As a real otaku, you have surely come across the term “Shôjo” or “Shoujo” which qualify many popular anime. But, what is a shoujo anime and what does the term “Shoujo” mean?
What does shoujo anime mean: Definitions
This shoujo anime definition avoids emphasizing the link between shōjo manga/anime and the term shōjo that means “young girl” and “adolescent girl”.
Another classic definition to “what does shoujo anime mean” is: Shoujo is a category of manga primarily aimed at young teenage girls, and is known for its touching romantic stories and the typical chara design that goes with it.
In a shoujo anime/manga, you will generally find the following clichés: the heroine is ninny, or she falls in love with the most popular boy in college/high school or even unintentionally pushes her future boyfriend, etc.
what is shoujo anime genre: Origins
What about the history of the shoujo anime/manga? Do you know the origins of this genre? How did the Japanese population react to this category? Why is it so popular? We will explore all of these questions.
Before getting to the heart of the matter, you should know that manga have been around since the 1900s. They were published in magazines with poor quality, that’s why many manga have fallen in the oubliette.
What is a shoujo anime: The 60s
In the 60s, a first wave of outstanding authors changing the place of the girl in the shoujo manga appeared. The girls had a fairly restrictive role as “The woman was positioned as a metaphor for all that was backward and shameful in Japan”, but they gradually became the main character of the story.
What is a shoujo anime: Mizuno Hideko
In this wave, we can be interested in Mizuno Hideko. The latter has influenced many Japanese women by introducing her new representation of women. She used a theme that was not exploited at all but obvious to us: heterosexual love from a girl’s point of view.
As a result, the main character has changed from a “girl” type character to a “woman” type character. This new representation is notably accompanied by a different graphic style, influenced by romantic Hollywood films.
Indeed, she began to Americanize her heroines by taking up European physical features: double eyelids, long hair and a life in a large castle. His best-known works are Honey Honey no Suteki na Bouken and Fire!.
The life that these characters lead is then the complete opposite of post-war Japanese life. So creating stories with characters leading luxurious lives was a sort of escape from their gloomy daily life.
Following the success of Mizuno Hideko, many authors have followed this movement and have given birth to stories on the following subject: “How to be loved in a heterosexual relationship?”.
It was a problem that fully affected the core target since the Japanese were very shy. Also, the mangakas were the same age as their target, so it was easy for them to understand Japanese women and express their feelings through manga.
The stories therefore began to be more mature and attractive even if the topics covered were not yet very deep.
What is a shoujo anime: The 70s
It wasn’t until the 1970s that shoujo really gained recognition as a captivating category thanks to a new generation of critics including Murakami Tomohiko, Yonezawa Yoshihiro and Nakajima Azusa. They took off the attraction for the shoujo in proportions that no one imagined, making it a social and cultural phenomenon.
What is the best shoujo anime of all time?
According to MyAnimeList, here is the list of the best Shoujo anime of all time (Top 15):
- Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club);
- Kaichou wa Maid-sama!;
- Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster);
- Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You);
- Vampire Knight;
- Fruits Basket;
- Sukitte Ii na yo. (Say “I Love You”);
- Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride);
- Natsume Yuujinchou (Natsume’s Book of Friends);
- Cardcaptor Sakura;
- Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn);
- Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!);
- Special A.
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