[Top 15] Best Shoujo Anime With Good Romance (Ranked)

A compilation of Shoujos

15. Ponyo

We’re starting simple with some Ghibli. Made as a retelling of the Little Mermaid, Ponyo is the story of a young goldfish, the daughter of a wizard and an ocean goddess. When she tries to go to the surface, she becomes the momentary pet of a little boy named Sosuke. She has to return to the ocean but is determined to return to her friend. Except, this time, she’s a human.

    This “romance” isn’t so much about…well…romance. This is about a different kind of love - between two innocent kids exploring the world and growing up. It’s a perfect little watch for you, your kids (consider it an option for their first Ghibli movie!), or even a cute little date night. Then you can go into the tear-jerkers that Ghibli’s made!

Baby mermaid? Goldfish mermaid? Magic girl?


14. Violet Evergarden

Violet Evergarden is the story of a young woman who was trained to be a creature of war. She didn’t experience everyday life until after the war the country had her fight. The story follows her attempts to understand love and life. The catalyst to this was Major Gilbert - the man she was supposed to serve as a soldier but ended up pushing her to learn about life outside of war.

    This anime is, indeed, a shoujo and is, indeed, technically a romance. I put it and Ponyo together because they’re a love of a different sort. The show does cover the love Violet shares with Gilbert but also goes into different kinds of love, like a love of life. Not exactly your typical romance.

She's so sweet and doing her best - I love her.


13. Special A

Special A is the story of 2 kids, Hikari and Kei. They knew each other as kids, and Hikari considered Kei her rival in high school. The story follows Hikari trying to beat Kei in everything at their elite school, Hakusenkan. Though Hikari tries to beat Kei in everything, she doesn’t know that Kei is actually in love with her.

    So this is an early 2010s style of anime that I feel most early anime fans recognize - a girl tries to be better than a guy but doesn’t know he’s actually in love with her. Those who have seen Kaichou wa Maid-sama (another anime I will discuss later) are familiar with this trope. I don’t dislike this anime, but if I choose between this or Maid-sama, I prefer maid-sama. I will also never fail to mention that I am old friends with the woman who translated the manga's English translation, so it still holds a special (more like special a) place in my heart.

Just a simple poster.


12. Sailor Moon

This is the story of a young Japanese schoolgirl, Usagi Tsukino, who turns out to be the moon princess, Serenity. With the help of her cat companion, Luna, she helps to reawaken the rest of the reincarnated sailors, from Sailor Mercury to Sailor Neptune. Along the way, she also has to figure out the feelings of high schooler Mamoru (aka Tuxedo Mask).

    So I didn’t grow up as a Sailor Moon fan. I was a Pokemon kid. But when I got older, I decided to get into Sailor Moon, and I’ve been hooked ever since. I still have my qualms, especially the LGBTQ+ erasure in the US show and the weird direction they took Chibiusa being jealous of her parents’ romance (?), but my love for it still stands. It is truly an icon in the world of shoujo anime.

The ultimate girlbosses


11. Kaichou Wa Maid-Sama

Misaki, class president at Seika high, is on a mission! That mission? To clean up the reckless male student population of Seika high and protect the girls of the recently co-ed school. So what’s the problem? With Misaki’s tough-as-nails attitude, she’s constantly wary that someone from her school will find out she works part-time at a maid cafe. When popular boy Usui finds out her secret, Misaki is forced to start letting him into her life. But as this continues, she finds she’s beginning to fall for him.

    I LOVED this show in high school! This was one of those animes that I think I rewatched at least once a semester. It’s a great show where I love Misaki and Usui. Like I said with Special A, it does follow a specific trope that was more common around the 2010s, but that doesn’t stop it from being a beloved show!

Poster for another pair of my favorite cuties.


10. Fruits Basket

Tohru Honda is a young orphaned high schooler taken in by the mysterious Sohma family. She discovers the family’s underlying secret that when someone of the opposite gender hugs them, they transform into different animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Tohru has to keep her new friends’ secrets while also fighting her feelings between Yuki and Kyo.

    This was the first “real” anime I watched at 12. I love this show so much. It’s so silly and sweet. Though I think Tohru’s personality was more reflective of early 2000s female characters in some shoujo, I still adore the show and Tohru. I want to wrap this poor girl up and protect her! There is now a remake that came out about four years ago which follows more closely to the manga, but I still adore both!

Tohru and the Hondas. Hey, that'd be a good band name!


9. Nana

Nana is the story of 2 young women with the same name - Nana O. and Nana K. Nana O. is the member of a punk band and becomes close friends with Nana K. as the two find out they live in the same apartment building and begin to deal with their relationships within Nana O.’s band and their friendship.

    Though this isn’t a lesbian anime, I have vivid memories of young anime lovers realizing their sexualities because of this anime because of the romantic chemistry between the two Nana’s. Also, don’t ask me why their limbs are so long. This was just kind of a thing in the early 2000s. I don’t know why?

    Be aware: the show does deal with challenging themes like death and drug abuse, so if you are not up for subjects like that, I’d look into one of the more light-hearted options on this list.

A very aesthetic Nana poster


8. Your Lie In April

Your Lie In April is the story of Kosei, a prodigy piano player who hasn’t touched the instrument since the death of his mother sent him into a spiral. That is, until he meets the eccentric violinist, Kaori, through his friends Tsubaki and Ryota. Her free and wild playing helps him take up the piano again and learn to love it and be himself. Sadly, though, Kaori’s health gets in the way of their love, possibly limiting their time together.

    Your Lie In April has the reputation of making even some hardened anime fans become blubbering messes. It’s a story of love with many barriers and reclaiming a passion for life. But what do you do when life takes that love away from you? Just know that if you watch this anime, you will never be able to hear that opening theme song the same way ever again.

Don't let this gorgeous poster fool you - this show will tug at those heart strings.


7. Ouran High School Host Club

Haruhi Fujioka is a scholarship student at the prestigious Ouran High School Academy. She keeps to herself, and while trying to find a place to study quietly, she stumbles across the Host Club, a group of six of the most handsome students in their grades that work to entertain and flirt with the young girls of the school. When Haruhi is accidentally sucked into joining the club, the boys do what they can to try and hide her actual gender while they all deal with their feelings for each other.

    This is one of those animes that will remain among my top comfort animes. I will not deny that there are many issues with the anime (it came from the early 2010s and it SHOWS), but I still love it! I love Haruhi and Tamaki, Hikaru is a character I felt a sort of kinship with, and I still know all the words to that theme song! Plus, J. Michael Tatum’s beautiful voice. Enough said.

Another poster for what is probably my favorite Shoujo


6. Kamisama Kiss

High schooler Nanami is recently homeless because of her father’s gambling problem. While sleeping on a bench, she saves a mystery man who a dog is chasing. When he offers her a place to live, she gladly accepts but finds out that place is an old shrine and the mystery man was a god that passed on his godhood to her. Now forced to get the shrine back on track, Nanami is also trying to get used to other yokai coming into her life, like the shrine familiar, Tomoe. Despite the taboo of it all, Nanami and Tomoe find themselves falling in love with each other, despite themselves.

    My best friend introduced me to this anime, and I instantly fell in love with it. I’ve always loved the “girl gets involved in the yokai world” sort of trope, especially considering Inuyasha is one of my favorite shows. I also love the character designs and their stories and, of course, J. Michael Tatum’s beautiful silky-smooth voice.

Look at that sly fox back there, making me fall in love with him.


5. Toradora

Ryuji is a sweet guy with a stone-cold look. Taiga is a sweet-looking girl with the attitude of a tiger. The two seem like they couldn’t be more opposite. But, when they find out their houses are next to each other and that they are best friends with each other’s crushes (Ryuji is friends with Yusaku, who Taiga likes, and Taiga is best friends with Minori who’s Ryuji’s crush), the two decide to work together to set each other up. But despite this, these two unlikely lovers must come to terms with their feelings for each other.

    I still remember my first time watching this show and how much it made me sob. It’s such a cute and sweet show. I love Ryuji’s sweet personality and Taiga’s sassy self becoming kinder and more defensive of Ryuji. I still LOVE IIIIIIT!!!

More poster dorks!


4. Wotakoi: Love is Difficult for Otaku

Narumi and Hirotaka are childhood friends who are now grown up and work at an office together. Narumi blames her love of BL and idols on the issues in her love life. Hirotaka finds out about this love, and she begs him to keep her secret. In return, she’ll keep his gaming love secret. The two seem perfect for each other, but as the title says, love is difficult for an Otaku.

    I LOVE this anime! It’s so cute and sweet! I love that these characters are adults and not high schoolers. It just feels more enjoyable for me as an adult who still loves anime. Also, the opening is an infamous bop in the anime community.

I can't exactly point out why, but I love this poster so much! It's so cute!




3. Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie Hatter is a plain young woman who lives in the hat shop owned by her family. After a strange circumstance introduces her to the notorious wizard, Howl Pendragon, she’s cursed by his ex, the witch of the waste, as an older woman. Sophie then makes the journey to Howl’s home to break the spell. Along the way, Sophie finds a love for life, a strength in herself, and a love for Howl. His own love for Sophie also begins to teach him about the world and what it means to sacrifice for others.

    I know everyone, and their mothers are familiar with this movie if you watch Ghibli movies. It’s the basic intro movie to the studio. This isn’t an insult; it’s just what this movie has become. I have yet to meet a Ghibli fan whose knees don’t buckle when they hear “That’s my girl.” Their romance has had me by the throat since I was 13. The movie is also based on a book, though I’d say the only fundamental similarities are the titles and a few character names. I might need to reread the book, though.

This scene lives in my head rent free.


2. My Love Story

High schooler Takeo has a hard time in love. He’s a tough, scary-looking guy who’s a big softy who wants to make someone happy. Sadly, any girl he is interested in would much rather go for his best friend, Makoto. That is until he meets Rinko, a small, gorgeous girl who falls in love with Takeo. At first, Takeo thinks she prefers Makoto, but after realizing the truth, the two begin a happy, loving relationship.

    This is one of my favorites of the Shoujos I’ve watched recently. Few tropes make me happier than a tall, scary-looking guy that’s secretly a big sweetheart dating a small girl who’s also super sweet. I think their relationship is definitely on the healthier side of many shoujos I’ve seen, and their romance starts early enough that it feels much more satisfying. It builds the desire for them to get together. Still, seeing them develop as an actual couple is even more enjoyable because I often see shoujos that leave it to like the last two episodes for them to get together finally. We love healthy relationship dynamics in anime.

He wants her to like him so badly, my sweet boy!


1. Revolutionary Girl Utena

Utena is an orphan given a mysterious rose ring by a prince. In her search for him, she comes to Ohtori Academy, where she enrolls to become a prince herself. She is sucked into a series of duels with the academy’s student council, who all wear matching rings and are fighting for the honor of marrying a girl named Anthy Himemiya, the “Rose Bride.” Utena eventually becomes Anthy’s fiance and continues to fight to protect her future wife. Along the way, Utena begins to unravel a mystery lying beneath the school and work through her feelings for Anthy.

    Utena, to this day, is still considered one of the ultimate lesbian animes. This came out in 1996 and was explicit in its LGBTQ+ representation, which can be rare to this day. Like Can you find a better lesbian anime in 1996? What? Nonetheless, Utena is still the ultimate anime in the shoujo community and is absolutely beloved. If you can - WATCH IT! WATCH IT, WATCH IT, WATCH IT!

Let's go, lesbians, let's go!

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Recently graduated from the Bard's College, Abbie has a passion for histories and fiction. They have a natural defense to water attacks, and gets stat boosts from diet Dr. Pepper and peppermints
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