Some people avoid reading shoujo because it is such a feminine genre. Don’t be put off by the romance; shoujo manga has some amazing storylines that will draw you in. If you’re new to shoujo manga, this list will help you decide which ones to read first.
It’s frequently dramatic or romantic, but that doesn’t mean every shoujo manga is the same. Shojou can be just as complex, if not more so, than other manga genres.In this list, we’re looking back at some of the best shoujo mangas.
23. Majo to Kiketsu no Kishi
Legend has it that an evil witch lives in the Black Forest on the outskirts of Bistron’s great snow-covered kingdom… That very witch, Veronica, is summoned by the ruler of Bistron through his noble blood messenger, Ignatius.
22. Colette Decides to Die
Colette is the only doctor in her village, and she has gained the trust of many people. However, an overwhelming amount of work has exhausted her and left her desperate for a break. She jumps into a well in search of a place where her heart can be at ease.
Colette awakens in the Land of the Dead, ruled by the god Hades, who is in charge of judging the souls of the fallen. However, Hades has become ill, prompting his servants to beg Colette to treat him. Unable to ignore their demands and Hades’ condition, it is up to Colette and her abilities to care for the man and assist him in returning to his duties as Lord of the Dead.
21. Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty
Tetsu Misato, a shy but hardworking high schooler, accepts a job at his father’s housekeeping agency, where he finds himself working at the mansion on the hill he has always admired since he was a child. Deep in the mansion’s back garden is a garden and a solitary building where the house’s mysterious daughter, Shizu Karasawa, lives in seclusion.
Tetsu meets the mysterious girl while cleaning near the building, and when he returns the next day, they quickly become friends. Shizu tells him that she has been confined to the building for years due to an unknown illness, and that she has had no human interaction.
Tetsu’s feelings for Shizu grow as they continue to meet, but when he realises how he truly feels, he is confronted with the true nature of her illness. Ohayou, Ibarahime follows Tetsu as he seeks the real Shizu beneath her supernatural condition, both for her sake and for his own.
20. Tsuiraku JK to Haijin Kyoushi
Mikoto Ochiai, a female high school student, considers jumping off the school building’s roof after a failed confession to her first love. Her thoughts are interrupted by the arrival of Jin Haiba, the physics teacher known for being a slacker and the target of students’ jokes. He calmly lights a cigarette and requests an explanation of the events that brought her to this precipice. Rather than discouraging her from committing suicide, he makes a request: will she engage in a romance with him before she dies? Together, they gradually ponder why they should continue to live and why they should not truly love each other.
19. From Far Away
Noriko is unexpectedly thrown into a strange and extraordinary fantasy world on her way home from school one day. When she is rescued and befriended by a handsome young man named Izark, her problems multiply exponentially. Izark may be brave and courageous, but he harbours the darkest evil imaginable. Noriko, according to an ancient prophecy, possesses the ability to unleash that evil. Now, inextricably linked, these two unlikely allies must navigate a world that is both wondrous and hostile.
18. Jishou Akuyaku Reijou na Konyakusha no Kansatsu Kiroku
Every day is a bore for a natural genius like Crown Prince Cecil Glow Alfostar. Knowledge and skills come far too easily to him, to the point where nothing can hold his attention. This changes the day he meets someone who never fails to disappoint him—his fiancée and self-proclaimed villain Bertia Evil Nochesse.
Bertia claims that this is a “otome game” world. She has been reborn as the villainess, and it is her duty to sabotage Cecil and the heroine’s relationship. Never one to back down from a challenge, she seizes her evil role with zeal… with mixed results. Bertia’s ostensibly “evil deeds” always come across as sincere and kind, even when she isn’t aware of it. Finally free of his melancholy, Cecil never has a dull day as he observes his unknowingly kind-hearted fiancée.
17. Tsubaki-chou Lonely Planet
Fumi Oono, a sixteen-year-old high school student, and her father are evicted from their apartment due to her father’s six-million-yen debt. In need of a place to live and a job, she begins working as a live-in housekeeper for the young writer Akatsuki Kibikino.
When they meet for the first time, Akatsuki dismisses Fumi as useless and treats her like a child. Fumi is determined to repay her father’s debt and works hard to prove him wrong. Despite Akatsuki’s foul-mouthed and mysterious behaviour, she gradually realises that he is not as despicable as she first believed, gradually revealing the passionate and caring person beneath.
16. Yamaguchi-kun Isn’t So Bad
Shy Satsuki Shinohara’s plans for a big high school debut are nearly ruined by a pervert on the train, but she is saved by none other than Yamaguchi-kun, the “gangster” student in her class. He already has a bad reputation among the other students, and no matter how many times Satsuki approaches him, he always manages to elude her grasp. But she’s not one to back down from a challenge, and she’s determined to show Yamaguchi-kun that he’s much more than he’s cracked up to be.
15. Dengeki Daisy
Teru Kurebayashi is all alone in the world after her brother, Souichirou, dies. All alone, except for “Daisy,” with whom she can always talk and who never fails to cheer her up. Teru, on the other hand, has never met Daisy, has no idea what he looks like, and her only way to contact him is through a cell phone that her brother left for her.
In stark contrast to Daisy’s encouraging words, Teru receives nothing but criticism from the obnoxious school janitor, Tasuku Kurosaki, who forced Teru to work for him after she accidentally broke a window. But, while Kurosaki appears to be a slacker who enjoys making her miserable, is there more to him than meets the eye?
14. Gakuen Babysitters
Due to their parents’ frequent travel, Ryuuichi Kashima has always looked after his younger brother Kotarou. When the Kashimas are killed in a plane crash, an elderly woman named Youko Morinomiya offers to be the brothers’ guardian until they reach the age of majority. It turns out that she had both her son and daughter-in-law killed in the same accident. Ryuuichi, the adolescent, is allowed to attend the school where Youko works as chairwoman on one condition: he must be a member of the “babysitting club,” which serves as a place for professors’ children to be cared for.
It may appear that Ryuuichi is off to a rocky start, but with the help of his classmate Hayato Kamitani and many others, he will embark on new adventures with the children in the club.
13. Love So Life
Shiharu Nakamura is a high school student who enjoys working with children, lives in an orphanage, and aspires to run a daycare. She works part-time at the nursery school where the adorable two-year-old twins Akane and Aoi Matsunaga are enrolled. One day, a handsome young man named Seiji Matsunaga rushes over to pick up the twins, but they refuse to accompany him, instead clinging to Shiharu. Seiji, taken aback by the children’s strong attachment to Shiharu, urgently requests that she babysit them, offering to pay twice the amount she currently earns at the daycare. Shiharu realises that the money will cover her living and educational expenses while also providing her with the experience she needs to pursue her dream.
12. Love, That’s an Understatement
Risa Amakawa is still in high school, but she is extremely self-sufficient. She is prepared for any freak incident that Lady Luck decides to throw her way, thanks to the tools she keeps in her seemingly bottomless bag. So, when Risa comes across a delinquent, battered and bruised, on a rainy afternoon, she uses the power bestowed upon her by her own sense of caution to assist him. What she does not expect is for the victim, Zen Oohira, to develop feelings for her.
Zen ticks all the boxes for a typical delinquent; he exudes nonchalance and even owns a motorcycle. Despite this, he is unusually cheerful and sweet, even going so far as to give Risa a “help coupon” as a thank you for her assistance in his time of need. When an unexpected event forces Risa to redeem her coupon, she discovers that Zen is far more charming than he lets on. But is she willing to give up her meticulousness for a carefree romantic gamble?
11. Keishichou Tokuhanka 007
Fuyuki, who joins the “Special crime investigation department 007,” is one of the most capable and extraordinary investigators, and she is paired with Kuze, a cool and very handsome detective, whose combination proves to be the most dangerous the police headquarters has ever seen!
The first day of Naho Takamiya’s sophomore year of high school is a tense one. She receives a strange letter addressed to her after waking up late. The letter, however, is from herself—ten years in the future! At first, Naho is sceptical of the note; however, after witnessing several of the events described, she realises the letter is indeed from her 26-year-old self.
The note states that Naho’s future life will be filled with regrets, and she hopes that her younger self will be able to correct the mistakes made in the past. The letter also warns her to keep a close eye on Kakeru Naruse, the new transfer student. Because Kakeru will not be present in the future, Naho must exercise extreme caution when making decisions involving him. With the letter as her guide, Naho now has the ability to protect Kakeru before she regrets it again.
9. In the Clear Moonlit Dusk
Yoi Takiguchi’s female classmates squeal in admiration and awe every time she lets out a sigh. Because of her boyishly attractive appearance and casual demeanour, she has been dubbed the school’s “prince.” She, on the other hand, chooses to be unconcerned about the attention she receives and goes about her business—that is, until the school’s other prince, Kohaku Ichimura, walks into her life and calls her beautiful.
Kohaku is not like a prince in that he acts rashly and does whatever he wants. However, when he compliments her, Yoi becomes flustered, and the way he looks at her makes her nervous. He is the first boy to recognise her as a girl, and her attempts to distance herself are futile because he appears to have set his sights on her. While Yoi tells herself it’s nothing serious, she can’t help but notice the stir Kohaku causes in her heart.
8. My Love Mix-Up!
A heated rooftop confession occurs between two men, but not everything is as it appears. The angelic smile and kind actions of his female crush Mio Hashimoto have stolen the good-natured Souta Aoki’s heart. Unfortunately, he is heartbroken when she lends him an eraser with another classmate’s name—Ida—engraved on the top. When Kousuke Ida notices his name on the eraser, he believes Aoki is the one who has romantic feelings for him. Aoki is left to deal with the situation on his own, without revealing Hashimoto’s feelings for Ida. In this heart-pounding triangle of first loves, misunderstandings abound as fake and honest pinings mix.
7. Ouran High School Host Club
At Ouran High School, an academy for the children of the wealthy and powerful, there is a club comprised of the most elite members of the student body: the legendary Host Club. Six beautiful, bored boys spend their time entertaining equally beautiful and bored girls in the club’s room.
Haruhi Fujioka, a poor scholarship student, is uninterested in the Host Club until she accidentally breaks a valuable vase in their clubroom. Haruhi is forced to work for the Host Club after being mistaken for a boy by Kyouya Ootori in order to repay her debt. Tamaki Suou, the club’s princely leader, eagerly takes her under his wing and teaches her the ways of the host.
Things, on the other hand, are never quite so simple when the Host Club is present. With the likes of prankster twins Hikaru and Kaoru Hitachiin, stoic Takashi Morinozuka, and sweet Mitsukuni “Hunny” Haninozuka, even the most mundane events can become massive spectacles. The Host Club’s crazy adventures are just getting started, and Haruhi must learn how to survive in the glitzy world of the hosts.
6. Fruits Basket
Tooru Honda is an orphan with nowhere to go but a tent in the woods until she is adopted by the Souma family. The Souma family, on the other hand, is not your average family, and they have a terrible secret: when they are hugged by someone of the opposite gender, they transform into animals from the Chinese Zodiac!
Tooru must now assist Kyou and Yuki Souma in keeping their curse hidden from their classmates, as well as her friends Arisa Uotani and Saki Hanajima. She meets more of the Soumas family as she is drawn deeper into the mysterious world of the Soumas, forging friendships along the way.
However, this curse has caused much pain and has broken many Soumas. Regardless, Tooru may be able to heal their hearts and soothe their souls.
5. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Takashi Natsume is a 15-year-old boy who wishes to live a normal life like everyone else. But, much to his chagrin, he, like his late grandmother Reiko, has the ability to see “youkai,” or spirits. Natsume eventually discovers that Reiko had bequeathed to him the “Book of Friends,” a book of contracts in which she had bound youkai. However, without Reiko ever calling the spirits’ names, they have been imprisoned. Now, these spirits are relentlessly pursuing Natsume in the hopes of having their contracts dissolved in exchange for freedom.
While there are gentle, harmless spirits who seek Natsume’s assistance, there are also malicious, hostile spirits who threaten him. This is where Madara, a spirit disguised as a rotund cat, comes in. Natsume refers to Madara as Nyanko-sensei, a self-proclaimed bodyguard who has his own reasons for accompanying Natsume.
Natsume Yuujinchou is a supernatural slice-of-life series about a boy who struggles to live a normal life while balancing the spirit and human worlds and learning valuable life lessons.
4. Skip Beat!
Sixteen-year-old Kyouko Mogami travelled to Tokyo to support her childhood friend and love interest Shoutarou “Shou” Fuwa as he pursues his dream of becoming a top idol in the entertainment industry. But, after learning that Shou regards her as nothing more than a housekeeper, she vows to exact revenge by entering the entertainment industry herself and beating him at his own game.
Kyouko’s revenge plan, however, suffers an almost immediate setback when she is rejected by the talent agency of her choice. Fortunately, the agency’s president gives her another chance and places her in the newly created “Love Me” section. Kyouko then embarks on her long journey to stardom, honing her acting skills and making new friends along the way.
Seika High School was previously an all-boys school, but it has since become co-ed. Misaki Ayuzawa is the school’s first female student council president, earning the moniker “Demon President” for her mastery of Aikido and strict rule.
Misaki, on the other hand, has an embarrassing secret: she has to work at a maid café to support her family. If anyone from her school found out, her reputation would be completely ruined. And that could happen if Takumi Usui, the most popular boy at school, discovers her secret. Kaichou wa Maid-sama! follows their story as they spend more time together and gradually learn each other’s secrets.
2. Kamisama Kiss
Nanami Momozono is a senior in high school with a lot on her plate. Her father had fled town to avoid his massive gambling debts, which resulted in his daughter being evicted by debt collectors. Nanami is thinking about her future when she comes across a man who is clinging to a tree to escape a dog. She saves him and tells him about her current situation, prompting the man to offer her a place to stay. He believes that Nanami is better suited than him to be the “Master” of the house, so she accepts his offer.
However, upon arrival, Nanami discovers that the house is actually a dilapidated shrine. She is about to turn around when a fox familiar and two shrine spirits stop her, mistaking her for their former master Mikage, the shrine’s land god. When Tomoe, the fox familiar, realises this, he leaves the shrine, refusing to serve Nanami. Nanami summons Tomoe and seals a contract with him to earn his subservience after a series of events puts her in grave danger. Nanami, now a human land god, must deal with new challenges, menacing foes, and her handsome and fiery familiar.
1. Banana Fish
Ash Lynx is a stunning beauty, a brilliant mind, and a murderer. Dino “Papa” Golzine, the mafia boss who moulded him into the ruthless killer he is now, had raised him since childhood. Ash was once just a pretty face for Golzine’s amusement, but now that he’s estranged from him, a 17-year-old Ash rules his own gang with an iron fist.
Eiji Okumura is a Japanese photographer who is still in his early twenties. Eiji is going to New York as an assistant to work on a report about kids living on the streets. There, he meets Ash, a teenage gang leader, and is captivated by the boy, who is intrigued by Eiji’s unconventional lifestyle.
But this is New York’s dark underbelly, and a string of murders has recently surfaced in the city, all linked by the words “Banana Fish.” With personal stakes in this mysterious battle, it’s up to Ash, Eiji, and their allies to figure out what “Banana Fish” is, where it came from, and how to get rid of it before the world as they know it falls apart.