I bet you’ve looked at this title and wondered one thing: why is monster in quotations? Well my friends of the spook season, I’m about to tell you why in what I’m assuming will be my shortest post in all of Otakutober. So thank you for joining me for day ten of 13 Days of Otakutober as we talk about “monster” tropes in shoujo and romance anime. Without further ado, let me get on with this rant!
…So. I’m just going to start with it. First of all, the number one trope I saw in most supernatural based shoujo/romance anime was that the MC always has a main love interest who at first either ignores her, seems cold to her, etcetera. Essentially, no matter what the MC never ends up with the friendly supernatural creature–it’s always the dark and mysterious, moody type of one. Which like I get it. We like tall, dark, handsome, mystery monster men. But honestly it’s one of those things that when I see it in anime I’m just like “that’s it–there he is. I don’t care how many other suitors are in the show–that’s the one.” 9/10 times I’m right. They just hate each other through and through til love sparks.
Another thing. And the reason for the quotations around “monster” shoujo/romance anime. WHY IS IT ALWAYS THE VAMPIRE. So first off, almost all supernatural romance anime that immediately came to mind featured vampires as the love interest or as the sole supernatural entity in the show. I understand the traditional appeal of vampires–literally just better versions of humans meaning that they can be sexy men. Plus they are seen as very alluring and mysterious which fits nicely into the idea of a handsome monster. Plus vampires are often brooding, moody, but deep characters that make for some good conflict or drama (especially when said vampires had a lost love but then they survive because they are a vampire and they are immortal). And then of course, vampires are just popular in the literary canon so it makes sense that most romance “monster” anime tend to opt for vampires. But also…like. Come oooooon. Do some of my favorites include vampires exclusively? Yes–or at least Vampire Knight does (SO GOOD). But even anime that have other monsters, STILL END UP WITH THE VAMPIRE BEING THE MAIN LOVE INTEREST. Like for instance, one of my guilty pleasure romance anime — Phantom in the Twilight. In this show we have a werewolf, a jiangshi, a vampire, and the LORD OF GLUTTONY (though admittedly he’s too cute to be a good love interest). I was always like–girl. You have a nice platter of suitors and you STILL choose the vampire? Like the werewolf? Perfectly good guy. I love Luke. We stan Luke–plus he had a twin. The jiangshi? Would’ve made a very interesting storyline filled with angst if they’d chosen to go that way. But the vampire…well. It was a vampire love story. He used to be in love with MC’s ancestor (oh look–lost love interest), he seems like the cold type she bickers with, he is super handsome, and has a bit of a mysterious air to him. I feel like I just described Twilight. OH–is that why it’s called Phantom in the Twilight? (I jest. I actually very much enjoy it)
But another thing is that if by chance the romance story is featuring non-vampires, then we instead often get a love story with the high class supernatural creature. Now…what I mean by that is that there’s always like a tier of monsters–some are better than others for some reason or another. Like Dance with Devils— Rem (male love interest) is literally defined as a “high-ranking devil”. See that? High ranking devil aka he is the top of the food chain in this world. Or close to that. Other anime? Same thing. Yona of the Dawn? The most OP dragon is the implied love interest. Kamisama no Hajimemashita? Again the top tier of the shrine and creatures is the winner.
So essentially…in all of these romance it’s the same kind of love interest that takes the spotlight. Vampires. And if not vampires then the top tier supernatural creature. And almost always will it start out with MC and love interest as being in conflict, cold to each other, or constantly bickering. Overall it’s not much of a monster mash…and really just a vampire mash. Or like top tier supernatural creature. It’s all the same. A little disappointing to be honest…but still fun romances to watch all around–especially for the spooky season. That’s all for today though, I’ll see you again tomorrow for some spooky romance for day 11!