Male Protagonists in Shoujo Manga

Though most shoujo manga typically have a female protagonist, there are some that have male protagonists. With a female protagonist, shoujo manga also usually have an underlying romantic development part of the plot, which isn’t characteristic to a shoujo manga with a male protagonist. What is it about these male protagonists that classify the manga they appear in as “shoujo”? What are the similarities and/or differences of various male protagonists of shoujo manga? How do their interactions with other people, their surroundings, and the plots of the manga determine this classification? Finally, does having a male protagonist in a shoujo manga have any social implications, since the target audience is generally teenaged girls? If so, how?

A few examples include: Hakkenden, Natsume Yuujinchou, and Gakuen Babysitters. I’m sure there are others, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head.

  • Male shoujo characters have different personalities, so it is hard to pinpoint what exactly defines them as 'shoujo'. There could be the popular one, the quiet one, the perverted brash one, the 'I-may-look-perfect-but-I-have-a-dark-secret' type... I think what makes a male protagonist belong in a shoujo manga is if the female character is able to help them in some way - whether it's improve their situation or overall attitude. Since romance plays a big part in 'shoujo', there is a sense that the male and female are perfect for one another, so they need to have some flaw that is improved once they meet the female. – YsabelGo 6 years ago

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