Chica Manga Portada Citi

What is Shojo Manga (Girl´s Manga)?

By Yamada Tomoko from The Citi exhibition Manga

How does one define shojo manga (girls’ manga)? As a child, I believed that
only Japan had shöjo manga. The idea may have come to me from magazines and television. I began to have my doubts, however, when I read a manga essay in Hayaboshi Nanao’s The Nanao Syndrome (Nanao no shökögun, 1982), vol. 2, and learned that England, too, had what seemed to be shõjo manga. Later, while reading books about manga, I learned that the famous musical Annie, starring a little orphaned girl, had its source in the cartoon Little Orphan Annie by Harold Gray, which started circulation in 1924. I also learned that during the 1950s, English magazines directed specifically at young girls were publishing cartoons about the ballet, for example, Ballet Dancers by David Walsh (1952), and Belle of the Ballet by George Beardmore and Stanley Houghton (1954). Aware that manga differ from place to place, here I would like to share some of my impressions of Japanese shōjo manga.

In practice the Japanese term ‘manga’ encompasses a wide range of media, but for now I am thinking of the kind of manga that appear in panels across several pages, with speech bubbles, dialogue and stories about male and female protagonists who undergo a transformative or unusual experience. Normally, after being published in several issues of a manga-focused magazine, measuring 2-4 cm in thickness, manga series are systematically compiled in the form of small pocket-book-size volumes (tanköbon). We are now in a period of transition, when manga can be purchased not only in actual bookstores but also online, and the format of a publication can be paper-based or electronic. In 2017, manga magazines and tanköbon together generated almost half of all publishing revenue in Japan-660 billion yen ($4.6 billion) out of 1.37 trillion yen ($9.5 billion). The question remains as to how much of this revenue was derived from manga aimed at girls and women, but girls’ and women’s manga seem to occupy about one-third of the space allocated overall to manga in bookstores. As a conservative estimate, then, perhaps at least one-sixth of manga are aimed specifically at girls and women.

From the late 1990s to the early 2000s

Sailor Moon Manga page
Sailor Moon cover

People around the world were enjoying two globally broadcast anime: Sailor Moon (based on Takeuchi Naoko’s manga, published 1992-97) and Cardcaptor Sakura (based on the manga by CLAMP, published 1996-2000). When people from abroad discuss these two works, their most frequent and most favourable impressions concern the representation of various conditions of gender and forms of love. Generally, what is understood is that, though gender equality is not discussed explicitly, it is conveyed as an important message. In Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura – but also in the onginal shojo manga on which these anime were based- an openness about gender consciousness is presented not as exceptional but as rather ordinary.

Princess Knight

In my experience, when people who know little of the subject first hear uhe term shojo manga, they tend to assume that it refers to manga in which the main characters are young girls (shöjo). However, although it is a genre aimed at chidren and teenagers, shojo manga has an almost unnoticed history of depicting quite transgressive approaches to gender, as seen, for example, in the celebrated, poch-defining manga Princess Knight. Princess Knight was originally published by Tezuka Osamu between 1953 and 1956 and then again in new variations during the 1960s. It tells how, due to the action of a mischievous angel, the main character Sapphire has both a male and a female soul. Another example is Rose of Versailles (Berusai no bara, 1972-73) by Ikeda Riyoko, in which the protagonist Oscar is a beautiful woman who dresses up as a man. This work played a large part in establishing wider public interest in and acceptance for shöjo manga. Of course when the genre is viewed as a whole, we find many shojo manga from both the past and the present whose protagonists are indeed young girls.

Japanese shōjo manga formed as a genre during the 1950s.

At this time manga artists were predominantly male, with only a few women in the field. During the 1960s, however, love stories were produced by increasing numbers of female artists, who were older than most of their young readers. During the 1970s female artists were now closer in age to their readers and only a few male artists were still drawing shōjo manga. At this point the genre saw innovations that built upon previous works. For example, around the time of the publication of Rose of Versailles, many works were produced featuring only boys, both love between boys and friendship approaching romantic love. Representative of the period are HagiOMoto’s The Poe Clan (Po no ichizoku, 1972), Heart of Thomas (Tõma no shinző, 1974), and Takemiya Keiko’s Kaze to ki no uta (unofficially known in English as The Poem of Wind and Trees, 1976-84). In addition to these works, which also appeared in tankõbon volumes, each one around 200 pages in length, girls’ manga magazines of the time introduced many works whose protagonists were boys and sometimes young men. There were even depictions of boys who due to family circumstances were burdened with caring for young children.

The Poe Clan cover

What did shojo manga have to offer by depicting boys as protagonists, or by depicting relationships between boys that included sexual love? Maybe they simply gave girls a chance to see a lot of handsome members of the opposite sex. Or maybe girls and women who found it oppressive to be female took pleasure in human relations and love liberated from femininity. It also seems that readers who suffered in the awareness that their sexual orientation stood somehow in the social minority derived from these manga the courage to live. This message would also have reached readers who were not young girls, and one has the impression that male fans of shōjo manga rapidly increased in number around this time. Evidence for this includes the appearance of numerous shōjo manga critiques written by men. Shöjo manga that depicted the world of boys’ love did not precisely overlap with the stories of male homosexual love drawn by men, or with the real-life experiences of homosexual men, but perhaps it was this openness that allowed the genre to capture the hearts and imaginations of a broad range of readers.

To my way of thinking, shōjo manga may have been able to foster such a positive reception because in previous periods the genre was driven less by readership numbers and other such statistics than by an interest in untangling the human heart. Having said that, early shōjo manga endeared itself to girls mainly through stories about men and women or mothers and daughters: that is, through stories of human relations that approached conventional social reality. Since the 1970s, however, it seems to have become almost commonplace for shojo manga through settings that are positively unconnected with reality, to depict new gender roles and modes of communication, in tales not just of boys’ love’ but also of science fiction, fantasy and homosexuality. Examples include They Were Eleven
(Jūichinin iru, 1975) by Hagio Moto, Sons of Eve (libu no musuko, 1975-79) by
Aoike Yasuko, / Like John (Johane ga suki, 1979) by Öshima Yumiko, Mari and Shingo (Mari to Shingo, 1977-84) by Kihara Toshie, Star of Cottonland (Wata no kunihoshi, 1978-87) by Öshima Yumiko, Patalliro! (1979) by Maya Mineo
and Prince of the Place where the Sun Rises (Hi izuru tokoro no tenshi, 1980-84) by Yamagishi Ryöko. It seems to me that by empathizing with the characters in these manga, the reader learns how to respect those people who are different from herself. On the other hand, perfectly “ordinary” love stories in which the main character is a conventional female girl certainly continue to be popular today.

Chica Manga The Willow Tree

Through the flourishing fanzine market and Comiket, which has been supported since its founding in 1975 mainly by female contributors, bõizu
rabu
(boys’ love) has become a major genre attracting mainly adult women readers. Depending on the size of the book store, the bõizu rabu genre can occupy from one to several shelves of a manga section. The 1980s saw the arrival of manga genres aimed at adult women, along with specialized magazines that continue to be published today. It strikes me as notable, however, that for some reason we have no term to describe as a whole the genre of manga aimed at adult women, and that for the most part even manga aimed at adult women are categorized as shöjo manga. A separate but also interesting aspect of the field is the increasing number of female manga artists who grew up reading shöjo manga and who are now publishing in men’s magazines.

There are many wonderful things about Japanese shõjo manga and the woks to which they have given rise and it makes me happy to know that the genre is becoming more familiar to audiences worldwide.


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Chica Manga Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime


Sailor Moon is probably one of the most celebrated manga and anime of all times. It has been the inspiration of many other magical girl-themed manga and anime series like Pretty Cure, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, and even Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! among many others. It has also inspired some cartoons from the west such as LoliRock.

For the record, Sailor Moon manga originally spawned 18 tankōbon published by Kodansha in the 90s. In 2003, it was re-released as 12 shinsōban volumes. On the other hand, the Sailor Moon anime has around 200 episodes while Sailor Moon Crystal has 39. With all of these anime episodes, you might be asking, “How the hell did all of these anime episodes fit the 18 tankōbon volumes released?!” or “Are there differences in the Sailor Moon manga and its anime version?”

Sailor Moon Manga vs Anime

Pacing

So, one of the major differences that the manga version has compared to the anime is the pacing. This is primarily because the manga was published much slower compared to the anime version. The manga is released an act a month while the anime releases episodes weekly, hence, there are more fillers in the anime. That being said, it came quite interesting that both the manga and the anime are still closely similar to each other.

Illustration Details

There are also notable differences in the Sailor Moon manga and anime illustrations. Its manga version is much detailed when compared to the anime version. The manga is drawn with finer lines making the illustrations look more delicate. This also made the characters look prettier. It even improved as the mangaka’s drawing style peaked. The various monsters that appeared in the manga were also given more detail. Thus, making them look scarier.

Storyline

The storyline of the manga is also notably more mature and deep compared to its anime counterpart.

On violence…

There were also much more violence and suicides that appeared in the mange; very little made it through the anime version.

Content

On LGBT content…

Since the manga was mature in nature, a lot of topics on feminism and LGBT were tackled. While the anime version, especially the English dubbed version, was censored on so many different levels, the manga went on in greater detail. For instance, in the manga version Sailors Neptune and Uranus were presented as girlfriends. However, in the English run, they have become cousins instead to easily explain their closeness and dabble on the idea of same-gender relationships.

Alternatively, in the classic anime, there were certain characters, which were previewed to be gay. Take for example, Fish Eye. In the classic anime, Fish Eye is described a gay kind of cross dresser who carelessly fell head over heels in love with Mamoru. However, in the manga, Fish Eye is only deemed as slightly effeminate. He also does not cross dress in the manga nor does he display any homosexual curiosity. In the manga, he even attempted to seduce Sailor Mercury or Ami.

On character maturity…

Though Usagi may be really cool as Sailor Moon, her usual self in the anime may have come out to be a little annoying at times. She also seemed whiny and frustrating in several occasions. However, the manga version of Usagi, can be considered to be much more mature than the anime one. In the initial parts of the manga, Usagi was a lazy and cry baby girl similar to how she was portrayed in the anime, but as the story progresses and matures, so does Usagi. Unlike in the anime version, Usagi seemed to have dragged on her annoying qualities for so long it made our heroine bothersome in the long haul.

These are just scratching the tip of the iceberg in terms of the differences between the anime and manga versions of Sailor Moon, so if you have time to spare, you could get different kicks in watching the anime and/or reading the manga.

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Sailor Moon is here

Sailor Moon anillo princesa 20mm 2

One of the most famous and beloved character in Manga world is our teenager Usagi Tsukino in the lead role of “Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon”
As a tribute to this beloved warrior, strong and determined fighter for justice and love, nothing better than to show off his face in our daily outfit.

Do you dare to fight with Sailor Moon?

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Sailor Moon

Monica-Sailor-MoonA new Happy Customer, Mónica, has sent me these Sailor Moon ring pictures in her hand. It looks great!

Una nueva Happy Customer, Mónica, me ha enviado estas fotos con el anillo Sailor Moon en su mano. Le queda genial, no?

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