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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Discusses the first volume of SHORTCAKE CAKE by Suu Morishita
We’re back for our second preview guide, covering this month’s new shojo manga series debut of SHORTCAKE CAKE. Viz Media’s mobile app developer Jeff Ruberg and host Ashley review and react to this first volume, digging into its fresh pop aesthetic, which boy is the cutest, Ten’s really long hair, and more. Should you pick up this volume, or should you just go pick up a piece of shortcake instead? Find out here.
Covers CLAUDINE by Riyoko Ikeda (it’s only one volume long!)
Though Riyoko Ikeda’s classic manga featuring a transgender protagonist originally came out in 1978, it was officially released for the first time in English in the summer of 2018 (40 YEARS LATER!). S&T host Ashley asks Jocelyne Allen, the translator of CLAUDINE (and many other manga), about the use of gender pronouns and other translation challenges with this work that's set in early 1900s France, originally published in 1970s Japan, now being translated for late 2010s America. Plus, Jocelyne and Ashley walk through Claudine’s three romances, ponder if queerness coupled with tragedy are implied to be cyclical, and take a gender quiz that begs the question: Could Claudine be a mech?
Covers all of PRETEAR by Junichi Sato and Kaori Naruse (four volumes)
Remember back in 2001 when the PRETEAR anime was the cool new shojo? Did you know there was a manga that’s actually pretty vastly different than that anime you remember so fondly? May Fisher-Guest (host of the Digimon podcast Lost in Translationmon) and ever-present host Ashley get into the differences between the anime and the manga, dissect the series’ connections to the fairytales SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS and CINDERELLA, talk about the cyclic nature of suffering, and fawn over how hot Hayate and the other boys are (the art is amaze!). In addition to an epic shipping corner, May and Ashley also answer the ultimate question: Which one of the seven dwarfs are you?
Discusses the first volumes of FRUITS BASKET ANOTHER by Natsuki Takaya and SACRIFICIAL PRINCESS & THE KING OF BEASTS by Yu Tomofuji
Welcome to our first preview guide! What's a preview guide, you ask? Our preview guide episodes will cover the first volume of newly released shojo/josei series (in the US), providing first reactions about the manga (mixing review with our normal discussion format). These will be shorter episodes that come out in addition to our normal bi-weekly, in-depth series discussions. More shojo talk! What could be better?
Our inaugural series are FRUITS BASKET ANOTHER and SACRIFICIAL PRINCESS & THE KING OF BEASTS. Honestly, you know what you’re getting just from those titles alone, but Shojo & Tell host Ashley and her bestie Asher Sofman tell you their likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams. Can the world handle yet another FRUITS BASKET (without the gimmick that made the original such a success)? Does this new riff on BEAUTY AND THE BEAST have a uniquely compelling hook? Find out from the Ashes.
Covers volumes 9 to 17 of PRINCESS JELLYFISH by Akiko Higashimura
Don your armor (read: your prettiest, frilliest dress) and get ready to defend Tsukimi and all the residents of Amamizukan from corporate kidnapper Kai Fish. Guest Carrie McClain (an editor at Black Nerd Problems) and host Ashley list off the moments that made them cry in the second half, what clothes come to mean for the Amars, who has agency (and who doesn’t), and have one of the most epic Shipping Corners on the podcast yet. (Shu!! How dare you worm your way into our hearts like this?! HOW DARE YOU make us doubt Kuranosuke x Tsukimi for even a minute?!) Plus, in an author’s note, Higashimura questions why PRINCESS JELLYFISH is so popular in America, so Ashley and Carrie, as Americans, provide personal (and speculative) answers.