As we venture farther and farther into 2010, the new year always sparks a deep reflection of my growth of a person. Or, in this case, of my change in manga tastes.
From those early days of Cardcaptor Sakura so many years ago, I've read thousands and thousands of pages, spanning all different genres, plots, characters, and art styles. However, no longer am I willing to let anything pass before my eyes. This past year, a sort of filter has grown over my previously indiscriminate manga appetite, and I am no longer satisfied by what I usually read.
What I usually read and seek out is shoujo. Nice, fluffy shoujo manga, the sugary sweet kind that could attract magnets by how polarized the good and bad characters are, and the kind that has lots of emotional anguish, tears, and cookie cutter characters. What I'm craving now is JOSEI.
At first, I thought my growing dissatisfaction had to do with the manga themselves. In a recent conversation with Blackbird, I ranted, "Why can't I find anything I really like anymore? Where have all the good mangas gone? All these heroines are annoying, the guys are too chauvinistic, and I'm tired of screentone doilies!" And in her typically astute manner, Blackbird said, "Well, it sounds like you've outgrown shoujo. Maybe you should read Josei."
And so it was with much trepidation that I opened myself to the genre of Josei. Previously discounted as boring and serious, I have now found my new go-to genre for my manga cravings. Now that I have almost exited the realm of "teenager" and am entering unexplored territories of "adulthood," I find myself drawn in by the relaxed, introspective, yet slightly amused tone of many Josei mangas. No swooning heroines to be found here, much less screentone doilies, and I must say, the change is refreshing. Finally, women with above average reasoning capabilities, and realistic portrayals of human relations.
Like training wheels, once the step has been taken in a certain direction, the momentum is irreversible. I am now firmly lodged in the Josei camp, and I don't forsee myself leaving in the near future. Happy New Year to all, and may your road be scattered with many soon-to-be-discovered manga titles!
For those who are looking to make the transition from shoujo to josei, check out Shuukatsu - Kimi ni Naitei!!! A most excellent read that combines humor, sarcasm, romance, and sweetness all in one. Credits to mangafox.com!