what is shoujo anime

What Is Shoujo Anime: What You Need To Know About This Popular Anime Genre

what is shoujo anime

Table of Contents (TL:DR)

Shoujo is a genre of visual novels, anime, and manga that sets young teenage girls as the target demographic. Shoujo anime frequently focus on romance as a key plot element, is often set in a school setting or a fantasy world, and typically features a female protagonist.

One of the most famous in the shoujo genre is Sailor Moon, a magical girl anime that follows an adolescent girl who discovers she is the reincarnation of a powerful princess. Shoujo anime frequently features magical and supernatural elements, such as the characters having special powers. It can also be romantic, such as when members of the opposite gender confess their love for each other; or when they share a passionate kiss; or about the shy or awkward female character getting noticed by the popular boy despite the sea of cute girls; or the totally opposite boy and girl developing friendship and falling in love in a school setting; I could go on for days!

History of Shoujo Anime

History of Shoujo Anime

Shoujo, which translates to “young girl,” gets its name from the manga magazines of the 1950s and 1960s, which were marketed to school girls and a young adult female audience. The manga magazines were mostly about romance, with a few sci-fi and horror titles thrown in the mix that were eventually collectively referred to as shoujo magazines. As time went on, the lines between sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and school romance began to blur. From there, it was only a few small steps until the genre became what we now know as shoujo.

Shoujo anime are typically romantic comedies, or “Slice of Life” shows about everyday life, but some shoujo works are action-adventure or even fantasy series. In the early days of anime, shoujo was seen as a niche genre, but with the increase in anime and women’s careers in Japan, shoujo has become so popular that even male creators like Naoko Takeuchi and CLAMP have created shoujo series.

Shoujo stories today are not only consumed by the female populace but also attract a significant audience of boys. As society and the genre evolved, the themes and art style of shoujo anime appeal to a broad range of audiences. It sometimes even attracts the shounen audience of boys that are in search of the perfect anime girlfriend.

Check Out: Top 15 Best Shoujo Anime That Will Give You That First Love Feels

Different Plots Of Shoujo Anime

Different Plots Of Shoujo Anime

Today though, Shoujo anime can also be action, fantasy, horror, mecha, or magical girl anime that follow certain tropes. However, a shonen series can sometimes have a healthy dose of shoujo elements and themes. This makes the anime appeal to both shoujo and shounen audiences. The most common themes are as follows:

Osananajimi: A commonly-used term in romantic anime which means the story is about two characters whose childhood friend or old playmate with whom one shares the unique and intimate understanding that (according to such stories) can only come from having known each other since earliest childhood.

Hatsukoi: This translates to first love. Usually, the story of a teenage female character about her first love. Yakusoku: Is about a promise that you can’t break or a promise you need to fulfill.

What’s The Difference Between Shoujo And Shonen?

Image Credit: Japanlover.me

Shoujo and shonen anime are two significant categories of anime, and understanding how they differ can tell you a lot about what to expect from a show. Shoujo series are typically targeted at young girls, and they tend to feature more romance, a slower pace, and a more realistic portrayal of school life than shonen anime. You can expect bullying, learning, and cliques in shoujo anime, but there are also happy, positive relationships, like friendship and romance. The shoujo genre is great for fans of romance, slice-of-life, and the school setting.

Shonen series, on the other hand, also known as boys’ anime, is a genre aimed at boys and young men. The main characters are usually teenage boys and typically have a firm goal they are striving to reach. It is often action-packed and usually has a large cast of characters with fighting powers. It often includes large robots or other science fiction elements.

Check Out: What Is Shounen Anime: History Of Shounen Genre

Most popular examples of Shonen Animes are:

The Line between Shoujo and Josei

the line between shoujo and josei anime

Aimed at adult audiences, one might say that Josei anime is a more mature take on the everyday life of women. It tackles some serious topics in relationships and other aspects of living through these eyes – as opposed to shoujo which tends to be more focused on youthful drama or romance. With women in their twenties and older as the primary target audience, most josei stories have adult themes like illegal material use and other life issues defining the solid difference between shoujo and josei.

 Most popular Josie anime list

  • Petshop of Horrors
  • Ristorante Paradiso
  • Nana
  • Yuri!!! on Ice
  • Honey and Clover

Some Of The Most Popular Shoujo Animes According To My Anime List.

Since the magical girl anime Sailor Moon started the Shoujo boom back in 1992, shoujo animes have become increasingly popular. Recently, even non-shoujo animes have managed to draw some shoujo fans to them. Now, we’re not saying that non-shoujo animes are bad; they just don’t appeal to the more girly side of us. We’ve listed some of the most popular shoujo animes here.

Ouran Koukou Host Club (Ouran High School Host Club)

haruhi fujioka ouran high school host club best anime traps

The anime seems like a stereotypical reverse romance in a school setting, but as the story progresses, the characters grow, and you become aware of why this anime has stolen so many hearts. If you love romance shows and gender benders, then make sure to check it out asap.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama!

Kaichou wa Maid-sama is one of the most popular series out there. A handsome and arrogant guy starts falling for the class president, who, as it turns out, secretly works at a maid cafe. Hilarity ensues when her secret is busted, and the two soon realize that they are both completely different people when they are not at school.

Check Out: 27 Of The Best Anime Like Kaichou wa Maid-sama

Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (My Little Monster)

my little monster must watch anime like toradora

Another high school romance, but this time about a delinquent boy and a somewhat cynical girl. The anime explores their relationship and personality differences. If you are tired of the shy and overly emotional shoujo anime girls, then you should check out this one for a fresh perspective and for the unique character design.

Kimi ni Todoke (From Me to You)

from me to you featured best shoujo animes

Kimi ni Todoke probably has one of the most likable main male characters ever in the shoujo realm. The story is sweet and heartwarming, and it revolves around a girl who is an outcast because of her appearance and introverted nature and a completely opposite boy who was drawn to her. 

Vampire Knight

The famous Cross Academy consists of two isolated classes: the Day Class (normal humans) and the Night Class (vampires). The pretty guardian Yuki Cross finds herself more and more attracted to one particular vampire named Kaname Kuran. The anime has a darker theme than the usual shoujo adaptations, with a moderate romance and horror dose in a fantasy school setting.

Check Out: Top 20 Vampire Anime Of All Time

Ore Monogatari!! (My Love Story!!)

my love story - best shoujo anime

The story of the loveable yet slightly intimidating high school student Gouda Takeo has captured many people’s hearts because it is surprisingly sweet and heartwarming. The use of a male protagonist in an anime is refreshing and gives us insight into what it’s like to be on the other side. It also encourages people not to judge others based solely on their appearance, as they can have just as many feelings about themselves too.


 The story of the “Palm Top Tiger” and the “delinquent withtaker of lives eyes” are secretly in love with each other’s best friend. They help each other get their crushs’ attention and hopefully start a relationship with them. As the two spend time with each other, bonds form, and they realize that they developed romantic feelings for each other. This anime features great character designs with the female lead smaller than average teen girls but as aggressive as a tiger and a timid neat freak male lead that looks like a yakuza member that has years of experience, awesome storytelling, and sweet romantic scenes that would make the heart go dokidoki!

Check Out: 10 Must Watch Anime If You Like Toradora

Our Final Thoughts

Watching shoujo series usually makes you feel young and nostalgic. This is why it’s become one of the most popular anime genres today. We love the rollercoaster of emotion that you experience when watching shoujo animes. The colours, sparkles, and the over-usage of cherry blossoms are some of the things that we love about this anime genre.

Did we miss out on any of your favorite shoujo anime? Make sure you drop a comment and list some of your favorite ones.

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I’ve watched a lot of anime in my days, but that doesn’t stop me from watching more. Whether it be new or old, I’ll give it a run-through and tell you what I think about it. We’re currently living in the golden age of anime with so many great shows out there to watch. At Caffeine Anime, I hope to share my love for anime with you!


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