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What's "the best" shoujo manga? Does Dengeki Daisy truly deserve the top shoujo spot on MAL?
MyAnimeList.net Forum »» Manga Discussion »» What's "the best" shoujo manga? Does Dengeki Daisy truly deserve the top shoujo spot on MAL?

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#1
01-17-10, 8:19 PM

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Let's face it: a lot of shoujo mangas tend to be a bit overrated here on MAL. I know it's hard to compare across genres, but surely most can agree that your typical cliched shoujo plot with the brainless/doormat heroine just can't compare to something like, say, 20th Century Boys. So, you can bet I was surprised when I found out that a shoujo title is in the top 10 manga list here on MAL.

Not just any shoujo title, mind you - a somewhat slice-of-life, romantic comedy in a school setting. Surely something rated this high would have an epic plot in a unique setting with earth-shattering plot twists, all the while focusing on a romance that appeals to the masses (that is, both males and females that may read it) - BUT NO! Dengeki Daisy's basic plot is one that's been done many-a-time before.

So, all of this got me thinking: Is Dengeki Daisy worthy of being rated as the highest shoujo manga here on MAL? If it's not, then what shoujo manga SHOULD be considered "the best"? (This last question is why I posted in the general manga thread, and not the DD thread.) I know it's hard to compare all shoujos, since there are so many different sub-genres, but I thought I'd ask.
Modified by Yoroko, 02-05-12, 8:36 PM


 
#2
01-17-10, 8:45 PM

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There was a post in the recommendations topic asking about shoujo manga, and this is what I wrote;

"As a guy who thinks the genre sucks overall, the two best are

Mars
Akuma to Love Song

Beyond that, there are a few good one-shots;

Heaven's Door
Deep Love Virus

While they're probably closer to josei,

Omae ga Sekai o Kowashitai Nara
Fetish

were also very good."

Anyways, I've never read Dengeki Daisy, but based on the synopsis, it doesn't sound particularly appealing. Since you're such a huge fan, what did you love about it?
 
#3
01-17-10, 8:48 PM

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DD's one of my favorite manga but I think doesn't deserve the top shoujo manga spot here.
I dunno, it's really good but there's 'something' lacking which you can find in other shoujo mangas out there.
 
#4
01-17-10, 8:52 PM
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I read one chapter of Dengeki Daisy. I couldn't be bothered to read any more. For me, that doesn't deserve the top shoujo title.

What does? Banana Fish probably. Emotional, gripping, great characters, and some machine gun fights thrown in to liven things up. Unique to the point I haven't read anything else quite like it. Oh, it was written in the mid 80's to 90's, so it still appeals to readers a couple decades later. Where is it ranked? Wow, 877. Worse than I thought. Oh well... can't say I've ever had faith in MAL rankings, but that seals it.
 
#5
01-17-10, 9:00 PM

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people care about manga ratings? and I thought people bitched to much about the anime ratings.
It doesn't think, it doesn't feel, it doesn't laugh or cry..... All it does from dusk till dawn is make the soldiers die.
 
#6
01-17-10, 9:34 PM

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YoungVagabond said:
Anyways, I've never read Dengeki Daisy, but based on the synopsis, it doesn't sound particularly appealing. Since you're such a huge fan, what did you love about it?


I have read Mars and Deep Love Virus, and I thought that both were good. I liked Mars because it actually had some depth to it, although I will admit the many chapters of the depressing backstory got a little old (just a little). Still, for being one of the best things I've read, I gave Mars a 9. I liked Deep Love Virus for its unique character designs.

Anyway, I say that to preface the point that I see many guys who can tolerate shoujos if they have an interesting plot (i.e. something else going on in the manga besides just two characters falling in love), amazing character development (Mars), or the like. In this regard, Dengeki Daisy may not appeal to you at first (if at all) because it is still a romantic comedy with some drama, not a drama with some romance and comedy.

It's somewhat difficult to say what I like about it without being spoilerrific, but I'll try my best (may contain minor spoilers):

1. It has likeable characters.

Of course, many shoujos have somewhat annoying female leads, but Teru of DD is one of the only female manga protagonists that I genuinely like. Many people make the comments of "not your typical shoujo heroine!" about a lot of characters, but the thing is, they confuse a brash tsundere for someone who can "stick up for herself." In the end, the tsundere character is still going to fall for the sleezeball male lead. Teru actually has many cliched qualities without actually being a cliche herself: she is not the shy doormat that "grows up and gains friends," she is not the "terror tsundere that really turns out to be a doormat anyway," she is not the "tragic heroine - PITY ME," ect. She actually has some qualities of these sterotypes, but they are utilized in new ways. It's hard to explain.

The male lead is also likeable. I know, I know, the whole point of shoujos are to have the tale, handsome, rich prince that everyone can swoon over, but Kurosaki actually feels like a human being. That is, he has his flaws, he acts mature sometimes (perhaps because of his age), and he even cries (!!!) (in a non-sissy way, I assure you).

----->Perhaps Kurosaki seems so real to me is because the mangaka is a male, and doesn't feel the need to put ridiculously unrealistic sterotypes on his male character.<-----

2. It has many different types of humor. There are funny situations, there are funny facial expressions, there is irony, parody, and even a couple of examples of "breaking down the fourth wall," wherein this shoujo manga makes fun of itself for being a shoujo manga.

3. Every chapter is likeable. In other words, it actually has quite phenomenal pacing. In EACH chapter you'll get a little bit of drama, a little bit of the secrets around the main characters unraveled, a little bit of comedy, and (most importantly), more tender moments between the two leads. This basically starts from the first chapter, so you'll probably be able to tell right away if you're going to not like this manga or obsessively read it until you've finished all the scanlated chapters. From the people I've talked to (who are admittedly all females), it's either one or the other.

4. The romance seems sweet, real, and genuine. Not everyone may agree with me here, but I'll be darned if some of the things that are said in those text messages aren't the sweetest things I've ever read. The dialogue manages to be sweet without being overly sappy, cheesy, or trite. THIS IS A VERY HARD THING TO ACCOMPLISH.

5. It has cliches without feeling cliche. This is very hard to explain without totally spoiling things, but this manga starts out with a declaration of "I'll always protect you," then moves on to some standard shoujo stuff. Where Dengeki Daisy really shines is that it takes these moments and turns them into things that are totally unexpected.

----->In other words, it takes many of the things the standard shoujo crowd likes to see in shoujos and gives it a fresh breath of originality.<-----

6. Many of the plot twists are unexpected. Just when I thought I could predict something was going to happen, it changes to make the story more interesting and hilarious. Even the predictable plot twits are done in a hilarious manner.

That's another thing - the plot "twists." There are really no "big revelations" in this story, just many, many smaller ones. I guess that's another thing that I like about the series, although this point could technically tie in with the discussion on pacing.

7. The art. I just really like the mangaka's drawing style, other people may not. It's just preference. Probably what I like the most is that he really puts in a good effort at making the characters have MANY different facial expressions and angles, and he draws bodies proportionally well. To me, nothing's more ugly than the ridiculous shoujo giraffe-necks or amoeba-like hands. Ergh.


Anyway, there are many more reasons, but again, don't want to spoil things. No, it is certainly not the best thing ever written by a long shot, but it succeed so spectacularly for what it IS - that is, a school romantic comedy. From a story standpoint, many other shoujos are probably better (say, Basara), but they don't succeed all around as well in their sub-genres as this one seems to do in its sub-genre.

I didn't want to sound like an overly excited fangirl here, but I did want to answer your question with something slightly more substantial than "omgzzz best story ever!!11," if you know what I mean.
Modified by Yoroko, 01-17-10, 9:59 PM


 
#7
01-17-10, 9:45 PM

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shinkeikaku said:
I read one chapter of Dengeki Daisy. I couldn't be bothered to read any more. For me, that doesn't deserve the top shoujo title.

What does? Banana Fish probably. Emotional, gripping, great characters, and some machine gun fights thrown in to liven things up. Unique to the point I haven't read anything else quite like it. Oh, it was written in the mid 80's to 90's, so it still appeals to readers a couple decades later. Where is it ranked? Wow, 877. Worse than I thought. Oh well... can't say I've ever had faith in MAL rankings, but that seals it.


Haha, after the first chapter you probably thought "Ugh not this again!" and dropped it like a bad habit. I can't really blame you - with many stories, it seems like people are either captivated like no other from the first chapter or bored to tears, depending on what you like. If we all thought the same way, the world would be boring indeed.

Well, I certainly agree with you that you can only put so much faith in the rankings. I've never heard a bad word about Banana Fish from anyone anywhere, so I guess that accomplishment alone says a lot. I put a high value on the opinions of seasoned manga readers (that is, ones who have read a lot), which means I should probably start reading Banana Fish ASAP.
Modified by Yoroko, 01-17-10, 10:02 PM


 
#8
01-17-10, 10:22 PM

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Yorokobu said:

I didn't want to sound like an overly excited fangirl here, but I did want to answer your question with something slightly more substantial than "omgzzz best story ever!!11," if you know what I mean.


On the contrary; that was an excellent, extremely detailed response which managed to interest me in reading the manga.

And when you mentioned the author being male, and his unique drawing style, I looked it up and realized it was Motomi, who I have already read 2 manga from. (Beast Master as well as Penguin Prince)

I think he's one of the better shoujo authors out there, but he's really hot and cold for me; when he's writing about two high school kids hanging out and having fun with one another, he's very good.

When he tries to inject some fake drama or conflict outside of the two main characters, the results are as poor as those of most authors.
 
#9
01-17-10, 11:41 PM

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I like Dengeki Daisy but I still think the best shoujo is Koukou Debut. Generally I don't like shoujo, but a few are good.
 
01-19-10, 11:47 PM

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YoungVagabond said:

On the contrary; that was an excellent, extremely detailed response which managed to interest me in reading the manga.

And when you mentioned the author being male, and his unique drawing style, I looked it up and realized it was Motomi, who I have already read 2 manga from. (Beast Master as well as Penguin Prince)

I think he's one of the better shoujo authors out there, but he's really hot and cold for me; when he's writing about two high school kids hanging out and having fun with one another, he's very good.

When he tries to inject some fake drama or conflict outside of the two main characters, the results are as poor as those of most authors.



Fair enough, fair enough. It's good that you're already familiar with his stuff - this series has more of the same shenanigans, although it's a little better because it's a longer series (the longest he's ever done). Thus, the characters have a little more backstory and depth. Judging by your maturity and tastes in manga, you'll probably think it's average at best.

I guess it depends on your tolerance for the "fake drama," as you call it. To me, fake drama in shoujo includes:
1. Pretty much any prolonged love triangles/squares trying to break the main couple up
2. Chapter after chapter worrying about whether the main two can be in the same class (due to differing grades), on the same athletic team, or going to the same college. To me, these things are very eyeroll-inducing.
3. Standard episodes like "oh no, he saw me naked at the hot springs!" and other nonsense.
4. And worst of all: The ever-present nagging parent/grandparent of one of the people (usually the guy's parent) that doesn't approve of the relationship.

I mean, I have a high tolerance for these kinds of things, but even I will admit that a lot of it is rather childish and stupid. After all, I'm not in middle school or high school anymore, so I guess I can't relate as well anymore to the "drama."

Dengeki Daisy has none of the above mentioned things (so far...), and I don't think it ever will. For some of the cliches that are present, he does them in different and hilarious ways. Some of the drama can be a bit overdone, but sometimes that's done for comedic effect. At other times, I think the serious parts are appropriately serious and do not feel like eyeroll-inducing drama.

As an aside, I really dislike manga with excessive gore and violence, especially towards women. I'm usually fine with it if it if it's in moderate amounts and fits in the context of the story, such as a murder in a thriller manga or some gore in a horror manga. Imagine my surprise, then, when I read through 100+ chapters of Berserk very quickly and was actually entertained. I still dislike the violence, but it fits with the drama and tragedy of the story. However, after a certain point, the tragedies got ridiculous. After so a hard life, you sympathize with the main character, but when he has literally hundereds of tragic situations piled on him, I start to get desensitized to it.

It's kind of hard to explain, but I feel like there has to be at least SOMETHING positive going on, otherwise the plotline turns into "how are we gonna screw this guy over NEXT?" To me, this kind of thing can be even more of a "fake drama" situation than the above mentioned things.

Yes, I know Berserk is a fantasy manga and you're supposed to suspend disbelief anyway. It's a great manga, but a few small changes could make it all the better.

Anyway, I guess anyone's impression of a series entirely depends on your individual perception of what is "fake drama" and what is not. If you think it's deep, you will like it. If you think it's not deep but can appreciate the way in which its presented, then you will like it. If you're rolling your eyes, then you will....not like it.

I actually never thought much about the presentation of drama in manga before. Good thing I started coming to the forums, although it can be an "interesting" place here sometimes.


 
01-20-10, 12:04 AM

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AlexisSolitaire said:
I like Dengeki Daisy but I still think the best shoujo is Koukou Debut. Generally I don't like shoujo, but a few are good.



Yes, Koukou Debut is also up there in my mind as one of the best romantic comedies ever. Although there were some cliches, I was blown away by the heartfelt dialogue. When I read it, I thought, "This is how shoujo slice-of-life should have been done all along."


As a side note - I actually started watching Gintama a couple of weeks ago thanks to your signature. I was intrigued by the dude on the button and downloaded a ton of episodes. After several OMGLOLWTF moments, I decided that it was indeed going to become my anime crack for the foreseeable future.

Even my friend, who is about 10 years older than I am and extremely mature and eloquent, couldn't say anything except "HAAA HAAA OHHH MY GOD" during the epic toilet paper "battle." That's +1 in my books for immature Japanese men that create anime and +3 for potty humor... because that "crap" never gets old!


 
01-20-10, 12:35 AM

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Yorokobu said:

I guess it depends on your tolerance for the "fake drama," as you call it. To me, fake drama in shoujo includes:
1. Pretty much any prolonged love triangles/squares trying to break the main couple up
2. Chapter after chapter worrying about whether the main two can be in the same class (due to differing grades), on the same athletic team, or going to the same college. To me, these things are very eyeroll-inducing.
3. Standard episodes like "oh no, he saw me naked at the hot springs!" and other nonsense.
4. And worst of all: The ever-present nagging parent/grandparent of one of the people (usually the guy's parent) that doesn't approve of the relationship.


All of those are good examples, but I was thinking along the lines of artificial misunderstandings, overly evil jealous girls plotting something, and medical situations/accidents that are laughably fake, and would never occur in anything resembling the real world.

By the way, after having read Tongari Root, by the same author as Akuma Love Song, I've concluded Toumori is the best modern-day shoujo author. Her work manages to get around a lot of those problems above.

Yorokorobu said:

As an aside, I really dislike manga with excessive gore and violence, especially towards women.


For me, excessive violence is the tasty spice that makes reading the manga that much more delicious. Violence towards women does irk me quite a bit however, and I hate when it's used in something like a shoujo manga, as it violates the rest of its light-hearted mood.


Yes, I know Berserk is a fantasy manga and you're supposed to suspend disbelief anyway. It's a great manga, but a few small changes could make it all the better.


I don't know how far you read into Berserk since you don't have it listed, but the first 21 volumes were a sensational masterpiece...and everything after that was a train wreck. It's painful just thinking how downhill the manga went.
Modified by YoungVagabond, 01-20-10, 12:38 AM
 
01-20-10, 1:21 AM

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I don't really have an answer to the first question in the topic title, despite having read quite a bit of shoujo over the years. I still haven't discovered anything I'd call a "masterpiece" in the shoujo demographic. Guess I need to look harder?

About Dengeki Daisy: It's good (or at least decent) for a shoujo manga. That being said, there's nothing particularly remarkable to it from what I've read. There isn't much that sets it apart from the plethora of other similar series. There's no "wow factor". I can see the plot twists coming miles away as well. The one thing I like about DD though is that the characters are tolerable (even likable) as opposed to some 90% of the other shoujo manga I've read. So it has that in its favor at least. The art style is fairly easy on the eyes too. And while I don't think it's as great as the ratings might suggest, I strongly prefer Dengeki Daisy to the author's other works (I hated Beast Master).

I won't touch on Koukou Debut too much because it's been a while since I've read it and my memory is a little foggy. I'll just say that I find it overrated as well and that the ending disappointed me. I felt that it ran out of steam in the last few volumes big time.

On Banana Fish: I've only read the first volume but it was a pleasant surprise. I would never have guessed it was shoujo if I hadn't been aware of it beforehand.
 
01-20-10, 3:43 AM

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Yorokobu said:
AlexisSolitaire said:
I like Dengeki Daisy but I still think the best shoujo is Koukou Debut. Generally I don't like shoujo, but a few are good.


As a side note - I actually started watching Gintama a couple of weeks ago thanks to your signature. I was intrigued by the dude on the button and downloaded a ton of episodes. After several OMGLOLWTF moments, I decided that it was indeed going to become my anime crack for the foreseeable future.

Even my friend, who is about 10 years older than I am and extremely mature and eloquent, couldn't say anything except "HAAA HAAA OHHH MY GOD" during the epic toilet paper "battle." That's +1 in my books for immature Japanese men that create anime and +3 for potty humor... because that "crap" never gets old!


Lol. Glad to see I've influenced people to watch Gintama through my sig.
 
01-20-10, 4:04 AM

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It doesn't really matter what the best is because niche fans will always blindly vote anything that satisfied their criteria.

Why is Junjou Romantica in the top 100 anime of MAL? That was terrible. You sit anyone who is not a yaoi fan and let them watch it and they will cringe at how cheesy it is and how poorly written are the story and characters.

But about 4000 yaoi fangirls will beg to disagree. Seriously, go look at the stats.

Dengeki Daisy never appealed to me, which is why I haven't read it, but the best shoujo I've read to date must have been Fruits Basket.
 
01-20-10, 7:01 AM

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I don't really care about top-lists. Mainly because of things like this:

tehnominator said:
Why is Junjou Romantica in the top 100 anime of MAL? That was terrible. You sit anyone who is not a yaoi fan and let them watch it and they will cringe at how cheesy it is and how poorly written are the story and characters.

But about 4000 yaoi fangirls will beg to disagree. Seriously, go look at the stats.


...however, I would like for my favorite shojo-manga, Please Save My Earth, to have a higher spot simply because it would attract a lot more of potential readers to this wonderful yet sorely overlooked series.
[fancy signature here]
 
01-20-10, 7:02 AM

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Who pays attention to shoujo manga?
This is a serious post. You're not allowed to delete it.
 
01-20-10, 12:49 PM

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CDRW said:
Who pays attention to shoujo manga?


Girls, mostly.
 
01-20-10, 2:45 PM

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YoungVagabond said:
CDRW said:
Who pays attention to shoujo manga?


Girls, mostly.


Curiously, shoujo manga for men is surprisingly rather entertaining.
 
01-20-10, 2:46 PM

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tehnominator said:
YoungVagabond said:
CDRW said:
Who pays attention to shoujo manga?


Girls, mostly.


Curiously, shoujo manga for men is surprisingly rather entertaining.


I agree; shounen manga can be a lot of fun.
 
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