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Thread: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

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    Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    This could be largely a generalization, but here's an article that quotes a Japanese news show that talked about how girls prefer shounen manga to shoujo manga.

    As you can see from the pictures there, all the girls who were asked, answered that they prefer shounen manga to shoujo manga.

    As a girl myself, I'll admit that I read a lot more shounen manga than I do shoujo manga (and for that matter I read a number of seinen but zero josei). But that doesn't mean that I dislike shoujo manga, or necessarily prefer shounen to shoujo. Then again, a lot of people call me a tomboy, so I'm not so sure using myself as an example is that valid here

    One of the girls on the show mentioned that most shoujo manga tell rather cliched romance stories. I do agree. There is greater variety in shounen series, though of course beneath it all many of them are largely the same (main character trying to reach a goal, defeat stronger and stronger enemies and make new nakama along the way).

    What do you think? Why do girls prefer shounen manga to shoujo manga? If you are a girl, do you prefer shounen manga to shoujo manga? Why do you even read shounen? Is it a change in the mindset of us girls nowadays, or a change in the shounen genre itself, that attracts so many girls to read what is supposedly meant for "young boys"?

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Funny, I saw that article over at sankaku complex too.
    Not going to give my opinion as a female..because I can't
    but I'm going to give my opinion as a male.
    Firstly, I hope that this article is a good reference.
    I think even back then alot of girls prefer shounen to shojo.
    One of the obvious reason is the good looking and occasionally bishounen characters, the other aspect is what I believe, the "manly" characteristics that can be found in a shounen manga.
    I think instead of good looking butlers or a handsome harem, girls prefer to see cool and handsome guys wielding swords and saving girls in distress,
    in short that is the "manly" and cool aspect that impresses the girl.

    That's what I assume anyway.
    But the story must also be good to engage the readers.
    Sometimes I wonder if all boys cares about a manga is its cool fights and flashy looking weapons but I don't think girls bother about that..as much.

    In short,
    They are in love with the characters and the story than the shounen elements.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    It's interesting to note how most of the shounen (and even seinen) series that are well-liked by women tend to be written by women On the lists from the link you posted, Kuroshitsuji, D.Gray-Man, Fullmetal Alchemist, Sei Onii-chan, xxxHoliC and Reborn are all written by women. One thing I like about shounen series written by women is that the damsel isn't always in distress. It's not always the men coming to save the women, and the women are strong and can fight alongside the men. I don't know about other girls, but that's something I like to see in my manga. It annoys me when the girls are helpless and always need saving. I think women mangaka are also, in general, able to add a different, more sensitive touch to manga, to make it more realistic and touching.

    I guess it's true, what you said about manly and cool aspects impressing girls. I can't deny being impressed when a cool character fights in a cool way I guess that, to me, holds more appeal than a cool guy just standing there and looking cool, while all the girls in school swoon over him (as so often happens in shoujo manga).

    I also wonder if it's because the shoujo demographic is just so saturated with overly-similar stories. Romance stories almost always take place in schools, and there really are only so many ways to tell a story about girl-meet-boy and them falling in love and the problems their romance faces. Perhaps that's also why it's the shoujo series that have something special and different about them like Ouran (comedy? Reverse harem?), NANA (music, I suppose you could say), Nodame Cantabile (music again!) and Skip Beat (fashion), that have a lot more fans. The only generic shoujo with a cliched plotline on those lists is Kimi ni Todoke (not that it's a bad series though! It's excellent. It's an extremely well done cliched story, that stands out from the rest).

    Another thing about shounen... I think good shounen is usually a good blend of a lot of things, including the elements of shoujo that a girl might want to read that demo for. There's not only action, but also human drama, and of course romance. Although romance isn't the focus of the series usually, it's there.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Well, actually I prefer shoujo than shounen but I do like some shounen manga like Fairy Tail, Bleach, Naruto and Soul Eater.
    Maybe it's because I still need some action and shounen offers that. It's real hard to find action scene in shoujo manga. =__=
    And it's really interesting to read shounen because I like to read a story from male's perspective.
    I used to read shounen more than shoujo but now I read shoujo more because lately shoujo is evolving. Shoujo is not all about romance now (though it's still one of the main genres). It's still far behind shounen for more offerings of genre but it's getting better.
    And shounen usually offers longer story. One thing that I don't like about shoujo is that mostly the story ends quickly. It's not enough. Shounen manga can reach more than 100 chapters (which is good) though sometimes they gets too long and become boring (like what happens to Naruto. It's not that it's not good. It's great, I like it. But I got tired of reading it.)

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    I'd always pick shounen over shoujo hands down but same as you Saladesu I rather bit of a tomboy I don't actually read any Shoujo I'm not interested in it at all - just like chick flicks and rom coms though gimme a good action movie any day But for shounen over shojo I feel it's just that there's a lot more going on and more focus on original plot lines and if you want romance often that's in there too so there's not as much of a call for shoujo. For me as well I've developed a strange inability to read anything with a female main protagonist even tho most my fave manga's are written by women! (AnE, D.GM, FMA, etc) And most shoujo are female leads. I think female leads are more contrived, there's a lot more you can do with a guy personality wise and physically and such&such (though i bet a feminist would shoot me lol)

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Well,one of the obvious reasons are Bishounen characters.I mean,what guy would not read a Shoujo full of hot chicks?
    However,Shonen also have those loser types,which work their ass off to achieve their goal.Naruto is a great example for that.He started as a complete loser and little by little,he began to gain popularity.They saw him go through hardships,they saw him mature,they saw him live through various situations.So i guess,they also have more respect for him and like him more than a simple guy in a Shoujo.Furthermore,many girls told me that Naruto looks handsome now.
    And the yaoi between Sasuke and Naruto or Gon and Hisoka might be another strong factor.Ehe...he....

    Another reason was already mentioned.Shonen just tend to be more experimental and interesting.Everybody has a weakness for a vast,unexplored and crazy world.Shonens take place in various settings,sometimes even in worlds beyond our imagination.There is a broad variety of aspects that make Shonen so much richer,so much deeper.I guess it's not that they like this 'boyish' literature,Shonen just appear to be superior in quality.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Quote Originally Posted by Googlez_kun View Post
    Well,one of the obvious reasons are Bishounen characters.I mean,what guy would not read a Shoujo full of hot chicks?
    However,Shonen also have those loser types,which work their ass off to achieve their goal.Naruto is a great example for that.He started as a complete loser and little by little,he began to gain popularity.They saw him go through hardships,they saw him mature,they saw him live through various situations.So i guess,they also have more respect for him and like him more than a simple guy in a Shoujo.Furthermore,many girls told me that Naruto looks handsome now.
    And the yaoi between Sasuke and Naruto or Gon and Hisoka might be another strong factor.Ehe...he....
    I think most girls would actually prefer Sasuke at first, just like any girl in the manga itself - Sasuke is the epitome of cool, the smartest in class etc, and his enigmatic character probably only added to his "charm". Naruto is a character you'd only come to like later, and you'd like him for his strength of character, pity him for his past, and admire him for his determination and will etc. I find that oftentimes guys in shoujo series are quite one-dimensional (kinda like Sasuke but without much backstory). Not always, of course, characters like Tamaki in Ouran High, Yano in Bokura ga Ita etc are quite three-dimensional.

    As for Yaoi... No comment

    Quote Originally Posted by Googlez_kun View Post
    Another reason was already mentioned.Shonen just tend to be more experimental and interesting.Everybody has a weakness for a vast,unexplored and crazy world.Shonens take place in various settings,sometimes even in worlds beyond our imagination.There is a broad variety of aspects that make Shonen so much richer,so much deeper.I guess it's not that they like this 'boyish' literature,Shonen just appear to be superior in quality.
    I agree. It's not so easy to find a shoujo with something really that different to offer. One shoujo I really liked though, X/1999, read much like a shounen because it had action, fighting, end-of-the-world stuff. (yukihime, if you're looking for a shoujo with action, try this one out but beware of hiatus!)

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    In Shojo.. Or at least the Shojo I have read.. Mm.. Tried to (I can't.. I just can't LOL) the pairing is pretty much set up, sure the girl has like 4 or 5 options but there is always like the main guy which everyone knows the girl is gonna end up with, now in Shonen the story doesn't really focus on that but girls tend to make up pairings.. Even of guys with guys, and that is why IMO girl prefer shonen, in shonen there are countless possibilities since most of the times the protagonist aren't in love (Though there are occasions) so girls can pair the characters with whomever they want to.
    Here are some good interseting articles btw.

    EDIT: This one too.
    Last edited by perroloco; June 21, 2011 at 02:27 AM.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Well I'm a girl, and I prefer any shounen over just about all shoujo (minus the really really good ones :P)

    Since I am a tomboy as well :P (blood and gore! XD) I can't speak much for normal people, I usually like shounen for the story, it's just way more interesting than a traditional shoujo, even though shounen does have a cliched storyline as well. But in shounen, that can be twisted in many ways unlike shoujo where it is mostly the same (like ^ said). Once I think about it, my favourite manga is Pandora Hearts, a shounen, by a female author. And it has stronger female characters than something like Naruto (XX Sakura) or Bleach (Orihime needed rescuing ). But in FMA, Winry wasn't that strong... (but Izumi made up for it lol). I guess that I don't really like weak female characters, and most male mangaka like doing the 'damsel in distress' thing T_T.

    I don't mind reading shoujo, but I generally get bored of it after 40/50 chapters because it is so cliched, and you can already tell what will happen.

    As for liking Sasuke... I was already 6/7 when I first watched Naruto and I got after the Orochimaru bit so I never really liked him. But my fav character (apart from Minato :P) is Kakashi, because of his hilariousness (not a real word, but it should be! ) not for any other reason really. And like ^^ said, I do like it a hell of a lot more when there is a smexy guy fighting, rather than watching girls fight over him (thus the Minato attraction :P)

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Hmmm. I prefer yaoi. Since some people say it is a sub-group of shoujo (o.O), i think i can say i read more shoujo than shounen.
    ^_^
    But i can be considered an underdog within mangareaders. How many yaoi lovers do you know in this forum? :P

    I'm usually atracted at first to well drawn characters, bodies looking closer to reality. But it's quite funny, although that is a very common aspect in shoujo, i only liked Ouran so far.

    Discuss the yaoi side of Shingeki no Kyojin and Kuroko no Basket at the Boys Love section.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    I think shounen is preferred over shoujo for it's better comedy and slice of life stories, and probably more realistic and painful romance. Rather than the glittery *dokun* *dokun* style. I dunno, girls have become more realistic, and realise the bullcrappyness of cliches?

    Or not. *coughTwilightcough*

    But I think the better comedy and slive of life is definitely true. I mean, stuff like Special A and Ouran, I wasn't fully aware they were shoujo's because the art style wasn't ridiculous and it was actually quite funny.
    ~Haze - 羡慕嫉妒恨! ^^ ~嶺上開花!!~

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    wow so much hate for shoujo, so many people generalizing shoujo as 'cliched romance', eh? That is not all what shoujo is about, it is basically a genre and within a genre, there are a wide varieties of stories to be chosen. Romance theme is prominent in shoujo just like how 'from zero to hero' theme is prominent in shounen.
    But seeing all of this hate is quite understandable, since this place is more focused on shounen and seinen mangas... which make the members here very biased towards them ^^;

    i read and collect (hardcopy) a lot of shounen mangas, but i enjoy many great shoujo titles as well. Actually, i think i buy more shoujo titles than shounen ones.
    There are many good and enjoyable shoujos like Garasu no Kamen (a true masterpiece), Otomen, Ouran, Fushigi Yuugi, Cardcaptor Sakura, etc. The romance theme is very prominent in those titles and they are really good mangas that are widely enjoyed by people from both genders. My 33 years old older brother (a responsible adult, married with kids) enjoys Fushigi Yuugi a lot, and he is not even a manga fan. ^^
    Last edited by R4n; July 05, 2011 at 10:20 PM.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Hey, hey, it's not hate on shoujo. I mean, Special A and Ouran (and some other stuff) were all pretty funny and great mangas to read.

    I'm just saying that there are also a lot of unrealistic, glittery prince stuff that kinda feel icky and weird, and I doubt people would enjoy. I dunno?
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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    like i was saying, there are horrible romance mangas, and there are great romance mangas. Not all shoujos are 'icky prince-ly stuffs' like what you are saying. Just like not all shounen are 'unrealistic hero's journey with cheerful hero' cliche.
    In shounen there are a lot of painfully cliched stuffs and there are many wonderful ones (like Meitantei Conan or One Piece) xD

    many people seems to put shounen on a pedestal by forgetting about the existence for hundreds and thousands of the bad ones.
    But whether people like shounen or shoujo, it is a matter of taste and preference.

    and the responses in this thread is... rather ridiculous. Too much generalization. 0___0
    for example, saying 'shounen has more realistic romance' is a serious generalization. i read many shounens, and it is basically written in a way that appeal to the males. I noticed that the girls are often portrayed like how males would love it (obedient, big boobs, sweet, good cook, badass, etc). Just like how shoujo is written in a way that appeal to females (that's why usually the males are so perfect).

    --------
    It is the same as making a 'do you prefer shounen over shoujo' thread in a shoujo manga fan website. Many of the responses most likely are: 'i don't like shounen because the drawings are ugly', 'it is all about endless power ups', 'the story is unrealistic', etc. It is all about overgeneralization. >__>

    -------
    this is rather off topic, but i am very interested in the emergence of 'fusion' genre (i don't know what it is called so i make up my own definition. ^^;;;; ). I am referring to mangas that are labeled as 'shounen' but the content are very catered towards the females (pretty drawings, bishounens, shounen-ai hints, etc). Kuroshitsuji, Di[e]ce, and Pandora Hearts comes to my mind.
    Last edited by R4n; July 05, 2011 at 10:42 PM.

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    Re: Why do Girls Prefer Shounen to Shoujo?

    Quote Originally Posted by R4n View Post
    like i was saying, there are horrible romance mangas, and there are great romance mangas. Not all shoujos are 'icky prince-ly stuffs' like what you are saying. Just like not all shounen are 'unrealistic hero's journey with cheerful hero' cliche.
    In shounen there are a lot of painfully cliched stuffs and there are many wonderful ones (like Meitantei Conan or One Piece) xD
    I agree I've read a number of great romance shoujo myself. My point is rather that romance tends to be limited because there are only so many things that can happen with a romance. On the other hand, action is limited, too, but it can be masked by having characters that use different, unique, original powers. If you look beneath the surface - yeah, most action shounen are the same. However, the differences on the surface are (at least for the better ones) enough to distract from the similarities they share at their core. On the other hand, I think it's a little harder to do that same distraction/masking when it comes to romance - the setting and premise can only lend so much of a distraction.

    Quote Originally Posted by R4n View Post
    this is rather off topic, but i am very interested in the emergence of 'fusion' genre (i don't know what it is called so i make up my own definition. ^^;;;; ). I am referring to mangas that are labeled as 'shounen' but the content are very catered towards the females (pretty drawings, bishounens, shounen-ai hints, etc). Kuroshitsuji, Di[e]ce, and Pandora Hearts comes to my mind.
    There are also manga labeled as shoujo but have a lot of shounen elements (apocalypse, action, super powers etc) such as CLAMP's "X/1999"

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