Dr Emerald King1
1La Trobe University, Bundoora, Australia
Studies in Japanese shōjo culture often begin with a litany of hallmarks: a romanticised European setting, a trio of young girl protagonists, detailed descriptions of clothing and costumes, and a collection of brand related goods and objects. Under the umbrella of shōjo literature, anime, and manga are a number of genres including fantasy, magical realism, science fiction and romance. While western critical theory as well as Japanese scholars and critics are often used to critique shōjo literature, anime and manga, the reverse is rarely true. In this paper I will use the work of Japanese scholars to examine the work of Australian author Tansy Rayner Roberts with particular emphasis on her 2010-2012 Creature Court Series.
Creature Court centres around a trio of young women who travel to the capital of an imagined Italy to pursue careers in the fashion industry. Against this background, it is revealed that there is a hidden war being fought between the members of the mysterious creature court and a destructive sky magic. By using the work of scholars such as Honda Masuko, Takahara Eiri, Yagawa Sumiko, Tomoko Aoyama, and Fusami Ogi this paper will show how Australian fantasy can be read as a shōjo or magical girl text.
Emerald L King is a Lecturer in Japanese at La Trobe University, Australia. Her research is divided between women in Japanese literature and reading costumes as text. She is also interested in popular culture, in particular shōjo or girl culture including anime, manga and cosplay.