The difference between shojo anime and shori anime (and YES, I made up that second term)

Well,

Am I bored again? You bet yer ass I’m! So as I promised to y’all before (yeah, like anyone gives a damn), I’ll differentiate shojo anime and these catered to men.

Things about shojo anime that makes them shojo:

  • 1. lots of bishonen.
  • 2. lots of girls talking and thinking.
    • 2.5 The main girl’s internal thoughts are revealed.
  • 3. the main girl is often clumsy, flaky, or doesn’t know what to do.(Note: I stand corrected – the main girl is sometimes clumsy, but sometimes not, and not always clueless, except in love :P)
    • 3.5. she needs a bishonen/older, handsome man/hot teacher to help her (see Sailormoon).
  • 4. a lot of relationship issues, a lot less fighting of any kind.
  • 5. lots bishonen getting “together”, or at least looking like it.
    • 5.5 the men will talk a lot, and I mean A LOT.
  • 6. lots of girls in the show will squeal over some guy.
  • 7. the girls won’t get anywhere near naked (read: no girl skins will be shown – beautiful dressed don’t count – anyone knows any exception call it).
  • 8. transform – but nothing is really revealed (however, the show has to fit the previous criteria, otherwise, it’s suspected to be a shori anime).
    9. the villians are often funny or silly (OK, this is mostly 90’s shojo anime, like sailormoon).
  • 10. the eyes of the girls are so beautiful and complex that no shori/shonen/other anime can match. The stress is on the word complex, and no, don’t ask how to tell the difference. It’s difficult.
  • 11. frustrating girl conflicts and stupid main guy that just doesn’t get it (see Peach Girl – the plot made me wanna kill Toji or whatever the main guy’s name is, and the conflicts in girls’ world is so narrow and yet so frustrating to watch).

Now for shori anime:

  • 1. lots of girls and only one guy
    • 1.5. male fanservice, but these girls would be having conversations.
  • 2. the show has no men or almost no men, and the girls are lesbians or the tension is too high (see Strawberry Panic…oh, you didn’t see it? Abundant girl-kissing )
  • 3. we get a glimpse of what women thinks, and lots of fan service after that ( see high school girls AKA Girls’ high). 3. Funny, especially when the only guy in the show gets his ass kicked often.
    • 3.5. a lot less conversation, a lot more comedy – physical most of the time.
  • 4. beautiful but flaky/clumsy main girl, but girls kissing, mecha fighting and fanservice (see Kyoshiro) 4.5. the main gets naked and her butt is visible (again see Kyoshiro).
  • 5. the eyes of the girls are drawn like any regular harem shows (hmm…Just be a man and you’ll know what I mean, at least I hope you do).
    • 5.5 harem shows are NOT bishojo shows – a lot of girls in one show doesn’t make it a bishojo show, but if it were to be made into a game it CAN be called bishojo game – which is for men, but it’s not a shori because there would be a lot less talking and a lot more action…heh heh heh.
  • 6. we men get to know what the girls do, realistically. (in bishojo anime the girls are often unrealistic in their daily activities, hygenes and so on, they would perfect in everything, especially tennis – see Ace wo Narae…oh in case you didn’t know about it, women can be pretty gross and not in a sexual way at all in their own environment when among peers of the same sex…if your fantasy is to be a janitor for women’s locker room, cut it out right now and just go watch some hentai or pron…I’ve been fortunate enough and have never actually witnessed anything in person but I’ve heard of stories of women being really gross, sorry ladies…anyway, see Girls’ High, episode one).
  • 7. just the direct opposite of the last, one of the women would be almost like a perfect goddess and unattainable, except she’s the magical girlfriend (yes, it’s a ’80s and ’90s vice- see Ah! Megami-sama), and her family (often full of women) is troublesome, hence the comedy happens by the main guy getting toyed with.
  • 8. Love Hina is NOT a shojo anime.
  • 9. Ah! Megami-sama/Oh My goddes/video girl Ai/Ai Yori Aoshi/She the Ultimate Weapon/To Heart/Ichigo 100/etc are NOT shojo anime.
  • 10. Duh! Why is it that all these girls like that one single guy? Why is it machines are fighting? Why is it that the girls are kissing or having lesbian tensions all the time? Why is it the men don’t talk enough and they’re not bishonen? Why is it that we get to know about women’s real hygene? Why is it that panties and breasts are flying? Why is it that the guy keeps having opportunity to help girls out? Why is it his friend(s) never get any chance with any of the girls? (in the case of Sailormoon, her friends never meet any good guy, but this is the bishojo version of “friends get no chance with the opposite sex).

I’m open to debate.

Note: There may be exceptions but these days, a lot of anime are trying to earn money from both sides: example: Gundam Wing (the 5 boys), Gundam Seed/Seed Destiny (these are mecha shows but they have enough bishonens in them). And an ’80’s example – (gasp!) Saint Seiya! Japanese girls lined up to get the merchandise from it when they’re released to the market.

Side note: it seems like most people visiting this site are either long time anime watchers or recent watchers. Interesting…

13 thoughts on “The difference between shojo anime and shori anime (and YES, I made up that second term)”

  1. Love Hina has been mistaken for shoujo?! … Wow. I guess when I was newly into the anime fandom years ago I dipped my toe into shounen romance/harem stuff, but I figured out the difference pretty quick. Other than that, I have a few (well, more than a few) exceptions to the no nudity rule in shoujo: Nana, Paradise Kiss, all shoujo smut (see shoujomagic.net for examples ^^;). Maybe you don’t include the smuttier stuff in with the shoujo, but Nana and ParaKiss (manga, not anime) both have implied/full upper body nudity. Honestly, a good number of shoujo manga heroines lose (or try to lose) their virginity at some point in the series–I guess you could say there’s a split in shoujo manga with stuff like Sailor Moon and Fruits Basket on one side and stuff like Hot Gimmick and Ai Yazawa’s works on the other. And yes, I read way too much shoujo manga ^^;;

  2. Nana really reminds me of Sex and the City, you know–very much aimed at a female audience, and more frank about sex than a lot of anime. (Contrast with Honey and Clover, which is aimed at the same audience age and has with one exception almost no sex.)

  3. Yeah, a lot of girls liking one guy doesn’t make much sense (unless it’s Nagasarete Airantou).

    So I guess Ultra Maniac is a shoujo anime, while shori anime is something like…..Mai Hime?

  4. Good guess. Mai Hime is definitely shori – lots of girls and they talk, but fights, mecha-beasts and fanservice for men. Ultra Maniac’s manga cover has two girls with sparkling eyes – a definite shojo trait.

    Ooh, racy shojo, interesting…

  5. Max Lovely (manga) is shoujo but the main character is definitely not “clumsy” XD I think you need to revise your list :V

  6. Oops. I forgot shows like Kare Kano and all that – shojo manga and shows for girls with good grades. But I did say, “often” and not “always” or “all the time”. But I stand corrected nonetheless.

  7. I can only give you an approximate translation since it’s not easy to explain the meaning of this – it’s often referred to as loving couple(s) made up of teenage girls, but their relationships are often not quite sexual, and in anime, it’s nothing like the “lesibian pron” that the average men like. The first half of Shori, sho-comes from the term shojo (or shoujou), which means young girls/women, often refers to teenage girls from age 14 and onto 16 (at least that’s what I’ve found and believe, expert opinions vary). The second half of the term, “ri” comes from the term “yuri” which means girl love – as in, girls in love with girls. The intense and often (but not always, see Strawberry Panic) non sexual love between teenage girls is called yuri. However, because Otaku males (almost exclusively but not quite) are often interested in knowing, understanding and exploring the fantastical and imaginative (and in Japan, sometimes not) loving relationships between young women, some anime creators came up with the idea to put women in to lesbian situations. But as the average Otaku’s sexual fantasy is highly fetishized and nothing blatant can be shown on TV, so often we see women kissing, with some light to medium fondling and beforehand, high sexual tensions. For these things, the term “Shori” was coined to approximate the situation where two or more anime teenage girls are having intense relationships among one another. Of course I should mention that I coined that term. I hope this really helps, ;) because it can be really, really hard to explain.

  8. I should also add that, “shori anime” often refers to anime that has many women but very few men (often 1 or less!), and the man gets to be with all of them and having relationship with all of them, and shori anime can often depict women’s hygene and other things such as habits realistically. I hope this helps ;D

  9. one more note: this shori isn’t to be confused to the Japanese term for “victory”, which is also pronounced as “shori”.

  10. Finally (really), shori anime are made for male audience – although the creator would often state that it’s girlish manga/anime/whatever for both boys and girls. It can be very true, however, that shojo or neutral sex plots are added. But there will be no bishonen in this type of anime.
    Some also say that the term “shori” is made up of the word “shonen” and “yuri” for its feminine emotional and yet sexual tension and atmosphere and at the same time mecha, fighting, and a lot of fan service for men. I believe I’ve exhausted the subject.

  11. Very interesting review. Especially for a girl like me -l like girls, I’m tomboyish in almost every aspect but with a soft spot for bishojo manga lol!-
    Well I’d like to point out a few things before continuing my praises.
    While Sailormoon is DEFO a bishojo manga it is interesting to note that the cast is almost exclusively female and that there are only 3 (one of whom does not appear often and one that just ceases to show up after the second season (and I’m not counting pegasus I still consider hima horse no matter what)) guys 1 of which can’t even be classifed anywhere near ‘bishonen’ (see Melvin aka Umino).
    Also there is 1 confirmed lesbian couple and there is a lot of subtexting between the others and more seemingly in the manga. (BSSM is probably the first anime-manga to have helped me with liking an other girl lol).
    And lastly on the sailormoon issue, has anyone noticed the length of the skirt? (and they appear fully naked (outside of the transformation) a couple of times) Apparently at the time the manga was being written (1990) Takeuschi Naoko the author (a woman in case whomever reading this isn’t familiar with japanese names) had to beg her editor to keep the skirts as short as they were.

    The Sailormoon issue cleared, perhaps I just have a really bad consciousness for genders but unless it is realy stressed and apparent to be for either gender, I usually am unable to classify this or that as shojo or shori (like you so nicely coined it) for me most ‘shoris’ that I’ve seen were actually aiming both sexes (straight men and in the case of women, all orientations). Haruhi Suzumiya no Yuukai for example is extremly popular amongst boys and girls but apparently in japan it is considered very boyish and initially for the masculine sex. Perhaps the fact that it turned out to be more unisex, is that there is fanservice (anyone say Mikuru rape?) yet it is possible for girls to identify (to some extent if not completely) with Haruhi. Love Hina and Mahou Sensei Negima are other good examples of (Love Hina more though) pobably much more male-aimed audiences but acclaimed by both sexes regardless of orientation.

    Finally it would be good to note Shojo-ai. While it goes in the same category as Yuri for girl X girl thing, shojo-ai is often a very close friendship that tramples the line between friends and lovers between two girls. While there is rarely any kissing, the story or side story focuses on the depths of the feelings. I think that ‘shojo-ai’ is aimed a lot more towards girls (once again regardless of orientation though lesbians or bigirls are more prone to be initially interested, a lot of them get restless when there isn’t at least one kissing scene. Yuri on the other hand is a more ‘explicit’ relationship. Unlike Shojo-ai which is often subtexted or metaphored (there is rarely any direct ‘aishiteru’ or ‘I love her-you’), Yuri relys on direct tactics. It doesn’t have to be sexually explicit, but there is often at least one kiss if not more and the feelings are often more directly conveyed (see Yuri panic and it’s abusive use of ‘aishiteru’ (forget daisuki or sukida yo). And sometimes Yuri doesn’t even involve romantic feelings, skip the lovey dovy stuff and the kisses, let’s makeout!

    But other than those few things I think what you said is pretty fair. Also Girl’s High is a BIT exaggerated however it is true that when (straight (but sometimes lesbians as well) are left only amongst themselves with no guys to impress, we kinda let ourselves go. (I went to an all girl’s school I would know) We think it’s okay to skip shaving or waxing from time to time and in winter we don’t even do it. We try to figure out who can do the better belch, we have hygene contests (who can go the longest without taking a shower) we say ‘hi bitch’ and grab each other’s boobs, our living spaces are a real mess (Why do you think the girls at St Miator in Yuripanic have to get younger girls to clean their rooms for them? not just our rooms but our desks or lockers and classrooms.
    Fact: Boys are slobs
    Fact: Girls are just nastily gross.

    Oh and contrary to popular belief, there are 2 confirmed males in strawberry panic. Boshibaru (Kagome’s eternal companion) and Star Bride (Amane’s wild ride -giggles-).

  12. Amaya – it’s very difficult to categorizing a lot of anime and manga these days because a lot of them are made with trying to please both boys and girls in mind. Also, thanks for distinguishing shojo-ai and Yuri for us!
    Nice info on the “males” in strawberry panic. :D

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