As part of their Wonderful Wednesday series, publisher Seven Seas has licensed three shoujo manga. My New Life as a Cat, Cinderella Closet, and Soloist in a Cage are the newest additions to the publisher’s ever-growing line-up. Should shoujo fans expect more to come?
Currently serialized in Ciao Deluxe, Konomi Wagata’s My New Life as a Cat is the silly tale of Nao Kazushiro who, after a bizarre accident, finds himself transformed into a cat. With the anime adaptation of Ayakashi Triangle coming next year, body-swapping rom-coms seem to be a continuous trend. As to whether this series will receive an adaptation of its own remains to be seen.
Likewise, Wakana Yanai’s latest manga Cinderella Closet certainly has potential for a future anime adaptation. Previously serialized in Bessatsu Margaret with eight volumes, this story has Haruka — a ‘plain’ girl who’s never had much time to dedicate to beauty or confidence — teaming up with a cosmetologist to win over her crush. The upcoming anime Sacrificial Princess and the King of Beasts puts a new spin on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale so perhaps Cinderella Closet will continue the theme of fairytale adaptations.
Jump Plus published mangaka Shiro Moriya may not write shoujo per se, but Soloist in a Cage explores the life of young girl Chloe as she’s forced to protect her infant brother in a dystopian city. With a combination of cute characters and gritty action, Made In Abyss fans have this series to check out during the highly anticipated wait for the next season.
What is shoujo manga?
While translating to “girls’ manga”, shoujo isn’t limited to anyone based on their identity. Women may be the intended audience, and shoujo stories do primarily focus on female protagonists, but tales of bittersweet romance, coming-of-age stories, and emotional turmoil are relatable to anyone.
Shoujo manga, too, often provides a voice for many women to tell stories that resonate with them. Anime fans worldwide are undoubtedly familiar with Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon which popularized not only shoujo in the West but anime in general. All the way back in a 1996 interview with Animerica, Takeuchi expressed her desire to make fans of everyone.
That said, just like anyone can read shoujo manga, anyone can write it as well. Authors Shinji Wada and Masahiro Shibata have been making shoujo series since the 70s with classics such as Sukeban Deka and Akai Kiba, respectively.
What are some popular shoujo manga series?
Those eager to get into the shoujo genre have plenty of options at their disposal. Like shounen manga, there are a variety of sub-genres and common themes that allow for a tailored fit to anyone’s tastes.
Romance is a topic that comes up often in shoujo. Yona of the Dawn and Fruits Basket are among the most popular of the genre. These romance tales aren’t limited to heterosexual relations either. Yaoi and yuri — often sub-genres of shoujo — focus on gay and lesbian relationships, respectively. Although, many criticize the genre for ‘fetishizing’ gay relationships rather than prioritizing realism.
While common by convention, shoujo manga isn’t always about flowers and rainbows. The focus on personal, character-driven stories allows for darker plotlines too that deal with heartache and finding oneself. The Attack on Titan spin-off series Shingeki no Kyojin: Kuinaki Sentaku is one such manga that puts a zoomed-in lens on fan favorite Captain Levi and shows his life leading up to the fateful day the walls fell.