It’s been awhile since my last Substandard Shoujo Spectacle, but I do wish to try and continue this column, even if some of the manga are getting downright painful to read *looks at Suki Shite Sadist* The theme for chapter 5 of both Black Bird and Sadist seems to be more of the same. Black Bird is continuing down the “Nice Guy” justification it started up in chapter 4; and Sadist is continuing to pile up on cliches and shallow mellow drama.

Black Bird

  • This manga sure likes reminding us of Misao’s predicament. The little blurb about her fate has been repeated in almost every chapter so far. Oh, Black Bird‘s author, have a little faith, I’m sure most of us are smart enough to remember this obviously crucial information without you repeating it at the start of every chapter.
  • Um, do the students not find it strange that the new transfer student (our dear third wheel) is whispering stuff to the teacher? If I had seen a fellow classmate whispering with a teacher during class, I’d find that really odd.
  • Rival tries to kiss Misao “as a joke.” Hahaha, right?
  • By the way, when Misao kisses a monster, it gives him energy. I wonder if this works on female monsters too? Not that we’d see any yuri in a manga so intensely heterosexual in its smut. But it does make one curious.
So damn hot.

See, Kyo’s such a catch because he hasn’t raped Misao yet.

  • Just to let us know once more what a darling Kyo really is, the author makes the rival pin Misao to a wall and threaten her by saying he won’t wait for her feelings. Once Kyo is gone, he will make her his bride. Also darn it, I love how “bride” is being used here as a code word for sex slave. Black Bird sure loves these little code words. Demons want to “marry” Misao and make her their “bride”. My if I didn’t know better, I would think these words are being used so that the reader won’t be utterly turned off by the idea of being a magical demon sex slave.
  • Guys more reasons why Kyo, even though he’s a possessive jerk that can’t keep his hands off Misao, is so much better than rival: The rival attacks Misao to make Kyo take the blow! See, he’s a coward and cowards are so not hot.
  • “No matter how much you hate me…Misao, I’ll protect you. I won’t hand you to anyone else!” – Kyo. SWOON MY LADY HEART! SWOON! He is possessive because he cares! Nothing like that cowardly rival!
  • Guys see! That stunt he pulled back in chapter 3 is ok because he cares so deeply for Misao that he risked his life and doesn’t want her using her magic blood to heal him. He doesn’t want to see her hurt physically, but I guess emotional scars are a-okay? Cause he basically scared her half to death in chapter 3.
  • “If I don’t have you, then there’s no meaning in living” -Kyo *cue major Twilight flashbacks* Also am I the only one that finds this creepy? I’m always a bit put off whenever a character, male or female, is depicted in a way that suggest their lover is the be all and end all of their existence. Yes, love is important, but it’s not the *only* thing of importance to a person’s life.
  • Monsters are a-coming, so Misao you better become mine. Romantic~

(more…)

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I think now is a good time to publish all the stats on bad story elements I’ve been collecting while doing the Substandard Shoujo Spectacle feature. The story elements have, once again, been organized from most prevalent to least prevalent for easy ranking/comparing (and for elements with the same number of instances, it is alphabetical). Any new element is also in italics. There is also now a total next to how many instances have occurred since the last update (back when the feature started), so you can compared how many times something has occurred in total and just these last 3 chapters. I hope everyone finds this as interesting as I have.

Story Elements Breakdown:

Verbal Abuse/Name Calling {Any instance where the heroine is called stupid, ugly, bitch, etc. by her potential love interest}

– 16 instances; 6 manga // Total-to-Date: 18 instances in 6/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.3], Suki Shite Sadist [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hot Gimmick [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3 (x2), chap.4], The Beautiful Skies of Houou High [chap.2], & The Devil Within [chap.2 (x2), chap.3, chap.4 (x2)]

Heroine must be Saved {Heroine is rescued from whatever distressed situation she is in by a man}

– 5 instances; 3 manga // Total-to-Date: 11 instances in 5/7 manga
– Found in: Black Bird [chap.2, chap.3, chap.4], Hadashi de Bara wo Fume [chap.3], & The Devil Within [chap.2] (more…)

We’ve reached Round 4 in Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. As per usual, Black Bird and Suki Shite Sadist continue to show a lot of potential in the questionable tropes and scenario department. In fact, Black Bird was so kind as to demonstrate the lovely logic of the Nice Guy™, while Suki Shite Sadist decided to cover the classic tale of Alpha Male dominance. Clearly, it must have been fate that these two are the first two manga that start off each and every round of Substandard Shoujo Spectacle.

Black Bird

Black Bird - chapter 4 cover

Bound, blindfolded, and afraid: the ultimate fantasy!

  • A tied up, blind folded Misao crying. What lovely covers we have! (more…)

It’s the start of a new round for SSS. The running theme in part 1 of round 3? Possessive dudes are hot and being possessed is a thing to want. Here we go:

Black Bird

  • Oh wow, Misao is actually dating someone other than Kyo. Although now I’m worrying how this is going to end…
  • More passive sulking from Misao about Kyo not wanting her for her, but because she is the magic bride. Can’t have our heroine sulk about how sucky her situation is cause all women think about is whether men want them.
  • Kyo doesn’t seem to understand this little idea we like to call choice. He seems perplexed that Misao wants another man when he’s pledged to protect her for all eternity. You’re right Kyo, god damn those women, can’t they just be happy that someone wants them?! How dare they reject a man just cause they don’t want to date him. He’s so committed and in love. They should be thankful and just accept him!
  • Not that this stops Misao from blushing. Cause it’s sooo romantic that Kyo thinks her choice is irrelevant and all that matters are his wants and desires. (more…)

Thanks for all the feedback from the debut feature everyone! I’m going to keep the general format the same (so three parts for each manga), but the feature is going to be broken down into smaller parts so that it isn’t so overwhelmingly long. How many parts? I’m not sure. I’ll see how long each write up is, and adjust it accordingly each time. Sometimes I have more to cover because there are lots of things to talk about in a given chapter, other times a chapter remains relatively tame and there isn’t much to point out. So far, the chapters aren’t slowing down the punches (except in perhaps one case), so there is a lot to cover for each manga. Stats are going to be moved to their own separate post as well and will now come up every few chapters as a sort of summary of all the ongoing story elements. I hope this will make this feature easier to read and more enjoyable. :)

Black Bird

  • Ah yes, nothing like beginning a new chapter with more unwanted groping from Kyo.
  • And if you didn’t get it last chapter, Kyo makes it very clear now: Misao is his, no other monsters can touch. What’s this, what about Misao’s choice? hahaha, woman choosing their sexual partners? What a laugh! This is the stone age, not some feminist paradise, get those ridiculous ideas out of here.

That’s right Misao, don’t get upset that he doesn’t even think about your choice, but that he wants you cause you’re the magic bride.

  • As usual, our dear heroine sulks, but it’s not cause Kyo is an irredeemable jerk that doesn’t consider her feelings. Nope. It’s cause Misao is certain Kyo only wants her cause she’s the magic bride and sex with her is like nirvana for demons or something. (more…)

Alright,it’s the first edition of Substandard Shoujo Spectacle. I’m still not exactly sure of how I want to do this, so this is still pretty much in the experimental phases, but hopefully after a few of these I’ll figure out how I want to go about this. I sort of broke it into three parts: one which is all sarcasm and snark, one where I actually rate just how bad I think the chapter actually was, and one with an overall ranking based on how offensive the manga was (for me personally). I didn’t just want to leave it all snark because I felt that would be a little unfair as some of these aren’t actually that bad. Shocking, I know! Or at least aren’t totally irredeemable garbage, well maybe except for one or two of them. And when I was going through snark mode, I couldn’t really point out the good parts, so I broke it down into three parts. Two that are total snark fluff and one with my real thoughts about the chapter. It feels kind of strange to do it this way, but I couldn’t come up with a better solution. Maybe I should just be listing the bad things and any tropes? Would that be better? Or is the snark entertaining? I’ll let everyone be the judge.

Black Bird

  • We’re off to a very good start it seems! There’s a girl on the cover, who looks to be in pain with an injury on her shoulder while the dude holds her looking pretty smug about this. Why yes, abusing your lover is oh so satisfying, is it not?
  • After that lovely cover, Black Bird doesn’t lose any time in making sure we know that girls want guys. Like really really want them. Misao, our heroine, states she wants a boyfriend, twice, when asked what she wants for her birthday tomorrow. My my, isn’t she eager.
  • When she gets her chance though she doesn’t take it. How odd, you’d think for someone so determined to have a boyfriend, she would jump at the opportunity and ignore a bad feeling. What should I make of this development? Ah, but that doesn’t stop her from sulking and calling herself stupid. Cause, you know, it was stupid of her not to jump at the chance to get a man.
  • We are then introduced to the premise: all sorts of monsters want a piece of Misao. Literally. Either she’s going to get eaten or raped. How original. I mean the forced demon bride thing isn’t totally overdone. Nope. Nor has it been done elsewhere and in a better way.

Nothing says romance like a guy who thinks of you as his possession.

  • Ah, how romantic, Kyo swoops in to save the distressed Misao and proclaims, “Misao is my bride”. Nothing as romantic as some man you barely know or remember coming in and stating you are his bride without even asking you. *swoon* (more…)

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: (more…)