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 Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?

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PostSubject: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   24th September 2012, 12:02 am

I've always been a big fan of shoujo anime ever since I first got into anime through Sailor Moon. There are lots of anime review sites out there that give very high praises in their reviews of many shoujo titles but it seems like in spite of these high quality titles out there that everyone who's seen them agrees they're good, shoujo anime can never get a break in the U.S., whether through TV ratings or DVD sales. It seems like the only shoujo anime that's ever become popular in the U.S. has been Sailor Moon, Fruits Basket, and Ouran High School Host Club. Sailor Moon is still a fairly "manly" show for a shoujo anime with all its action scenes, so that somehow makes it more "acceptable" for boys to like. And Fruits Basket and Ouran are comedies which for some reason is more acceptable for American anime fans to watch than straight up dramas. But shoujo anime as a whole never seemed to really quite catch on in the U.S. like sci-fi and Shonen Jump anime has. I think part of the reason for this is largely driven by this heterosexism attitude in American culture. We have this idea in American society that it's socially acceptable for girls to like things considered to be "for boys" but if a boy liked something that was considered "for girls" then the boy would be accused of being a sissy or gay and made fun of it for that.

I remember growing up in middle school and always being picked on by the other guys because I was a guy and I liked Sailor Moon more than the hypermasculine Dragon Ball Z. Although I've come to enjoy both DBZ and Sailor Moon now, at the time, DBZ was something real boys were supposed to watch and Sailor Moon was something only sissies liked. I don't know if the situation has changed any since I was a kid and first getting into anime, but there still seems to be the perception that dark and violent anime are regarded as "mature and complex" and shoujo romance is regarded as "light and fluffy." If you look at the top favorite anime titles of most anime reviewers, it's almost always the very dark and violent anime that are the most highly regarded like Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll whereas more "cutesy" anime like A Little Snow Fairy Sugar and Ojamojo Doremi are further down the list even if they're just as well written and have as high production values as the darker anime.

And for any progress we may have made in changing this perception, we still haven't gotten a single shoujo anime aired in its entirety on American TV although shonen anime get reaired frequently on Adult Swim. How many times have they shown reruns of GITS and Cowboy Bebop since they first premiered and yet shoujo anime is still excluded from any consideration on Adult Swim. Again, this is repeating this stereotype that shonen anime is "mature" and for adults and shoujo anime is "immature" and for kids. But I have to wonder if the very idea of the shonen and shoujo categories isn't sexist in itself. It seems to be relying on these stereotypes that cartoons with lots of action and fighting are for boys and cartoons with romance and comedy are for girls and never the twine shall meet. There are some exceptions like Inuyasha and X/1999 but those are the exceptions rather than the rule it seems. As long as shoujo anime has this connotation that it's only for girls, then shonen anime and manga will always have the advantage over shoujo in ratings and popularity.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   6th April 2013, 1:05 pm

This a good question Neon Genesis I've always ask myself the same. I can't watch or read something that isn't Shoujo. Like I don't have anything against Dragon Ball One piece or Death Note but I don't understand why there so popular ok they have a lot of action and good storylines but like come on there has to be Romance to make the Anime better. It really pisses me off why Full Moon, Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne, Wedding Peach and and Kodocha weren't popular here like they were in Japan. Mostly all the Shoujo Anime are English Subtitles because they believed they weren't going to be popular like they were in Japan.


Lets be honest though there are barely girls that like watching Anime in the U.S like there's in japan mostly the guys are the ones into Anime that's why Shoujo can't be as popular, but like you said they made an exception with Sailor moon because it was the first magical girl series , Fruits basket because it had a good storyline and Ouran High School Host Club cause it had some comedy not much romance .

I do hope though oneday people can like Shoujo and it can be popular, cause there is good many good Romantic Anime that haven't been be aired in the U.S. I pretty sure many people would be into fushigi boshi no futago hime, onegai melody, Jewel pets and Kirarin Revolution. This are cute Shoujo Anime that have great storylines and Cute Guys

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   6th April 2013, 10:39 pm

Well, as far as getting it aired on TV, unfortunately it just has to do with demographic and ratings. Adult Swim is generally aimed towards the 15-35 year old male crowd, so showing action/shonen anime makes sense. Its all about the ratings. If something doesn't do good ratings wise, it gets moved to a later time slot or removed. Unfortunately thats the way of things culturally in the US at this time period.

However, I think there may be a slow turn against that way of thinking though, a prime example of boys liking something "girly" and it starting to slowly become more "ok" is the Bronies. The bros that love My Little Pony. I mean, My Little Pony, even with the newest generation, has always been (and still is and will always continue to be) a show to sell toys to little girls. And due to some good writing and people that care, we got a really great kids show that is appealing to both boys (in that 18-35 year old demographic too!) and girls, while still primarily being a very "girly" show.

But, you've pretty much stated the main problem with us not getting much shoujo become streamline over here or aired on TV, its just still too big of a cultural difference. I'd have to say though that there has been tons of shoujo DVD and manga releases and I think that stuff still does fairly well, but it just doesn't compare to the moola that shonen makes. Also I think anime as a whole has been on a decline in the US for quite some time.

You also have to consider that Japan, as a culture, has this whole loving of "cute" things. Its a complete cultural thing and I don't really know why or how it came about (I haven't read much into the "kawaii culture" thats rampant in Japan, just an article here and there) and why there wasn't this divergence of "oh thats a woman/girl thing" other than I think completely different ways of thinking.


Anyway, that reply just got a lot more long winded than I had intended. o.O

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   6th April 2013, 11:49 pm

Adding to the cultural difference thing, in Asian countries, a boy could put cute pink Hello Kitty accessories all of his cellphone and nobody's going to think he's weird, his male friends might rib him a little bit but in most cases, they aren't going to think he's weird but in most Western countries, its frankly a little weird.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   7th April 2013, 12:21 pm

Small Lady wrote:
Well, as far as getting it aired on TV, unfortunately it just has to do with demographic and ratings. Adult Swim is generally aimed towards the 15-35 year old male crowd, so showing action/shonen anime makes sense. Its all about the ratings. If something doesn't do good ratings wise, it gets moved to a later time slot or removed. Unfortunately thats the way of things culturally in the US at this time period.

However, I think there may be a slow turn against that way of thinking though, a prime example of boys liking something "girly" and it starting to slowly become more "ok" is the Bronies. The bros that love My Little Pony. I mean, My Little Pony, even with the newest generation, has always been (and still is and will always continue to be) a show to sell toys to little girls. And due to some good writing and people that care, we got a really great kids show that is appealing to both boys (in that 18-35 year old demographic too!) and girls, while still primarily being a very "girly" show.

But, you've pretty much stated the main problem with us not getting much shoujo become streamline over here or aired on TV, its just still too big of a cultural difference. I'd have to say though that there has been tons of shoujo DVD and manga releases and I think that stuff still does fairly well, but it just doesn't compare to the moola that shonen makes. Also I think anime as a whole has been on a decline in the US for quite some time.

You also have to consider that Japan, as a culture, has this whole loving of "cute" things. Its a complete cultural thing and I don't really know why or how it came about (I haven't read much into the "kawaii culture" thats rampant in Japan, just an article here and there) and why there wasn't this divergence of "oh thats a woman/girl thing" other than I think completely different ways of thinking.
Anyway, that reply just got a lot more long winded than I had intended. o.O



Your absolutely right in everything you said Small Lady but why can't guys give Shoujo a chance like I said before An anime can't be good without some Romance. I'm pretty sure you know there's been a lot of Anime that don't finishing getting dubbed because they weren't being bought examples are Kodocha, Full Moon and Kirarin Revolution. I want a Shoujo Anime besides Sailor Moon to be as Popular like Death Note or Dragon Ball z.

@Miki that's cute if a guy had a cute pink Hello Kitty accessories all over his cellphone here in the U.S they would automatically think he's gay I find that Dumb can't guys like girly shows without getting judge. I'm pretty sure there are guys out there that love Shoujo but they just have to admitted Wink

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   7th April 2013, 7:42 pm

Guys won't give it a chance until American society changes the way it views "gender" based things and stop worrying about being so manly all the time. There's some progress, but its going to be a while before we see any real change to where it could affect what type of shows we get. It doesn't help that anime right now is already a small market and even though there are tons of fans in the US, its not enough to compare to mainstream stuff. So that makes it even harder for shoujo anime and manga.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   8th April 2013, 1:09 pm

Your right Small Lady I know there are guys out there that like Shoujo but just cant admit it. How can Shoujo ever be popular in the U.S if guys can't just admit they watch it.
How many Anime have stop getting Dubbed because the DVD'S weren't being bought, I mean there are fans that are saving up money just to continue buying the DVDS why cancel because it's not getting enough profit its unfair for us the Fans who are actually watching the Anime and buying it. I mean other then Fruits Basket, Sailor Moon and Sakura Cardcaptor what other Shoujo is popular in the U.S none. There are actually read good Shoujo Anime that haven't gotten a chance here in the U.S.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   8th April 2013, 8:53 pm

It might not be unfair, but you have to remember the companies have to be able to make enough money to be able to even stay open to dub/sub the anime, produce the dvds, etc. Just look what happened to Pionear, Geneon, and ADV. :/

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   8th April 2013, 9:34 pm

To be fair with Cardcaptor Sakura, the completely rehauled it to appeal to boys and Fruits Basket was always going to succeed due to its massive manga popularity in the US. So they're not really good examples that shoujo anime are a good investment for American companies.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   16th April 2013, 1:14 pm

Small Lady wrote:
It might not be unfair, but you have to remember the companies have to be able to make enough money to be able to even stay open to dub/sub the anime, produce the dvds, etc. Just look what happened to Pionear, Geneon, and ADV. :/

I'm mean your right Small Lady but how many of us fans save up money just to be told the Anime won't continue to air in the U.S. Why can't Kamikaze or D.N Angel be as popular as Dragon ball z and Sailor Moon Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   16th April 2013, 1:24 pm

I think Toonami contributed significantly to what anime shows were popular in the United States in the 90s (when Sailor Moon last aired in the U.S). Toonami (and Adult Swim) catered significantly to a male base. Although Toonami was on hiatus for a considerable time period, I wouldn't be surprised if it influenced which types of anime shows were popular today.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   16th April 2013, 1:29 pm

Sailor Venus wrote:
I think Toonami contributed significantly to what anime shows were popular in the United States in the 90s (when Sailor Moon last aired in the U.S). Toonami (and Adult Swim) catered significantly to a male base. Although Toonami was on hiatus for a considerable time period, I wouldn't be surprised if it influenced which types of anime shows were popular today.

That is true Sailor Venus. The only Anime I remember saw aired by toonami were inuyasha, Sailor Moon, Dragon Ball z and naruto but I mean there are really good Anime that haven't gotten translated into English because the Producers believe they wont be popular but I mean give it a try. I mean there are male who like Shoujo they just don't like to admit

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   16th April 2013, 1:31 pm

I know it isn't an anime, but hopefully the popularity of the new My Little Pony series will encourage more cartoon shows and anime aimed toward females.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   17th April 2013, 1:30 pm

Let's just wish it does but I do believe it has large fanbase I wish other Anime were as popular as my little pony

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   27th April 2013, 3:44 pm

@Bella wrote:
@Miki that's cute if a guy had a cute pink Hello Kitty accessories all over his cellphone here in the U.S they would automatically think he's gay I find that Dumb can't guys like girly shows without getting judge. I'm pretty sure there are guys out there that love Shoujo but they just have to admitted Wink

I too would think it's cute because i love Hello kitty.


Small Lady wrote:
Guys won't give it a chance until American society changes the way it views "gender" based things and stop worrying about being so manly all the time. There's some progress, but its going to be a while before we see any real change to where it could affect what type of shows we get. It doesn't help that anime right now is already a small market and even though there are tons of fans in the US, its not enough to compare to mainstream stuff. So that makes it even harder for shoujo anime and manga.

even if a guy is sensitive, he can get made fun of.. WTF! since when is it a crime to be caring?

there is a good fallowing of male fans of Sailor Moon. but there could be more if people weren't so shallow and judge a guy by what he watches.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   22nd May 2013, 3:17 am

I've always wanted to get more into Shoujo series, I'll have to give Fruits Basket a shot one day.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   22nd May 2013, 11:45 am

@Deathscythe wrote:
I've always wanted to get more into Shoujo series, I'll have to give Fruits Basket a shot one day.
Defintely try giving Shoujo a chance I was never into Shonen but I started watching Elemental Gelade and I fell in love with Shonen Anime/Manga. Thanks to the Anime I got into Shonen Smile

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   23rd May 2013, 5:42 pm

I started watching Fruits Basket on Netflix, pretty funny so far.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   29th May 2013, 11:17 pm

I always thought shoujo was pretty big in the US

I know a lot of guys who like anime and manga and they'll go on and on about the more... action filled anime/manga among each other and to other girls but I typically don't have a preference and so I guess it's easier for them to open up about their hidden shoujo likes or something, I dunno.

People deny they like things because of embarrassment mainly but shoujo is actually pretty popular among girls and guys.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   3rd May 2015, 5:28 pm

I wish shoujo/girls' anime were more popular here. They teach good lessons, have good characters, and deal with issues most shows won't touch, like Jewelpet, My Melody, WMT anime, Precure, etc.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   21st June 2015, 3:00 am

Small Lady wrote:
Guys won't give it a chance until American society changes the way it views "gender" based things and stop worrying about being so manly all the time. There's some progress, but its going to be a while before we see any real change to where it could affect what type of shows we get. It doesn't help that anime right now is already a small market and even though there are tons of fans in the US, its not enough to compare to mainstream stuff. So that makes it even harder for shoujo anime and manga.

I just discovered this thread/topic yesterday, and have been able to read through every post here since.  The best answer to the title question is in the above post - Small Lady really hit the nail on the head here.  And I know what I'm talking about, being a male with several different feminine tastes (not just in anime & manga).

For example, I often wear my hair in a more 'girly' style (by American standards) because I want to express my feminine tastes in some way.  It seems like females often compliment me for this (though admittedly not always).  But I almost never get anything positive from any male about this; in fact, several of them (independently) have tried to lecture me to change and conform to American standards for what males should do (even after I give my common defense for my choice - see below).

Other examples have shown themselves from watching popular culture here.  Consider the American movie industry.  It seems like musicals and romance movies are always stereotyped as being only for females.  Yet you never hear of any movie being only for males.  Remember the popular reception Momma Mia got when it came out in 2008, especially from male comedians?  Going farther back, I remember when the Sex and the City movie came out, one of the (male-hosted) late-night talk shows did a comedy sketch that characterized every male who went to see that movie as being either whipped (by his wife) or gay.

To focus more generally (and start to go off on a tangent), I have expressed frustration to certain people (who I'm pretty sure will be understanding) that if a girl looks or acts masculine, (American) society views it as not very bad at all - she's a tomboy.  But if a boy looks or acts feminine, he's automatically labelled as gay (which BTW, I am not - I'm just as interested in females as the average, typical male).  I've never really understood why we have this double-standard - in fact, I like to defend my 'girly' hairstyles by saying "If girls can have masculine hairstyles, why can't boys have feminine hairstyles?"

So getting back to the point, it really is true - until American society changes, shoujo anime & manga will never be as popular as shonen, by any measure.

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   21st June 2015, 4:28 am

@Neon Genesis wrote:
I remember growing up in middle school and always being picked on by the other guys because I was a guy and I liked Sailor Moon more than the hypermasculine Dragon Ball Z.  Although I've come to enjoy both DBZ and Sailor Moon now, at the time, DBZ was something real boys were supposed to watch and Sailor Moon was something only sissies liked.  I don't know if the situation has changed any since I was a kid and first getting into anime, but there still seems to be the perception that dark and violent anime are regarded as "mature and complex" and shoujo romance is regarded as "light and fluffy."  If you look at the top favorite anime titles of most anime reviewers, it's almost always the very dark and violent anime that are the most highly regarded like Ghost in the Shell and Ninja Scroll whereas more "cutesy" anime like A Little Snow Fairy Sugar and Ojamojo Doremi are further down the list even if they're just as well written and have as high production values as the darker anime.  

Well, in where I live we actually don't really mind guys liking shoujo series and I also ever met any guys who are fan of shoujo series on the internet. There were guys at my high school who like few shoujo series, but we didn't mind them and we still want to befriend any of them. I also have a friend at the university whose boyfriend is a fan of shoujo series and I ever talk to him about his favorite shoujo series. One of the guy on the deviantart that I befriended is a fan of Cardcaptor Sakura and we still like to talk with each other. I actually have no problem for guys liking shoujo series, in fact I feel somewhat happy to know any guys who like shoujo series.

Then again, my best friend is a fan of shounen series and she once ever told me that she was often being made fun of by the girls during middle school because she likes shounen series. Many of the girls at her school viewed her as a "weirdo" or an "oddball" just because she likes shounen series, she told me that many girls at her school simply viewed girls who like shounen series to be "weird" or "manly" or even "odd." But my best just didn't care of being made fun of by the girls at her school, she simply said that those girls at her school just cannot understand that shounen series can be enjoyable or well-written. 

My best friend and I are quite the opposite when it comes to anime/manga genre preference. My best friend likes shounen series yet don't like many shoujo series (except for 3 or 4 series) while I like many shoujo series more than shounen series (except for few). Despite of our different preference, we still stay friend until now and we tolerate each other's preference. My best friend doesn't mind me for liking shoujo while I also don't mind my best friend for liking shounen, we even like to talk about our favorite series if we have spare time. What's even more fun, we once ever made a crossover fanfiction from our own favorite series into one story. 

As for shoujo series being overshadowed by shounen series, I don't think it is always true because in where I live there are quite a number of shoujo series that gained high popularity such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Sailor Moon, Kamichama Karin, Gakuen Alice, Ojamajo Doremi, Fruits Basket, Shugo Chara, Candy Candy, Tokyo Mew Mew, etc.
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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   11th August 2015, 7:57 am

I've noticed that in the US, and not just with anime and manga, but with other mediums of entertainment, there's this idea that girls can like Marvel and DC and video games and stuff that's typically aimed toward men (but really both genders can enjoy it) but HEAVEN FORBID that men like Disney movies or My Little Pony or Sailor Moon or anything that would be aimed toward females, that's just sad.
Seriously?!?!? If a guy would be considered "gay" because he likes things that are a little girly, why aren't women "lesbian" because they like things that, until a few years ago, were mostly considered for guys only?

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   11th August 2015, 9:04 am

Most cartoons and I'm going to include anime in that while we're talking about it being marketed in the US, are aimed at boys. Sure, girls have some stuff when they are younger like Barbie movies or gender neutral shows that both genders like, but after a certain age, and even growing up myself in the 90s, I watched all boys cartoons because that's all there was for my age range. I watched things like Beast Wars and Batman, Batman Beyond etc. There weren't any cartoons for girls of my age which in the later half of the 90s was 5-10 years old. 

I think societal, girls are pushed to do other things like be a miniature mommy etc and don't have time for cartoons. 

I do remember the cartoons they do have for girls were suppper girly and not all girls are into super girly stuff (hence me more watching guys stuff) but Sailor Moon and Card Captors Sakura, two of my favourite animes, were Shojos, despite the US's attempt to market CCS as a shonen xD

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PostSubject: Re: Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?   11th August 2015, 9:55 am

I think another thing to bring up--that I'm not sure if it has been already--is that boys are an easier demographic to get a hold on for the long term. Due to girls maturing faster than boys, girls tend to grow out of things quicker and readily move on to the next thing. So for example, a shonen show like Pokemon can get years and years of seasons cause a majority of little boys will stick with it and continue that revenue of money with toys, games, etc.  

Girls as a whole are a bit more fickle and will move on quicker, look at how they market Precure in Japan with an entire new cast and concept each season rather than same characters on and on forever.  I think this is definitely a contributing factor to the popularity of shoujo in the US on top of the gender and society issues that have been brought up.  

However, you do have to look into shows that have been around for several years like Winx and wonder what it is they are doing that keeps it around (I haven't watched it so i can't really put an actual thought about that xD) and why other girl shows do not do as well as that.

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Why Isn't Shoujo Anime More Popular in the U.S?

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