Hi everybody! My name is Phillip and some of you will know me from writing on my site Eeeper’s Choice for the Manga Movable Feast and also for writing for Otaku News. Melinda has kindly invited me to write a monthly column on Manga Bookshelf, after I read and replied to her call for contributors.
The column is being called “Shoujo I’m Scared Of,” and it refers to a problem I’ve been having reading manga for a few years now. On my own site I once declared that I would read anything, that nothing was out of bounds. But in my heart of hearts, I wasn’t telling the entire truth of the matter. I should have said I would read anything that was recommended to me, but if left to my own devices I wouldn’t seek certain titles out. Some of the those titles are shoujo titles. While shoujo enjoys and continues to enjoy a mix of male and female readers, I have always been put off by shoujo, partly because I was nervous about taking on huge franchises of shoujo properties, and partly because I think I didn’t want to like them. If I did, then my more manly genre favourites would be put by the wayside. Plus I was deathly afraid of screwing up in front of the internet. In short, I was scared of shoujo and didn’t know how to approach it.
This, dear readers, is not how a grown man should act. After reading Melinda’s request, I began to think of an idea that I could pitch. After rejecting a few dozen ideas, I started to realise what I could write about. I remembered some of Kate Dacey’s coverage and reviews about Sailor Moon’s forthcoming re-release in North America. Sailor Moon has always scared me. The title alone was always marketed in my neck of the woods as just for girls, and the fanbase was made it sound like the story was the greatest thing ever.
In my mind, Sailor Moon represents the best example of shoujo that I can think of. If I could get through every volume of Sailor Moon (I checked and there are 13 volumes of the Japanese editions) and give it an honest, balanced, take-it-apart view, I reckoned I stood a pretty good chance of curing my irrational fear of the genre. But I don’t plan to tackle just Sailor Moon. Codename: Sailor V lurks by the stage curtains, as does Princess Knight and a few others. While I’m still afraid of messing up, I reason that the best place for me to be if it does happen is doing something I enjoy doing. I hope you enjoy me trying to justice to the titles I’ll tackle.
I do have a request of all the potential readers of the column: if you know of any shoujo titles that are available in English, I want to hear from you even if they are out of print. I’ll add them to the pile of things to do. Please note, I’ve only got a limited income so if I don’t get around to your recommended title for some time, then I apologise in advance and ask that you be patient with me. If you have any comments or questions please send an email to me at eeeperschoice -at- gmail -dot- com