good Shojos:

Angel
Fushigi Yugi
Girl Got Game
Happy hustle high
Imadoki
INVU
Kare First Love
Kare Kano
Kodocha
Love Letters
Marmalade Boy
Mars
Saikano
Skip Beat
Tramps like us
Wallflower
 
Hi there Rukario,

I most certainly can recommend you some good shojo. :) Furuba is absolutely wonderful, I've been smitten by that series too. Onwards...

Imadoki - It's another one by Yu Watase, but personally my favourite series by her, about a poor girl who gets into a rich prestigous Tokyo school, but is shunned by everyone because they consider her to be low class. But the heroine still tries to make friends anyway. Essentially it's about friendship, and what it really means to be a friend. It's a very modern story as it looks at how people judge others on things like money and status.

Othello - as mentioned earlier, about a girl with a split personality, the timid Yaya, and the rebellious Nana. I can't recommend this series highly enough - it simply is that good. The foot notes are excellant too. This was the series that got me interested in Harajuku culture.

Hot Gimmick - this is very much a drama about a girl who lives in a housing complex, who ends up being blackmailed by her childhood bully. This series has very many sideline stories and exceptionally good cliffhangers!

Loveless - this is a shojo manga with BL overtones, so it won't appeal to everyone but I think it's worth mentioning. About a 12year old kid who has amnesia and has no memories from beyond two years ago. One day he finds a post humous message from his brother saying that he was murdered and he decides to investigate his brothers death with the help of a stranger called Soubi.

Life - Probably one of the more darker shojo manga I have read about a girl who self harms as she is having problems with friends and school life is hard for her. It's un-nerving to read at times, but still rather good.

Are you into the music scene? If so, good music orientated manga include Nana and the Korean series, Chocolat.

And for times when you just want to read something funny.... Hana Kimi, Aishiteruze Baby, Ouran High Host Club to name drop just a few

Investigate some of these titles and I'm sure something will catch your interest :wink: Let me know how you get on...

M.G xx
 

Jimi-Jam

Dandy Guy, in Space
Hmm...Absolute Boyfriend Vol.1 cover :shock:
Think that might possibly be a shojo-step too far for me...either gutsy for that guy that bought it or...er...well, each to their own I guess.
I'm sure the story is very good :wink:

Manga Girls - Where abouts in the story did you pick up on Nana?
Apparently Vol.1 was covered by Shojo Beat #1-2, and Vol.2 by #3-6 if this makes sense.
And so if you've presumable missed #1-2 have you managed to pick up on the history behind Nana O and Ren, and possibly less crucially between Nana K and Shoji?
Didn't you mention somewhere that the readers disliked the first chapter?
 
Hiya Jimi-Jam

LOL - Absolute Boyfriend... that has one racey cover doesn't it?...

Nana series.... right I started reading Shojo Beat from issue 6 (Dec, 05) which by your calculations means I picked up the story from the tail end of volume 2.

Yes, I did miss out on the whole Ren and Nana O thing, I've only been filled in on the early days from the anime series. And watching the anime, it must have been heartbreaking for it to end like that. I'm sure the manga does it better though. Yeah, alot of people have said they didn't like chapter 1, I haven't read it, so I can't say really, what did you make of it?

M.G xx
 

Jimi-Jam

Dandy Guy, in Space
Ah, so you've picked it up right where I've got up to by the sounds of it - end of vol 2 and they have only just settled into there flat share having been out shopping for essentials such as something to sleep on and a heater - this also coincided with Nana K getting her first job - the very shop where they get most of their stuff for the flat from.
I think they have yet to get things like the electricity and gas turned on at this stage.

You certainly feel for Nana O in the first volume, before she makes the move to Tokyo, specially knowing a little more about her background - although for some reason I hadn't really taken a liking to Ren so didn't feel too bad for her ultimately - that could be a guy thing, maybe just some envy in him shacking-up with the attractive female from doing apparently very little apart from looking cool on stage playing in his band.
I'm intrigued to find out if it turns into a tale of her chasing him or if you're meant to dislike him a little and its more about how she moves on - not that I'm looking for spoilers you understand :wink:

I can understand people perhaps finding the first chapter featuring Nana K's background story irritating - its kind of the opposite to what you where saying about liking the strong willed Nana O - Nana K starts out as this drippy, naive girl desperate to fall for any guy that gives her the merest bit of attention - I can see people wishing they could slap her in the face to knock some sense into her - but I found it all entertaining, and its clearly set up to contrast with Nana O who you meet in the following chapter.

Does Nana O still have the pet name for Nana K of 'Hachi'?
You have to presume it's a typical name for a little puppy dog - comes from funny little scene in vol. 2
Do they have the 'Bonus Pages' in Shojo Beat? - they are these slightly surreal scenes set in 'Junko's Place' where the characters sort of try and have some interaction with the readers.
 
Jimi-Jam

Ren is a bishonen! It's his job to look cool and have a pretty face. LOL!(Bishonen are essentially pretty boys which are somewhat a trademark of shojo manga.) I wont tell you any spoilers, but we do get to find out a bit more about Ren later on.

SB doesn't include the bonus pages I'm afraid. I think I need to elaborate on the 'Hachi' thing - it's short for Hachiko, a famous dog who waited for his master to return. And yes she still calls her Hachi and so do others too. There's more to this story but I don't know all the details. Nana O calls Nana K Hachi because she follows her around like a pet dog, plus as they are both named Nana, having a pet name for one of them distinguishes the two. The story of the dog is so famous that there is a statue outside Shibuya station and its a popular meeting point.

M.G xx
 

Jimi-Jam

Dandy Guy, in Space
Manga Girls said:
Ren is a bishonen! It's his job to look cool and have a pretty face. LOL!
Well, Bishounen maybe, but does that mean I'm supposed to like him and/or sympathise with Nana O's loss?
Perhaps this is the trouble you run into as a guy trying to read shojo. I was trying to think of the reverse situation - guy falling for the possibly vacuous pretty faced girl...hmmm...not sure what my conclusion is.
Maybe Ren isn't so vacuous - I'll have to wait to find out.

The Hachi thing was funny even without knowing the full relevance of the name - Nana O qualifies it by saying she's 'Puppy dog-like...You're super friendly and obedient, but need a lot of attention' and that she was considering getting a pet anyway! lol
It did occur to me fairly quickly that it was indeed a useful device to differentiate between the two Nanas if nothing else.

adamcube said:
How about Mahoshojo...?
Have to admit to looking this up to know what it refers to (still new to a lot of this stuff tbh) – what’s your recommendation in this sub-genre?
 
Adamcube -

Yes, please elaborate, even I haven't heard of that type of manga before?
*M.G's cat ears tweaks up in curiosity*

Jimi-Jam -

Ren... well, I didn't like him at first, but then i changed my mind. And Nano O is no wallflower, one part she likes him and second part, she's a musician too, and wants that life too, so there's some element of competition/rivalry too. There's one scene where Nana K takes Nana O to see Trapnest and the results are quite interesting. I won't say more than that...

M.G xx
 

Laughing Manji

School Idol
Mahou Shoujo stuff is aimed towards younger girls. Probably the big manga titles here are Card Captor Sakura and Tokyo Mew Mew. Still I prefer my Mahou Shoujo stuff animated.
 

arthur_webb

Adventurer
Manga Girls said:
Adamcube -

Yes, please elaborate, even I haven't heard of that type of manga before?
*M.G's cat ears tweaks up in curiosity*

M.G xx

Dang, no fair putting me on the spot like that!!!

Erm, okay loosely, mahoushojo is magical girl. It's essentially the shojo genre, but with the main protagonist having or being involved with magical powers.

I don't think I'd be able to give any concrete manga examples, although as mentioned by Laughing Manji Card Captor Sakura and Tokyo Mew Mew are staples of the genre (Sakura being more so than Mew Mew).

As for anime (based on a manga, I believe), another quite (but not terribly) recent example would be Nanoha, or Maho Shojo Riricaru Nanoha to quote it's full name. Following in the guise of Card Captor Sakura, the main protagonist wields a magical staff, ect. This isn't yet released in this country, so it's likely that only those who watch fansubs would know what I'm on about, but it's got an extremely large fanbase, so Google would most definately be your friend.

I'm still quite new to anime et al, so I hope this was accurate/helpful in at least some way!
 
Adamcube -

Thanks for that, that's a great help. Google is my friend so I will go investigate. Now that you mention magical girls, I have heard of it before, there was a passing reference to it in Othello, but I didn't know the genre name at the time.

M.G xx
 

arthur_webb

Adventurer
Manga Girls said:
Adamcube -

Thanks for that, that's a great help. Google is my friend so I will go investigate. Now that you mention magical girls, I have heard of it before, there was a passing reference to it in Othello, but I didn't know the genre name at the time.

M.G xx

Glad to be of some help ^^;;
 

kupocake

Stand User
Aside from Fruits Basket, the only Shoujo manga i'm regularly collecting is Please Save My Earth, published in the US by Viz (no local version)... mind you, I'm not a big collector of Manga anyway. PSME is full of brilliant ideas and is a lot more digestable than the relative normality of love-story shoujo (which I can never find enough in to like or dislike). Like how Fruits Basket broadens its appeal with the central fantasy element rather than simply being all about melodramatic angst, PSME has strong bits of science fiction in, as the present day characters re-experience their past lives as aliens.

The problem is that the ideas aren't enough to make the Manga an instant classic (though the series did go on for 20 plus volumes and it did have an OVA, which isn't bad at all for a Shoujo series). The mangaka has this absolutely horrid habit of breaking the fourth wall (tiny asides by characters, sudden bizarre costume changes), usually at a moment when the story is getting really tense and interesting. Very occasionally, she does it in a very successful and funny way, but more often than not, she ruins a carefully built up moment. Sad. The art takes a little getting used to as well I think. At the very least you have to adjust to it being the 80s all over again :p
 
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