An Exploration of Shōjo and Shōnen Manga through Sailor Moon and Black Cat
Genres are one of the first things readers look at to help determine whether or not a book should be read. Although there are many similarities between the genres shounen (manga intended for males) and shoujo (manga intended for females) that make a manga seem like it could be either genre, there are differences that are meant to distinguish between their respective audiences. As a more specific example, the shared themes of fighting, love, and superhuman powers as well as the character in Black Cat and Sailor Moon suggest a similar genre and audience; however, upon closer inspection, subtle differences between the use of these themes and characters in each manga reveal that the intended audiences are the opposite.
Themes are an important part of a genre in manga. For example, a mecha manga would be much less interesting without a technological theme. The same goes for shounen and shoujo manga. Themes such as fighting, love, superhuman powers, etc. are found both in Black Cat and Sailor Moon and work to tell the story. Though these themes are in both manga, how these themes are used is what sets them apart.
Fights the main characters have help keep the stories interesting, and come up many times in both manga. In Sailor Moon, the main character has to continually fight off the forces of evil just like the main character in Black Cat. Both characters even have companions to aid them most of the time. However, the portrayal of conflict in each manga is very different. For example, on page 36 of Sailor Moon (Act 1), Sailor Moon is fighting an energy collecting creature with the help of Luna. Tsukino Usagi first has to transform herself into Sailor Moon, then throws her tiara as a weapon, and must shout “Moon Tiara Boomerang” in order to make it a successful attack. After her attack lands, the enemy is shown to be cut and melts away. The entire fight takes up one page, a few more if you count the dialogue. Looking at a fight scene from Black Cat, a battle with the main character (Train Heartnet) starts in chapter 49 and continues through chapter 51. Throughout these chapters, Train is fighting his enemy almost the entire time (there are moments when it cuts to his companions for a few pages). The battle finally concludes on page 16 in chapter 51 when Train knocks out his enemy with a strike to the face. With the finishing blow, his foe spits out a mouthful of blood and can be seen bleeding a few panels later. There is no attempt to hide any blood or gore in Black Cat, whereas in Sailor Moon the enemy simply melts away and blood is avoided. Whether or not this is intended, the effect is clear: Black Cat attracts viewers who like to see violence without any censorship and Sailor Moon appeals to people who are not as into the depictions of fighting.
The difference in length of battle also plays a role in...