Shojo Manga Overtaken by Shonen?

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Ed Chavez, Vertical Marketing Director, tells the truth on their channel when answering reader questions. One recent topic caught my eye, when someone asked

Why do you think shoujo manga isn’t in demand? Isn’t Fruits Basket the best selling manga series in the US? Aren’t the majority of manga buyers female ?

After acknowledging that shojo manga is popular, particularly for Viz Media, Chavez lists out some of the signs that the genre has faced a pullback:

…while most publishers release shojo in the US, fewer and fewer publishers are making it their focus. Gone are the days when TP released a ton of shojo. We no longer have shojo only publishers like GoComi. And while Viz still publishes a lot of shojo, the Shojo Beat brand took a little bit of a hit with the shutdown of the magazine…. out of 36 new titles from 4 publishers only 4 are shojo titles.

Which depresses me. Girls helped drive the manga boom in bookstores, but there are fewer titles available for them these days. As a percentage, those series are only a slice of the market.

Shojo will continue to be important to this market. However, repeatedly data has shown that for every hit shojo title … there are often 3 to 5 shonen titles that sell as well.

It’s still more acceptable for boys to read comics of any kind, and while girls will read “boys’ titles”, the reverse isn’t as true. I can’t argue with the economics, but I wish there were more female-oriented manga being translated and offered.


  • Lynn

    I don’t know, I think I can dispute the math. If you combine the statements: 4 shojo to 32 shonen, and the statement “for every hit shojo title … there are often 3 to 5 shonen titles that sell as well” the answer as to why is pretty obvious and has nothing to do with girl cooties and everything to do with the same self fulfilling marketing logic that Hollywood uses.

    If Viz is considered ‘the one that’s doing it right’ I can’t throw stones, but I think Kamisama Hajimemashite would have found a coed audience if they hadn’t retitled it Kamisama Kiss and made sure all the covers were pink and purple. And I’d buy Julietta Suzuki’s entire collected works if any of them were kindle compatible.

  • Ellesensei

    I don’t know what publishers Ed is looking at or what year. Viz alone licensed 9 shoujo titles in 2015, and 8 the year before in 2014, for the Shojo Beat imprint. I tend to keep track of that on my site. Here’s a list of shoujo licenses for the past couple years:

  • Unfortunately, the link is gone, since Vertical is in the midst of changing to another channel and removed the previous one, so I don’t recall the details about the titles listed. Another bit of internet history gone poof, I guess.

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