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 Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates

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Pyramidal Crystal


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PostSubject: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   17th August 2011, 12:32 am

So as you've probably gathered I have a thing for older manga, particularly shojo from the 70s. So I thought I'd talk a bit about that, and why I like manga from that period, and what some of the good stuff is!


Why 70s shojo?
Well, I'm not that strict about it being published in the 70s obviously, but there's a big change in shojo that takes place around then. To generalise horribly, shojo from before the 70s was mostly:

- by men
- about v. young girls
- focused on passive female characters who maybe would get saved by a dude?

(Exceptions to the passivity: Osamu Tezuka wrote Princess Knight in the 50s, which has an active girl protagonist with an admittedly super-het ending damn it; Katsuji Matsumoto wrote The Mysterious Clover, featuring a kind of girl version of Zoro, in the early 30s.)

But then the 70s happened and there came a whole group of lady manga artists who were basically a bunch of queer feminists except not because no-one had come up with queer feminism yet. They're referred to as the year 24 group or the magnificent 49ers (reference to approximate year of birth, depending on whether you're using the Japanese or Western calender) though no-one can decide who counts as a member. ANYWAY they were kind of hey hell with this this is boring let's add more gay. And dudes (but they should also be gay, and from fairyland I mean europe)! And some crossdressing. Maybe some ladies can kick everyone else's arses. Oh I know and we shouold have hermaphrodites those are always good! Maybe they can all be IN SPACE!

When they were being more down to earth they experimented with shocking new ideas such as giving female characters jobs. Careers! All kinds of non-man-based things to do with their lives!

In short: 70s shojo contains whole worlds of crazy crazy possibilities.

For bonus fun, it's also the starting point for a recognisable shojo aesthetic! And it even spilled over and influenced the way shonen looks a bunch as well! (Pretty-boys in your shonen? Yeah, say thank you to Takemiya Keiko.)

IN SUMMARY:

Pre-70s:



70s:



So sure there was interesting stuff before the 70s but on the other hand the 70s for shojo are this amazing explosion of unconventional genders and sexualities (the latter having been basically taboo previously, since part of the shojo ideal is that it's inherently pre-sexual) and, basically, things I personally find awesome. It's really not perfect - a lot of it is super-depressing actually and cool characters die a lot - but I really love the sense that the people making this manga had ideas they were desperate to express and work through. They didn't always get there! But they told some great stories while trying...

On which more for another post, because I'm obviously going to split this up if I want anyone to make it through awake. Very Happy
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Pyramidal Crystal


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PostSubject: Rose of Versailles - Ikeda Riyoko   21st September 2011, 5:58 am

Rose of Versailles is pretty much the iconic series of this whole period, right? You've most likely heard of it, and if you haven't, one of your favorite anime series has probably made a joke or six based on it. The Takarazuka Revue revived itself via this story - their performances of which, by the way, somehow manage to be even queerer than all the other really really queer things they've ever done. O SRY I forgot, Takarazuka = 250% straight REALLY REALLY REALLY pay no attention to the lesbians behind the curtain. Anyway. Rose of Versailles. It's around. It's kind of a pervasive background thing, and shojo references it like shonen references, IDK, whichever thing by Osamu Tezuka that particular creator happens to have a fetish for.

But other than being HISTORIC!!!11!!! and SIGNIFICANT!!!! it's also just really really great.


(Image scanned from the official german release of the manga. Oscar menaces a mysterious masked man!)

Here is Oscar! She can kick your butt! I could say other things about the reaction most people I've spoken to have to her as a character, but it's generally not alllll that PG. She is... popular, shall we say. Ladies want her, men want to be her! Etc. etc. etc.


(this is like my favorite screencap ever. Fersen: Oscar! You're more manly than a man! *sparkle sparkle sparkle*)

She's the youngest daugter of a noble family, and has only sisters. Through a rather Queen Christina-esque plot device her father, desperate for an heir who can carry on the family military tradition, decides to raise her as a boy. Hijinks ensue! She makes a very good and extremely beautiful boy! She flirts with all the ladies! She sword-fights! She becomes the leader of queen Marie Antoinette's personal guard! ...oh dear.

The story plays out in the run-up to the French Revolution. Spoilers for the French Revolution: everyone dies. So let's not really be holding our breath for any characters we may feel attached to. But it's a great narrative, in a melodramatic sort of way, and Oscar is one of the most delightfully queer characters I've ever seen. It also contains substantial measures of both court drama and swinging-from-the-chandeliers action, so... something for everyone! I really do recommend this one extra highly. It's not released in English, but the manga has been translated to a whole bunch of other European languages, including French and German, and it's partially available in English online. The anime has been fansubbed in its entirety and is usually not too hard to find. The anime is from the late 70s, so be prepared for lots of panning over still frames, but I really enjoyed it anyway. ;;
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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   21st September 2011, 10:51 am

I've heard lots about Rose of Versailles so I guess I'm going to have to check it out sooner or later. I'd love to hear more suggestions.

I know Cutie Honey isn't necessarily the best definition of feminism (ok its just plain not. I mean her theme song is about how cute and sexy her body is). But I really enjoyed Cutie Honey and well I like classic anime in general. But I haven't really watched much from the 70s-60s time period. Most stuff I'm familiar with probably came from the 80's or 90's. So more suggestions in this thread would be great as you could say I'm kinda newbish with the time period.

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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   11th October 2011, 8:25 am

It was announced recently that Fantagraphics will be releasing Heart of Thomas in English next summer, so that's something to look out for in shops! Heart of Thomas is by Hagio Moto and it's one of the earliest shonen-ai stories. It has all the classic ingredients! The angst! The traumatic past! The Dude Who Looks Like That Other Dude Who You Had Ambiguous Feelings For And Who Is Now Dead Thereby Driving You Slowly Closer To Madness Each Day! Random European Setting! Schoolboys! Yeah, good times. Very Happy

70s shonen-ai is super, super ridiculous. I mean, not that modern yaoi etc. isn't, but this stuff really is the victorian melodrama of the manga world. Heart of Thomas is still well into the category of melodrama, but it's far and away the best - it's fairly compact, focused, beautifully drawn - v. focused on depicting emotion, v. loose panel structures, definitely a dreamworld. Hagio Moto knows her shit.

Thomas from the title of the manga actually kills himself on its first page; the story revolves around the boy to whom he addresses his suicide note and a new arrival at the school who looks a bit too much like Thomas for comfort.



& Fantagraphics' teaser:




This stuff is kind of pre the whole seme and uke idea, by the way, & seems a lot more like it belongs to older schoolgirl traditions of characters who resemble each other to me. Ok, so the characters here are schoolboys, but that seems to have been a fairly random choice - the important thing for this bunch was moving away from heterosexuality, and either Hagio Moto or Takemiya Keiko has talked about how their iconic schoolboy series was very nearly an iconic schoolgirl series. I can never remember which. (Takemiya Keiko = author of Kaze to ki no uta, aka the first shojo series to depict gay sex.) The characters in most of the series from this period feel almost genderless, and there are quite a few male characters who read relatively feminine, while quite a few of the female characters read relatively masculine - like Oscar, above.

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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   1st November 2011, 8:16 am

I doubt it qualifies as shojo, but I've currently begun reading Black Jack (1973 - 1983 with a contemporary revival) by Osamu Tezuka . Unfortunately, some of the stories are really short and I would love to see them continued.

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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   1st November 2011, 8:19 am

Black Jack is /awesome/. Not shojo, no, but whatever. Osamu Tezuka is pretty damn great. I mean, I bitch about him being overrated, but I really just mean that he didn't personally invent everything that is beautiful about manga -- which doesn't at all take away from the fact that he was innovative and a fantastic storyteller. Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   1st November 2011, 8:21 am

I'm actually have a really hard time putting the manga down. This normally isn't a bad thing, but I'm having a hard time finishing this 250 word summary of an article. -.-
Bad ADD, bad.

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PostSubject: Re: Oldschool: the year 24 group and associates   1st November 2011, 11:30 am

Ah! That reminds me. I'm really into shonen a lot. A majority of my favorite series are shonen actually. Me and the BF are watching Dragonball, which I've only seen bits and pieces of it back when it aired in the US. I really enjoy classic shonen like that. I've read almost all of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, which is like one of the 2nd longest running manga ever and i think i had barely made it to chapter 500 before i finally stopped. I'd love to have some suggestions like those too.

Really anything classic at the moment. I think me and the bf are going through an old school thing right now.

Also still need to read Rose of Versailles.

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