Five Different Shoujo Manga

So apart from the fact that ShouJoy is probably the lamest pun in existence, it is ofcourse also a reflection of my love for Shoujo manga. For the people who might not be familliar with the concept shoujo let me elaborate a bit.

Shoujo or  (少女 shōjo) is the Japanese word for girl and is also used to type certain media. As you, your grandma and you baby nephew might have guessed: Shoujo is a genre that is directed towards a young female audience (but you can read what ever you want, no one is judging and we all love Sailor Moon).

Although I believe shoujo is something completely of its own, I think the best comparison would be a chick-flick: a story often dealing with themes such as love, friendship, school life, growing up and overcoming hardships that come with being 15. Words I would use to describe Shoujo would be: drama, fluffy and romance. If you are still confused let’s just say the genre tugs at your Disney heartstrings.

Shoujo manga (and also anime but for the sake of this post let’s focus on manga for now) is one of the most annoying, predicatable, heartwarming and addicting genre’s ever. I hate that I love it. The drama that could easily be fixed with one conversation, the rival that swoops in to further develop the protagonist’s relationship, the long awaited kissing scene…it is always all there and it never bores me.

So for the starting reader, the veteran that has read them all and everything in between I would like to share with you five DISTINCTLY different (but not really) Shoujo manga without spoiling too much of the plot.

Skip Beat!

By Yoshiki Nakamura

Skip Beat is one of the first Shoujo manga I started a long term commitment with. It is a story about Kyouko who, after one super dickish boyfriend, declares war on love and wants to become super succesful….to stick it to her ex…because who hasn’t tried to conquer the entertainment industry out of spite? It’s a manga with interesting characters and the protagonist is not modeled after the girly-trope you might be used to. Kyouko is just a bit of a bad-ass who, throughout her spiteful journey, discovers she has a hidden talent.

Akatsuki no Yona

(Yona of the Dawn) By Mizuho Kusanagi

Yona is a spoiled princess who can be described in one word: soft. Untill one night changes her life and she is forced to run from everything she knew together with Hak her personal guard/childhood friend (because of course he is). I enjoy this manga because a) it has a medieval fantasy setting which is , you know, different from high school, b) because again the development of the protagonist is interesting on its own. This manga offers you more than just a romantic plot, and c) this story is loaded with a colourful characters.

Ao Haru Ride

(Blue Spring Ride) By Io Sakisaka

This is probably the most generic entry on the list. Ao Haru Ride is about Futaba Yoshioka who meets Kou Tanaka. It is a story about two young people having feelings and denying those feelings (COME ON JUST DATE ALREADY), about high school and about dealing with the opinions of others. Manga like Ao Haru Ride often times invoke a sense of nostalgia in me. They remind me of my own high school drama, how I thought that was the end of the world, and how fun it was to just hang out with friends with no responsibilities whatsoever.

Horimiya

By HERO

Although Horimiya is also set in high school it is vastly different from Ao Haru Ride. When Hori and Miyamura meet each other outside of school they realise there is more than meets the eye. Although it takes a while for the couple to get together, not once did I think the story was slow or boring or dragging the ‘big moment’ out. Additionally I also think this manga takes a more mature approach to romance: there is very little fighting, conflict is talked about and overall the protagonists just love each other. This is a manga for when you’re tired, for when you want no drama, just chill.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii

(Love is Hard for an Otaku) By Fujita

This manga is my absolute favourite. Technically it’s not shoujo, but Josei (I know, I know a foul), but it is just so good I’ll try to squeeze it into any list I can. The story takes a realistic approach when it comes to love. We skip the blushing about holding hands and go straight to the real stuff: what does this person mean to me?

I hope you will enjoy any if not all these manga. I hope you will fall in love with these cheesy tropes as hard as I did. If you like the books consider supporting the mangaka and buying the book.

Anyways, take it easy and see you soon!

J.

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