For those of you who don't know (also meaning, most of you), shoujo manga is basically girls manga. That's just about the literal translation. Don't confuse it with shoujo-ai, which is something most straight boys would want everything to do with.
This is how they go, my friends.
So there's a girl. And she's not supermegafoxyawesomehot. Sorry. She's usually the awkward one, never been kissed, never been in love. Usually she's fifteen, because that's when high school starts in Japan. Then there's this guy, and oh my god, girl, he is fine. All the girls want him, but for some reason, he wants Miss Never Been Kissed. Usually this boy is introduced and there's some sort of sparkling about him. Maybe he saves the heroin from getting raped (like in Mars), or stands up for her when the entire class gangs up on her. (Seriously.) And because everyone and their mother admires this boy, Never Been Kissed suddenly gets a good amount of respect.
At this point, of course, there's always the option where the story gets all rape-y and the pretty boy goes GIRL I STOOD UP FOR YOU NOW, SO I OWN YOU. And stuff. When it comes to things out of Japan, it's usually either as G rated as a Disney Princess movie, or as fucked up as a website with a domain ending in .xx. Yeah, that's right New York Comic Con. I saw all the hentai booths, with the over eighteen drapes.
So yeah. Blahblahblah. There's a bout of unrequited love. A lot of 'does he like me!?!?!?!!!!', the girl realizing her feelings and admiring the pretty boy. And then the confession. Now, the confession does not equal the kiss, okay compadre? That's a whole nother story. Usually shit's just gone down, Never Been Kissed thinks that the pretty boy hates her. Then it's all NO I LUV U.
Yeah. The story might end here. Depends on how long it is. I once read a manga where it took fourty fucking chapters for the confession to come out. That means ten different volumes. You'd have to spend at least a hundred dollars before you got to it. (The manga is Kimi no Todoke, by the way. I forget the English translation.) Anyways. Then pretty boy and Never Been Kisses are officially a couple. Woot.
Generally, the following happens:
- Pretty boy has a hoard of admirers who abuse Never Been Kissed. They might steal her shoes (because in Japan, you need special shoes to walk around in school. I don't really know why.) or they might hire someone to rough her up. Exhibit A.
- Pretty boy has an intimidating ex girlfriend who is super perfect!!!!! This brings out Never Been Kissed's every one insecurity.
- Another boy enters the picture, and the Prince gets all jealous.
Do not mistake, though. Some shoujo manga is really good, with depth and tear-jerking moments, but most of it is fluff and angst, in timed intervals.
Coming up eventually: a review on The Walking Dead: Compendium One. It's fucking huge, though, so that may just take a while.