I recently posted My Favorite Josei Manga and now it’s time for shoujo to shine! I’m super picky when it comes to anime and manga and extremely picky when it comes to shoujo. I don’t even know why I’m so particular with shoujo because so much of them are the same story. But even so, I want the shy main characters (MCs) not too cold, the love triangles not too hot and the art to be juuussst riiiigghht.
Because I prefer josei manga to shoujo this list is shorter. But I hope with my extreme pickiness that the manga on this list are some of the best of the best… Or at least in my eyes. You may be wondering why you don’t see certain (super awesome) shoujo on this list. The likely reason is that I’ve only watched the anime and not read the manga. This is the case for Sailor Moon, Ouran High School Host Club, Fruits Basket and Kids on the Slope to name a few.
Although I end up reading more josei than shoujo, I still have a deep love for the shoujo genre. It’s a nice change from the content I usually consume. Instead of stressing about characters dying, I’m stressing about whether the MC will get the courage to give her crush Valentine’s Day chocolates. With so much sexualization in the media, I truly enjoy freaking out when the MC holds her boyfriend’s hand for the first time. I’m all about innocence, love triangles, amazing friendships and sensei crushes!
Have any shoujo titles you’d recommend? Comment below! I’m always looking for new manga to read.
Kimi Ni Todoke (From Me To You)
Genre: comedy, drama, romance, school life, shoujo, slice of life
Mangaka: Shiina, Karuho
Status: Ongoing (95 Chapters)
Synopsis: Kuronuma Sawako is completely misunderstood by her classmates. Her timid and sweet demeanor is often mistaken for malicious behavior. This is due to her resemblance to the ghost girl from “The Ring”, which has led her peers to give her the nickname Sadako. Longing to make friends and live a normal life, she is naturally drawn to Kazehaya Shouta, the most popular guy in class, whose “100% refreshing” personality earns him great admiration from Sawako. So when Kazehaya starts talking to her, maybe there is hope for the friendships Sawako has always longed for. Maybe…there is even a little hope for some romance in her future. [Source]
Why I Love It: OMG you guys this manga is just the best. It’s like the Saga of shoujo it’s practically perfect. You can’t help but fall in love with Sawako. She’s such an honest and sweet character. I think what sets KnT apart from other shoujo is the focus on friendship. The friendship between Sawako, Chizuru and Ayane is so beautiful and healthy. I love that it’s either more important, or on the same level of importance, as the romance in this manga. I think it’s what young girls (and women!) need to read. The anime is great, too!
Read This If You Like: Ao Haru Ride, Sukitte li Na Yo (Say I Love You), great friendships, shy MC’s
Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
Genre: shoujo, romance, school, comedy, slice of life, drama
Mangaka: Sakisaka, Io
Status: Complete (49 Chapters)
Synopsis: Yoshioka Futaba has a few reasons why she wants to “reset” her image & life as a new high school student. Because she’s cute, she was ostracized by her female friends in junior high, and because of a misunderstanding, she couldn’t get her feeling across to the one boy she has ever liked, Tanaka-kun.
Now in high school, she is determined to be as unladylike as possible so that her friends won’t be jealous of her. While living her life this way contentedly, she meets Tanaka-kun again, but he now goes under the name of Mabuchi Kou. He tells her that he felt the same way as she did when they were younger, but now things can never be the same again. Will Futaba be able to continue her love that never even started from three years ago? [Source]
Why I love it: Definitely one of my top three on this list. The art is so lovely! The premise sounds typical: unrequited childhood love, bad boy with black hair, nice boy with blonde hair and a love triangle. But this manga does the typical shoujo manga plot well very well. There’s an anime, too!
Read This If You Like: Kimi ni Todoke, love triangles, Say “I Love You”
Hirunaka no Ryuusei (Daytime Shooting Star)
Genre: shoujo, romance, school life, slice of life, comedy
Mangaka: Yamamori, Mika
Status: Complete (87 Chapters, 12 Volumes)
Synopsis: 15-year-old country girl, Suzume Yosano, has to move to Tokyo to live with her uncle due to her father’s transfer. She bumps into a mysterious man who ends up taking her to her uncle’s place after she gets lost. Turns out, Suzume will be seeing him a lot more often once she starts school because… he’s her homeroom teacher!? [Source]
Why I love it: This was one of my favorite mangas of 2014! There’s a love triangle (of course) but this one includes a sensei! OH THE SCANDAL! I found myself conflicted because I liked both of the guys in this story so much I didn’t know who I wanted Suzume to pick. I was so stressed out! The art is really fantastic, I plan to read more from Mika Yamamori.
Read This If You Like: Kimi ni Todoke, love triangles, sensei-student love affairs
Kanjuku Summer End
Genre: shoujo/josei, romance, slice of life
Mangaka: Fuji, Momo
Status: Complete (One Shot, 58 Pages)
Synopsis: Tae helps with her family’s tomato field. However, when Gen, a ruffian-looking boy from Tokyo, is sent to help with the field, it seems that a sweet love will also be ripening. [Source]
Why I love it: Summer love, shoujo style. What’s not to love?!
Read This If You Like: summer love
Shoujo/Josei Manga Border Lands
Basically this section is manga by Rikako Iketani. I fell in love with her after reading Six Half. I find that most of her manga overlap between shoujo and josei themes. The content and romance are a bit more mature than most shoujo, but not completely josei/adult either, which I think is a great mix.
Genre: drama, romance, school, shoujo/josei
Mangaka: Iketani, Rikako
Status: Ongoing (I’ve been able to find up to 21 chapters in English but there are up to 44 raw chapters not translated online)
Synopsis: Kikukawa Shiori woke up from a bad motorcycle accident with severe loss of memory. Although she is allowed to go home, she has trouble adjusting to a seemingly new life with a brother who is always worried, a sister who apparently hates her, and a boyfriend who won’t give her space. Awful rumors about her previous lifestyle abound in school, too, and even her friends tell her she had it coming. Alone, scared, and angry at the seemingly awful person she used to be, Shiori tries desperately to find a place of comfort she can call her own… [Source]
Why I Love It: I really really love this story. I love that the MC, Shiori, was a terrible person before her accident. Because of this, she’s given a reset on her life and decides to be a better person. She’s depressed, for obvious reasons, and I think it’s represented in a genuine way.
Read This If You Like: amnesia stories, second chances
Bitou Lollipop (Bitter Sweet Lollipop)
Genre: romance, comedy, slice of life, shoujo/josei
Mangaka: Iketani, Rikako
Status: Complete/Ongoing? (34 Chapters is the complete manga apparently, but I’ve only found 19 chapters in English online)
Synopsis: When Madoka learns that her parents won hundred million yens at the lottery, she does not believe her ears. But while she begins to dream about a princess’s new life, she meets to live only in a small appendix of the house of the family Asagi… For Madoka, a new life begins. [Source]
Why I Love It: This is one of my favorites. I really like the MC, I think Madoka is strong and independent in her own way. There are layers to the story, it’s not just about romance, but there’s some family drama involved as well.
Read This If You Like: MC’s living on their own, older girl/younger guy romance, family drama