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New layers and new ways to appreciate the series emerge when it’s considered as a campy melodrama rather than the brooding thriller that writer Ohba Tsugumi intended it to be.
I’ve been a fan of shoujo manga for 20 years, and for much of that, I’ve been fighting to get other manga readers to take it more seriously. I even started a podcast, Shojo & Tell, where I talk to other fans and industry professionals about it. Even so, the word “shoujo” for me evokes knee-jerk stereotypes and assumptions that I have to consciously fight against.