Shôjo and Animerica

Girls read manga larger numbers than they read comic books, despite what the two have in common. Some of this is image — manga (and anime) fans tend to be seen as cool, forward-thinking kids, while comic book fans evoke the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons (regardless of the truth of either of these stereotypes). Some it is practical — girls can feel more comfortable going into airy bookstores than navigating scary comic book stores. And some of it is the style — the “cute” factor of manga cannot be ignored. The expressive line work and beautiful characters are much more appealing to women than the testosterone-filled pages of superhero comics.

Granted, all of this is just a surface reading of the reasons why, but ultimately, manga manages to produce series that have plots that are more accessible to women. It may be a shame that girls will read manga that will never touch comics, but in the end, it’s better than these girls reading neither.

Still, shôjo doesn’t get much love in the press covering anime and manga, due to its blatant appeal to women (which isn’t to say boys don’t read it or watch it). Shôjo encompasses a broad range, from romance to horror to action, but it’s too often passed over for fare like Dragonball Z or mecha series (no matter how deep they are).

So it was refreshing to see Animerica devote its Sept. ’03 issue to shôjo. While the issue may be off of news stands at this point, the main article can be read online, giving information on the history and conventions of shôjo. The magazine itself features articles on yuri and yaoi, as well as a list of the best shôjo titles. While the articles just scratch the surface of a large topic, it’s a great resource for beginners and it’s great to see shôjo get the respect it deserves.

The Sept. ’03 issue of Animerica can be purchased online for the cover price of $4.95 USD.