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”

Review: Will I Be Single Forever?

Mami is 36 and unmarried, and the entire world seems to be telling her she must be miserable. But is she? Does she really need a ring on her finger to be happy when she has a job she loves and friends who support her? A collection of interconnected stories that explores the hazards and joys of unmarried life through the eyes of three single ladies.


Will I Be Single Forever? is a josei manga by Mari Okazaki based on an essay by Mami Amamiya.

I could rant endlessly about things like Okazaki’s expressive art and the beautiful and evocative visual metaphors. However, I want to focus on what impacted the most: the central message and how the story chooses to convey it. Continue reading “Review: Will I Be Single Forever?”

Review: Go for it, Nakamura!

Nakamura has fallen in love-at-first-sight with one of his classmates, Hirose — but there’s a problem: they haven’t actually met yet…and Nakamura is a total klutz who might bungle things before they even begin!


In many ways, Go for it, Nakamura! is what I’ve always wanted. The story introduces Nakamura as a gay, introverted, octopus-loving boy with complete naturality. Those are just established facts, and when the story wants conflict, it chooses to explore the octopus-loving angle. Continue reading “Review: Go for it, Nakamura!”

Review: Claudine

The classic LGBT+ story by the creative master of Rose of Versailles!

Born as “Claudine” in a female-assigned body that doesn’t reflect the man inside, this heart-wrenching story follows Claudine through life, pain, and the love of several women. Master shoujo mangaka Riyoko Ikeda explores gender and sexuality in early twentieth century France in this powerful tale about identity, culture, and self-acceptance.


Lately, Seven Seas has been licensing a bunch of either classics or LGBT+ manga; Claudine happens to be both. Originally published in Margaret in 1978, this is is one of the works of the legendary mangaka Riyoko Ikeda–most well known for her shojo masterpieces The Rose Of Versailles and Dear Brother. Continue reading “Review: Claudine”

More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love

When I have to describe the nature of Ash and Eiji’s relationship in just a couple of words, what usually comes to mind is “platonic romance.” It might sound like a silly contradiction, but stay with me.

In some ways, Ash and Eiji are unlike anything I’ve seen. In others, they remind of romantic tropes I’ve seen in my years watching and reading (hetero) romances.

Banana Fish is a notable queer shojo classic, however, in some ways–not unlike other queer works–its male leads can be both be a product and fall victims of the time in which they were conceived. For this reason, things like the main character’s sexualities can be a delicate and complicated discussion. Still, Ash and Eiji’s relationship remains remarkably touching… and notably romantic. Continue reading “More than Friends, More than Lovers: Exploring Ash and Eiji’s Love”

Review: Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen [Yatta-Tachi]

Moyoco Anno’s Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen tells a story about people who wish to escape from their lives – or perhaps, from themselves – and the different ways they choose to face or fight their realities. There can a be a sharp contrast between some ugly cruelties and the almost glamorous art style. The story might not be a particularly engaging one, but it sure was hard to put away once I started reading. Continue reading “Review: Memoirs of Amorous Gentlemen [Yatta-Tachi]”

Review: My Dearest Cop

Seiji Tajima is a single, forty-something shop owner who’s close friends with police officer Shin Nakamoto. Shin, who’s just been assigned a patrol in Seiji’s neighborhood, has known the older man since he was in high school – back when Seiji himself worked in the police force. Shin’s harbored a crush on Seiji for years, but has convinced himself that their relationship is as good as it gets – until one day out of the blue, Seiji casually mentions the possibility of trying his luck with men… His simmering feelings suddenly brought to the boil, Shin shoves Seiji up against the wall, and… From the author of the hit comic “An Innocent Puppy Meets a Two-Faced Cat” comes a new spin-off! Can Shin, who’s held a 10-year-long torch for the (too) laid-back Seiji, win in this game of love?

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