For years, the shojo demographic has been stigmatized and stereotyped as “less,” but what causes this — and why is it harmful?
For years, the shojo demographic has been stigmatized and stereotyped as being “inferior” compared to other anime and manga demographics, and is often seen only as shallow romance series, when This is far from the truth.
In fact, shojo manga is often considered a major pioneer for some of today’s most critically acclaimed shounen and seinen series, including Berserk – which was directly inspired by the classic shojo manga, The Rose of Versailles.
How the stigma against Shojo is affecting the industry
With each new anime season comes a number of new shounen and seinen titles. Not all of them were winners, but there were enough of them being produced that a handful of them garner large followings, new seasons, and merchandise. By comparison, only the few shojo anime produced each year are often buried and forgotten amid the hype that forms around any shoujo title that becomes mainstream that year. Josei-era comics have even fewer adaptations, and luckily there’s only one new release each year.
Arguably the biggest shojo anime of recent years are remakes of classic titles like Fruits Basket and Tokyo Mew Mew rather than new titles. After all, not many shojo and josei stories are produced, especially compared to the number of shounen and seinen stories produced each year. Notably, a lot of shounen and seinen films, even those known to be poorly written or problematic, are able to establish dedicated fan bases due to the level of care and attention to detail. details during the production of their anime adaptation. By comparison, Shojo anime adaptations rarely get this much attention in production.
It all boils down to the preferential treatment in male-targeted series over female-targeted series rooted in the belief that women’s stories won’t attract a wider audience than those aimed at women. stories for men. This belief also influences the decision-making process behind licensing and distributing anime internationally and is why there are still so many shojo anime and manga that have never been officially released outside of Japan. . Shojo anime also rarely get as much promotional effort as shounen anime, and a rare few get that luxury from established brands like Sailor Moon.
Very few shojo anime are also able to attract large fanbases as shojo anime very rarely get extra seasons or courses. Lack of new content will inevitably lead to a drop in interest, which in turn leads to fans of a show quickly dying out. Despite the annual increase in anime production numbers, there is no sign of growing interest in adapting more shojo manga into anime, resulting in many of those works remaining in the shadows. dark because most shojo manga are not officially translated into English unless they are translated into English. a large amount of media exposure — often made through anime adaptations.
The reality and wide appeal of Shojo
Contrary to popular belief, not all shojo titles revolve around romance. In fact, the author of Natsume’s Book of Friends has even determined that she has no plans to include any romantic developments between the main characters in her series. True to her words, twenty years after the manga’s first publication, there is still no romance between the main actors. Instead, the main focus of the show is on the platonic and familial relationships that Natsume famously developed after spending most of his life being treated like an outcast due to his ability to see. see yokai.
Like Natsume’s Book of Friends, School Babysitters also focuses more on familial and platonic relationships rather than romantic relationships. Although there are a number of romantic subplots introduced, they are never the main focus of the series. Instead, much of the story is devoted to the main characters, a pair of brothers named Ryuichi and Kotaro, who do their best to adjust to their new home and school after their parents pass away. Instead of romance, the series mainly explores themes such as dealing with pain, parenting difficulties, and learning to accept help when needed.
There are even more examples beyond the typical slice of life titles that explore many nuanced themes that shounen manga rarely cover.
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