So, just as I thought I’d satisfied my obsession with shojo-centric conversation in the manga blogosphere, Deb Aoki posts the transcript from her recent interview with Moto Hagio, rendering me fully obsessed all over again.
The transcript begins with Hagio’s panel appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, and moves into a private interview Deb was able to catch with her later on. Not only does Deb ask wonderful questions (along with SDCC panel attendees), but Hagio’s responses (interpreted by Matt Thorn) and her account of her own career are, frankly, inspiring. This transcript is a must-read for all manga lovers and any woman in the arts, in my opinion. Please check it out!
Now, for a brief recap of all the conversation that’s been happening online… comments exploded in response to David Welsh’s Thursday thoughts, inspiring this response from Brigid Alverson at Robot 6. Part of the premise of Brigid’s post was to refute my assertion that Fruits Basket and Boys Over Flowers have very little in common (an opinion I still hold, by the way, and which I’ll be happy to explain at length for anyone who cares).
Having been called out, I reacted pretty strongly in comments to what I felt was a pretty reductive argument. And though I stand by my reaction, after reading the discussion in comments, I don’t believe Brigid actually meant to dismiss shojo, and I’m distressed by the heat she’s taken for it overall. On the other hand, nobody’s taken as much heat as Chris Mautner, who received a scathing response to his review of A Drunken Dream and Other Stories from passionate editor Matt Thorn.
Elsewhere in the blogosphere, Erin Ptah takes issue with my post about female fans (though I think the argument she actually objects to is one I quoted from an earlier post), and Kate Dacey confesses (in comments) to her own internal conflict over wanting to defend shojo manga against dismissive arguments made by male critics while not really feeling the love for much of it herself. This comment (among others) inspired me to talk about why my love still stands strong.
Lastly, in comments to my original HU post, discussion with a reader named Tacto prompted me to provide a list of shojo and what I’m calling “youth-oriented josei” (focusing on older teens and twenty-somethings finding themselves and so on) from my personal collection, with a view towards illustrating the diversity and quality available in titles that have been translated into English. My collection is laughable compared to what I know some of you own, so feel free to add on!
In the end, though? Go back to Moto Hagio. If you read just one link about shojo manga today, that should be it. It will make your day, I promise.