Rethinking genre in manga Examining its positioning and characteristics
33 , 2015-03-31
Genre in manga has been increasingly problematized in recent years, particularly given changing readerships acrossgenders; movement away from magazine-centered reading; and increased interest in genre and its functions. As a result, itis no longer taken for granted that orthodox, gendered genre categories function. Given these issues, in this paper Iexamine how genre has been reinterpreted in recent years, looking at its role in creating meaning and structuring readingexperiences. In doing so, I will consider how such analyses might be applied to manga, and offer one such attempt usinglinguistic data from a corpus of popular shōjo-manga and shōnen-manga series, showing that they differ in key ways suchas their use of certain types of text-types and the numbers of characters seen. In particular, shōjo-manga appears to usemore text outside of speech bubbles and more realistic speech patterns, whereas shōnen-manga appears to use morespecialist terms and stereotyped, yakuwari-go（ role language） speech patterns, shaping shōjo-manga and shōnen-manga aslocations of intimacy and fantasy, respectively. However, as expected following recent analyses of genre as fluid anddynamic, these characteristics are not exclusive to either shōjo-manga or shōnen-manga, but rather overlap in crucial ways.The role of comic magazines also becomes apparent as a place to regulate these differences and to allow for gradualchange through slight judgment differences of genre. Given the changing role of magazines, however, it is relevant toconsider how genre will—or if it can—continue to be regulated as such.