If you are a fan of romantic stories and strong female characters, then shoujo manga is the perfect genre for you. But with so many amazing stories out there, it can be difficult to know where to start.
That’s why we have compiled a list of the 21 best shoujo manga of all time, guaranteed to bring joy and excitement into your life.
Not only will they make your heart flutter, but these timeless tales will also offer advice and guidance on how to navigate through the maze of life’s complex relationships. Whether it’s working up the courage to confess one’s love or battling evil forces, this list has it all covered.
So grab your favorite snack, and let’s explore some of the greatest shoujo manga ever created:
21. Glass No Kamen
Glass no Kamen, or Glass Mask, is a popular shoujo manga that was written and illustrated by the renowned manga artist SUEMITSU Yoshimi. It was first released in 1976 and is the longest-running shoujo manga there is, having over 50 volumes.
The story follows a young girl striving to become an accomplished actress despite many formidable obstacles. Maya Kitajima is the main protagonist of the series, and she harbors a unique passion for the theatrical world due to her previous experiences.
Her courageous spirit and determination drive her past all odds as she vies for her dream of becoming Japan’s best actress.
Throughout this journey, supporting characters such as Tsukikage Ryuuichi serve as helpful pillars, while antagonistic characters such as Ayumi Himekawa provide thrills along her path.
From Tokyo’s backstreets to rural France, this iconic work portrays Maya’s life-altering tribulations with moments of sorrow and euphoria, with individual arcs building tension and resolving together throughout its rich narrative.
ReLIFE is a unique shoujo manga series that piques the interest of even the most experienced readers. The story follows 27-year-old Arata Kaizaki as he embarks on an experimental journey to reset his life. After transitioning to a high school student and enrolling in classes 3-2, Arata learns to transition into his new version of life.
ReLIWE’s immersive and engaging plot transports readers into Kaizaki’s world as he grows from a struggling adult to a mature young adult.
With delightful art, interesting characters and interesting plot twists, ReLIFE proves to be an intriguing tale for anyone who enjoys the shoujo genre.
19. Skip Beat
Skip Beat is one of the most beloved shoujo manga since it was first released in 2002. The series follows Kyouko Mogami, a diligent and hard-working 16-year-old who puts her own dreams on hold in order to support her childhood friend, Sho Fuwa, ‘s ambitions.
When she discovers that his fame-driven motives are far less honorable than she thought, Kyoko transforms from a naive girl into an indomitable fighter with revenge in mind.
It is no surprise that the subsequent drama and powerful character development from this heartbreaking story have captivated many fans of the shoujo manga genre for almost two decades.
Skip Beat shines as its characters grapple with love, family, rivalry and success while learning valuable lessons about themselves along the way.
18. Strobe Edge
Strobe Edge is a romance manga series by writer and illustrator Io Sakisaka. It follows the romantic story of high school student Ninako Kinoshita as she falls in love with her senior, the incredibly popular Ren Ichinose.
Through its beautiful artwork and meaningful dialogue, Strobe Edge captivates readers who can relate to the character’s struggles and triumphs.
Its unique take on the traditional shoujo manga formula allows both experienced manga fans and newcomers alike to appreciate it equally. The series also cleverly mixes suspenseful mysteries in with its romance plot, fusing youthful innocence with mature drama.
Although it may seem like a cliché shoujo story at first, Strobe Edge stands on its own as one of the genre’s most beloved titles.
Follow Ninako as she navigates her teenage life while also trying to find her place in an ever-changing world filled with bittersweet memories around every corner. Experience the highs and lows of modern love in this enthralling series that will leave you wanting more.
17. Bokura ga Ita
If you’re a fan of shoujo manga, you’ll definitely want to check out Bokura ga Ita. This series follows the unexpected story of two high school students—Yano Motoharu and Nanami Takahashi—and their budding romance. Set against a backdrop of lessons about love and friendship, Bokura ga Ita is a heartwarming tale that resonates with readers.
The characters are dynamic and engaging, and the art style is visually appealing with its soft watercolors.
Its accolades include five volumes in Shogakukan’s Big Comics shoujo magazine and an ending memorable enough to leave readers wanting more. The unique plot, thought-provoking lessons, and realistic dialogue make it stand apart from other manga of its genre.
16. Ao Haru Ride
Ao Haru Ride is an exciting shoujo manga written by Fujiwara Toro that has gained much critical acclaim. The story follows the high school protagonist, Futaba Yoshioka, who’s navigating her painful past and complex teenage emotions as she focuses on finding companionship amongst a small group of friends.
This heart-warming manga is full of emotion, laughter, adventure and moments that are both hilarious and relatable. It follows the characters’ adventures as they work through their individual issues, enabling readers to experience a journey 〖of self-discovery alongside them.
Furthermore, AoHaru Ride’s artwork is described as ‘clean’ and ‘simple’, which makes it a great choice for beginner manga readers or those looking for something charming in art form.
The success of this shoujo manga lies in how it bridges the gap between subtle comedy and meaningful drama in equal measure.
15. Lovely Complex
Lovely Complex, a shoujo manga by Aya Nakahara, is filled with heartfelt emotions, bright characters and humor that flow together for an amazing series.
The story follows the life of Risa Koizumi and Atsushi Ōtani as they navigate through the hardships of high school while tackling their own feelings and insecurities.
In every chapter of Lovely Complex, you’ll find intense romance while encountering thoughtful comic relief throughout various scenes, which help keep the pacing upbeat.
This well-balanced manga beautifully showcases how two unlikely people come to appreciate each other’s qualities while facing difficult decisions in their turbulent teenage years.
14. Dengeki Daisy
Dengeki Daisy is one of the classic shoujo manga series about online friendship and human connection, written by Kyousuke Motomi.
Taking place in a fictional city, Teru finds friendship through an enigmatic network of cell phone emails from “DAISY”. This mysterious figure helps her along and guides her with messages that end at “…from DAISY”.
Throughout the story, readers encounter emotion-packed drama between characters who must come to terms with their personal struggles and relationships with each other as well as the new world of technology and life experiences that they have gained throughout the series.
Drawing in both young and old readers alike, the classic shoujo style art, memorable characters, emotional drama, and inspiring themes makes Dengeki Daisy one of Japan’s most celebrated manga series.
With a deep message found within each chapter, this heartwarming story explores themes such as friendship, romance and finding hope even in difficult situations.
13. Natsume Yuujinchou
Natsume Yuujinchou, commonly known as “Natsume’s Book of Friends”, follows Takashi Natsume, a quiet and gentle boy who can see yokai (spirits or ghosts) around him.
Despite being able to see supernatural creatures, he wishes that humans and ayakashi (a type of yokai) could live together in harmony.
He inherits his grandmother’s “Book of Friends”, allowing him to bind yokai to his will. This manga is full of humor, friendship and beauty, with unforgettable moments that will make readers laugh as well as cry along with the characters.
It is an engaging storyline with a unique twist in its art style. The amazing characters are crafted so well that they captivate your heart! If you like shoujo manga, then this series is definitely for you.
12. Ouran Koukou Host Club
OuranKoukou Host Club is an iconic shoujo manga written and illustrated by Bisco Hatori that centres around Haruhi Fujioka, an independent and impoverished student who accidentally stumbles into the Ouran Academy’s notorious host club.
Having mistaken her for a boy due to her short hair, the princely “hosts” at the club invited her to join their ranks in order to pay off her debt.
Despite being ill-equipped to fit into high society, Haruhi excels as a host and draws attention from each member of the illustrious club.
Though grounded in a light-hearted atmosphere of comedic antics, OuranKoukou Host Club is also rife with romantic undertones between its members. This creates twists and turns throughout its plot that captivates readers’ attention until its final heartwarming conclusion.
Nana is a Japanese shoujo manga series written and illustrated by Ai Yazawa. First published in 2000, the series tells an engrossing story of two girls with the same name: Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu.
Though they have nothing in common save their namesake, fate brings them together, and they embark on a life-changing journey.
Through Nana Osaki and Nana Komatsu’s experiences and struggles, readers are introduced to compelling characters from all walks of life.
The two young women confront numerous obstacles as they try to make their dreams come true, forging strong relationships based on trust and understanding despite difficult circumstances.
Spanning multiple volumes across 15 years, the series has been critically acclaimed for its accurate portrayal of post-90s Japanese culture, making it a must-read for fans of shoujo manga everywhere.
10. Beauty Pop
Beauty Pop, one of the most popular shoujo manga around, is a work of Japanese comic genius. Written by Kiyoko Arai and recently adapted into an anime series, Beauty Pop is a story about a group of teenage girls who specialize in transforming plain-looking people into beautiful bishoujo.
Set in Okinawa, this light-hearted series follows the life of Kiri Koshiba as she battles with fellow beauty stylists and competes in underground beauty contests.
With insanely extravagant makeovers and a heartwarming tale at its core, Beauty Pop offers readers an emotionally captivating narrative and an engaging selection of characters.
For manga fans, the popular Shoujo manga series AAA is a must-read. From its exciting plot to colorful cast of characters, this series offers an emotional roller coaster that embraces both levity and drama.
The story follows protagonist Kiko as she navigates a world filled with its own unique rules and customs, leading to thrilling encounters.
With artwork by renowned illustrator Chiko Yuduki and writing from acclaimed author Aki Sekine, AAA is widely praised for its tight narrative structure and compelling character arcs.
While reading this incredible manga, readers will experience intense moments of suspense followed by tender moments that leave them with warm fuzzies.
8. Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun
Shoujo manga is a genre of Japanese comic books and graphic novels targeted towards teen girls. “Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun” (“My Neighbor Monster-kun”) is a popular shoujo manga series written and illustrated by Robico.
The story follows the everyday life of Shizuku Mizutani, an apathetic high school student, and her strange acquaintance with Haru Yoshida, a transfer student who has been diagnosed with ADHD.
The manga was adapted into an anime television series in 2012, and the English version of the manga was published by Viz Media starting in 2014. “Tonari no Kaibutsu-Kun” has been praised for its slice-of-life characterization and its positive portrayal of mental illness.
7. Zettai Kareshi
Zettai Kareshi is a classic shoujo manga written and illustrated by Yoko Matsushita in 2004. The plot follows the story of a young girl named Riiko Izawa, who orders a humanoid android, R-21 or Night Tenjo, to solve her plight of being idolized by her company president.
Although she got what she wished for, which was a perfect companion, the two ended up creating an unlikely love story that quickly caught the attention of many fans all around the world.
Zettai Kare shi’s irresistible plot and unique approach towards sci-fi topics combined with sweet romantic elements made it one of the most popular shoujo mangas out there.
With its highly entertaining and original storyline, this entertaining manga sure will capture your heart right away. The unforgettable main characters and unpredictable plot twists make this manga worth reading.
6. Akatsuki no Yona
Akatsuki no Yona is an enchanting shoujo manga series that delights its readers with a mixture of romance and adventure. The story centres around the bright, brave princess Yona, who must fight to regain her kingdom after its overthrow.
Along the way, she teams up with four unique dragon warriors and discovers her own hidden powers as she embarks on her quest for justice. Despite facing formidable enemies, Yona never gives up or loses sight of her goals.
Her strength of character encourages readers to persevere in the face of adversity and remember there is always hope, even in seemingly hopeless situations.
Akatsuki no Yona is a captivating work of fiction that brings meaningful themes to life through delightful characters, intense action sequences, and poignant dialogue.
5. Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime
Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime, a Shoujo manga series written and illustrated by Sorata Akizuki, is a captivating story of love and adventure. Set in historical Japan, the story follows Shirayuki as she embarks on a quest to track down her beloved prince.
Along the way, she encounters colorful characters, village elders and mystifying mutants with rich personalities and inner strength.
With breathtaking art and vivid imaginations, Akagami no Shirayuki-Hime stands tall amongst other Shoujo manga titles in capturing the charm and whimsy of young adulthood.
Through its battle scenes between fierce warriors and magical creatures, Shirayuki discovers more than her own courage but also finds true friendship across all walks of life.
She ultimately finds herself torn between two men: Kai Zenkaiki and Oberin De La Marca – both vying for her heart while still, they fight to protect her against powerful foes.
4. The One
The One is an award-winning shoujo manga written and illustrated by Rimani Shumei. It follows the story of 15-year-old Itsuki Aoyama, an aspiring artist with dreams of becoming a professional mangaka one day. After being rejected by her favorite Shueisha editor, she meets Shinji, a mysterious man who changes her life forever.
Through his wisdom and magical ability to manipulate time, he helps Itsuki discover the secrets of her own ability to draw manga and make her dreams of becoming a mangaka real.
The One has won numerous awards from publishers such as Kodansha, Shogakukan and Kadokawa Shoten for its creative plot and realistic characters.
Along with traditional shoujo elements like love triangles and drama, it offers readers adventure, mystery and supernatural themes that are sure to satisfy any fan of the genre.
3. Kaichou wa Maid-Sama
Kaichouwa Maid-Sama, an iconic shoujo manga from master author Hiro Fujiwara, is beloved by anime fans worldwide. This series follows the adventures of feisty protagonist Misaki Ayuzawa who must juggle her studies, her tough home life, and her duties as school council president, all while attending a formerly all-boys school.
As she struggles to keep the peace at school, romance and comedy unfold when love interest Takumi Usui enters the picture.
Kaichouwa Maid-Sama has won over hearts with its hilariously awkward dialogue, vibrant characters, and wholesome messages of friendship, loyalty, and determination.
2. Kimi ni Todoke
Kimi ni Todoke, or From Me to You, is an incredibly popular and beloved shoujo manga series that tells the story of Sawako Kuronuma.
Nicknamed Sadako after a ghost character from Japanese horror movies due to her remarkably similar appearance, Sawako has a hard time making and keeping friends.
However, when she meets charismatic classmate Shota Kazehaya, and he encourages her to open up, she soon makes an incredible amount of new friends. By the end of the series, these friendships have blossomed into true love and romance.
Not only does Kimi ni Todoke explore the idea of friendship and its evolution into romance in detail, but it also touches upon more difficult topics like bullying, classism, family pressures, etc.
The art style is beautiful and it really pays attention to details – both costume design-wise as well as emotion-wise – allowing readers to feel their favorite characters go through all these changes along with them.
For those looking for a romantic adventure that tugs at your heartstrings while still being lighthearted in parts, Kimi ni Todoke is perfect.
Horimiya is a popular shoujo manga series written and illustrated by HERO and Daisuke Hagiwara. It tells the story of two high school students, Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura, who each have their own secret lives. They discover each other’s true selves at school and quickly become friends.
With an excellent art style supported by vivid characters, this manga has captured the hearts of millions since its initial release in 2011.
Horimiya also offers an impressive selection of side stories that bring comedic entertainment to its already attractive narrative.
Following this enigmatic duo as they go through everyday shenanigans together is highly appealing. If you are looking for a heartwarming read full of emotion and excitement, Horimiya might just be a perfect choice.
The 21 best shoujo manga of all time span multiple decades and come from a variety of genres. This list serves as an introduction and guide to the best shoujo manga ever created.
This diverse range of titles provides an engaging narrative and memorable characters that will stay with you regardless of how long ago you read them.
If you’re looking for an immersive experience, then consider picking up one or more of these beloved manga series. With so many iconic tales to choose from, why not start your manga journey today? Whichever path you take, these fantastic pieces of art are sure to delight and leave you wanting more.