I've encountered a conversation here in LJ that slandered the stereotype of a shoujo manga female lead
they were comparing worst female characters next to Bella Swan from Twilight . I can't say I blame them. Truth be told, my all-time favorite shoujo manga Fushigi Yuugi has Miaka Yuuki and after all the crap she's been through (like having every guy want to rape her; running away from Tamahome again an again, only to end up regretting her decision in the end, etc.) I started to dislike her overall as a character. And I'm not saying that the typical concept of the shoujo manga girl is bad; it's just that maybe it's too overplayed. I admit that soft-spoken female characters are cute...but only to some extent. I remember loathing Sakuno Ryuuzaki from Prince of Tennis anime when she just keeps squirming and blubbering like an idiot around Echizen. It's annoying. I know this is me being a bitch but I do resent the idea that girls can't go a little crazy or have a weird personality trait that could earn a guy's affection. Recently, I've read three shoujo mangas that are entertaining, largely because their female leads are of different breed.
Sunako Nakahara from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge
In this exceptional tale about finding beauty amidst the misfit and goth, Sunako Nakahara is your horror-loving, agoraphobic heroine with a taste for the macabre and death. She loves Freddy and Jason and would rather keep herself in the darkness than live with the company of her blindingly handsome roomates. The four of them have to turn her into a "real lady" if they want to keep living in her aunt's mansion for free. But the road to that success is a total test for emotional endurance and likewise of physical. The manga creator Hayakawa draws Sunako into a cute chibi with bangs that cover her eyes (and sometimes when she is life-size she looks like Sadako with the same frightening charm) but when the going gets tough, she transforms into this "ethereal and mysterious beauty" that kicks ass!
Sunako is actually very beautiful, talented and courageous but was reduced by a boy she likes by calling her "ugly." Because of this, she resents the reality of being imperfect and hid her face so she could stop comparing herself with all the pretty girls. At one glance, she does resort to self-pity. But the reason why Sunako gets away with this is because her insecurity doesn't become her weakness. Surprisingly wise for her own good, Sunako can see the 'ugly' truth about double-standards. On many events in the manga, she confronts beautiful people who use their looks for scorn and deceit; she aids people who are discriminated due to their social defect. She still clings to a negative self-image (since it prolongs the manga, I guess :P) as well as her unusual habits (nosebleeding at the sight of good-looking people she calls 'creatures of light' ; rejoicing over a bloody shirt; has an objectophilia for an anatomical model she named Hiroshi-kun, etc). But nevertheless, she is a very likeable girl with amazing strength and intelligence. The manga also introduces other pretty girls who lack the demeanor Sunako has and may also find themselves inadequate. Sunako gives them hope in some curious way for she herself doesn't even realize just yet that her essence as a young woman is incomparable.
Megumi Noda from Nodame Cantabile
Where to begin? This college girl has a talent that allows her to play a piece in the piano even if she only heard the piece once. This makes her music eccentric and too free-spirited that her love interest Shinichi Chiaki found disagreeable...and many more traits she posseses. He definitely takes offense about her whole person. She lives in a dirty apartment, she barely takes a bath, she's loud and obnoxious and she's quirky for his own taste. And yet for some reason, he unconsciously craves for her company. The reason?Well, I'm not sure myself but it has something to do with Nodame's 'flamboyant' disposition. At times, she is the kind of girl who gets up on stage and wear something silly without concerns of how people will view her. And maybe this unbriddled self-confidence puts Chiaki in an uncomfortable position and yet he was at ease at the same time. Nodame is simply all about fun and music and she's always out there, showing who she is and what she's going for. That kind of attitude is rare for a girl and I don't know, but she makes me LAUGH LOUD. Girls with a sense of humor, an inviting, shameless one at that, are also rare. She's like Miaka too, in a way (she's terribly gluttonous) but I've seen many soft, melancholic sides to Nodame and I hope to see more (next to her wild, exciting humor, of course.)
Riza Koizumi from Lovely Complex
I could go on with this girl. At the beginning of the series, she was presented as this beautiful girl who is just a tad taller than most average Japanese women. If she's in her twenties, she could be a model but since she's still in high school, this presents problems. The very notion that she's taller than many boys in his class creates a height complex and that's why she's awkward, rude and very insecure. However, we could quickly forget her insecurity (only when she reminds us with her narrations throughout the manga) because she's extremely comical...that she was even dubbed as "All Hanshin Kyojin" next to a short boy in her class (Atsushi Otani) whom she ends up falling in love with. When she had, the rest of the story circles around how she gets rejected once and how she pursues him, expressing her feelings as they are even if they are viewed as ridiculous (because a tall girl with a short boy, come on!). What gives her a distinction (although it's not really one) is that she's just like any girl out there, insecure about her appearance...but she rises above this. Sometimes she fails to but when she does, it moves you. It reminds the girl who reads this manga that everything about a person isn't defined by what's outside; that a relationship with a boy doesn't have to be always perfect (in Koizumi's case, the height difference is apparent) and that when you love someone regardless of what people think the two of you have, you should seize the opportunity. Koizumi is also a bundle of laughs to watch in the anime.