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Shoujo versus Seinen? Address and reception in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011)

Butler, Catherine ORCID: 2019. Shoujo versus Seinen? Address and reception in Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011). Children's Literature in Education 50 , pp. 400-416. 10.1007/s10583-018-9355-9

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This article uses the Japanese television anime series Puella Magi Madoka Magica (2011) as a case study through which to problematise the relationship between two prominent traditions within children’s literature criticism: narratology, with its vocabulary of implied readers and textual address; and reception studies, which typically gather data through empirical work with children. The figure of the “child reader” is claimed by both traditions, although in one case that reader is a textual construct and in the other a human being; yet this ambiguity is not typically addressed within studies of individual texts. Puella Magi Madoka Magica, a complex work that disrupts viewer expectations and genre assumptions, both destabilises its implied viewership and challenges conventional beliefs about the tastes and capacities of actual viewers, especially the extent to which those viewers can be categorised by age or gender. I argue that, by taking a sideways step from page to screen, and especially by analysing a non-Western work, it is possible to highlight the contingent and arbitrary nature of some of the assumptions that permeate literary critical discussion, and to help bring narratalogical and reception studies into a more productive relationship.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Publisher: Springer Verlag (Germany)
ISSN: 0045-6713
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 August 2017
Date of Acceptance: 22 August 2017
Last Modified: 04 May 2023 19:27

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