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Sometimes I stumble upon posts/comments/entries in some random websites about how (mainly) shoujo titles are predictable for them. (I don't remember a mention about josei series, sorry, lol.) What do you think of that kind of statement? Do you often spend hours or days wondering what will happen to the series, and when it comes true, you feel "aww this is no fun because I can guess it"?
Ultimately, is shoujo/josei too predictable sometimes that it gets boring? Or are you still able to enjoy them even though the plot is predictable?
Or perhaps you never found a plot predictable enough for you that it never bothered you?
Hello, Phio-chan ^^
Shoujo may be predictable, but no more than other demographics, as far as my judgment can reach. It does follow many tropes, just as Seinen, Shonen or Josei do, and such characteristics may end up making many series too similiar to stand out on their own. However, these tropes are not normative, and not only they can be discarded if the author thinks they're not relevant to his or her work, but they can also be utilized in new and different ways, renewing their power to appeal to readers already acquainted with them.
To trace a parallel with Literature, Jane Austen always worked within very strict conventions, never going too far from the subject of marriage. Her novels are, however, highly regarded, in part for her impressive ability of developing many different themes within the same similar backgrounds, never loosing though the craft and charm which are particular to her art. In my opinion, she is one of the best examples of how much an author can achieve while working with the same plot elements.
If I were to name one Shoujo manga which was not that unusual, but yet was able to give me a sense of refreshening, I would probably cite Marmalade Boy. The "popular boy dates normal girl" trope is common enough, as is the presence of love polygons. Nevertheless, the story felt very special for me, and it remains to this day one of my favorites. I could sense the characters were falling in love, and although they had some petty conflicts, they came to resolve them with maturity and empathy. Also, it was not very long, and the plot's main aims were fulfilled without too many unnecessary digressions.
Did you ever feel that way about a series you have read?
Last edited by Der Namenlose; May 01, 2013 at 09:07 PM.
Thank you for the post, Der Namenlose!
I agree with what you said. Some of series I like have some similar plots too, but the way it's delivered by each mangaka is what makes the stories special even though they started off similar. I like Akagami and Lapis Lazuli no Oukan in which the prince from the kingdom falls in love with normal girl... And so on. What I mostly get annoyed from shoujo series is the standard rival moments, but sometimes it's delivered in a boring or annoying way that it doesn't feel so challenging, haha.
Shoujo/Josei tends to be quite predictable, but I don't believe predictability should be an issue in the genre. I find that more than authors trying to be mysterious and create needless twists that can ruin the flow of a story, instead producing a more predictable but comfortable plot with the authors touch (art, character traits, how the people come together, etc) is much more effective. Shoujo also tends to aim at younger ladies/girls of course so there are also limits to what can be said.
In general, Shoujo/Josei tends to appeal to the fantasy of a reader (NOT necessarily a character with themselves, but just something they want to see), the predictability can be the selling point. It's like when people are commenting on some TV Dramas and say 'Why doesn't X and Y get together already?!'. People know how things might go but as long as they like it, I think it's something they look forward to.
I don't believe one should change what works, but adding their own touch and appealing to people with it is vital. That way, something just 'old' or 'cliche' will instead be 'a classic' or 'a fresh look'.
As for the rival moments, I'm not fond of those either but there is some difficulty in creating conflict or some trouble in the plot for Shoujo/Josei manga as it focuses on human interactions. The rival is probably the easiest way to do things and have the readers involved in the plot and/or have them feeling sympathetic for the characters... It really is getting too stale for me though.
Last edited by Camembert; May 05, 2013 at 04:34 AM.
Well there is a certain sense of "comfort" in being predictable.
I'm sure there are some shoujo/josei that are really spectacular, and there are those that I really look for just to release some stress- the type where I don't think too much, makes me feel good, and the characters are likeable enough. sometimes as long as those criteria are met I'll go for it. To put it simply, in parallel to TV entertainment, it would be that typical rom-com saturday night movie- where you just want to sit back and enjoy the show, ogle at the pretty boys, root for a pairing, etc.
Like what Der Namelose said, some demographics also have their generic moments, and it's because sometimes it's just what readers look for.
I'm not saying [i]all[/] series are like this though. There are a ton of good works out there that really kept me at the edge of my seat thinking what's going to happen next, or those that have successfully given readers material for debates and different theories.
Most of them YES..
Like the first guy introduced in the manga gets the girl.. OMG it's so annoying..
Well, most of them happened because the plot is strereotyped..
But i prefer something predictable to 'you fight for your friend despite what he did for no reason' kind of plot.. (you should know what i mean)
At least it was realistic..
Last edited by windy van; July 08, 2013 at 05:23 AM.
haha you're the second person I've heard that "first guy rule". I'm sure it's widely spread out there but I don't read much forums to be aware of it, apparently.
My brother first mentioned it to me- and this doesn't even stay within the shoujo genre. We were both watching H2, a live-action drama adaptation of the manga of the same name (H2 is a shounen manga written by Mitsuru Adachi). And he rolled his eyes saying it's always the first guy who meets the girl to get the girl. I didn't know what to make of it, but in retrospect, it did seem true.
Oh my, is that so? I think there are so much who thought so.. haha
I don't mind it if the first guy really do fight for the girls, but if they just take it for granted, errr.. It's so sickening..
I never rooted for 1st or 2nd guy by their order of appearance, but mainly for their personality..
And most shoujo heroine especially always fall for someone with worse personality..
You should know I just read Chitose Etc, and when I search for ending spoiler, it's get on my nerve how that girl end up with the first guy.. Her chemistry with 2nd guy is really good, almost perfect.. How come she choose the 1st guy over him?? And other character said that her chemistry with the 1st guy is the best?? Am I misread??? If you haven't read it yet, I recommend you for stay away from that manga..
you know, I really wracked my brain on this one, because I refuse to believe that there is no hope for shoujo- when this is my first love demographic in the manga industry.
So I tried to remember the remarkable ones that 1) disprove the first guy rule; and 2) are not predictable.
I can name at least three for now: Paradise Kiss and NANA (both by the same mangaka Yazawa Ai) and Fruits Basket by Takaya Natsuki. At least there you have three series that disprove the first guy rule. I'm sure there are more out there.
Paradise Kiss had a surprise ending that kind of sneaked up on you as the volumes went by. NANA is still (sadly) unfinished, but the "first guy" is long out of the picture lol. Fruits Basket's ending was also something out-of-the-ordinary route. Though not too unexpected, I felt it was a brave series for not going by the norm with how things went.