Shojo anime is known for its focus on romantic plots, familial connections, and friendships. The stories tend to be more character-driven, and the characters’ emotions are the main engines that drive the story. Action and external conflict are usually the secondary focus. A lot of shojo anime are easily accessible for newcomers to the genre.
Shojo settings tend to be schools, though some are set in medieval realms filled with magic. Other stories combine the two types of settings, like Sailor Moon, which takes place in Tokyo, the Negaverse, and the Moon Kingdom. Many shojo anime are considered classics, and some more recent stories are so absorbing that they are already regarded as modern classics.
10/10 Sailor Moon Is An Iconic Shojo Heroine
Sailor Moon has plenty of content, with several seasons dating back to the ’90s, a few movies, and a new reboot. Usagi is the ultimate magical girl, alongside her girl gang. The romance starts somewhat slow, but it has major payoff moments.
Sailor Moon may seem intimidating, as the ’90s seasons have many filler episodes, but they are short and fun, with plenty of plot points thrown in as the series progresses. If beginner shojo viewers wanted to watch a more streamlined version of Sailor Moon, they could always opt to watch the Sailor Moon Crystal reboot, which keeps solely to the plot in the manga without any filler episodes.
9/10 Nanami & Tomoe Have Great Chemistry
Nanami Momozono is a human girl who inadvertently becomes a Land God in Kamisama Kiss. Her costar is Tomoe, the handsome yet surly fox yokai who resists her presence at his shrine at first. They make a fantastic grumpy-sunshine duo.
Even though there’s plenty of will-they-won’t-they romantic tension between Tomoe and Nanami, it doesn’t drag the pacing because their goofy personalities and comical plot arcs are endlessly entertaining. Side characters, mainly yokai, are introduced periodically, which adds more action and world-building to the romance series.
8/10 Shirayuki Is Talented & Kind
Snow White With The Red Hair
There is a sweet romance between an herbalist named Shirayuki and a prince named Zen Wistaria in Snow White with the Red Hair. The story takes place in a fantasy kingdom and is loosely inspired by the fairy tale Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
The gender roles of the original fairy tale are delightfully subverted when Shirayuki is the one to save Prince Zen from a poisoned apple by using her knowledge as an herbalist. The apple was meant for her, like in the fairy tale, but Shirayuki saving her prince counterpart (rather than the other way around) is a refreshing change of pace.
7/10 Romeo & Juliet Are Altruistic Lovers Stuck In The Middle Of A Family Feud
Romeo x Juliet
Romeo x Juliet takes place in a realm called Neo Verona, and it loosely retells the famous Shakespeare play. There are only 24 episodes, so the story of the star-crossed lovers is succinct. The series has the love-at-first-sight trope, but the relationship still has plenty of development.
Romeo x Juliet builds upon the Shakespearean romance by throwing Romeo and Juliet together in many adventures, deepening their relationship and character arcs. The lovers’ conflict is highly external; they rebel against tyrannical forces, but the story is still grounded in their feelings for one another.
6/10 Yona Is A Strong Female Lead
Yona Of The Dawn
Fans of love triangles will enjoy Yona of the Dawn. Yona is no damsel in distress. She develops into an admirable warrior princess in her own right. Her two love interests are her childhood friend, Soo-won, and her bodyguard, Hak.
The central conflict derives from Yona’s need to save her kingdom from political warfare and a betrayal from someone she trusted. Audiences will enjoy Yona’s journey as she trains with the sword and bow and her quest to find legendary warriors, which she believes will aid her in her goal.
5/10 Futaba & Kou Have A Bittersweet Love Story
Blue Spring Ride
Blue Spring Ride takes place in the modern world and follows a high schooler named Futaba Yoshioka. Futaba struggles to fit in and tries to squeeze herself into a mold that she believes will make her more palatable to others. Her internal conflict involves feeling like her life isn’t very interesting.
Futaba’s romance with a boy named Kou is sweet yet realistic, and she helps him with his grief over losing his mother. What follows afterward is their journey as they learn more about themselves and what healthy relationships are.
4/10 Sunako Gets The Makeover Of A Lifetime
The Wallflower series isn’t very grounded in reality, despite taking place in a contemporary setting. Nevertheless, the plot and characters are engaging. The main character, Sunako, has a complex where she hates the concept of beauty and eschews it all together.
Four gorgeous boys Sunako’s age become her unlikely fairy godmothers. The boys help her embrace her beauty and style her appearance at the behest of Sunako’s aunt. The aunt made a strange arrangement with the boys: help her niece embrace her beauty, and in return, they get to live in her mansion free of charge.
3/10 Misaki Works Hard For Good Reasons
Maid Sama! takes place in a school populated mostly by boys as it only recently began to accept girl students. The protagonist, Misaki, takes no nonsense from any of the boys. She’s hardworking both in school and at her job, but she wants to keep her job working at a maid café secret from her classmates.
A notorious casanova at school named Takumi finds out Misaki’s secret and uses it to leverage a deal with her. The series embraces its tropes and has a very lighthearted tone.
2/10 Schoolgirl Amu Is A Complex Character
My Guardian Characters
In My Guardian Characters, the protagonist, Amu, wishes she had more courage to show her true personality, especially at school. She struggles with being an introvert, and her classmates don’t know what to make of her.
Amu’s life changes when three magical guardians appear. They have a mission to help her self-actualize, and at times, they give her magical abilities. As Amu learns to embrace different parts of her personality, her life becomes more complicated. My Guardian Characters is a sweet, magical girl-style story with a vivid color palette, quests, and a romantic side plot.
1/10 Takeo Is A Modern Knight In Shining Armor
My Love Story!!
My Love Story!! centers around Takeo Gouda, who is as gentle as he is brawny. He cares for his friends and always stands up for the little guy. Takeo wants to find love, but he struggles as he’s often overlooked.
That all changes when Takeo forms a bond with a girl named Rinko Yamato, who is small and reserved — Takeo’s opposite on the surface. However, their hearts are a perfect match. Rinko develops feelings for Takeo after he comes to her rescue on a train.
NEXT: 10 Darkest Shojo Anime, Ranked