Okay, so a pet peeve of mine (inherited from Seiya, who you may remember from the Maburaho rant, and who is giving me tickets to this year's Big Game) came up in the forums today. See, someone was looking for some shoujo manga, which for those of you who are among the video game/tech population of our audience and not the anime/manga side of it, means "girl's comics". You know, comics with a young female audience in mind. Sailor Moon's pretty much the easiest example out there, though Card Captor Sakura can come close in terms of name recognition.
But see, something I've learned from slugging after Seiya at Anime Expo for a few years is... a disturbingly large amount of anime fans throw around the terms "shoujo" without knowing fact 1 about what they're talking about.
For example. Some people say "CLAMP is a bunch of female artists and they draw cute, therefore everything they do is shoujo". That'd be a big fat no. Look at the rant image. LOOK at it. Does that look like it was meant for a young, predominantly heterosexual female audience? Why, no. It's pretty obviously meant for a young, horny, predominantly heterosexual male audience. And yet people persist in bandying "shoujo" about to describe things, because it's not about sports, violence, or a persistent student's endless quest for sexual gratification.
That kind of assertion, much like many statements made without knowing anything at all about the subject, ticks me off. So this rant is going to be dedicated to teaching you the difference between what manga is meant for a female audience, and what is meant for a male audience.
This article (reposted with permission from the Cal Animage folks at UC Berkeley) is a good start. Quick, simple rules about how to tell the difference. Plot and theme have nothing to do with classifying things as shoujo or shounen--audience is everything.
For example. Love Hina is often described as "shoujo" because it's a romance series. Bah. It's shounen on many, many levels. One, the "one guy surrounded by girls who're all in love with him" convention is more often meant for a male audience than not. Conversely, the "one girl surrounded by prettyboys who fawn on her" convention tends to be meant for female audiences. Funny, that. Two, given how often those girls are drawn in nothing but towels, it's hard to see how it's purely meant for a heterosexual female audience. Three, it ran in Shounen Magazine. If that doesn't convince you, I don't know what will.
Anyway. Please, people. Before you call something "shoujo", make sure you know what you're talking about. Do your homework on Google. Hell, just e-mail me (probably via oop-ack, since I actually check that right now) or ask Seiya at Anime Expo about it if you're really curious.
But don't try and claim that Ah! My Goddess is meant for girls without expecting to get shot down hard by anyone with half an idea.