Shojo is a demographic with a long tradition but is becoming less and less represented in anime. It is characterized by a specific art style and a female main character, and the most common genre is romance. Although it is intended for young girls, everyone watches shoujo, regardless of gender and age.
Even though there isn’t much shoujo today, this demographic is still appreciated, thanks to the great anime that has come out over the years. Among them, a couple of series stood out for their quality and influence, and it is worth putting them on the list of the best shoujo anime you must watch.
20. My Little Monster
Shizuku Mizutani is a high school girl who is very apathetic toward people and only cares about her grades. However, her cold outlook on the world changes when she meets Haru Yoshida, a delinquent who got into a fight at the beginning of the school year and hasn’t been going to school since.
Although they are quite different at first glance, neither Haru nor Shizuku don’t understand human feelings and have no friends. A bunch of circumstances brings them closer and together they try to understand their relationship as well as other people.
My Little Monster is a must-watch title when it comes to the shoujo demographic. It’s definitely the right choice if you want to laugh but also cry. The story is full of diverse characters, and their development will definitely intrigue you.
On the first day of school, Naho Takamiya receives a strange letter that turns out to be written by her-10 years in the future. At first, she is skeptical about everything, but after the events mentioned in the letter happen, Naho realizes that it was indeed written by her from the future.
Her goal is to correct the mistakes she made and pay attention to Kakeru Naruse, who will not stay in her life in the future.
If you’ve already heard of Orange, you’ve probably heard of the depressing side of the story. Although it cannot be said that the entire story is done perfectly, this anime will definitely shake you emotionally.
18. My Next Life as a Villainess
Catarina Claes, the youngest daughter of a noble family, accidentally remembers her previous life and realizes that she has been reincarnated in the game Fortune Lover as a villain. On top of that, she is doomed to either die or be banished regardless of which route the player chooses.
So, she does everything in her power to save herself. However, her actions have consequences that affect her relationships with other characters.
In a time when shounen absolutely rules the anime world, seeing a new shoujo is refreshing. Of course, that’s not the only reason why this anime is on the list. My next life as a Villaines is definitely one of the more original isekai that avoids becoming the most boring reverse harem.
17. Sasaki and Miyano
Miyano is a guy who spends his days reading BL comics and thinking about his feminine face. His life changes when he has a fight with his senior, Sasaki. Intrigued by his junior, Sasaki decides to get closer to him.
Sasaki and Miyano is a light-hearted love anime about two high school students whose story begins a little stormy. The anime is full of cute and comedic moments and is the right choice if you’re looking for quality yaoi.
16. Kimi ni Todoke
Sawako Kuronuma is a high school student who is nicknamed Sadako by the other students because of her resemblance to a character from The Ring. However, despite her appearance, she is a very nice person, but because of the rumors that spread about her, she has no friends.
All that changes when the popular Shōta Kazehaya starts talking to her. Then a new era begins for Sawako, who begins to make friends.
Kimi ni Todoke is another must-watch shoujo that you probably know about. It’s great for beginners because it contains everything that makes the shoujo demographic what it is.
Unfortunately, the premise of the anime doesn’t show its true charm, but if you decide to watch it, you’ll understand why it’s on the list of best shoujo anime.
15. Sailor Moon
The story revolves around Usagi and her friends who have the power to transform into Sailor Soldiers. Together, they fight against the minions of the Dark Kingdom.
A place on the list of the best shoujo anime had to be taken by a classic like Sailor Moon. This anime is responsible for the expansion of mahou shoujo and to this day is the most popular work from that genre. If you haven’t already grown up with Sailor Moon, it’s time to check it out.
14. Ao Haru Ride
Futaba Yoshioka is a high school girl who completely changes her personality to fit in with her new friends. By chance, she meets again Kou Tanaka, her first love. However, he is a completely different person now, cold and disinterested. Regardless, when Futaba decides to change her life and become a class representative, Kou and a couple of other students join her.
Ao Haru Ride also belongs to the golden era of shoujo. As much as it embraces some stereotypes, this anime simply has the ability to get under your skin. Emotional moments, character development, and their relationships are so well done that Ao Haru Ride had to be among the best shoujo anime.
13. Lovely Complex
While Risa is much taller than the other girls and some boys, Otani is by far the shortest guy in the school. Because of their height difference, they are the comedy duo of the class. However, Risa falls in love with him, which changes a lot of things.
Lovely Complex is a standard rom-com that will make you laugh out loud. But in addition to its fun side, this anime also talks about serious insecurities that many will relate to.
12. Kaichou-wa Maid Sama
Ayuzawa Misaki is one of the few girls in the high school, which until recently was only for boys. She is also the president of the student parliament, which is why she is respected among the students.
However, what others don’t know is that she works part-time at a maid cafe. Her secret is discovered by the most popular boy in school, Usui Takumi.
When someone mentions the best shoujo anime, Kaichou-wa Maid Sama is the first thing that comes to mind. This anime as well as manga has been the face of this demographic for years.
Regardless of all the clichés that pop up, Maid Sama is still the standard for romance in the anime world. After all, this anime set many of the themes represented in the shoujo.
11. My Love Story!!
Takeo Gouda is a high schooler with a scary look and a heart of gold. Aside from his looks, Takeo’s love life is also hampered by his best friend Makoto Sunakawa, who all the girls are in love with.
One day, Takeo saves Rinko Yamato whom he immediately falls in love with, but thinks she is in love with his friend. So, he wants to play Cupid and get them together.
My Love Story might be the most charming anime on the list. First of all, the protagonist of the story is not conventionally attractive, breaking the stereotype of the perfect shoujo guy.
This is not a standard story where you wait for one kiss for 12 episodes. Instead, you follow the development of a great relationship that shows that personality is much more important than looks.
10. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume Takashi found a book from his grandmother in which the names of all the spirits she defeated were written down. He decides to return their names to all of them and set them free again.
For many, Natsume’s Book of Friends is a fantasy masterpiece. It is an episodic story that will make you cry with happiness. Each episode features a new Yokai that is very different from the previous one.
Such a concept is so ingeniously done that you will be thinking about individual episodes for months after watching the anime.
9. The Twelve Kingdoms
Youko Nakajima was an ordinary high school student but her life changes when Keiki enters her classroom. He claims to be from another world where Youkois supposed to be royalty. However, their meeting is interrupted by the monsters that followed him. Although he manages to save himself and Youko, two other students are also dragged into the chaos.
Political themes are not something traditionally associated with shoujo anime, so that makes The Twelve Kingdoms even more special. This story contains themes such as politics, sociology, philosophy, economics, etc. All the mentioned areas are covered at a very high level, but this complexity does not prevent ordinary fans from enjoying the great adventure and characters.
The excellent balance of this story is what puts it on the list of best shoujo anime.
8. Kamisama Kiss
Momozono Nanami is a girl who doesn’t have much luck in life. On top of problems at school, her father is a gambler because of whom she is forced to leave her apartment. One day, she saves a young man to whom she tells her problems. In gratitude, he allows her to live at the place that he left years ago, after which he kisses her forehead.
However, it turns out that Nanami will be living in the god’s shrine and that the guy has passed her the deity mark of the area.
Another shoujo classic that absolutely ruled the 2010s and for good reason. The main reason for the success of Kamisama Kiss is the diverse characters who manage to win your heart with their relationships, development, and strange personalities.
7. Banana Fish
Ash Lynx is a seventeen-year-old gang leader who was raised by the famous mobster Dino Golzine. Now, the two come into conflict as Ash begins to investigate the mysterious “Banana Fish” while Dino sends his men after him.
Through his friend, Ash meets Japanese photographers Shunichi Ibe and Eiji Okumura. However, their meeting is interrupted by Dino’s men who kidnap Eiji.
Although it is one of the most popular action anime today, few people know that Banana Fish is actually a shoujo. This tragic but also exciting story is responsible for the tears of many fans of the BL genre.
If you are looking for something that will hit you emotionally and intrigue you so much that you can’t stop watching, Banana Fish is the anime for you.
6. Skip Beat!
Kyouko Mogami went to Tokyo together with her childhood friend and crush, Shou Fuwa to help him become successful in show business. However, when she discovers that Shou is only using her as a housekeeper, she leaves him and decides to get revenge. Her plan is to enter the world of show business herself and become more successful than him.
Skip Beat is a story that has defined generations of shoujo fans and continues to do so to this day. This anime, recognizable by its completely chaotic female protagonist, carries a great message about revenge, success, and making dreams come true.
As you watch it, you’ll be constantly rooting for Kyouko, not just for revenge itself, but for her unmatched tenacity and will to thrive.
5. The Rose of Versailles
The Austrian Empire sends Princess Marie Antoinette to France to marry Crown Prince Louis XVI. There, she meets the Commander of the Royal Guard, Oscar Fançois de Jarjayes, who turns out to be female. Namely, her father wanted a son, so Oscar was raised as a boy, which bothers her a lot and she just wants to live as a woman.
Given the situation in the country as well as the behavior of the new queen, it is increasingly difficult for Oscar to ignore the suffering of the poor.
History can be very interesting especially if you combine it with anime, which The Rose of Versailles proves. Although not entirely historically accurate, The Rose of Versailles still manages to convincingly portray the difficulties that befell France during the Revolution, as well as some of the most significant figures in history.
The character of Oscar is by far one of the most interesting in the world of anime. While struggling with her identity, Oscar manages to see the misfortune that has befallen the people, which can make the position she holds difficult.
The anime is perfect for all history and politics lovers.
4. Fruits Basket
Tooru Honda suddenly lost her mother and home and was forced to live in a tent. Her secret is discovered by Shigure and Yuki Souma who offer her to live with them. But it turns out that they also have a secret – when any member of the Souma family is hugged by a person of another sex, they turn into a Chinese Zodiac animal.
One of the biggest surprises of 2019 was the remake of Fruits Basket as one of the cult anime of the 2000s. Fruits Basket introduced many to this demographic and set high standards for them. With this remake, the magic of one of the best shoujo anime has been revived.
3. Snow White with the Red Hair
Shirayuki is a young apothecary of the Tanbarun Kingdom whose life changes when her red hair catches the attention of Prince Raji. Namely, he wants her to become his concubine. Wanting to avoid such a fate, Shirayuki leaves the kingdom.
On her way, she meets Zen, the prince of a neighboring kingdom, and his friends who helped her. She agrees to come with them and finds refuge in their country.
Snow White with the Red Hair is not an anime about incredible action, political entanglements, and complicated forbidden love. This is a completely simple, wholesome story about dreams coming true that will make you happy.
The greatest charm of Snow White with the Red Hair is that it achieves more with its simplicity than far more complex anime. It may not take you days to understand what you’ve watched, but it will definitely be quality time spent and you’ll learn something new.
2. Yona of the Down
Yona is the princess of the Kouka Kingdom unaware of life outside the palace. On her sixteenth birthday, there is an attack and the emperor is killed. She is forced to run away, and can only trust her childhood friend, Hak. She now has a chance to see the kingdom from a different perspective and must find a way to save it.
Even those who don’t like shoujo didn’t regret watching Yona of the Down. This anime has something for everyone; from great character development and action to interesting plot twists and world-building.
Unfortunately, the anime only has one season, but that was enough for it to end up on the list of best shoujo anime.
Two girls with the same name and age headed to Tokyo to fulfill their dreams. Nana Komatsu is a naive girl who goes to Tokyo to see her boyfriend who is studying there. On the other hand, Nana Osaki is a serious musician who is headed to the big city to build a career. These two completely different girls meet on a train and become roommates by chance.
Hands down, Nana is by far the best shoujo out there. Due to its complexity, many consider this anime to be a josei, which is completely justified. It is a story that includes everything a young person can go through, good and bad.
Dreams coming true, understanding yourself, friendship, love, cheating, and career are only the surface of Nana’s great story. There is something deeper behind it that makes the anime feel so real that you will understand each character.
Nana is an anime that you have to experience to understand why it is the best shoujo anime.
Frequently asked questions
“Shoujo” is an editorial category of manga targeting teen girls and young adult women.
Although many people think that shoujo and romance are the same, this is actually not true. The first difference is that shoujo is a demographic and romance is a genre. Also, shoujo is aimed at a young female audience and does not necessarily contain romance as a genre, while romances can be the genre of anime of any demographic.
Yes, guys read shoujo. Long gone are the days when people decide whether to watch anime based on the demographics it belonged to. Today, everyone reads what interests them.