Thursday, March 24, 2005

Giving the shojo market what it wants

A Los Angeles Times story looks at the increasing popularity of shojo in the United States, and what publishers, and even TV networks, are doing to meet the demand.

The article notes that of the 400 manga Tokyopop will publish this year, more than half will be aimed at girls. Viz, meanwhile, is releasing 140, plus launching the Shojo Beat anthology and graphic-novel line.

On the television front, Fox will be adding Tokyo Mew Mew to its Saturday-morning lineup this fall. (That's Kikaider pictured at right.)
Until recently, there just hadn't been much for girls. Sure, stories of bulked-up superheroes saving busty women appeal to boys, but there's typically little an 11-year-old girl can relate to. Ditto for the indies, which have more varied story lines but are for older readers.

Even if there were a slew of tween girl comics, what awkward junior high schooler would risk wandering into a comic book store and rubbing elbows with its stereotypical man-child clientele? Shojo, like all manga, is where girls actually want to go -- in malls, at well-lighted bookstores. And the relationship-oriented stories follow subjects to which they can relate -- love, family, identity, responsibility -- in soap-opera serials spread over multiple volumes.
The article also points out the rise in American-drawn "manga, with Tokyopop set to release eight to 10 shojo books by U.S. creators.