2014 Shoujo and Josei Round-up — Revisiting my 2014 Predictions!
2014 Predictions! (2014 Results)
For the most part, my predictions were bad, but it was fun giving it some thought. Here are my predictions along side with the results.
- As publishers grope to find create new fads and subgenres, I expect to see more experimental short series and oneshots. (Well… there was nothing as ambitious as Aya Kanno’s shoujo adaptation of Richard III “Baraou no Souretsu”. I started getting some of the shoujo magazines from Shueisha and Shogokugan this year and those stuck firmly to the middle school and high school romances for the most part. Cheese! had the most diverse content. There were lots of cute fantasy oneshots in Lala and Lala DX. The Hana to Yume played around with themed issues. For the most part, the oneshots and short series felt very traditional. So that’s a big no.)
- BL/GL will become more mainstream and creep into the shoujo magazines. It will continue as first as a gag, but them become more straight up romance stories. (Nope. All stories went the gender-hiding or gender swap routes.)
- More bromances! With the success of “Free!” and the wonderful bromances in anime series like “Kyoukai no Kanata” and “Hyouka”, I expect to see more shoujo focused on the friendships between boys and young men. (Nope for everything but Aria which ran many all mostly male driven series like “K”, “Chi to Chocolate”, & “Shounen Hollywood”)
- More S&M psychological stories. This trend seems to be starting now with more mature and challenging oneshots coming out Hakusensha magazines in particular. (Nope. There was a whole lot of cute. There were one S&M bondage comedy called “Tosaku no Honey” which ran in Hana to Yume. I had a hard time finding horror and psychological content this year.)
- More shoujo for women. As Japan’s population ages and as less children are being born, the publishers will have to make sure their readers don’t age out. As such we will start to see more shoujo aimed at young women and career-aged women. (I saw little evidence of growth in this trend in the traditional shoujo magazines. There was “Kinyobi wa Hatsukoi” in Cheese! that featured a 23-year-old female protagonist, and the continuation of a couple of series from last year. Ane Lala, the Petite magazines, and Petite Princess continue to serve women’s shoujo needs.)
- More shoujo (and josei) showing people getting married and having children. I think this will be to model behavior since Japan is facing a low birthrate crisis. (This is a general shoujo thing. As for josei, since I get magazines that cater to readers looking for love and happy family endings, that was what I saw a lot of. This is self-selection rather than a trend.)
- More fantasy from Hakusensha’s magazines and the Princess line of magazines. I think Shueisha, Shogakukan, and Kodansha (with the exception of Aria and Itan) will stick with the middle school and high school love trains.
- Princes and Royal romances — I’m already seeing a bunch of cinderella stories coming out of Lala and the Prince add-on to Princess magazine. (After broadening my scope, I found out that this was something a reader self selects. There are lines of magazines devoted to Royal romances and social gap romances.)
- Smaller format josei magazines. Kiss+ went to a smaller format and Cocohana is experimenting with it. The idea is that a smaller format is more portable and will fit into purses. This goes along with the aging female demographic. (Nope. Kiss+, which went to a smaller format ended and was replaced with Hatsu Kiss which is a large format magazine. Cocohana continues to be large. The smaller formal magazines and anthology continued to be thick or got thicker like Itan.)
- Rapid proliferation of free online manga in Japaneses and English. A lot of publishers are experimenting with windowed free releases of series online and hoping customers will purchase the volume compilations. Well also see this with English language manga as Japanese publishers take it in their own hands to publish lesser known titles. (More titles were made available on Hakusensha’s sub-websites, but no change from 2013 with the other magazine lines.This was not the case for shounen and seinen which saw a lot of free releases on sites like Mangabox and Comic Walker.)
- More manga adaptions and spinoffs of anime series and light novels, or just more cross platform offerings in general. We see the beginnings of this now with “Attack on Titan” and “Valvrave”. (This is not a shoujo trend. Most of this is happen with shounen content. Bunkei Shoujo which did feature manga adaptions of light novels ceased publication in early 2014. Some of the series were carried into Hana to Yume, though. “K” continues to be adapted in Aria magazine.)
- Many long running manga series will end. It’s hard to make predictions about what will end, but it seems like series such as “Kamisama Hajimeshite”, “Akagami no Shirayukihime”, and the “Fave of Mr. Butler” are winding down. I could be completely wrong about these series though. (None of the series I listed ended or seem like they are ending. As for other series, not as many ended as I anticipated, so that’s a nope. The three notable long-running series that did end in 2014 are “Vampire Knight”, “Dengeki Daisy”, and “Library Wars: Love and War”.)
- More long form oneshots and short series. I’ve been seeing a rise in 60+ page oneshots and 2-part oneshot during the second half of 2013 and I expect this trend to continue as publishers search of new fads. (Yes. There were many two part and long form oneshots this year.)
In the next post, I’ll list some shoujo and josei trends I noticed in 2014 and makes some predictions for 2015. Hopefully since I was more diligent in my reading and record keeping, I can make better predictions for next year.