Josei makes its statement as an underrated genre yet a demographic that has been well-known over the years. Following the anime’s growth, Josei correlates with the life of adult women. It is often balanced exceptionally by displaying the harsh realities of life with heartwarming and funny moments. While at the same time, it may become dark and only show a particular happening.
Since Josei is considered less of a genre and more of a demographic, it targets a broad audience. Hence there will be anime that are more shojo, yet at the same time, they are best suited to fall in the Josei area. Similarly, there can be some shounen or psychological anime that will strike you as a Josei one.
The best part about Josei is that it does not bind its range and impact to only adult women. Instead, it smoothly attracts every kind of audience. One thing to remember is that Josei has gems always mentioned regardless of belonging to a specific genre. Let’s kick start today with some intriguing, soothing, funny, and sticking anime that best defines the Josei demographic, aka the Josei genre. Yes, I’ll enlist the best josei anime for my josei lovers!
You have heard about all kinds of obsessions and interests to the point of weirdness. However, Kuragehime breaks all stereotypes and introduces a new obsession with jellyfish. This one is undoubtedly not a shojo because it describes the life of an unnoticed fat but a cute girl with a strange obsession with jellyfish.
Tsukimi is introduced as a girl with an undying love for jelly fishes and her dream to become an illustrator solely for her jellyfish. The entry of the pretty, fashionable, and confident lady messes up her not-so-beautiful life. Her frequent visits to Tsukimi and her undiverted attention seem odd to Tsukimi.
Yet, with a pure heart, she doesn’t doubt her. However, as the series progresses, the confident lady is discovered as Koibuchi, a male student who is disgusting himself as a female. You must watch this one to learn his reasons and Tsukimi’s reaction to this discovery.
Watching Josei is always exciting because it always brings in extra spices. Norn9 is a perfect example of a Josei anime that brings life to sci-fi and fantasy with its intriguing plot. The whole setup portrays an ultra-modern time with superpowers and dragging stories followed by suspense.
If it weren’t for the fly ship Norn on its mission, the encounter of three versatile girls, Koharu, Mikoto, and Nanami, would not have occurred. Each with a haunting past and saddened memories onboard the flyship is trying to figure out their life. However, they are interrupted when an unknown infiltrator infiltrates the Norn.
Everyone puts their best on show to save the people on board from the unknown. Yet secrets tend to open up, and the fate of the three girls is rechallenged. Mysteries, love distractions, heartbreaks, and much more make Norn9 a must-watch fantasy and Josei anime.
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Let’s add a little humor and some gangsters to this list. Gokusen is an old anime, yet it brings out one of the rarest plots. Moreover, it blends the life of an adult with teenagers and how tactfully she handles everything.
Gokusen is more of an action anime that introduces Kumiko Yamaguchi as the protagonist. Her life as a school teacher could have been peaceful if it were some regular students. Still, a school full of delinquents and rowdy is too much, yet this scene is very casual for Komiko. Komiko is the acting head of the most powerful Yakuza clan.
She is a master of handling swords and overpowering her opponents regardless of size. The only problem is that she has to keep a low profile in school, and it is challenging for her. Follow her story for some suitable lessons and fuel to your will. It will surely leave you with one or two good things.
18. Code: Realize
A twisted anime with many mysteries, action, and politics would surely be an epic Josei. Code: Realize is one such anime that gives a lot of political strategies if you wish to be a politician. Yet it also teases you with the sizzling chemistry of the leads and keeps you anticipating many encounters.
The hazy memories of Cardia Beckford have always been haunting her, and the word Monsters. She has grown up being called a Monster because of her artificial heart. However, it is true because her heart can level a city with a single touch. The story turns dark to intriguing when a mannered thief named Lupin enters the scene and takes Cardia.
He claims to steal her heart, which means her literal artificial heart. This gives Cardia a new string to catch on to. She tries to discover the secrets of her father and the heart, but we all know love is to bloom at some point. Watch this one for some tears, shocking secrets, and handsome guys.
17. Otona Joshi No Anime Time
We had to add this one to the list. It comes under the “Special” tag but comprises different short stories. Hence this one is also an anime and expands over Josei drastically.
It is a collection of a few short stories, each centering on a certain woman. You will see Noriko, who returns to her hometown after years to see love blossom. You will encounter Mimi struggling in a marriage without love. Call it Mimi’s courage or selfishness, but she got all the right to choose for herself.
Maho’s character is the best among them as she portrays how difficult it is to be a mother, wife, working woman, and sole bread earner of the house. All their struggles and encounters are worth the praise.
Anime that brings forth the Edo period are classic. Especially if you are interested in Japanese history and culture, they are your pick. Hakuouki brings in a struggling woman Chizuru. The intriguing journey started with Chizuru searching for her father.
She disguises herself as a man to walk freely in a culturally conservative era. In pursuit of her father, she finds herself entangled in a dangerous situation. To her surprise, she is taken in by a strong clan looking for her father. A simple girl learning the ways with swords, getting accustomed to blood, all while trying to hide her real identity.
Whether she is discovered or not is a mystery until you binge it. It may be slow-paced, yet it is worth the praise.
This name must ring some bells; if not, you must upgrade your watch list. Chihayafuru is yet again another Magnum Opus in terms of Josei anime. It perfectly touches many aspects of reality and portrays mixed feelings.
The story begins with Ayase Chihaya, an ordinary girl. Her ordinary life changes when she learns about Karuta. A traditional card game where players need to memorize poems and be quick. It begins as a game for Ayase, but as she grows up and encounters Arata and Taichi, she discovers the magic of the Karuta world.
She starts her journey with a school club. She decides to go to the nationals: her struggles, the development of relations of all characters, and the essence of Kurata as simply mesmerizing. If Josei is to your taste, then this one is a must.
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14. Usagi Drop
With every kind of story mixing in and giving a more solid image to the realities of life, Bunny Drop makes its statement. A rare Josei anime that focuses on the life of an illegitimate girl. This may not be new, but the way Bunny Drop shows it looks refreshing.
The story begins with a 30-year-old bachelor named Daikichi. His smooth life flips when he takes in a little girl named Rin, who is his grandfather’s child and has some circumstances. He becomes a parent overnight. This anime demonstrates his life and how it changes after Rin enters into his life.
The way they develop a relationship after all the anxieties and awkwardness and how they grow close is a sight to watch. It combines all emotions you can have within your family and family members.
13. Akkun to Kanojo
This one is yet another fun-filled, laughter-bound Josei that may hit you like a shojo. This anime was adapted from its manga because of its popularity, undoubtedly. With a few short episodes, it left an expression over the audience.
The story is basic from the top. A confident, outside, yet shy boy Atsuhiro Kagari falls for a pretty girl named Katagiri. However, he is scared to show his feelings and always turns out rude because he cannot select the right words to respond to. Logically Katagiri should feel hurt, but her maturity despite her age and her understanding of Atsuhiro’s love make this one a whole lot different.
The way Katagiri notices Atsuhiro’s hidden meanings behind his words and how she notices his possessiveness from his stalking her is cute. This one is a refresher if you enjoy shojo-driven Josei anime.
12. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Rakugo has to be one of the best Josei anime of all time. Simple, reality-based, culturally intimidating, and smooth anime are a few words to describe this. For starters Japanese value their culture very much. Rakugo, the art of comedic storytelling, is very famous in Japan and has always been deemed difficult.
This anime introduces Rakugo with the help of our lead Yotarou. Leaving his dark life as an ex-Yakuza member, he pursues his passion for Rakugo. The story takes an intriguing turn when Yotarou meets Konatsu during his training. He admires Konatsu’s talent as he learns about her past.
The story is complicated and needs all your attention because it simultaneously follows the past and present. However, this one depicts how Rakugo changes the lives of people practicing it and profoundly impacts their personalities.
11. Hatenkou Yuugi
Rich people going on an adventure sounds very charming. If the anime is about rich boys, it is tempting effortlessly. However, if you are rich but a girl and are thrown out of the house to have an adventure is on a whole lot another level. Hatenkou Yugi is an anime featuring one girl and her struggles and experiences.
Rahzel, the rich girl, starts his adventurous life after getting kicked out of her mansion. Forced to live this adventure, she encounters two handsome men. During their journey around the world, they discover much more than they could have imagined. She changes as a person from a princess to a survivor.
This anime focuses on her development, her perspectives towards life, and how this adventure broadens her vision are all worth watching.
10. Natsuyuki Rendezvous
The best part about Josei anime is that it always takes an aspect of reality and merges it with a bit of fantasy. Natsuyuki Rendezvous also follows the same approach and brings out a masterpiece by turning some unreal stuff into reality.
The story begins with Hazuki, a young man who falls head over heels for Rokka, a widow and a floral shop owner. His love might have survived if that was it. However, things turn scary yet cute when Atsuhi, Rokka’s dead husband, enters as a ghost. Not a human but a spirit, Hazuki has a rival in love.
Hazuki fights for his love with this possessive and overprotective husband ghost. The anime sheds light on many aspects of life, including a widow’s life and many others. But it will make you laugh and roll in your seat and sometimes may make you sentimental.
9. Hachimitsu to Clover
Talking about Josei, one must remember to add this one to the list. College life has always been considered a golden period of life regardless of place. However, only the person passing through that golden period knows it is the most challenging time of a student’s life.
Hachimitsu to Clover introduces this aspect of life to youngsters, including Takemoto, Hagumi, and Ayumi. The story takes off with Takemoto struggling with his college life and desperately trying to find his path in life. His encounters with Hagumi and Ayumi open up new doors for him.
He starts to discover himself in new lights. The development of each character, their personalities, and how they determine their life path are represented remarkably in this one. If you are looking for inspiration, then give this one a try.
8. Ristorante Paradiso
Another soothing Josei anime that will calm you and leave you with lifelong lessons. This one is genuinely a Magnum opus on its own. The way the author has described the harsh realities and balanced them with learnings and morals is genuinely outstanding.
The story introduces Nicoletta, who is suffering from her mother’s betrayal. To find her again and seek her revenge on her mother for leaving her alone as a child, Nicoletta travels to Rome. Her determination to exact revenge on her mother shatters the moment she enters the restaurant Casetta dell’Orso. Her life and her perspectives about everything are shaken and are turned new.
Surrounded by all grown-up and aged fellows, she learns to let go of the past as she accepts her present—Nicoletta’s understanding with the senior triggers some Italian romance that is undoubtedly entertaining. This is your pick if you are looking for some anime with profound life lessons.
7. Paradise Kiss
The animation of this one is old-fashioned, yet it is charming. Paradise Kiss stands out then the rest by giving us a closer and more detailed look at the world of models, like actual fashion models.
The story centers on Yukari, a teenager with a tall, beautiful, and slender figure. One day encounters with a few strangers become a turning point in her life. When the stranger’s leader, Koizumi, enters Yukari’s life as a head designer, her life flips. Unwillingly, she initially declines their offer to become a model for their new product launch.
However, after being attracted to the glamor and shimmer of their worlds, she tries to try it. Whether she will lose herself or be reborn, a new one is up to you to find. Overall, it will surely give you tips for becoming an excellent designer and model.
What is more attractive and dangerous at the same time than a Horror surrounding a Josei anime? One of the best works of the Horror writer Junji Ito. His talent for blending different genres is like no other. Tomei is an example of one such work. To encounter an enchanting beauty is undoubtedly a fantasy. However, a demonic beauty and malevolent entity with destructive powers is horror in one way or another.
Tomei is a beauty that enchants anyone with her killing and dominating looks. The anime takes off with some school friends mourning over the loss of their class fellow. However, a miracle and Horror strike them as a new student enters the school. Nonetheless, she is the spitting image of Tomei. Things take a dark and dreary path as the classmates get to discover the demonic beauty.
It turns out that Tomei is not a human. However, obsession is still addictive and destructive, whether of a human or an incubus. Follow Tomei, a short anime, to enjoy Josei’s touch and a little terror.
5. Hanayaka Nari, Waga Ichizoku: Kinetograph
A reverse harem, handsome boys, the Taisho era, and a young maid are all the perfect attributes of a Josei anime. Sweet, arrogant, confident, ruthless, cunning, caring, and much more will give you a classic time with six brothers. Yet you will be in awe to choose one for yourself. It is an underrated Josei anime. Yet it was hyped enough to be adapted from a manga.
This Josei takes place in a time that follows the reign of Emperor Taisho. A very typical Asian story from that time where a young girl named Haru ends up working for a noble family. Her peaceful life is disrupted when the head of the family retires. As the war for the seat of the head begins between brothers, Haru finds herself being tossed around from one brother to another.
To her dismay, she finds it difficult to side with one, let alone the survivor, in the mansion in such a state. The story is filled with politics and strategic incidents, and it will tease you with a bit of love. Overall, it is a perfect anime that targets young and adult women and entertains you with a handful of everything.
4. Nodame Cantabile
Josei touches every aspect, which is this demographic’s best part. Music is also one such area that Josei has taken over. The next one on the list is an anime that is simple yet entangling and entertaining.
Nodame Cantabile is a music anime that begins with a music prodigy Shinichi Chiaiki. He plays violin and is critically meticulous about others and their music. Without his fear of heights and planes, he would have traveled the world to become the best musician ever. However, if that were to happen, his fateful encounter with Megumi Noda wouldn’t occur.
His music evolves, and his life brightens as he knows more about the girl who calls herself Nodame. Playing the piano is undoubtedly a scene from fantasy, and the music she creates is sweet and soothing. Nodame’s unconditional love for Chiaki adds to the story and is worth following.
Asian school life is always charming and has gained much popularity with the increasing knowledge of anime and Manga. Japanese school life and the classic uniforms are an attraction through and through. An anime that brings in the school life and the adult picture of the same students in one frame is a rare find. Orange is one such anime that is casually known as a shojo anime. However, its plot smoothly brings in the Josei touch.
The anime starts with a teenage schoolgirl named Naho. Her everyday life takes an unexpected turn when she finds a letter to her name from her future 26-year-old self. In the confusion of the event, she decides to follow the letter’s instructions as Kakeru Naruse enters her life as a new student. She gathers her courage to prevent the happenings and regrets that her 26-year-old self could not stop.
The story unfolds with tears, shocking realities, love troubles, and heartbreaks. What comes at the end is a total mystery for the ones who have yet to try this one. However, for the ones who have already witnessed this story, it leaves a bittersweet yet lasting taste.
2. Skip Beat
Celebrity lives are always attractive and fantasy for the lot. However, only a few know the struggles behind such a luxurious life. Skip Beat is yet another blend of shoujo and Josei that demonstrates the lives of celebs and their efforts. However, it also brings forth the love life of a trio, so it becomes an attraction.
The introductions begin with Kyouko, a naive yet stubborn girl. Her life changes with heartbreak as she uncovers the face of her so-called love and best friend, Fuwa Shou. She realizes that she is being used as a maid and nothing more. Kyouko decides to take her revenge on Shou. Payback from a celebrity!!! What could be more striking of revenge than becoming one famous celeb of all time?
Her career as a celeb that started as revenge takes a natural path when she meets Tsuruga Ren, the mystery himself and most famous star of the decade. She uncovers her acting skills, grows as a person, and faces the heartbreaking secrets of her life with her mother. All this, with the person who is her destined one. It is a slow-paced anime adapted from a manga and is yet to have a good ending. Still, it is one of the best Josei and shoujo anime you’ll get to watch
Let’s bring Nana to our list of the best Josei anime of all time. Not hearing about Nana is impossible whether you are a weeb or a beginner. Golden anime is often defined as one that always shines in every era. Plus, the fact that it is a Josei anime with a perfect blend of shojo makes it an eye-catching one.
Nana started only as a manga but because of its immense popularity in a short time, the series was adopted as an anime. The anime introduces two girls without apparent relationship besides their shared first name, “Nana.” They meet on a train that changes their path in life and their destinations in the best way. Nana of the town that came to the lively city of Tokyo to pursue her love finds the more confident and bold Nana, who strives to be a musician, an inspiration.
The same goes for the latter. As they miraculously begin living in an apartment, they turn a new page daily. The two girls evolve into women by learning about their weaknesses, discovering their strengths, schooling themselves with all the possibilities they can be, and much more. You are going to fall for the confident Nana and her passion. At the same time, you will be inspired by the cute and lovely Nana. It is worth your time.
Frequently Asked Questions
This genre emphasizes the reality of life, relationships, and certain harsh aspects of society. This genre is considered serious by many.
This genre is mainly for people ranging from 18 years old to 40 years old.
Since Josei separates itself from other genres by always adding an aspect of real life, it is often considered a complex one. Still, above are the anime that represent Josei at their best. With all these anime you will get the hint of how vast this genre is and yet not getting the hype it needs.