What happened to shoujo animes?

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Is it just me or there aren’t many shoujo animes releasing now?

Okay, but before we get into that what is Shoujo?

Shoujo is the opposite of shonen, translated in English as young girl. Shoujo focuses more on the interpersonal relationship and romance in the story rather than the fighting and action. The series tend to be more dramatic, but also still include the adventure, comedy and action that are prevalent in shonen.

Find more information of genres in my post genres and demographics.


So what happened to all the shoujo animes. If you know me, I’m an avid reader of shoujo but recently there’s less and less and shoujo mangas getting adapted. Last year there were only a total of 10 shoujo animes released which included Fruits basket season 2, My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, Omoi, Omoware, Furi, Furare and IDOLiSH7 Second BEAT!.

And this year we had the one of the best anime of all time Fruits basket final season(which I haven’t watched yet) , My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! X and backflip!!. Meanwhile shounen’s popularity is just rapidly increasing with demon slayer, jujutsu kaisen and attack on titan.


What happened

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Shounen is now the most popular demographic in anime attracting millions of anime and non-anime lovers all over he world. From one piece to Attck on titan, there’s no complaining about shonen’s popularity but what about shoujo. Shoujo was a top demographic in thhe early 80’sand 90’s with shows like Rose of Versailles, Cardcaptor Sakura, Revolutionary Girl Utena and of course sailor moon.

It’s really hard to come up with shoujo anime names that have 50+ episodes or which has more than three seasons. The only ones I can think of is sailor moon, Fruits basket and Natsume’s Book of Friends. Don’t get me wrong, short and more straight forward adaptations are also really good like Rainbow Days, Maid-Sama!, Yona of the Dawn. Even if it’s just 20 or 30 episodes, with the right elements it would be good show. But what I’m implying is that longer the anime the more fun it becomes, the character development also becomes really good as we don’t see the characters for only 12 episodes or so.

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To tell the truth I feel like shounen in general has more cross gender appeal than shoujo. Our whole storytelling tradition leans heavily on male-centered action plots, so no one knows what female characters can and should do. Shonen manga that now have stories that would be exclusively aimed at women in the past. I think there is a change in what people see male oriented manga as these days. Psycho pass, balck lagoon and kill a kill are few example of female main protagonists in shonen anime.

You always have exceptions of titles that could appeal to fans of sports or action shonen anime and manga like Yona of the Dawn or Chihayafuru but when people do think shojo they very much align with the romance genre because that tends to be incredibly dominant. Shoujo anime are mostly based in highschools with such strong romance genre and I think yona of the dawn is a great example of shoujo since it also explores the advernture genre and not only romance and this shows that the adventure or action trope can exist outside of shounen and seinen.

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Yona of the dawn

Shoujo animes also have a more limited genre availibilty and most female targeted demographics in general tend to mostly focus on stuff that very much targets mainly women. It does have some genre variety but not as much as shounen or seinen. With such limited genres the shoujo stories are mostly cliched with very few unique tropes.

Pure shoujo nowadays feels so outdated, it just uses the same formula it used years ago,The Never-Ending Back & Forth, Toxic Webs & Love Triangles, The Climatic First Kiss and many more. With all the same things happening over and over again, shoujo has become boring whereas with shounen adventuring idea just becoming stronger and stronger as it’s popularity increases.

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We definitely need more shoujo adaptations, even more josei/seinen romances would also be nice because there are some really great shoujo mangas that would make a good adaptation such as Last Game, Hibi Chouchou, Wake up Sleeping Beauty and House of the Sun. I don’t even mind if it was a OVA’s or just an anime with just 12 episodes because the romance genre in anime has been lacking lately. I feel like they’re choosing to do the live-action route more for shoujo/josei these days but I do wish we also got more anime.

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I think that shoujo should be diverse in terms of both and social message instead just the traditional romance clash. I wish that shoujo anime would gain more popularity as fruits basket just topped the charts as the best anime of all time and now with yona of the dawn getting a season 2. Till then. Tell me what you think of shoujo animes in the comments below.

Thank you for reading.

8 comments

  1. I love shoujo anime and manga. Honestly, I haven’t even noticed that there was a lack of new series. Maybe it’s because I read so much manga and manhwa I just didn’t notice the lack of anime? But I also think the problem might be that shoujo has changed a little too much recently and maybe some people don’t even recognize it as shoujo. Like I recently watched an anime called Pretty Boy Detective Club, and I would definitely call that a shoujo, but with it’s title maybe people didn’t realize what genre it was? I would also put Zombie land Saga in the shoujo genre, again maybe the title of the anime caused some confusion for shoujo fans. I think the shoujo genre has really expanded recently, beyond the high school romance, to include elements of detective and horror and idol and lots of other genres so now it’s a bit harder to pick out of a crowd.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I understand what you’re saying, I’ve been reading too many shoujo mangas that I never noticed a decrease in animes but then I saw that very good shoujo mangas were not getting adapted.
      Even kaguya sama love is war looks like a shoujo but they’ve given it as seinen. So yeah I think it is becoming harder to pick out a crowd but I hope shoujo gets more recognition in the future.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Was Toradora! considered shoujo? I saw that recently on Netflix and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I tend to gravitate more toward shonen stories myself, though I did like Natsume’s Book of Friends and The Story of Saiunkoku.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t watched Toradora yet so I can’t say for sure but Toradora! started out in shounen magazines so maybe that’s why it’s shonen.
      It’s the same for Kaguya sama: love is war which is given as seinen because it’s from a seinen magazine instead of being a shonen or a shoujo.
      I find Seinen really interesting including shonen and Josei but Shoujo also definetely has some interesting stories to tell like Kaichou was maid sama and OHSHC.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Really, it was from a shounen magazine? Interesting. I mean, the sort of main character is male, so I guess that makes sense, but its plot fits the shoujo themes you describe more. Maybe it’s like what you said about elements that were previously considered shoujo starting to appear more in shounen.

        Liked by 1 person

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