Initiate me into josei manga

I swear, Wikipedia is like a volcanically exploding cosmic brain of all human knowledge, and as in the Bob Dylan song, some of the pieces fall on me. Wandering down a Hänsel und Gretel sort of virtual breadcrumb trail from one link to another in the Wikiverse, somehow I wound up reading about manga. In real life, I would usually not encounter much manga or have occasion to think about it. But participating in online communities, I keep seeing manga and anime fans posting a lot about it and I wonder. As I habitually pay attention to women’s literature of the world, I followed the link to Josei and became intrigued. I began to think if I clicked with this genre I might get something good out of it, why not try it?

So far, the only two graphic novels I’ve connected with are the Elfquest series and Persepolis. They’re not similar at all. The former is fantasy (magickal-idealist or escapist depending on who’s reading it), while the latter is painful political realism. I don’t see any pattern in my graphic novel appreciation; the sample is too small. Except that both are by women authors: Wendy Pini (plus her husband) and Marjane Satrapi. I keep promising myself to check out Neil Gaiman or Alan Moore someday.

If this gives any sense of the type of manga I might appreciate, I welcome your recommendations. And where do you find this stuff in the USA?

One more really basic Manga 101 question. What is it about the art form that appeals to you? What is it specifically that manga has, that non-manga doesn’t have, that you like? Is it more of a youth phenomenon? I don’t think I ever saw any when I was high school or college age. I got hooked on Elfquest in the 1980s, about the time I dropped out of grad school. I do remember anime among the TV cartoons when I was small in the 1960s. Speed Racer and I don’t remember what else. So even though I’m an ancient crone now, kids, anime is nothing new to me, but I haven’t gotten what makes it seem like an obsession sometimes.

I have been informed over at the Transgender Boards that the fandom scene of manga and anime is a haven for the transgendered who aren’t out to themselves yet. Or who are more or less out, and just enjoy the scene because dress-up is fun and if you switch genders to emulate a character, nobody minds?

P.S. I apologize for talking down to fans by calling them kids. I shouldn’t have said that. I once hinted in another forum that Goth was a youth phenomenon. That earned me a private nastygram from a fortysomething Goth for belittling them. I honestly hadn’t known there were any Goths my age even though I do feel drawn to it. Reminding myself it’s good to remember there are all kinds of people in the world beyond my horizons which, though wide, are not without limits. I work on expanding those limits and removing prejudice, which ought to be a routine mental cleanup task. So… sorry for my poor judgment when I posted.

女性 漫画

“In the province of the mind, what one believes to be true is true or becomes true, within certain limits to be found experientially and experimentally. These limits are further beliefs to be transcended. In the mind, there are no limits.”
—John C. Lilly

What interests me the most is women’s literature that is open to the weird, mystical, bizarre, dissident, alternative, or mythological. Writing that’s open to speculative realities and changing consciousness. Any josei manga like that?

Josei manga is a huuuuuge catagory. For example, I like the branch that features male/male relationships/sex. It is a huge branch in itself with thousands of titles. I like it because the stories appeal to me, I find the art beautiful, and it can be incredibly sexy. Since you are lesbian, you will probably enjoy one of the ones that feature female/female couples rather than male/male couples, but I’ve never been interested in those so I can’t begin to come up with suggestions for you. To broaden your searches, I suggest looking under shoujo and/or shoujo ai. A,A’ is listened as both shouja and josei.

Of those I own A, A’, Petshop of Horrors, Banana Fish, Basara. Banana Fish and Petshop contain male/male love and are mostly about guys. Basara features a kick ass girl and is full of feminism, but contains het and male/male love. A,A’ is a collection of stories including one about an individual with male genitalia who identifies as male who suddenly discovers that he is really XX and can have a baby if he decides. You might like it, but the art isn’t the best.

I don’t know how childish you consider too childish. Check out the series “Revolutionary Girl Utena.” It’s really unusual, but it’s one of the few animes that I’ve kept after I got over my anime phase.

There is the tv series:

And the movie:

It’s better to watch the tv series before the movie but it’s not necessary.

Utena is the story of a girl who decides that instead of being rescued by princes, she wants to be a prince. She wears a boy’s uniform (Cut to fit her of course) and fights boys (and girls!) to win the heart of a captive (?) princess. I normally can’t stand girl/girl shoujo stuff, but I loved the Utena movie. If you don’t think it is too childish, then some general shoujo should be fine.

One that I am sure you will love but hasn’t been brought over here in any form is Rose of Versailles. It’s really old, it was first published in 1972. It was so popular in Japan, it was made into an anime, a live action movie and performed by the all-female theater group Takarazuka. You can get a fan subtitled version online if you really want to see the anime. I don’t know if translations of the manga exist - I didn’t see any after doing a quick search.

Cool. Thanks for the information. I will check those out. It was neat to find a connection to Takarazuka! You grasped, without my saying it, that the thought of josei appealed more to me than shoujo, but I’ll try anything. Narrowing down the search, as you noted, is a big help in getting started.