I stumbled across a blog called Moe Sucks and it is a delightful blog. Don’t let the name fool you, the blog isn’t about mindless hate, but actually about the blogger poking fun at all the bad sorts of tropes that routinely make their way into anime. The writing is witty and clean and I always enjoy reading the posts. One of my favourite features from this blog is called Harem Hill, where E Minor (blogger of Moe Sucks) takes the worst of the worst harem anime and just pokes fun at all the shit that goes on in each episode by awarding points to determine the worst of the worst. It got me thinking, wouldn’t it be interesting to do that with shoujo? I’m mostly a shoujo sort of person (even though I do watch and read pretty much everything) and instead of just being disappointed about all the bad stuff that happens in shoujo, wouldn’t it be an interesting experiment to try to have fun with these awful stories and at the same time keep pointing out that these aren’t just single instances but actually pervasive problems in the medium? Well that’s what this new feature is going to be about. I’m going to take a handful of shoujo manga that have a certain kind of reputation and go through each one, chapter by chapter, pointing out anything that catches my eye and just poke fun at it. I hope in this way I can improve my knowledge of problematic tropes in shoujo while still keeping a sense of optimism. Anyway here are the possible candidates for this new feature:

Black Bird

First thing that came to mind when thinking of this feature is Black Bird. It has quite the bad reputation with people calling it out for it’s icky covers that feature the main heroine in various forms of physical abuse/pain, and of course the male love interest being a traditional bastard boyfriend. I think this manga is perfect for this new feature.

A Manga by Mayu Shinjou

Manga by Mayu Shinjou have a reputation for putting their heroine through horrible predicaments that are meant to be seen as erotic. I haven’t settled on any particular manga, but I am leaning towards something shorter, just so I brace myself before jumping into the deep end. Right now, I’m thinking of doing Suki Shite Sadist (pictured above), which is only 2 volumes long, but other suggestions are welcome!

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Well the anime is certainly getting quite the reputation and I’ve been hearing the manga is worse, so it seems like a good fit for this feature. That said, I can, unfortunately, see this as one of the more mild of the manga I’ve assembled here.

A Manga by Miki Aihara

Well I personally know this manga author does some really unfortunate shoujo. I had the misfortune to pick up Hot Gimmick once upon a time before dropping it. I also haven’t heard many good things about her other manga, so it seems like a good choice. Like with Ms. Shinjou, I haven’t settled on any one manga, so suggestions are very much appreciated here. Just note I won’t be doing Hot Gimmick since I’ve already touched that (but if demand is high, I am willing to revisit).

Hadashi de Bara wo Fume/ Stepping on Roses

I have this on my Plan to Read list. No idea why. I can’t remember if I just added it because I was randomly adding whatever caught my attention or if someone actually recommended it. Either way, the synopsis has potential to be either good or bad, but from a bit I’ve heard, it is mostly bad.

The Beautiful Skies of Houou High

Another manga I’ve been hearing nothing but negative things about it. This one is actually slightly different than the rest of the manga listed here because the heroine is suppose to be a lesbian. I’m sure everyone can already guess why it’s here now.

That’s all that I could recall off the top of my head, but I welcome everyone’s suggestions. I may not put them into SSS right away (don’t want to bloat the feature with too many manga), but all suggestions will eventually make an appearance. I’m not even sure if I’m going to be doing all six I’ve listed so far. The feature is pretty much a work in progress right now. I’m thinking of doing it by going through a single chapter of each manga per feature, but I don’t know if I’m going to do the whole manga, or just a handful of chapters. It’s pretty much all up in the air right now. I also want to differentiate it from what E Minor does as well, so take his Harem Hill as a general basis for what I am planning to do. I don’t want to be a carbon copy of another blogger as that would be no fun. :P As such all thoughts, suggestions, and questions are much appreciated.

edit: While I was writing up (and thinking about) this post, Moe Sucks came up with a new feature called Shoujo Seminar 101. While the aim is pretty similar, E Minor is focusing on shoujo anime, while I’ll be looking exclusively at manga. So I’m going go ahead and continue this project anyway. Plus it is never a bad thing for more people to raise awareness about bad tropes, right? :3

–SW

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