Bookseller Lilli F. joins us on the BookPeople blog for the second part of her limited series that focuses on manga and various sub-genres that full under that wide umbrella! This installment focusses on Shōjo!
The second genre that I’m going to be talking about is shōjo manga! Shōjo typically encompasses romance, humor, and slice-of-life stories. Often, shōjo features female protagonists, though, like shōnen, the genre has broadened its content in the past few years, with series like Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K, and Natsume’s Book of Friends featuring male protagonists.
Some well-known shōjo series’ include Sailor Moon, Yona of the Dawn, and Kamisama Kiss. Typically, shōjo series run shorter than shōnen, so it’s a great way to dip into manga without the huge commitment that series like One Piece, Naruto, and Bleach require. That being said, some series have well over 100 chapters in them.
Without further ado, here is a list of a few of my favorite series of shōjo!
Snow White with the Red Hair: Completed, 22 volumes
The herbalist Shirayuki is on the run from the Prince of Tanbarun, who is determined to make her his own. After fleeing her own country into the neighboring one, a chance encounter lands Shirayuki within the palace walls of Clarines and with an unlikely group of friends.
Both the romantic and platonic relationships in this manga will leave a lasting impression. It’s worth a read and a few re-reads as well!
Ouran High School Host Club: Completed, 18 volumes
When Haruhi Fujioka applied to Ouran High School, the elite private school, she had plans to keep her head down and tucked between the pages of a book. But when she stumbles into Music Room #3 and accidentally breaks a vase, Haruhi is suddenly roped into becoming a host alongside the most beautiful boys at school, where she must pretend to be a boy to pay back her debt. Hilarious and heart-warming, this manga will whisk you away into the world of Japan’s wealthiest and most ridiculous families as they take on high school and all the duties that being a host entails.
This series is among the most beloved shōjo series to date, and any fans of romantic comedy tropes can’t afford to miss this series!
Our Dreams at Dusk: Completed, 4 volumes
This manga follows the story of Tasuku Kaname, a high schooler with a secret that he refuses to acknowledge, and the people that he meets because of it. Though the story starts off on a rather grim note, Kaname meets Someone-san, and his journey of self-discovery begins with a simple phrase from her, “You can tell me anything, but I won’t listen.” This is a story that proves that having the space to talk and offer truth is as necessary as it is important. It’s a look into Japanese queer culture and the general outlook on LGBT people within Japan, and discusses the subject with the gravity and finesse that it is rarely granted. On top of a wonderful story, the art is stunning, and works as a piece of the narrative itself, filling in the spaces and emotions that words cannot always encapsulate.
Fruits Basket: Completed, 23 volumes
Tohru Honda seems to attract misfortune, even if she would never say it. After her world is turned upside down by tragedy, she decides to take fate into her own hands and move out of her grandfather’s house. As it turns out, the place where she decides to set up camp is actually the private land of the Sohma clan. Their lives suddenly entwine and Tohru finds herself in the midst of their greatest kept secret: the Sohma’s transform into the animals of the Chinese zodiac when they are hugged by someone of the opposite sex.
This series is romantic, hilarious, and heartwarming, but don’t let the pastel palette fool you, because it certainly has its fair share of tragedy. It’s also seen a wonderful revival in the past few years with the remake of the original anime from 2001. We are finally able to get the full story of the Sohma clan and Tohru Honda, both on screen and in print now.
You can explore these titles and others like them in this list featured on BookPeople’s site now. Catch up with Part 1 here and stay tuned for Part 3 where Lilli F. drops more manga knowledge for you.