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Shōjo, translated into English, literally means “young girl”. Shōjo is a term that is now used to mean a type of manga drawn for girls who are between 13 and 18 years old. These mangas, or animes, usually have a large amount of romantic influence and have a female lead character. There is no specific style or period that these animes cover. The term instead covers the mangas that appeal to the girls of those specific ages. Shōjo can be any type of story, from historical to science fiction to mystery.

There is evidence of Shōjo manga from as early as the 1950’s. It really took off, however, in the 1970’s. It was then that artists like Keiko Takemiya and Moto Hagio decided to focus on writing manga that was focused on the female’s point of view.

Types of Shōjo

Shōjo does not specify a time or place or even a writing style, just the age group that the series appeals to. Here is a list of some of the different types of Shōjo that are popular among girls of the target age.

  • Romance – These manga and anime are focused on the feelings between two characters, a male and a female. There may or may not be action in the series. The two main characters do not have intimate contact other than kissing.
  • Sexually Explicit Romance – These are similar to the romance genre but are much more detailed when it comes to sexual contact between the two main characters. There is often nudity seen and hints of sexual intimacy between the characters.
  • Fantasy – These tend to be extremely popular with girls in the younger end of the age group. They are often set in fantasy worlds and involve a lot of magic.
  • Adventure – Action tends to be the primary focus in these mangas. There is often some romance but it is not the main point of the story, merely a byproduct.

Cross Dressing – There are a lot of stories that rely upon women pretending to be men and men pretending to be women.

Examples of Shōjo

Fruits Basket is an excellent example of a Shōjo manga. It centers on a girl, Tohru Honda, who has been orphaned. She winds up living in a tent and then being invited to move in with a strange family. This family is full of secrets, and Tohru tries to discover them while tending to the house for them. She learns their secret, that they are possessed by animal spirits, and deals with the deep issue of fitting in, or not fitting in, to a family and to society.

Sailor Moon is another good example of Shōjo. Sailor Moon was even made into an anime and it became extremely popular in Japan and in other countries around the world. It is about a number of girls that have special powers. They are named different planetary names, such as Sailor Moon, Sailor Neptune, and so on. The girls are fighting to keep the world safe while trying to keep their friendship strong as well.

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