Canned Dogs reported on Sunday that Ken Akamatsu has seen a trend in his readership; lately, the people that have been sending in the most fan letters and illustrations to the famous manga-ka for his latest series Negima are girls. Younger girls, at that. Akamatsu has declared that it’s the sign of changing times in Japan, that women are reading shonen comics because there are more “attractive men” to look at. Someone in the comments even posted the idea that Negima has more “pairings” (a la yaoi) than its spiritual predicessor Love Hina, and I can’t necessarily say I disagree. What makes me think isn’t necessarily that more women are reading what is considered a man’s comic, but whether or not Ken Akamatsu is going to do anything about it. Will the fan service and other things we’ve come to expect from Akamatsu take a decidedly female-oriented turn?
I wonder what this means for shonen manga as a whole. Does this change in readership make mangaka want to change the way they write their shonen manga? Or is this more an affirmation of the appeal of shonen style manga? I really can’t say what the change means, but I can say that it’s very interesting.