July 7, 2024 5:39 AM   Subscribe

I'm just going to take this quick opportunity to talk about exactly what these terms mean, and the stereotypes that these terms generally encompass in terms of the focus, execution, emotions, and characters of an anime series. [livejournal]

extending this comment & followup
posted by HearHere (12 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
That's an interesting LJ post, but not a very informative MeFi Post because it's kinda presented too mystery-meat like?

Also the tags need anime and manga added at the least?
posted by Faintdreams at 5:49 AM on July 7 [12 favorites]

Who, or more precisely what, is Shounen Bat?, shoujo "can't help but ship it", Have you ever dreamed of seeing Spongebob Squarepants re-imagined as a seinen anime?, josei:
posted by HearHere at 6:13 AM on July 7

Too mysterious.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 6:48 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

That's an interesting LJ post, but not a very informative MeFi Post because it's kinda presented too mystery-meat like?

It took me a minute, but the title of the OP is "One Peace" (sic). But yeah, I agree that this could've been better presented.

On a related topic-- namely, Japanese manga/anime demographic labels-- I found this post about improper use of "shoujo" highly relatable, if a bit rambly.
posted by May Kasahara at 6:50 AM on July 7 [5 favorites]

I appreciate this article, since I've had very little experience with anime/manga as a consumer, but did spend the better part of a year like 20 years ago working at a recording studio where we (among other things) did the dubbing and sound design for import anime for the U.S. So this included work on, like, a One Piece video game, my boss doing the mixing for Yu-Gi-Oh, and notably us redoing all the audio for two seasons of Magical Do-Re-Mi (the import of Ojamajo Doremi), of which only the first one was aired. Now, it was easy enough to tell the difference between something like that and something like Yu-Gi-Oh, and that one was targeted at girls and the other at boys, but what's interesting to me based on this article is that while Doremi is clearly very much shoujo (it's about three young girls who gain magic powers from a witch and become best friends, and has tons of "transformation sequences," etc.) it also avoids some of the other tropes mentioned here. There's no bishounen, as far as I can recall. There are occasional romantic plots but they're not the focus, the romantic aspect is definitely kept at kid-level, and not idealized. The characters are "cute" but not graceful (the lead character is notably a klutz) and not aspirational except in that they're learning good life lessons.

But most notably, most of the stories that I can recall were based in day-to-day life stuff, rather than fantasy stuff. Like, the conflicts would be "my dad is having a really hard time since my parents' divorce but he's trying to hide it from me" or "the new kid at school is trying to act all tough and push everyone away but I've seen him secretly playing music beautifully, what's up with that?" and the magical elements would always be like "Plan A," and then cause unnecessary chaos, until whatever life lesson was learned so that problems could be addressed mundanely. Which, in a way, is more "mature," at least more mature than what was happening in Dragonball Z, which I was aware of because my brother was composing the music for that one. (His show aired for way more than one season, of course.)

But of course, it was still through-and-through a kids' show. When it took on more complex or nuanced stories, it was still from a kid's perspective of them. It had a goal of imparting lessons. It was cute and sparkly and all the main characters were girls or women. It was, in other words, clearly shoujo. But it's really nothing like Sailor Moon, from what I can tell. Which I guess is what happens when you define genre based on target demographics.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:37 AM on July 7 [3 favorites]

Somewhere in the Internet of the past I read that the difference between shōnen and shōjo was the amount of detail put into costumes and backgrounds. Shōjo had more details, for whatever reason. Probably was a jokey reference to CLAMP but honestly, seems just as a legit as breaking it down readership by age and gender.
posted by fiercekitten at 9:01 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]

I'm not making the connection between the above and below the fold parts of the FPP (or the title, frankly.)

To address the former, shōnen/shōjo/etc. are marketing demographics. By and large the magazine something was first published in dictates its catagory (digital publications are starting to complicate this.)
And then all of a sudden these gender-divided markets are merged into a space where "male" things are the default, with "female" things being seen as this specialist demographic that nobody's interested in. Seriously, what the hell? Why does this pattern exist?

Marketing efficiency: boys will avoid things coded 'for girls' like a plague, while the reverse is not usually true.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:15 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

I'm an old retired guy. I'm currently enjoying Laid-Back Camp. Pursuing "demographics" is a fool's game.
posted by SPrintF at 9:18 AM on July 7 [1 favorite]

but not a very informative MeFi Post because it's kinda presented too mystery-meat like?

well, I clicked on it because it was mysterious, it tweaked my curiosity.
posted by philip-random at 9:49 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

ChurchHatesTucker, give peace a chance (☮️) is a Plastic Ono Band classic. the links below the fold relate to a thread on Yoko's work. looking back myself now, i realize that discussion was indeed confusing: marketing terms are ‘hidden’ within a comment, you have to click a triangle there to see shonen introduced >
...media tropes - specifically, they're both quite shonen by the numbers, painfully so. Which is not surprising given the increase in popularity of shonen…

for the 1☮️/piece rebus, i highly recommend May Kasahara’s deconstruction. you may also appreciate a trailer for the current live-action adaptation

May Kasahara et al., i agree this could have been presented better. i think i’d have to be a different person though. in terms of structure, i continue to navigate through various perspectives shared earlier. there’s no way i’m going to be able to please everyone. this conversation just seemed too significant to let languish & i trusted MeFi to provide appropriate context (have not been disappointed!)

Lone Wolf & Cub [criterion] was my introduction to manga; adaptation is as much of an interest for me as original texts. regarding format: now thinking about connections & continuities & contrasts between doujin & samizdat & zines [wiki*3]
posted by HearHere at 11:15 AM on July 7 [2 favorites]

The labels aren't genres because they describe the intended audience, not the contents.

Madoka isn't shoujo. It was an anime original, with manga adaptations in seinen magazines. Many of the shows about cute girls doing things, for example, Laid-Back Camp, have adaptations that run in seinen magazines because they are targeted at older teens and adult men.

Sometimes the demographic label is a lie--looking at you, Jump SQ. Shonen, but the last time a teenage boy picked up a chapter of Prince of Tennis was probably 25 years ago.

The publishing categories are kind of irrelevant to English-language anime/manga fans--they're really only necessary when shopping for manga in Japanese bookstore where everything is grouped by publisher.
posted by betweenthebars at 3:34 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]

will always remember the bit in Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san where the European queer couple comes in looking for gay books & Honda-san has to say "Well we kind of have fuck all for gay books... but here is our massive lovingly tended Boys' Love section"
posted by taquito sunrise at 3:49 PM on July 7 [4 favorites]

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