Winter Break Plans

In a few days, the winter break will begin in earnest. This weeks, blog will detail my plans for the break. 

The first thing I plan to do, is to finished the photo project I’ve had going on. I had set it aside since the beginning of the school year due to my already hectic schedule, and now that I have time, I’m going to finish it. I’m planning to allocate three days to this endeavour, and as long as nothing else comes up I think it can be done. I will most likely see it as a school project and pull long hours. Most of it is just reorganizing, cross-referencing, and adding text.

Next, I really need to start my physics project. Last time I had to create a launcher and before that a rattrap car, this time I’m task with creating a rollercoaster. In reality, it’s less of a rollercoaster and more of a marble run, but still a daunting task none the less. I plan to use bristle board as the main track, but I’m not quite sure as to what I want the supports to be. If it’s too fragile, it won’t be able to support the coaster. Unfortunately, the more stable I get, the harder the material is to work with. Previously, I planed on using cardboard. However, after working with the material in my last two projects, I have come to release how messy it can get. Anyhow, I wish to get most of it done by the end of the break. 

Third, is my unit 3 compute science project. Like a previous I’ve done before, we are trying to recreate a Pokémon style battle game. The player and Ai will each take turn trying to lowers each others HP. This will repeat until one of them reaches 0. A simple concept, however, there are extra features that complicated it a bit. Unlike last time, we will be applying new knowledge. For example, in grade 9 when I created a similar project, I didn’t need to create a party system. That is a feature the teacher wants implemented this time, after learning about arrays. I already have an idea of what I want to do, I just wonder if I have enough time. 

The fourth activity I plan to do, is just general relaxation. The school, year has be lively to say the least. Since the beginning of September, I haven’t really managed to think about anything other than school. In addition, it also feels like assignments are coming out of the woodworks. However, this is just my opinion. In any case, some rest and relaxation would be nice. 

Overall, this has been a short blog. I want to talk about more, however, if I did there wouldn’t be enough time to accomplish all the goals I have laid out. Unlike previous years, I have a general idea of what I want to accomplished during the break. In fact, I’ll be amazed if I even get to rest at all. 

RGSS Play: The Greatest Show

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to go see the RGSS yearly play. In this blog, I will share my thoughts and how they could have improved the play. 

First, I think it will be best to give a short summary of the play. Most of the plot revolves around a circus and three characters, two siblings and a doctor. Basically, the circus is having financial troubles while the doctor wants to run them into the ground. Eventually, the circus makes a come back by making their show more grander. However, this hot streak is foiled by the doctor when she sends orphans to sabotage the circus. When the circus realize how much collateral damage could happen, they need to decide what to do with the orphans. The brother of the two siblings wants to let them go as not to damage the circuses reputation. On the other hand, the sister wants to keep the orphan and not throw them back out on the streets. In the end, the circus splits and each sibling goes their own way, taking their part of the circus with them. Eventually, the brother begins to loose his grip on his part of the circus and realizes money and fame isn’t everything. In the last scene, he runs back to his sister and the circus is reunited. That is a general summary of the play with no subplots included. 

In my opinion, it is not a bad play and if done right could be quite entertaining. However, I have a few problems with it. To start off, the timing feels very weird. The play was 2 hours and 30 minutes, which is already very long for a play. In that time, the circus was split at the 1 hour 45 minute mark. What this meant was that the rest of the play, climax, resolution, and everything else had to fit in 45 minutes. After the intermission, everything just felt rushed. My second gripe revolves around the romantic subplot. In the play, there is this playwright and actor that had a relationship in the past, but separated after the playwright placed his social status and parents opinion above his girlfriend. The whole point of this subplot was to reignite their relationship, a very basic romance subplot. Unfortunately, they messed it up with really bad timing. There just wasn’t enough time to flesh out the characters and make me care. My third problem was just the all the technical mess ups. I don’t know how other the plays went, but I could see a lot of fumbling. For example, during one scene, the playwright and sister were spinning on this table and would both raise a glass afterwards. Unfortunately, during the spinning the playwrights glass fell off the table, making him do a weird transition into raising the glass. Finally, there was the musical numbers. I’m already not really that big into musicals and this experience didn’t help that fact. It was fine, just really uncoordinated in some numbers. I found when there were more people, there were always more mess ups. Personally, I found the solos and duets much more entertaining, even if some of them didn’t even fit the theme of the play.

To address these problems, I feel the people participating need to take it more seriously, meaning they actually want to act. I know from experience that even if you hate preforming, you need to do it for the marks. However, this just leads too bad acting. I’m not accusing anyone of intuitionally dragging the play down, but a smaller more enthusiastic cast would help. Second, narrowing down the plot. The romantic subplot was okay, it just felt so rushed and shoehorned in. To fix this, I would personally mesh it together with the main plot. Instead of having a brother and sister pair run the circus, maybe a couple instead? For example let’s call the guy A and the girl B. After the circus begins to gain notoriety, A plans for a proposal only for the doctor to ruin everything. The split of the circus could still happen, however, now with the add twist of B ending their relationship due to his pursuit of money and fame. This could leave A heartbroken, leading to a decline in sales and leading him to become even more heartless. With the performers beginning to realize A has lost it, they begin to leave one by one. Now all alone A begins to realize his mistake and rushes to B’s performance like in the play. If done this way, we could still have an entertaining plot and even a romantic proposal at the end. As an added benefit, it would also mean they could cut out the playwright and actor almost completely, leading to more time. However, this is just how I would have done the play. 

Overall, I think the play had its moments. I like the idea, it just could have been executed better. Would I like to see it again? Not really. I feel like it more comparable to those recitals for students, it’s mostly for friends and family. Like I said before, the people acting need to be enthusiastic about it. Forcing people to do something they don’t want to is just disaster waiting to happen. 

What is Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai?

This week, I’m going to continue my series on unknown genres, and this time I’m going to introduce two additional genres. So what are these two genres, I’m going to be talking about this week? They are two very similar genres, in my opinion, called Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai. 

To start off, what is Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai? If you remember, in two of my previous blogs, I already talked about Shojo and Shounen individually. Now I want you to throw all that knowledge out the window, because their Ai counterparts have almost nothing in common. Shojo Ai rarely has romance by itself, and Shounen Ai barely has any action. Instead, Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai focus on friendship, each with a different gender in mind. Shojo Ai is aimed a female audience, and it is essentially girls doing different activities ranging from sports to camping. There are almost no guys in these stories and romance is rarely touched upon. On the other hand, there is Shounen Ai, aimed at a male audience. Personally, I don’t read Shounen Ai as much compared to other genres, so my perception of the genre may be a bit skewed. Anyhow, the best way to describe Shounen Ai is the epitome of bromance. There will generally two or more men with a very close but non romantic relationship, and there will be no females in the main cast.

Now that I have explained what the two genres are, I’m going to explain how they are used. Generally, Shounen Ai and Shojo Ai are never the focus of the story themselves. Instead, there will almost always be another genre to drive the story like sports, music, or drama. Shounen Ai and Shojo Ai are more like an added bonus, ones that will naturally occur depending on the cast. For example, an author might start a manga without any aspects of Shojo Ai. However, by the time that main protagonist becomes good friends with the main cast (almost all girls), and no male lead has been seen, people will like start classifying it as Shojo Ai. 

Finally, we have arrived to the trends section of the blog. Unfortunately, because of my limited knowledge of Shounen Ai and Shojo Ai, I am only able to share one common trend between the two genres. The trend in question being clubs. I think I already talked about this in my slice of life blog, but this trend also frequently contains Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai. To be even more specific, the trend usually pairs the sports genre with Shounen Ai. For example, there be a group of male childhood friends that play basketball together, or something along those lines. With Shojo Ai, the types of genre become much more varied. However, the most common one I think I’ve seen paired is probably music. 

In the end, I hope this broadened your knowledge of Shounen Ai and Shojo Ai. These two genres are definitely not as popular as some of the other genres I’ve talked about. However, that’s part of the reason I wanted to talk about them, to spread a bit of awareness. Anyhow, next time I think I’ll cover Yuri and Yaoi, two similar genres to Shojo Ai and Shounen Ai respectively. However, this time around Yuri and Yaoi actually touches upon romantic relationships.

Black Friday Gaming Chair Shopping

Recently, I’ve been looking for a new chair. Why? Because my current one is falling apart. Personally, I like to think I spend my money decently well. I keep $1000 dollars worth of savings in my youth account and I try to only shop twice a month at most with a budget of no more than $200. However, this might be one of the few times I might have to thrown my self imposed spending habits out the widow. In this blog, I be talking about my criteria in what I want in a chair and my experience finding one. 

First off, I can’t buy a chair and be happy unless I know what I want. So when I started looking for a chair, I made it a point to narrow down the list to the ones that could support my head and upper back. After much use, my current chair has lost the ability to do the latter and never had the ability to do the former.  What I’m hoping is that this newest purchase will remedy this for at least the next five years. Because of this, my second requirement was something that could last a long time. Finally, my last requirement for a chair was it had to be on sale. It may seem a bit weird to have this as a requirement, but I was shopping on Black Friday, one of the best times of year to get a good deal, so I was hoping to at least save some money. 

I had this list of requirements for a while, since the beginning of November. The reason I had been holding out was because of Black Friday. With my fingers crossed, I really hoped it would increase the amount of value I got for my money. During this period of time, my mom found out about my search for a new chair and offer to pay half of the chair. Honestly I was really grateful as that increased my budget and options two fold. Prior to this, I only allocated a maximum of $150 to buying a new chair. Now, I could look at chairs ranging from $200-$300! 

With my budget set, I began my search for a chair on the eve of Black Friday. In my mind, there were two types of chair I was looking at. The first was gaming chairs and the second was executive chairs. Both of these options would be able to support my head and would last a long time with their solid construction. In the end, the deciding factor for me was the sale aspect. During my search, I have come to realize that executive chairs never go on sale… Even with Black Friday around the corner, I struggled to find a decent quality chair with more than $50 dollars off that fitted within my requirements. Eventually, I threw in the towel and focused my search exclusively on gaming chairs. Narrowing down my list further I decided to wait for Black Friday for possibly more options, that turned out to be a mistake. 

The next day, I woke up to find my first budget option was no longer available for sale. I guess I couldn’t be too upset though, early bird get the worm after all. I thought just because my first option was taken, that didn’t mean there weren’t any other good deals. However the longer I looked on Amazon, the more discouraged I became. Almost nothing was on sale! It was Black Friday and there were only maybe three gaming chair on sale. Eventually, I looked at Staples and Costco’s websites. There options were good… But nothing was on sale and out of my budget. With only a few hours remaining, I found myself browsing Canada Computer’s website. They had a wide selection and plenty sales… But they were out of my budget. This made me realize, I had to make a decision. Spend a bit more and get a quality chair or go cheap with Amazon. 

With a heavy heart, I made the decision to go for a more expensive chair. I knew it would hurt my wallet now, but it would be better than having a cheap chair break on me. With my decision set in stone, I began looking at my options. Finally, I decided on the Corsair T2 Road Warrior. It could support my head and would definitely last a while. The only problem was the price… With tax it definitely went over my budget. Even with my parents paying half, it would still cost $212! I had already decided to scrap my idea of buying the games I wanted to increase my budget for the chair. However, not even that seemed to work. After much deliberation, I decided to get it. 

In the end, what did I learn? Well for one, Black Friday isn’t the massive shopping spree I envisioned it being. Two, if you want something keep an eye on it. And finally, never underestimate the price of chairs, those things are expensive. Do I regret the experience? No, I needed a new chair and I rather have a quality one over a cheap one. Still, I hope I won’t have to bend my spending habits for quite a while. 

Fanfic Terminology Part 2

This week will sort of be a part two from the previous blog. Last time, I introduced you to where you can find fan fiction work and some common terminology. In this blog, I’ll be expanding on that and cover topics I personally work with. Last time I was a bit constricted with what I could share because it’s better to get a full over view of the community before diving into the specifics. In this blog, I won’t really explain terms I used in the last one, so read that one first. 

Alright, this is a term I mentioned in my last blog and one I would have explained, shipping. So what is shipping? Basically, it when you support two characters getting together in a romantic relationship. This is most prevalent in Shojo fanfic communities but also appear in Shonen fanfics as well. Because of the nature of shipping there will be always be popular ships and overlap between characters. For example let say the main protagonist is a male, we’ll call him A. Then there is the main female lead, let’s call her B. Along side them are the supporting cast, C, D, etc. The most popular ship would likely be a pairing of A and B. However, there could also be a ship for A and C, regardless of gender. From personal experience, I have also noticed a very interesting trend. In Shojo, the most popular ship is fairly standard, male and female lead. In Shonen though, it’s slightly different. In this genre, shipping is a lot more liberal. The most popular ship is usually the male lead and his rival, archenemy, best friend, or something along those lines. Regardless, more often than not it’s a guy on guy ship. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact I support it because this is whole point of fan fiction. Still, it’s just interesting to see the difference between communities.

Next up is fluff, another term I’m well familiar with. Basically, what this means is text that doesn’t contribute to any plot or character development. Some fanfiction’s can be entirely made up of fluff, or there can just a chapter of fluff. An example of this is my own work. Personally, I add a chapter or two of fluff between major plot developments. Most of time, fluff will usually take a ship and butter them up with really cute interactions. Unfortunately, because of how quickly it can become stale, most authors choose to do a one-shot(A one chapter story) during special occasions like valentines or Christmas. However, fluff isn’t bound by these rules and can appear in many different forms. For example, there was one fluff fic that was over 100+ thousand words long and managed to rise to the top of its respective community. 

The third term I want to talk about is the gamerfic, a term I also mentioned in my previous blog. This term is also pretty unique, because it only appears in Shonen communities and is usually paired up with an OC. Basically if a fic has this tag, it turn the entire world into a game for whoever the protagonist is. For example, there will now be levels, skills, and other common features found in an RPG. This is also the reason why it can solely exist in the Shonen genre. Unlike Shojo, Shonen has enough action and perhaps even an established skill/ability system to convert it into a gamerfic if somebody wanted to. However, I also guess someone could possibly turn a Shojo piece of work into a gamerfic. I’ve never seen it done, but you could base the core system on an otome game (one girl with a bunch of guys, in a visual novel format) instead of an RPG. 

For the next two terms, I’m going to combine them into one paragraph. The reason for this is these terms aren’t exclusive to the fanfic community and you’ve probably heard of them. The first term I would like to talk about is hiatus. This is used in all sorts of media and usually means you won’t see any activity for a while. In the fanfic community, we use it like how anyone else would. If an author wants to takes a long break, they’ll post their status as an ongoing hiatus somewhere on the synopsis. However, a really long hiatus can also mean a dead fic. After a certain amount of time (usually two years) the fic will be labeled as dead by the community, meaning it will no longer be updated. Authors with enough foresight to know they will be leaving the community permanently, will sometimes set their fic up for adoption, meaning someone new will continue where the previous author left off. The second, term I want to talk about is gender-bending, a common occurrence in fan art these days. Basically the author will take a character, usually the protagonist and gener-bend them, pretty self explanatory. The benefits of this it creates new interactions and romance opportunities between characters. So if you not a big fan of Yaoi (guy on guy romance) but you still really want to see two character get together, a gender-bending fic might be for you. 

Overall, I think that covers all the terms I wanted to cover. As I stated before, I enjoyed talking about these terms a lot more than the previous set. I hold shipping and fluff pretty close to my heart as that is what I primarily write about, and I’m also interested in gamerfics to an extent. I also just wanted to show that even we in the fan fiction community use conventional terms. So far, everyone who’s visited my work has given me supportive and honest comments. Fanfiction is a great way to meet new people and it’s a great way to express your creative fantasies, after all that’s what fan fiction is for. All in all, I hope this inspired you to visit one of the many fan fiction communities out there. 

Fanfic Terminology Part 1

I’ve been part of the fan fiction community for a bit over a year now, and I realize it’s not an exactly a well known thing. So in this blog, I wanted to take some time to talk about where members of the fanfic community share their work and the terminology we use. 

So, first off where do we share our work? Well, on the internet there are a multitude of websites for fanfiction and just written work in general. The most famous ones I know of are AO3(Archive Of Our Own), Fanfiction, and Wattpad. However, I’m hesitant to include the last one as it’s more for original work than anything else. Anyhow, these are just the famous ones. There are so many out there that not even I know them all, for example an acquaintance at school introduced me to another website called Quotev. As of now I generally upload to Fanfiction and Quotev, but I do use all of these websites every now and again. Still, I’ll be sticking to what I’m familiar with and focus on Fanfiction, but all the terminology I use here can be applied to the other websites as well. 

To start off, I want to talk about the most common terminology I see in the works I’ve read which is AU. What is AU? Well it simply stands for Alternate Universe. In these types of stories, character retain their personality and appearance but the plot is set in a completely different universe or ends up going in a completely different direction. The former is pretty obvious right off the bat, as the world will be completely different. Typically, you’ll know what kind of AU the story will be set in with a tag, something along the lines of modernAU or fantasyAU on the synopsis. However, the second is a bit harder to spot. Sometimes stories don’t start off as an AUfic but end up becoming one because of plot choices down the line. Next is crack-fic. This doesn’t usually pop up in general fan fiction terms and only appears in Shonen fan fiction communities. Basically, these fan fictions are defined by the fact they don’t care about the character or plot and everyone can be either really OP (Mary/Gary-sues) or just OOC. 

Since I mentioned Mary/Gary-sues and OOC in the previous paragraph, I might as well talk about them. Generally, Mary/Gary-sues refers to overly perfect OCs that are usually self-inserts and have absolutely no depth. These types of characters are usually frowned upon but no one will really judge as long as you put a warning on the synopsis. As for OOC, that stands for (Out Of Character) a problem I have actually faced with my own works. What this means is bending a character’s personality away from its established work. Most of the time authors don’t intentionally make a character OOC, but sometimes it just happens as they move the plot along. Eventually, it just gets to the point where it’s fairly obvious to the readers and author that a character (or characters) are OOC. At this point the author can either embrace the OOC and roll with it or set things back straight.  

Alright, now that I’ve talked about most of the famous stuff, I’ll be touching upon the rarer content now. First up, is OCs and self inserts. Both of these terminology’s fall under the OC umbrella, which means they are original characters. Generally if there is a self insert OC, the story revolves around them. And if there is just a general OC, he/she is usually there to fill in some plot gap. However, the later of these two can further evolve into a OC driven fic. Those kinds of stories are the rarest in the fanfic community and border on original work. Basically this mean every character introduced is of the authors own creation. The only thing labeling these kinds of stores as fan fiction and not original work, is the fact they take place in the universe of a publish work. These stores most commonly appear in fan fiction based off games with no set characters. 

 All in all, that is most of the terminology used in the fanfic community. There were some stuff I skipped over like the coffeeshop AU or gamerfics, but those terms are so obscure you’ll almost never see them unless you’re part of the community. However, I might make a sequel as there are still some terms I would like to share (like fluff or shipping, stuff I cover in my own work). Overall, I hope this gave you some insight into the fanfic community and makes your life a lot easier when you visit the aforementioned websites above. 

What is Josei and Seinen?

In previous blogs, I mentioned Josei. I mentioned in my first What Is blog, that I would talk about Josei at some point. The problem though, was I don’t really have enough experience with the genre to make a blog on it. Still, I really want to talk about it so I’m gonna do it. This week, I going to cover Josei and its counterpart Seinen.

So, what is Josei and Seinen. Well to put it simply, they are more mature versions of Shojo and Shonen. If these genres were people, Shojo and Shonen would be high schoolers, while Josei and Seinen would be adults. This also makes sense in a way, as young adults are the targeted audience of these manga. I say manga specifically, because these two genres aren’t actually that main stream. Yeah, there might be that one really popular Seinen manga that gets adapted, but for the most part Shojo and Shonen take the spotlight. That doesn’t mean Josei and Seinen aren’t good, it’s just most of their readers are probably in their 20-30s… Now, your probably wondering why I would make such a big deal about the difference in audience? Well, I make a big deal about it because the content of the material can be quite different and clash with established trends in their teenage counterparts. 

What do I mean by clashing with established trends? Well, let me explain as I talk about Josei and Seinen individually. First up, Josei. Out of the two, this is probably the one I’m most well aquatinted with. However, even I tend to avoid this genre because the endings and drama aren’t really for me. Like I said above Shojo is Josei’s teenage counterpart, and that genre is practically all sunshine and rainbows compared to Josei. Both, genre still cover relationships as its main focus, but endings and levels of drama can be quite different. In Shojo, the main pair almost always gets together. Josei though, it follows a more realistic approach to romance. A classic example of this is a rag to riches story, the poor girl and rich guy kind. In Shojo, it’s pretty straight forward with some family drama. In Josei though? Oh boy, I don’t know why but authors in this genre like twisting the knife. In Josei, the classic girl ends up with guy, is much more complicated. Authors, like to keep you on your toes a lot more then Shojo and the main pair can switch on how the plot moves. Nothing is set in stone and plot twist are much more prominent. For example possibly other endings for the rags to riches story, is that their relationship never works out, they still see each other in secret but never get together, or some other guy comes along and sweeps away the girl. These are just examples but all very possible in Josei. 

Next, up is Seinen… Right off the bat, I’d like to mention I’m not as well verse on the topic. Yeah, I have watched the popular Seinen anime like Tokyo Ghoul, but my brother could probably explain this genre better. Any how, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Seinen is blood, and a lot of it. All of the Seinen manga I’ve read that I know off the top of my head have a lot of gore. Exploding bodies, decapitation, severe burns, that kind of stuff. Personally, I think that all the blood and guts are a bit much so I tend to avoid the genre. However, after a bit of research, I have recently learned that some of my favourite anime/manga/light novels are in fact Seinen. The one I was probably most surprised to see would likely be Spice and Wolf, an anime about a travelling merchant and his companion. So… I guess that Seinen can encompass a lot of topics, as long as it’s directed at the proper demographic. Still, for the most part I like to just view Seinen as a more mature version of Shonen with a lot of blood. 

Now, we have come to the trends part of this blog. Honestly, I don’t really know what to put here, as I’ve already talked about the more popular trends in my Shojo and Shonen blogs. I guess for starters, because of their more realist and mature takes on their teenage counterparts, they can touch upon genres Shojo and Shonen can’t. Some basic examples are Tragedy, Angst, and Psychological. However, this doesn’t mean they can’t touch upon more lighthearted genres like Slice of Life or Romance. All in all, I don’t really know how I feel about these two genre as a whole. Instead, I like to look at each piece of work individually. For example, I really like Spice and Wolf and Usagi Drop. However, something like Tokyo Ghoul is just alright at the best of times in my opinion. In the end, I would like to explore these two genres a bit more and hopefully find manga that personally appeal to me. 

What is Slice of Life?

I don’t know if this actually counts as a genre unique culture, but I see it a lot in anime in manga so I’m going to talk about it. This week, I’m covering Slice of Life. 

So, what is Slice of Life? Well, according to the internet, Slice of Life is the depiction of mundane experiences. Personally, I think this definition fits the bill pretty nicely. These mundane experiences can range from school life to working. Basically, if it’s not sport or action it might be Slice of Life. Remember back when I was talking about Shoujo and how those stories might be able to show up in real life? Well, Slice of Life takes that one step further. Just by living life you’re practically living your own Slice of Life anime/manga, that is just how mundane things can get. 

Unfortunately because of this, it’s really hard to drive a story with just Slice of Life alone. Usually, in Slice of Life stories, there is another genre to go along with it. The most common ones I have seen are mystery, sport, horror, music, romance, magic, and fantasy. However, I have seen other genres paired up with Slice of Life, like supernatural. Still, I’m don’t really want to list them out because we would be here forever. Through out my entire time reading manga, I believe Slice of Life is the most versatile genre. Even, action oriented anime will eventually have aspects of Slice of Life at one point or another. If there was just nonstop action, eventually the reader would just get tired of the series. To stop this authors usually, put in a filler (usually Slice of Life in nature) to mix things up a bit. A good example of this is Code Geass, as the have a good balance of action and more mundane activities like school. 

Now, I get to the part were I get to talk about general trends with the genre. Because, the Slice of Life genre is so vast, I’ll be excluding any supernatural or fantasy stuff and the unique cases as well. By doing this, we actually cut down the trends by a lot. 

To start off, the first trend I want to talk about is school. This trend is by the far the one I’m most familiar with. I like to split this trend further into two separate categories called clubs and non-clubs. In club manga, the protagonist or group of protagonist join or start a club. Examples of this are Yuru Camp or K-ON. While still Slice of Life in essence, the story is usually focused on what ever club activity the protagonist are doing. This is what leads most Slice of Life anime to end up with some pretty obscure sub-genre like music. Because of the club centric plot, these stories don’t to worry as much about activities to do. Most of the time, episodes or chapters will be filled with club activity unlike with non-club stories. In non-club stories, the author doesn’t have the luxury of falling back on club activities or the like. And because of this, each chapter or episode usually has its own unique plot and is heavily character based. Not to say, the characters from other genres aren’t unique, it’s just that characters from non-club Slice of Life media need to be really intriguing to keep an audience. Without any really plot or intriguing aspects about the world, the only thing left is the character to build a story around. If you’re reading a Slice of Life story, you’re reading because of the characters. 

The last trend I want to talk about, is the working trend. This trend is really similar to club Slice of Life where there is already some kind of set order of events. Like the name suggest, the protagonist is usually coming into a new job and we follow them as they learn about their new occupation. However, if that was the only thing working manga had to offer there would be much of a story. So from time to time, there will be breaks from the work place. At that point events would happen as if the anime was a non-club Slice of Life. Personally, I just find these types of stories a bit more rare and easier to find similarities between. 

In the end, I feel Slice of Life can be one of the most unique genre in anime/manga. Because of how broad the genre is, there can be so many unique stories. Unlike Shonen or Shoujo, there isn’t a need to pander to a certain audience which allows the author to be completely free with whatever activities do. Character could be doing calligraphy in one episode and baseball in another. It doesn’t feel weird either, because of how free Slice of Life is. All in all, Slice of Life can be a nice change of pace to just relax. 

What is Shonen?

Last time I talked about Shoujo, now I want to talk about the opposite. This week, I’m going to be talking about Shonen.

So, what is Shonen? Like I said before, it’s the complete opposite of Shoujo. Instead of aiming towards a female demographic, Shonen is aimed at young teenage boys. So, what does this mean? Well, a lot of action usually. Unlike Shoujo, which usually centres around relationships rather than the world, Shonen usually flips that around 180 degrees. Most of the time, a Shonen anime/manga will be set in a fantastical world. An example of this would be Naruto, which takes place in a world full of supernatural ninjas. 

Like Shoujo, people read for an escape, but this time around it’s a lot easier to explain. People read Shonen for the same reason people watch unrealistic action films. It gives a rush during action scenes. In the end though, how is this any different from the action genre? Well, like Shoujo and romance, I’m not completely sure. However, something I have learned is Shonen does not necessarily  mean large amounts of action. One of my favourite manga is classified as Shonen yet contains little action. In the end, it’s better to view Shonen as manga/anime directed at boys and that usually includes large amounts of action.

Finally, we get to the trends section of this blog. Unfortunately, I don’t really know where to go with this section. When I mentioned how Shoujo could be put together with almost any other genre? Well, same with Shonen. In fact, sometimes I find it can be even broader in scope. Because if this, it’s quite hard to pick out certain trends in the genre. Instead, I’ll just touch upon the one I see most often and experienced the most. 

The trend in question being the supernatural school. In stories like these, the plot more often than not takes place in a world different from our own. The reason for this is to establish magic, superpowers, or what ever as a common occurrence in whatever world the story is talking place in. Good examples of stories like these would be Naruto or even MHA. Usually, the plot centres around a class or group of students trying to prove themselves or something of the like. As you could’ve guess this mean most of the characters are teenagers, likely to create a connection between the reader and characters. Unfortunately, over time, I find this formal get used to much and tends to get kind of bland. 

In the end, Shonen, more often than not, is considered action in my eyes. Even thought I know there is a distinct differ between the two, I can’t really shake the association between the two. I still like it, but I think I’ve gone through all the unique one. There might be a good Shonen anime/manga I read/watch every now and again, but I’ve moved on from the genre for the most part. 

What is Shoujo

So a week or two ago, I talked about Isekai, a popular genre in Japan. At the end of that blog, I suggested I might make a series talking about genres unknown to western culture. Because nothing that interesting happened this week, I’m going to continue that series by talking about a different kind of genre. This time around, I’ll be talking about one of my favourites, Shoujo.

So, what is Shoujo? Thankfully, it’s a lot more simpler than Isekai, so I won’t need to split this up into two blogs. Basically, the definition of Shoujo in manga or anime generally aimed at a young female audience. Meaning, most of the genre is primarily romantic in nature. So what makes this genre any different from the romance genre? Well, to be honest I’m not quite sure myself. However, the way I look at it is that Shoujo is a subset of romance. Generally, these Shoujo manga/anime are more fantastical and unrealistic. More often than not, these pieces of media have the primary ship end up together, and there will always be a fairy tale ending. To put it in simple words, it’s a modern fairy tale. On the other hand, there is Josei which tends to be a bit more realistic. For now, I’ll just be talking about Shoujo. It’s just easier to view Shoujo and Josei as subsets of romance. 

Next, I want to talk about why people read Shoujo. Well, I don’t know about other people, but I read it because it’s like an escape. It is meant to be unrealistically sappy and cutesy. It’s like asking why people read science-fiction. However unlike science-fiction, it’s not the world that’s unrealistic, but the relationships. Shoujo manga and anime can have amazing characters with great depth and personalities. What I mean in terms of unrealistic, is the fact that the plot will ignore certain social norms so characters can be together. This is the escape aspect in all its glory, because of the world’s social norms, it really is hard for a Shoujo plot to actually happen in real life. So when we read about it, there is that same disconnect that makes fairy tales so appealing. 

Finally, I talk about some of the trends and plots that usually appear in Shoujo manga/anime. First, Shoujo is very flexible and can go along with almost any other genre. For example, the Isekai genre I just talked about a few weeks ago, can incorporate aspects of Shoujo. The only genre I can think of off the top of my head that will conflict with Shoujo is tragedy. However, because there is so much ground to cover, I’ll just be covering the plots that centre around Shoujo and it’s not merged with a subplot.

The first plot type I want to talk about is rich and poor. Typically, these plots will have a rich guy and a poor girl and they break social norms together. The reason I’m so specific with the guy being rich and the girl being poor is because it’s almost always true. During my entire time reading Shoujo manga I don’t think I’ve seen a rich girl and a poor guy. Still, there still might be an exception out there so I won’t say anything with absolute certainty. Another quirk about this kind of plot is that the setting is usually in a medieval world or in a high school. Rarely does Shoujo step outside these bounds, because then it starts entering Josei territory. 

Next, I want to talk about a plot that I’ve seen a lot recently. In this plot, the characters involved usually have very different ages. For example, a recent manga I read had the age difference between two characters be 24 years. An added point for this kind of story, is that this can easily be a Josei plot as well. The difference being that in a Shoujo manga the author will have the two character fall in love, while in a Josei plot there will likely be a compromise or even a bitter sweet ending. 

In the end, I really like Shoujo manga/anime. It’s a modern fairy tale and I just love the concept. Perhaps next week, I’ll be talking about Josei?