Elyon's Top 5 Shoujo Anime

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I have a bit of a soft spot for shoujo. Of course, I’ll always prefer my blood and doom over fluffy and cute, but every now and then it’s nice to break things up with a little bit of girliness. I’m pretty particular about my shoujo though, and most of the time I can’t tolerate a lot of cheese and angst. That’s why the following five animes have all managed to do something different from the norm. Once you’re done reading, I would love to see some other people’s lists too since I’m always on the lookout for new anime. ^^

5. Skip Beat!

Summary: Kyouko Mogami quits school to follow her childhood love as he pursues his dream of becoming famous, but after slaving away as his personal maid, she overhears him talking about how he’s just using her. Enraged, Kyouko swears to get revenge by becoming an idol even more famous than him.

Skip Beat may just be one of the most deceptive things I’ve ever seen. I’ll admit that during the first few minutes I considered dropping it because the female lead seemed like a dependent, self-sacrificing idiot desperate to please her boyfriend, but then everything changed. Before my eyes Kyouko became someone completely new: an angry, determined, and self-confident heroine whose intense, burning hatred gave birth to a strong desire for vengeance. Kyouko is a rare gem among shoujo leads, and it was really her fighting spirit that made this show so addicting from start to finish. I don’t think it’s possible to make it through the first episode without wanting to cheer Kyouko on.
If I had to point out its biggest flaw, I’d say the art is a bit underwhelming though, but a strong protagonist, excellent sense of humor, and great seiyuu cast all more than make up for it, and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants something a bit different in their shoujo.

4. Full Moon Wo Sagashite

Summary: Mitsuki, a girl diagnosed with throat cancer, is visited one day by two shinigami who inform her that she only has a year to live. They agree to help her achieve her dream of becoming an idol so that she can find Eichi, her former love who she was forced to separate from two years prior. [The exact opposite of Skip Beat ;D ]

Another story about a girl trying to make it in the idol industry? Don’t let that fool you though- this is one of the most emotionally gripping, heart-breaking things I have ever seen, and if you don’t shed a tear at some point then you’re not human. I will admit that the first half is pretty unimpressive and tedious with all of the filler episodes, but once it gets serious, this series really starts to shine. It may present itself as a cute story about a pop idol, but beneath the surface is a tragic tale about a very sick little girl who has to try coping with things that I can’t even imagine having to think about at twelve years old.

3. Lovely Complex

Summary: Risa is a really tall girl and Otani is a really short boy. Together they are viewed as a comedy duo in their school, but one day Risa starts to realize that she may feel something more for him.

LoveCom was an interesting one. It’s sweet and simple, managing to take a rather generic shoujo plot and turn it into a fun and engaging romantic comedy that does an incredible job balancing the drama, romance, and humor. It’s touching at times, laugh-out-loud funny at others, and always incredibly realistic aside from a few minor annoyances (sorry, but I could’ve lived without the trap.) It takes it’s time fleshing out the main characters and developing their romance, and the amount of depth given to Risa and Otani in just 24 episodes is just amazing. It definitely took me by surprise.

2.  Revolutionary Girl Utena

Summary: Tomboyish Utena enrolls in Ohtori academy where she finds herself involved in a bizarre game where people have to fight duels to win a girl who they call the “Rose Bride.”

One thing to note about Utena is that it is SLOW and repetitive. You will watch Utena defeat someone in a duel almost every episode, but somehow that same formula never seems to get old. The reason why is because the amount of depth and character development is incredible and unlike any other anime I’ve ever seen. Plus, the repetitive scenes are about the ONLY thing that you’ll see coming- there’s still quite a bit of suspense regarding everything outside of the duels, including some pretty jaw-dropping revelations and twists. And anyone who’s a fan of these surreal mind fuck shows like Evangelion or Paranoia Agent should definitely watch Utena, because there’s a lot of heavy symbolism, psychological analysis, and hidden meaning behind everything.

1. Saiunkoku Monogatari

Summary: Kou Shuurei lives in poverty despite belonging to a powerful family, so when she’s offered a job becoming the Emperor’s consort to turn him from a lazy fool into a responsible ruler, she accepts, although her true desire is to some day become a government official.

Bishies. There are a lot of them. But don’t let that turn you off-these characters are far from shallow, and their looks are merely an added bonus. There is nothing at all shallow about this anime.

Before watching this though, you should be aware that it’s more historical than it is shoujo, but because it has so many shoujo elements I decided to include it anyway (after much debating.) There is a lot of focus on government and politics, so for some that may be a turnoff. I’m usually not much of a fan of politics, but I found it easy to get absorbed into the story, and it also helps that almost every character in the entire enormous cast was likeable and well-developed. Shuurei, the female lead, really surprised me too- she managed to stand her ground, overcome the prejudices of society, and climb her way to the top in a man’s world, proving herself to be an incredibly admirable character that actually has a BRAIN as opposed to most shoujo leads.  Words cannot express how much I adored her and Saiunkoku Monogatari- it’s really the kind of thing where you have to see it to believe it, because the concept sounds so boring and simple that I have to admit I didn’t believe it would be very interesting either.

So what do you think? I’m curious to see everybody’s lists. =D


  1. Logopolis 4 years ago

    Very, very hard to choose between the aforementioned Utena, and Princess Tutu; a show of perfect audio-visual co-ordination, stylised battles, subversion of the art of storytelling itself, and more character development than you can shake a very big stick at. (Some find it takes a while to get going, although I could tell it was doing something very interesting right from the start.) If pushed, I would name Tutu, but there's a hair's breadth in it.

    Other favourites of mine:

    Rose of Versailles: This definitely does need some patience, the first eight episodes are quite different to what it's like once it gets going. But once it does get going, for the virtues of an older, slightly simpler storytelling style, I don't think anything beats it. And seeing the build-up to the event certainly changed the way I think about the French revolution.

    Kodocha: Hyperactive comedy, with a very nice story which bubbles along underneath it all and is sometimes taken seriously for ten seconds or so. Children have problems quite like those of adults. This is one of the shows everyone should try, no matter what their normal preferences.

    KareKano: Loses steam eventually, but the first half is utterly brilliant. Before I saw this, the idea of “high-school romantic comedy” was anathema to me. Within one episode, it was amongst my favourites. I never realised it could be done like this.

    And people probably already know about Card Captor Sakura and Fruits Basket.

    • Elyon 4 years ago

      Princess Tutu and Rose of Versailles have been on my “to watch” list for ages. >.< Thanks for the recommendations. ^^ I'll definitely bump them higher on the list now.

      My recent post Weekly Art – Spring Shows

  2. baka_girl 4 years ago

    I lurve shoujo manga but don't really like shoujo anime, because shoujo anime tends to leave bad impression (especially when I already read the manga).
    I loooove Skip Beat! manga, but I can't really like the anime, especially because of its character design.
    Me also read Full Moon manga but didn't dare to take a peek at the anime, because I'm already satisfied with the manga and some people says that the anime didn't follow the manga plot.
    As for Lovely Complex, I already read the manga and I'm interested to see its anime, but still didn't find any chance to watch it :D
    Haven't watch Revolutionary Girl Utena and Saiunkoku Monogatari so, no opinion for those two :p

    My favorite shoujo anime would be Ouran High School Host Club and Kimi ni Todoke :D
    My recent post Manga that should be adapted into anime

    • Elyon 4 years ago

      I should read more manga >_< I've read some of skip beat and I have to say it does seem like it would be better, but I can't help but still adore the anime.
      Kimi ni Todoke would have probably been number 6 on my list if I had gone further. XD
      My recent post Weekly Art – Spring Shows

    • keiyuto 4 years ago

      yes.at last..i also love to read shoujo manga.but when it come out in aanime..anime will dissapoint me cuz of the story too short or not as i want as in manga,hehe,

  3. trzr23 4 years ago

    I voted for Death Note.

    My recent post The TRazor Discusses Menma of-and AnoHana

  4. Renn 4 years ago

    Nice list! Utena is in my top five anime, and Lovely Complex is on my to-watch list. :D I didn't like Full Moon wo Sagashite though, and I'm not sure if I'll ever get to Skip Beat though I've heard plenty about how awesome it is. xD I can't really get into much shoujo–I think it's wish-fulfillment for girls like harem is for guys. :p

    If I had to make a list, it would A) be really weak and B) would probably include KareKano, Princess Tutu, and Cardcaptor Sakura in addition to Utena. I also love NANA, but I think that's a josei title. And I thought the Fruits Basket anime was crap, but I loved the manga! So many well-executed plot twists, and I ended up loving the characters. xD

    • Elyon 4 years ago

      Yeah, I think NANA is more josei too- yet another one that I've been meaning to watch forever (I did watch the movies though….)
      Ugh, I hated the Fruits Basket anime. I feel like they made Tohru too mary sue-ish >_< But I agree that the manga is awesome. The manga has Kakeru Manabe, so that alone makes it infinitely better XD lol

      My recent post Weekly Art – Spring Shows

  5. qqq 4 years ago

    Full Moon wo Sagashite is definitely one of my favourites. The anime was fun to watch, but it is nothing next to the manga. Everything that bothered me in the anime was handled wonderfully in the manga, and the art is much better as well. I really recommend it.

    I've also watched and loved LoveCom, although I don't consider it a favourite.

    Hmmm… Skip Beat's been in my (long, long) To Watch list for ages and now it's finally moved up in the priority queue :) Kyouko sounds like my kinda character, I'm looking forward to it.

  6. Chiibi 4 years ago

    FULL MOON SHOULD BE NUMBER 1. XP Lovely Complex is good too. The others I'm just kinda “meh” about.

  7. Mint 4 years ago

    I have so many fond memories of Full Moon wo Sagashite… well the ones that didn't devastate my 12-year-old heart, that is :P The manga probably wouldn't be as amazing as I remember it, but it's still an old favorite <3

  8. Vivi 4 years ago

    >it’s more historical than it is shoujo
    Something can be both historical and shoujo! Shoujo isn't exactly a genre, though it definitely comes with its connotations, the same way “Young Adult” isn't really a genre. I think shoujo is just a demographic term for the target audience.

    My favorite shoujo anime of all time is Princess Tutu LOL….. (Wikipedia says it's shonen, and the manga was published in a shonen magazine, but idk haha)

    I am lame………….

  9. anaaga 4 years ago

    except lovely complex, you have everything I hate >.<

    probably because I don't like shoujo in general. with few exceptions xD

  10. Nemo 4 years ago

    Good list :)! I agree with most of the choices up there. As my for myself, I would have to say
    5. Full Moon -This one definitely surprised me, I came in expecting just another idol anime and instead found a heart-touching, tragic story)
    4. Ouran High School Host Club- This one is just plain fun, all the characters, the humour, I love everything about it. A bit heart-touching too.
    3. Dengeki Daisy-I love this one. It separates itself from others due to its interesting plot and mainly the characters are all just so interesting and multi-dimensioned.
    2. Fruits Basket – This one was just plain great. I loved the character interactions, the story, and the comedy. At the moment, I can’t really define what I love so much about Fruits Basket, but its just plainly a great series.
    1. Lovely Complex -I like it for many of the reasons you stated: the realism, the time it took to develop its characters, and just plainly the fact that in the manga it did not end when Risa and Otani got together. Its been my favourite for a long time and I expect it to be it for much longer

  11. Discuss Anime Online 4 years ago

    I haven't heard any of any of these anime's. I think I may give Lovely Complex a go :p … thankyou for the post x
    My recent post Afro Samurai

  12. Sarah 2 years ago

    My top 3
    2. Skip Beat
    3. Kaichou wa Maid-Sama!

  13. Sarah 2 years ago

    My top 3
    2. Skip Beat
    3. Kaichou wa Maid-Sama!

  14. Sarah 2 years ago

    My top 3
    2. Skip Beat
    3. Kaichou wa Maid-Sama!

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