So how strict is the whole shonen/shojo divide? Does every anime/manga get assigned a sex-specific label, or is it reserved only for the polar extremes? Even before I started this “deep sea diver” exploration of the Japanese pop culture ocean, I was always intrigued by the notion that Japan had such specific labels for boys and girls entertainment. You can make an argument that say, IRON MAN 2, is made for guys, but it doesn’t exactly have a “GUY MOVIE” stamp pressed on its poster. There’s no “CHICK FLICKS” section in the video store for TWILIGHT, either.
Then again, like I’ve said before, what I’ve enjoyed about looking at Japan’s entertainment business is the perspective it’s given me on America’s. I’m reminded of this time I read a British journalist’s column (his name escapes me, at the moment) regarding the differences between news outlets in the US and the UK. He said that, while people accuse, say, the New York Times of being a liberal newspaper and Fox News of being a conservative station, they both keep claiming that they’re politically neutral. In the UK, however, the major newspapers and stations wear their politics on their sleeves, and actually put “Liberal” and “Conservative” in their titles.
Now, I’ll reiterate that that’s a half-remembered hearsay I got from a column. Even if it isn’t true, it still inspires a way at looking at this gender divide. That is, IRON MAN or TWILIGHT might not come out and say what their target audiences are but, if you go to Toys R Us, you’ll have no doubt what they are after looking at which sections their toys are stocked in. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.
So I’d really like to hear how this breaks down from you, the lunatics in the Anime Vice community. How strict is this labeling? Is it only reserved for more kid-oriented stuff ( DBZ’s shonen, obviously, and CLANNAD is shojo) while more mature stuff like Miyazaki’s work is general neutral? Is Eva shonen or shojo? And have you ever, um… felt embarrassed about enjoying something designed for the other sex? Give me some answers, here. Educate me!