Shojo Beat Discussion with Anna, Lori and Laura

Anna: For this discussion post for the Shojo Beat Manga Moveable Feast, I’m welcoming Laura from Heart of Manga and Lori from Manga Xanadu. Join us as we talk about Shojo Beat, the manga imprint (and sadly departed magazine) that has produced a wide variety of female-centric manga for discerning readers. I thought I would kick off the discussion by asking what everybody’s favorite Shojo Beat titles are?

Favorite Shojo Beat Titles

Laura: That’s a tough one because there are several I love! Hana-Kimi was my first manga I totally loved, so I guess now that it’s going through reprints I can count it. Skip Beat! would be my all-time favorite, with Kimi ni Todoke and Dengeki Daisy close behind.

Anna: It is tough because Shojo Beat puts out so many titles that often my favorite is whatever I’ve read most recently! But I’ll agree with you about Hana-Kimi being fabulous. I think Nana is a classic work, and of the titles currently being released I love Story of Saiunkoku and Dengeki Daisy.

Lori: I’m with you Anna, often my favorites are whatever I’ve read recently. Nana would have to be on my all time favorite though, as it was one of the titles that got me reading shojo seriously. The new release of Hana-Kimi has introduced me to that series, and I was love with it in an instant! I adore Story of Saiunkoku and Kimi ni Todoke, and really enjoy Dengeki Daisy as well. I’d add Beauty Pop and The Earl and the Fairy is starting to climb up the list as well! It’s really hard to limit the list since so many of them seem to strike a chord with me.

What Shojo Beat Title Would We All Avoid?

Anna: Are there any Shojo Beat titles that you feel less enthusiastic about? Generally a large stack of my reading list is Shojo Beat, but I have to admit I’ve never felt the urge to go back and reread Absolute Boyfriend, even though I love Yuu Watase’s other works.

Lori: There have definitely been titles I didn’t care for. I didn’t care to read Absolute Boyfriend, Crimson Hero, or Baby and Me when they were serialized in Shojo Beat magazine, and even less about them in collected books. I know this will probably get me some heat, but I didn’t care for Gentleman’s Alliance Cross or Vampire Knight. There was way too much melodrama in them for my tastes. Recently, I’ve tried Ai Ore and Black Bird. While both have had elements I liked, the overall “icky-ness” I felt from them keep me from following them regularly.

Laura: Hmmm. Must be something about Absolute Boyfriend. Hehe. Of all Shojo Beat titles I’ve read and reviewed, and I have covered a major chunk of the list, Absolute Boyfriend was the only one I have rated as “don’t bother reading.” I hated it. I think Hot Gimmick comes in second. While I liked the tension in the first few volumes of Black Bird, it really started to go sour in later volumes. Oh, and I could never get through Haruka:Beyond the Stream of Time because it felt too much like a Fushigi Yugi knock-off.

Lori: I couldn’t get through the one preview chapter of Hot Gimmick that was printed in Shojo Beat. So not a title for me. I liked Haruka: Beyond the Stream of Time though. I hadn’t read any of Fushigi Yugi then, though I’m not sure it would have made a difference to me. I like the “Neo Romances” that include Haruka and also La Corda d’ Oro. I have a weak spot for bishonen.

Anna: Ah, I’m planning on covering Gentlemen’s Alliance Cross and Vampire Knight for the manga moveable feast! Something about all the pretty art and melodrama appeals to my inner 13 year old! I do genuinely like Hot Gimmick because it is so much of a soap opera. I found that the later (second series) volumes of Ai Ore are almost an entirely different series, much more comedic and less icky. Are there any Shojo Beat titles that you think haven’t gotten the attention they deserved?

Underappreciated Shojo Beat Titles

Laura: Definitely some of the more historical series. I think Kaze Hikaru is a gem that not many know about. I discovered it last year and fell in love with the characters. Of course I seem to be partial to the “girl hiding as a boy” titles. Saiunkoku has a strong female protagonist that I would love for everyone to read about, but it doesn’t seem as popular as other series. I also think Yurara and Rasetsu aren’t as popular as they should with the supernatural elements that seem to be a huge fad in the past few years.

Anna: I LOVE Kaze Hikaru. I came around to it slowly, because I read the first few chapters in Shojo Beat magazine, enjoyed it but was underwhelmed, and then after I checked the first few volumes from the library I decided I had to collect the whole series.

Lori: Like you Anna, I started reading Kaze Hikaru in Shojo Beat, and felt just as underwhelmed. I’ve since read subsequent volumes but haven’t be captivated by it as a lot of others have. I’ve liked what I’ve read, but haven’t loved it. And I completely agree with you Laura about Yurara and Rasetsu. They have a good balance of strong female lead, comedy, and drama as well as the supernatural hook. Another historical series that didn’t get the attention it deserved is Red River. That title is almost crack-tastic in the way it can grab you and suck you into an exciting story and steamy romance!

Laura: I’m right with you on Red River, Lori. Although it’s a pre-Shojo Beat imprint title, it’s one of the first few manga series I read and loved and collected all 28 volumes. It definitely deserves an omnibus reprint and some hype like some of the other earlier series have been getting.

Anna: I’m slowly collecting Red River, because I didn’t read it as it was coming out. One of these days I’m going to go on a Red River binge! But we should swing back to the Shojo Beat imprint. Do you think that the magazine’s cancellation had much of an effect on the series that you try or your buying habits?

Shojo Beat Magazine and Buying Habits

Lori: It definitely did for me. I didn’t intend to subscribe to Shojo Beat. My one-month-old subscription to Animerica became a Shojo Beat sub, but after reading a few issues I kept it. Shojo Beat is what got me to read shojo manga, where before I scorned most “girly” or romance titles. I wouldn’t be the fan I am today without it, and wouldn’t have tried half the titles I did. I really miss the previews and spotlights that the magazine did. It not only helped me find new titles, but helped to convince me to check out older titles that I had missed.

Laura: I think the magazine is one of the reasons Shojo Beat thrived while other companies were struggling. I didn’t realize what was being published because I hardly saw ads for other companies. I think the magazine had a big influence over what I read, whether I realized it or not at the time. It was a great way to try out series and see how they fared.

Anna: I didn’t subscribe to the magazine, although I’d often buy it on the newsstand when I could find it. I agree that it was a great way of exposing readers to series that they wouldn’t normally try. The imprint seems to be doing fine without the magazine, as many Shojo Beat titles seem to be winding up on the NYT manga bestsellers list. What do you think of the more recent Shojo Beat series?

Recent Favorites

Laura: A Devil and Her Love Song, The Earl and the Fairy, and Jiu Jiu are the ones from this year. I really like The Earl and the Fairy with the supernatural and historical elements. The writing and art is great. A Devil and Her Love Song is a slice of life with a couple of really cute bishies. I like Maria Kawai as a character, and I find her approach to situations interesting. I’m not really sold on Jiu Jiu yet. In my review I stated that it was a little too icky for me in the sense that the wolf pups seem to be trying to ravish the main character.

Going back a little further, there are two series from last year I rather enjoy. Dawn of the Arcana is great. There’s fantasy and magic, with serious romantic tension. I also like The Legend of Princess Sakura with Tanemura’s gorgeously detailed art. Oresama Teacher is okay. It has great elements of humor and a quirky protagonist, but it’s not my favorite. Then there’s Ai Ore! I kind of have a love/hate relationship with that one. I like reading Shinjo’s smutty stuff, because she’s great at it. However I just can’t like the androgynous characters from Ai Ore! It’s often hard to watch. I have to laugh at it.

Lori: From this year, like Laura I loved The Earl and the Fairy, and I’ve just read A Devil and Her Love Song. I will be getting more of that series. Jiu Jiu I need at least another volume or two before I decide. I want to see where the series is going. The scene with Snow was a little weird, but I don’t see it becoming a usual thing. At least I hope not. Going back to last year, The Legend of Princess Sakura was the first Tanemura title I read that I really liked and have picked up subsequent volumes. I have the first two volumes of Dawn of Arcana, but haven’t read them yet. Oresama Teacher has been very hit or miss with me. I like Mayufu and Hagasawa, but just couldn’t stand Takaomi. I really didn’t like Ai Ore!. It was all the smutty stuff that turned me away actually, rather than the androgynous characters as I thought would.

Anna: I have a lot of fondness for Oresama Teacher, just because it is the only purely goofy shojo comedy series that I never find boring. I think that Mayu Shinjo is a national treasure for her smut-writing abilities, and while I didn’t care as much for the first few volumes of Ai Ore!, the later volumes tend to lean more towards the comedic instead of smutty. That being said, I’m looking forward to her upcoming series Demon Love Spell in the hopes it will be more like Sensual Phrase than Ai Ore!

Shojo Beat License Requests

Laura: What titles would you like to see Viz license?

Lori: Not an easy question, but off the top of my head, I’d like the sequel to St. Dragon Girl, St. Dragon Girl Miracle. And there are two titles from Kaori Yuki that I would love to read; the one volume Bloodhound about a girl and a host club vampire, and Ludwig Revolution, a Yuki take on fairy tales. There is a sequel to Ludwig Revolution, Ludwig Fantasia that seems just started last year, so I’ll add that after we get the first series.

Anna: I am really bad about license requests because the titles I want most have nothing to do with economic reality. I loved the non-Shojo Beat title Basara, and I would like to be able to read another of Yumi Tamura’s series like 7 Seeds, a look at a hazardous post-apocalyptic world inhabited only by a few humans. Since that is extremely unlikely to happen, I’d just like to see more titles aimed at older readers that straddle the line between shojo and josei like Nana.

Laura: Okay, Bloodhound sounds like fun supernatural story with vampires. I could go for that as well as the sequel to St. Dragon Girl. I think for Shojo Beat I’d like to see Ao Haru Ride by Io Sakisaka get licensed. That’s the same author as Strobe Edge that’s coming out here in the next month or so. I really would like to read Love So Life by Kaede Kouchi, but she is a fairly new mangaka. Hoshi wa Uta, or Twinkle Stars by Natsuki Takaya of Fruits Basket is another one. Akatsuki no Yona is a fantasy adventure series by Mizuho Kusanagi of Mugen Spiral/NG Life that I’d like to read as well. For josei I’d have to request Hapi Mari by Maki Enouji. I could keep going but that’s enough for now.

Anna: Thanks for joining me for this discussion, Laura and Lori!

Tuesday Morning Shojo Beat Posts

Today we have a great look at the paranormal romance series Yurara from Anna at Tokyo Jupiter, Yurara and the Problems of a Supernatural Love Polygon. Anna writes “In this shojo series, the relationships are further complicated because the two boys, Yako and Mei, are competing for the love of Yurara, their classmate and Yurara, the guardian spirit that possesses and protects her. It’s stories such as these that are the reason why I can’t ever give up shojo manga. As if teenage love wasn’t complicated enough without adding a ghost into the mix.”

Lissa at Kuriosity takes a look at the fourth volume of the quirky series A Devil and Her Love Song, saying “What I loved most about the change in people’s attitudes here (aside from the huge relief it was to see Maria get some widespread support) was how it’s slowly begun to showcase individuals in the class who’ve never had a voice, or even a name, before. Just looking at the back cover of this volume introduces us to a whole new group of people with unique designs, personalities and roles in the class.”

Over at OrganizationASG, Justin asks what Shojo Beat manga he should start reading?

I’m giving away a copy of Shojo Beat title Ai Ore Volume 1!

That’s it for this morning! Remember if you have older posts that you would like included in the Shojo Beat Manga Moveable feast archive, send them my way.

Shojo Beat Monday Morning Round-up

To kick off the Shojo Beat Manga Moveable Feast on Manga Report, I decided to see exactly how many volumes I have in this Wall of Shojo Beat post. I am still in the process of trying to get all those books back on the shelves!

Starting the feast week on a Sunday means it might be a little light on posts, but I over at Matt Talks About Manga, Matt is trying out the melodrama Sand Chronicles. He ends up concluding that the third shojo manga that he’s read is “a conventional and forgettable romance that didn’t do much for me beyond providing a few laughs.”

Lissa over at Kuriosity has better luck with Otomen Volume 13, a series that she thought was starting to get lackluster, but was reinvigorated by the volume’s sudden focus on Ryo: “When I read the synopsis for volume thirteen however, I felt excited. Ryo and Asuka facing off against each other in judo? Cool! What I got was both what I expected and not at the same time. This volume has the longest focus on Ryo I recall since the series began. It provides a better look at her as a character and springs forward her relationship with Asuka more than I ever honestly thought would be possible.”

Monday morning brings a bunch of posts for the feast! Lori at Manga Xanadu looks at the first five volumes of St. Dragon Girl, concluding “St. Dragon Girl is a fairly light and fun romance. Matsumoto’s artwork is beautiful to look at (especially the dragons), and she uses a lot of great Chinese costuming, making the series another plus in my book. There is next to no drama, and the comedy is well-timed with the more serious moments.”

Ash at Experiments in Manga offers quick takes on Shojo Beat manga and anime, covering Dengeki Daisy, Library Wars, Otomen, and Honey and Clover

I start out the week by looking at my most anticipated Shojo Beat volume, Fushigi Yugi Genbu Kaiden volume 10.

Wall of Shojo Beat

For Day 1 of the Manga Moveable Feast, I decided to determine how many volumes of Shojo Beat manga I have by pulling everything off the shelves and stacking them up!

wall of shojo beat

I figured this would have an added benefit of helping me consolidate series when I put everything back, as I am not terribly organized when it comes to my personal library. One of the things that struck me when I was pulling volumes was how many series I had that predated the imprint, and are thus not included in this photo. Hana Kimi is currently being reprinted under the Shojo Beat line, so I could have pulled that. Other great pre-Shojo Beat series also include Boys Over Flowers and Kare First Love. I’ve sold off some series I thought I wouldn’t read again, and I have some volumes of manga in storage, so the total for the Shojo Beat manga I have readily available in my house is in the 200+ volumes range which is actually much less than I thought!

How many Shojo Beat volumes do you have?

Call for Participation: Shojo Beat Manga Moveable Feast

I’m excited to host a Manga Moveable Feast focusing on Shojo Beat from September 16th-22nd. I have a ton of manga in my house, but I probably have more Shojo Beat manga than any other imprint from a particular publisher. Take a look at the Shojo Beat series listing on Viz Media if you aren’t sure which series are included in the Shojo Beat imprint. Since this is a very large group of manga to draw from, I’m going to include some possible ideas for posts:

Old School Shojo Beat: The imprint has been around for a few years, and there may be some series that you’ve missed. Check out older Shojo Beat titles like Crimson Hero, Absolute Boyfriend, Baby and Me, or Full Moon.

Current Shojo Beat Reviews: Review currently releasing series like Oresama Teacher, Dengeki Daisy, Dawn of the Arcana, or Kamisama Kiss.

Shojo Beat Authors: Some authors have multiple series published under the Shojo Beat imprint. How about a post about Yuu Watase, Matsuri Hino, Miki Aihara, or Arina Tanemura

Most Criminally Overlooked Shojo Beat title: Not all series end up on the New York Times Manga Bestseller’s list. Why not write an appreciation post (Kaze Hikaru) for a manga (Kaze Hikaru) that doesn’t get the hype it deserves (Kaze Hikaru). (This could be a series other than Kaze Hikaru, I’m just very partial to it.)

Shojo Beat Mangazine Nostalgia post: Dig up your copies of Shojo Beat magazine and flip through them, remembering the days when we actually had a print magazine devoted to shojo manga.

As for what I’m planning myself, aside from the usual MMF hosting duties I might do a round-up post focusing on some of the fun two volume Shojo Beat series, as well as full reviews of some of the Arina Tanemura manga that I’ve been hoarding but haven’t reviewed yet. If anyone would want to join in on a Shojo Beat discussion post during the week, please let me know and I will put that together. If you would like to participate but don’t have your own blog, let me know and I can host your post.

Submissions can be sent to me at
Twitter hashtag for this feast is #shojobeatmmf
Archive page for the feast is here:

I’m looking forward to the feast later this month, and I hope you are too!