MOB – Round 1 Entry 1

Hi guys, I forgot to tell you all that I’m currently participating in the Manga Olympics for Bloggers and this will be my first entry for it! I’m participating in it for some exposure and although I know I’m just an amateur at reviewing stuff, I ask you all to please vote for me because I’ll do my best! ^^

Please vote at this link here

So here’s the question I’ve decided to answer:

In the past, Shoujo manga trends towards a confession in a romance setting, however, these past few years have seen a change in direction, with confession scenes occurring faster and secondary plotlines pushed further. How far would you agree with this statement?

Hmm, honestly speaking, my history of reading shoujo manga isn’t very long so I don’t know much about how shoujo mangas were in the past. However, I have read what I would consider an ‘old’ shoujo manga before and it comes in the form of the very famous manga that has been adapted into several live-action dramas loved by thousands of girls known as Hana Yori Dango.

I can’t exactly remember how Tsukasa confessed to Tsukushi because I read this manga quite some time ago and it was really long but what I do remember is that instead of telling her his feelings outright when he started to like her, he would show it to her through his actions. He showed strong signs of jealousy whenever she was with her friend Kazuya or whenever she was with any other guy, for that matter. Tsukasa finally confessed to Tsukushi verbally in chapter 31 in his room.

17

I wouldn’t say a confession in your own room is romantic but perhaps it is kind of romantic in the sense that it is a private room because it’s his room and no one else could enter it unless permitted to.

I do agree that confessions in shoujo mangas are occurring faster and that secondary plotlines are pushed further, to some extent though. Some examples of confessions (face-to-face verbal ones) occurring faster are like in Sukitte Ii na yo (chapter 11) and Strobe Edge (chapter 5). I don’t think this is a bad thing though.

For one, I feel really excited whenever I see the one of the two main characters step up and confess to the other because it piques my interest in the story. It makes me want to read on to see the answer of the confessed to the confessor and how he/she would react to the other party. Confessions occurring early in the mangas are also good because it could mean that we would be able to read more of the two main characters’ relationship and how they grow from learning more about each other through trials and tribulations. However, if the confessor gets rejected, then we have the anticipation of reading on to see how the relationship continues.

It can get long and draggy to read about a character that’s in a one-sided love but the story clings on to its readers with the pain of anticipation and hope that he/she will eventually get together with the other party in the end. And sometimes, it can be a painful 30+ chapters later.

However. I don’t think many recent mangas are like that. Most of them still retain that classic formula of girl-meets-guy, girl-becomes-friends-with-guy, girl-realises-she-loves-the-guy, girl-starts-to-get-closer-to-guy before finally girl confesses to the guy.

Why? Because it only makes sense for this to happen rather than the main protagonists in the story falling in love with each other right away before we even see any build up to it. Simply put, if there is no build up to the climax, half the point/purpose of reading a shoujo manga is gone already. But, if the main characters get together early in the story, it must be compensated with an interesting relationship filled with problems for them to overcome together and grow in love. That’s what I think.

I kind of agree that secondary plots are pushed further, but isn’t that why they are called ‘secondary’ plots? And that’s probably why one manga can have quite a few story arcs. Some secondary plots are the relationships in the background, that run concurrent with the normal story line. Such an example is Sayuri and Daiki’s relationship in Strobe Edge.

Secondary plots are what makes the story more realistic, so it doesn’t seem as though the story only revolves around the two main characters. It gives the characters more colour and life and it contributes to the interesting meter of the story. So in conclusion, I do agree that some shoujo mangas are having their secondary plotlines being pushed back but for those that run concurrent with the main story line and runs before the main story line, we still like them all the same as these story formats keep us on our toes and bank on our interest on the main plotline to keep reading. Because without the main story line, the secondary plotline has to be good and whether the readers will stay with the manga depends on it.

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2 thoughts on “MOB – Round 1 Entry 1

  1. Hi Sarah Jane,

    I am also participating in the Manga Olympics and did my first post on the same question. I like how you answered to the statement, which had a clearer and cleaner direction than mine. Likewise, my shoujo manga list is not long, so I don’t know how past series have done their confessions. I have heard of the infamous Hana Yori Dango, but never read it. I skimmed through one volume, but the main plot looked like a mess and major angst was written all over it because no one ever bothers to talk to another to clear up misunderstandings. Why is that such a hard thing to do? I have watched my number of Korean dramas, and boy do I know the formula for the typical Cinderella-story, as you mentioned in your post. That formula works and many mangakas stick to it, which is fine because you can’t escape from what is ‘universal,’ but after many interpretations or takes it can be boring and unoriginal.

    I understand that nowadays the romance in shoujo manga has picked up the pace because readers want to see the main pairing hook up, which allows for a peek into the relationship after the ‘confession’ and see how the characters deal with the growth and changes in themselves and their love for each other. Which I don’t mind, but if there isn’t enough conviction of why I should care and love the main couple (e.g. what made them fall for each other in the first place, do the characters change because they mature from the relationship (e.g. hero was a jerk, but after the couple admits to their feelings, he tries not to be a jerk too much; that his jerkiness isn’t a knee reaction to everything), it can leave me feeling cold trying to figure for myself why these two characters work out the way they do.

    Also, secondary plotlines get pushed further because there are other people in the main couple’s lives who can be just as interesting. But unfortunately, sometimes those secondary characters and their stories get the short end of the stick because either they are not interesting enough for the readers or the mangakas do not care for their development.

    On a last note, I like your interpretation of when Tsukasa verbally confessed his feelings to Tsukushi. Perhaps, it might not have been the romantic setting we fantasized about (e.g. a man professing his love to a woman over an evening candle-light dinner); but Tsukasa’s bedroom is a romantic setting in itself as you have described because it is his room where he is perhaps able to be honest with himself, his feelings, and Tsukushi.

    Great job overall on your post 🙂

    Like

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