Shojo is a popular anime demographic that’s been around for many decades. While it caters to a very specific type of fan, that hasn’t stopped it from resonating with fans from all walks of life. Some of the most popular anime series of all time come from this genre, showing its universal appeal.
However, shojo anime aren’t without their faults, and not all of them are masterpieces. In fact, many popular titles have a laundry list of flaws, from poor writing to weak characters to problematic tropes. Despite these glaring problems, many shojo series remain fan favorites and have maintained a flawless reputation over the years.
10/10 Glass Mask Romanticizes The Problematic World Of Theater
Glass Mask is a shojo classic that’s had many adaptations over the years. While it’s a bit obscure compared to mainstream titles, this old-school series is beloved by shojo fans everywhere, and many look back on it fondly. However, despite its charm and unique story, Glass Mask romanticizes a lot of problematic aspects of theater life.
From the very start, protagonist Maya Kitajima is subjected to horrendous abuse by her peers, mentors, and even her own family, but this is all shrugged off as just a part of the job. Maya’s misery is hard to watch, and it only gets worse as the story progresses. Despite this, fans of the series can’t seem to get enough.
9/10 Maid-Sama! Forces A Strong Female Lead Into A Traditional Submissive Role
Maid-Sama! is one of the most popular shojo series around, and much of its success is due to its strong, spunky, and capable protagonist, Misaki Ayuzawa. Fans can’t get enough of her no-nonsense attitude and ability to stand up against the boys in her class.
However, despite her great qualities, Misaki’s fire is often extinguished by Takumi Usui, who forces her into a more traditional role. It’s disappointing seeing such a strong protagonist brought down and made to be a typical damsel when with the love interest, and it takes away from the overall progressiveness of the series.
8/10 Say I Love You Features An Uncomfortable Romance Story
Say I Love You is the story of a girl named Mei Tachibana, who has no friends and absolutely no social life. However, this all changes after she catches the eye of Yamato Kurosawa, the most popular guy in school. From there, the series falls into one of the classic tropes of the genre, with Yamato borderline forcing Mei into falling for him.
This makes for an awkward and uncomfortable romance story that’s hard to sit through. Nevertheless, many have a soft spot in their hearts for this series, and it’s become the problematic favorite among shojo fans.
7/10 Wolf Girl & Black Prince Is One Of The Worst Examples Of A Bad Shojo Romance
Despite its popularity, Wolf Girl & Black Prince is probably one of the worst shojo romances of all time. The relationship between Erika Shinohara and Kyouya Sata is controversial at best and abusive at worst, and it’s often painful to watch.
Their story begins after Erika is caught in a lie and forced to become Kyouya’s “dog”. From there, he subjects her to some of the worst treatment of any shojo protagonist. It’s a despicable display of toxicity that embraces some of the worst tropes in the genre.
6/10 Shugo Chara Hasn’t Aged Well In A Lot Of Ways
During its run, Shugo Chara was the hottest new magical girl series around. It had swarms of adoring fans who couldn’t get enough of the series. However, now that it’s been over for many years, it’s easy to look back and cringe at its many questionable aspects. Shugo Chara hasn’t aged well at all in a lot of ways.
Its storyline is pretty weak by most magical girl standards, and it features an overly perfect heroine that could easily be the poster child for Mary Sues. Worst of all is the way the series handles romance, especially considering one of 11-year-old Amu’s love interests is a guy in high school. With questionable relationships and subpar writing, the series no longer holds up.
5/10 Sailor Moon Crystal Hardly Compares To The ’90s Adaptation
When Sailor Moon Crystal was first announced, no one could contain their excitement. Unfortunately, the reboot series fails to live up to its predecessor in many ways, lacking in both visuals and writing.
Even as it’s improved with each new season, the new series doesn’t have the same spark as the original ’90s series and is nowhere near as influential. But because Crystal is much more faithful to the source material, most Moonies consider it the definitive anime adaptation and it remains popular despite its problems.
4/10 My Next Life As A Villainess Falls Short In Its Second Season
My Next Life as a Villainess is one of the most beloved new shojo series to hit the scene. Everyone has fallen head-over-hills for the lovably dense heroine, Katarina Claes. The series has only become more popular than ever since its second season released. However, this continuation has lost a lot of what made the first season so amazing.
With pacing problems, a bloated cast, and the adoption of tired shojo tropes, My Next Life as a Villainess Season 2 is an overall let-down. But with a movie on the horizon, maybe the series can turn itself around and bounce back to the greatness it had at the start.
3/10 NANA Disappoints Fans With Its Lackluster Ending
NANA is one of the most iconic shojo series of all time, and it still influences the genre to this day. It’s the compelling story of two girls from completely different worlds who share the same name. Though they couldn’t be more different, they form an unlikely friendship that changes the course of their lives forever. NANA is one of the most adored series in shojo history, but it’s also one of the most frustrating.
Because its been on a hiatus for years, the series has yet to reach a conclusion, and some wonder if it ever will. As a result, the anime adaptation has one of the most disappointing endings of all time that’s even left some to wonder if it was worth it to watch it at all. Nevertheless, it remains a favorite among shojo fans with many hoping one day the story will finally be complete.
2/10 The 2001 Fruits Basket Anime Is A Poor Adaptation Of The Manga
For years, Fruits Basket has been a beloved shojo classic, and it’s only gotten more popular since the release of the 2019 reboot. Despite most fans preferring the new series, many can’t help but love the 2001 adaptation still. For many long-time fans, it was their introduction to the franchise, so many have a nostalgic fondness for it.
But though it’s still considered a favorite, Fruits Basket 2001is an overall poor adaptation of the manga. It leaves out many key characters, never completes the story, and even fails to capture the series’ tone. It still makes for a fun watch, but it pales in comparison to the faithful new adaptation.
1/10 Ouran High School Host Club Has A Lot Of Problems, Despite Its Popularity
There’s no denying that Ouran High School Host Club is one of the most popular shojo series of all time, adored even by those who normally don’t care for the genre. It’s an influential series that’s become a cultural phenomenon over the years, and its story is groundbreaking and progressive in a lot of ways. However, the series is far from perfect, and looking back on it, there’s much that hasn’t aged well.
Like most shojo series, Ouran perpetuates many problematic tropes and toxic relationships. Though Haruhi is arguably one of the strongest shojo heroines ever, many storylines attempt to belittle her and place her back into a typical damsel role. Despite these glaring issues, the series remains one of the number-one shojo anime of all time, and just about everyone loves it.
NEXT: 10 Worst Couples In Shojo Anime, Ranked