Shoujo Manga in a Man’s Eyes [Part 1]


If you like the world of manga , surely you are familiar with the types of manga you read. If you like a world where characters struggle with the spirit of friendship, hot blood, and struggle, you’ll definitely like shounen manga . If you’re looking for a manga with a very relatable drama theme , or one whose story has started to lead to adult themes, maybe Seinen manga is right for you. But if you like stories that make your heart flutter, dramas that go up and down in love dilemmas that sway your heart, or male characters with a more ‘beautiful’ appearance than usual, then you might be a fan of shoujo manga .

Indonesians may be more familiar with the shoujo series as the Beautiful Series as published in the Gramedia bookstore. Since a long time ago, when I was little and the price of comics had not even touched the 5000 Rupiah label, I thought that comics were divided into 2 kinds of people, men and women. That’s why there are regular comics that we Adams usually read, and there are beautiful series for Eve. Like yin and yang , everything is always in balance and the universe nods.

Therefore, every time I see a male colleague of mine reading a beautiful series, it feels like you have violated the nature of the universe, man. But maybe it’s my mind that is still too young and still doesn’t know love. Once you’re a little old , your crush says, ” Hey, read this, so I have a friend to talk to. “If I want to be told to read Mein Kampf or a Sanskrit book, I think I’ll give it a shot , as long as I’m approached instead of avoiding it.

Since we’re getting quite lost on track, as per usual , let me return to the main topic of this ngalor ngidul article . Actually, what is a beautiful series and how did this comic trend emerge? To discuss this, we must turn back time to the early 1900s in Japan.

Shoujo Magazine in 1902

It seems we have to go back to 1902 when the magazine for women first appeared under the umbrella of Shoujo-kai (Women’s World) and was followed by other magazines such as Shoujo Sekai (1906) and Shoujo no Tomo (1908). This era is also famous for the first time a differentiation was used for male illustrations that would be associated with shoujo manga , i.e. the image of a face with wide eyes. This trend was started by Yumeji Takehisha and Junichi Nakahara who also had a profession as a doll maker at the time.

So it’s not surprising that sometimes we think why the beautiful series has scary eyes like a doll, the people who draw are also puppet artists, at first .

Shoujo Manga which initially appeared in magazines as simple comics began to decorate magazines and newspapers, but unfortunately since the end of the Second World War, ‘comic’ has begun to be considered as not having more value and being abandoned. Only since 1950 there was Machiko Hasegawa with Nakayoshi Tenchou and Osamu Tezuka with Princess Knight did shoujo manga begin to appear again to the public.

Starting from 1075, shoujo manga then continues to grow while developing into several sub-genres that sometimes overlap each other. Some of the major sub-genres that exist include romance , science fiction , magical girls , fantasy , yaoi , and ladies comic .

Shoujo Manga in Indonesia

As far as I could remember it , Shoujo manga has existed in beautiful serial form since I was little. Some of the titles that were very popular at that time were Glass Mask, Candy Candy, Sailor Moon, Cardcaptor Sakura, Wedding Peach, and many more. As a child, who realized that Sailor Moon and Wedding Peach , or Cardcaptor Sakura entered the shoujo genre , we know these characters are cool and can change, then fight evil using the power of good.

The titles above are also shown as TV series on local televisions in the afternoon. Indirectly, my friends and I were exposed to the shoujo series, even though ironically we still think that beautiful series is not for boys.

Fast forward a bit to my teenage years, I started to find some friends who like to read manga with a more ‘broad’ taste . I found several other manga like Salad Days which filled my high school life with the savory sweet taste of the world of love. When I think about it now, the theme of Salad Days feels more like a seinen manga than shoujo , but the depiction of the characters from the manga made me realize something. This is where I started to learn that it turns out to be a shoujo mangait doesn’t have to feature men with curly lashes, often thick enough to be mistaken for hairy. Or with somewhat miraculous proportions with slender hands and long fingers that I’m afraid to break sometimes. At this point I am starting to open myself up to the possibility of reading manga regardless of it’s genre .

Nowadays I’m starting to get frustrated with the choice of manga I read, it’s up to me whether I want shoujo , shounen , seinen , the important thing is that there is something that makes me interested in the manga . Moreover, shoujo manga are also starting to adapt different artstyles such as Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun or Bukiyou na Senpai which I’m happy to follow lately. Shoujo is not always portrayed as a super cute romantic comic or like a roller coaster bobbing in a storm flanked by 2 men, but also comedyslice of life and it actually felt really good.