January 4

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30+ Best Shoujo Anime You Should Watch


The need and reason behind creating the best shoujo anime may be very simple. Young women are finally becoming the main characters.

Before, their daily struggles and romantic interests were usually omitted.

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Now, they are put in the spotlight, providing enjoyment and fulfillment to the anime community.

Since the 1970s, the shoujo genre has been evolving, both in art style and narrative.

It is believed that the most important characteristic of the shoujo genre is that it contains non-offensive and romantic content for anime fans.

20 Best Shoujo Anime Series

There have been many romantic anime shows in the past. If you are a fan of shoujo anime, there is no doubt that you have watched at least one awesome shoujo anime.

However, it's not easy to find an awesome shoujo anime for beginners because they are often characterized by complex stories with lots of plot twists and misunderstandings.

Shoujo fans! The following is a list of shoujo anime series that I consider awesome, whether because they are funny, endearing, beautiful, or full of action.

Kaichou Wa Maid Sama

Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama Love Story

What makes this anime a great shoujo anime is the depth of its characters. Each character is unique with their own set of problems they need to deal with.

The characters all develop throughout the anime, learning more about themselves and their relationships.

The anime has two primary protagonists: Usui Takumi, the number one student at Seika High School, and Misaki Ayuzawa, the only female student council president.

In the beginning, Takumi and Misaki despise each other.

Misaki, who has an embarrassing secret, sees Takumi as a pervert while calling her a tyrant since she has a strict disciplinary style about following school rules.

But as they spend more time together, their feelings change to something else entirely.

Kimi ni Todoke

Kimi ni Todoke - Best Shoujo Anime

Kuronuma Sawako, a high school freshman, is a young girl who is socially awkward around others. Often, her classmates always misunderstood her kindness.

If you're looking for something to provide you with that fuzzy, warm feeling, then this is exactly what you need.

Kimi ni Todoke has that slow-paced kind-of storyline with the right amount of backstory and comedy.

This series is uncomplicated with generic characters. Still, it manages to touch the hearts of many fans for its simplicity.

The romance between the two major characters is particularly pleasant.

Overall, the series has its charm that will make your heart melt in no time.

Sukitte Ii na yo

Say I Love You

This story is about more than just romance. It explores what it means to change and how people cannot force themselves to be someone else for the sake of others.

Mei's character is strong enough not to succumb to peer pressure while still retaining her convictions. A good shoujo anime needs an interesting male lead too.

Yamato is well-liked in Mei's class who seems to have it all. However, beneath his charming demeanor lies a lazy and unmotivated individual afraid of the future.

When he meets Mei, he begins to take life seriously, and Mei starts to notice her feelings for him after that.

Blue Spring Ride

Ao Haru Ride

On the surface of this manga adaptation, Blue Spring Ride seems like another shoujo romance with an intriguing storyline.

It manages to teach various life lessons through the different struggles the characters have to go through.

While Kou and Futaba are the most notable characters, many of the supporting cast also contribute to the show.

The main characters' growth is a major reason Blue Spring Ride works as a shoujo anime.

Both Futaba and Kou have to deal with huge challenges in their lives, from family problems, bullies at school, and even doubts about their feelings for each other.

Futaba especially undergoes several major changes throughout the series, as she slowly becomes more confident in herself.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Monthly Girls' Nozaki-Kun

The great balance between comedy and reality is the best part of the Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun anime and manga series.

It's not just about making fun of shoujo tropes. This series is also about how some people don't take their hobbies seriously, which leads to misunderstandings (the whole Sakura/Nozaki situation).

Another good thing about the romantic comedy series is its focus on comically relatable scenarios.

The very first scene of Nozaki-Kun is probably what every normal girl has felt at least once.

Uta No Prince-sama

Uta No Prince-sama

The anime is about Haruka Nanami, a girl who moves to Tokyo to become a lyricist and one day write songs for her favorite male idol, Hayato.

She ends up enrolling in Shining Agency's songwriting division and getting stuck as an assistant, so she must work hard to shine.

All of the characters are developed well, and the plot is exciting and keeps you on your toes!

It features characters from different backgrounds, sexualities, and personalities. There's a little something for everyone!

Uta No Prince-Sama features lots of humor, and the art is pretty good. Besides, it has some pretty good songs! The characters sang them always at the right time, too.

Vampire Knight

Vampire Knight - romance genre

Vampire Knight is one of the best shoujo anime ever released. It has an engaging plot, lovable characters, and beautiful art.

When people think of shoujo, they usually think of cliche love triangles that always involve some sort of love confession. Not in this anime, though.

The story for this anime is distinctive. It started with the new students coming to Cross Academy, which had normal humans (from Day Class) and vampires attending night class.

Kaname Kuran is a pureblood vampire who is the headmaster of the school.

The story progresses as each student finds out more about their classmates and learns to deal with them and themselves.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Snow White with the Red Hair

Not all shoujo anime is sparkly. Snow White with the Red Hair shows immense depth in its plot and characters while still maintaining heartwarming romantic feelings throughout the show.

This young talented girl decides to take up this opportunity under one condition! She is not to be treated as a possession.

The story seems pretty straightforward at first, but it quickly blossoms into something much bigger.

The anime focuses on relationships, love life, revenge, and justice. It also heavily emphasizes how your actions can either help or harm other people.

Bokura Wa Minna Kawai-sou

The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behavior

Bokura Wa Minna Kawaisou is a great anime for many reasons.

The show's combination of a relatable protagonist, charming characters who live an independent life, and comedy makes for an amusing watch.

First off, the animation is fantastic. At first glance, the art looks average. But, when you pay closer attention, you can notice the beautiful lighting and detail.

The vibrant art style fits the subject matter perfectly.

Moving onto characters, our protagonist Ritsu Kawai is practical and realistic as a character.

She's your typical introvert who loves reading books and staying home instead of partying or going out for a leisure walk.

This is very relatable to many introverts, who might find Ritsu an ideal character.

Rumbling Hearts

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien

Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is a touching high school romance anime that tugs at heart. It's about high school students who are facing some very difficult choices.

These choices often involve love triangles, life or death decisions, and some romantic moments. But what makes this show so great among fans?

The realism of this series is one of its most prominent features. The characters are genuine and aren't idealized. They don't always make the best decisions and often act impulsively.

Sometimes, their actions can be misunderstood or misinterpreted, leading to feelings of uneasiness.

There are also realistic consequences for everything that the main cast goes through, both emotionally and physically.

Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket

After a dramatic family argument, Tohru Honda (an orphan girl) is left without a home and reluctantly moves into Sohma's estate.

There, she meets a broken yet kind young man named Yuki, one of her soon-to-be housemates.

Soon after, she also meets Shigure, another of the four residents living in the large household.

Fruits Basket succeeds at having characters that you care deeply about, even if they are portrayed as villains for much of the show.

It does not matter whether you want to be friends with them in real life (Tohru is an exception here).

But, it speaks volumes when a fictional character can make you feel sympathy towards them.

Lovely Complex

Lovely Complex

Lovely Complex breaks this "formula" in many ways. It strays from your typical shoujo tropes.

As a result, it tells a relatable story of two characters tagged as a comedy duo, who are opposites in nearly every way.

This is a story of love, hardships, and heartbreak where the two main characters fall in love but are too afraid to tell the other.

The narrative provides real couples' realistic struggles (such as Risa not wanting to be seen as an equal partner in their relationship). It is even more filled with comedy.

Lovely Complex deals with several mature and relatable issues such as one-sided love, jealousy, and not wanting to be seen as a burden.

Romeo to Jurietto

Romeo to Jurietto

Romeo X Juliet is truly a shoujo gem based on the original story written by Shakespeare.

The overall setting was dark and tragic, which made me feel as if this series lived up to the play's reputation.

The story had a lot of different types of romances going on at once, so it didn't get boring.  It had the Romeo and Juliet romance, which was important to the story.

This series has other manifestations of love, such as love for a family member, friendship, and unrequited love.

All of these other romances were equally important to the story.

The love of Romeo and Juliet for each other is not typical love-at-first-sight. The two started with a hate-love-kind-of feeling, which is realistic and different from other shoujo romances.

Nana

Nana

Nana is an anime that follows the lives of two girls who ride the same train and learn about each other. Their dreams and goals set them apart from each other.

What brought them together is their shared love for music and the music bands they support.

They stick with each other through thick and thin but also face certain difficulties in their friendship.

These situations and how they overcome them make the anime so compelling to watch for their characters.

At the same time, the anime captures emotions such as happiness, sadness, anxiety, or anger.

However, comparisons between the two Nanas are inevitable. These comparisons do bring out their differences in terms of personality.

It shows the audience what they both want and how they deal with obstacles.

Golden Time

Golden Time

Golden Time is about Banri Tada, a guy who recently recovered from amnesia.

He transferred to a law school, where he met Koko Kaga, a girl he saw on the train every day but never talked to.

There, he finds out that she sees him in her dreams frequently. This young woman has even told her friends that they are going out because she doesn't know how else to react.

This is a fairly typical set-up for a university romance show.

Golden Time manages to avoid several specific shoujo problems, such as having characters fight over trivialities (like in Fruits Basket ) or never resolving their issues (e.g., Full Moon ). The drama never came off as unrealistic or forced.

Tonari no Kaaibutsu kun

My Little Monster

Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun might sound like a mouthful, but this is one of the most unexpectedly fun anime.

It has all the aspects of a good shoujo anime but manages to throw in realism that makes it stand out from the rest.

The story starts with Shizuku Mizutani, who doesn’t care about others except for her studies.

She's incredibly intelligent but has never been able to talk herself up and therefore struggles in social situations.

When this young woman meets Haru, she doesn’t have feelings for him. As time goes on, she realizes that she has fallen in love with the boy.

However, she can't bring herself to say anything to him about it.

Nijiiro Deizu

Rainbow Days

Rainbow Days is a shoujo anime that deserves more attention than what it's getting.

Natsuki Hashiba, along with his friends Keiichi Katakura, Tomoya Matsunaga, and Tsuyoshi Naoe, are not part of any club in school. All they do is hang out and discuss random topics.

It was Christmas day that Natsuki fell in love with Anna Kobayakawa, and much like most shoujo anime, he tried to win her over.

However, Natsuki isn't perfect at all. He has flaws just like any other guy would have.

But when it comes down to it, he's willing to do whatever it takes to keep his friends happy.

He also pursues Anna without being completely clingy when she rejects him or doesn't show affection back.

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

The Pet Girl of Sakurasou

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is more than just about how Sorata deals with living at Sakura Hall, Mashiro's clinginess, Nanami’s persistence, or any of the other characters' quirks.

It’s about all of those things and more: the kind of passion that goes into creating art, how that passion helps mold a person, and what it means to be part of a family.

At its core, this anime is a story about the connections between people—how they help you grow as individuals and how you can help them grow.

This series proves how powerful and important connections can be between people. It is a show with a message: Life will always be difficult.

But the only thing that makes life truly worth living is the people you care for.

Ouran High School Host Club

Ouran High School Host Club - best shoujo anime

I can't think of a better word for it than "great. Host clubs were supposed to be annoying and perverted (they're played by guys, after all).

But this one changed my mind about the entire genre.

There are multiple reasons Ouran High School Host Club stands out from other shoujo anime.

First, the comedy is just perfect. The music is wonderful, with opening and ending themes done by Horie Yui.

Second, the eccentric characters are stellar. All the hosts have a unique personality that is intriguing and fun to watch.

Third, the series highlights important themes. Some people might not like the gender-bending themes of crossdressing and homosexuality, but those are part of what made Ouran so good and fresh.

Special A

The character designs and animation are good. Also, the story is pretty fun and interesting.

These were some of the things I noticed when I watched the first episode, and they still hold after watching all episodes.

In terms of animation, there are a lot of scenes in which the artwork appears to be 2D. Some with the use of CGI (computer graphics imagery). This anime is quite stylish and beautiful.

Special A has a lot of drama in it. Typically shoujo dramas would have an episode now and then, but Special A seems to have more drama than usual.

The whole drama thing does not seem forced either.

15 Best Shoujo Anime Movies and OVA

If you're a shoujo anime fan, then this list has you covered.

I've got classic films from the best studios in Japan and some more modern movies with beautiful animation and engaging romantic comedies.

Without further ado, let's kick off our countdown of the best shoujo anime movies and OVA!

I want to Eat Your Pancreas

I want to Eat Your Pancreas

I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is an anime film in 2018. The anime hit a big stage when the anime was first released and remains incredibly famous among Japanese anime enthusiasts.

Its characters are very likable, and interactions between them are pure bliss. Its music compositions and outstanding dialogue presentation deliver an experience exceeding expectations.

The movie has moments of pain that will make you cry and touch your heart.

In addition to the heavy emotion that the viewers get, its compositions also exceeded the expectations of the shoujo genre.

Love Me, Love Me Not

Love Me, Love Me Not

In my opinion, Love Me, Not is a fairly good shoujo anime because of the variety of strong characters and how they develop throughout the series.

The story follows Yuna and Akari, who start with different POVs about love.

Initially, Yuna is in love with the notion of being in love. She sees the world with roses around. On the other hand, Akari is much more practical and logical.

As the show progresses, both girls change.

Yuna and Akari's differing views on love are just one part of what makes the show interesting. Kazuomi and Rio also have very different ideas about romance.

These varied views create a lot of pitfalls as they pursue their relationships.

Byousoku 5 centimeters

5 centimeters per second - best shoujo anime movie

Byousoku 5 centimeter is a story of growing up, giving back to the unrepairable past, and owning life.

Takaki Ono and Akari Shinohara drift apart when Akari's family is sent to a foreign region.

As the years go by, they continue on their path, their distance widens, and communication fades. Still, they think of each other and a period in which they share moments.

The unique thing about the show is its emphasis on the story over melodrama and romance.

No matter how much Takaki and Akari hurt themselves and others around them, their feelings for one another never wavered.

True to its namesake, Byousoku 5 Centimeter is all about the distance between them and how they try to cope with it.

From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On Poppy Hill

From Up On, Poppy Hill is probably one of the best shoujo anime out there, if not the greatest.

I think it's the best because it combines many elements to create something great.

One thing that marries all these elements together and makes them stick is the theme. Shoujo anime has a lot of themes, but the most important ones are friendship and love.

In From Up On Poppy Hill, everything is drawn beautifully. It seems like Ghibli pulled everything perfectly.

The characters are just amazing. They all serve their roles well enough that you can fall in love with them if you try hard enough.

The Garden Of Words

Kotonoha no Niwa

This movie shows the budding relationship between Takao and Yukari.

The young man dreams of having his shoe shop or maybe a brand line. On the other hand, Yukari is a mysterious woman.

It was the rainy season. Every time it’s raining, the two would talk in the garden where they first met. As they kept talking to each other, they fell in love.

But the question they have is: will their feelings last forever? Or, is it a fleeting moment that after the rainy season, their love will fade?

The art for this movie is stunning, and the story is quite typical. Also, their age difference and some personality incompatibilities will test the love they have.

Whisper Of The Heart

Whisper Of The Heart - best romantic comedies

Whisper Of The Heart's story is simple, especially compared to other titles I've covered.

Shizuku is your average middle school student who enjoys reading above almost anything else. One day she stumbles upon Seiji Amasawa's violin store.

The art in Whisper Of The Heart is very well done, especially compared to other shoujo manga. Just like any other shoujo manga, this movie includes quite a bit of comedy.

Most of it is used for laughs rather than character interactions, so don't expect anything amazing.

In my opinion, the story itself makes this a great shoujo anime. It balances heartwarming moments and lightheartedness in a good way without going too far in either direction.

Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light

Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light

Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light is an unusual shoujo anime.

Usually, male characters are somehow involved with supernatural elements (ex: demons, witches, etc.). But this movie is a bit different.

Gin is a masked forest spirit who meets a lovely young woman. As the two spend time together, their feelings deepen.

Unfortunately, Gin and Hotaru can never communicate their love through touch.

This anime focuses more on character development with its slow-paced storytelling. It portrays characters in great depth and explores their personalities and emotions.

Hotarubi no Mori e is a romantic tale. The anime captures its viewers' hearts with beautiful art and music, making it nostalgic to watch even for those who have not watched it before.

Hal

Hal

This movie follows the story of a girl whose boyfriend died in a plane crash but then came back to her as a robot. The whole concept of this anime was very interesting.

One of the main reasons I like this anime is the concept of realism. Realism in this context refers to the daily lives of the people involved.

The characters are attractive and interesting. One of my favorite characters is Kurumi's grandfather.

This elderly plays a big role in saving his granddaughter, which makes him an important character.

Hal has excellent art and animation. The whole anime looked great, with some amazing backgrounds.

The Anthem of the Heart

The Anthem of the Heart

The story tells us that even when words fail you, music can complete your thoughts. You can express your feelings through song.

The "fairy egg" curse will never affect you because there are no words to be broken.

The fairy egg curse is how the main character tries to protect everyone from making the same mistakes as her father.

Circumstances broke her family, and she wants to ensure that others do not suffer the same fate.

The message here is that if you look around you, there are always people who need your help.

Often, these people who need your support have been affected by your words and actions.

Deep down, there is a song waiting to be heard—and when we find that song, our words can reach people in an entirely new way.

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

The Girl Who Leapt Through Time

This movie has all the hallmarks of a great shoujo anime. Let's look at the reason why it is shoujo great:

First, the main character has time to think about what she wants out of life. This young woman spends her time deciding what to do with her future while still attending school.

Second, this film has many scenes of romance between The Girl and her love interest.

Though she has time travel capabilities, she does not often use them to get out of sticky situations with him.

Lastly, there is an unexpected plot twist at the end. Her whole life is about to change, and the only way to go forward is with hope in her heart.

Dance with Devils: Fortuna

Dance with Devils: Fortuna

This anime has many features making it so great.

Fortuna differentiates itself from other shoujo anime with its strong and determined protagonist who can be seen as a role model for young girls.

Secondly, this anime has a unique system of magic. The forbidden grimoire mentioned in the article is a powerful book that can grant any wish.

This makes the anime more interesting to watch as multiple characters are after this book for different reasons.

Lastly, Fortuna has an interesting plot that is unveiled slowly throughout the story. The forbidden grimoire acts as a catalyst for complicated events.

This book allows viewers to see how various characters' motives unfold throughout the season.

Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern

Haikara-san: Here Comes Miss Modern

The movie follows the leading lady, the tomboyish high school girl Benio Hanamura.

Her adventures with her very stylish fiance Shinobu Ijūin as they fight against those who would exploit others.

The biggest flaw of this anime is the character designs are too similar to each other.

But, some characters are more fleshed out than others, which can be distracting, while others might seem less important when they are.

This isn't too much of a problem in the third episode, but it can be seen in the second when Benio visits her grandfather, who offers her little to no insight on anything.

Meiji Tokyo Love Song: Crescent Moon's Serenade

Meiji Tokyo Love Song

This movie is a great shoujo anime for many reasons. However, I will be focusing on how it deals with one of the most typical shoujo romance tropes: the love triangle.

The story revolves around two women and the man they love. One of those women has a backbone/spine. She stands up for herself and her desires!

Finally, what makes this anime unique is that it takes place in Meiji Japan (1868-1912) and follows the Japanese traditions of Harukistu (Cherry Blossom Festival) & Hanami (Sakura Viewing) while incorporating Shintoism into its backdrop.

King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm

King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm

This shoujo anime's most notable features are sparkles and flowery backgrounds. There is also an abundance of bishounen characters.

Not only that, the girls in King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm look very similar to how shoujo manga heroines appear: big eyes and pouty lips.

As a result, most people expect this anime to be targeted towards girls. They assume that it is just another shallow shoujo anime.

However, King of Prism by Pretty Rhythm has something that differentiates itself from other shoujo anime: its depth. The story explores many themes such as identity, friendship, crushes, and more.

Trivia Questions About the Shoujo Genre

What is the most popular shoujo anime?

Sailor Moon is often credited with popularizing the shoujo genre/style in both Japan and North America.

It remains very well-known to this day, having been remade as a series of anime films and becoming a part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim schedule in 2003.

Which shoujo should I watch?

The sheer number of shoujo series out there can be overwhelming at first. But there are many ways to narrow down the list of potential candidates.

If you don't mind what genre you watch, here are two ways to shortlist. First,  pick a random series from the general rating list.

Second, go by which couple seems the most appealing and interesting.

What is the longest shoujo anime?

Although numerous shoujo anime are fifty-something episodes long, I have yet to find one that clocks in at over a hundred.

Note that the question is not "What is the longest shoujo OVA/movie?" or even "What is the longest-running shoujo manga?" but rather what is the longest anime adaptation of a shoujo manga?

The answer to that question is "Sailor Moon." Sailor Moon spans over 200 episodes, three movies, and five specials.

What type of anime is shoujo?

This type of anime typically contains elements such as:

  • Cute animals and magical creatures.
  • Romance and drama. Common tropes in these types of anime include characters who are accidentally separated from the ones they love, childhood friends, unrequited love, rivals for a character's affection which is won by another character.
  • Science fiction elements (e.g., robots, aliens, etc.)
  • Conclusion

    The best romantic anime is a series that will make you gush with heartwarming emotions as shoujo lovers. So, which one is your favorite anime?


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