The shoujo genre is used to describe the anime and manga series whose target audiences are the young girls and women. These are generally the ones you will see that involve a female lead character, students in high school, young characters learning to grow up and developing budding romances along the way. But nowadays, shoujo anime series are not always about these stories, nor is the target audience solely for young girls. Here are our top romance shoujo anime series! These are sure to give you the warm fuzzies on the inside, with the near guarantee of some light-heartedness mixed in with some truly moving scenes.
10. Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon
What would our childhoods be without Sailor Moon? The OG magical girl in the iconic school sailor uniform will always have a place in our hearts. Tsukino Usagi is just a normal, bumbling middle schooler when one day, she runs into Luna, a talking cat. Her life is never the same after that when Luna gives her the power to transform into Sailor Moon. Thus, begins Usagi’s adventures as the famous Sailor Scout. Usagi eventually finds the other Sailor Scouts and together they battle countless villains to save Tokyo and the planet. All the while fighting as Sailor Scouts, they still manage to survive being normal students during the day. The group of girls finds new friendships and lifelong bonds with each other. If you’re looking for shoujo anime, you can’t forget to see Sailor Moon.
9. Bokura ga Ita (We Were There)
This is heartfelt anime shows a relationship between two people with complications that will cause viewers to feel the pain with them. Takahashi Nanami is just starting high school when she soon begins to fall for the popular boy, Yano Motoharu. The two eventually develop a friendship and a relationship, but not without countless struggles. One of the main hurdles is Motoharu’s ex-girlfriend; he still hasn’t fully recovered from her death in the year before, nor of his suspicions of her cheating. Can Nanami and Motoharu find a way to overcome their issues and have a happy relationship? Bokura ga Ita is a shoujo anime that’ll definitely pull your heartstrings. With complications involving friends and family alike, it’ll be a journey to get to the end.
8. Sukitte Ii na yo (Say “I Love You”)
After suffering from a traumatic bullying incident when she was younger, Tachibana Mei has resolved to never trust anyone again, and decides to not make any friends. Because of this incident, she believes that everyone will eventually betray each other. She lives her high school years as a quiet, antisocial student, until she meets Kurosawa Yamato. For no reason at all, Yamato takes a persistent interest in her, and even gives her his number when she refuses all interactions. When she is in trouble and calls him for help, Yamato selflessly comes to her rescue and even surprises her with a kiss. Sukitte Ii na yo is an anime that focuses more on character development rather than an exciting, action-packed plot. It is truly a heartfelt anime that shows how one relationship can help transform a person and allow them to open up and befriend others.
Nana Komatsu, a naïve 20 year old who falls in love easily and becomes dependent on the people around her, leaves her small hometown by train after finally saving up enough money to move to Tokyo to reunite with her boyfriend and friends. By chance, she meets another Nana with the same age on this trip, and they develop a bond on the long train ride to Tokyo. Nana Osaki is a punk rock singer whose personality is the complete opposite of Nana Komatsu. Osaki is headstrong, independent, and very ambitious. She left her rural hometown as well in order to become a professional singer, even though she had been the lead vocalist of a popular band and she had been dating the bassist. The two Nanas have another fateful encounter and end up renting an apartment together. While Nana’s target audience may seem like a slightly older crowd than that for traditional shoujo, this is a greatanime series that showcases the wonderful friendship between two women with contrasting personalities, but a seemingly inseparable bond, as they go through life with romances, heartbreaks, and challenges.
6. Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)
Fujioka Haruhi is a poor student attending the elite Ouran Academy on scholarship. While looking for a quiet place to study, she discovers the empty Third Music Room. The Ouran Academy Host Club, consisting of 6 male students, now uses the room to entertain female clients with tea and sweets. While trying to run from these crazy club members, Haruhi accidentally knocks down and breaks an antique vase that’s worth ¥8,000,000. In order to pay back the cost, Haruhi becomes an errand boy for the club. Her short hair, slouchy attire, and gender-ambiguous face caused the Host Club to mistake her for a male student. On that first day of working, however, slowly one by one the members discover her true gender but keep it a secret. Haruhi was a “natural” in entertaining girls and she becomes a Host-in-training due to her wild success. What follows is the craziness that ensues while Haruhi works to get out of her debt, but while also developing interesting relationships with each of the club members.
5. Kaichou wa Maid-sama!
At a high school that only recently switched from all-male to co-ed, Ayuzawa Misaki is the first female student council class president. She works tirelessly to make the school a better place for girls and is known as a strict boy-hating dictator. Despite her domineering appearance, Misaki actually has a secret: in order to support her poor family, she works part-time at a maid café. The Usui Takumi, popular boy at Seika High, discovers her secret one day and strikes a deal with her. He’ll keep her secret if she agrees to hang out with him. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! is one of the most iconic and well-known shoujo anime series, showing the hijinks between the popular handsome guy and the straight-forward class president as they each begin to fall for each other.
4. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster)
Mizutani Shizuku is a high school girl who cares only about her grades and the plans for her future. Yoshida Haru is a cheerful high school boy who sits next to Shizuku in class, and is known as a delinquent. Shizuku is assigned to deliver the classwork that Haru missed by skipping school, and when she arrives at his house, she is surprised when he immediately declares that they are friends. Each subsequent interaction with him shocks Shizuku even more; he even confesses to her after she stops his “friends” from taking advantage of his money. After Shizuku convinces Haru to return to school, Haru only bothers her more, from following her around school to disrupting her routine life. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun reveals the relationship between two anti-social people as they learn to open up to friends and family together and with each other.
3. Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You)
The very shy and quiet Kuronuma Sawako is often called Sadako due to her resemblance to the character from The Ring. Despite her outward scary appearance, she actually is a very sweet, shy girl who wants to make friends. She is often misunderstood and shunned at school due to rumors that she can actually see ghosts. Her life changes when the most popular boy in school, Kazehaya Shota, begins to talk with her and becomes her friend. With his help, Sawako is able to open up more freely with others and gains new friendships. This sweet love story between these two high schoolers is sure to leave a warm feeling in your heart. Kimi ni Todoke is a great shoujo that shows relatable characters finding themselves and growing up with their friends in high school. This shoujo also has two of the nicest main characters that will definitely give you a sense of nostalgia for your high school years.
2. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
Yoshioka Futaba has entered high school and has resolved to show an outright dislike towards boys and to act brash with them. This is to prevent any more ostracizing by the other girls who were jealous of her popularity among the boys due to her cute and girly personality. However, when Futaba meets Makita Yuri, she realizes she doesn’t have to make these sacrifices anymore. Yuri is in a similar situation, where the other girls shun her because of her cutesy personality, but she doesn’t care because she would rather act herself than pretend to be someone else. Futaba drops her façade and soon reunites with a lost love from middle school, Tanaka Kou. Years before, he had suddenly moved away before he and Futaba had a chance to confess their feelings for each other. Now, in high school, Kou has changed his name to his late mother’s and his personality as well. Ao Haru Ride takes you in to the lives of high schoolers who have learned over the years that people can change, but that friendships can grow with these changes.
1. Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
Akatsuki no Yona is not your typical shoujo anime. It does not take place in a high school with drama between high schoolers. Instead, it is about a princess who has been banished from her palace after witnessing her father’s murder, and her journey to take her kingdom back. Yona flees the Kingdom of Kouka with her bodyguard, Son Haku, after seeing her cousin, Suwon, betray her and her father when he kills King II. Life on the run teaches the spoiled princess that life in Kouka is not a perfect and idyllic as she thought. She sees first-hand the strife that commoners live in and realizes that taking back the throne is far from the work that needs to be done to improve the kingdom. Yona and Son Haku go on a search for the Four Dragon Warriors that, according to legend, are able to restore her to power and save the kingdom. Akatsuki no Yona is an exciting shoujo that takes you on the adventures of Yona on her coming-of-age journey.