Category: Discover

Learn a bit more about Shoujo Manga

> Shoujo Manga Land > Discover

Category: Discover

Learn a bit more about Shoujo Manga

> Shoujo Manga Land > Discover

I opened up this little section of my Manga page because I noticed while reading all this shoujo stuff that- wow, a lot of manga I buy have similar plot characteristics or situations. I found this funny, so I figured I’d share with everyone what I have found. I don’t know if the common themes and events in the shoujo manga in my collection are a reflection on shoujo manga these days as a whole, or just my weird taste in manga that makes me buy stories with these things going on ^_^ If you have noticed any other common plot characteristics in shoujo manga that I have left out, please drop me a line and let me know!

Oh yeah, part of my plot device list ended up being published in this How To Draw Shoujo book from Antarctic Press. I have since added to the list though ^_^

  • Cross Dressing: What is UP with this? So far in the manga I have, the usual cross dressing situation is that the girl cross dresses as a boy and must keep it a secret (See: Cinderella Boy, Hanazakari no Kimitachi E) But there also occasional cases of boys dressing like girls (Mint na Bokura, W (Double) Juliet). Ok, I admit. I like this kind of story. The cross dressing provides a lot of funny situations for the characters to get in. The person cross dressing usually develops a crush on someone who unfortunately thinks they are whatever gender they are dressing as, so the love must be either kept secret, or be misinterpeted as a homosexual interest, which in itself can provide many funny chapters. The cross dressing situation allows the main characters to be closer in many more settings than they would be normally.
  • Parents Conveniently Absent: I really feel sorry for shoujo manga heroines. They have serious bad luck with their family situations. So often it seems that their parents are out of the country on business (Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne), dead (Yume Miru Happa) or just.. not there (Suki Dakara Suki). This lack of parental supervision allows the main characters in the stories to get away with doing a lot of things they would normally not be allowed to do. I am sure it would be much more difficult for Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne to do her work if she always had to worry about sneaking in and out of the house all the time.
  • Winning Love Interest Moving in Next Door: This is yet another scenario that provides plenty of oportunity for interaction between the main couple in a series. So far I have noticed that it is usually a new guy moving in next door to the main girl (Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne), or in a couple of cases moving *in* with the girl (Marmalade Boy).
  • Getting Sick/Taking Temperature: Ok, this isn’t exactly a plot element, but I have noticed that in a lot of my manga one of the characters will get sick (usually the girl) and the main guy will test to see if she still has a fever by touching his forehead to hers. This sure is a lot more romantic than placing a hand on the forehead! The close proximity of forehead-to-forehead touch allows the heroine to get all uncomfortable and to blush cutely.
  • Obligatory Valentine’s Day Story: This is a case that holds true in anime too. Most shoujo series will have a Valentine’s day story. Because Valentine’s Day in Japan is about girls giving chocolate to the guys they like, this situation can of course be very traumatic for a girl who likes a boy and cannot bring herself to give him chocolate. The boy will, of course, be really popular, and will get tons and tons of chocolate, but like a true romantic hero, he will not be interested in all of that, but will instead eat the chocolate given by the heroine (awwww…). These stories usually create a pivotal point in the main couple’s relationship.
  • New Transfer Student: Another trend I see a lot. Many of the shoujo manga stories I have begin with the arrival of a new student. Sometimes the new student is our heroine (Hazakari no Kimitachi E) or the heroine’s soon-to-be love interest boy (Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne). It can also be the return of a former childhood friend. I guess the arrival of the new person in town is a good place to kick the story off at.
  • Heroine Lacks Clue: I am really surprised about this one, however I do notice this a lot- the guy in the series will decide fairly quickly that he likes our heroine, yet she remains clueless about his situation, or reluctant to believe it is true. Of course it doesn’t help when the main guy doesn’t say anything either, but sometimes it just seems so obvious!
  • Someone is Famous: Ahh one of my favorite plot elements! I love it when they throw in characters that are supposed to be famous. In Cinderella Boy they are pop idols, in Miha Paradise he is a j-rock star, same thing in Kaikan Phrase and in Fly High…. hmm maybe instead of the generic ‘famous’ term, I should make a new category for ‘Rock Idols’. In Wild Act he is an actor though. I like stories in which someone who is so famous they could have *anyone* but for whatever reason they choose an ordinary person like the heroine of the story. What a nice fantasy, eh?
  • Discussions on Park Swings: Wow, this one took me a long time to notice, but when I looked back through my manga I realized that it was true- there is almost always a scene in shoujo manga where one of the main characters (usually the girl) is upset or depressed, and she runs to a park and sits on the park swings and thinks about her problem. She is usually joined by someone (most often the designated love interest in the story) and they sit together on the benches and talk. I suppose a park is as good a place as any for this type of thing ^_^;
  • Soda or Coffee Can Peace Offering: What is it about a can of soda or coffee presented as a peace offering that is so irresistable? It seems that so often this simple gesture (usually made by the hero) is enough to make the heroine either think he is a nice guy after all, or forgive him for whatever she was mad at him about. In Tokyo they have drink vending machines almost every 10 feet (seriously! They multiply like bunnies! They’re grouped on every corner!) and the vending machines offer cold or hot drinks (sometimes this depends on the season). So I suppose the gift of a can of hot coffee on a cold winter day can be kind of nice, in a hand-warmer kind of way ^_^ Talk about a cheap way to reconcile a relationship πŸ™‚ If only things were really that easy!
  • Totally Cool Guy Falls for Clumsy/Idiot Girl (suggested by Zahara): I suppose this one is part of the common plot device listed above of the ‘Heroine Lacks Clue’ but I think this one elaborates more on that idea. So many times it seems that the cool, intelligent, hunk of a bishounen hero will fall for a main female character who is a total ditz. I am talkin’ a serious airhead girl! The type who is timid and helpless and has to be rescued by the hero every chapter. Granted, the heroine can have a great strength of heart and spirit, but this is usually overshadowed by a tremendous lack of common sense. What do these guys see in heroines like that? Perhaps they like to feel macho. If this type of heroine supposed to represent the ‘average’ girl so readers can identify with her more? I don’t know…
  • The FIRST KISS!: Heaven knows a girl’s first kiss is usually a memorable event, but by the importance they seem to place on it in shoujo manga, you’d think the world revolved around it πŸ™‚ Almost 99% of the time the heroine of a shoujo manga is shown getting kissed (be it by either the designated winning love interest, or the designated runner-up), it will always be the girl’s all important FIRST kiss, which will prompt her to think about the circumstances in which it happened for many chapters to come, allowing us readers to see the same scene redrawn again and again ^_^
  • Obligatory Onsen (hot springs) Story: I usually call this the ‘Obligitory Onsen Episode’ because in anime there is almost ALWAYS an episode where the main characters head for a hot springs. But now I am noticing that this happens in shoujo manga a whole lot too. It usually happens in the form of a school trip, and involves the main hero and heroine of the story encountering each other unexpectedly in the bath, and having a few nice minutes of romantic/sexual tension ^_^; This happens, for example, in Hanazakari no Kimitachi E.
  • Student-teacher relationships: I just had to add this one after buying 3 different random shoujo manga and having ALL 3 of them talk about student-teacher romances! It was a strange coincidence! Anyway, from what I have seen so far, the stories usually involve a cute female student and her ultra cool young bishounen teacher. Where do they get such handsome teachers? ^_^ ‘Mondou Muyou’, ‘Love Terrorist’, and ‘Countdown’ follow this pattern. Then there is ‘My Darling Lion’ which switches it around a little, this time the teacher is a woman and she is having a romance/marriage with a younger guy who happens to be her student. While these stories are not very realistic, I still enjoy reading them for a nice little bit of escapism ^_^
  • Hero-Heroine Collision: I can’t believe I forgot to add this one! This is such a standard shoujo plot device! Basically it is when the first meeting of the hero and heroine of a manga is the result of a collision. Usually it is the heroine running without watching where she is going, and POW, she runs right into our hero, who was minding his own business. But the first meeting sparks his interest and the heroine either goes all mushy over how cute he is, gets angry at how rude he is, or is shocked at how famous he is πŸ™‚ Occasionally a guy will run into the girl, but in my experience, I see more stuff that is the other way around. They will, of course, end up being classmates at the same school, or he will be her teacher or something. ^_^
  • Best-friend opposites: This one was suggested to me a long time ago, but I forget by who πŸ™ sorry! This is more of a character device than a plot one, but I find it to be fairly accurate. Basically it means that no matter what type of heroine is the star of the manga (outgoing/friendly, shy/academic, athletic/confident) her best friend will be the opposite. For example, in Card Captor Sakura, the heroine Sakura is outgoing and athletic, while her best friend Tomoyo is graceful and very unathletic. In Marmalade Boy, Miki is athletic and plays tennis, while Meiko is quiet and academic. You don’t see too many heroines with best friends who are similar in personality to them.
  • Surprise Fiance/Ex: This very good plot device was suggested by Chiaki. This happens a lot in Shoujo Manga- just as the main love interest and main character are beginning to realize their feelings, the main love interest’s forgotten fiance shows up, and proceedes to wreck havoc. The typical fiances are sickly, ill-tempered, and extremely jealous of the main character. If the new arrival isn’t a forgotten fiance, then they are an old flame/ex who cannot accept the fact that they no longer are involved with our hero or heroine. Trying to win them back is almost always a futile exercise, but it makes for great drama.
  • The Unexpected Bishounen: This happens a lot in fantasy series and high school series where the hero has moved in with the heroine. The Heroine will go to sleep at night and wake up the next morning with a bishounen in bed with her or on the floor next to the bed. This bishounen was NOT there the night before, and was NOT expected to be there ^_^;; Sometimes the unexpected bishounen is the alternate form of someone/thing that the heroine has saved. An example of this is in ‘Dakishimete! Noir’. Other times the hero will be crafty/playful and sneak into bed with the heroine. These sorts of situations are always good for the funny shocked reaction the heroine has when she realizes that she is, in fact, in bed with a cute guy, and is not dreaming!
  • Kiss from a Stranger: If the heroine isn’t meeting the hero during a random collision on the street or at school, then she meets him when he randomly grabs her and kisses her! Shoujo manga heroes can be very bold, and it’s amazing how many times a heroine will be minding her own business when the guy she has just met (or hasn’t even met yet!) grabs her and kisses her. She doesn’t even know him, and he has kissed her! And of course, this kiss is probably her First Kiss (mentioned above in a previous plot point). This happens in the popular series Marmalade Boy When Yuu kisses Miki when they barely know each other. Just about ALL of Shinjo Mayu’s heroes kiss (or do worse) the heroine with minutes of meeting her. In Ubu Ubu, the heroine is randomly kissed by 3 different strangers in the same day! It’s more fun if you can combine the collision and the kiss. Sometimes heroes and heroines will meet when they crash into each other AND manage to have lip contact. Best of both worlds, I guess ^_-
  • Declaration of Love Through Clumsy Scarf Knitting: This one is related to the Obligatory Valentine’s Day Story plot device, and often overlaps with it, but I have seen this one happen at other times too, like birthdays or Christmas. And actually, this one (like many on the list) aren’t necessarily plot devices that only happen in shoujo manga, but they sure are common. Anyway, this plot device involves the heroine wanting to give her hero a present. There will usually be some special occasion like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or a birthday, and the heroine wants to express her love to the hero. What better way to do this than to knit him a ‘muffler’ or scarf? Of COURSE the heroine doesn’t know to knit very well. She is either teaching herself, or is failing miserably at the knitting lessons she is learning at school. But she perserveres, and knits her little fingers off night and day for her hero, until she has produced an object that vaguely resembles a scarf. It will be kind of lumpy, and maybe have a few holes. But there is a lot of love put into it. Then there is the drama of actually trying to give it to the hero. When he finally gets it, he must show his hero-like coolness by wearing it even though it’s not made very well. Awwwww. I have seen this plot happen in shounen series and live action tv dramas too, but couldn’t resist including it here. It is amazing how there are NO heroines who are expert scarf-knitters!
  • My Heroine, My Servant: This is related to the Hero Moving in Next-Door, but the other way around. If the hero isn’t moving in with the heroine, the heroine ends up living with the hero. Occasionally, like in Itazura na Kiss the heroine ends up living as an equal (sort of…) with the hero. But often the heroine moves in with the hero as some sort of servant. Lately there have been many series where the heroine is working as a maid for the hero (good way to cash in on the popular maid-outfit fetish), or she works as the manager of the boy’s dormatory. This gives the heroine a good chance to do ‘wifely’ things for the hero, like cook his meals, do his laundry, clean the house, make his bed… hrm…
  • The Bishounen are Bishoujo: Now manga heroines are usually very cute girls. However there is a rather amusing trend for the shoujo manga heroes to be just so darn handsome that if they are forced at any time during the story to crossdress (and, um, this happens a lot in shoujo manga ^_^;), they almost every single time end up looking more beautiful and ladylike than the heroine! This often causes no end of interesting reactions by the heroines. There is usually some dismay over how the hero is prettier than they are, and of course some anxiety and insecurity. Sometimes can be fangirly too, and enjoy seeing the hero in drag even when they are way too pretty (see Fruits Basket).
  • Romance at the Infirmary!: Oh my, such poor shoujo manga heroines! Bad things happen to them at school a lot. Sometimes they are hit by a ball during PE class (Marmalade Boy) and are knocked out cold, or they suddenly feel faint or sick, and collapse in the hallway at school. Fortunately this provides a great opportunity for the shoujo manga hero to be dashing and strong, and carry the heroines to the school’s infirmary! And that infirmary room or nurse’s office…such a romantic place! Well, it is the one room at a school that has beds in it… so you know there is a great setting for passion! So our hero has carried the heroine to the infirmary. (Or better yet, the rival love interest carries the heroine while the hero looks on and realizes he is jealous!). Many things happen in the infirmary. First kisses happen on those infirmary beds. If the shoujo manga is smuttier in nature, then even more happens there ^_^;; Sometimes the love interest is even the school doctor, who is sure to give the heroine proper care! This plot device was suggested to me by Starlightgenie. I can’t believer I haven’t added this one sooner, it happens so often!
  • Last Minute Rescue: Not only do shoujo manga heroines have to deal with unexpected bishounen, first-love collisions, trips to the infirmary, boyfriends who are prettier than they are, and life without parents, they ALSO get picked on by bullies! Sometimes it will be a group of girls who are jealous of the attention the heroine has been getting from the hero. Other times it will be a random group of guys on the street who want to take the reluctant heroine ‘out for tea’. In any case, it usually means the heroine is backed against a wall with a menacing group around her, and no obvious exit. Fortunately for her, shoujo manga heroes have excellent timing and almost ALWAYS appear at the very last minute to deflect the oncoming punch and resuce our heroine just in time, saving her from a certain beating. It is very rare that the heroine manages to beat up all the attackers on her own (though I seem to remember this happening in Peach Girl maybe…) and it’s equally rare for the hero NOT to show up, leaving the heroine to be beaten to a pulp.
  • Boarding School: This ties in to the “Parents Conveniently Absent” plot device. Another way authors get their characters away from the steadying influence of adult characters is to send them off to boarding school. You’d think that boarding schools are everywhere in Japan from the way they spring up in manga! Usually the fun takes place in an all-boys high school, where the heroine somehow ends up living in the dorm with the boys. She may be there in disguise (see Hanazakari no Kimitachi E, Boku ni Natta Watashi) or she may be there working as a maid or dorm manager. Occasionally the story will revolve around an actual GUY in a all-boys boarding dorm (see Here is Greenwood) but that doesn’t happen as often lately! Dorms are a great way to have the heroine be surrounded by lots of bishounen eye candy ^_-
  • Vehicular Doom: Shoujo manga heroines are notoriously clumsy. They are a menace to the streets of Tokyo, and often manage to fall into oncoming traffic. Fortunately, shoujo manga heroes are experts at pushing heroines out of the path of vehicular doom. This usually results in him landing on top of her, and much blushing and heart-pounding and gratitude ensue.
  • Discussions on Rooftops: Now I KNOW this one isn’t shoujo specific, or even manga specific. It seems to be Japan-specific though. They allow high school kids on the school roof in Japan… and students hang out there and have lunch, hide from classmates, cut classes, try to jump off, etc. In shoujo manga, there are a lot of love confessions there. In manga, the school roof is usually flat, with a high rail running around it, and one larger building where the roof-access door is. Sometimes there is a ladder on it so you can even climb on top of it, too. Man, I don’t think they would ever let a student go near a school roof in the US. So many lawsuits would ensue! I remember at my high school there was the rumor they used to trick the freshmen with about how there was a secret swimming pool up there that the teachers used ^__^; Anyway, the school roof is an important part of shoujo manga (and shounen and live action, etc) in Japan!
  • We’re not Siblings After All! (whew!): Wow, I am seeing this one a lot lately, so I guess it’s the trendy taboo right now ^_^ If heroines aren’t falling for the popular boys in their school or the hot music idols, they are falling for one of their brothers! Or, they will have a brother that loves them a bit more than is proper (but they will be unaware of it)! I usually see the situation where a heroine will be living in a house with a number of older brothers who are all very overprotective of her. At least one or all of them will know that they aren’t related by blood, but she will have no idea, thus the strange behavior of the one who has fallen for her will be especially confusing! This plot device refers to the idea that the hero and heroine have grown up together as siblings. They may or may not know they aren’t really blood related. It gets even more ridiculous when they are supposed to be twins, but they aren’t really blood related. For whatever reason, they have been living together alone, or with parents, as siblings for a long time. There is another situation where the heroine suddenly gets a new stepbrother when she is in high school, but that is different, as everyone knows right away that they aren’t blood related. This scenario plays with the incest taboo, and also provides a lot of angst. The hero and heroine live together, so they see each other all the time, in situations that most couples don’t. But they aren’t related by blood, so it’s all ok, right? ^_^;;;
  • Stairways Can Warp Time and Space:Β Now it has been previously mentioned that shoujo manga heroines are clumsy, and that shoujo manga heroes are marvelously adept at bumping into the heroines or pushing them out of the way of oncoming traffic. But I thought I should mention another specific situation that pops up so often: Stairs and time warps. Those wacky shoujo heroines are always so clumsy around stairs! They are either tripping down them or being pushed down them by jealous bullies. Fortunately, they have nothing to fear. They very rarely actually seriously hurt themselves during these staircase tumbles. This is because there is almost ALWAYS a dashing hero there to either catch the falling heroine, act as an unwilling mattress for her to land on, or to act as a helping hand and pull the falling girl back up to safety. What is so fantastic about this is that the hero can be at the top of the stairs, nowhere near where she is when she falls, yet he will some how (time and space bend, I tell you!) manage to get himself under her to cushion her landing and save her. In fact, he can be nowhere in sight, yet as soon as the girl trips, he will appear as if from thin air and stop her fall! It is MAGIC! Heroine is saved, and hero will sport some minor injury that will make him look endearingly noble.
  • Technological Time Warps: Now this is a trait that characteristic of most manga, not just shoujo manga, and it mainly applies to series that have been running for a very long time. Essentially, and obviously, time flows differently in mangaland. In one month, stories can skip seasons or years. Or, they can plod along and spend countless chapters on events that all take place within the space of one week. However, while manga story time lines can be funky, the technology within those time lines seems to generally sync with real world technology. For example, take a series that began in the 1970’s, with a cast of young characters who live in that day and age and with 1970’s technology. This series becomes popular and runs for decades. While the characters in the series may age very little if at all, the technology they use will match that of the real world. In manga world time line, the character may have only aged 8 months, but they will have gone from listening to vinyl records or (*gasp* 8-track tapes) to listening to an ipod. High school characters in series that begin in the early 90’s with pagers or beepers, suddenly have cellphones. It’s fun stuff πŸ™‚
  • I rape you because I love you: It is rather disturbing that this one crops up enough to be considered “common.” While it does happen more in boys love manga, it does occur from time to time in smutty shoujo manga, in particular stuff that runs in Cheese or Sho-Comi. Looking back at my manga, I would say that the heyday for this type of thing was between 2001-2006. I actually haven’t seen it happen quite as much recently, but every once in a while it happens again, and I want to give the author a good shake. Shinjo Mayu, a mangaka that I admit is a guilty pleasure to read sometimes, was really bad about using this plot device. It usually involves the ‘hero’ forcing himself upon the heroine. The heroine eventually starts to feel sorry for the hero for whatever stupid tragic things he is enduring, and forgives him. Ew. Or, if they don’t actually go through with the deed, they certainly try to force her before he is interrupted or comes to his senses. I hope this plot device will go away πŸ™‚
  • How dare you be with OUR guy?! Often in shoujo manga land, the guy that our heroine ends with happens to be a really popular guy at school. There really aren’t too many series where they fall for the schlubby loser guy (the only exception I can think of is Nousatsu Rock Shounen, and even then, they guy is secretly super awesome). Anyway, because the guy is cool and popular, he will already have a harem of girls who like him. This fan club will either be made up of girls he has already rejected, girls he fools around with (if he was a player before meeting our noble heroine), or girls who don’t have the confidence to actually go after the hero, so they all claim him as a group like he is a communal object to be shared. Thus, when our hero picks our heroine to be with, these other girls will be angry. This almost always results in the evil type of bullying that only Japanese school girls can get away with. They do really obvious things like lock the heroine in a bathroom stall and dump water over her, cut up her school uniform, put pins and thumbtacks in her shoes in her shoe locker, and graffiti her desk. If the heroine hasn’t caved in by this time, they may even corner and actually try to beat her up! Often, the noble heroine will not say a word about the abuse she is getting (come on! speak up, girl!) until the hero magically notices and saves her. Occasionally the heroine will be tough enough to take care of the bullying on her own, but that is fairly rare. Man, school girls are scary!
  • What a difference a makeover makes!: Even if the heroine is supposed to be uncool or homely, it is amazing what the skilled hands of a makeup artist and/or a pair of contacts will make! And often it is a GUY who is conducting a makeover! It is kind of disturbing to see the number of heroes who are somehow skilled at picking out fashions and cutting hair. Sometimes there will be the excuse that they have a bunch of sisters, but other times there is no obvious reason for it. Anyway, once girl is given a pair of contacts, or a new haircut (or both) she will suddenly become gorgeous. Why, she could even become an idol singer or teen model! Of course, this happens in non-manga series too, but it is still amusing to see in shoujo manga. Another side to this situation will be when the hero is the nerdy one, and naturally, the heroine will not be attracted to him at all in a romantic way, they will be good friends. However, once she sees him without his glasses or his hair out of his face, that she will realize her childhood friend is actually really hot, and she will fall for him. He will be the one who gets a makeover, and he will suddenly acquire the fanclub mentioned up above.
  • What was once weak is now strong: Another amusing plot device involves childhood friends. Often, it will be the heroine who is the dominant one when they were kids, defending the hero from various childhood disasters and bullies. She was the taller one back then, and our cute little hero was all innocent and scared and adorable. Then something will happen, and the hero will move away. Years will pass, and he will eventually return to his hometown. Except now he is not the wimpy little boy the heroine once knew and defended. The hero has somehow managed to grow very tall, and he is now very strong. His wimpy personality is now a bit sadistic, and he will confidently and aggressively go after the heroine, leaving her floundering in confusion. Where did her cute childhood friend go? Fortunately for her, this type of hero can be fun because his feelings for her will be very strong and steady, and he is not likely to be distracted by other girls. But this type of hero is only good if he doesn’t take the aggressiveness too far, of course.
  • The perfect rival: Shoujo manga heroines are often portrayed as the ‘average’ girl, a girl that readers can identify with. She is kind of cute, and until the story starts, has been living a fairly normal life. The story will begin when unusually shoujo manga-ish things start happening to her. Occasionally we will get a heroine who is unusually talented and perfect, but for the most part, the heroines are “normal.” This means that when an ordinary girl begins to encounter extraordinary events, she will also encounter extraordinary people or, more specifically, a perfect girl. Depending on the personality of the characters, the perfect girl will either be an enemy/rival, or someone for the heroine to idolize. They are the wealthy, popular girl at school who until now has been the center of attention and who everyone thought the hero would fall in love with. A great place to see this sort of thing is in older shoujo sports manga such as Ace wo Nerae or Attack No. 1. The clumsy, average heroine has just joined a sports team armed only with her unskilled natural talent. But there is already a top player on the team, a beautiful, wealthy, talented girl, who the heroine struggles to catch up with. In Glass no Kamen, Maya has a beautiful, wealthy rival actress she competes against. This type of perfect rival may actually be honorable and fair. However, in romantic manga, the perfect rival girl is often the hero’s ex-girlfriend. The ex-girlfriend type will usually be perfect and beautiful on the outside, but will be mean and beastly on the inside. She will torment the heroine and deliberately try to steal the hero away. Fortunately, shoujo manga is a fantasy land, and the hero will often manage to see through the rival’s false beauty and recognize the inner beauty, talent, cuteness, wonderfulness, etc of the average heroine and fall for her instead πŸ˜€
  • Child Brides: Boy, little kids can be so romantic! If the hero of a shoujo manga isn’t “The new transfer student,” then he is often the “childhood friend.” That childhood friend may or may not have lived in the same area as the heroine all his life (manga characters are experts at moving away, and then moving back to the same neighborhood/school system they were in as a child, just see the “What was once weak is now strong” plot device) but the key part is that the hero and heroine knew each other as children. Not only that, they liked each other enough that one of them made a vow to the other that when they grow up, they will get married. Little girls seem to love to claim a guy by saying they will become his future bride. Anyway, the vow often involves a pinky-swear. Now, flash-forward years later to high school. One member of the couple has probably moved away and come back. One or both members have also probably forgotten all about that childhood promise. Romantic hijinks ensue as the destined couple eventually remembers their childhood romance, and that forever spark is rekindled.
  • Declaration of Love Through the Consumption of Poisionous Bento: Yes, this is similar to the Declaration of Love Through Clumsy Scarf-Knitting” plot device. For some reason, Japan finds it hilarious when girls can’t cook. This idea pops up in both shoujo and shounen manga. Yet one of the best ways a girl can let a guy know she likes him (when it’s not Valentine’s Day, or perhaps they are even already dating) is to make lunch for him. Lunch boxes (bento) are fantastic things, often filled with all kinds of tasty goodies. A real home-made bento can take a lot of effort, and it’s a lucky guy who has a pretty girl making one for him. However, comedy erupts when a girl can’t cook, and she ends up feeding the guy she likes a bento that may actually give him food poisoning. Just as the giving of the bento is an expression of affection on the girl’s part, eating the bento regardless of the taste is an expression of affection from the guy.
  • Suddenly Co-Ed: While some girls are forced to crossdress to sneak into an all-boys school, others luck out and manage to attend one the first year it goes co-ed. I have seen this a LOT in shoujo manga in the last few years. What was once an all-boys school has suddenly gone co-ed, and our heroine will either be the first/only girl enrolled there, or she will at least be one of a limited number of girls. Naturally, this creates a reverse-harem situation, where the girl is surrounded by cute guys, so I admit, I don’t mind this type of plot too much πŸ™‚ For examples of this, check out Zero Count, Kimi wo Chuushin ni Sekai wa Mawaru, Kaichou wa Maid-sama or Rockin’ Heaven
  • Densha Romance: If a character isn’t living directly on campus in one of the many boarding high schools that seem to be all over Japan, they thay have to get to school through some other means. Sometimes it’s easy to walk to school. Or maybe the heroine is lucky, and has a childhood friend she can share a bike ride with. Other times, the girl is stuck going to school on one of Japan’s many commuter trains. While it’s cool that the trains are probably very punctual, they can also get very crowded. In shounen or hentai anime, this can lead to some racy situations. In shoujo manga, the morning trian ride is usually the time where the heroine can stare longling at a guy she likes. He may go to the same school as her (and is probably very popular, of course) or he may attend a different school. At any rate, it’s a situation where love from afar is the main thing. She likes him, but he doesn’t even know she exists. Oh, but then there is some defining moment! Maybe she is groped by a stranger (which seems to happen way too often) and he rescues her, or the train is crowded and she is pressed against him…. whatever it is, they notice each other for the first time. If the girl is lucky, maybe love will bloom… for examples of this type of story, see Strobe Edge or Tsuugaku Densha.
  • I’m late, I’m late!: A very standard way to start a shoujo manga story is to show the heroine waking up late for school and rushing out the door. She may or may not end up with a piece of toast sticking out of her mouth as she dashes out the door. She will narrate her name and age, her year in school, and in many cases, express her desire for a boyfriend, desire to have an exciting year of school, or some other similar sentiment. In her hurry, she may end up running into the hero (See: hero-heroine collision) or she may be so desperate to get to school on time that she scales the walls surrounding the school, only to land on the hero who is loitering on the other side for some reason. Depending on the age level of the story, a panty shot may be involved, which will leave the heroine mortified, and give the hero some embarrassing nickname to call the girl.
  • Love confessions to the WRONG person!: Love confessions in shoujo manga land are a rite of passage for high-schoolers. The circumstances surrounding confessions and their aftermath provide a lot of good dramatic plot material. Will he accept my confession? Will he turn me down? What if he is already in love with someone else? Should I confess in person, or deliver a love-letter to his shoe locker? Will the girl I like take my confession seriously? As if all these things were not stressful enough, imagine the chaos when someone confesses to the WRONG person! Strangely, I’ve seen this happen several times in shoujo manga. It’s usually the girl who does this. She is so nervous about confessing that she squeezes her eyes shut and launches into her confession without confirming that the guy she’s standing in front of is the actual guy she wanted to talk to. Or she squeezes her eyes shut and hands her letter to the wrong guy. Occasionally, she will confess her love to the wrong member of a set of twins. (oops) And what happens in situations like this? If the couple is lucky, they’ll discover that the wrong confession was a good thing, and that they are the ones meant to be together after all. Of course, this usually happens after the guy torments the girl over her mistake for a while first πŸ™
  • Nursing the Sick Back to Health: Along with one of the first plot devices I mentioned up above, the one about taking temperature by touching foreheads, it’s also worth mentioning that this often happens when one character is at home from school sick. For guys, they usually (conveniently) live alone, or their parents are always at work, and they have no one to care for them. So the girl will come over and bring him medicine and cook him some rice porridge or something. The guy will look up at her as she bustles about his kitchen, looking all cute and feminine in an apron. She will feed him, put a compress on his forehead, and, if he’s lucky, even fall asleep at his bedside. When girls in shoujo manga are sick, the situation is sometimes reversed, but they don’t live alone quite as much. They will be home from school and tucked away in bed while wearing cute (and potentially embarrassing) pajamas and the girl’s mother will announce the arrival of a handsome visitor, namely Mr. Love Interest Boy, who may be there to bring her some class printouts, or may just be there to see her. There is less nursing-back-to-health of the girls. But still, the situation is usually very cute, and is used a nice bonding time.
  • Girls Look Best in Summer Yukata: Just like there are obligatory onsen chapters or beach-vacation chapters, stories that are set in summer time will almost always have a summer festival chapter. Festivals provide the setting for a lot of important events. The girl will make her first appearance in a Yukata, that lightweight kimono-like garment that has the power to render most shoujo manga boys speechless. The most tomboyish girl will appear cute in a yukata. After the initial star-struck moment when the heroine first appears, other standard events happen during festivals. The guy will more often than not be too friendly to another girl in the group, causing the heroine to feel insecure. She will then promptly get lost in the crowd, causing the hero or her other friends to freak out. If she’s lucky, her footwear won’t cause her blisters, she won’t be hit on by the usual group of pushy guys, and she will end the evening with a romantic kiss under the glow of exploding fireworks.

Category: Discover

Learn a bit more about Shoujo Manga

> Shoujo Manga Land > Discover

(Still in Need of Revisions!)

Hi everyone! I thought that some of you out there who do not have easy access to manga might be wondering what some of the manga phonebook magazines look like. So, I have decided to open up this section to display scans of the covers of some of these magazines!

What ARE phone book manga magazines you ask? Well, they are collections of many serialized manga series by many different authors all bound together in a single volume. Each magazine is printed on very cheap newsprint paper and are almost always in either black and white or variations of one color and white or a paler version of that color. For example, a chapter of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne may appear in Ribon magazine printed in purple ink on a very pale purple paper. Usually each story will be printed in a different color, though occasionally the color of ink will change suddenly in the middle of a story. There will usually be a full-color page or two at the beginning of some of the chapters in each magazine. The reason for the low quality paper is because most people read these and then throw them away. All the series that are published on a chapter by chapter basis eventually are reprinted into their own collected volumes like the ones I have been summarizing on the main page.

These manga magazines are printed on various schedules. Most of them are published monthly or bi-weekly. However there are some that are printed only 4 times a year, or there will be a seasonal ‘special issue’. Because of the newsprint paper they are printed on, and the number of stories in each issue, these manga magazines can get pretty thick (some make good doorstops!) and thus resemble telephone books.

Each manga magazine has a target age group. There are shoujo and shounen (boys and girls) magazines, and magazines targeted at specific age groups. For example, magazines like Ribon, Nakayoshi, or Ciao are aimed at young girls, while Margaret is intended for a slightly older age group. There are also magazines with specific themes to its stories. For example, ‘Asuka’ and ‘Eyes’ often have stories containing magic or supernatural events. Most shoujo manga magazines tend to have stories revolving around romantic relationships, be it first love in middle school, love triangles in high school, or romantic affairs between office coworkers.

One of my favorite things about the shoujo magazines aimed towards young girls is the nice bag of ‘furoku’ that comes with each issue. Furoku are cute free items that are bundled with the magazine. The younger the target age group a manga magazine is intended for, the more fun toys that will come with each issue. Magazines like Ribon, Nakayoshi, Lala, and Ciao all come with fun stuff like stationery paper and envelopes, paper bags, plastic bags, posters, post cards, rulers, boxes and other objects you can put together, etc. All of these items will feature characters from the various series that run in the magazine. What fun! πŸ˜€

Where can you get these magazines? In the US, there are several ways to buy these, however, most of them are somewhat expensive. If you live near a Kinokuniya Bookstore, you can buy them there. They will even set up a subscription for you and set aside your magazines for you. Another option for those who do not live near a Kinokuniya is Fujisan. They will set up a subscription and mail each magazine directly to you. However, this can get really expensive! It’s kind of crazy when a magazine that is 450 yen ends up costing like $11 each. For those of you who don’t want to go for a whole subscription, you can purchase individual issues from places like Amazon Japan or Akadot Retail

Listed below are some scans of some of these manga magazines. Once again, I’m trying to update this page, and revise my descriptions of these magazines. Some of the ones I posted below when I originally created this page are no longer in print, and many new magazines have appeared. I am missing so many magaines! This will be a big project!

I am starting off my revised entries here with a shoujo classic, Nakayoshi! Published by Kodansha, Nakayoshi is one of the most popular shoujo manga magazines. It is aimed at young girls, and features cute, innocent romance stories, often taking place at schools. The art style usually consists of REALLY large, round eyes and a maximum amount of CUTE. This magazine is also known for its magical girl series. Previous popular stories that have run in Nakayoshi include Sailor Moon, Saint Tail, and Card Captor Sakura. Right now, Shugo Chara is very popular. Each issue of Nakayoshi comes with a large bundle of furoku goodies.

Moving right along, here is another magazine aimed at a similar demographic as Nakayoshi– Ciao. This magazine is published by Shogakukan, and also features plenty of cute characters with enormous eyes. These are also cute romance stories, sometimes with some supernatural fun thrown in, and I notice many of the stories also include cute animals and pets. Some popular titles currently running in this magazine include Kirarin Revolution and Beauty Pop. I should also mention that every other page in this issue seems to be an ad for some ridiculously cute Nintendo DS game or other. I seriously want a DS now after seeing all these games πŸ™‚ Ciao also comes bundled with a pile of cute furoku extras.

Continuing with magazines aimed at the younger demographic, here is Ribon! Once again, we have stories featuring characters with HUGE eyes and a million Nintendo DS game ads. Wow, can someone buy me a DS, please? I need these games! Er, anyway, this issue has Chocolate Cosmos on the cover, a series I recently summarized on the main page. So cute! Other well-known titles that can be found in here include Rockin’ Heaven, ChocoMimi, Crash! (which I plan to summarize soon), and Shinshi Doumei Cross (The Gentleman Alliance). Lots of young romance, some magical girls, some idol singers. The usual shoujo stuff. Nothing smutty of course. Some great series in here though! Ribon also comes with some cute furoku extras.

Cookie is like Ribon’s older sister. This is a josei magazine, but really, it’s kind of on the borderline between shoujo and josei. It has some titles with a more wispy, mature art style as well as stories with art that looks very similar to what you’d find in Ribon (big eyes, super skinny limbs, etc.) Some notable titles that run or ran in this magazine include NANA and Good Morning Kiss, the sequel to Good Morning Call, and Tokimeki Midnight.

Ahh, now here is a magazine that is vastly different than Ribon, Nakayoshi or Ciao! While those are for little kids and feature cute, innocent stories, Sho-comi steps up the steam a bit. This magazine is aimed at girls, but a bit older this time. The stories in this magazine are mostly romances, and many of them feature rather spicy, smutty scenes, even though the characters are almost all high school students. In fact, this magazine has come under some criticism for the smutty story content. Sho-comi is the manga magazine that such popular titles as Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres ran in. Shinjo Mayu’s Kaikan Phrase manga also ran in this. Now they have debuted a new logo for 2008, and feature some popular series like Uwasa no Midori-kun and Boku no hatsukoi wo kimi ni sasagu.

Margaret is aimed at a slightly older crowd than Ribon or Nakayoshi. It features a lot of high-school angsty romance stories. This is the magazine that the extremely popular Hana Yori Dango ran in. You can see that Hana Yori Dango is featured on the cover of the issue pictured here, but this just a special side-story about Rui. The regular HYD story run ended a few years ago. Other stories currently running in this magazine include Switch Girl (which I have a summary for on this site), Ojousama wa Oyomesama (also summarized on this site…), and Koibana.

I am really not sure why they just can’t come up with a new original magazine name instead of just adding a descriptor word to the name ‘Margaret’. Anyway, this is Betsuma Margaret. Like the original Margaret, this magazine also contains high-school life romance stories. They don’t seem to be smutty at all, and little to no supernatural stuff goes on here. Many of the chapters in this are a good 40 pages long. This is the magazine that Strobe Edge runs in. Other pupular titles in here include Crimson Hero and Kokou Debut. Also, surprisingly enough, Shinjo Mayu’s new series ‘Midnight Children’ is in this. I usually only see her stuff in the smuttier magazines!

As far as I can tell, Bessatsu Margaret Sister is the new version of Deluxe Margaret. This is a thick magazine full of one-shot stories. Some of the stories are original, while others are stand-alone side stories or specials related to existing series that run in other Margaret magazines.

What? You can’t get enough Margaret? Well don’t worry, here is yet ANOTHER type of Margaret magazine! This one is called The Margaret. It is smaller in size than the other types of Margaret magazines, but this one is a LOT thicker. It is like a huge BRICK. Definite doorstop material. Anyway, The Margaret is cool because it has so many pages, which means a LOT of stories in it. AND, most of the stories in this are complete, one-shot stories, so you don’t need to keep buying this thing all the time to follow continuing stories. You will find a lot of high school relationship stories with a few stories of other genres like fantasy or adventure thrown in here and there as well. This Magazine often features short stories by artitsts who have regular continuing stories running in one of the other Margaret books.

LaLa! I *still* LOVE this magazine! It has such a nice variety of stories, ranging from high school romance/drama, to fantasy and adventure. like Harukanaru toki no naka de! The art style in this magazine is very clean, strong, and of high quality. The target age is a little bit older than that of Nakayoshi or Ciao. As I write this (Spring 2008), a number of series running in this magazie are about to be animated, including Vampire Knight, Toshokan Sensou, Natsume Yuujinchou, more Harukanaru Toki ni Naka de. Other series in this magazine have already been animated, including La Corda d’Oro, and Ouran Host Club. The popular Kaichou wa Maid-sama and Kiss yori Hayaku also run in this! That is quite a number of great series!

LaLa DX (LaLa Deluxe) is a spin-off magazine from LaLa. It’s much thicker, and looks like a brick. Many of the same artists publish in both magazines.

Hana to Yume is one of my favorite magazines~! It has a great variety of stories ranging from high school romantic-comedy to fantasy drama. This magazine used to be home of such popular titles as Hana-Kimi and Fruits Basket. Now, it features great series like Skip Beat, S.A., Gakuen Alice, Nosatsu Junkie, and Wild Ones (Arakure). The stories in this magazine are generally aimed at a slightly older audience than Ribon and Ciao, but not as mature as stuff like Sho-Comi or Cheese.

I think every magazine ends up having a Bessatsu, or supplemental, edition. Here is the one for Hana to Yume, Bessatsu Hana to Yume

Like Margaret,, Hana to Yume also has a “The” version. Here is The Hana to Yume. It’s a very thick volume.

Sylph is a magazine that features stories that have lots of very pretty boys πŸ™‚ The artwork style is is very clean and attractive. A lot of the stories seem to be related to dating games for girls such as Hakuoki. I personally love the artwork in here. When these stories end up published as collected tankoubon volumes, they are slightly larger than the books from Ciao, Ribon, or Margaret, so they cost more. Therefore, I an’t afford them very often. This magazine is a good way to get a lot of pretty in one fix πŸ™‚

Chorus is a monthly josei magazine from Shuiesha. It features a variety of stories (different genres, though most lean towards slice-of-life) with different art styles. This magazine is notable because that classic shounen ai angst-fest BRONZE is running in it. Also, Honey and Clover used to run in it.

Bessatsu Friend

YOU is another josei manga magazine from Shuiesha. The art styles vary wildly, from typical shoujo-style, or scratchy minimalistic style, to clean and quirky. This magazine, I’ve noticed, has a lot of stories about career women, or at least, women in some sort of work environment. A popular series that ran in YOU is Gokusen.

Here is YOU’s sister magazine, Office YOU. I haven’t actually read this one, so I am not certain of the contents, but from what I can tell, it’s fairly similar to YOU in that it’s a josei magazine aimed at older women who are starting careers. The heroines are usually in their 20’s.

Silky is Hakusensha’s entry in the josei manga magazine market.

Feel Young is a josei manga magazine from Shodensha.

Kiss is a josei magazine from Kodansha. I like this magazine because Princess Jellyfish runs in it πŸ™‚ Other popular titles from this magazine include Nodame Cantabile and Kimi wa Pet!

Asuka, published by Kadokawa Shoten, is a nice collection of stories that often involve magic and fantasy elements. For example, CLAMP’s popular ‘X’ series runs in this. I like the srt style of most of the series that run in this. The cover of this issue pictured here looks really odd though O.o

I love this magazine! “Cheese” is such a perfect name for it! Yes, I did buy this one because of the nice ‘H’ headline across the front πŸ˜› I will actually buy more of this manga monthly because it has a lot of series I own tankoubon for in it! I was very surprised when I got it! I had no idea some of the series I like, such as My Dear Lion or Towa Kamoshirenai ran in this magazine πŸ™‚ All of the artwork in this is rather nice, and the stories revolve around the romantic entanglements of a slightly older age group- late high school to early 20’s I’d say. There is almost always some sort of sexual activity in the stories, but it is always very romantic and shoujo-ish ^_^ Hooray for shoujo smut! πŸ™‚

I have to be careful when including Cobalt, because I know there is a version of this magazine that is all text novel story chapters, and not comics. I think this is the comic version. (fingers crossed)

Dessert! What a great name for a shoujo magazine!

The Dessert – for those who aren’t full yet, here is some more Dessert! :3

ARIA – All the series in this magazine have really pretty art. The tankoubon published from them are larger than regular tankoubon size and more expensive, so unfortunately, I don’t have many ARIA series.


Mystery Bonita is a shoujo magazine from Akita Shoten. This cover features art by Akaishi Michiyo, an author I like a lot. The stories in here, as suggested by the title, often include some sort of supernatural or mystery theme.

Like Asuka, Eyes is another magazine that has a lot of Fantasy type stories in it. I get it occasionally because ‘Alichino’ runs in it πŸ™‚ This was a popular title at the bookstore I used to shop at. Actually finding a copy in stock was very tricky. People snap them up as soon as they hit the shelves! I have a feeling this one isn’t being published any more, but I’m not certain. πŸ™

Comic GENE from Media Factory is a very new (2011) shoujo magazine that bills itself as a shounen magazine for girls. So while the intended audience is girls, the style of the stories inside leans more towards shounen. So in here we have a lot of action and fighting series. It does all look like a shounen magazine, except perhaps the fact that the guys are slightly better

Wings! My favorite name for a magazine! πŸ™‚ This is yet another magazine that has a lot of action or fantasy type stories in it. Yuri Narushima’s Young Magician ran in this. Another popular manga that was featured in this was the ‘WeiB Kreuz’ manga called ‘An Asassin and White Shaman’. The size of this magazine is smaller than others like Asuka or Eyes, but the artwork inside is very nice! There is also a “novel” version of this magazine which contains written stories with illustrations called “Shousetsu Wings.”

Kaguya SPADE is a spin-off of Wings magazine, and features stories full of very handsome boys πŸ™‚ It’s aimed at the older teen-women age group and has a lot of very pretty art.

This is a monthly comic with very pretty artwork in it. The printing quality is also very nice. The stories in it include a lot of fantasy and action titles. In general, the magazine is aimed at girls, however, I think I lot of the stories here have crossover appeal. It is a spin-off of the shounen magazine Monthly Comic Blade.

Monthly Comic Zero-Sum is a high-quality fantasy adventure magazine for teens and women. It is fairly thick, and has a lot of really lovely art in it. One series that runs in this is Loveless

Ward is another magazine along the lines of Avarus or Zero-Sum (it’s a spin-off magazine from Zero-Sum) that has stories with excellent art, action and adventure, a slightly better print quality feel, and an appeal that might be broader than the original female audience.

This one, Bessatsu Comi (Betsucomi) is like the Sho-comi version of Bessatsu Margaret. In other words, it is pretty much the same as Sho-Comi, and seems to exist for the purpose of confusing people trying to buy Sho-Comi. ^_^ the stories in this are young adult-relationship type, with the occasional fantasy element thrown in. I really like Kokoro Button, pictured on the cover here. Other series from this magaine include Dengeki Daisy and Black Bird!

Deluxe Betsucomi – Because you can’t have too much Betsucomi.

Harmony Romance is billed as having 100% Happy Ending romance stories.

Marie – Another Josei magazine with romances aimed at an older audience

I think I like this magazine, ‘Princess’ a bit more than Margaret or Sho-Comi. I like the art style in here a bit more. It is like a cross between the Ribon art style of big eyes and large/roundish faces and the cool angular look you can find in ‘Wings’ or ‘Hana to Yume’. It is really hard to explain.

Petit Princess, aka Puchi Princess, is a spin-off from Princess magazine.

Princess GOLD is another spin-off from Princess magazine. It’s not to be confused with BexBoy Gold

Suspiria Mystery is a josei mystery comic magazine from Akita Shoten.

It says right on the cover of this Petit Comics magazine that it is a ‘Comic for Young Girls’. So there’s your target audience πŸ™‚ The stories in this vary. Most of them are, once again, relationship stories with characters in high school or just out of high school. The art varies also. Some of it is kind of plain or scratchy, while others, such as the story ‘Ready Masquerade’ by Chiho Saito (who also did Shoujo Kakumei Utena) have very nice art. The art on the cover is nice as well, for this issue πŸ™‚ I really like the story about the young married couple ^_^ I need to find the tankoubon for it… Gotta wonder about that ‘Love Clinic’ series though

Elegance Eve, a josei magazine from Akita Shoten.

Kurofune ZERO is a magazine published by Libre, the same company that publishes a bunch of boys love magazones (BexBoy, BexBoy GOLD, etc). However, this magazine is billed as being ‘all-genre.’ I haven’t read any issues of this yet, so I don’t know if that means it is all types of Boys Love (adventure, scifi, etc) or if it’s a combination of boys love and traditional shoujo stories. Who knows. However, teh artwork is really pretty from what I can tell πŸ™‚

It took me a while to get a hold of a copy of Melody. The manga store I live near doesn’t get very many copies of this, so it can be hard to find. I like the cover of this particular issue πŸ™‚ However despite the pretty cover (I really like him ^_^ ) the interior art is not that spectacular, in my opinion. In general, the art is very simplistic and not very well proportioned. There are a couple of manga artists I like in this, including Tateno Makoto and Okano Fumika, but the rest of the art was only so-so. Subject matter varies. Most of it looks dramatic. There are a couple of historical stories, a little bit of light shounen ai, and other serious relationship stories

Saikou no Shufutachi is a josei manga magazine aimed at housewives. (The title means “The Best Housewives”)

Monthly Harlequin – Contains shoujo manga adaptations of classic Harlequin romance novels

Monthly Harlequin Zoukan is a spin-off magazine from Monthly Harlequin.

Harlequin Original is a spin-off magazine from Monthly Harlequin.


Ladies Comics

Ladies Comics fall into a category that sort of hovers betwen josei and hentai. Basically, they are erotic comics aimed at adult women. The stories focus on romance, and don’t usually have much of a plot. There is graphic sex (thus the comparison to hentai), but the situations and style of the encounters are aimed more at female sensibilities than male. I suppose it’s hard to describe the difference between porn for women and porn for men…
So, yeah. Muteki Renai S-Girl is a smutty shoujo magazine featuring romantic stories aimed at adult women. They are light on plot and heavy on steamy x-rated action πŸ™‚ Notice a lot of them have “Renai” in the title. That basically means love relationship/passion/love-making. So it’s appropriate ^^ Anyway, I wish I could get a subscription to these (hey, I’m an adult, and I am not ashamed to admit I like my smut ^^) but it’s really expensive to import them. *sigh*

Young Love Comic Aya! Gotta love that name. Given the smutty stories happening in this magazine, I think a better name for it would be ‘Mature Love Comic Aya.’ No young love happening here! It’s published by Ohzora Shuppan, which I think is the king of smutty ladies comics publishers.

Aw yeah, here we go. This is Kindan Eden, or ‘Forbidden Eden’. It is a special edition magazine spun-off from Young Love Comic Aya.

Renai Hakusho Pastel

Renai Paradise

Mini Para is a small magazine, about the size of a regular tankoubon, but much thicker. I think it is a spinoff of Renai Paradise, though I’m not sure. This magazine has a collection of smutty stories that sometimes have a theme.

Renai Love MAX

Renai Cherry Pink

Renai Revolution (aka LoveRevo)

Zettai Renai Sweet

Sweet Puchi (aka Sweet Petit). This is a spin-off magazine from Zettai Renai Sweet and is smaller in size, being about the same size as a regular tankoubon, but much thicker.

Barairo Renai LoveCute This is a new magazine that started publishing in 2011.

Renai Netsujou aka Love Passion or “LovePa”.

Love Kiss is a seasonal magazine, publishing 4 times a year.

Renai Sengen Pinky

Mini Sugar

Joukyuu Renai Mint

Renai Bijin If

Boys Love Magazines (aka shounen ai, yaoi, or june)

While boys love magazines and comics are often considered a whole seperate genre from shoujo/josei type of comics, I am including them here because they are also aimed at a female audience. Really, if the intended target audience is female, it’s gonna be included on this site. These magazines are also aimed at an older audience, and may also include graphic depictions of sex.

Chara! Ahh, I feel so nostalgic just seeing the title of this! Chara was the very first BL manga magazine I ever bought, way back in, uh, ’95 or ’96. This is a BL anthology, but I have seen them include the occasional non BL story. This runs every other month.

Even more Chara! In between the months that Chara runs, we have Chara Selection instead! So these two magazines alternate months.

For yaoi fans out there, Be x Boy is one of the most popular of the yaoi magazines. Yaoi and shounen ai stories (featuring male/male relationships) are the main feature in this magazine. Expect to see a lot of cute, vulnerable young boys and worldly older guys having angst-filled relationships in this one! πŸ˜€

Comic Aqua πŸ˜€

Charade πŸ˜€

Daria πŸ˜€

This magazine is also published by Libre, the publisher for BexBoy. Many of the same authors can be found in here. One of my favorite authors, YAMANE Ayano, publishes stories in here!

Libre sure publishes a lot of boys love magazines! Here is one called Junk! Boy. Heh, this cover by Haruka Minami just “cracks” me up! Hah!

Boys Kyapi. I’m not entirely sure what they mean with that title. >_>

HanaMaru is a boys love magazine from Hakusensha.


Reijin Bravo

Dear Plus is a boys love magazine from Shinshokan.

Blink is a magazine from shueisha. I like the title because it conveniently includes the BL letters. It’s published every other month, and includes several well-known BL authors, including CJ Michalski. I really like the art in this!

Gush! What a great name for a boys love magazine!

Gush PΓͺche, A spin-off magazine from Gush

Hey, it’s another spin-off from Gush! Can’t have too many BL magazines, I must say!

Ciel is another shounen ai/yaoi magazine like Be x Boy. I didn’t like the art in this one as much. The stories are pretty much the same though ^_^ All the guys are still very pretty.

Ciel TresTres is a special edition of Ciel that publishes only 4 times a year.

Boy’s Pearce

Boy’s LOVE

Comic JUNE

Here is yet another magazine, Cheri+. Looks like we have some Youka NITTA in here! I am continually amazed by how many Boys Love magazines there are. I swear, there weren’t this many when I originally started this site! BL is very popular now!


This magazine is called Koi Seyo Shounen -Tatoe Otona Demo. Long name, but it looks like it carries some stories with very nice art.

As far as I can tell, this new BL manga anthology magazine, BiQ, is the new version of an existing BL magazine, Q (kyuu) from Brite Shuppan publishing.

Comic Magazine Lynx. Ahh, Lynx. I really like that name for a magazine.

HanaOto is a BL magazine from Houbunsha.

No Longer Being Published

Below are some manga magazines that have been discontinued for one reason or another.

Monthly Shoujo Teikoku was a short-lived magazine published by Kadokawa. It contained many series that used to appear in Asuka Fantasy DX or Asuka. This was such a cool magazine! CLAMP had Legal Drug running in it. The stories tended to have a fantasy or adventure theme, and were aimed at the same target that reads Asuka. At least this is what I think after looking at 2 issues of it. Unfortunately, just like Amie, this magazine did not last long, and was cancelled.

Crimson is an extremely cool magazine! I am guessing it is aimed at girls in their early teens. It has a lot of stories with fantasy, adventure, and mystery. Yun Kouga (Earthian, Loveless) and Yuri Narushima (Young Magician) often have stories running in this magazine. The general art style of all the stories is not at all like Margaret or Ribon, I’d say it is closer in style to Asuka. The stories are a little darker and serious. The focus is more on adventure instead of romance.

South is another GORGEOUS collection of fantasy type stories. I LOVE this magazine! The artwork in this so nice and crisp! Maybe it just looks this way because the whole magazine is printed in black ink on pale grayish newsprint paper instead of the pastel colors like Ribon or Nakayoshi. Lots of lovely bishounens can be found in this. Series running in South included ‘Diamond Century’, ‘Lumen Lunae’, ‘Genjuu Bunsho’ and ‘Komisch’. South is a bi-monthly magazine.

Hahah the perfect name for a shoujo manga magazine- ‘Cutie’! Because shoujo manga is just so darn cute of course! Interestingly enough, the art in this actually didn’t appeal to me all that much ^_^;;; Most of the stories feature high-school-aged characters, and revolve around relationship problems of all kinds. However the art styles between stories varies wildly. There are a lot of stories with a very ‘cartoony’ exaggerated look, and some with a ‘retro’ manga look. It’s very hard to describe. I didn’t see any stories with supernatural stuff going on, or wild adventures.

I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this phonebook manga. I had never bought it before, but I am glad I did. Juliet is filled with romance/relationship stories among high school students. The art style is not exactly my favorite (It’s similar to the art style in Margaret), but I really liked the stories. Most (not all, but I’d say about 80%) of the stories in this particular issue are one-shot complete stories. And I was happy, the first story in this issue I have is by the author of ‘Dynamite na Honey’, one of the manga series I summarize on this site πŸ™‚ I will probably be getting this manga more often!

If Asuka doesnt have enough sci-fi/fantasy/adventure for you, you can also get Asuka Fantasy DX. As its title would suggest, fantasy/adventure stories are the usual in this. I used to get this magazine occasionally because Cowboy Bebop ran in it πŸ™‚

Bouquet reminded me a lot of Margaret when I first looked through it. Then I realized it is published by the same company πŸ™‚ Hmm the audience for this magazine seems to be about the same as Margaret. The characters in this seem to be in their early 20’s, though I notice a few stories that have high school characters in this. Most of these are relationship type stories. I did notice one story that seemed to be about a cat though, or it was told from the cat’s point of view. I kind of liked that one. πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, this magazine stopped running back in 2000 πŸ™

Β  Here is yet another version of Margaret! It’s Deluxe Margaret. Again, we have high school life romance stories aimed at a crowd that is older that the usual Nakayoshi and Ciao group. This issue has a great Strobe Edge side-story in it! In fact, this magazine seems to mainly have side stories to regular series from other magazines or one-short short stories. This means you get a great mix of authors and styles, and complete stories. This magazine has undergone a name change to Bessatsu Margaret Sister (Betsuma Sister)

It took me even longer to get a copy of this than it did to get the Melody book listed above. The store near me just does not carry it. I had a couple of really old issues of this, but it wasn’t until a little vacation that I found this issue. I’m always happyto find manga monthlies I haven’t covered in here before ^_^ The art in this magazine varies, but there was more I liked than didn’t. Lots of supernatural themes in the stories here, which is a lot of fun. There is also some shounen Ai, and I was happy to find a series I have been looking for, ‘Gravitation’ running in this magazine. The art in that series is so cool πŸ™‚ As far as I can tell, this magazine is no longer being published.

ChuChu is published by Shogakukan, and features stories by authors that usually have their work in Ciao and Sho-Comic. A lot of the stories in this issue are actually one-shot side-stories for the titles in those other magazines. Examples of authors in this magazine include Watase Yuu, Mizuto Aqua, Shinjo Mayu, Iisaka Yukako, and Rie Takada. I LOVE this volume! πŸ™‚ Unfortunately, ChuChu stopped being published in 2010 πŸ™

Magazines I Still Need to Get

I don’t own every shoujo manga magazine currently in publication….yet πŸ™‚ I still need to find recent copies of these. (This is more of a reminder to myself πŸ™‚ So… many… magazines…. @_@ As you can see, updating this whole phonebook manga section is going to be quite a task! (at least, if I want to be a bit more comprehensive than before… this list isn’t even complete or up to date anymore!). I know there are still a bunch of josei horror magazines and other misc. housewife magazines I still need to include. So many magazines, so little time!
  • Mugenkan
  • Gekkan Horror M
  • Beans Ace
  • Chocolat
  • Dejill
  • For Mrs.
  • Ciao DX
  • Comic B’s LOG
  • Ichiraki
  • …and many more… sigh