Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 12

This week:
Black Bird vol. 12
Boys Over Flowers vol. 10
Dawn of the Arcana vol. 7
Demon Love Spell vol. 6
The Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 4
Dengeki Daisy vol. 3
A Devil and Her Love Song vol. 2

Although shoujo has been around in Japan about as long as manga in its current form has, it took a long time to find an audience in the US.

Actually, no. Scratch that. The audience was always here. It took a long time to for it to become accessible to its audience here.

A long, long time ago, in the strange era knowns as the “80s and 90s”, manga was first starting to come to the US, but it was a far cry from what we know today. The industry was controlled by comic books guys and intended to appeal to other comic book guys, so most of what came over was what was already in their wheelhouse: seinen and shonen. And while they imported many classics in that time, such as Maison Ikkoku, Akira, and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, attitudes toward shoujo ranged from “inconsequential fluff” to “unmarketable.” It wasn’t until the late 90’s, when Sailor Moon became a modest success, that companies started considering teenage girls a viable audience. And when Tokyopop, for all the things they did wrong, embraced that audience, they ushered in a manga boom that would change the face of the US manga industry forever. Continue reading “Abusive Relationships in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 12”

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Link Drop: Fushigi Yugi Casts

Remember when I said I was working on a Fushigi Yugi-related project with Anime Feminist? Yeah, that’s still a thing.

As part of our weekly Chatty AF podcast, I’ve been going through the series a few episodes at a time with my dear friends Dee and Vrai. We’re several episodes deep, and it was great fun to go back and revisit the series’ highs as well as its lows with… well, one person who loved it just as much as I did, and another whose feelings are a little more ambivalent.

Continue reading “Link Drop: Fushigi Yugi Casts”

Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 11

No big intro this week, but I’d love to get some reader perspectives! If possible, could you drop a comment answering any (or even all) of these questions:

  1. Were you familiar with any of these series before, and has this column changed your perspective on them?
  2. Have you decided to pick up series I was writing about?
  3. Have you decided AGAINST picking up any series I was writing about?
  4. How do you personally feel about the way shoujo manga depicts these relationships?
  5. Do you have any subjects you’d like to see me write about in the intro?

This week:
Black Bird vol. 11
Boys Over Flowers vol. 9
Dawn of the Arcana vol. 6
Demon Love Spell vol. 5
The Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 3
Dengeki Daisy vol. 2
The Devil and Her Love Song vol. 1

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 11”

Abuse in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 10

This Week:
Black Bird vol. 10
Boys Over Flowers vol. 8
Dawn of the Arcana vol. 5
Demon Love Spell vol. 4
The Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 2
Dengeki Daisy vol. 1

On Holding Up

I was visiting my family a few days ago, and my mom hauled out a crate of my old manga to pick through. There was some stuff in there that I had no real desire to revisit – why did I have a book that was just frames from the Chobits anime with the dialogue in word balloons? – but I did manage to scrounge up a couple volumes of Mars – 3 and 6, to be exact. The series is long out of print and I haven’t read it in years, but I remembered the series fondly and was curious about whether it would hold up.

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 10”

Abuse in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 9

This Week:
Black Bird vol. 9
Boys Over Flowers vol. 7
Dawn of the Arcana vol. 4
Demon Love Spell vol. 3
Backstage Prince vol. 2
Demon Prince of Momochi House vol. 1

Does the predominance of abusive relationships in shoujo indicate anything unique to Japanese culture?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.

An audience member asked me this question at my Geek Girl Con panel, and I was so taken aback that for a moment I could only sputter, “I’m really not comfortable with that question!” Luckily, another person in the audience jumped in to point out that no, it’s definitely not something unique to Japanese media, which gave me enough time to regroup and give a better thought-out answer.

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo Manga by the Numbers: Week 9”

Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 8

Geek Girl Con Report

Last weekend, I attended my final convention of the year: Geek Girl Con. I imagine quite a few of you know of it mainly from the controversy earlier this year when several board members publicly and dramatically quit, but in reality it’s a lovely, small-but-growing convention in Seattle that focuses not on any specific fandom but on creating a space for inclusivity, diversity, and intersectionality in a variety of geeky spaces. This year, they included more anime-related programming than they have in the past, including my panel!

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 8”

Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 7

Whoops, it’s another convention weekend and I’m exhausted and the column is already late so no extra notes this time around!

This Week:
Black Bird vol. 7
Black Rose Alice vol. 6
Boys Over Flowers vol. 5
Cactus’s Secret vol. 4
Dawn of the Arcana vol. 2
Demon Love Spell vol. 1

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Black Bird vol. 7

Misao knows her relationship with Kyo is dangerous, but she’s used to being the one in peril! Will she be able to stand it when the tables are turned and Kyo is threatened?

As leader of the tengu clan and boyfriend of the Senka Maiden, Kyo gets a lot of attention in the demon world, and very little of it is good. From the wrath of a reincarnated dragon to the hatred of a demon hunter, Misao must face the fact that she isn’t the only one at risk in the relationship.

But how can she just stand by while Kyo is threatened?! (summary by Viz)

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 7”

Fushigi Yugi: Being Kind to Teens and Their Stories

After much thought, I’ve decided to officially end my recaps of Fushigi Yugi.

I started them as a way of exploring the problems I had with my once-favorite series. The homo- and transphobia, poor animation, overwrought melodrama, and awkward dub script had soured it in my mind over the years. When it came out on Crunchyroll, watching and mocking it became something of a trend in my little corner of Anitwitter, and I was more than happy to jump on that train.

However, over the past couple months, I’ve been working on a different project related to it as a part of Anime Feminist, collaborating with fellow contributors Dee of Josei Next Door and Vrai Kaiser. Going back over it with my fellow feminists who grew up with the series like I did started to remind me of why I loved the series so fervently as a teenager. While it’s a flawed work, there’s a power to it that spoke to me that I don’t want to discount. Continue reading “Fushigi Yugi: Being Kind to Teens and Their Stories”

Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 6

Previously

It’s only really assault if he’s a bad guy

This week, Black Bird and Black Rose Alice have a common thread, other than the word “black” in their titles: the presence of a villain.

In Black Bird, Misao is assaulted by Sho’s older brother, who acts with the intention of raping then murdering her to gain leadership of his clan; in Black Rose Alice, Alice’s former student and victim lover finds her and turns into a full-blown stalker after become obsessed with finding the connection between his dead rapist girlfriend and this mysterious foreigner. Their actions aren’t too far off from the romantic leads, but since they intend to harm rather than show their “passion”, they’re shown in a negative light. Sho specifically comments that, despite his sense of competition with Kyo, he was never able to fall in love with Misao. So while both seek to control Misao, Sho’s lack of love makes him inexcusable.

Continue reading “Abuse in Shoujo by the Numbers: Week 6”

“It’s a Safer Space” – Interview with Jamie McGonnigal

Jamie McGonnigal is the first to admit that he’s not exactly a household name in anime dubbing, but he still sees himself as having an important mission: creating spaces at conventions where LGBTQ youth and adults can meet and be themselves. At his conventions, he hosts panels about queer culture and its intersection with anime and its fan community, seeking to educate and inform fans. Outside of conventions, he works as an activist and organizer for a variety of causes, especially ones that affect the LGBTQ community.

CM: What do you think the anime community in particular has to offer LGBT youth?

JM: So very much. The fact that they have positive, good portrayals of LGBTQ characters in anime is a huge step in the right direction. I think we could do better – I think we could have the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender characters as the lead characters. That would certainly be nice, have the stories revolve around them and make LGBTQ youth feel a little bit more included, like they can be the star.
I think that cons in particular are such accepting, great places for folks. I’m not very famous, I get it, but I can use the little bit of notoriety I have to come to cons and put on panels focused on It Gets Better and and they end up being kind of support groups. These folks who are often in the same area get to meet and realize, “Hey, there’s other people like me who are not only into anime but also LGBTQ.” They form communities. I still hear from people who I spoke to at cons ten years ago who have lifelong friends because of it because there’s something special they share outside of anime. So yeah, just the acceptingness of the community is wonderful.

Continue reading ““It’s a Safer Space” – Interview with Jamie McGonnigal”