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16 Best Shoujo and Josei Manga: Romance, School Life, and More

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Ayu is a big fan of anime and manga and tries to watch and read as many series as possible.

Discover some top manga recommendations in the shoujo and josei genres, from slice of life series to romances and comedies!

Discover some top manga recommendations in the shoujo and josei genres, from slice of life series to romances and comedies!

Hi everyone! I'm happy to share my list of the best shoujo and josei manga I've read so far. I said shoujo and josei, but there are actually a few shounen titles mixed in here, too; I included them because of all the shoujo feels I felt while reading them. These series will make you go doki-doki! I hope you like them as much as I do!

Countdown: My 16 Favorite Manga in These Genres

  • Shishunki Bitter Change
  • Taiyou no Ie (House of the Sun)
  • Strobe Edge
  • Yankee-kun to Megane-chan
  • Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (The Wallflower)
  • Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
  • Last Game
  • Hirunaka no Ryuusei (Daytime Shooting Star)
  • Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)
  • Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (Wolf Girl and Black Prince)
  • Kimi ni Todoke
  • Sket Dance
  • Horimiya
  • Kimi no Iru Machi (A Town Where You Live)
  • Chihayafuru
  • Akatsuki no Yona

16. Shishunki Bitter Change

Genres: Shoujo, School Life, Gender Bender

Shishunki Bitter Change is one of the cutest things I've read. The story is about Yuuta Kimura and Yui Ootsuka, who accidentally swapped bodies back in elementary school. Three years later, they still haven't figured out how to return to their original bodies, but they've learned a lot about each other.

The story is a bit slow-paced, but the manga does a nice job of narrating how the characters have grown in the past three years. It also shows how they're trying to understand and accept their budding feelings (from whom and for who? I won't tell, haha). Overall, I believe this one is a must-read.

15. Taiyou no Ie (House of the Sun)

Genres: Shoujo, Slice of Life, Romance

Taiyou no Ie is probably one of the sweetest manga I've come across. The title literally translates to "House of the Sun." True to its title, the story is warm, as are the main characters (MCs).

Mao Motomiya (17 years old), the female protagonist of the story, decided to leave her house after her parents separated. Her childhood friend Hiro Nakamira (23 years old), the male protagonist, then asked her to live with him.

Despite their age gap, their relationship isn't that awkward; it feels naturally cute. The chapters are well-written, too, with just the right amount of drama for me. So if you're really into shoujo, don't miss this one!

14. Strobe Edge

Genres: Shoujo, School Life, Romance, Drama

Strobe Edge is a rare gem of a manga. It tells the story of Ninako Kinoshita (the main female protagonist), who falls in love with Ren Ichinose (the main male protagonist) despite the fact that he already has a girlfriend. Ninako realizes her feelings for Ren early on and decides to keep them hidden—but, you know, things just tend to happen (sorry, I won't spoil it!). Anyway, what's interesting is how similar the two of them actually are and how they slowly discover their similarities with the help of the other characters in the story.

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I read Ao Haru Ride (from the same mangaka as Strobe Edge, Sakisaka Io) before reading this one, and I always thought that Ao Haru was really, really good. However, I personally think that Strobe Edge is more unique, and it also made a deeper impact on me.

The scenes in this story are very well-executed, and it's less cliché than your average shoujo manga. The main characters are also very cute, and our female lead is like a walking ball of sunshine! Also, if you want something lighter (Ao Haru Ride was heavy for me; the tone was even too dark sometimes), this would be a better choice than Ao Haru!

13. Yankee-kun to Megane-chan

Genres: Shounen, Comedy, School Life, Romance

Yankee-kun to Megane-chan was one of the first manga I really fell in love with. The plot is about Daichi Shinagawa (the male protagonist), a delinquent high school student who meets a former delinquent, Hana Adachi (the female protagonist). She convinces him to enjoy their high school life to the fullest.

This series is just so beautiful; I got super hooked on it! The characters are all adorable, the humor is great, it's long but doesn't drag (unlike Yamada-kun and the 7 Witches), and the romance is really my kind of love story—except that the ending is such a disappointment. I would have ranked this higher if not for that utterly devastating ending. Oh well, everything else is good enough that I was able to get over the ending (eventually), and I still highly recommend that readers experience this masterpiece.

12. Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge (The Wallflower)

Genres: Shoujo, Comedy, Drama, Slice of Life

I really didn't want to watch this at first because of the art, but thank the heavens that I gave it a try. (Yes, I watched the anime first and only started reading the manga because the episodes weren't enough!)

Yamato Nadeshiko Shichi Henge is about a girl named Sunako Nakahara (the main female protagonist) who starts living with four dazzling and beautiful creatures in the form of Kyohei Takano (the main male protagonist), Takenaga Oda, Yukinojo Toyama, and Ranmaru Morii. Sunako hates anything radiant and beautiful, be it the sun, the stars, or human beings. Thus begins her life of suffering as the four boys aim to transform her into a perfect lady to get free rent from Sunako's aunt, who owns the house in which they all live.

This manga is really one of my all-time favorites because it is simply heartwarming. Honestly, the other characters are just average, but Sunako and Kyohei are so wonderfully written that the series would survive with them alone.

11. Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)

Genre: Shoujo, Romance, Drama, School Life

Ao Haru Ride is a story about the high school reunion of Futaba Yoshioka and Kou Mabuchi, who were once middle school classmates. After meeting again, they discover how much they've both changed; later on, they find out the reason for those changes. The plot covers how they learn to cope with everything that's happened, as well as their present feelings for each other.

I would describe Ao Haru Ride as bittersweet. It's really good, but there's just too much drama for me to handle. That's not to say I didn't like it; it's just that this isn't something I would read over and over again, compared to Strobe Edge.

10. Last Game

Genres: Shoujo, Comedy, Drama, School Life

Last Game is a really sweet story about a poor girl and a rich guy (but not Ouran-level rich). Mikoto Kujou, our female lead who happens to be poor, transfers to Naoto Yanagi's school, and they become classmates. She beats him in every single damn thing and he wants revenge, only to fall for her early in the story.

I won't spoil anything else, but this is really one of the sweetest and most heartwarming manga stories I've read, with a similar feel to Taiyou no Ie. Just prepare yourself for a really dense female MC—but, all in all, I highly recommend this story.

9. Hirunaka no Ryuusei (Daytime Shooting Star)

Genres: Shoujo, Romance, School Life, Drama

Hirunaka no Ryuusei is the student-teacher love story of Suzume Yosano (a high school student) and Satsuki Shishio (her homeroom teacher). It's the usual story of the main female MC transferring from the province to Tokyo, meeting new friends, finding a love interest, and then developing a love triangle later—except that this isn't your usual love story.

This story is really good! It's my ideal shoujo manga: well-drawn with clear art and a heartthrobbing storyline. This is literally everything that is good about shoujo, until—well, no spoilers; you just gotta read it.

8. Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)

Genres: Josei, Fashion, Romance, Comedy, Gender Bender

You have to believe me when I say that this is one of the most beautiful josei manga out there. Really, everything is beautiful about this manga: the characters, the art, the plot, the anime adaptation, the development—you name it, Kuragehime has it.

The story centers on the lives of female otakus sharing an apartment, fearing and despising everything beautiful, until they meet our goddess, Kurako. Kuragehime is about understanding and embracing beauty and opening up to a whole new world. All of the characters are sweet, adorable, fluffy, and innocent, and they teach us a thing or two about beauty, life, friendships, and love.

7. Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji (Wolf Girl and Black Prince)

Genres: Shoujo, School Life, Romance, Comedy