Shoujo anime is a major part of Japan’s anime and manga industry. The word shoujo means “young woman” in Japanese. So as a whole, Shoujo Anime refers to anime content that is for young women or girls. Although the category covers many styles and sub-themes, from fantasy to historical to thriller, the focus is on making the story pleasing for young women. So, let’s take a look at everything there is to know about this topic.
Firstly, the terms shoujo, shounen, josei, and seinen are used just to explain the target audience for the magazines and the publishers. As of the modern world, they do not mean that a boy will not like shoujo or that a girl will not like seinen. The industry has come far enough to understand that the categories are very subjective in nature. Some even debate that they don’t need to exist. Although originally, shoujo could be seen as different from shounen in themes, the line is blurring.
This history of Shoujo Anime is tied in with that of Shoujo Manga, and that is closely related to the history of magazines. “Shoujo-kai” was one of the first Japanese magazines that came out specifically for an audience of young women. The first manga strips as comic format appeared in 1938 with Kurukuru Kurumi-chan. Publications decreased drastically during the war.
After that, although simple comic strips were the norm, Osamu Tezuka’s revolution made shoujo manga more serious. However, it was only in the 1960s that the heroines of these mangas went on to have and explore romance. In the 1970s, female manga artists came together to change the genre again. They introduced sub-genres like Shounen Ai, and some of the classic shoujo content like The Rose of Versailles was from this era. By 1975, the genre developed again as the focus of the artists changed again to different themes. To this day, Shoujo manga continues to grow. Shoujo Anime is based on the development of the Shoujo Manga.
Shoujo Anime: Common Themes
Historically, the original themes included simple comic strips for young girls. Over the years, the content took a serious turn. Artists began adding a lot of world-building and creativity into their works to develop longer and more complex storylines. The 1960s saw a peak in themes about romantic relationships for teenage girls and emotional plots. In the 1970s, the themes became more relevant and stable as female artists created content and became more towards the generation of girls growing up at that time. They focused on having internal or interpersonal conflicts in their stories compared to shounen content that focused on action and external things. However, since then, the stories became more about girls protecting their communities and gaining powers in their world systems.
Popular Shoujo Anime
Some of the best examples of Shoujo Anime include Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura. These are great examples of the latest view of the category. They show women who grow through the series into helping the community and developing as people on their own. In terms of comedy, the best example include Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket. Additionally, for serious emotional themes and relationships, Orange and Blue Spring Ride have emotions and difficulties of growing up. As for historical anime with powerful young female characters for the audience, Yona of The Dawn and Snow White with Red Hair made a huge impact. Although most of the genre has themes of high school and romance, there are stories without love as well, like Natsume’s Book of Friends.
Although the primary target for Shoujo Anime is supposed to be young girls, anyone and everyone can enjoy these works. This article was the breakdown of Shoujo Anime for viewers to understand the deeper meanings rather than just vague terms. What are some of your favorites in Shoujo Anime? Let us know in the comments. Also, keep an eye on this page for more such content!