Shôjo shortage

I’m detecting a localized deficiency in my regular manga reading. There’s no want for quasi-supernatural episodic series, ass-kicking heroines, Fumi Yoshinaga, shônen adventures or tense dramas, but I don’t feel like I’ve got sufficient ridiculous shôjo comedies in the rotation. Sure, there’s Penguin Revolution and Beauty Pop, and I love them both, but new volumes only come out so often.

I had high hopes for Kitchen Princess, but it turned out to be too saccharine even for me. The first volume of Millennium Snow seems promising, and it’s got a talking bat with an absurd accent, but I suspect that the life-and-death stuff will gradually overwhelm the madcap elements. I liked the first volume of Skip Beat!, and Shaenon Garrity’s hilarious review in the Overlooked Manga Festival has placed it firmly on my watch list. My fondness for Meca Tanaka’s Omukae Desu suggests I’ll like Pearl Pink.

I’m not looking for sensitive meditations on growing up and first love. I want nonsense – extreme personalities in patently ludicrous situations, playing out stories so implausible that they actually cause mild disorientation. Any suggestions?

32 Responses to Shôjo shortage

  1. ChunHyang72 says:

    If you haven’t read Bring It On! (ICE Kunion), I’d highly recommend it. The silly behavior extends to the adult cast members as well–the heroine’s parents are not-so-closeted otakus who write slash. I also liked the preview for Tokyopop’s Little Queen, which looked like Mean Girls with chibis. Oh, and a school setting not unlike Hogwart’s Academy. I haven’t read the whole first volume yet, so that’s a qualified endorsement…

  2. Huff says:

    “Sugar Sugar Rune” is lots of fun if you haven’t read it. In general anything from Moyoko Anno is worth reading, but this is the only thing I’ve read from her that could be categorized as pure shojo. “Sensual Phase” might be interesting too, though it more on the smutty, soapy side of the genre. I’d recommend the brilliant Koukou Debut, but its scanslation only. Other than I’m pretty useless on the subject matter…

  3. Amy says:

    How about Ouran High School Host Club? It reminds me of Beauty Pop in a way (a group of very different guys coming together to form a club & a girl who couldn’t care less) but I think it’s even funnier. It pokes fun at the stock male characters you see in shojo but not in a mean spirited way. It features my favorite kind of shojo heroine…a girl who is surrounded by beautiful boys but is very “eh” about the whole thing.

    The flimsy plot is that she broke an expensive vase when entering the room they use as their host club (where they entertain the rich girls of the school) and has to work off the debt by becoming a member of the club as well. So lots of cross-dressing fun!

    There’s also a character who’s like Momiji from Fruits Baskets…only on crack.

  4. Estara says:

    While we’re talking crazy manhwa, how about You’re so Cool! I read the first four volumes in scanlation and it’s a nice school comedy with a bit of shonen-ai on the side. Short intro here:'re_So_Cool

    It’s also ICE Kunion.

  5. Dave Carter says:

    I’m only partway through the first volume, but Time Guardian might fit the bill for you nicely.

  6. davidpwelsh says:

    Thanks for all of the excellent suggestions! I’m particularly intrigued by the description of Ouran HSHC. Any heroine whose response to a bishônen harem is “eh” is my kind of heroine.

  7. Nancy says:

    Hi. Sorry to barge in off-topic here, but I just discovered your blog and hope first of all to spend some time here and at your links–looks interesting! Also, speaking of Hagio Moto (from one of your archived posts), my Japanese husband and I just started a blog where we translate and discuss one of the classic shojo manga of hers, “Poe no Ichizoku”. It’s a complex, poignant story about a family of vampires who travel through time. Please stop by and leave comments–we’d love for this groundbreaking manga-ka to gain a much wider audience outside of Japan, and eventually want to translate as many of her works as we can (currently very little is officially published in English) Thanks!

  8. Amy says:

    Yay, I’m glad you’re interested in Ouran High School Host Club! As far as zany mangas go with extreme personalities it *definitely* fits the bill. VERY extreme in some cases. Tamaki (the “prince” type character although he calls himself the king) is the most over the top emotional character I’ve ever seen before. One of the running sight gags is him sulking in the corner (facing the wall, all huddled up in the fetal position) whenever he gets his feelings hurt & no matter how many times he does that it STILL never fails to crack me up. But there’s so much more. Lots of wacky recurring characters too.

    And you can’t go wrong with an indifferent, doesn’t care about looks or money, heroine like Haruhi! At one point the twins say about her “How can we be heroes when the heroine won’t cooperate?!”

  9. julie says:

    Have you tried “Tail of the Moon” yet? They don’t get much more ridiculous than that! The characters are fun, the situations are silly, and Rinko Ueda doesn’t take herself seriously. The art is nice, too.

  10. Huff says:

    I though the Ouran manga was pretty sloppy, but the anime (which I’m pretty sure has been licensed) is wacky fun due to comedic timing, the energy it has and the overall execution (BONES almost always delivers something solid). The “OMG LETS MAKE FUN OF SHOJO MANGA” shtick wore thin for me after about 10 episodes, but I definitely wouldn’t mind renting/borrowing the rest of it.

  11. Chloe says:

    I think Host Club is still a breath of fresh air with some witty zingers, and would second ChunHyang’s recommendation of “Bring it On”- I have instant disdain for shoujos that proudly brand themselves as “romantic comedies,” but this is one is [surprisingly] genuinely amusing. Hopefully you’ve picked up Go Comi’s “Tenshi Ja Nai” by this point as well, which wins me over time and time again despite some cliches.

  12. […] Welsh is looking for some good shoujo manga, and his commenters come through with plenty of […]

  13. davidpwelsh says:

    Chloe, I’m a big fan of Tenji. I like the hint of mean-spiritedness of it, if that makes any sense.

  14. jen says:

    I’m going to third (fourth?…fifth?…) Host Club. The manga is absolutely hilarious, and in my opinion, superior to the anime (…or at least the last two episodes of the anime). I also disagree with Huff and recommend s/he read more of it- it’s incredibly fresh and intelligent.

    At first it may look like just a collection of shoujo archetypes, but as the manga develops, it’s really more about a group of high schoolers who are learning about who they are. Each of the guys bears his archetype as a mask, especially Kyouya and the twins, and Bisco Hatori masterfully uses Haruhi – the most refreshing shoujo heroine I’ve read in years – to rip those masks off for brief moments and examine why we use them.

  15. The type of shoujo I like are usually very very girly that I’m a bit scared to recommend to people, but there’s always Basara: “Born under a prophecy that will liberate and unite Japan, Sarasa has had to take her brother Tatara’s place as the “Boy of Destiny.” Fighting for the oppressed, Sarasa journeys across Japan to gain allies and defeat her enemies–all while keeping her identity a secret!” (taken from Viz:

    Also W-Juliet: a crossdressing shoujo manga that I think highly of:

    If you want shoujo suspense, and is a Angel Sanctuary fan (or haven’t read Angel Sanctuary, go read it!), there’s always Kaori Yuki’s series currently being serialized in Shoujo Beat: Godchild and Saga Cain (note that Cain actually comes before Godchild… Viz licensed out of order, though the two is not completely related, other than same characters and setting, so you can read them seperately, I supposed.)

    For a gothic, comedy shoujo, try Del Rey’s Wallflower.

    My manhwa picks go to Netcomics’ Can’t Lose You (shoujo, action), Ice Kunion’s Antique Gift Shop (supernatural) and Hissing (psychological, romance?).

    (I agree with Tenshi Ja Nai! from G!C)

  16. Shannon Fay says:

    ‘Witch Class’ from Infinity Studios is an extermely cute and funny little manwha. It’s about an average high school girl who becomes an aprentice to a witch (and meets a cute werewolf bishounen). The manga is great at setting up what you expect to happen and then doing the opposite.

    Doubt!! from Viz is an odd high school comedy about a girl who was plain in middle school but has reinvented herself as a popular pretty girl for high school. It’s hard to tell if it’s embracing the superficiality of high school or poking fun at it or both. Either way, it’s fun.

  17. Oh! I forgot the recently completed Shinjo Mayu series, Sensual Phrase (mature, shoujo, romance, drama and lots of it). People usually either hate or love Mayu, so I don’t know. You can expect typical romance with lots of smut and the best english adaptation you’ve ever seen from any manga work in that series though. :9

  18. Buzz says:

    Would STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW count? It’s about young middle school girls with one high school age older sister thrown in (she’s college age in the anime series to make her smoking habit tolerable; her efforts to quit smoking are a sub-plot in the series). Very VERY funny silly but true-to-life comedy.

    In fact, while we’re talking about Japanese school girls, I’d recommend AZUMANGA DAIOH very highly; it could be described as a shojo version of SEINFIELD: About nothing yet about everything. And GALS manages to combine a light-hearted silly visual style with some pretty edgy material in a fun package (the anime is called SUPER-GALS, go figure…)

  19. davidpwelsh says:

    “The type of shoujo I like are usually very very girly that I’m a bit scared to recommend to people,”

    Oh, F_S, girly is no deterrent to me whatsoever. I’ve been known to pester bookstore clerks about why they didn’t have the new volume of Ultra Maniac.

    Thanks to everyone for the excellent suggestions.

  20. Kristy Valenti says:

    I’ve been following School Rumble via the library. It’s a surreal PG teen comedy, but not lame.

  21. Amy says:

    I really liked jen’s comments about Ouran. Totally spot on. There’s so many great character moments and reveals into who they really are as the series goes on. Um…this is my third comment, hope it doesn’t seem like I’m stalking this post or something!

    I hope you keep reading the rest of Skip Beat! that’s out right now. If it hadn’t been for Shaenon Garrity’s review I probably would’ve never picked up the series based on the title and first cover. I had the entirely wrong impression about the series and now I’m itching to order the sixth book soonsoonsoon.

  22. Lyle says:

    Any heroine whose response to a bishônen harem is “eh” is my kind of heroine.

    In that case, have you checked out Wallflower? It starts out as a makeover story, with four (IIRC) beautiful and popular boys being offered a house rent-free if they’ll live with the landlady’s daughter (IIRC) who looks like Sadakko from Ring and turn her into a marriageable lady. The mangaka quickly becomes enamored with her disheveled heroine, however, and decides to drop the makeover aspect, except as a way to generate conflict.

    Also, I just read a preview of Yurara in Shojo Beat and would definitely like to read more. The heroine is a lonely student who can see ghosts but feels she can’t talk about what she sees to anyone else. Then two ghost hunter boys show up at her school.

  23. Vivian says:

    Be sure to check out Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club when it comes out. All the heroine cares about is sleeping and eating!

  24. davidpwelsh says:

    Lyle: I tried a couple of volumes of Wallflower, and it’s going to sound incredibly wussy of me, but I just couldn’t deal with the frequent, explosive nosebleeds. It was just… ick.

    I’ve definitely got my eye on Yurara, though. Aside from the fact that all of Chika Shiomi’s heroines look the an awful lot alike(Canon, Aria in Night of the Beasts), I generally like them. And I’ve got a thoroughly demonstrated weakness for comics about people who see dead people.

    Vivian: I’m really looking forward to My Heavenly Hockey Club, if only because of the single, lonely volume of Your and My Secret that charmed me so years ago.

  25. Huff says:

    STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOW is actually probably aimed at college-aged male otaku, which may or may not be creepy depending on how you look at it. Loli-themes aside it does seem to be a funny read.

  26. jen says:

    Oh, I vote Wallflower too. Fantastic, though I think the author may not be quite sure exactly how to end it.

    Hmm, is Tramps Like Us / Kimi Wa Petto technically “shoujo,” or is it a little too seinen?

  27. […] davidpwelsh @ 5:56 am Thanks to everyone who offered some shôjo recommendations in response to a previous post. For my own convenience and future reference, I thought I would put together a list of titles […]

  28. Estara says:

    Oh, I didn’t realise that we were allowed to recommend any sort of shoujo ^^. I thought only the one that fit your description up there: My very favourite shoujo manga in English release, even topping Fruits Basket, is the fantasy drama shoujo From Far Away. Kyoko Hikawa does brilliant school and comedy shoujo, too. I discovered her via scanlation (the group completely closed down, when they were contacted by her publisher after Kanata Kara was licensed. I think they were called Mangasync).

    Here’s the link on Viz (all of the volumes are out now, 14 for an epic fantasy is quite a few – Basara has over 20). And here’s my review of it:

    There just don’t seem to be many well-known bloggers who have taken the time for this series, so if one more could be snagged maybe we’d see “Miriam” or “Chizumi &Fujiomi” and her other work in the West.

  29. “I’m going to third (fourth?…fifth?…) Host Club. The manga is absolutely hilarious, and in my opinion, superior to the anime (…or at least the last two episodes of the anime).”

    Don’t judge the anime by the final two episodes. Those are the “serious” ending. Nearly all the other episodes have a lot more comedy.

  30. […] experience the mad glory that is Ai Morinaga’s My Heavenly Hockey Club (Del Rey). Remember when I put out a call for seriously daft shôjo comedies? Based on the preview copy Del Rey sent me, this series is like […]

  31. Licia says:

    I am a fan of shoujo genres since I was introduced to “Itazura na Kiss” of Tada Kaoru-sensei. Have scrutinized many shoujo for the one story that can come better than the rest.
    I like Penguin Revolution as well, too bad its not yet finished. I have lots of ongoing mangas on my list and is on the hunt for finished ones. I’ve read you are open for recommendations so I hope you like the following.
    This are all finished mangas, btw.
    (1) Hanazakari No Kimitachi he
    This is about a teenage girl who transfers to Japan from the US just so she can see her idol high-jumper Izumi. The catch is that she have to pretend to be a boy in an all-boys school to do it, and keep herself from being caught–by the school and by her family. As the story progresses, love ensues between her and Izumi.
    (2) Hana Yori Dango
    Its pretty popular in the market. I’m sure you can have a good preview if you search via google. At first, I don’t think I’ll like this story because of the ‘real-life’ theme of it (I like my shoujo more of a fantasy type–like Penguin Revolution ^_^ ) but at the end, I was glad I’ve read it through. It’s one of the best there is.
    (3) Dear Mine
    A deviation from the usual shoujo. this is about a highschooler who got engaged to a 12 year old kid (im not sure how old he is but he is definitely younger than her). Anyway, he may be young, but he’s mature enough to handle a vast business empire.
    (4) MeruPuri
    A girl saved a prince of a magical kingdom and later, have to take care of him. He is child, but he transform into a man when its dark. And in order to return to his original form, she have to kiss him. this is a good magical manga.
    (5) Manga by Yoshihara Yuki-sensei.
    I am her Die-Hard fan!!! Her works are more than smutty but less than hentai. Stories include: My Fair Gentleman, Sheherazade, Chiyo yo Hana yo, Itadakimasu, Oboretai, Mata Mata oboretai and many more.

    Email me if you like more. ^_^
    I’m happy to help a manga fan such as myself.
    Oh, btw. Did you know the creator of Penguin Revolution (Tsukuba Sakura-sensei) have an earlier work entitled: Mekakushi no Kuni? It’s about a girl who can see the future and a boy who can see the past.

%d bloggers like this: