Shojo & Tell: A Manga Podcast

Shojo & Tell: A Manga Podcast

A manga discussion podcast focusing on shojo (and josei!) series that make your heart go doki-doki. Covering classics like CLAMP’s “Cardcaptor Sakura” and Yuu Watase’s “Fushigi Yuugi” to newer favorites like Kazune Kawahara’s “My Love Story!!” and Hiro Fujiwara’s “Maid Sama!”

Shojo & Tell host Ashley McDonnell discusses one series per episode with a rotating shojo superfan. (And sometimes, a shoujo superfan.)

Shojo [or shoujo] manga: Japanese comics made for young women. A breath of fresh air after reading 72 volumes of “Naruto.” The underappreciated sibling of all those same-y never-ending shonen titles.

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    Kimi ni Todoke Part 2 (with Caitlin Moore)

    Covers volumes 11–20 of KIMI NI TODOKE by Karuho Shiina

    Winter is here, which means it’s time to settle in with the coziest manga for the season: the beloved KIMI NI TODOKE. Shojo & Tell host Ashley and shojo manga connoisseur Caitlin Moore are back to discuss the good and the bad about the middle of Karuho Shiina’s hit series. Somehow, Kazehaya and Kento have flipped in quality during these 10 volumes (KAZEHAYA. GET IT TOGETHER. HOLD SAWAKO’S HAND.), so a lot is said about how that weirdness happens. Also discussed: The best Chizu moments (when she says Kento is a “schmuck” is very high on the list), why Ayane continues to be the best, and how crummy Kazehaya’s dad is. Plus, we figure out Ayane’s love language, because she deserves a nice boy and happiness.

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    Kimi ni Todoke Part 1 (with Caitlin Moore)

    Covers volumes 1–10 of KIMI NI TODOKE by Karuho Shiina

    The year 2018 marked the end of an era: After 30 volumes, the deeply treasured KIMI NI TODOKE is over. And to mark this special occasion, we’re once again embarking on a trilogy of podcasts. Shojo & Tell host Ashley is a huge KIMI NI TODOKE fan, as is Anime Feminist author/editor and all-around shojo manga connoisseur Caitlin Moore. The two gush about the series’ best qualities (particularly the developments of healthy and tender female friendships) and how Ayane is the best character but Chizu is more relatable. Kazehaya is called “a good boy” several times. Constant questions about whether Pin is good or bad come up. Angry exclamations of KENTOOOOOO!! YOU IDIOT!! happen. A rant about how several men in Ashley’s life have very WRONG opinions about Shiina’s series ensues. Sawako captures our hearts and doesn’t let go. Here’s a message, from me to you: KIMI NI TODOKE is a delight.

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    Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty (with Asher Sofman)

    Covers WAKE UP, SLEEPING BEAUTY by Megumi Morino (all six volumes of the series)

    “I can't believe WAKE UP, SLEEPING BEAUTY single-handedly convinced me that manga was not a mistake.”

    “This is up there with ERASED and PRINCESS JELLYFISH for me as far as human relations go.”

    “I don't know if I'm going to be able to go back to manga after reading this manga, it was everything I ever wanted in a romance manga.”

    “This manga is much better than you would expect since nobody’s hyped it up — and we want to be the hype.”

    Quite simply, if you’re not reading Megumi Morino’s debut series, WAKE UP, SLEEPING BEAUTY, you are missing out. It’s easily the most underrated shojo manga of the year. It’s short and sweet and you should read it. If you want to find out a bit more before committing to the six volumes, give the beginning of this a listen. The story follows a girl who gets possessed by ghosts, and a boy who is afraid of ghosts but ends up falling in love with her. Except it’s so much more than that. The Ashes delve into who their favorite spirit is, and then explain why actually, everything about this ends up being your favorite. SHIZU AND TETSU AND HARU AND AKIRA AND LITERALLY EVERYONE ARE JUST TOO GOOD Y’ALL.

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    Fruits Basket Part 3 (with ANN’s Jacob Chapman)

    Covers volumes 17-23 of FRUITS BASKET by Natsuki Takaya

    The curse has finally broken! And did you hear there’s going to be a new FRUITS BASKET anime?! Great. We don’t talk about that on this podcast! (This is a MANGA podcast, after all. And this episode was recorded before the announcement.) But don’t worry, massive Furuba fan and Anime News Network editor Jacob Chapman and Shojo & Tell host Ashley find plenty to talk about in the last third of the series (this concludes our trilogy of podcasts!). Jacob explains why Akito is such a compelling character, and he and Ashley delve into the series’ handling of gender overall. But most importantly, Jacob and Ashley finally get to talk about ALL THE SHIPS (including some that didn’t sail) in the most massive Shipping Corner to date. Obviously, Kyo and Tohru OTP.

    NOTE: Apologies for the subpar audio quality in this episode. The Skype connection was worse than usual, and unfortunately Jacob’s local track was corrupted. There is at least one instance where Jacob cut out for several seconds. It is easy to infer what he said from where he picks up, but it’s still not great. Sorry again!

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    Fruits Basket Part 2 (with ANN’s Jacob Chapman)

    Covers volumes 9-16 of FRUITS BASKET by Natsuki Takaya

    Massive Furuba fan and Anime News Network editor Jacob Chapman is back to discuss the middle third of Takaya’s classic with Shojo & Tell host Ashley. Most of the dark, dark Sohma family secrets have been revealed this time around, and Tohru is in turmoil over Kyo’s fate. But we’re saving most of the Kyo talk for the third and final podcast! This time, Yuki’s struggles shine after his confrontation with Akito. The particular pains of motherhood — with Tohru’s mother complex and many of the Sohma’s crummy parents — are scrutinized at length. And Jacob explains how FRUITS BASKET accurately captures the cyclic nature of abuse. It’s a heavy episode, but then, there’s also talk about how the play “Sorta Cinderella” is very funny. Try not to cry too much, alright?

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    Preview Guide 3: Ao Haru Ride and Kira-kun Today

    Discusses the first volumes of AO HARU RIDE by Io Sakisaka and KIRA-KUN TODAY by Rin Mikimoto

    After September brought no new shojo manga series debuts in the US, October has brought two! Shojo & Tell host Ashley McDonnell and her bestie Asher Sofman have differing opinions on the quality of this month’s debuts. They discuss the wackiness of KIRA-KUN TODAY and what makes Io Sakisaka’s much-hyped AO HARU RIDE special. Whether you like talking birds or childhood crushes, strange depression or persistent melancholy, there’s probably something here for you between these two series.

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    Fruits Basket Part 1 (with ANN’s Jacob Chapman)

    Covers volumes 1-8 of FRUITS BASKET by Natsuki Takaya

    At the height of the mid-2000s manga boom in the US, there was no bigger series than FRUITS BASKET. And this story about orphaned Tohru Honda and the Sohma family curse has endured, getting a very special rerelease in recent years. For a series this influential, we brought on one of the biggest Furuba fans of all: Anime News Network editor Jacob Chapman. We discuss why FRUITS BASKET left such a lasting impression, who our favorite Sohmas are, how Tokyopop and Yen Press’ translations compare, what the curse really is, Kyo’s “true” form and the search for what’s real, Furuba’s message about belief in others, particularly as it relates to religion and family, and much, much more. Most importantly, obviously, we answer the question: Yuki or Kyo? And just think: This is only the first of three episodes about Takaya’s masterpiece.

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    Magic Knight Rayearth (with Asher Sofman)

    Covers all of MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH by CLAMP (that's six volumes across MKR I and II)

    Take a trip to Cefiro, grab a sword, and get in a mech in this wild and beautiful Clamp classic. Asher and Ashley do a character walkthrough that’s mostly gushing about how pretty everyone is (Eagle! Lantis! Umi! Fuu! Hikaru! That's only 1/100th of the number of characters in this six-volume manga!), debate whether Princess/Pillar Emeraude committed suicide and how this relates to controversies over assisted suicide, and of course, fail to escape hitsuzen because everything is hitsuzen. Plus, the Ashes solve global problems that plague many nations, laugh at how many characters/places are named after cars (AUTOZAM! CLEF!), and fawn over how cute all the (problematic) ships are.

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    Banana Fish Part 2 (with Marion Bea)

    Covers volumes 12 through 19 of BANANA FISH by Akimi Yoshida

    It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: BANANA FISH fan Marion goes on an epic rant about The Ending of the series. Seriously! What?! WHY?! Who thought this was okay!? Marion and Shojo & Tell host Ashley also discuss the role of women in Yoshida’s series, touch on the importance of found families, walk through all the ships we’re given in the end (obviously, OTP is Ash and Eiji), and ponder why Blanca has such broad shoulders. Plus: Did Ashley cry while reading the short story “Garden of Light” on the bus? You’ll just have to listen to find out.

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    Banana Fish Part 1 (with Marion Bea)

    Covers volumes 1 through 11 of BANANA FISH by Akimi Yoshida

    It’s a perfect day to discuss BANANA FISH, the revived classic about how everyone — except some select gang members and an innocent Japanese boy named Eiji Okumura — wants to kill the brilliant and beautiful and deadly Ash Lynx. Shojo & Tell host Ashley found the biggest BANANA FISH fan in Marion, and together they discuss the literary and political history Akimi Yoshida’s work draws from, the representations of race and queerness in the story, answer some of your questions about how the modernized anime compares to this very ’80s manga, and list favorite Ash and Eiji moments. Plus, Ashley and Marion take plenty of time to discuss Ash’s transformation from River Phoenix to Nurse Barbara.

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