In a previous blog post, I explored shōnen manga; a broad category of manga that tends to focus on adventure, action, and plot. While shōnen specifically translates to “boy” or “youth,” it is enjoyed by people regardless of age or gender. The same is true for another large category of manga: shōjo (literally “young woman”). Shōjo manga is generally more interested in exploring characters and relationships, and romance is one of the most popular shōjo genres. Below are a few suggested titles (in a variety of genres) for those interested in exploring shōjo manga (“X” and “Y” below refer to our children’s and young adult graphic novel collections respectively).
A classic of the magical girl genre (ordinary girls that transform into magical superheroes), Sailor Moon features a group of high school girls who awaken as magical soldiers (Sailor Moon, Sailor Mercury, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter, and Sailor Venus) to defend Earth from evil forces. This series has been praised for its humor and expressive art and is a great place to start your shōjo manga journey.
Quiet and stoic Takeo has always been outshined by his cool best friend Makoto, especially in romantic pursuits. When Rinko--a girl he saves on the train--falls helplessly in love with him, he is absolutely clueless of what to do. A fun romance series that plays with the tropes of the genre and readers’ expectations with lots of heart, great humor, and likeable characters.
Orange begins with high school student Naho receiving a letter--supposedly from her future self--telling her to prevent her “biggest regrets,” and Naho quickly takes the letter seriously when it begins successfully predicting events. Orange is an intriguing character study with a sci-fi/fantasy twist that explores how we cope with our mistakes and regrets.
Another magical girl classic and a landmark shōjo series. Ten-year-old Sakura accidentally releases a set of magical cards from an old book in her basement and is tasked with relocating them. In order to retrieve the cards, she must face their magical personifications in battle. This series is a great choice for readers looking for a fun adventure.
Combining magic, fantasy, and giant robots, Magic Knight Rayearth delivers thrilling action and an epic story, which features three ordinary middle school girls drawn into a conflict threatening to destroy the alternate world Cephiro. The girls must save this alternate world from destruction while piloting giant robots in order to return to Tokyo and their normal lives. Action packed and full of adventure!
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