Please take 30 seconds to read this introduction because the premise is important.
Anime can’t be Shojo, just as they can’t be Shonen or Seinen either. Manga are, and anime are based on manga. And this is an important thing to point out because we noticed quite a mess online.
That said, enjoy our list of the best anime based on Shojo manga.
And for the few who don’t know, Shojo refers to manga aimed at young, female audience, so you can consider it as a counterpart to the Shonen target audience.
Table of Contents
25. Ouran High School Host Club
Ouran High School Host Club is known as maybe the best and most popular reverse harem romance ever. It comes from a shojo manga released in 2006, and there are 26 episodes of the anime.
Haruhi Fujioka is a girl who after much effort has managed to enroll in Ouran Academy, one of the most prestigious academies in Japan.
After finishing classes, to find a quiet place where she can study, Haruhi enters a seemingly empty room, only to stumble upon the headquarters of the renowned Host Club.
Haruhi however surprise drops a valuable vase, and to repay the debt she is forced to start working as an employee at the host club by disguising herself as a boy.
If you asked three anime fans about the first reverse harem romance they know, at least two would talk about this anime.
And it’s fair because this is a fun and enjoyable series that’s hard to not like.
24. Skip Beat!
Skip Beat! might not be widely known, but it presents a captivating and unique story that we highly recommend.
The story follows Kyoko, a 16-year-old girl who dedicates her life to supporting her childhood friend Sho, an aspiring idol, even going so far as to drop out of school to follow him to Tokyo.
But Kyoko’s world crumbles when she overhears Sho belittling her, considering her as nothing more than a personal servant.
Determined to seek revenge, Kyoko resolves to enter the entertainment industry, vowing to surpass Sho’s fame and humiliate him in the process.
The series revolves around Kyoko’s journey of revenge and personal growth, with her standing out as a strong and great female lead.
You’ll witness her development, self-discovery, and quest for her own identity.
23. Snow White with the Red Hair
Snow White with the Red Hair is an amazing fantasy romance adapted from a shojo manga, and it truly deserves much more recognition than it currently receives.
The story follows Shirayuki, a young herbalist living a peaceful life in the kingdom of Tambarun. However, her life takes an unexpected turn when Prince Raji forces her into an unwanted arranged marriage. Determined to escape this fate, Shirayuki flees.
During her escape, she encounters Prince Zen, who welcomes her into his court as an herbalist and offers his assistance in resolving her predicament.
And as they spend more time together, a heartwarming love story unfolds between them.
Snow White with the Red Hair is a fantastic romance, possibly one of the best to come out in recent years.
The story is adorable, well written, far from being clichéd, and it takes place in a stunning fantasy world filled with vibrant colors and various types of creatures.
22. Blue Spring Ride
Blue Spring Ride is a romantic anime based on a shojo manga with 12 episodes that was released in 2014.
The story follows Yoshioka Futaba, who, due to the bullying she experienced in middle school because of her beauty, decides to change her appearance and aim for a quiet and peaceful high school life.
However, when she discovers that Tanaka, a childhood friend and the only boy she has ever truly loved, is in the same class as her, she questions whether she can maintain her new persona.
The series blends a beautiful romantic storyline with relatable psychological themes and moments that might resonate with you.
We recommend not overlooking this remarkable series, as we believe it deserves even more recognition.
21. From Up on Poppy Hill
From Up on Poppy Hill is what we consider, like Whisper of the Heart, one of the best anime movies overall.
Its story is set during the economic boom of Japan in 1963 after World War II, and it stars Umi Komatsuzaki, a student in the port city of Yokohama who falls in love with Shun’ya Kazama.
But through getting to know each other, the two will discover a shared secret from their past as their love story progresses.
From Up on Poppy Hill has a really interesting story that you’ll simply love because of its depth, plot twists, and love story.
It’s a timeless animated movie that we wholeheartedly recommend not to miss out on.
Orange is another excellent romance anime based on a shojo manga. It was released in 2016 with 13 episodes.
The story follows Naho Takamiya, a girl who receives a letter from her future self.
Initially skeptical, Naho becomes convinced of its authenticity when events predicted in the letter start to come true, including the arrival of a new student named Kakeru Naruse.
The letter urges Naho to treat Kakeru with love and care, as he will tragically lose his life in the future. As the story unfolds, both Kakeru and Naho develop feelings for each other, while Naho remains unaware of her best friend Hiroto’s secret love for her.
Orange is truly a fantastic anime, with deep and intense themes that set it apart from typical shojo manga. You may mistakenly think it’s adapted from a josei story or even a seinen one.
The anime addresses themes like depression, apathy, and even thinking about suicide, all while the story is full of tension, leaving you hopeful that things will turn out well.
But simultaneously, it skillfully develops a heartwarming romantic subplot, so we’re talking about an incredibly complete anime.
19. Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Kiss is a sweet romantic anime based on a shojo manga that came out in 2012.
The story centers around Nanami Momozono, the main protagonist, whose life takes a dramatic turn when her father disappears, leaving her burdened with a significant amount of debt and without a home.
In a twist of fate, Nanami comes to the aid of a mysterious traveler named Mikage, saving him from a rabid dog.
Grateful for her kindness, Mikage offers her a place to stay, which turns out to be a shrine inhabited by various spirits, including Tomoe, a fox-eared boy who becomes particularly intrigued by Nanami.
If you’re into light and easy romance shows without too much drama and you enjoy cute and funny moments, then Kamisama Kiss is a good pick that we recommend discovering.
18. Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yuugi)
Fushigi Yuugi is a series that holds a significant place among isekai anime, as it stands as one of the pioneering series in this genre. It is an adaptation of a shojo manga, with 52 episodes released in 1995.
Miaka Yuuki and her friend Yui Hongo stumble upon a mysterious book at the national library that transports them to a fantasy world immersed in ancient China.
Upon their arrival, they encounter the emperor, Hotohori, who believes Miaka to be the prophesied priestess of the kingdom’s protector god, Suzaku.
Her mission becomes finding the 7 Celestial Warriors to summon Suzaku and have her deepest desires fulfilled.
If you like isekai series, enjoy traditional settings, and like romantic moments, especially the reverse-harem trope, then Fushigi Yuugi could be a great choice for you.
17. My Love Story!!
“My Love Story!!!” is a romantic anime adapted from a popular and acclaimed shojo manga in 2015 with 24 episodes.
The protagonist, Takeo Gouda, breaks away from the typical prototype of a romantic anime MC with his muscular physique and unique personality.
When he comes to the rescue of Rinko Yamato, he immediately falls deeply in love and pursues her, despite facing opposition from his best friend, Makoto Sunakawa.
Throughout their journey, their love experiences both highs and lows, but their bond only grows stronger with each passing episode.
My Love Story!!! is a reaffirmation that great romance series can be created without relying on specific plot twists or drama, but mainly on their cute and well-written love stories.
If this is the kind of romance you adore, then it’s definitely a series you shouldn’t overlook.
16. His and Her Circumstances
If you were hoping to discover a great vintage romance anime by reading this list, then your quest could conclude with His and Her Circumstances.
Yukino Miyazawa, the protagonist, is a model student who excels in all aspects of her life. She is highly popular and a talented athlete.
However, her dominance is challenged when Souichiro Arima, who possesses equal skill and ability, enrolls in their high school.
This sets off a fierce rivalry between the two characters, which gradually evolves into something more profound.
His and Her Circumstances is an anime that stands out due to the distinct and lively natures of its two outstanding main characters.
It’s also clear that if you enjoy enemies-to-lovers anime, this is a must.
15. Maid Sama!
Maid Sama! is a fantastic romantic anime adapted from a shojo manga that managed to attract its own dedicated audience, and rightfully so.
Misaki Ayuzawa holds the distinction of being the first female student council president at her school, dedicated to safeguarding girls from the advances of boys.
However, she harbors a secret: she works part-time at a maid café.
And when Takumi Usui, a fellow student with a strong-willed demeanor, uncovers her secret, their relationship takes an unexpected turn.
For those who appreciate genuine and classic romance, Maid Sama! is a wonderful choice. The romance is skillfully portrayed, engaging, and far from mundane, plus, it’s incredibly cute.
14. Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex is another superb romantic anime that’s ideal for those who enjoy lighthearted and comedy-driven romance.
The story revolves around Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Otani, two students who live in Osaka and attend the same high school.
Risa is 170 centimeters tall, which is considered quite tall for a Japanese girl, while Otani is a basketball player but stands at only 156 centimeters tall, below average for the sport.
At school, they are often referred to as All Hanshin Kyojin, after a popular Japanese comedy duo consisting of a short man and a tall man.
Throughout the series, we witness their growing confidence and see their love develop into something strong and genuine.
This series shines due to its exceptional comedic elements that will have you in fits of laughter, skillfully balanced with adorable moments.
If this type of show appeals to you, it’s definitely worth a watch.
13. Yona of the Dawn
Yona of the Dawn is a 2014 anime consisting of 24 episodes that deserves more recognition, adapted from a well-regarded shojo manga.
The story revolves around Princess Yona, who is betrayed and forced to flee her kingdom. Determined to reclaim her rightful place as ruler, she embarks on a journey filled with adventure and self-discovery.
Throughout the series, you’ll witness Yona’s transformation from a pampered princess to a skilled fighter, guided by her loyal bodyguard and love interest, Hak.
This anime tells the inspiring tale of a resilient female protagonist who transforms from a vulnerable princess into a formidable leader over the course of the story.
The narrative is also enriched by romance subplots and intricate political dynamics, so if the premise has piqued your interest, we recommend giving it a try and you won’t regret it.
12. Banana Fish
Banana Fish stands as one of the most iconic series in the Shojo demographic, boasting a late 1980s manga that has even earned citations in Western literary works due to its popularity.
In 2018, an animated adaptation of the manga was produced, maintaining a high standard while contemporizing the story to the present day.
Set within the backdrop of New York City, the narrative revolves around a series of enigmatic deaths that have captured the attention of the police, all of which are intertwined by the cryptic words Banana Fish.
The true nature of this mystery is what Ash, the central protagonist, embarks on discovering.
Banana Fish is an outstanding series that we recommend not to miss. It melds elements of mystery, adventure, action, psychology, and even romance.
With its multi-tasking storytelling, we suggest you add this series to your watchlist if it is not already in it.
11. Magic Knight Rayearth
Magic Knight Rayearth, released in 1994, follows the journey of three girls, Hikaru, Umi, and Fu, who are transported to the fantasy world of Cefiro during a school trip to Tokyo Tower.
The world is in peril and they are tasked with saving it as Magic Knights, using their newfound magical powers.
The girls form a magical guild and fight against the evil High Priest Zagato to rescue Princess Emeraude, the key to victory.
Let’s be honest here, Magic Knight Rayearth hasn’t aged that well, and that’s sadly a fact.
However, if the old-fashioned animation and themes don’t bother you, of you’re someone who loves vintage shows, this series is a gem.
It presents a fantastic story that blends different genres like mecha and magical girl.
10. Natsume’s Book of Friends
Natsume’s Book of Friends is a unique anime that combines supernatural and fantasy elements with the slice of life genre, creating a distinct mix.
Like his grandmother Reiko, Natsume has inherited the gift of perceiving spirits.
Reiko used to challenge these spirits, and upon defeating them, she would claim ownership of their names by inscribing them in the Book of Friends.
Now in possession of the book, Natsume embarks on a new journey, encountering vengeful spirits and others who seek her assistance.
This anime is different from the usual ones, and it might not be for everyone, which we understand. But at the same time, we believe that this uniqueness is its strength.
We suggest you watch it and decide for yourself, it’s the best advice we can offer.
9. Rose of Versailles
The Roses of Versailles is a cult anime released in the 1980s and based on one of the most important shojo manga ever, written by Riyoko Ikeda.
The story is set in a historical context in 18th-century France, portraying life at the court of Versailles from the coronation of Louis XVI until the Revolution of 1789.
The events unfold through the lives of Marie Antoinette and her noble friend Oscar François de Jarjayes, the commander of the Royal Guard who was raised as a boy.
The Roses of Versailles is a cult anime that you should definitely catch up on if you are a fan of anime adapted from shojo works.
It presents an incredibly comprehensive and captivating story filled with emotion, twists, adventure, action, and even romance.
8. From Me to You
From Me to You is in our opinion one of the most underrated romance series ever that we recommend you discover, and it just so happens to be adapted from a shojo manga.
The story follows Sawako, a high school student who faces bullying from her classmates due to her resemblance to Sadako, the protagonist of the horror movie Ring.
Despite this, Sawako is a kind and shy girl, and that’s why she catches the attention of Shota, the most popular boy in school.
From Me to You is a romance series with capital letters, with a cute and beautifully written romance and incredibly fleshed-out characters.
The animations are also excellent, rich in color and beautiful to look at, so what more could you want?
7. Whisper of the Heart
Whisper of the Heart is one of the most iconic Studio Ghibli movies, released in 1995.
The story follows Shizuku, a 14-year-old girl with a deep passion for reading and aspirations of becoming a writer.
During a summer visit to the library, Shizuku discovers that the books she borrows were previously checked out by a boy named Seiji Amasawa. Intrigued by this connection, she embarks on a quest to find Seiji, often getting lost in her daydreams about him.
Whisper of the Heart set in the suburban town of Tama, near Tokyo, beautifully captures the essence of Japan at its time.
It’s a heartwarming tale filled with anticipation, and you’ll be hoping for the best outcome until the end.
6. Aim For the Ace!
Aim for the Ace! is one of the best vintage anime from the 1970s that we recommend to both fans of good old anime who have yet to experience it, as well as anyone interested in a classic gem.
From the very outset of her high school journey, Hiromi Oka is immediately captivated and convinced to join the tennis club, all due to the remarkable skills of its ace player, Reika Ryuuzaki.
Soon, she encounters Jin Munakata, the club’s newly appointed coach, who subjects the athletes to rigorously demanding training sessions. Yet, this does little to deter Hiromi from pursuing her newfound passion.
Aim for the Ace! is an exceptional anime that seamlessly blends a sports-oriented storyline with elements of slice-of-life, romance, comedy, and even drama.
Yes, the animation style may be quite old now, but if that doesn’t stop you, it’s 100% worth a watch.
5. Into the Forest of Fireflies Light
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is a medium-light anime movie that we’ve talked about a lot in our articles, including our list of the best romantic movies.
The story revolves around Hotaro, a young girl who becomes lost in the woods behind her grandfather’s house. There, she encounters Gin, a cursed humanoid spirit who will vanish if touched by a human.
Despite this seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the two manage to develop a beautiful relationship built on mutual love.
But the inevitable can’t be postponed forever so yes, prepare some tissues.
Into the Forest of Fireflies’ Light is a sweet and sad story that will touch your heart in just 45 minutes. You’ll definitely feel strong emotions that will stay with you for a long time.
4. Cardcaptor Sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura is a well-known majokko anime adapted from an equally renowned shojo manga created by the iconic CLAMP.
The story follows Sakura, a young girl who accidentally releases a book of magical cards, which grants her magical powers.
As she sets out to retrieve the lost cards, she discovers new magical abilities and forms close bonds with those around her.
If you’re a fan of magical girl stories, filled with enchantment, fantasy realms, and captivating plot developments, Cardcaptor Sakura is undeniably a timeless essential.
Nana is another one of the most iconic shojo anime adaptations, with an animated version that was released in 2006 in 47 episodes.
The series revolves around two girls who share the same name, Nana, but possess contrasting personalities.
They find themselves as roommates, with one being a rock/punk star with a tumultuous life, and the other being a timid girl trapped in a toxic relationship that is slowly destroying her.
From that point onward, their destinies become deeply intertwined.
This anime is a true gem that we recommend to everyone, no matter their age group.
What sets Nana apart is its unique character design that perfectly suits the story’s context, alongside its well-developed characters and a storyline that beautifully balances intense moments with heartfelt tenderness.
2. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon is one of the most iconic anime series ever, based on Naoko Takeuchi‘s legendary shojo manga, which has been adapted into multiple series, remakes, and spin-offs.
Usagi Tsukino is an ordinary eighth-grade student who encounters a talking cat named Luna during her daily routine.
To her surprise, Luna reveals that Usagi is a Sailor warrior, who must team up with other allies like her to protect the earth from the imminent arrival of evil.
Sailor Moon is the quintessential majokko anime, with vibrant and colorful transformations taking center stage in a lighthearted, engaging story with an iconic lo-fi vibe.
The romantic aspect is also a significant part of the series, with the iconic love story between Usagi and Tuxedo Mask, a vigilante who will join the Sailor Warriors’ cause.
And there’s not much to say. We’re talking about Sailor Moon guys, isn’t the name itself enough? If you haven’t watched it yet, do yourself a favor and watch it as soon as possible.
1. Fruits Basket
Fruits Basket is undeniably a shojo romance icon and easily one of the best anime picks on this list. It also received an animated remake in 2019, surpassing the 2000s version in every aspect, so we clearly recommend this version.
The story follows the kind-hearted Toru Honda, who, following the tragic death of her parents, finds herself living with her grandfather.
However, due to unavoidable circumstances, she’s forced to leave that home as well and ends up living alone in a tent in the woods.
It is there that she encounters Yuki Soma, who offers her an invitation to stay at his family’s home, a place harboring a peculiar secret.
Fruits Basket is a masterpiece with a plot and love story that is still incredible today, and the characters are incredibly well-written.
We highly recommend everyone to watch this series, and we always will.