Questioning Fandom: Your Definitive Shojo Anime Or Manga
With a pretty varied staff here that comes from different “generations” of fandom, walks of life, and much more, there’s always a lot to dig into when it comes to various aspects of what clicks and defines certain things.
Last week, we looked at Netflix Anime & Chill? and now we’ve shifted gears to get a look at what our reviewers and staff view as the definitive shojo or manga property that they’ve seen. There are some that seem to transcend our “generations” aspect, which is no surprise as there’s almost always one sort of evergreen property out there, but there are also a few other areas to dig into and enjoy. Check out what our team things are the definitive properties and sound off with yours as well in the forum!
Sailor Moon. Always and forever Sailor Moon. There may be better examples, but nothing will ever top that for me. You have powerful girls who know what they want and fight for it, but who are still girls that I can identify with. There’s romance, heartbreak, awesome battles, stellar music, and SO.MUCH.PRETTY! And, even all these years later, it’s still getting enough love that they’re readapting the whole thing in Crystal- which, admittedly, I haven’t gotten to see enough of.
To be honest, Sailor Moon, with a close second of Card Captors Sakura. I really haven’t watched or read that much shojo lately and I really feel like a failure. I kind of blame the state of anime for picking a random light novel and adapting it versus pushing out a good shojo, but I also take blame for not going out and seeking it.
Sailor Moon, without a doubt. It was my first real anime series and introduced to me to this world which has led to so many other doors opening for me in the past 22 years. It’s beautiful, it’s about friendship and strong women and romance and I could rewatch it (and have!) again and again. It was my gateway, my first anime love, and will stay with me forever. I also think Sailor Moon S is one of the strongest dramatic seasons of an anime ever.
Rose of Versailles
I’ll have to go old school and say Rose of Versailles. Gender bending protagonist trying to achieve her father’s unfulfilled dreams? Check! Drama and intrigue? It’s Marie Antoinette and the French royal court. Check! There’s a reason why it managed to be released in the US despite approaching forty years since its release
Hmm. It’s not my favorite shoujo work, but the definitive one probably has to be Sailor Moon. It’s one that has set the tone for so much that has come afterward and still has its fans to the point that they felt the need to make another anime of it after doing it back in the day
Kimi ni Todoke
Kimi ni Todoke. I know it’s not the first shojo to hit up every major trope without being tongue-in-cheek about it, but it is one of the few in semi-recent history I bothered with, if only slightly.
Natsume’s Book of Friends
Definitive in what way? As in genre defining or as in my favorite? I have no real idea either way. Going with my gut, I’d say Natsume’s Book of Friends because it’s one of my absolute favorite anime of all times and even though it’s emotional as hell, it’s not about romantic love. If we’re going to go down that route though, I’d say Kimi ni Todoke. I love the message of learning to value yourself before you love someone else
Ouran High School Host Club
I’ve never watched Sailor Moon, so part of me wants to default to my esteemed colleagues, BUT in the spirit of this I’m gonna go ahead and say Ouran High School Host Club, mostly due to it’s upper class parody. The humor is accessible to everyone, and I have a twin brother so cosplaying as the twins from that show is always a blast.
This is sooo hard to answer! I have a huge list of favorites when it comes to shojo properties, but a few of my favorites, which happen to all be mangas, are Otomen, High School Debut, Demon Prince of Momochi House and most recently I am in love with Behind the Scenes! As far as anime goes, Skip Beat left a lasting impression, but Natsume’s Book of Friends is so incredibly beautiful with lots of lore and gorgeous art
I’m giving two answers to this one because shojo has so many subgenres, it’s difficult to claim one to represent such a broad spectrum. If we are going magical elements, I’d say Card Captor Sakura. I’d take it over Sailor Moon because at least there’s some variation in the transformation sequences, plus Sakura beats Usagi in the cuteness department. For non magical shojo, I’d say Hana Yori Dango. It’s an oldie, but it’s amazing how the manga’s spun off into different versions (love the Korean drama!).
If I were going with what I think the best shojo series is the answer can only be NANA because that show is simultaneously perfect and soul-crushing, but in terms of the most definitive one it’d most certainly be Sailor Moon (though I’d be tempted to put a Precure series here somewhere if I’d actually seen more than one). Both Usagi’s character and story arc feel a bit dated nowadays but there’s no denying how much it managed to touch the hearts of young girls everywhere and while my own childhood memories of it were pretty vague, I can say upon having revisited it over the last couple of years that it holds up quite well (minus Super S, but hey can’t win em’ all right?) and it’s still massively entertaining. Both magical girls and shojo in general owe a lot to this show and while it’s been outdone by some of it’s successors in terms of actual quality it’s legacy will likely remain for years to come.
Sailor Moon, hands down as being the definitive one. If I had to choose my favorite, though, it would have to be Azumanga Daioh with K-On! A close second. Of course, that depends on whether or not they are classified as Shojo
Chris has been writing about anime, manga, movies and comics for well on twenty years now. He began AnimeOnDVD.com back in 1998 and has covered nearly every anime release that’s come out in the US ever since.