Shonen Jump’s ongoing policy of “excluding” fujoshi in an effort to recapture its traditional shonen readership is still the subject of controversy.
According to the Nippon Keizai Shimbun, Shonen Jump is working to drum out fujoshi fans with alterations to its traditionally fairly fujoshi friendly line-up:
Another trend is towards attracting male readers. Traditionally Jump carried many titles favoured by girls, from Saint Seiya and Captain Tsubasa to today’s Kuroko’s Basketball and the even now hugely popular Prince of Tennis, which was moved to Jump SQ.
With “a good variety of hot guys (but no BL action)” and “straightforward manly friendship amongst guys” it won many female fans keen on such.
With the likes of Hitman Reborn and D-Grayman, the proprtion of titles popular with girls was increasing. Many female readers tend to prefer tankobon, but in order to service actual shonen with the content of Jump it was necessary to increase the proportion of male readers – hence the introduction of Nisekoi, Shokugeki no Soma, Kiruko-san and the like.
A reduction in “battle” manga and a corresponding increase in “love comedy” by the editorial staff is said to have been one of the major elements of this strategy – although how well it is actually panning out is another matter, as Kiruko-san has since been canned and Soma appears to have sunk without trace.
It has in fact long been speculated that prior to this latest shift there was an unspoken effort by the Jump editorial staff to increase their rotten readership, as evidenced by some oblique comments from mangaka.
The author of “Eyeshield 21” mentions such discussions, but in the end his decision to stick with boys seems to have paid off:
Eyeshield is a manga with a strong shonen following… Jump’s female readership really started increasing some years ago. The figures were surprising!
Shonen just don’t have the purchasing power, it’s hard to sell them tankobon too. We seriously mulled shifting to be female-orientated, but in the end it was decided to keep it shonen-centric until the end.
However, One Piece mangaka Eichiro Oda always seems to have been a proponent of pure shonen action all along:
Beyond writing a shonen manga magazine, we much entertain shonen themselves.
If you start getting fan mail, you will notice most of it is from girls.
I noticed a lot of people in the manga world really did look as if they were getting influenced by the opinion of these girls, but trying to adapt your manga to serve the needs of customers on the basis of fan mail mostly received from girls is a big mistake.
The Keizai Shimbun also happens to mention that editors continue to be concerned about their level of reliance on One Piece, especially in light of its unstable publication situation.
Jump’s new policy towards fujoshi is not without its supporters:
“I laughed when they mentioned Kiruko just got canned. So much for that plan.”
“Depressing isn’t it?”
“They are done for when Naruto finishes. Oda’s clearly getting tired of it, and his real feeling is obviously that he would rather take a break.”
“Hurry up and finish One Piece!”
“Half of One Piece readers are girls anyway.”
“I think it will have the opposite effect. They can gain fujoshi without pandering to them, and if they do that too much they will drive them off.”
“Come on, Jump. I want to read really sultry titles like Fist of the North Star and the old JoJo. Jump now is afraid of any depiction of cruelty it seems. Though I am just a fujoshi so what does my opinion matter.”
“Fujoshi pretty much saved Jump when it lost its way.”
“No way can they exclude fujoshi. Maintaining a roster of titles repellent to women is hardly possible for them.”
“Rot can accumulate around any title. Fan letters and surveys don’t always give an accurate picture of what readers want.”
“Particularly when some of the female readers are particularly diligent about responding to surveys…”
“Fujoshi and female readers are not the same thing!”
“Please, exclude all the moetards next!”
“Getting the fujoshi out is fine, but currying favour with moetards will only lead to disaster, just look at Shonen Sunday!”
“Sunday may have fallen to creepy otaku, but in the end it is their sales which matter.”
“Wait, so their battle manga are actually all for women and their love comedy are actually all for men…”