Manga is such a wonderful area of the media. If you’re reading this post, then I’m pretty sure you’re already aware of manga as being the Japanese word for comics. So any comic produced and released in Japan is technically manga. Pretty simple, yeah?
There will be plenty of series you’ve heard of with things like Sailor Moon, Naruto, Bleach and so on. If you know enough to have some basic interest, then you’ve probably heard the terms shoujo and shonen. These are basically manga aimed at young to teenage girls and boys. Most of the well-known series will fit into these two genres. But manga isn’t just for kids and teenagers.
The thing to remember is that there is a manga for everyone out there. So there’s plenty out there for adults too and I don’t just mean hentai and ecchi. Thank god.
Like shoujo and shonen, there are forms of manga that could fit into split male and female target audiences. These are josei and seinen manga which are aimed at people between the ages of 18 and 45. So pretty much, if you’re an adult and you like reading manga, at least some of the stuff will fit into either of these genres.
Today, I do want to focus on josei which as an adult, I would say is my favourite genre of manga. I do enjoy plenty of seinen as well as some shoujo and shonen too but the manga magazine I choose to buy every now and then is josei. So many of the series I adore now – as well as some I’d read as a teenager – were all published in Monthly Comic Zero Sum. Which is always fun to see.
Monthly Comic Zero Sum is my magazine of choice and it’s as thick as I knew to expect manga magazines to be. It’s about the size of an old, thick phone book. And I adore that. There are a few coloured pages with adverts and things but it’s mostly in black and white as manga is generally.
As well as the target audiences, there are some differences between the leap between shoujo and josei. You can see the art can be pretty similar. It’s still full of light lines with either cute or elegant features. There’s a lot of beautiful illustrations and colour pallets tend to be pastel or at least very colourful. I have this exact issue and I desperately want to check out the series on the cover. Look how gorgeous it is? I think this is going to be a romantic fantasy series and I love it so much.
And a lot of the manga in this magazine do tend to skew more towards fantasy. Not all josei manga is fantasy. You may have heard of Nana which is a Josei series from a different magazine and there’s definitely more contemporary josei out there. It’s just that most of the series that I know are fantasy.
Josei manga unlike shoujo doesn’t tend to just focus on cute, romantic stories about young girls. Though there is a lot of romance, josei magazines often feature male main characters and cast. These series aren’t quite BL. Some may feature scenes that can be construed as romantic between men but it’s not usually quite there.
If you’re looking for your typical het romance though, there’s definitely plenty of that too. You still get beautiful girls stuck between handsome guys and a lot of fun plotlines with it. There’s obviously some aspects of shoujo that don’t quite slip into josei. There’s no magical girl series for older women, even if they do have a lot of fantasy series. Which is a shame, I’d love to see an older aimed magical girl series.
As much as I still love shoujo, now I’m older, I’m definitely drawn more to josei. The storylines are often more mature, I get to see these guys often behave compassionately and be sweet and I still get beautiful art and generally get to avoid anything pervy. It’s a lot of fun and I want to read more of it.
Have a few of the josei series that I love that have been translated into English officially:
- Devils and Realist
- My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom
- Magical x Miracle
- Kagerou Daze
Are you a fan of any josei manga? Let me know down below!