Maybe it’s because I am no longer a teenager, but some of the shoujo and shounen manga that I’ve seen lately seems… well, stupid, pointless, and otherwise without plot or substance. So I started thinking, exactly when does one become too old to read such manga?
I thought about it for a while and came up with this list of signs that you may be getting too old for these two genres. So then, without further ado, I present it to you now!
- You feel like the entire manga chapter you just read could have been condensed into a single frame on a single page for all that happened, even if lots of things supposedly did. — I’ve experienced this quite a few times, even from otherwise good and interesting manga. It’s especially bad when it is a oneshot because it seems like you essentially read nothing and wasted a good number of minutes of your life.
- You prefer to read about/are interested in the older, secondary characters and what happens to them, maybe even more so than the main characters. — I hate coming across a manga where I feel this way because there is almost never any development or story progression for these characters. And that makes me sad.
- You are old enough to be a parent of the protagonist or other main character. — I am not this old, but I hope there will still be interesting manga that I can read when I am. However, sometimes I do find myself sympathizing with the parents and/or other adults in such manga, so I guess it is already beginning.
- You see those things everywhere. Those shoujo sparkles. — I am specifically talking about the two common ways that they are over-used in some manga: 1. There are so many shoujo sparkles that it prevents you from seeing what else is going on in the frame/on the page and 2. You go into a sugar-induced coma or break out in hives just by looking at them! In defense of shoujo sparkles, they do have their time and place (heck, I throw shoujo sparkles on everyone at the end of each post!), but only when used in moderation!
- You feel like you’ve read the same story countless times before. — What I affectionately call “cookie-cutter manga”. You know those mangas, the ones where the personalities of the characters, their behavior, and even the situations they find themselves in seem to be exactly the same as in many other mangas. Sure, all mangas have their clichés, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. However, in a lot of shoujo and shounen, it seems like only the character’s names and maybe the art changes from one to the next with few changes to the plot. It gets boring after awhile.
- You can’t tell one character apart from another, sometimes even within the same manga. — I really think that in such cases, only a child could tell them apart. I’ve read some manga where the only differentiating factor was the hairstyle, and I can accept that, but when even the hairstyles look exactly the same except for the placement of one or two strands of hair!? Or the hair color is how you’re “supposed” to tell them apart… And when it’s in black and white!? What are you supposed to do then?
Well, there you have it! If you agreed with at least one of these, then you are too old to read it EVER AGAIN!
Hahahahaha! Of course you are never too old to read shoujo or shounen manga! :p As long as you enjoy yourself, then all is well. I guess you could say some of this list consists of my pet-peeves about manga in general.
Also, it doesn’t apply to just shoujo or shounen manga (josei or seinen can be equally as guilty!), nor does it mean that all shoujo and shounen manga are terrible reads like I said above, but I do find that they are the most frequent offenders.
I do, quite often, find a very well done and interesting manga that is labeled as one of the two genres. And I am very thankful for those stories, because it shows that there is still good shoujo and shounen left to be read! Everything in italics, though, is my own honest thoughts and opinions.
Until next time,