To a great extent, this post serves as an excuse to link to David Welsh, whose Thursday thoughts revolve around the question of how critics talk about shojo manga, and whether some reviews of Moto Hagio’s A Drunken Dream and Other Stories reveal a chronic devaluation of works written by/for girls and women. I’ve probably said enough on the second half of that topic already to warrant keeping my mouth shut for quite some time. Still, I wanted to address one small thing.
One of the reviews David quotes is this one from Chris Mautner (a critic whose writing I respect a lot, by the way) at Robot 6. Here’s the quote:
“Dream, on the other hand, has both feet firmly planted in the world of shojo manga. The ten tales that make up this book all consist of overly sincere, heart-on-the-sleeve-style work. There’s very little ironic distancing and self-effacing humor here, although it does peep its head out occasionally. Mostly though, that’s been ignored in favor of heightened melodrama and earnest heart-tugging. While it avoids the sort of contrived, romantic, situation-comedy type plots that mark a lot of the shojo manga that has been translated into English over the past decade, there can be little doubt that Dream has more in common with Fruits Basket and Boys Over Flowers than Red Colored Elegy or Abandon the Old in Tokyo.”
Ignoring, for the moment, David’s main purpose in pulling this quote, I find myself compelled by one major question: What do Fruits Basket and Boys Over Flowers really have in common?
Let’s look at the (abbreviated) facts:…