The word Shoujo translates in Japanese to “girl” or “young woman.” Shoujo anime is a genre targeted primarily toward females, although it is now catching the attention of fans of all genders. Many believe that Shoujo only follows tropes that are stereotypically targeted toward girls such, as high-school romances. However, that is far from the truth. The genre includes a wide range of sub-genres, including action, adventure, comedy, and crime. Here are the 10 best Shoujo anime (In no particular order).
1. Ouran High School Host Club
This gender bender may seem like any other reverse harem anime, except each character is unique and steals the heart of the viewers. The show follows Haruhi Fujioka, who gets a scholarship to the elite Ouran Academy. While looking for a room to study, she accidentally walks into the Host Club’s room. Shocked by the eccentric group of boys, she ends up knocking over a vase worth 8 million yen. As repayment for her debt, she is made to become a host at the all-male club.
Two girls of the same name, Nana, leave their hometowns in pursuit of new beginnings in the big city of Tokyo. Nana Komatsu follows her boyfriend into the city, while Nana Osaki aims to succeed in her music career. Both Nana and Nana board the same train to the city and, upon arrival, cross paths once again in search of a new apartment. The girls grow close and help each other through thick and thin. Nana is a true gem that addresses various mature issues ranging from substance abuse, heartbreak, and infidelity.
3. Banana Fish
The adaption of the 80s manga of the same name is an action-packed crime drama revolving around two main characters, Ash and Eiji. The story follows 17-year-old gang leader Aslan Jade Callenreese as he investigates the mystery drug Banana Fish. He is introduced later to Eiji Okumura, a Japanese photographer reporting on American street gangs. The two go on to form an inseparable bond as they navigate their way as get caught up in the crimes of the mafia. The story follows a realistic plot in which every episode, even when heavy, makes up for it with light-hearted comedy, making the well-rounded.
4. Kiss Him, Not Me
Hardcore Fujio Shi, Kei, is devastated after the death of her favorite anime character and decides to lead a week in isolation in her room. After leaving her room after a whole week of refusing to eat, she discovers that she looks completely different and has lost a lot of weight. Her new appearance garners the attention of four boys at her school who try to win her over, but little do they realize that Kei would rather see them with each other than after her.
5. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is a classic and one of the most influential anime series. The show focuses on Usagi Tsukino, a crybaby who doesn’t do well academically. Her life turns when she saves a cat with a crescent moon on its head from a car crash. The cat, named Luna, later explains to Usagi that their meeting was not coincidental and that she is destined to become ‘Sailor Moon,’ a guardian with the power to protect the earth. As the show continues, we follow Usagi and her journey through friendship, fighting and defeating monsters, and saving the planet.
6. Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama
After the once infamous all-boys school, Seika High, turns co-ed, Misaki the first female student council president, works hard to ensure that the school becomes a better place for girls. Despite her cold reputation at school, Misaki works as a cheerful maid at a maid café to help support her family. The popular boy at her school Takumi discovers her secret and uses it to taunt her.
7. Lovely Complex
Koizumi Risa, the tallest girl in the class, and Ootani Atsushi, the shortest boy in the class, share the same interests, have a great sense of humor, and are both equally kooky. The pair are searching for true love but can’t see past their friendship to realize that they are perfect for each other. The show steps away from the same romantic trope between a tall boy and a short and petite girl. Lovely Complex is both equal parts hilarious and deals with the sensitive subject of being physically different from society’s standards.
8. Versailles No Bara
Due to her father’s desire to raise a son, Lady Oscar is raised as a man. Although she is reluctant to take up the position of Commander of the Royal Guards due to her strong desire to live as a woman, she comes to terms with her responsibilities and her duty toward her country, in the future she serves Princess Marie Antoinette. Upon their first meeting, she seems simple-minded and foolish. However, as time goes on, Oscar becomes one of the princess’ closest acquaintances. Revered by both men and women, Oscar becomes a popular figure within the palace. She lives her life as a noble yet remains compassionate about the poverty faced by the rest of France.
9. Yuri On Ice
After its release, the anime produced by MAPPA entertainment took the internet by storm. Yuri on ice is about an ice-skater, Yuri, who, after placing dead last at the Grand Prix Final, gains weight and loses all motivation. He finds himself in the spotlight again after a video of him performing a routine formerly executed by his idol Viktor Nikiforov goes viral on the internet. Impressed with his talent, Viktor approaches Yuri and offers to be his mentor. The show is perfectly animated and turned into an instant classic upon its release.
10. Cardcaptor Sakura
10-year-old Kinomoto Sakura stumbles upon the mysterious book of Clow. Upon reading the book out loud, she ends up scattering the cards. Sakura is appointed by the guardian of the cards, Kerberos, to capture the remaining cards. This adventure and fantasy-packed anime follow the heroine’s life as she takes on the responsibility of protecting the earth, all while managing her everyday school life.