[Home]WaysToTellYouAreWatchingShounenAnime

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A list of pointers to help you tell that the anime you're watching or the manga you are reading is Shounen.  Feel free to add...

-- See also: WaysToTellYouAreWatchingShoujoAnime




  1. An entire episode is spent powering up a single attack...  (See: Drag-on-ball?)
  2. The 'hero' is defeated and spends the next 5 episodes learning a secret 'technique' to defeat this particular enemy...
  3. Gratuitous flashes of female characters' skin or undergarments
  4. In the preview of the next episode, you're promised "And there'll be more fanservice!"
  5. The characters find the newest sword/pistol/planet-destroying-cannon absolutely fascinating, and spend 15 minutes of episode discussing it.
  6. Some anime/manga featuring lots of combat between giant "mecha" (robots) are shounen. Not all, though: see discussion below.
  7. It's a HaremAnime with little or no other plot.
  8. It was originally published in a magazine aimed at boys (ShounenJump being one example)
  9. ...




There is a considerable amount of discussion to do with the above points.


(If any discussion below belongs in one of the categories above and can be moved there, it ought to be - there's a little too much to take in all at once on this page, IMO. If a chunk of discussion doesn't fit in any one of these, it's probably best left here. - MoonShadow)



CategoryAnime


I don't think I'm interested in this discussion any more - sorry, people. It doesn't really bother me how people define series. My main point has been made and accepted; ie that the presence of mecha in a series is not really an indicator of status. I also think using subjective feelings is no way to define an objective status (and I think shoujo/shounen is objective).
So, the definition I would prefer to go by is the origin of the story (usually manga but not always). For example GreatTeacherOnizuka comes from the manga published in ShounenJump, so I class it as shounen. After all, if a series is aimed at boys, and therefore shounen, it should be published in a shounen magazine and the same is true for shoujo. Those are, I think, the original definitions.
- SunKitten, backing out



For my 2p:  GTO is very _very_ shounen.  Fan service and random humour with cool characters but not much story development.  Eva would also go under Shounen by my categorisation.  It revolves around the technology, fights and psychobabble a bit too much for shoujo I think.  Psychological stuff can easily be shoujo but somehow the stuff in Eva just wouldn't be right in Shoujo...  -- Kazuhiko

I said that, didn't I? My comment about GTO was that I placed it as shounen by origin, whatever the actual character of the series. How about HikaruNoGo? - SunKitten.

NOTE: AlexChurchill's next comment below contains Spoilers? for the anime NeonGenesisEvangelion.

The problem with SunKitten's definition seems to me that it's moving too far away from the original reason for using the words Shounen vs. Shoujo: ie "for" boys / girls.  Where "for" can be taken as "primarily aimed at".  (Of course there will be some which are truly trying to acquire fans across the stereotypical divide; and there will always be female fans of a given shounen series, and vice versa - often large amounts thereof.)

Partly. But I am a female fan so I have a tendency to say that what I like is shoujo *unless* it's obviously otherwise (HellSing, f'rex). I don't find Eva much either one way or the other, but I like it and it seems to me that it is character and plot-driven more than anything else so I label it shoujo - SunKitten.
Sorry, I guess I didn't make myself quite clear here.  I was talking about the stereotypical boy's preferences: "Me like guns! Me like girls!", and the stereotypical girl's preferences: "Ohh, I love her hair, and her magical-girl costume, and isn't that boy sooo cute?" 
This was by contrast with a class of viewers (of either gender) who I was mentally labelling as "discerning", "thinking", or some other stuck-up, superiority-promoting adjective, in which class I would arrogantly include myself :)  I think for viewers who are suitably "discerning", whether they like an anime (or manga) will be almost irrespective of its shounen/shoujo/inbetween status, and (primarily) based on whether it's actually good. --AlexChurchill
Yes, I know. I'm referring to my reasons for labelling a series 'shoujo', not the stereotypical girl's reasons for liking a shoujo series. As I said below, a series is shoujo to me until it proves itself otherwise. Whether or not this is a good way of telling is a different matter, but for a lot of recent anime series, with their dual nature, this means they end up labelled 'shoujo' (again, to me) - SunKitten


However, it seemed pretty clear (to me at least) that Eva, for the most part, was "aimed at" male viewers, through large amounts of combat, technology, fanservice, ever-bigger explosions, etc.  ISTR that our conclusion upon seeing the ending was "it's trying to provoke thought to the stereotypical shounen anime fanboys".  Sucking them in with typical shounen-appealing elements, and then making them think about what it is to be human.

You may have come to that conclusion but I don't remember the discussion and it certainly isn't what I'd have said. Sorry - SunKitten
OK, fair enough.  I remember it was me, Oneiros and MoonShadow doing most of the discussing :) --AlexChurchill

I heartily agree with the proposal to abbreviate "has plot and interesting characters and not a showcase for fights" to "good" :)  I'd argue that trying to use this as a definition of "shoujo" is almost approaching saying "I define shoujo as things I like, and shounen as things I don't".

Exactly. Which is why I was suggesting using 'good' rather than anything else. For a while I have been of the general opinion that shoujo stuff is likely to be relatively good whereas shounen stuff is likely to be boring (to me).
I think the bit I've highlighted in bold (my emphasis) is an important point.  I think stereotypically-shoujo anime (romance, flowers) is more likely to have appeal to viewers who like characters and plot (like yourself, and me) than stereotypically-shounen anime (fights, girls).  I also think the distinction has been gradually breaking down for quite some time, and is getting less and less useful for new anime.  In other words, I think there's a division like this:
             | Old shounen stuff | Old shoujo stuff | New stuff "neither/both"
  -----------+-------------------+------------------+-------------------------
  Things you |    Some           |    Lots          |   Some
  and I like |                   |                  |
  -----------+-------------------+------------------+-------------------------
  Things we  |    Lots           |    Some          |   Some
  don't      |                   |                  |




Also, none of the three you named above follow points 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, so either those points are misleading or the list is incomplete. And AzumangaDaioh can be treated the same way to come out shounen, even though it blatantly isn't.
Ah.  I think Kazuhiko started the list above as a comical, joking page.  This discussion has co-opted it :)  I think maybe this discussion ought to move to Shounen or something else.  The list certainly isn't a complete list of how to tell something's shounen, certainly :).


The only other RobotGirl anime I can think of, KeyTheMetalIdol?, I'm not quite so sure about.  I think I'd call it shounen, due to the violence, and the fanservice in the first couple of episodes.  By contrast, I can't decide about SerialExperimentsLain... If I had to define its target audience I'd say it's "the internet generation" :)

And yes, you're right, I did see HoshiNoKoe?, and I'd agree it's shoujo, because the focus is hugely on the feelings of the characters; the mecha are almost incidental. Sorry, didn't recognise it by name *blush*
-- AlexChurchill

Butbut - in Eva, the main point, the whole lead-up, was about Shinji, his feelings and so on! The same is true for FMP, else the ending would have involved BFORs and not Sousuke and Kaname sitting on a sunny hillside! :) - SunKitten

The main argument I had was with point 6, not your personal classification of various series. I don't agree that big robots make a shounen anime just as I don't agree that blood and gore makes a shounen anime (refer back to XTheMovie again :) I don't think that is a helpful point to make. Rather, I think that the 'fighting in big robots makes a shounen anime' point is perfectly well-covered by the point 'fighting all episode makes an anime shounen', without needing to drag mecha into it, since there are animes out there that have mecha combat and are shoujo.
On retrospect I agree with you here.  --AlexChurchill
I suspect that, in this anime generation, the definitions are becoming a little meaningless, since an anime can have so much of elements belonging to both shounen and shoujo styles. Hence my suggestion of chucking the definitions since they don't seem to do much good anyway - SunKitten
They were useful for older series.  They're become less and less useful for newer series, so I agree let's chuck 'em :)  --AlexChurchill

I don't think I can agree here.  The distinction is still there, although I will admit there are more series around that blur the line.  I thing that, with most of the series I see I could place a distinction of Shounen/Shoujo? on them.  If you agree with me on those distinctions is a different matter! --Kazuhiko

That's the problem, though isn't it? We have these definitions that are based on feelings and, for some of the more indistinct animes, are interchangeable. What is the point of a definition if it changes from person to person? I used to use the definitions as guides to series I might consider watching, but since I found out that much of what I've enjoyed is shounen, I might as well junk them and ignore them - and just say 'this anime is good'. I can also add 'and shoujo style' but it is no longer an important point to me - SunKitten

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