The fascination with girl comics
My fascination with girl comics
Japanese girl comics are called Shojo manga. Shojo means a young girl in Japanese. It is one of the most beloved Japanese comic genres which targets teenage girl, made and read by women. When I was a little girl, I watched tons of Japanese anime until I reached 15 years old. I was specifically fascinated by the animes drawn from fantastical imagination. For example, <Full Moon o Sagashite>'s Mitsuki (a weak girl) who has a chronicle illness can transform into a beautiful singer and jump to stardom. Other normal girls achieve mystical force by accident and become a cute warrior who protect people from enemies, which is very ordinary plot of magical girl genres. Like this, a lot of female protagonists were actually ordinary ones and they become a mature fighting girl with beautiful costumes. According to Keiko Takemiya who led shojo manga in the 1970s’, she wanted to convey meaningful messages to girl readers by inventing encouraging stories. Since her manga aimed to be read by young girl, it was quite easy to disclose her own thought as a Japanese female author. As Masami (2015) said, Young manga artists were dipicting the stories they wanted to read for themselves rather than trying to imagine what their shojo readers would want. So, shojo manga became the communicative tool for young female's self-expression. In other words, reflecting aritst's value can also reflect one' society at that time. Let's say, girl's social state is low and they are thought to be vulnerable, instable, and PRETTY. Female manga artists would be able to convey ambitious message to readers so that the girl readers get inspired by the artists. It was actually the reason for <Sailor Moon> was beloved by young girls.
Mitsuki and Full Moon from Full Moon o Sagashite, Arina Tanemura, 2002
The Power of Shojo Manga
I read Chapter "International perspectives on Shojo manga : The influence of girl cultures". It explains the power of shojo manga in terms of indirect experience of relationship. According to Masuda (2015), Shojo manga is a character-based genre that follows the characters' psychological movements and focuses on the relationship among the characters regardless of whether the story is serious literature or even realistic. This statement is true and obvious because Shonen manga (comics for boy) normally concentrate on boy hero who is always brave and extraordinary, his huge achievement, fellowship, etcetra. On the contrary, shojo manga describes delicate mind of heroine, focusing on her aspect as if I followed the flow of heroine's mind when I watch girl anime and comics. I actually cried several times and felt bad when a heroine got sad because of her love relationship. Usually, Romance and relationship is the main subjects of shojo manga. Thus, the readers have to interpret relationships, patterns and changes by focusing on reading the manga character's internal world. So, the manga technique make it possible to express complexities regardless of the whether the manga depicts a fantasy or realistic story. In this manner, shojo manga is able to bridge the gap between delicate feelings, the subtleties of human relationships, and the internal world of characters. (Masuda, 2015, p.29) So, the girl readers can discover how to face their struggles by reading girly manga.
Gakkou no Ojikan by Mimi Tajima
(+) This one is my favorite shojo manga. The story is about that school girl who becomes a principal of good high school by accident. During her school days, she meets two handsome guys and one best friend. She falls in love with two boys, but she eventually connects relationship with the cold boy in the photo. It is a typical shojo manga that depicts heroine's intenal world.