'Shojo' manga/anime follow storylines allegedly aimed at girls. However, these storylines are often quite popular with both men and women as well as children in the U.S. because they are often more intelligent in plot and characterization than shonen and are often only distinguishable from shonen in that they focus more on romance and other personal relationships such as friendship, areas of interest to both genders.

shojo vs shôjo

This node has been renamed back and forth a couple of times, so it's time to set the record straight and educate the public in the intricacies of long vowels in Japanese while I'm at it.

This node is henceforth shojo because E2 bakufu policy is to use only short vowels in Japanese node titles. Elsewhere lies chaos; see Editor Log: February 2003 for a more detailed rationale.

And now the definitions of the words in question:

shôjo 少女
daughter; young lady; virgin; maiden; little girl
shojo 処女
virgin; maiden

...and for completeness' sake...

shôjô 猩猩
orangutan; heavy drinker
(and a whole lot of other things for other kanji, none of them terribly common)

The first of these, with the long vowel, is by far the more common of the two, and the careful reader will observe that virgin is in fact a (secondary) meaning for it as well. You are thus unlikely to make any really mortifying mistakes with this particular pair.

Definitions courtesy of JDICT. Thanks to sekicho for the monkey.

Despite shojo anime getting tagged as "anime for girls", it does have some fascinating storylines that go beyond giant robots and things exploding. Shojo involves storylines that are steeped in interpersonal relationships and events that occur around the characters interacting with each other with an emotional backdrop. Oddly enough, all genders tend to enjoy stories with a solid plot and quality writing.

Fruits Basket, for example, is a popular anime and manga that involves characters that get turned into Chinese zodiac creatures whenever they're hugged by someone of the opposite sex. The main heroine, Tohru Honda, stumbles onto the family who has suffered from this curse for a long while. She has an understanding for why the family members tend to avoid outsiders because she is an orphan. This leads to the usual odd events and funny accidents one would expect. The characters are well defined and the storyline involves a lot of family dynamics.

Fushigi Yûgi: The Mysterious Play is another popular shojo anime in the United States. This one uses a trope of having a young girl named Miaka who gets transported back to ancient China. The method of transport is through a portal in a book, so this one is not that far off from how we use reading to take us to other places. She is assumed to be a priestess whose destiny is to invoke a god to save the land from terrible predicaments. Unfortunately, she keeps getting kicked back to her real world every so often and has to work on returning to the alternate reality to finish her task.

Again, both of these examples are good ones to sample. Fushigi Yûgi lasted 52 episodes, so it's worth a binge-watch when it comes onto one of the streaming channels. Even if you're the giant robo-explode-athon type of individual, you may be surprised that shojo anime can grow on you.

Iron Noder 2017

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