Hi! First, Happy Valentine’s Day!
And welcome back to Shoujo Fanfare, my month long special feature where I unabashedly share my undying devotion to shoujo as well as josei series. Here are the full deets:
Hello, this is Shoujo Fanfare, Rainyink’s Love Month Special Feature! In four weeks I will (try to) showcase my obsession with shoujo (and josei) manga. If you are fan of these reads, hopefully you’ll find my silly quirks and quips mildly entertaining. And for those who haven’t try it, then I hope by the end of the month I give you enough nudges to pick a shoujo title and read it!
This week I’m gonna concentrate on shoujo tropes, clichés or stereotypes (or whatever you may call it)! That sometimes decisive factor whether I will read a series or not. (Come on admit it guys, you too right?) I confessed before that I don’t mind tropes or clichés in general. I think they are big help to rouse those curious little heads of ours and try reading the title itself. And I said before execution plays a big part on whether the trope will work or not! So for me the usage of tropes is two thumbs-up!
Today, I’ll be sharing you my favorite romantic tropes/cliches in shoujo/josei (terms were borrowed from mangaupdates.com). Usually I check for information before I delve into reading. I rarely—super rarely read a novel or graphic novel for this matter blindly. I need to know what lies ahead before I invest my time reading it. And if I find this shoujo/josei series have this trope/s as part of the story, you bet your sweet cupcakes I’ll be reading that!
You know what’s more entertaining and good opener to a love a story to me? When the future couple started as rivals first. Right? Right? I mean look at all the possibilities! The possible angles to flesh out! The BICKERING! The undeniable tension (then sexual tension). I’m more impressed if the girl is determined to win. (This trope also is associated with Strong Female Lead) I think that more they try to outwit the other the more they know about this person (vice versa). And then it’ll develop into something more (like they said “there’s a fine between love & hate”). But to me it’s more fun that after all those fights the—
Yes, most of my favorite shoujo or josei series have this trope! I love the story if the guy falls in love first. Especially those male protag that are patient; waiting for their lady loves to realize that what they’re doing is beyond the goodness of their hearts. They’re in love with this woman who doesn’t seem to know that these guys doing are beyond the call of a friend (also can be categorized under “Dense when it comes to love”). And it’s really cute to see how the guy harbors feelings secretly and rejoicing even the tiniest development they share (even the partner is unaware about it). It’s so cute. And to make matters more interesting is if they have—
I know, such a sadist you are, Mitchii. Not only is the girl is oblivious, despite all the stuff the guy did in the name of love, the romance will take some time to officially happen. Hak (of Akatsuki no Yona) can understand this (so does, Tsubaki and Ren—well for these two the love is no longer one sided). But what I really loved about it is the story can dive into other aspects instead on solely focusing on their romance. There’s more exposition that is likely to happen if the romance is slowly happening. This is not the same as dragging the romance; it’s more akin to planting seeds in their relationship, and carefully nurturing as it goes. It’s more natural that way. Plus, I’m a sucker for little moments. I treasure them the most. Sometimes I think why most of my fave couples/OTP have slow romance is because I have penchant for—
Age Gap (more precisely: Older Male, Younger Female)
The reason sometimes why they have slow romance because the guy as much as possible tries to avoid getting into a relationship with female lead because of their age. Take a look at Ren Tsuruga (of Skip Beat!) or Kibikino-sensei (Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet). I believe that girls are easier to adapt and to mature. That’s why I think despite the age gap, the relationship is possible. Plus most of my reads, the guys are always mature enough to wait (as stated above) for the girl & respect the boundaries between them. But sometimes in between waiting I want to spice things up so I want a–
Oh Mitchii, your cruelty knows no bounds; do you really love your OTP? So why are you hindering them? Ah, ‘cos nothing beats the rivalry between two gorgeous men to fire up this fangirl heart of mine I divulged everything about my stance on love triangle before. But you know what’s better than two guys fighting over one girl? Yep, more than two so I also love—
Most of reverse harem series I dearly loved were comedic. And that’s enough reason to pick it up! This scenario is gold mine of entertainment. Having boys fight over the girl and in between it are their ridiculous antics that had me laughing so hard. But sometimes friendship between these rivals happens too. Not only am I drowning with lots ikemen but I’m enjoying the story other than romance itself. Ouran High School Host Club and Watashi Ga Motete Dousunda are perfect example of this trope! So yeah, the more the merrier, YES? YES?
The one who has it all!
BUT!!! It could be better? How? By combining all of the above! Impossible? Nah—it’s very possible. In fact I know one series that I absolutely adore that has everything above. What is it? It’s Koi Dano Ai Dano (and the prequel Warau Kanoko-sama). Tsubaki and Nadeoko (the two MCs) had very bad first encounter. But Tsubaki found her reactions interesting so he befriended her until he fell for her—which fulfills the second trope. But you see Nadeoko didn’t see herself as love interest therefor the romance was slowly developed. There wasn’t an age gap between ‘em but! Another guy came into a picture, two years older than her & a serious threat to Tsubaki. Now she was caught in the middle of very hot love triangle. And because Nadeoko is one clever & interesting MC, it wasn’t really a surprised that there was another guy who liked her!
See! It is fun. No wonder it’s one of my favorite shoujo series of all time! Who says it’s overrated? If it’s done right, then it’ll be more than alright! So VIVA tropes!!!
So beautiful peeps, floor is now yours! What are your favorite shoujo (or josei) tropes or romantic cliches? And what are you favorite series with it? Care to rec some of it to me!