Beat beat

I was wandering through the magazine racks the other day, saw the latest issue of Shojo Beat, and said to myself, “Who the hell is that on the cover?”

An answer has arrived in the form of a press release from Viz: it’s Beat Girl, the magazine’s new “illustrated spokesperson.” (The text and cover image can be found at MangaCast.) A quick follow-up e-mail from Viz informed me that the image was drawn by Aiji Yamakawa, the first of several artists who will offer their take on the mascot. (Does the selection of Yamakawa hint at a future license in the Shojo Beat line?)

Beat Girl is the harbinger of some editorial changes to the magazine, including a new ongoing series of features on “real women doing a variety of selfless and charitable works for other people and help inspire readers” and expanded fashion and pop culture coverage. There’s also going to be a new color palette and page design.

As names go, “Beat Girl” doesn’t exactly set the heart aflutter, though I guess it could be viewed as a witty inversion of the magazine’s title. It avoids the redundancy of “Shojo Girl,” and they couldn’t exactly call her “SB,” since the initial approach is already taken. I’m wondering how much of a branding force she’ll be, what with a bunch of different artists rendering her. Maybe that’s intended to keep her open to reader identification: if you don’t like Yamakawa’s interpretation, just wait a month and you might get a look that’s more to your taste.

Though my preferred delivery system is digests, I’m all in favor of targeted anthologies, and it never hurts to try keep things fresh. (Just look at what’s happening in Riverdale.) And given how invested Viz is in getting reader response through polls and the like, these changes couldn’t have come out of thin air.

6 Responses to Beat beat

  1. [...] Viz is announcing some changes to Shojo Beat. It looks like they have redesigned the magazine a bit and beefed up the non-manga pages to make it a bit more girl-friendly. David Welsh has a few comments, and as the January issue is on newsstands now, I’m sure you’ll be hearing more about it soon. [...]

  2. [...] wish list Google Advertisements No Clever Title LinkBlogging CATEGORY: LinkBlogging AUTHOR: Johanna POSTED: 2006-12-20 5:01 pm David Welsh has informationon the Shojo Beat redesign. He points to the press release as well. The magazine’s covers starting now (the January 2007 issue just hit shelves) will feature their new mascot, Beat Girl. I’m with David that that name isn’t the best, but I think a mascot is a great way to bring consistency to the covers — instead of featuring one of a rotating number of features, now, they’ve got a hip girl that can be drawn by different artists. [...]

  3. Lyle says:

    One thing that was striking to me about the Beat Girl was that this issue seemed to end Shojo Beat’s previous positioning of ‘stuff girls like, but boys welcome too’. Previously, the mag tried not to make male readers feel excluded, like the time they announced (after a pink iPod mini giveaway) that they’d avoid pink prizes in favor of colors girls and boys would like. This issue had the Beat Girl (who, we’re told, represents the SB reader) and a pink Nintendo DS giveaway.

    I’m sure some male readers of SB are offended (at least based on the occasional offended male writing in the Cooking Light lettercol) I find it interesting. I’m curious if I’ll continue to find the magazine as interesting as the manga.

    As for the Beat Girl, I don’t care for the design, at least not in comparison to the covers featuring characters from the manga within.

  4. yaoipress says:

    When I saw this cover I believed the goal was to make people think there was a new manga starting in that issue featuring the girl on the cover. I know that the only story I read from the copies they send me is the newest one. I was put off from reading the other stories because I don’t like starting in the middle.

    If other readers think like me, the cover was an incentive to buy because you thought a new story was starting, and you could read it from the beginning. The fact that they kept who the girl was a mystery until you bought the magazine made me sure this was the idea. If the goal was just to introduce a character to represent the brand why not have a cover blurb saying something like, ‘Meet Beat Girl, the New Face of Shojo Beat!’

  5. davidpwelsh says:

    That was my first thought when I saw the cover too, YP… that they were either introducing a new ongoing or running a preview in the issue. Of course, I’m cheap so I just went to the internet to see who she was. ;-)

  6. [...] Before noticing the Beat Girl the first thing that caught my attention on the cover for the January 2007 issue of Shojo Beat was a giveaway for a pink DS Lite. [...]

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