Shoujo Manga MagazinesBy Emily • Aug 30th, 2007 • Category: Article, Features
(Still Under Revisions!)
Hi everyone! I thought that some of you out there who do not have easy access to manga might be wondering what some of the manga phonebook magazines look like. So, I have decided to open up this section to display scans of the covers of some of these magazines!
What ARE phone book manga magazines you ask? Well, they are collections of many serialized manga series by many different authors all bound together in a single volume. Each magazine is printed on very cheap newsprint paper and are almost always in either black and white or variations of one color and white or a paler version of that color. For example, a chapter of Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne may appear in Ribon magazine printed in purple ink on a very pale purple paper. Usually each story will be printed in a different color, though occasionally the color of ink will change suddenly in the middle of a story. There will usually be a full-color page or two at the beginning of some of the chapters in each magazine. The reason for the low quality paper is because most people read these and then throw them away. All the series that are published on a chapter by chapter basis eventually are reprinted into their own collected volumes like the ones I have been summarizing on the main page.
These manga magazines are printed on various schedules. Most of them are published monthly or bi-weekly. However there are some that are printed only 4 times a year, or there will be a seasonal ‘special issue’. Because of the newsprint paper they are printed on, and the number of stories in each issue, these manga magazines can get pretty thick (some make good doorstops!) and thus resemble telephone books.
Each manga magazine has a target age group. There are shoujo and shounen (boys and girls) magazines, and magazines targeted at specific age groups. For example, magazines like Ribon, Nakayoshi, or Ciao are aimed at young girls, while Margaret is intended for a slightly older age group. There are also magazines with specific themes to its stories. For example, ‘Asuka’ and ‘Eyes’ often have stories containing magic or supernatural events. Most shoujo manga magazines tend to have stories revolving around romantic relationships, be it first love in middle school, love triangles in high school, or romantic affairs between office coworkers.
One of my favorite things about the shoujo magazines aimed towards young girls is the nice bag of ‘furoku’ that comes with each issue. Furoku are cute free items that are bundled with the magazine. The younger the target age group a manga magazine is intended for, the more fun toys that will come with each issue. Magazines like Ribon, Nakayoshi, Lala, and Ciao all come with fun stuff like stationery paper and envelopes, paper bags, plastic bags, posters, post cards, rulers, boxes and other objects you can put together, etc. All of these items will feature characters from the various series that run in the magazine. What fun! :D
Where can you get these magazines? In the US, there are several ways to buy these, however, most of them are somewhat expensive. If you live near a Kinokuniya Bookstore, you can buy them there. They will even set up a subscription for you and set aside your magazines for you. Another option for those who do not live near a Kinokuniya is Fujisan. They will set up a subscription and mail each magazine directly to you. However, this can get really expensive! It’s kind of crazy when a magazine that is 450 yen ends up costing like $11 each. For those of you who don’t want to go for a whole subscription, you can purchase individual issues from places like Amazon Japan or Akadot Retail
I am starting off my revised entries here with a shoujo classic, Nakayoshi! Published by Kodansha, Nakayoshi is one of the most popular shoujo manga magazines. It is aimed at young girls, and features cute, innocent romance stories, often taking place at schools. The art style usually consists of REALLY large, round eyes and a maximum amount of CUTE. This magazine is also known for its magical girl series. Previous popular stories that have run in Nakayoshi include Sailor Moon, Saint Tail, and Card Captor Sakura. Right now, Shugo Chara is very popular. Each issue of Nakayoshi comes with a large bundle of furoku goodies.
Moving right along, here is another magazine aimed at a similar demographic as Nakayoshi– Ciao. This magazine is published by Shogakukan, and also features plenty of cute characters with enormous eyes. These are also cute romance stories, sometimes with some supernatural fun thrown in, and I notice many of the stories also include cute animals and pets. Some popular titles currently running in this magazine include Kirarin Revolution and Beauty Pop. I should also mention that every other page in this issue seems to be an ad for some ridiculously cute Nintendo DS game or other. I seriously want a DS now after seeing all these games :) Ciao also comes bundled with a pile of cute furoku extras.
Continuing with magazines aimed at the younger demographic, here is Ribon! Once again, we have stories featuring characters with HUGE eyes and a million Nintendo DS game ads. Wow, can someone buy me a DS, please? I need these games! Er, anyway, this issue has Chocolate Cosmos on the cover, a series I recently summarized on the main page. So cute! Other well-known titles that can be found in here include Rockin’ Heaven, ChocoMimi, Crash! (which I plan to summarize soon), and Shinshi Doumei Cross (The Gentleman Alliance). Lots of young romance, some magical girls, some idol singers. The usual shoujo stuff. Nothing smutty of course. Some great series in here though! Ribon also comes with some cute furoku extras.
Cookie is like Ribon’s older sister. This is a josei magazine, but really, it’s kind of on the borderline between shoujo and josei. It has some titles with a more wispy, mature art style as well as stories with art that looks very similar to what you’d find in Ribon (big eyes, super skinny limbs, etc.) Some notable titles that run or ran in this magazine include NANA and Good Morning Kiss, the sequel to Good Morning Call, and Tokimeki Midnight.
Ahh, now here is a magazine that is vastly different than Ribon, Nakayoshi or Ciao! While those are for little kids and feature cute, innocent stories, Sho-comi steps up the steam a bit. This magazine is aimed at girls, but a bit older this time. The stories in this magazine are mostly romances, and many of them feature rather spicy, smutty scenes, even though the characters are almost all high school students. In fact, this magazine has come under some criticism for the smutty story content. Sho-comi is the manga magazine that such popular titles as Fushigi Yuugi and Ayashi no Ceres ran in. Shinjo Mayu’s Kaikan Phrase manga also ran in this. Now they have debuted a new logo for 2008, and feature some popular series like Uwasa no Midori-kun and Boku no hatsukoi wo kimi ni sasagu.
Margaret is aimed at a slightly older crowd than Ribon or Nakayoshi. It features a lot of high-school angsty romance stories. This is the magazine that the extremely popular Hana Yori Dango ran in. You can see that Hana Yori Dango is featured on the cover of the issue pictured here, but this just a special side-story about Rui. The regular HYD story run ended a few years ago. Other stories currently running in this magazine include Switch Girl (which I have a summary for on this site), Ojousama wa Oyomesama (also summarized on this site…), and Koibana.
I am really not sure why they just can’t come up with a new original magazine name instead of just adding a descriptor word to the name ‘Margaret’. Anyway, this is Betsuma Margaret. Like the original Margaret, this magazine also contains high-school life romance stories. They don’t seem to be smutty at all, and little to no supernatural stuff goes on here. Many of the chapters in this are a good 40 pages long. This is the magazine that Strobe Edge runs in. Other pupular titles in here include Crimson Hero and Kokou Debut. Also, surprisingly enough, Shinjo Mayu’s new series ‘Midnight Children’ is in this. I usually only see her stuff in the smuttier magazines!
As far as I can tell, Bessatsu Margaret Sister is the new version of Deluxe Margaret. This is a thick magazine full of one-shot stories. Some of the stories are original, while others are stand-alone side stories or specials related to existing series that run in other Margaret magazines.
What? You can’t get enough Margaret? Well don’t worry, here is yet ANOTHER type of Margaret magazine! This one is called The Margaret. It is smaller in size than the other types of Margaret magazines, but this one is a LOT thicker. It is like a huge BRICK. Definite doorstop material. Anyway, The Margaret is cool because it has so many pages, which means a LOT of stories in it. AND, most of the stories in this are complete, one-shot stories, so you don’t need to keep buying this thing all the time to follow continuing stories. You will find a lot of high school relationship stories with a few stories of other genres like fantasy or adventure thrown in here and there as well. This Magazine often features short stories by artitsts who have regular continuing stories running in one of the other Margaret books.
LaLa! I *still* LOVE this magazine! It has such a nice variety of stories, ranging from high school romance/drama, to fantasy and adventure. like Harukanaru toki no naka de! The art style in this magazine is very clean, strong, and of high quality. The target age is a little bit older than that of Nakayoshi or Ciao. As I write this (Spring 2008), a number of series running in this magazie are about to be animated, including Vampire Knight, Toshokan Sensou, Natsume Yuujinchou, more Harukanaru Toki ni Naka de. Other series in this magazine have already been animated, including La Corda d’Oro, and Ouran Host Club. The popular Kaichou wa Maid-sama and Kiss yori Hayaku also run in this! That is quite a number of great series!
Hana to Yume is one of my favorite magazines~! It has a great variety of stories ranging from high school romantic-comedy to fantasy drama. This magazine used to be home of such popular titles as Hana-Kimi and Fruits Basket. Now, it features great series like Skip Beat, S.A., Gakuen Alice, Nosatsu Junkie, and Wild Ones (Arakure). The stories in this magazine are generally aimed at a slightly older audience than Ribon and Ciao, but not as mature as stuff like Sho-Comi or Cheese.
Sylph is a magazine that features stories that have lots of very pretty boys :) The artwork style is is very clean and attractive. A lot of the stories seem to be related to dating games for girls such as Hakuoki. I personally love the artwork in here. When these stories end up published as collected tankoubon volumes, they are slightly larger than the books from Ciao, Ribon, or Margaret, so they cost more. Therefore, I an’t afford them very often. This magazine is a good way to get a lot of pretty in one fix :)
Chorus is a monthly josei magazine from Shuiesha. It features a variety of stories (different genres, though most lean towards slice-of-life) with different art styles. This magazine is notable because that classic shounen ai angst-fest BRONZE is running in it. Also, Honey and Clover used to run in it.
YOU is another josei manga magazine from Shuiesha. The art styles vary wildly, from typical shoujo-style, or scratchy minimalistic style, to clean and quirky. This magazine, I’ve noticed, has a lot of stories about career women, or at least, women in some sort of work environment. A popular series that ran in YOU is Gokusen.
Here is YOU’s sister magazine, Office YOU. I haven’t actually read this one, so I am not certain of the contents, but from what I can tell, it’s fairly similar to YOU in that it’s a josei magazine aimed at older women who are starting careers. The heroines are usually in their 20′s.
Asuka, published by Kadokawa Shoten, is a nice collection of stories that often involve magic and fantasy elements. For example, CLAMP’s popular ‘X’ series runs in this. I like the srt style of most of the series that run in this. The cover of this issue pictured here looks really odd though O.o
I love this magazine! “Cheese” is such a perfect name for it! Yes, I did buy this one because of the nice ‘H’ headline across the front :P I will actually buy more of this manga monthly because it has a lot of series I own tankoubon for in it! I was very surprised when I got it! I had no idea some of the series I like, such as My Dear Lion or Towa Kamoshirenai ran in this magazine :) All of the artwork in this is rather nice, and the stories revolve around the romantic entanglements of a slightly older age group- late high school to early 20′s I’d say. There is almost always some sort of sexual activity in the stories, but it is always very romantic and shoujo-ish ^_^ Hooray for shoujo smut! :)
I have to be careful when including Cobalt, because I know there is a version of this magazine that is all text novel story chapters, and not comics. I think this is the comic version. (fingers crossed)
Mystery Bonita is a shoujo magazine from Akita Shoten. This cover features art by Akaishi Michiyo, an author I like a lot. The stories in here, as suggested by the title, often include some sort of supernatural or mystery theme.
Like Asuka, Eyes is another magazine that has a lot of Fantasy type stories in it. I get it occasionally because ‘Alichino’ runs in it :) This was a popular title at the bookstore I used to shop at. Actually finding a copy in stock was very tricky. People snap them up as soon as they hit the shelves! I have a feeling this one isn’t being published any more, but I’m not certain. :(
Comic GENE from Media Factory is a very new (2011) shoujo magazine that bills itself as a shounen magazine for girls. So while the intended audience is girls, the style of the stories inside leans more towards shounen. So in here we have a lot of action and fighting series. It does all look like a shounen magazine, except perhaps the fact that the guys are slightly better looking than those you might find in one :)
Wings! My favorite name for a magazine! :) This is yet another magazine that has a lot of action or fantasy type stories in it. Yuri Narushima’s Young Magician ran in this. Another popular manga that was featured in this was the ‘WeiB Kreuz’ manga called ‘An Asassin and White Shaman’. The size of this magazine is smaller than others like Asuka or Eyes, but the artwork inside is very nice! There is also a “novel” version of this magazine which contains written stories with illustrations called “Shousetsu Wings.”
This is a monthly comic with very pretty artwork in it. The printing quality is also very nice. The stories in it include a lot of fantasy and action titles. In general, the magazine is aimed at girls, however, I think I lot of the stories here have crossover appeal. It is a spin-off of the shounen magazine Monthly Comic Blade.
Ward is another magazine along the lines of Avarus or Zero-Sum (it’s a spin-off magazine from Zero-Sum) that has stories with excellent art, action and adventure, a slightly better print quality feel, and an appeal that might be broader than the original femal audience.
This one, Bessatsu Comi (Betsucomi) is like the Sho-comi version of Bessatsu Margaret. In other words, it is pretty much the same as Sho-Comi, and seems to exist for the purpose of confusing people trying to buy Sho-Comi. ^_^ the stories in this are young adult-relationship type, with the occasional fantasy element thrown in. I really like Kokoro Button, pictured on the cover here. Other series from this magaine include Dengeki Daisy and Black Bird!
I think I like this magazine, ‘Princess’ a bit more than Margaret or Sho-Comi. I like the art style in here a bit more. It is like a cross between the Ribon art style of big eyes and large/roundish faces and the cool angular look you can find in ‘Wings’ or ‘Hana to Yume’. It is really hard to explain.
It says right on the cover of this Petit Comics magazine that it is a ‘Comic for Young Girls’. So there’s your target audience :) The stories in this vary. Most of them are, once again, relationship stories with characters in high school or just out of high school. The art varies also. Some of it is kind of plain or scratchy, while others, such as the story ‘Ready Masquerade’ by Chiho Saito (who also did Shoujo Kakumei Utena) have very nice art. The art on the cover is nice as well, for this issue :) I really like the story about the young married couple ^_^ I need to find the tankoubon for it… Gotta wonder about that ‘Love Clinic’ series though O_O
Kurofune ZERO is a magazine published by Libre, the same company that publishes a bunch of boys love magazones (BexBoy, BexBoy GOLD, etc). However, this magazine is billed as being ‘all-genre.’ I haven’t read any issues of this yet, so I don’t know if that means it is all types of Boys Love (adventure, scifi, etc) or if it’s a combination of boys love and traditional shoujo stories. Who knows. However, teh artwork is really pretty from what I can tell :)
It took me a while to get a hold of a copy of Melody. The manga store I live near doesn’t get very many copies of this, so it can be hard to find. I like the cover of this particular issue :) However despite the pretty cover (I really like him ^_^ ) the interior art is not that spectacular, in my opinion. In general, the art is very simplistic and not very well proportioned. There are a couple of manga artists I like in this, including Tateno Makoto and Okano Fumika, but the rest of the art was only so-so. Subject matter varies. Most of it looks dramatic. There are a couple of historical stories, a little bit of light shounen ai, and other serious relationship stories
Ladies Comics fall into a category that sort of hovers betwen josei and hentai. Basically, they are erotic comics aimed at adult women. The stories focus on romance, and don’t usually have much of a plot. There is graphic sex (thus the comparison to hentai), but the situations and style of the encounters are aimed more at female sensibilities than male. I suppose it’s hard to describe the difference between porn for women and porn for men ^_^;;
So, yeah. Muteki Renai S-Girl is a smutty shoujo magazine featuring romantic stories aimed at adult women. They are light on plot and heavy on steamy x-rated action :) Notice a lot of them have “Renai” in the title. That basically means love relationship/passion/love-making. So it’s appropriate ^^ Anyway, I wish I could get a subscription to these (hey, I’m an adult, and I am not ashamed to admit I like my smut ^^) but it’s really expensive to import them. *sigh*
Young Love Comic Aya! Gotta love that name. Given the smutty stories happening in this magazine, I think a better name for it would be ‘Mature Love Comic Aya.’ No young love happening here! It’s published by Ohzora Shuppan, which I think is the king of smutty ladies comics publishers.
Mini Para is a small magazine, about the size of a regular tankoubon, but much thicker. I think it is a spinoff of Renai Paradise, though I’m not sure. This magazine has a collection of smutty stories that sometimes have a theme.
Boys Love Magazines (aka shounen ai, yaoi, or june)
While boys love magazines and comics are often considered a whole seperate genre from shoujo/josei type of comics, I am including them here because they are also aimed at a female audience. Really, if the intended target audience is female, it’s gonna be included on this site. These magazines are also aimed at an older audience, and may also include graphic depictions of sex.
Chara! Ahh, I feel so nostalgic just seeing the title of this! Chara was the very first BL manga magazine I ever bought, way back in, uh, ’95 or ’96. This is a BL anthology, but I have seen them include the occasional non BL story. This runs every other month.
For yaoi fans out there, Be x Boy is one of the most popular of the yaoi magazines. Yaoi and shounen ai stories (featuring male/male relationships) are the main feature in this magazine. Expect to see a lot of cute, vulnerable young boys and worldly older guys having angst-filled relationships in this one! :D
Blink is a magazine from shueisha. I like the title because it conveniently includes the BL letters. It’s published every other month, and includes several well-known BL authors, including CJ Michalski. I really like the art in this!
Here is yet another magazine, Cheri+. Looks like we have some Youka NITTA in here! I am continually amazed by how many Boys Love magazines there are. I swear, there weren’t this many when I originally started this site! BL is very popular now!
No Longer Being Published
Below are some manga magazines that have been discontinued for one reason or another.
Monthly Shoujo Teikoku was a short-lived magazine published by Kadokawa. It contained many series that used to appear in Asuka Fantasy DX or Asuka. This was such a cool magazine! CLAMP had Legal Drug running in it. The stories tended to have a fantasy or adventure theme, and were aimed at the same target that reads Asuka. At least this is what I think after looking at 2 issues of it. Unfortunately, just like Amie, this magazine did not last long, and was cancelled.
Crimson is an extremely cool magazine! I am guessing it is aimed at girls in their early teens. It has a lot of stories with fantasy, adventure, and mystery. Yun Kouga (Earthian, Loveless) and Yuri Narushima (Young Magician) often have stories running in this magazine. The general art style of all the stories is not at all like Margaret or Ribon, I’d say it is closer in style to Asuka. The stories are a little darker and serious. The focus is more on adventure instead of romance.
South is another GORGEOUS collection of fantasy type stories. I LOVE this magazine! The artwork in this so nice and crisp! Maybe it just looks this way because the whole magazine is printed in black ink on pale grayish newsprint paper instead of the pastel colors like Ribon or Nakayoshi. Lots of lovely bishounens can be found in this. Series running in South included ‘Diamond Century’, ‘Lumen Lunae’, ‘Genjuu Bunsho’ and ‘Komisch’. South is a bi-monthly magazine.
Hahah the perfect name for a shoujo manga magazine- ‘Cutie’! Because shoujo manga is just so darn cute of course! Interestingly enough, the art in this actually didn’t appeal to me all that much ^_^;;; Most of the stories feature high-school-aged characters, and revolve around relationship problems of all kinds. However the art styles between stories varies wildly. There are a lot of stories with a very ‘cartoony’ exaggerated look, and some with a ‘retro’ manga look. It’s very hard to describe. I didn’t see any stories with supernatural stuff going on, or wild adventures.
I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up this phonebook manga. I had never bought it before, but I am glad I did. Juliet is filled with romance/relationship stories among high school students. The art style is not exactly my favorite (It’s similar to the art style in Margaret), but I really liked the stories. Most (not all, but I’d say about 80%) of the stories in this particular issue are one-shot complete stories. And I was happy, the first story in this issue I have is by the author of ‘Dynamite na Honey’, one of the manga series I summarize on this site :) I will probably be getting this manga more often!
If Asuka doesnt have enough sci-fi/fantasy/adventure for you, you can also get Asuka Fantasy DX. As its title would suggest, fantasy/adventure stories are the usual in this. I used to get this magazine occasionally because Cowboy Bebop ran in it :)
Bouquet reminded me a lot of Margaret when I first looked through it. Then I realized it is published by the same company :) Hmm the audience for this magazine seems to be about the same as Margaret. The characters in this seem to be in their early 20′s, though I notice a few stories that have high school characters in this. Most of these are relationship type stories. I did notice one story that seemed to be about a cat though, or it was told from the cat’s point of view. I kind of liked that one. :) Unfortunately, this magazine stopped running back in 2000 :(
Here is yet another version of Margaret! It’s Deluxe Margaret. Again, we have high school life romance stories aimed at a crowd that is older that the usual Nakayoshi and Ciao group. This issue has a great Strobe Edge side-story in it! In fact, this magazine seems to mainly have side stories to regular series from other magazines or one-short short stories. This means you get a great mix of authors and styles, and complete stories. This magazine has undergone a name change to Bessatsu Margaret Sister (Betsuma Sister)
It took me even longer to get a copy of this than it did to get the Melody book listed above. The store near me just does not carry it. I had a couple of really old issues of this, but it wasn’t until a little vacation that I found this issue. I’m always happyto find manga monthlies I haven’t covered in here before ^_^ The art in this magazine varies, but there was more I liked than didn’t. Lots of supernatural themes in the stories here, which is a lot of fun. There is also some shounen Ai, and I was happy to find a series I have been looking for, ‘Gravitation’ running in this magazine. The art in that series is so cool :) As far as I can tell, this magazine is no longer being published.
ChuChu is published by Shogakukan, and features stories by authors that usually have their work in Ciao and Sho-Comic. A lot of the stories in this issue are actually one-shot side-stories for the titles in those other magazines. Examples of authors in this magazine include Watase Yuu, Mizuto Aqua, Shinjo Mayu, Iisaka Yukako, and Rie Takada. I LOVE this volume! :) Unfortunately, ChuChu stopped being published in 2010 :(
Magazines I Still Need to Get
I don’t own every shoujo manga magazine currently in publication….yet :) I still need to find recent copies of these. (This is more of a reminder to myself :) So… many… magazines…. @_@ As you can see, updating this whole phonebook manga section is going to be quite a task! (at least, if I want to be a bit more comprehensive than before… this list isn’t even complete or up to date anymore!). I know there are still a bunch of josei horror magazines and other misc. housewife magazines I still need to include. So many magazines, so little time!