License request day: Shôjo Manga

December 11, 2009

While perusing the list of Jury Recommended Works from this year’s Media Arts Festival Awards (thoughtfully provided by Scott Green), one title in particular struck me with its utter baldness. “What,” I asked myself, “could something called Shôjo Manga, written and illustrated by Naoko Matsuda, be about? Is it a parody? A history?” Since I love a lot of lower-case shôjo manga, I had to learn more.

There isn’t an abundance of information available, but even that scant quantity is enough to convince me that this book belongs in the license request roster. First of all, it’s from the underrepresented josei category, serialized in Shueisha’s Chorus magazine. It’s apparently only one volume long, which minimizes the risk for some stateside publisher who might be interested in testing the josei waters (like, for example, the stateside publisher Shueisha co-owns, which has recently demonstrated an interest in just such toe-dipping). And then there’s the plot, found via this item about a live-action adaptation:

“29-year-old Lena Tanaka will star in Haken no Oscar ~’Shōjo Manga’ ni Ai o Komete, the tentatively titled television adaptation of Matsuda’s comedy manga. The six-episode mini-series will premiere on August 28. Tanaka plays a temp worker who finds inspiration in the Lady Oscar heroine of The Rose of Versailles to take on corporate management.”

Did anyone else just pull a brain muscle because they don’t know what to enthuse about first? Or is it just me? I mean, a josei comedy about a salarywoman obsessed with one of the greatest shôjo manga of all time sounds like the answer to multiple, simultaneous prayers for some of us. Of course, it would only be sensible if the publisher who licensed Shôjo Manga would also release The Rose of Versailles, you know, just for context. (How transparent am I being here?)

You can click here to see some preview pages of the book. And if you can’t quite wait to read something about the nostalgic power of shôjo, I recommend you check out the sixth chapter of Kingyo Used Books, which dramatizes that very thing.