Art style & fashion in shojo manga: a brief look

My interest in things like beauty and fashion trends and shojo manga have overlapped multiple times. This has made me notice certain things, but before starting, I want to make some clarifications.

First of all, I’m not by any means an expert. Not everything I’ll cover is exclusive to shojo and its influencers either. I simply want to focus on a couple of particular works and artists that happened to be featured in shojo magazines because, well… That’s what interests me! Consider this as a kind of laid back post by a fan. 

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Identity & self-worth in Hanshin & Iguana Girl

Whenever I see the name Moto Hagio “paranormal and scifi” and “complicated family relationships” instantly come to mind (and of course, “The Heart of Thomas”). The shorts “Iguana Girl” and “Hanshin: Half-God” certainly fit there, but I wasn’t expecting them to feel so personal

Both stories play with altered realities and the perception of oneself, to the point you’ll sometimes have a hard time discerning what’s actually real. Spoilers ahead!  Continue reading “Identity & self-worth in Hanshin & Iguana Girl”

Eiji’s the sun: staying by his side

Not talking about the direction Banana Fish‘s going right now is honestly just self-care. Ash and Eiji never fail to bring me joy though, so!… Let’s talk about love instead.

Whenever Eiji tells Ash that he wants to be with him, there’s a constant: Ash’s shock. It’s there as a close-up when Eiji tells Ash he’ll “stay by his side” (if he doesn’t mind) or that he’ll “go crazy if he loses him too” (after what happened with Shorter). It’s also there in Ash’s shielded eyes and the way he pauses when Eiji asks him to come back safely, and that “he’ll wait forever” for him. Continue reading “Eiji’s the sun: staying by his side”

On Your Side: Support networks in March comes in like a lion [Anifem]

March comes in like a lion is not always an easy show to watch. I’ve lost count of all the times it’s brought me to tears. The protagonist, Rei Kiriyama, is probably the most relatable and moving representation of anxiety and depression I’ve ever seen. He’s the one thing that brought me to this show, but he’s not the only reason I stayed.

While it might seem like March centers on shogi, the game itself isn’t quite as a relevant as what it means to the players. Shogi works as a centerpiece that brings all these people—with their different life experiences—together, but what really sticks out is what the game does to its players. Continue reading “On Your Side: Support networks in March comes in like a lion [Anifem]”

An Unforgettable Holiday: A look at Japan’s love for Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn is mostly remembered as a Golden Era Hollywood legend and a fashion icon. Her star image embodies enduring beauty, grace, and kindness–both on and off the screen. She survived World War II, which later influenced her to become a humanitarian. As a pre-teen ballerina, she helped the resistance in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands, and her harsh childhood motivated her to dedicate her later years to children as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF. (Fun fact: Hepburn is an EGOT, and her Grammy was for Best Spoken Word Album for Children.)

Among her most well-known films are My Fair LadyBreakfast at Tifanny’s–arguably celebrated for the fashion icon Hepburn’s character made her rather than for the film itself–and her Hollywood debut, Roman Holiday.

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The Moon & The Lynx: playing with gendered character archetypes

One of the most interesting things in Banana Fish to me is how it plays with “traditional gender roles” in fiction. I’ve talked about some of the ways this is done with Eiji before, like how he’s equated to a past female love interest in a situation where Eiji’s role would usually go to a girl. In recent episodes, we also see him in “damsel in distress” situations, like when Ash’s rescues him while escaping Dino’s mansion, or when Yut-lung captures him because of his connection to Ash. However, Eiji’s not the only boy who gets roles that usually goes to women. Continue reading “The Moon & The Lynx: playing with gendered character archetypes”

Passion & Talent in Glass Mask

Perhaps the best way to start this is by saying that it all began forty-two years ago. It was 1976 when mangaka Suzue Miuchi started serializing what would become her life’s work: Glass Mask. This classic shojo bestseller survived a defunct magazine and inspired countless adaptations, including two tv anime series, a tv drama, and a three-episode OVA. The manga it’s still running to this day. Continue reading “Passion & Talent in Glass Mask”

Taking a Banana Break

I started this series of posts because, despite its flaws, I’ve been loving this adaptation as its own thing. These detailed posts mostly highlighted how the adaptation was taking advantage of the medium to tell the story (like the use of color and symbolism). I also pointed out the changes I appreciated, and enjoyed drawing connections with all those old books and movies.  Continue reading “Taking a Banana Break”