Monday, February 9, 2015

Least favorite plot device employed by way too many books you actually enjoyed otherwise (Book Blogging Test Day 5)

Today, we're going to travel to the magical land of:



(For those of you not in the know, this gif is from a funfilled anime/manga known as Ouran High School Host Club. I prefer the anime, but either one is LOADS of fun!)

Shoujo manga is defined as: manga marketed towards females between the ages of 10 and 18.  So basically it's like manga equivalent of YA books. (Except you're less likely to encounter dystopias or robots in shoujo. Not impossible though?)

Now before I get started, let me add this disclaimer: there is some GREAT shoujo manga out there. It's definitely the largest type of manga I consume.  That being said...there's definitely a lot of issues that pop with the genre, frequently.  Like my biggest pet peeve.

Anyone who has read pretty much any shoujo manga ever has encountered the dreaded amnesia arc.  Usually it happens towards the end of a manga when the couple has finally gotten together, there's no external or internal drama, so clearly SOMETHING needs to happen. So the mangaka thinks...EUREKA. I have it!  Love interest will have a car crash/get mugged/hit their head in the swimming pool/fall off a cliff/any dumb crazy reason ever, and BAM. The love interest will lose their memory...but ONLY of the main character.  Because they can't remember the other person they will revert to being a total asshat/a new love interest will be introduced (usually a total mean girl who knows the guy is in a relationship, BUT SO WHAT WHO CARES.)  This also happens dramas ALL. THE. TIME. And it makes me want to punch people.

It's just such a lazy plot device, and it's way, way, WAY overused.  And it incorporates basically all of my least favourite things ever.

1. Significant other being a jerkfaced LOSER.
2. Mean girls who have nothing else to them other than being total horse butts and their entire purpose in life is to ruin the significant other's life. Cue lots of mean girl attacking significant other, particularly in front of the main character.
3. Girl fights over boys.

It's basically a plot device that wraps all of my other least favourite plot devices inside of it.  It's like a plot device bomb.  And it's ruined otherwise good series for me.  That being said...the only manga I could remember off the top of my head (despite looking at a very long list of manga with amnesia) with this problem was Hana Yori Dango, also known as Boys Over Flowers.  This manga WOULD not be included in my otherwise good series - there's waaaaaay too many other problems with it to qualify, but it's the best example I could have come up with for this trope anyway.  (I've talked about my Hana Yori Dango issues before. It's hard for me to admit my addiction to this story despite it standing against like everything I believe in.  And it IS important to the genre - there's a reason it's still one of the most popular mangas twenty years after the fact. So it's not a manga I actively steer people away from...but I don't go herding them towards it either.  For a GREAT shoujo manga, I steer you towards Cat Street)


  1. I adore anime, but have never gotten into manga for some reason. My son is the same way. Weird. Did you start watching anime first, or reading manga?

  2. Hahahahaha, I was totally thinking about BOF when I was reading your description. Ugh. BOF will haunt me all of my days. I know it all to well.

    YES YES CAT STREET. I don't know how they're from the same mangaka. I really don't. THAT SHIP. MY FEELS.

  3. I refused to read manga for a good year or two after I started watching manga, because I thought it was just going too far. (Apparently there was a point in my life where I thought it was possible to be too geeky haha! I can't even imagine it now...) But my friend got me hooked to Skip Beat! and I HAD to find out what happened. Sneaky bastard, he knew it would make me start reading manga! (And he didn't warn me that the series was still ongoing. It's STILL not concluded! Although I think it'll wrap up fairly soon)

  4. BoF is like...mind control. It MAKES me watch/read every version of it even though I KNOW I don't like it! And god, when I first read Cat Street, I immediately fell for what I thought was going to be a doomed ship. So when it started hinting I was there's no way they're going to...OH MY GOD! MY SHIP!! It's canon!!! I had a serious flaily moment. Definitely an example of romance done right.


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