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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Introduction - read this first (updated June 2012)

Welcome to Manga Obsess. Most of the reviews are on shojo type manga and anime, although there will be a smattering of others such as Nabari No Ou, Fantastic Detective Labyrinth, etc. I know i know, they tend to get similar after a while! ;p But somehow they just don't need us to rack our brains too much so are something for a good break (time waster?) ;p

Oh, what exactly is Shōjo, shojo or shoujo (少女, shōjo?)? Well, there is a wiki page on it. Some of the shojo stories have romance themes, but not always. Also, they are not so much like a Boons and Mills, as they are usually it's more comical than romantic (and anyway, I’m not talking about ecchi or erotic ones here). There is a definition of shojo that no matter what the story type, they are just classed that way based on the magazines that they are serialised in (and thus, the market segment that they are targetting - i.e. young girls).

Usually these stories are written for tweens/teens, though there have been comments that what was graded as acceptable for younger Japanese teens was not considered acceptable for the same age group in the States (and elsewhere?). I think this is a cultural thing as there are also comments that ecchi and others are more acceptable and common and open in Japan. There are some elements in many Japanese manga which I don’t quite get sometimes.

Shojo plots (usually the romance types) tend to have similar plot devices. There are some very common ones like gender bender (girl disguised as boy, and vice versa), siblings (unrelated/adopted) fall in love after growing up together, teacher and student fall in love, etc.

The usual romance shojo plot needs ingredients like this:

1. One silly ditzy naïve girl with some sort of redeeming feature and spunk.

2. One really super duper good looking guy who's smart and everything (best throw in royalty and rich as well) but can be really mean, proud, or has some quality fault but somehow it doesn't matter to the girl after a while...(???)

3. Tension – does he like me or doesn’t he? Do I like him??? Oh dear…

4. A lot of busybodies – can be mother in law, classmates, colleagues, etc.

5. A rival to his (or her) affections, but sometimes the only rival is the guy’s own indifference/silliness.

A bit of analysis

To be honest, I sometimes find the storylines silly and without much content. I don't like all the titles I review. I sometimes put them in as a review cos I have gone through them and want to give an idea of how it went. Some of them are well drawn but pity the storyline. But I guess art is just as important in manga as the storyline sometimes so there are tradeoffs.

Recently when I was research gender role representations, I came across an article investigating gender representations of animated superheros that said "female characters were typically presented as dependent, jealous, romantic, affectionate, sensitive, domestic, needing to be rescued, passive, acting as followers, and crying easily" (Baker and Raney, 2007). I'd have to agree it really sounded like a lot of the shojo I have come across...so ya, there seem to be a lot of these gender stereotypes in manga/anime, of all genres.

Briefest of summaries

The summaries are generally quite brief to just give you an idea of the storyline, as I think the summaries on the other review and catalogue websites, like bakaupdates or anime news network, and especially wikipedia are rather sufficient. I also don't want to end up giving too much away.There is also a lot more detail in the review itself so I didn't feel the need to write a lengthy summary.

Send in your review/comments

Would love your review as well. Also add your comments! I do read every one of them. :)


  1. Baker, K., & Raney, A. A. (2007). Equally Super?: Gender-Role Stereotyping of Superheroes in Children's Animated Programs. Mass Communication & Society, 10(1), 25-41.

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Would like:
Ultimate Venus Vol.5
A.I Revolution Vols 5 and upwards
Possibly Skip Beat Vol. 16 and upwards

On offer:

1. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 4
2. Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 9
3. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol.1
4. Tokyo Pet Shop of Horrors Vol. 2
5. Godchild Vol. 2
6. Godchild Vol. 3
7. Dazzle Vol. 1
8. Dazzle Vol. 2
9. Dazzle Vol. 8
10. Dazzle Vol. 9
11. Special A Vol.5
12. La Corda D'Ore Vol. 6
13. Tail of the Moon Vol. 11 and 13
14. Her Majesty's Dog Vol. 11
15. Mugen Spiral Vol. 1
16. Your and my secret

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