Manga that generally tend to appeal more towards a younger female audience come under the section of Shoujo manga. These usually focus on the romantic relationships between its main characters while taking a lighter and cuter tone. The themes, genres and storylines covered are a welcome change from the high-octane action Shounen manga which dominates the industry.
Due to this, even several people who are not the target demographic enjoy reading these a lot. In this list, we shall be taking a look at the best Shoujo manga that have come out in the many years of its existence and that everyone definitely has to read.
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10. Banana Fish
Despite being an extremely old manga, the themes and emotional impact of Banana Fish is still able to resonate with readers. Set in the streets of New York, we are introduced to a gang leader known as Ash who is highly respected by those under him. He meets Eiji, a photographer from Japan who is assisting his boss as they make a report on American gangs.
While talking with Ash, Eiji and one of Ash’s subordinates get kidnapped by another famous gang leader. As Ash tries to save them, several truths behind his traumatic childhood are revealed. In addition to this, the mystery behind “Banana Fish”, a curious word that Ash’s older brother keeps muttering holds on to the reader’s intrigue. Banana Fish is a perfect example of the diversity that Shoujo manga present.
9. Ouran High School Host Club
Reverse Harems where several attractive males surround a female character is one of the most appealing factors in Shoujo manga. Among these, Ouran High School Host Club is arguably the most popular manga that is beloved by fans. It follows the life of its protagonist, a girl named Haruhi who is very studios and is frequently mistaken for a male due to her appearance.
After stumbling upon a room that she thought was unused, she meets the extravagant members of a host club. In her panic, she breaks an expensive vase and is forced to become a member of the club herself to repay them. Through this, she is made to entertain other female students by cross dressing.
While she initially finds everything to be annoying, she slowly grows into the role while also realizing that her co-members are not as bad as she thought them to be. Ouran High School Host Club has simple and easy-on-the-eyes art and a great cast of characters that the readers fall in love with.
The Orange manga is a very deep and emotional series that completely emotionally invests the reader. The main character, a girl named Naho, receives a letter from her future self that tells her to keep an eye on a boy named Kakeru while helping him steer clear of several tragedies that occur in his life.
While she was initially hesitant, after events transpired exactly according to the letter, she is forced to believe it. The boy, Kakeru, looks vibrant and joyous on the outside but is very depressed in reality due to his personal life. As Naho and her friends become friends with him, they work towards bringing happiness towards his life and creating a future where he is alive and happy.
While the romance in Orange is present, the drama and relationships between the characters overshadow it while making us enjoy their friendship more.
7. Kimi ni Todoke
Kimi ni Todoke is the sweet and wholesome love story that a majority of people read Shoujo manga for. It follows an innocent girl who is misunderstood and feared by all her classmates due to her appearance resembling a character from a horror movie. This causes her to be isolated and not approached by anyone around her.
However, after meeting a cheery boy who was loved by everyone, the girl aspires to change herself and get along with those around her. With the help of the boy, they work on changing her image and help her in getting closer to her classmates.
Through the time they spend together, a romance eventually buds between the two main characters as they learn several things through each other. Kimi ni Todoke is a very wholesome manga with the beautiful art that is characteristic of a Shoujo manga.
6. Ao Haru Ride
Ao Haru Ride or Blue Spring Ride is a romance anime with a school setting that has very relatable characters and realistic themes. The story revolves around a girl named Futaba who acts brash and noisy on purpose in order to keep boys away from her. She does this in order to not be disliked by any of her friends or classmates.
However, she is surprised when she reconnects with her childhood crush who had moved away a few years back. To her surprise, he does not like this artificial version of her and is also a shadow of who Futaba remembers him to be. While fearing rejection from both her friends and the boy she likes, Futaba is forced to make a decision on how to live her life.
Ao Haru Ride is a much more grounded romance anime that focuses on topics that affect all of us and shows amazing development between the main characters and their romantic relationship.
5. Fruits Basket
With one of the highest rated anime adaptations ever, more and more people are finally beginning to get introduced to the amazing storytelling and characters of Fruits Basket. The manga introduces us to an innocent and clumsy girl named Tooru who is an orphan and lives in a tent.
When discovered by a classmate, she is taken into their family’s house. However, she soon realizes that the family is far from ordinary as they turn into animals from the Chinese zodiac when hugged by someone from the opposite gender.
This takes Tooru on a journey where she connects with every member cursed by this ability and the suffering they go through. As she forms friendships with each of them, she also attempts to free them from this curse and the god who has chained them.
4. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume’s Book of Friends is yet another unique story under Shoujo Manga that follows a young boy named Natsume who has the ability to see supernatural creatures called Youkai. Due to this, he was never able to fit into society or make any friends and is generally alone. This changes when he meets a cat spirit that wants a book Natsume possesses called the Book of Friends.
The book of friends has several spirits sealed by Natsume’s grandmother and in exchange for the cat spirit’s help in protecting him, he promises to hand it over to him. With its light and relaxing tone, we watch Natsume’s growth through the several spirits and people that he meets in life while striving to improve and make himself more approachable to other people.
Nana is a very mature series with an adult cast that faces several problems in their lives. It tells the tale of two different girls with the name of Nana who are extremely different from each other. One is a naïve girl chasing after the person she loves while the other is a strong woman who is hoping to make her way in the world through music.
Fate intertwines both their lives as they find themselves living in the same apartment. Through this coincidence, the two of them strike up a natural friendship and bond while sharing their grievances and joys with each other. While supporting the motives of the other person, they find themselves growing and maturing as a person.
2. Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn is an intense story of fantasy and action with a strong and beautiful female protagonist. We are taken on the journey of a sheltered princess who is very unaware of the events happening in the outside world. Her world is turned upside down when she loses her position due to treason and is forced to escape the palace with her bodyguard.
In the outside world, she is forced to learn everything from the beginning while running into a variety of people and experiencing various things that she could have only dreamt of before. With dangers lurking around the corner, she gradually grows her strength with the objective of winning back her kingdom.
Covering several genres from Romance to Adventure and Action, Yona of the Dawn is an exciting story that keeps the reader engrossed through every chapter.
Maid-sama! is one of the greats in Shoujo Manga that follows and executes almost every trope in Shoujo stories and executes them to perfection. The story is told through the lens of its female protagonist, a strong and bold student council president of her high school named Misaki. However, she also has an embarrassing secret that she works in a maid café to make ends meet and support her family.
When this is discovered by a handsome boy going to her school, he takes full advantage of it while constantly teasing her and using it as an excuse to spend time with her. While she seemed annoyed at first, upon getting to know the boy, she slowly starts having feelings for him as they spend the majority of their days in each other’s company.
With an exciting romance and several hilarious scenes, Maid-sama! is one manga that every fan of Shoujo manga definitely has to read.