Shojo Beat – The Final 2

June and July 2009 mark the end of a four year run of Shojo Beat magazine.  Not that you could tell by reading them.  These last two issues feature more great previews, features and of course, chapters of manga.  Though nothing is said explicitly, there does appear to be some indication that the magazine was ending, but you wouldn’t know it if you weren’t really paying attention.

The June issue starts with some DIY projects for toys and cosplay and has an interview with creators of the X-men manga due from Del Rey Manga, and then more DIY sewing and cooking (it is the DIY issue after all).  There’s a spotlight on Mixed Vegetables before jumping into the manga preview for Kimi Ni Todoki: From Me to You, which is also featured on the cover.  I wasn’t sure if I would like this title judging from the cover, but the first chapter is definitely promising.  I look forward to reading the first volume and see if it holds up.

sbcover48Of the regular titles, it’s starts out with Honey Hunt, a title I didn’t think I would like, but have turned out to really enjoy so far.  Yura, who I didn’t really have a lot of hope for, has surprised me, and shown herself to be strong character.  Her two love interests seem to also really care for her.  She has to get through a reading with a well known actress and show herself capable and not at all like her mother.  Next is Vampire Knight.  Yeah…moving on.  Honey and Clover has Takemoto continuing his journey to see how far he could go, and gets a surprise from the construction workers he’s been working with.  Hagu gets some unexpected help from one of her elementary school students that helps her through her artistic slump. In Sand Chronicles, Ann and Fuji relationship takes a down turn, Shika finally confronts her mother, Fuji and Daigo talk about Ann, and Ann get the biggest surprise that she’s about to have a sibling.  Lots of good revelations in these chapters.  Top notch as always.  In Haruka, Akane goes to meet Inori to try and make some peace between him and Shimon on a day where it’s not good for her to be out.  She meets the orphaned children at a burned out temple that Inori takes care off before being wisked away to an estate, where she meets a strange figure.  The final chapter in this issue goes to Crimson Hero.  Nobara is being harassed by Kaz, a rich kid that gets everything he wants, and now he want her.  Yushin comes to her rescue just in time.  The rest of the 1st years worry but, Nobara tries to hand things on her own, without involving them.  The final feature is about turning a craft into a career.

The final issue of Shojo Beat starts no different than any other.  There is nothig in the editor’s letter about it, just that this issue’s features will be about travel.  There is a side bar about this being Shojo Beat’s birthday issue, it’s 4th anniversary and looks at some of the issues from the past year.  There are some short articles on kimi no todoke becoming an anime, Viz’s new sci-fi novel line, Shojo Manga award winners that Viz publishes, and fashion tips from fashion students.  DIY fans for summer, and food to go in the cooking section before getting to the spotlight on the new all ages manga Choco Mimi that also include some DIY projects Shojo Beat reader may enjoy.  Then it’s the preview for the new title Black Bird by Kanoko Sakurakoji, the creator behind Backstage Prince, a title that ran (nearly) complete in Shojo Beat about 2 years ago.  I really enjoyed Backstage Prince and had high hopes for this title as well.  I wasn’t disappointed fortunately.  I really enjoyed this preview as well, and can’t wait to get into the full volume.

Jumping right into the regular manga, it starts out with Haruka.  Confinded to a room due to the monoimi, Akane has doubts about herself sbcover49and her abilities.  Talking to Yorihisa, he speaks the fears she has only thought; she fears the Dragon God’s powers.  Then she is visited by a messanger that helps her accept her power and that she can do something to stop the coming war.  It’s good to finally see Akane take a stand and not be so wishy-washy all the time.  Hopefully, this will improve the title and give it more substance.  Next up is Honey and Clover.  Now on a good bike with decent supplies, Takemoto reaches the furthest tip of Japan and returns to the college just before summer vacation is over.  Hagu, who is sick greets Takemoto before them fall asleep holding hands.  Takemoto, now back is a little stronger (he can at least fend off Morita) and gets back to his job search.  The group go to a festival, where Takemoto tells Hagu how he feels about her, and then it back to business as usual, with no idea about what Hagu thinks.  A lot happens in Sand Chronicles.  It starts with how Kaeda met Ann’s mother.  Then we see Ann and Fuji’s relationship hasn’t improved much, and Ann’s grandparents come to Tokyo to visit for New Years, with her grandfather being a total tourist.  It’s very funny.  Shika and Ann begin corresponding, both revealing this hopes and fears, finally being the real friends they both needed.  Then it’s Vampire Knight, with confrontations, and angst, what it does best.  Crimson Hero has the boys and girls volleyball teams at the Newcomer’s Tournament.  There is some girls team action, but this chapter focuses on the boys team pulling it together.  The issue ends with Honey Hunt.  Yura has to come up with a way to get into character during her reading.  She finally finds a way to get through the reading, but Mizorogi doesn’t approve of Q-Ta getting close to Yura.  There are going to be some fireworks resulting from that for sure.  The issue ends with a guide to Tokyo, listing different places to see and some travel tips.

Now, there are two things about this issue that raise the flag that there won’t be any more issues.  First, at the end of every manga segment, there is always a tease for the next issue.  This time though, the tease is for the next volume that will continue the story where the magazine left off.  Shojo Beat never did this before.  Second, there’s no “Coming next month…” at the end of issue.  The final page would list all the regular manga with teasers about what’s coming up.  Unless you were a regular reader, you wouldn’t notice these differences.  I didn’t notice the teases at the end of the chapters until I was half way through the magazine.  But no where else is there any indication or even a farewell to readers.  And I think that’s really sad.

With the end of Shojo Beat, comes the most difficult part for me.  Choosing what titles to continue to follow.  There were six titles at it’s end of publication.  Two are easy to cross off.  I’ve never liked Vampire Knight.  Not from the beginning, and nothing I’ve read since has changed my mind.  And Crimson Hero, while an engaging read once in a while, it isn’t enough for me to want to follow.  Haruka~Beyond the Steam of Time~ I also enjoyed reading in the magazine, but just didn’t like as much in volume format.  I probably won’t follow that one either.  So that leave three titles; Sand Chronicles, Honey and Clover, and Honey Hunt.  I think as of now, Honey Hunt is a must for me.  I’m really intrigued by Yura’s journey.  And if it came down to it, I’ll probably follow Honey and Clover over Sand Chronicles, as Honey and Clover’s drama isn’t so melodramatic.  But, I’ll just have to see what’s coming out when it’s time to order.

It’s really sad to see Shojo Beat go, and I wonder, if all the people that posted they were a loyal reader of Shojo Beat but just didn’t subscribe, if they had subscribed, would I be writing this post now?  Well, nothing to be done about it now.  Maybe some day there will be a magazine that us girls/women can have and call our own.  Obviously this just wasn’t the time.

11 thoughts on “Shojo Beat – The Final 2”

  1. I am sad to see Shojo Beat go. I am a guy (not the target demographic, but still) and I love the drama and characters SB presents every month. I liked being able to sample a number of different titles that might interest me, and I got into NANA, Honey and Clover and Sand Chronicles thanks to SB. So sad to see it go … 🙁

  2. I too, noticed those little things about the last SB issue. I was really hoping since the news had already come out, that VIZ would formally acknowledge the end with this last issue. Unfortunately as I sat thinking about it there was a good chance that this last issue went to the printer one to two weeks before VIZ cancelled the magazine.

    I too must decide which series to continue. I enjoy all of them at times. The short episodic nature of Haruka plays nicely, but does not compel me to care about seeing the ending. Vampire Knight is a fine gothic story for young teenagers, but as an adult I am only pleased by the artwork, not story. Now the other four were more enjoyable then the rest. The hardest to cut from the list is Crimson Hero. It’s textbook sports manga from the female perspective. I have loved Nobara’s spunk since the first chapter. It’s the thought that this series is no where near it’s end that I am on the fence with this title. Looking up on Wikipedia, Crimson Hero is only 4 volumes ahead of the English releases and Right Stuf lists the next new volume in JAN 2010. With this prolonged print schedule I may be able to keep supporting this series. Honey Hunt reminds me alot of Glass Kamen or Swan. The drama and work struggling stars sludge through is very complelling. I just don’t know if I will spend the $10 for the work. Now down to the two series that are definitely on my must-buy list. They are also both completed in Japan, so I know fully how much I must invest, 10 volumes a piece. Sand Chronicles documents so well first love and other teenage self doubt. It’s also a series I actually more enjoy reading in larger chunks, two to three issues at a time. Honey and Clover again shows that self doubt continues into young adulthood at college. I can’t wait to see how each of these two series conclude.

    The saddest thing is seeing shoujo manga marginalized again. I do hope VIZ will do online chapter one previews of each of their new shoujo series. I know these would not fully sway me to make a purchase, but it would give me a better idea rather than just seeing the cover and a 3 sentence summary.

    Farwell Shoujo Beat, I loved each and every issue and will miss this monthly gift.

  3. As much as I hate to say it, it isn’t Viz that’s marginalizing shoujo manga, it’s manga readers. I’ve made the point many times about many different things, in order to remain in production, a publication must make enough money to support itself and produce a profit for the manufacturer. If it doesn’t, then it gets dropped and rightfully so. This applies to a manga (or manga magazine like Shoujo Beat) or to comics being carried in Previews. You either make a product that can support itself or that product ought to go away. That’s basic capitalism. There is no “fair” or “right”, there’s just money and when the money fails to pay the bills, the product vanishes, as it should.

  4. Well I would certainly like to know what kind of inflation has happened since Manga Vizion and Animerica Extra could never get more than 4 – 6000 readers a month while SB had over 30,000 subscribers and charged $1 more than Shonen Jump. I know there were vast differences in production costs, because of color and paper quality, but I think the magazine could have continued if the management of VIZ desired it. Now they may have another mag on the horizon, like Yen+ that carries shonen and shoujo or they may be gearing up to feature things online. Hopefully VIZ will offer some answers at AX this weekend.

  5. Shojo Beat probably would have survived if more people who said they bought it had subscribed to it. In the magazine business, it subscriptions, not books sold that rules the roost. Hopefully this will be a lesson to people who want their books and mags to continue, to do so in a manner that will help the most. Books, pre-order as much as possible! Magazines, subcribe! It’s cheaper anyway, I don’t understand the people that paid the newstand price instead of taking advantage of rhe subscription price.

  6. it’s sad that Shojo Beat’s coming to an end. I just started reading it a few months ago, but never subscribed (i was planning on it though, ’till i went on the site and realized it would no longer be on the newstands)… does anyone know of another magazine similar to it?

    1. Unfortunately, there isn’t a mag that features just articles and manga aimed at girls. Viz has Shonen Jump, which is more boys action, which if you like that, it’s great. Yen Press also has a magazine, Yen Plus (Yen+) that’s rated the same as Shojo Beat, 16+, and is half Japanese manga and half Korean/US manga. The Korean side has some good shojo-esque titles, but I personally didn’t like any of the Japanese titles, and skipped on it. I think it would be worth checking out now though, as they’ve added Hero Tales (same mangaka as Fullmetal Alchemist) and other that looked interesting.

  7. A visitor from the UK here, who happened upon your site looking for manga reviews. In my experience there are at least a few reasons for not subscribing to magazines, from a customer’s point of view; for one, somewhere along the way in the postal system, there is a chance of magazines getting wrecked before arriving. As a collector of manga, having a magazine arrive with a cover torn or even, in one case, a magazine’s spine torn in half, is not an ideal situation. Another issue is that for a lot of manga anthologies, subscriptions just aren’t possible outside the US, no matter how much of a discount or what free gifts are offered, they either just aren’t available; or, in the case of Yen+, which did offer subscriptions in the UK for a while, they were actually more expensive than buying the magazine at an import comic shop each month, and even they stopped eventually… so all we have left is the Tokyopop manga published in NEO magazine. A final issue is when a magazine comes with a gift like a CD or DVD in a thin paper wallet, it can end up broken (although that could be considered as part of the same issue as my first point), though as far as I am aware DVDs as free gifts aren’t as often in the US as they are in the UK, for example here this week two newspapers are giving away free DVDs every day.
    Despite all these issues compared to, say, the relative easiness of probably finding most of the current manga in the magazines distributed online, I still try to support the manga industry if I can, and I get Shonen Jump, Yen+ and NEO, monthly, as well as other magazines like Mixx and NewtypeUSA, from before their downfall. Yen+ going digital means for the first time I can actually subscribe to it without any intermediary like an import shop or eBay, or having any of the issues I listed, and sure enough I signed up on the first day (although I’m not advocating their online move itself, and would prefer a print version if it came with the same implications, but I guess that wasn’t to be.).

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