The target audience
We all know the three main categories of manga (shonen, shojo, and seinen).
However, contrary to what many people think, manga’s categorization is not made according to their genre but the demographics targeted.
These different categories are differentiated both by their narrative content and by their graphic style. The objective of these categories is therefore simple: to be intended for specific demographic classes.
This therefore clearly highlights a successful marketing aspect (targeting). The more precise the editorial scope, the easier it is to offer suitable content.
Unlike comics, which generally have a very broad editorial scope, manga specifically targets audiences based on their age and gender. Each category is easily identifiable by a name (shõnen, shõjo, seinen).
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the most popular demographics targeted:
- The shonen:
For a young male audience, 8 to 18 years old.
- The shojo:
For a young female audience, 8 to 18 years old.
- The seinen:
For adult male audiences, 16 years and older.
- The josei:
For an adult female audience, 16 years and over.
- The seijin:
For a more mature adult audience, 18 and over.
Popular Manga Categories And Its Target Audience
Shōnen is the most common category of manga. As in the theater, the shõnen is governed by a rule of three units: courage, perseverance, and friendship. All shonen manga contain these three units to help develop positive energy, motivation, and social support. The majority of these stories feature a youthful hero with whom the reader can easily identify. The hero generally has a hidden talent that allows him to surpass himself and accomplish great things and overcome increasingly powerful opponents.
The protagonist usually sets off in search of a particularly difficult objective that allows him to achieve an excellent social position. One of the most recurrent aspects in the shõnen is a tournament bringing together adversaries and allies, all more powerful from each other.Akira Toriyama popularized this technique with the Dragon Ball universe’s martial arts tournament. In order to progress in his adventure, the hero is very often confronted with a powerful, charismatic, and “dark” adversary.
Over the course of their confrontation, the hero triumphs thanks to surpassing himself and even manages to befriend his former enemy. The message is simple: no matter the adversity and the obstacles, nothing is impossible for those who give themselves the means.
Popular Shōnen: Dragon Ball Z, Naruto, One Piece, Bleach, Fairy Tail.
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Second in the ranking, the shõjo is a term designating “young girl”. It is the equivalent of shõnen for female audiences of the same age group (8 to 18 years old).
The stories deal with various subjects such as music, sports, school, fashion, et cetera. Most of the time, the story revolves around love. The authors are mainly women.
This genre has its own graphic codes: the characters are slender, with detailed faces that emphasize the purity of the characters. They also tend to have large eyes. The drawing style offers great creativity when it comes to layout.
Popular shõjos: Nana, Fruits basket, La Rose de Versailles, Alice Academy, Tôkyô Mwe Mwe.
Third on the podium, seinen-type manga deals with darker, subtler, and often dramatic subjects. The first striking aspect of seinen is its graphic style. Indeed, the seinen are manga with a much less caricatural style of drawing and more worked in detail. The faces of the characters are more faithful to reality, the sets are larger and more detailed,…
This meticulous work of drawing offers a more serious approach to manga, which is ideal for seinen. If this type of manga takes up the themes addressed in the shõnens, the plots are more complex and the characters more subtle and more difficult to identify. It can happen that a manga begins as shõnen before starting a sequel in a seinen register.
If in the shõnen the hero leads a quest that makes him constantly evolve, the seinen is the culmination of the protagonist’s engaging in active life. It is therefore natural that certain authors take advantage of the publication of their series to make the transition between shõnen and seinen. There are also manga with a genre located on the border between shõnen and seinen (Death Note, GTO, Fullmetal Alchemist, etc.) The seinen marks the transition from adolescent (shõnen) to young adult (seinen).
Popular Seinen: Akira, Berserk, Samurai Samploo, Monster, Gantz.
Finally, contrary to popular belief, manga are not only for young boys, but for a wide range of readers who can find a manga category that fits their needs.
The categories, on the other hand, aren’t just for a specific type of audience. The fact that a manga targets an audience of young girls does not prevent an adult from finding stories with relevant themes. The classification into different categories therefore only serves as an indicator. The only existing barriers between the different categories are only mental. Received ideas condemn certain categories to a reduced readership.
A blog written by www.notforall.store
That’s it for this post! These were the most popular manga categories and its target audience!
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