Shoujo’s Shojo “Tells & Tropes” Master List <3

You’ve probably never looked at a title and wondered, “Is this shojo?” and let’s be honest; you’ll also probably never need to ask. The hallmarks of shojo are usually pretty obvious on sight, but at some point I began wondering if anyone ever bothered to make a master list of the tells, tropes, and subtropes. To determine how much shojo manifesting a shojo title attempts, does the genre not need a leveling system similar to my bishounen classification scale?

Then I thought, who better to write a potentially unnecessary Shojo Trope Master List than this Shoujo herself? And here I am!

Anyway, this is one of those lists that is ever-evolving. I have too much fun with it, frankly. And, by this scale, you’ll be able to determine the “shojo ranking” of some of the “shojo-i-est shojos to ever shojo!” 🙂 Please keep in mind that a shojo ranking is NOT an indication of quality!

The scale works thusly: Each hit trope/tell (mainline) awards three points, and each subtrope (indent) clarifies some examples, expectations, or common features and may award bonus points. (If a title hits a main point but not all of its subpoints, that’s fine.) The higher a show scores, the more “shojo-y” it proves to be. ❤

Using this system as it stands as of 10/27/21 (and, again, still an evolving work in progress), Magic-Kyun! Renaissance arguably earns *calculating*… 33 pts. That’s pretty darn high. Romeo x Juliet earns… 15 pts. Fruits Basket earns… 40 pts?!?!

I could work on this longer before I publish it, but it’s been in my drafts folder (103 items??) since like last January, so I wanted to get it out there to the world even if it yet needs finalizing. ❤

Shojo “Tells & Tropes” Master List

~3pts per trope/tell, bonus points awarded for certain subtropes

  • “It’s (MAINLY) a love story, baby; just say yes.”
    • 100% romantically, not platonically
  • Happy Ending Guarantee (TM)
  • B x G x B love triangle, and everybody involved knows it
  • reverse harem
  • Main Pair G x B
    • good girl loves a misunderstood boy
    • misunderstood girl loves a good boy
    • sweet girl loves True Route Boy
  • slice of life/comedy
    • +1 for comedy of errors
  • angst as opposed to existential crisis, either well or poorly done
    • +2 if sometimes both
      • +1 for the UNNECESSARY DRAMA
  • hurt/comfort aka “whump” trope
    • someone passing out in an onsen
    • some gets sick
      • +2 whump points if it happens more than once in the series
    • “I need a man to save me” but show, not tell
  • Romeo & Juliet subplot
  • miscommunication
    • someone’s being a dumb ass, I guarantee
    • audience (*cough cough me*) mentally screaming “TALK TO EACH OTHER, DANG YOU.”
  • magic
    • magical girls
    • animal transformation?
    • literal sparkles
    • someone is dating a demon (I don’t make the rules, I just support them.)
  • female MC
    • has one (1) female best friend that isn’t a romantic rival
    • stars-in-her-eyes innocent, hardworking
    • +2 genre scale points if she’s clumsy
  • idols/idealized men
    • artists/musicians/fame recipients and their muse/manager/composer–non performer
    • +1 if warriors and the person they protect
  • high school setting/ages
    • middle school setting/ages
  • beach episode
    • it could be a pool?
    • this is fanservice, I guarantee it
    • +3 reverse harem points if only the boys wear their bathing suits
    • +3 reverse harem points if some blushing occurs
  • soft boy hours
    • friendships between men that could be BL but are never actually BL
    • let men feel 2017

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