Okay, okay, that’s a blanket statement which won’t encapsulate every single shoujo ever made, but this is just my opinion on a genre that I’ve tried and just not found to my liking. Also note that I’m talking about shoujo shows based around romance, rather than mahou or… otherwise, I guess.
Let’s get one thing straight: I’m not a cold heartless bastard who hates any form of love and relishes the suffering of others. Nor am I an action whore who’s only into EXPLOSIONS and HIGH-SPEED ACTION. I just don’t see what’s so appealing about shoujo. And this is probably a gender thing as there are many exceptions to that unspoken rule.
I haven’t had much experience with shows from that genre; in fact, the only shows I could say I’ve watched would be Itazura na Kiss and Special A. (neither were the paragon of shoujo anime (I think) and neither did I finish). What I quickly realised was that I wasn’t watching the shows for the characters, only for the comedy. To be frank, I didn’t give a toss whether Kotoko ended up with Irie, I only supported her because Irie irritated the hell out of me. The same for Special A., only that was more the fault of Hikari being a dumbass and… well everyone in the show being a dumbass.
However, that’s only the case of those two shows. But from those two shows, one admittedly good manga (that I still feel no urge to continue reading) and a few blog posts I think I’ve garnered all the knowledge I need to state some of my problems with the genre.
I hate the art, at the very least for mangas.
It’s just too fanciful and too embellished. There’s no sense of subtlety or understatement and you can barely go 3 pages or half an episode without seeing some sort of elaborate background to demonstrate that THIS IS A CRUCIAL MOMENT or THIS CHARACTER HAS X FEELING. This happened often in Special A, whenever something significant happened in the show, they used this strange sketching style that just didn;t have any impact at all.
I hate the characters.
Everyone seems like a retard in these whos, be it from misunderstandings to not expressing feelings to each other. Granted, this isn’t a problem limited only to the genre, but it’s more significant when it’s based around 1 girl and two guys, or slight variations thereof. I don’t even have to say much about the character devlopment, as the All Girls Round Robin some months ago looked at the cliche of “The Other Guy” (further posts right at the top). Then there’s the fact it seems to always be about 1 girl going after some generic and/or stereotypical guy who always sucks in one form or another, be it being perceived as perfect only to *GASP* NOT BE, or being a complete asshat.
I hate the rigmarole.
This is something that’s just irritating with the entire romance genre, but particularly with shows like Itazura or Vampire Knight (oh yeah, forgot that’s shoujo too). It just gets to the point that I’m thinking “Why am I watching this when I could probably come back at episode 22 of 24 just in time for the moment when everything’s resolved?” At the very least with a harem (shoujo’s hated enemy WRRRRYYYY) you get some level of mystery as to who the main chracter will end up with (most harem show’s suck btw, just to make that clear).There’s no suspense either, just a linear plotline where the goal’s in sight; I need some sort of variation to keep me interested or I just get bored.
I can’t stand watching complete idocy or misinterpretations or plain bad luck befalling these characters only to have the relationship developments slow down to a crawl or, god forbid, go into complete reverse at certain times. Then there are times when the pacing’s just completely screwed up. Case and point: I dropped Itazura at around episode 12 or 13 and then a couple of weeks later I find out that *spoiler* Kotoko and Irie are getting married! How the hell did that happen within the space of a couple episodes? What was the point of having Irie being a douchebag for almost the entire time till that point anyway?
If anyone could recommend me a show that at least bucked a couple of trends from the above then I’d be happy to try it out and see if I’ve just made a huge mistake in giving up on the genre. I like most genres except for shows in this vein. Though Itazura, Special A. and Vampire Knight just left a bad taste in my mouth that stopped me from checking out the (apparently) genre-busting show that is Skip Beat!