A Deep Dive into Shojo
Take a look into the world of manga genres by diving in and learning about Shojo, one of the most popular types of manga publications, and some shining examples!
Today, we look at two of the shining examples of the genre which have become staples of any manga or anime guide: Fruits Basket and Ouran High School Host Club. Both of these series are recognized as probably the most well known manga and anime of the shojo genre, a term that tells us that the series are typically marketed for teenage girls. However, the term is just a classification that tells us what the series has, rather than being only for a particular group of people, as both have widespread popularity. These series typically are romantic comedies or dramas that pride themselves on being series with emotional depth and are therefore immensely rich in character development.
Tohru Honda, a high school student trying to simply make it through her schooling years, encounters tragedy when her mother dies in a car crash. In a moment of decision, Tohru makes the choice to live with her grandfather, but this turns out to only make her situation worse because of their rudeness and not being a suitable place to live. While living in a tent to escape from her situation, she finds a home, one of her classmate Yuki Sohma and his cousin Shigure. Everything about this new home for Tohru seems normal and quiet, that is, until she meets another cousin named Kyo. Kyo by accident reveals that the Sohmas all live with a curse, all of the family is possessed by spirits of the Chinese Zodiac!
All of the family will eventually reveal to Tohru that they transform if they are under stress, embarrassed, or sick in any way and she comes to accept the family and keep their secret. However, not all of the family is so willing to accept that Tohru knows about their curse, and only slowly come to accept her positive influence on the family. Now fully aware of the curse and the impacts it has on their lives, Tohru sets out to help break the curse and free the entire Sohma family so they can live a normal life together!
Ouran High School Host Club
At the Ouran Academy, a private and exclusive high school in Tokyo, the wealthiest of Japanese society learn and also live together. However, not every member of the school is among the richest of the rich and Haruhi Fujioka is one of these people. Haruhi is at Ouran Academy on scholarship, and simply wants to keep under the radar her entire time at school, keeping to herself and actively avoid questions about her or her past. While looking for the quietest place to study in the school, she happens upon the 3rd Music Room, home to the Ouran Academy High School Host Club. The Host Club seeks to be a place to service “clients” with sweets and delectables while also being company.
Surprised by the sudden appearance of the Host Club when Haruhi thinks she is alone, she knocks over a vase, an object worth over 8,000,000 yen! The Host Club insists she pay, and when they find out she is unable to, she agrees to work off the debt as a member of the Host Club! Originally, she only does work behind the scenes, but the group realizes she is a natural at “hosting”, so she begins work as a full time Host. At first, Haruhi only does it to pay off the debt faster but over time she begins to not only enjoy her time with the Host Club, but actively wants to participate!
Nashville Public Library has both of these manga series collected across the system! Fruits Basket has 23 volumes as well as Fruits Basket Another, a sequel series with 2 volumes. Ouran High School Host Club has 18 volumes as a complete set. Be sure to ask your local library to place these on hold for you, so you can start your own manga exploration!