Looking over my shojo manga collection, I realized how many series I own have not been animated. While some are short or never became very popular, for long-running series that were huge hits, it’s really surprising. There have been several shojo with very questionable anime adaptations (Basara’s anime is very short, while Sensual Phrase’s entire plot gets changed), but I’ll be focusing on series that have been completely shafted by the anime world. So here are the 3 shojo manga I’m most surprised have never been turned into anime.
• Absolute Boyfriend. This is a pretty popular series, it’s been adapted as a Japanese live-action series and it was recently announced that it will be made into a Korean drama. Yuu Watase’s a popular author, and two of her other series (Fushigi Yugi and Ceres: Celestial Legend) have been animated, so it’s surprising that Absolute Boyfriend hasn’t yet.
• Mars. The manga series lasted 15-volumes, and is considered a classic. It was also made into an extremely popular Tawainese drama starring Barbie Xu and Vic Zhou from Meteor Garden fame. Mars also came out during a time when adapting shojo dramas like Hana Yori Dango was ‘trendy.’ And considering the fact that Peach Girl was animated years after its manga ended, it’s surprising that Mars has been left cold.
• Hana-Kimi. This one is the most surprising to me. The manga lasted 23 volumes, has a Tawainese and a Japanese live-action drama, and will soon be turned into a Korean drama. It has the crossdressing appeal of Ouran High School Host Club and has enough comedic antics that I can see it appealing to a broader audience. And yet somehow, amidst all these drama adaptations, an anime series was left behind.
What is noticable, however, is how many shojo series have recently been turned into dramas. While several shojo anime have not been as successful as their original manga (Super Gals! comes to mind), many shojo manga that become live-action series go on to surpass the original manga’s popularity. This may be due to simple demographics – while the majority of anime companies try to appeal to be kids, and particularly to boys, many shojo anime are given low budgets and aren’t allowed to run indefinitely the way shonen series like Naruto and One Piece can. But because the audience for live-action dramas is often composed of young women, this gives shojo manga adaptations a crossover appeal because they attract the same audience. Perhaps this is why so many shojo series aren’t being animated – they’re being turned into live-action dramas instead.