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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    My Love Story!! (with the Manga Mavericks Podcast)

    Covers all of MY LOVE STORY!! by Kazune Kawahara and Aruko

    Just how subversive (or not) is this story about an unconventionally attractive hero (Takeo Gouda), his best friend (Makoto Sunakawa), and his cute girlfriend (Rinko Yamato)? What’s up with its purity politics? How does it fit into the rise of shojo with male protagonists? How pleasant is it to see a story about characters in a relationship through 97.892749% of the story, instead of having a series of miscommunications preventing them from dating? (This number is an estimate.) And just who IS the better boy in this beautiful manga, Takeo or Sunakawa? (Hint: It’s Sunakawa.) Shojo & Tell host Ashley discusses these topics and more with the hosts of the podcast Manga Mavericks. (This actually isn’t an episode of Shojo & Tell! It’s an episode of Manga Mavericks. If you already listened on their feed, you don’t need to listen again here!)

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    House of the Sun Part 2 (with Kelly Quinn Chiu)

    Covers volumes 8–13 of HOUSE OF THE SUN by Taamo

    One Panel Later co-host, librarian, and manga reviewer Kelly Quinn Chiu and Shojo & Tell host Ashley dig deeper into the small moments that make this sleeper hit from Taamo so special. OK, honestly, Ashley mostly just rants about how Daiki is perfect and how he was robbed in this manga, while Kelly details how perfect Mao and Hiro’s relationship is. Both express shock and dismay at how, in a manga full of crummy characters like Mao’s dad and Sugimoto, Mao’s mom somehow ends up being the worst of them all. Both appreciate the understanding Mao’s dad and Hiro’s sister, Hina, have. There’s also a long discussion about the woes of publishing quiet romance manga that never get the hype they deserve.

    Just one more time, for emphasis: DAIKI IS THE BEST.

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    House of the Sun Part 1 (with Kelly Quinn Chiu)

    Covers volumes 1–7 of HOUSE OF THE SUN by Taamo

    One Panel Later co-host, librarian, and manga reviewer Kelly Quinn Chiu explains why Taamo’s HOUSE OF THE SUN is such a hidden gem. Kelly and Shojo & Tell host Ashley discuss the ups and downs of this slice-of-life drama and age gap romance, why libraries don’t often have digital manga, why Mao is so obsessed with a phallic creature, how Hiro needs therapy (lots and lots of therapy), and how truly awful Mao’s family (and Sugimoto) are. The metaphors of umbrellas and fireworks and the trap that is the influence of consistency are also scrutinized. Spoiler: Daiki is the best, can’t nobody tell Ashley otherwise.

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    Kimi ni Todoke Part 3 (with Caitlin Moore)

    Covers volumes 21–30 of KIMI NI TODOKE by Karuho Shiina (end of the series)

    Welcome to our final episode on Karuho Shiina’s contemporary classic. Shojo & Tell host Ashley and shojo manga connoisseur Caitlin Moore FINALLY get to reflect on what went down between Ayane and Pin (how it was all handled was such a pleasant surprise!). Plus, Kurumi finally gets her time to shine in our elaborate alt ending where she ends up with Sawako and as a contestant on TERRACE HOUSE (this episode involves a lot of fanfiction-making). And most importantly, Ashley and Caitlin rank Pin’s hairstyles (some are much better than others). We hope this manga reached you!

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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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