Marmalade Girl: If Daria was a shojo manga

Subtext: Why I am glad that Susie and Glenn wrote Daria. In progress.

The proposed theme song. Nothin' Gonna Stop My Love - Daria Kawashima.

Title & Other Factors

Before I start, I named this essay after the manga “Marmalade Boy” by Wataru Yoshizumi, which is about a girl who becomes the stepsister of a boy who has a sweet exterior, but a bitter inner personality. Shojo manga rarely have the protagonist’s name in the title, with the special exception of the magical girl genre.

The proposed manga would be serialized in LaLa or Hana to Yume. The demographic of magazines like Ciao or Nakayoshi are elementary to middle schoolers. Even the stories of Ribon are often targeted towards middle school girls, with high school stories that capture the ideal of love and relationships that make people’s hearts race (Although the more mature Not Your Idol is currently being serialized on that magazine). As a result, if this manga was in one of those magazines, Daria would have to be more “cutesy” than how she is usually portrayed. As for magazines like Margaret or Dessert, the possibility of Daria being a heroine the way she is portrayed isn’t entirely out of the picture, because there have been snarky kuudere heroines (e.g. Shizuku Mizutani from Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun, which is serialized in Dessert), but the stories in these magazines focus on the romance between two characters. Daria usually focuses on Daria’s relationships with other people in general, and I feel like a manga author, especially a shojo manga author, would want to still center a manga targeted at girls, to the girl herself, even if it is not necessarily about romance. But it would go to another magazine.

Which brings me to why I chose LaLa as an ideal magazine. I’d say that LaLa’s most popular manga is Ouran High School Host Club, which although showcases Tamaki’s affection for Haruhi, focuses on all of the main cast at one point or another, and how they interact with Haruhi. Not in relation to Tamaki and Haruhi’s relationship, but as their separate relationships. Daria achieves that as well, which is why I believe that the manga would be serialized in LaLa. I also added Hana to Yume in there, because their manga is also appropriate for the older teen audience. But it’s more of a feeling that Daria might fit in there, if I have to be completely honest with you. I feel like these two magazines create an environment in which Daria's personally can be retained as accurately as possible.

If there was an anime adaptation, then the theme song would definitely be Daria Kawashima’s “Nothin’ gonna stop my love”, or they would bring in her band Feel So Bad and make them make a pop song that’s gonna make everyone forget that they’re supposed to be a heavy metal band. (I mean, she could probably do it. She did compose “Moonlight Densetsu” by Dali after all).

Portrayal of Individual Characters

Daria Morgendorffer - She would still be a sarcastic girl, but she progresses into a more emotionally sensitive character. She would be more studious, because of course, studying is for girls, and being effortlessly intelligent is for boys!

Jane Lane - She would be the cooler best friend, and would probably have some sort of popularity for it.

Tom Sloane - How spoiled he is would be more portrayed then his desire to get away from the upper-class scene, although it could be touched upon. I feel that he would be much more jealous than the original.

Trent Lane - His cool factor would be the focus of his character rather than his laziness. Instead of being in a four-member band, he would probably form a wannabe B’z rock duo with Jesse.

Quinn Morgendorffer - This author would portray Quinn as the classic mean younger sister, which doesn’t mean she isn’t already, but the fact would be more exaggerated, perhaps like Kurumi from Kimi ni Todoke. She would progress throughout the series in the same way.

The Fashion Club - All three girls would probably be mean, and influence Quinn into being mean like them. Quinn's subplot would be about breaking free from them.

Portrayal of Romance

If it’s shojo manga, Daria could end up with either Tom or Trent. For the Trent route, the age gap could pose a problem, but multiple shojo manga prove that anything could happen between two characters if the author needs some drama. In fact, a subplot of Marmalade Boy, a Ribon manga (which I have mentioned before is mainly read by middle school girls), portrays a teacher starting a romantic relationship with a middle school girl going to her high school orientation, which was justified by her so-called maturity. So, the age gap between Trent and Daria would definitely not be an issue for these 90’s manga authors.

Which brings me to the portrayal of their romantic relationship, which would be absolutely batshit shitty, for lack of a better term. At worst, the hypothetical author could ignore their age gap like Momoko Koda did in “My Special One”. Even if they do take it into account, as a 90’s shojo manga, their relationship would be handled terribly. I can see the author portraying Trent as a painfully possessive guy. Their dynamic would stray way far from their dynamic in the original show, playing like a really bad fanfiction.

The Tom route would be only slightly better, because the author wouldn’t have the balls to make Jane and Tom date, because they need to send a good message about friendship and loyalty. Or perhaps they would date, but the iconic scene in “Dye, Dye, My Darling” would not happen because she would break up with him first because she fell in love with someone else. Sure, Jane and Daria would have an issue because dating your best friend’s ex isn’t really ideal. But with the power of friendship, they can go through this obstacle for sure.

Adelina Peterson
lovethebanglesforever (a)