Viz Announces Mature Shojo Titles — Close Enough to Josei?

I don’t want to start a genre debate, since those can easily and quickly become tedious, but I’m hoping that the two shojo titles (manga for girls) Viz announced with a mature rating come close enough to josei (manga for women) as to scratch that itch.

It’s nice to see them spacing out the series launches, too, so it’s not much of an economic hit to sample them. I’m most interested in the first two, what with the workplace setting, although it’ll be interesting to see how Midnight Secretary deals with the vampire elements. That’s so overplayed these days that it could be inadvertently quite funny.

I’m also curious about how Voice Over!: Seiyuu Academy will show the voice acting profession. It looks relatively girly, so the focus might be on the romance instead. Sweet Rein, on the other hand, looks hilarious just for showing how Japan has adopted and changed Christmas holiday mythology. She’s a Santa Claus? Like it’s a job description?

Here’s the information they provided on four shojo titles coming out in late summer and fall. All are priced at $9.99 US.

Happy Marriage

Happy Marriage?!
M rating, due August 6

In order to help her father, Chiwa Takanashi agrees to an arranged marriage with the company president Hokuto Mamiya — a man she doesn’t know — at the request of Hokuto’s grandfather. Chiwa believes the arrangement isn’t binding, but her new partner seems to think otherwise. Can two strangers living together find their way to a happy marriage?!

Midnight Secretary

Midnight Secretary
M rating, due September 3

Kaya Satozuka is a brilliant secretary who excels at her job, which is why she doesn’t bat an eye when she’s assigned to be personal secretary to Kyohei Touma, the very difficult managing director of Touma Foods. It doesn’t faze her when her new boss seems determined to make her fail, and she even manages to take it in stride when she discovers the secret behind his prickly behavior… he’s a vampire! But while Kaya easily adapts to late nights and keeping a schedule of his “dinner dates,” will her ultra-competence help when Kyohei’s smoldering gaze starts turning her way?!

Voice Over!: Seiyuu Academy

Voice Over!: Seiyuu Academy
T rating, due October 1

Hime Kino’s dream is to one day perform voice acting like her hero, Sakura Aoyama, from the Lovely Blazer anime. So getting accepted to the prestigious Hiragi Academy’s voice actor department is the first step in the right direction! But on her first day of class she meets Sakura’s grouchy son, Senri, who tells Hime that her voice is awful and Lovely Blazers is stupid. Hime will not let that stand unchallenged. She’ll show everyone that she IS a voice-acting princess, whether they like it or not!!

Sweet Rein

Sweet Rein
T+ rating, due November 5

Sad at the thought of spending Christmas alone, Kurumi goes out for a walk. While she’s crossing the street, a boy bumps into her and a rein suddenly appears that binds them together. The overjoyed boy tells her she’s his master, and that she’s a Santa Claus. Kurumi dismisses him as a crazy person, but then he transforms into a reindeer?!


  1. I’m surprised no-one has jumped in to mention this yet, but despite being released here under Viz’s Shojo Beat line, both Happy Marriage?! and Midnight Secretary are bona fide josei, from Shogakukan’s Petit Comic magazine. And they have the smut to prove it. :)

    I guess Viz has decided it’s not worth breaking out josei as its own thing, which is weird because when I asked on Twitter a while back why Loveless wasn’t released under Shojo Beat while Butterflies, Flowers was, they said that the former is josei but the latter, technically, is shoujo (sex scenes and all). I’m happy that they’re taking a chance on more mature titles for women, even if they’re in stealth mode about it…

  2. I suspect “shojo” means more here than “josei” does, in terms of awareness and marketing and such. But thanks for confirming the background of those titles.

  3. I wholeheartedly recommend Hapi Mari for mature readers. While it brings out all the predictable schtick one would expect from the ‘forced marriage to a stranger’ trope, as the story goes on, it begins to focus on the couple’s developing relationship- and how intentional they must be to keep their marriage healthy. As a married person, I appreciated the realistic depiction of all the misunderstandings, miscommunications, forgiveness, and everyday work of a marriage. I hope more manga like this will become available for us middle-aged folks who grew up while anime/manga was taking hold in American pop culture. Just a warning- quite a few near-explicit sex scenes.

  4. forest fairy

    Happy Marriage and Midnight Secretary are definitely both josei titles. As far as the whole vampire thing goes, I bought MS not knowing that was one of the topics…. This did not make me very happy, but I soldiered on to the end. It’s not a bad series, but I felt that if the author had tried to write the story just a bit tighter, she could have dispensed with the fantastic elements completely and just done a normal boss/secretary affair. She could have maybe just used class and money differences to create tension the way Hapi Mari did.

    I would recommend both to those who liked Butteflies, Flowers, but these two series are not really comedies. Hapi Mari sometimes is, but MS is a bit somber.

  5. Am I crazy or does Midnight Secretary sound eerily similar to Vampire’s Kiss?

  6. […] I sampled the first of Viz’s new mature shojo titles, Happy Marriage?!, I didn’t care much for it. I’m pleased to say that Midnight […]

  7. […] not sure this is really josei, anyway — Viz is selling it as “mature shojo“. That’s a better description, since the plot elements are very typical of a manga […]

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