Shoujo anime is one of the anime genres that is the complete opposite of shonen anime, as it tends to target younger female audiences. And so, many anime in the shoujo genre tend to be your typical romance stories. But that’s not the norm, as there are several titles that break apart from this generalization and focus on more mature elements!
Shoujo anime showcases the power of emotions and explores important themes such as friendship, personal growth, and the pursuit of one’s dreams. With their vibrant visuals, endearing characters, and resonant narratives, these shows remind us of the beauty and complexity of human connections.
Love, romance, and the beauty of youth take center stage as we dive into the enchanting world of the shoujo genre. In this article, we will go through some of the best shoujo anime series you should watch this year and probably recommend them to your friends too who are big otakus like you!
Best Shoujo Anime of 2023
33. Cardcaptor Sakura
In the enchanting world of Cardcaptor Sakura, young Sakura Kinomoto discovers a mysterious book filled with magical cards known as Clow Cards. As she unintentionally releases the cards into the world, Sakura must embark on a captivating journey to retrieve them and become the master of the cards.
Alongside her friends and guardian, the adorable Keroberos, Sakura navigates the trials of capturing each card while facing personal growth, friendship, and the complexities of her budding feelings.
Cardcaptor Sakura beautifully explores themes of love, friendship, and self-discovery. As Sakura grows as a Cardcaptor, she learns valuable lessons about responsibility, courage, and the importance of kindness. With its delightful blend of magical adventures, heartfelt moments, and charming characters, Cardcaptor Sakura has become a beloved shoujo anime, capturing the hearts of fans, young and old, with its timeless story and enchanting world.
32. Revolutionary Girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a thought-provoking and visually stunning shoujo anime that challenges traditional gender roles and societal expectations. The story revolves around Utena Tenjou, a strong-willed girl who finds herself drawn into a mysterious dueling tournament at the prestigious Ohtori Academy.
As she fights to protect Anthy, the enigmatic Rose Bride, Utena delves into a world filled with symbolism, power struggles, and complex relationships.
With its intricate narrative and layered themes of identity, sexuality, and revolution, Revolutionary Girl Utena pushes the boundaries of what shoujo titles can explore. It delves into the psychological and emotional struggles of its characters, dissecting the notions of power, desire, and personal liberation, while still being a staple in the shoujo genre!
31. Skip Beat!
Skip Beat! is a delightful shoujo anime that follows the journey of Kyoko Mogami, a determined and resilient young girl who sets out to seek revenge on her ex-boyfriend and make it big in the entertainment industry.
Fueled by her passion and an unwavering drive, Kyoko navigates the cutthroat world of showbiz, facing challenges, rivals, and her own insecurities along the way.
The series explores themes of self-discovery, personal growth, and the transformative power of pursuing one’s dreams. Kyoko’s character development is a central focus as she learns to harness her talents, overcome her past, and find her own worth beyond her initial motivations.
30. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon, the iconic shoujo anime and probably the most famous title in the world, follows the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, a seemingly ordinary schoolgirl who discovers her destiny as the reincarnation of a powerful lunar warrior. With her team of fellow Sailor Guardians, Usagi fights against the forces of evil to protect Earth and find the legendary Silver Crystal.
The series explores themes of friendship, love, and the strength that lies within each individual. As the Sailor Guardians face formidable enemies, they learn the importance of unity and standing up for what is right.
Sailor Moon’s blend of magical girl transformations, epic battles, and heartfelt moments resonates with viewers of all ages, inspiring a sense of empowerment and reminding us of the enduring power of hope and love in the face of darkness. I’m personally a massive Sailor Moon fan, and I think it’s one of the best shoujo titles ever!
29. Children of the Whales
Children of the Whales is a captivating shoujo anime set in a mysterious world known as the Mud Whale, where a community of people live aboard a floating island. The story follows Chakuro, a young archivist with the ability to record memories, as he unravels the secrets of their isolated existence.
Themes of identity, belonging, and the consequences of knowledge are central to the narrative. As the inhabitants of the Mud Whale navigate the dangers of their fragile existence, they grapple with the choices they make and the weight of their past.
The series delves into complex relationships, societal divisions, and the quest for freedom, presenting a thought-provoking exploration of human nature in a visually stunning and emotionally resonant way.
28. Kiss Him, Not Me!
Kiss Him, Not Me! follows the story of Kae Serinuma, a high school fangirl who undergoes a dramatic transformation after her favorite anime character dies. From a plump otaku to a stunning beauty, she suddenly becomes the center of attention for a group of attractive boys.
The series explores themes of self-discovery, acceptance, and the complexities of love. As Kae navigates her newfound popularity, she grapples with her feelings and the expectations placed upon her.
With a mix of humor and heartwarming moments, Kiss Him, Not Me! offers a lighthearted take on romance and the power of embracing one’s true self.
27. Shonen Maid
Shonen Maid is a quirky and endearing shoujo anime that revolves around the story of Chihiro Komiya, a young boy who finds himself living a double life as a maid after his mother’s untimely passing. Despite the unconventional premise, the series delves into themes of family, friendship, and personal growth.
As Chihiro navigates his newfound role as a maid, he learns valuable life lessons about responsibility, empathy, and the importance of cherishing the people around him.
With its heartwarming moments and unexpected twists, Shonen Maid explores the beauty of unconventional relationships and reminds us that sometimes the most unexpected paths can lead to the greatest personal growth.
26. School Babysitters
School Babysitters is one of the best shoujo anime that follows the story of Ryuichi Kashima, a high school student who finds himself unexpectedly taking on the role of a babysitter at an elite academy. After losing their parents in a tragic accident, Ryuichi and his little brother Kotaro must navigate their new lives surrounded by a colorful cast of adorable children.
While School Babysitters may seem like a lighthearted slice-of-life series, it touches on themes of family, responsibility, and the power of love. Through heartwarming interactions and challenges faced by Ryuichi and the other babysitters, the anime showcases the bonds that can be formed through shared experiences and the profound impact one can have on the lives of others.
25. The World is Still Beautiful
The World is Still Beautiful is a captivating shoujo anime that tells the story of Princess Nike, who is sent to the Rain Kingdom to marry the young and enigmatic King Livius. Set in a world where the sun never shines, the anime explores themes of duty, love, and the power of individual agency.
As Princess Nike navigates the challenges of her new role and attempts to bring warmth and hope to the cold and cynical King, the anime highlights the importance of finding beauty in the darkest of times and the transformative nature of genuine love.
With its rich world-building and heartfelt storytelling, this anime offers a compelling blend of romance and fantasy that will captivate shoujo fans.
24. My Love Story!!
My Love Story!! breaks the mold with its refreshing and unconventional romance. The story revolves around the gentle giant Takeo Gouda, whose imposing appearance often intimidates others. But when he unexpectedly falls in love with the sweet and kind-hearted Rinko Yamato, their relationship becomes a heartwarming journey of self-discovery and acceptance.
With its endearing characters and comedic moments, the anime challenges societal expectations of beauty and explores themes of self-confidence, friendship, and the transformative power of love. It reminds us that true love can be found in the most unexpected places and that genuine connections transcend appearances. This anime is a must-watch for those seeking that classic heartwarming, uplifting shoujo experience.
Nana is a captivating shoujo anime that delves into the complex lives of two young women who share the same name but lead vastly different lifestyles. As fate brings them together and they become roommates, their intertwining stories unfold against the backdrop of love, friendship, and pursuing their dreams in Tokyo.
The series explores themes of identity, self-discovery, and the challenges of adulthood. It delves into the characters’ struggles, relationships, and choices that shape their paths.
Nana portrays the highs and lows of life with raw emotion, offering a realistic and introspective look at the complexities of human relationships and the pursuit of happiness. This thought-provoking anime is a must-watch for fans of character-driven narratives and heartfelt storytelling.
22. Tokyo Mew Mew New
I spent most of my tween years constantly rewatching this anime and drawing fanart of it, so I might be a tad biased. Set in modern-day Tokyo, this captivating shoujo anime follows the lives of a group of ordinary girls who gain extraordinary powers after being infused with the DNA of endangered animals.
As they embrace their newfound abilities, these brave heroines must balance their duty to protect the planet from sinister forces while navigating the challenges of teenage life.
With its vibrant animation, lively characters, and a touch of romance, Tokyo Mew Mew New captures the essence of classic shoujo storytelling. Themes of friendship, environmental conservation, and personal growth are intricately woven into the narrative, reminding viewers of the power of unity and the importance of cherishing our natural world.
21. Wolf Girl & Black Prince
This shoujo anime delves into the story of Erika Shinohara, a high school girl who fabricates a boyfriend to impress her friends. But when her lie is exposed, she finds herself at the mercy of the cold and aloof Kyoya Sata, who agrees to play the role of her “boyfriend” under one condition: she must serve as his dog.
Through the ups and downs of their unconventional relationship, Wolf Girl & Black Prince explores themes of love, trust, and personal growth. As Erika navigates the challenges of finding her true self, viewers are confronted with questions about authenticity and the importance of genuine connections.
20. Snow White with the Red Hair
Set in a fantasy world, this shoujo anime follows the story of Shirayuki, a young herbalist with striking red hair. When her unique appearance catches the attention of Prince Raji, she is forced to flee her homeland. Determined to forge her own path, Shirayuki finds herself in the kingdom of Clarines, where she encounters the charming and enigmatic Prince Zen.
Snow White with the Red Hair beautifully weaves themes of independence, self-discovery, and the power of love. As Shirayuki navigates the challenges of her new life, viewers are treated to a tale of resilience and friendship. With its enchanting visuals and heartfelt storytelling, this anime captures the essence of a good, classic fairy tale.
19. Rainbow Days
Rainbow Days is an enchanting shoujo anime that revolves around the lives of four high school boys: Natsuki, Tomoya, Keiichi, and Tsuyoshi. Set against the backdrop of youthful exuberance and blossoming emotions, the anime explores themes of friendship, love, and the beautiful complexities of teenage relationships.
The anime really captures the essence of adolescent experiences. From awkward encounters and unrequited crushes to the exhilaration of first love, the series paints a vivid portrait of the ups and downs of youth. Through its gentle storytelling and moments of humor, it’s a love letter to the transformative power of friendship and the resilience of the human heart.
18. I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss
I’m the Villainess, So I’m Taming the Final Boss takes the popular “isekai” trope and gives it an intriguing twist. The story follows Aileen Lauren Dautriche, whose engagement to Cedric Jeanne Elmir has been nullified. This event helps her recover her memories from her past life, and she discovers that she’s been reincarnated in the world of an otome game.
What’s more, she’s not the protagonist of the game but the villainess. And to make things worse, she’s supposed to meet her death in the final act.
To save herself from this fate, she has to woo the game’s last boss, Claude Jeanne Elmir, who’s the self-proclaimed Demon King, and marry him. However, it is tough to do that when Claude doesn’t really trust her or her actions.
17. The Rose of Versailles
The Rose of Versailles is a timeless shoujo anime masterpiece that transports viewers to the grandeur of 18th-century France. Set against the backdrop of the French Revolution, the story revolves around Lady Oscar, a captivating and fearless protagonist who defies societal norms by living as a man and becoming the commander of the Royal Guard.
Through its rich historical setting, The Rose of Versailles delves into themes of love, duty, and revolution. It explores the complexities of gender roles and the struggle for equality while also depicting the opulence and decadence of the Versailles court.
This is another anime I watched when I was just discovering anime as a whole, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It’s got a beautiful art style, and Lady Oscar is still a compelling, strong female lead, even by today’s standards.
16. Vampire Knight
Vampire Knight is an anime that immerses viewers in a world of forbidden romance and supernatural intrigue. The story revolves around Yuki Cross, a young girl attending Cross Academy, where vampires and humans coexist. As a guardian of the night class, Yuki finds herself torn between her duty to protect the secrets of the vampire students and her growing affection for Kaname Kuran, a powerful vampire with a mysterious past.
Themes of love, loyalty, and sacrifice are prevalent throughout Vampire Knight. The anime explores the complexities of human-vampire relationships, delving into the struggle between light and darkness within the characters’ hearts.
I would say that this series is a tad too edgy for me but still enjoyable. However, despite being considered a shoujo, it’s a bit mature, so don’t watch it if you’re a younger viewer or not into mature themes.
Orange is a heartwarming shoujo anime that tugs at the heartstrings with its poignant story and themes of friendship, regrets, and second chances. The plot centers around Naho Takamiya, who receives a letter from her future self, warning her of the regrets she will have if she doesn’t change the course of future events.
With the help of her friends, Naho navigates the complexities of adolescence and grapples with the weight of the future. The anime beautifully explores the power of friendship and the impact small actions can have on shaping your destiny.
14. Blue Spring Ride
Blue Spring Ride, also known as Ao Haru Ride, is an anime that delves into the complexities of youth, first love, and self-discovery. The plot follows Futaba Yoshioka, a high school girl who reunites with her middle school crush, Kou Tanaka, under different circumstances and with changed personalities.
As they navigate their rekindled connection, they confront their past traumas, insecurities, and the challenges of finding their true selves. Blue Spring Ride beautifully captures the bittersweet nature of adolescence, portraying the characters’ growth and the delicate balance between friendship and romance.
13. Say “I Love You.”
Say “I Love You,” also known as Sukitte Ii na yo, is a heartfelt shoujo anime that explores the complexities of love, trust, and self-acceptance. The story revolves around Mei Tachibana, a socially withdrawn high school girl who has given up on making friends or falling in love. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when she crosses paths with Yamato Kurosawa, a popular and charismatic boy.
As Mei navigates the ups and downs of their relationship, she learns to open her heart and embrace vulnerability. Say “I Love You” delves into themes of self-worth, overcoming past hurts, and the transformative power of genuine connections. The anime’s tender storytelling resonates with viewers seeking an authentic portrayal of young love and personal growth.
12. Special A
Special A follows the lives of the elite students in the S.A. class at Hakusenkan Academy. The story centers around Hikari Hanazono, a talented and determined girl who has always been second best to Kei Takishima, her rival and childhood friend. As Hikari strives to surpass Kei academically and in various competitions, a delicate romance unfolds between them.
Themes of friendship, rivalry, and self-discovery are explored as the characters navigate their complex emotions and personal ambitions.
Special A delves into the concept of finding one’s true worth and the importance of genuine connections in a competitive world. It’s as classic as shoujo gets. I picked up this anime completely by chance and was surprised at how much I liked it. Maybe you will be too!
11. Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Kiss is a delightful shoujo anime that transports viewers into the enchanting world of gods and spirits. The story revolves around Nanami Momozono, a high school girl who becomes the land god of a shrine after a chance encounter with a mischievous deity. As Nanami navigates her newfound divine responsibilities, she forms an unexpected alliance with Tomoe, a fox spirit with a complex past.
Together, they tackle supernatural challenges, forge deep bonds, and explore themes of love, loyalty, and self-discovery. Kamisama Kiss beautifully blends romance, comedy, and fantasy, offering a heartwarming journey that will captivate shoujo fans.
10. Banana Fish
Banana Fish is a gripping anime that delves into the dark underbelly of crime and corruption. Set in the gritty streets of New York City, the story follows Ash Lynx, a young gang leader with a traumatic past, and Eiji Okumura, a kind-hearted photographer.
As they unravel the secrets behind a mysterious drug called “Banana Fish,” they face harrowing challenges and confront the demons of their past.
Banana Fish explores themes of trauma, power, and the resilience of the human spirit. With its intense storyline and complex characters, this anime offers a thought-provoking and emotionally charged experience for shoujo enthusiasts.
9. My Little Monster
My Little Monster is a heartwarming shoujo anime that revolves around the unlikely relationship between Mizutani Shizuku, a studious and socially isolated girl, and Yoshida Haru, a rebellious troublemaker. As they navigate the ups and downs of high school life, their interactions gradually bring about personal growth and emotional transformation.
With themes of friendship, self-discovery, and the importance of human connection, My Little Monster captures the essence of youthful relationships and the transformative power of love. This anime strikes a delicate balance between humor and heartfelt moments, making it a delightful watch for fans of shoujo storytelling.
8. Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn is a captivating shoujo anime that follows the journey of Princess Yona, who is forced to flee her kingdom after witnessing a tragic betrayal. Determined to reclaim her throne, Yona embarks on a quest accompanied by a group of loyal companions. Along the way, she learns the importance of resilience, inner strength, and the true meaning of leadership.
Set in a richly detailed fantasy world, Yona of the Dawn explores themes of courage, personal growth, and the complexities of power. With its compelling narrative and well-developed characters, this anime is a must-watch for shoujo enthusiasts seeking an epic adventure filled with both action and heartfelt moments.
7. Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You
Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You tells the story of Sawako Kuronuma, a kind-hearted but misunderstood high school girl. Due to her resemblance to the ghost girl from “The Ring,” Sawako has been shunned by her classmates. However, when the popular and outgoing Kazehaya extends a hand of friendship, her life takes a beautiful turn.
The anime explores themes of acceptance, friendship, and the transformative power of love. With its gentle pace, genuine character development, and delicate art style, Kimi ni Todoke captures the essence of innocence and the joy of finding connections in a world that often misunderstands us.
6. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume’s Book of Friends, a beloved shoujo anime, follows the life of Takashi Natsume, a teenager with the unique ability to see spirits. Inherited from his grandmother, Natsume’s power has isolated him from others, but everything changes when he inherits her “Book of Friends.”
With the help of a feline spirit named Nyanko-sensei, Natsume embarks on a journey to return the names of the spirits captured in the book, forging bonds and discovering the importance of empathy along the way.
The series delicately explores themes of loneliness, friendship, and the bittersweet nature of human connections, leaving viewers with a profound appreciation for the beauty of acceptance and understanding.
5. My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!
My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! turns the traditional “isekai” trope on its head. The story follows Katarina Claes, a young noblewoman who suddenly finds herself reincarnated as the antagonist in her favorite otome game.
Determined to change her fate and avoid the game’s tragic ending, Katarina embarks on a journey to befriend the game’s love interests and rewrite her own story.
This shoujo challenges traditional notions of villains and heroines, offering a fresh perspective on character development and personal growth. As Katarina navigates the complexities of her new world, you can tell that this is just a heartwarming tale that reminds us of the importance of second chances and forging our own destinies.
4. Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex is a heartwarming shoujo anime that revolves around the unlikely romance between Risa Koizumi, a tall girl, and Atsushi Otani, a short boy. Set in a high school setting, the plot follows their humorous and bittersweet journey as they navigate through the ups and downs of teenage love.
With its themes of self-acceptance, friendship, and the importance of looking beyond appearances, Lovely Complex teaches us that love knows no bounds and that genuine connections are built on understanding and acceptance. This endearing series perfectly balances comedy and heartfelt moments, making it a must-watch for shoujo enthusiasts.
3. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club is an absolute classic of a shoujo anime that follows the story of Haruhi Fujioka, a scholarship student who stumbles upon the eccentric world of the Host Club. The plot revolves around the club’s misadventures, as Haruhi disguises herself as a boy and becomes entangled in their extravagant activities.
With its themes of identity, friendship, and breaking societal norms, Ouran High School Host Club explores the complexities of social hierarchy and the importance of embracing one’s true self. The series offers a perfect blend of comedy, romance, and character development, making it a beloved gem in the shoujo genre.
2. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket follows the story of Tohru Honda, a compassionate girl who finds herself living with the enigmatic Sohma family, who are cursed by the Chinese Zodiac. The plot revolves around Tohru’s journey of unraveling the mysteries surrounding the curse while forming deep connections with the members of the Sohma family.
With its themes of love, acceptance, and healing, Fruits Basket explores the complexities of human emotions and the transformative power of genuine connections. The series delicately balances heartwarming moments with poignant storytelling, making it a beloved classic in the shoujo genre. It’s the perfect anime if you just want something fluffy and heartwarming.
1. Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama!
Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama! is undoubtedly one of the best shoujo anime ever that revolves around Misaki Ayuzawa, the strong-willed student council president of Seika High School. Despite her tough demeanor, she secretly works part-time at a maid cafe to support her family.
The plot follows Misaki as she tries to maintain her reputation while dealing with the handsome and popular Takumi Usui, who discovers her secret. With themes of personal growth, gender roles, and the complexities of relationships, Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama! offers a mix of humor, romance, and slice-of-life moments.
The world of shoujo anime continues to captivate viewers with its heartwarming stories, compelling characters, and themes that resonate with audiences of all ages. I feel like this list has proven to be a testament to the genre’s enduring popularity and ability to enchant fans worldwide.
From tales of first love and self-discovery to stories of friendship and personal growth, these anime have showcased the breadth and depth of shoujo storytelling. They have reminded us of the power of emotions, the beauty of vulnerability, and the strength of the human spirit.
Whether you’re a long-time shoujo anime fan or new to the genre, the titles featured in this list offer an incredible array of choices. So grab a cozy blanket, indulge in some delightful snacks, and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of shoujo anime!
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