20 Best Shoujo Anime of All Time

20 Best Shoujo Anime of All Time

Shoujo anime is made for teenage girls, covering stories from historical dramas to sci-fi. But you know what? Anyone can enjoy it, and I’m living proof of that.

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Most of the time, shoujo shows zoom in on the characters’ love lives and inner feelings. But, surprise! There’s a lot more to it than that.

Check out these top-rated shoujo anime on MyAnimeList. And I even tried to organize them by the year they came out. So, there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

1. The Rose of Versailles

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  • Episode 40 (1979-1980)
  • Genre: Drama, Historical, Romance
  • Studio: Tokyo Movie Shinsa

“The Rose of Versailles,” also known as “Lady Oscar,” is a classic anime that used to air on RCTI.

This shoujo anime is adapted from Riyoko Ikeda’s highly praised manga. It tells the story of the significant encounter between Marie Antoinette and Oscar, a meeting that would shape history and impact lives during the French Revolution.

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2. Sailor Moon

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  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Magical Girl, Romance
  • Studio: Toei Animation

“Sailor Moon” is undeniably one of the most iconic shoujo anime ever. It’s so famous that even folks who aren’t into anime have probably heard of it.

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This anime is like a nostalgia trip with a captivating storyline packed with moments that keep you hooked. Each character in Sailor Moon plays a crucial part in the bigger picture, making it all the more engaging.

3. Shoujo Kokumei Utena (Revolutionary Girl Utena)

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  • Episode: 39 (1997)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
  • Studio: J.C. Staff

Since she was a kid, Utena Tenjou has always dreamed of being a prince, even though she was a girl. This dream began when a prince gave her a ring with a strange rose symbol and promised to meet her again someday.

Fast forward a few years, Utena enters Ootori Academy and gets caught up in a risky game. People with rings like Utena’s are competing for an unusual prize: Anthy Himemiya, the “Rose Bride,” and her mysterious powers.

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When Utena wins Anthy in a duel, she realizes that if she wants to free Anthy and uncover the secrets of Ootori Academy, there’s only one path: she has to revolutionize the world.

“Shoujo Kakumei Utena” weaves surreal imagery, intricate allegories, and metaphors, creating a futuristic tale. It explores themes like idealism, illusion, maturity, and identity captivatingly.

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4. Hana Yori Dango

Hana Yori Dango

  • Episode: 51
  • Genre: Drama, School, Romance
  • Studio: Toei Animation

Not everyone might be familiar with the original title of this manga because it’s been adapted multiple times by production houses from different countries, including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, and most recently, Thailand, each with its own title.

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This shoujo anime series by Toei Animation is a true-blue adaptation of shoujo manga stories, staying faithful to the source material.

5. Vision of Escaflowne

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  • Episode: 26 (1996)
  • Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Mecha, Romance
  • Studio: Sunrise

“Vision of Escaflowne” is a fantastic blend of shoujo and mecha anime. You could even label it as an isekai anime, back when the isekai genre wasn’t as widespread as it is today.

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The plot revolves around Hitomi, a high school student who gets whisked away to the planet Gaea after encountering the mysterious Van. In a war-torn land, Hitomi discovers that her divination powers are rising in this new world. This makes her a crucial figure in the battle against the malevolent Zaibach empire, as she holds the key to saving the world.

6. Cardcaptor Sakura

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  • Episode: 70 (1998-2000)
  • Genre: Comedy, Magical Girl, Fantasy
  • Studio: MADHOUSE

Sakura Kinomoto is just your average fourth-grader until one day, she stumbles upon a mysterious book filled with magical cards. Accidentally, she scatters these cards all around the world.

Out of the blue, a cute creature named Keroberos pops up, explaining to Sakura that he accidentally let loose the Clow Card. These cards, once unleashed, pose a serious threat to the world, and Sakura has to step up.

Keroberos names Sakura the “Cardcaptor” and hands her the Key to the Seal. He assigns her the task of tracking down and returning all the Cards.

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With her best friend, Tomoyo Daidouji, by her side and Kero-chan guiding her, Sakura has to juggle her new secret mission with the regular challenges of a young girl—like dealing with love, family, and school—all while embarking on her magical adventure.

7. The Twelve Kingdom

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  • Episode: 45
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
  • Studio: Pierrot

The isekai genre is quite popular in shoujo anime, and “The Twelve Kingdoms” was Studio Pierrot’s response to some of the strongest titles in this genre during that period.

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This series shares similar themes, a protagonist, and storylines with shows like Inuyasha or Fushigi Yugi. So, it’s a great anime to recommend to a wide range of people, whether they’re into shonen or shoujo.

In “The Twelve Kingdoms,” we follow Youko Nakajima, who gets transported to another distant and fantastical world. In this new medieval fantasy realm, she turns out to be a crucial figure with the power to save everyone.

8. Fruits Basket

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  • Episode: 24 (2000) | 25 (S1 – 2019), 25 (S2 – 2020), 25 (Final – 2021)
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
  • Studio: TMS Entertainment

“Fruits Basket” was turned into an anime in 2000, but it differed from the manga, and the story wasn’t finished. I remember watching this classic anime on Trans TV.

In 2019, they made another anime version of “Fruits Basket,” which I still find enjoyable.

The story starts when Tohru Honda accidentally discovers a big secret about the Soma family while trying to stop Yuki and Kyo. It turns out that whenever someone from the Soma family gets hugged by someone of the opposite sex, they transform into animals from the Chinese Zodiac.

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Tohru, who’s always been fascinated by a story her mom told her about Shio, finds that living with the Souma family turns into this unexpected adventure filled with laughter, romance, and some tragic twists.

9. Ouran High School Host Club

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  • Episode: 24 (2006)
  • Genre: Comedy, Harem, Romance
  • Studio: Bones

Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at Ouran Academy, a fancy school for the elite. One day, while looking for a quiet spot to study, Haruhi accidentally stumbles upon the Host Club.

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Tamaki Suou is the leader, and his crew includes the “Shadow King” Kyouya Ootori, the playful Hitachiin twins Kaoru and Hikaru, the kid-like Mitsukuni Haninozuka, and his strong buddy Takashi “Mori” Morinozuka. It’s a club where good-looking guys with too much time on their hands entertain the girls at the academy.

Haruhi ends up breaking an insanely expensive vase and has to become the group’s servant to work off her massive debt to get away.

But here’s the twist—thanks to Haruhi’s convincing guy look, easygoing and friendly attitude, and her relatable commoner status, she soon gets promoted to a full-time host.

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Before she knows it, Haruhi gets thrown into a world of fancy costumes, lavish meals, and unique activities that only the super-rich Host Club can pull off.

10. Nana

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  • Episode: 47 (2006-2007)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life
  • Studio: MADHOUSE

Nana Komatsu is a 20-year-old girl who’s naive and tends to fall in love easily. She often relies on the people around her. Her main reason for going to Tokyo is to chase after her boyfriend.

On the flip side, Nana Osaki is a proud and mysterious punk rock vocalist. She dreams of becoming a professional singer, and she’s on the same train to Tokyo as Nana Komatsu.

Their paths cross in a fateful encounter on their way to the big city, bringing these two young women with the same name together. This sets off a series of events that leads them to share an apartment.

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As their friendship grows, the two Nanas try to support each other through thick and thin. Their lives become intertwined with romance, music, challenges, and heartbreak, putting their seemingly unbreakable bond to the test.

11. Maid-Sama!

Maid-Sama!

  • Episode: 26
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Studio: J.C. Staff

Becoming the first female student council president wasn’t easy, especially when the school had just transitioned from an all-boys middle school to a high school.

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Nicknamed the “Devil President” by the boys for her strict disciplinary style, Misaki Ayuzawa is not afraid to use her mastery of Aikido techniques to judge hordes of misbehaving boys and stand up for the girls at Seika High School.

But even the perfect Ayuzawa has a secret: she works part-time as a waitress at a maid cafe to help her family. She managed to hide her job and maintain the perfect image of a star student until Takumi Usui, the most popular boy in school, walked into the maid cafe where she worked.

12. Skip Beat!

Skip Beat!

  • Episode: 25 (2008-2009)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Studio: Hal Film Maker

Kyouko Mogami, 16 years old, smart, diligent, but naive, works hard to support the career and dreams of her childhood friend, rising pop icon Shoutarou Fuwa.

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Toiling endlessly at burger joints and tea ceremonies, the innocent Kyouko remains unaware that day after day, all her tireless efforts have been taken for granted until, one day, she discovers the truth about her beloved Shou.

Shocked, heartbroken, and angry, he vows to take revenge on the rookie star by entering the cruel world of entertainment. As she enters this new life, Kyouko faces new challenges and people who will push her out of her comfort zone.

Based on the best-selling shoujo manga by Yoshiki Nakamura, Skip Beat features the growth of a young girl who slowly forgets how to work hard for the satisfaction of others and instead takes her future into her own hands.

13. Kamisama Kiss

Kamisama Kiss

  • Episode: 13 (2012)
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Supernatural
  • Studio: TMS Entertainment

Nanami Momozono has had some problems lately. Downtrodden and wandering, she meets a man. After helping him, Nanami explains the situation, and to his surprise, he offers his house to Nanami.

But when she discovers that the house is a rundown temple, Nanami tries to leave. However, Nanami is captured by two shrine spirits and a fox named Tomoe. Realizing that he was sent as a substitute god.

Rather than returning to being homeless, Nanami immersed himself in his sacred duties. But for Nanami to keep everything running smoothly, she needs the fox’s help. In his efforts to find Tomoe, he gets into trouble and ends up signing a contract with her.

14. Lovely Complex

Lovely Complex

  • Episode: 24 (2007)
  • Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Toei Animation

This is a romantic shoujo anime where a tall teenage girl befriends, then falls in love with, a short teenage boy.

Lovely★Complex, or what fans call it Love Com, is the story of Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani in a high school romantic comedy.

Revered by anime fans as a great example of the rom-com genre, Lovely★Complex depicts the breadth of teenage emotions while placing well-developed characters in laugh-out-loud scenarios.

15. Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You

Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You

This shoujo anime with romantic romance tells the story of two high school teenagers with different personalities.

The love story between Sawako Kuronuma, a child shunned at school, and Shouta Kazehaya, a popular child at school, makes the story of Kimi no Todoke so interesting.

16. Hotarubi no Mori e

Hotarubi no Mori e

  • Episode: 1 Film
  • Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
  • Studio: Brain’s Base

This shoujo anime film is based on the manga by Yuki Midorikawa with the same title. Hotarubi no Mori e or Into the Forest of Fireflies Light is a story of friendship and compromise of two people who should never have met because their lives were hopelessly intertwined.

Gin and Hotaru both spend time together when they can. As the girl grows while he cannot age, he realizes there will come a day when time will again be their enemy.

17. Natsume Yuujinchou

Natsume Yuujinchou

  • Episode: 13 (S1), 13 (S2), 13 (S3), 13 (S4), 11 (S5), 11 (S6)
  • Genre: Drama, Supernatural, Slice of Life
  • Studio: Brain’s Base

If you’re unsure about which anime to dive into next, I highly recommend giving “Natsume Yuujinchou” a try. Even if you’ve already watched it, revisiting its episodes often leaves you wanting more.

The story follows Takashi Natsume, a young boy gifted with the ability to see spirits known as youkai. With his guardian Madara, affectionately called Nyanko-sensei, Natsume embarks on a journey to free youkai from their binding contracts within the Yuujinchou, or the “Book of Friends,” crafted by his late grandmother.

As Natsume grapples with his unique ability, he undergoes a transformative journey where he no longer views it as a burden. Through his experiences with human and youkai companions, Natsume cherishes the bonds he forms in both worlds, realizing that happiness isn’t limited to just one realm.

18. Banana Fish

Banana Fish

  • Episode: 24 (2018)
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
  • Study: MAP

Many may not immediately categorize “Banana Fish” as a shoujo anime, but its gripping storyline and compelling characters make it stand out.

The story centers around Aslan Jade Callenreese, known as Ash Lynx, a young runaway taken under the wing of the notorious mobster Dino Golzine in New York City. At 17 years old, Ash delves into the mystery surrounding “Banana Fish,” a mysterious substance.

However, Ash’s pursuit is met with obstacles when Dino’s men target him in an underground bar where he seeks refuge. There, he encounters Shunichi Ibe and his assistant Eiji Okumura, Japanese photographers documenting American street gangs.

Amidst the chaos, Ash’s ally, Shorter Wong, alerts him to Dino’s looming threat. As Dino’s men abduct Eiji and Skip, Ash must navigate through danger to rescue them while uncovering the truth behind Banana Fish.

19. Akatsuki no Yona

Akatsuki no Yona

  • Episode: 24
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Comedy
  • Studio: Pierrot

Akatsuki no Yona follows Princess Yona on the adventures and turmoil of coming of age as she faces the harsh realities of her kingdom.

With a mysterious legend to guide her, Yona must find a way to restore Kouka to its former glory while being relentlessly pursued by the new King Kouka’s army.

20. Orange

Orange

  • Episode: 13
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, Sci-fi
  • Studio: Telecom Animation Film

Orange is a shoujo anime with time travel elements behind the school story.

Naho Takamiya’s first day of her second year of high school is off to an unpleasant start. After waking up late, he receives a strange letter addressed to him. However, the letter was from himself, 10 years in the future!

At first, Naho was skeptical of the note. However, after witnessing some of the events depicted, he realizes that the letter came from his 26-year-old self.

The note details that Naho’s future life was filled with regret. He hopes that his younger self can correct the mistakes made in the past. The letter also warns him to watch the new transfer student, Kakeru Naruse.

Naho has to be very careful in making decisions involving him because Kakeru is not in the future. With the letter as her guide, Naho now has the power to protect Kakeru before he regrets it again.

Those are the recommendations for the best shoujo anime of all time. You can make your next watch list, OK?

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Author - Rohit
I am Rohit, an author at Otakukan. I was born and raised in Banglore, India. I have always loved watching anime and reading manga. In college, I started writing my own stories and creating my own characters.