Just a quick link this morning to point to today’s Otaku Bookshelf column over at Manga Recon, which includes my review of Shoujo Art Studio, a book that claims to contain “Everything You Need To Create Your Own Shoujo Manga Comics.” You can see what I think about that over in the review and also find the very silly one-page comic I made using the book’s tools and instructions.
Something I didn’t get into too deeply in the review, but which really bothered me while working with this book, is the author’s discussion of the history and nature of shojo manga which claims that “there are really no limits on what can be shown in a shoujo manga,” but then goes on with statements like, “Some heroines are still damsels in distress, but most are independent and successful in their own right. However, supremacy in school or magical combat rarely translates to confidence around boys!” Both the instructions and provided art reinforce the most overdone shojo clichés and it’s difficult to imagine what real fan of the genre could possibly enjoy this or find it of much use. With the background scenery provided–the school, amusement park, girl’s bedroom, etc.–it is a toolkit geared toward creating a parody of shojo manga more than anything else. I can’t even bear to discuss the outfits.
Check out my review for more information on this instructional book. You’ll also find reviews from Michelle Smith and Jennifer Dunbar on two other books of this kind!