I mentioned this in the comments of the very first ever Substandard Shoujo Spectacle, but I’ve been thinking about writing companion posts for the feature that look into other aspects of the manga that I’ve got running in the feature. I thought it would be interesting to see where these manga run in terms of magazine anthologies. I had suspected, perhaps more so hoped, that they were confined to very specific anthologies. That perhaps the themes running through these manga were a fad of some niche in the market. Alas, this little research attempt broke all my illusions. Unfortunately, except for two manga, all the rest have run in different anthologies. Some are quite surprising actually. So here are the anthologies in question:

Betsucomi

Home to: Black Bird and Hot Gimmick

Betsucomi is a monthly anthology published by Shogakukan. Wikipedia tells me it started out aimed at younger girls, but is now aimed at older teens and younger women. Notable manga that also ran in Betsucomi include Basara, Banana Fish, and Sand Chronicles. Such a shame that manga of such pedigree have shared space with manga by Miki Aihara (a lot of her manga seemed to have been published in Betsucomi).

Shoujo Comic

Home to: Suki Shite Sadist (and most of Mayu Shinjou’s manga)

Shoujo Comic is also published by Shogakukan and one of their longest running magazines. Wikipedia tells me that it was first published in 1968. Many famous shoujo manga have run in Shoujo Comic, like Hagio’s They were Eleven. Many of Yu Watase’s works have also ran in the magazine. Unfortunately, Wikipedia also points out that while the magazine is now aimed at older teen readers, research by the Japan Magazine Publishers Association found that 26% of readers are below the age of 13. That is rather disturbing, especially since Shinjou’s manga is by far the worst out of the bunch so far.

Dessert

Home to: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun

Dessert is published by Kondasha and aimed at late teens and young women. It’s a fairly recent magazine too. Just started publication in 1996. Confidential Confessions also ran in Dessert. The other shoujo manga to get an anime adaptation this season, Say I Love You, is also running in Dessert along side Tonari.

Margaret

Home to: Hadashi de Bara wo Fume/ Stepping on Roses

Margaret is another long running magazine dating back to 1963. It is published by Shueisha and is aimed at junior high and high school aged girls. Some very influential manga also ran in Margaret like Rose of Versailles. It was also the home of Hana Yori Dango and A Devil and Her Love Song. One of Mayu Shinjou’s manga, Ayakashi Koi Emaki, also ran in Margaret (one hopes this one is one of her tame works, or at least I hope she does tame works).

Monthly Comic Avarus

Home to: The Beautiful Skies of Houou High

Monthly Comics Avarus is published by a smaller lesser known company called Mag Garden and it is the most recent magazine on this list as it had its first publication in 2007. Avarus is a weird magazine in that it publishes both shoujo and shounen titles (those from the discontinued Masamune magazine) like Elemental Gelade and Tactics. It is also the home of Heart no Kuni no Alice ~Wonderful Wonder World~ (which I personally liked). I’m rather curious to see how it evolves and how long it manages to stay in print because there aren’t many cross gender publications like this. I couldn’t find any information on target age.

Wings

Home to: The Devil Within

Sorry about the picture quality. I couldn’t find a better picture. Wings is an interesting magazine, it’s aimed at girls 16-to-20, but caters specifically to those interested in fantasy and more action oriented manga. It’s published by Shinshokan. Other notable manga published in Wings include many of Clamp’s early works (such as RG Veda and Tokyo Babylon), The Demon Ororon, and Antique Bakery. What’s interesting here is that the magazine has a slight boy love slant, so Devil Within is definitely a curiosity since it fits neither niche (it’s not really fantasy, at least not yet, and seems pretty much a standard romance except for the shota love interest and there isn’t any boy love subtext that I can gleam from it).

Given that these works are running in pretty mainstream and well established anthologies (with the sole exception of The Beautiful Skies of Houou High and maybe Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, although even if Dessert is more recent, it is published by a manga giant, so I’d say it’s more mainstream and the fact that it has an anime adaptation also suggests that while Dessert may not be as old as some of the others, it is still a widely read magazine), the conclusion I’m going to be drawing isn’t a very good one. It suggests that these sorts of stories aren’t just catering to some small niche, but that these are the kinds of stories most shoujo fans want. The fact that Black Bird won Shogakukan’s shoujo award is also another clue to just how popular these works are. I think my biggest disappointment is that Ms.Shinjou’s manga ran in a regular magazine anthology and not one catering specifically to smut shoujo (like say Cheese). I honestly was expecting her works to being running in Cheese or a manga that caters to a similar subsection, so this is honestly a very eye opening and disappointing mini project.

–SW

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