side smile in Sailor Moon
Image via Toei Animation

8 Shoujo Anime You Won’t Help But Fall in Love With

Shoujo anime has some of the best comfort titles you'll find in anime as a whole.

When it comes to shoujo anime, there are a ridiculous amount of great titles to watch. Shoujo anime is any anime that’s geared toward teenage girls and young women, so it spans a variety of genres (although many of them include romance even if they’re not strictly romance anime). However, for most shoujo lovers, there are several that stand out among them all. Here are the best shoujo anime of all time in no particular order.

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Fruits Basket

Promotional art for Fruits Basket
Image via TV Tokyo

No best Shoujo anime list would be complete without Fruits Basket. The anime was originally released in 2001 but never made it past a single season and included a few issues that would’ve made it hard to adapt after the manga was completed. However, in 2019, the series was redone and complete, topping the charts in the years the three seasons were released.

The anime follows Tohru Honda as she gets involved with the Soma family, a family that’s been cursed by the Chinese zodiac where they turn into the various zodiac animals. There’s not much to hate about the show with its extensive cast of characters that all feel fleshed out and unique. Plus, the main character is incredibly endearing and has one of the best personalities in all of anime.

Sugar Apple Fairy Tale

Challe and Anne in Sugar Apple Fairy Tale
Image via J.C.Staff

2023 saw the release of the Sugar Apple Fairy Tale anime, a long-awaited manga adaptation that brought new life to Shoujo anime. The show follows Anne Halford, a young girl who’s recently lost her mother and is working to become a Silver Sugar Master, a title reserved for the best sugar artisans.

In the show, fairies are creatures that are enslaved by humans, and the two races generally abhor one another. Anne’s heart of gold doesn’t let that stop her from trying to advocate for fairies, including one she enslaves/employs, Challe. The two go on a journey to help Anne become a Silver Sugar Master and follow her mom’s aspirations.

Say I Love You

Promo art for Say I Love You
Image via Zexcs

For anyone looking for the best “awkward girl and popular boy” fall-in-love anime, then Say I Love You is the top choice. The 2012 anime follows the story of Mei Tachibana and Yamato Kurosawa as they become closer. The relationship between the two thrusts Mei into society and allows her to explore friendships in general.

The overall concept of Say I Love You isn’t all that unique anymore, but the anime perfects the trope. Mei’s character development isn’t because of Yamato, giving her more strength and independence compared to other Shoujo anime. Seeing Mei make friends and navigate her relationship with Yamato is endearing, painful, and nostalgic all at once.

Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon and friends
Image via Toei Animation

Sailor Moon is a classic, and while it definitely fits into multiple anime genres, it’s one of the biggest Shoujo anime and manga to ever release. The show follows a group of young girls who are given powers and the ability to transform in order to save the world. The show was first released in 1992, and it’s had multiple movies and a sequel show that’s been released since.

The show’s incredibly progressive, and while localization and censorship teams removed a lot of the controversial topics in the 90s, it’s not hard to see where the show was going. Plus, the sub exists for viewers to see an adaptation closer to the manga.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Shirayuki and Zen in Snow White with the Red Hair
Image via Viz Media

Sometimes cozying up and watching a light-hearted romance Shoujo anime is the best way to spend time, and Snow White with the Red Hair is one of the best options for this. The anime follows Shirayuki, a commoner who ends up under the protection of Prince Zen. While the first few episodes make it seem like the anime’s dramatic, it’s much more relaxed afterward.

Most of the anime follows Shirayuki’s experiences while rebuilding her life in a foreign kingdom. The show may not have heart-pounding drama or romance, but its gentle nature sets it apart from the majority of Shoujo anime. Plus, the group of friends Shirayuki makes is lovable and heart-warming.

Maid Sama!

promo art for Maid Sama
Image via J.C.Staff

One of the best parts about Shoujo anime is that it can really highlight strong female characters. Maid Sama! takes advantage of that and shows off just how strong women can be with Misaki Ayuzawa. Her life seems to constantly revolve around some kind of gender commentary, whether that’s at the mad cafe she works at or the high school she goes to that was previously an all-boys school.

While she’s pretty overzealous at the beginning, all but shouting how much she hates men, she explores her own ideals and strengths through the anime. Of course, the love interest Takumi Usui follows her around and the two eventually grow close while Misaki realizes that embracing her own strengths doesn’t always mean putting down those around her.

Yona of the Dawn

Yona of the Dawn promotional art
Image via Studio Pierrot

Similar to Maid Sama!, Yona of the Dawn is a top-tier Shoujo anime because of the strength of the heroine. However, this anime is set in a fantasy land where Princess Yona is on the run after a coup. Her bodyguard, Hak, travels with her as she sets out and learns about the Dragon Gods. Together, they meet and travel with Dragon Warriors while trying to take her country back.

In the beginning, Yona is an incredibly easy character to hate. She’s spoiled, obnoxious, and cares about nothing but romance. However, after being run out of her kingdom by a man she thought she loved, she grows into someone who can lead the strongest in the land to take back her kingdom. Her character growth is unrivaled in other Shoujo anime.

My Little Monster

Cover art for My Little Monster
Image via Kodansha USA

My Little Monster follows the story of Shizuku Mizutani and Haru Yoshida, two high schoolers who live very different lives. Shizuku studies endlessly doesn’t have too many friends, and generally sticks to herself. Haru’s not exactly popular himself, but he’s wild and cares nothing for classes or schoolwork. Haru’s reputation makes him seem rough and terrifying, but he immediately has a soft spot for Shizuku.

The show contains a lot of tropes, but it doesn’t feel like it capitalizes on them. Shizuku and Haru both grow through the show, and it stands out because of the organic feel that growth has.

What’s your favorite Shoujo anime? Feel free to leave your best recommendations in the comments below.

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Brittany Alva
Brittany was a freelance writer for Twinfinite covering all things Genshin Impact, Disney and video games news from February 2023 to April 2023. She's a self-proclaimed video game newsie that's obsessed with deck-building and monster-taming games.