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8 Shojo Manga To Catch Up On Before They End

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A white haired man kissed a brunette girls, a red haired girl looks towards a man with this eyebrows and a big face

Highlights

  • Shojo manga must balance romance, fluff, and angsty moments for an unforgettable reading experience.
  • Recent surge in shounen popularity overshadowing shojo doesn’t stop new gems from shining.
  • Shojo manga like “Loving Yamada at Lv999” offer adorable romance without unnecessary drama.

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A good Shojo manga has to have three traits in order for it to stand out as one of the better ones in a bottomless sea of options: well-written romance, adorable fluff, and occasionally some really heartwrenching angsty moments. A lot of romance and cuteness with no sadness only end up giving readers an overwhelming sugar rush. On the flip side, too much drama and heartbreak with no fluff relief simply makes everyone too drained to continue. It’s the nuanced and delicate balance between these three qualities that transforms a shojo manga into a masterpiece—and authors who manage to achieve it are absolute geniuses.

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Unfortunately, shojo fans have had it kind of rough with the recent surge in shounen popularity, which, to some extent, has overshadowed shojo manga in the mainstream. The previous era of shojo popularity, which saw its pinnacle with iconic titles like Maid Sama!, Kamisama Kiss, and the classic Ouran Highschool Host Club, gradually came to an end. And despite the shift in mainstream preferences, the new era delivers some seriously swoon-worthy gems that are just begging to be explored.

8 Honey Lemon Soda

MyAnimeList Score: 7.67/10

Main characters of Honey Lemon Soda

Author(s)

Murata Mayu

Other Names

N/A

Year

2015

Honey Lemon Soda is a sweet, cozy slow-burn romance that’s perfect for a casual, light-hearted reading session. It’s a high-school romance that’s as tender as it is frustrating. The small moments of misunderstandings between the main couple, in addition to the main female lead’s crippling social anxiety, make up for some pretty funny yet wholesome moments.

It follows the life of Uka Ishimori, a quiet and withdrawn girl, who’s been a target of bullying all her life because of her inability to converse with people properly. Because of that, Uka has never had any real friends and is used to being alone. But she’s determined not to let her dark past follow her into high school and is willing to make a complete social turn. The thing is—she ends up getting more than she bargained for. She doesn’t just make a bunch of friends in her new class; she also falls for the school’s most popular “bad boy.”

7 A Condition Called Love

MyAnimeList Score: 7.78/10

main characters of A Condition CAlled Love

Author(s)

Morino Megumi

Other Names

Hananoi-kun to Koi no Yamai

Year

2017

A Condition Called Love is another slow-burn romance that recently gained traction for its anime adaptation that’s scheduled to air in April of this year. It’s a stereotypical love-at-first-sight romance that uses its conventionality to its advantage. The female protagonist’s reluctance towards love, and the male lead’s stern patience in winning her affection make up for some pretty adorable moments.

Hotaru Hinase is a high schooler who doesn’t believe in love. She’s perfectly okay with being alone romantically and prefers spending time with her friends and family above anything else. However, because the world works in funny ways, Hotaru somehow ends up helping the most handsome boy at her school, and unintentionally makes him fall in love with her.

6 In the Clear Moonlit Dusk

MyAnimeList Score: 8.01/10

main female lead of In the Clear Moonlit Dusk

Author(s)

Yamamori Mika

Other Names

Uruwashi no Yoi no Tsuki

Year

2020

In the Clear Moonlit Dusk is the textbook definition of a manga that does its tropes right. There are so many series out there that feature the “handsome” female lead archetype and fall way off the mark. This one, however, plays its cards correctly and blurs the line between reality and fiction, essentially making its readers swoon their hearts out. It also has really good art, so that’s a major plus.

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The story revolves around Yoi Takiguchi, a cool, almost aloof girl who’s basically worshiped by the female students in her high school. She’s dubbed as the school’s “prince” because of her personality and her looks and gets a lot of unwanted attention from everyone around her. This makes her retreat into her own shell, and come off as mysterious and stoic. Fatefully, she comes across her high school’s other “prince”—a brazen guy known as Kohaku Ichimura—who sweeps her off her feet by simply calling her beautiful.

5 Loving Yamada at Lv999

MyAnimeList Score: 8.16/10

Yamada and female lead from Loving Yamada at Lv999

Author(s)

Mashiro

Other Names

Yamada-kun to Lv999 no Koi wo Suru

Year

2019

Shojo manga are famous for a lot of stuff: their stunning art, their very appropriate emotional depth, and their ability to make single people feel more single with the overwhelmingly adorable romance they portray. However, the one thing shojo manga is NOT famous for is their ability to quickly resolve misunderstandings. They employ prolonged and honestly unnecessary scenarios as a plot device to drive tension to keep their fans fully occupied. In contrast to that, Loving Yamada at Lv999 is that one rare shojo manga that doesn’t play with its readers’ hearts too much, in that regard.

Akane Kinoshita is left heartbroken and vindictive after she’s cheated on and dumped by her long-time boyfriend. To release her pent-up frustration from her situation, she logs on to her favorite RPG game and starts venting out her story to a random guy from her guild. The said random guy ends up being Yamada Akito, a really famous and cute pro gamer.

4 Snow White with the Red Hair

MyAnimeList Score: 8.23/10

Shirayuki from Snow White with the Red Hair

Author(s)

Akizuki Sorata

Other Names

Akagami no Shirayuki-hime

Year

2006

With all the slice-of-life romance entries on this list, it’s only natural to include a more mystery and action-orientated title that hits all the right spots with its storyline and art. Snow White with the Red Hair, just like its name suggests, is a very loose retelling of the classic Snow White tale. It’s one of the older entries that is still going strong with its story and has no plans of stopping any time soon.

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Shirayuki is the genius and hands-on herbalist/ pharmacist of a fictional country known as Tanbarun. She’s highly skilled at her craft and is very ambitious about taking it as far as she can. Unfortunately for her, her red hair gives her a lot of unsolicited attention, leading the prince of her country to essentially force her into becoming his concubine. To escape him, Shirayuki travels to the neighboring country. As if on cue, she meets a guy called Zen who happens to have swallowed a poisonous apple and is in need of medical attention immediately.

3 Gakuen Babysitters

MyAnimeList Score: 8.28/10

Gakuen Babysitters main cast

Author(s)

Tokeino Hari

Other Names

N/A

Year

2009

Gakuen Babyitters is that one rare breed of shojo manga that features little to no romance in its extensive slice-of-life plotline. And sure, while romance may be the most striking feature of shojo, a well crafted non-romance may just be a perfect reprieve from all that lovey doveyness—not that anyone’s complaining about it. The funny thing with this particular title is the fact that, even without any conventional boy-meets-girl trope, it’s still one of the fluffiest, most adorable manga on this list.

The plotline isn’t anything fancy or overly complex; it’s simply about two brothers with a big age difference trying to make it in the world after the unfortunate death of their parents. Ryuuichi Kashima is a middle-schooler who finds himself being thrust into the role of becoming the primary caregiver for his baby brother, Kotaro. After their parents’ passing, the two are taken in by a chairwoman of a prominent school, who offers Ryuuichi admission in exchange for working in the school’s daycare center.

2 A Sign of Affection

MyAnimeList Score: 8.49/10

main characters of A Sign of Affection

Author(s)

Morishita Suu

Other Names

Yubisaki to Renren

Year

2019

A romance manga that goes beyond the realm of casual romantic encounters and actually touches on some really profound themes? Definitely worth the trouble. Unlike typical romances, A Sign of Affection is a series that stands out for its completely unique storyline that does not overuse generic tropes. It’s finally getting the credit it deserves because of the anime adaptation, and has been making rounds around the internet for its gorgeous art and adorable main leads.

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It follows the story of Yuki Itose, a college student who lives a pretty average life save for her hearing impairment. She randomly encounters a strange guy with silver hair on the daily train one day and is utterly fascinated by him. Itsuomi Nagi is the one person in Yuki’s life who does not treat her any differently—in fact, despite already knowing 3 languages, he’s very interested in learning ASL to get close to her.

1 Yona of the Dawn

MyAnimeList Score: 8.82/10

Princess Yona from Yona of the Dawn

Author(s)

Kusanagi Mizuho

Other Names

Akatsuki no Yona

Year

2009

Yona of the Dawn is a manga that may be labeled as a shojo officially, but is definitely way more than that in terms of its highly complex characters, political dramatics, and a very resilient female lead. While romance plays a major role in the series, its primary focus lies on Yona’s—the main character—journey from a pampered princess to a determined leader willing to make sacrifices to safeguard her people and kingdom.

Princess Yona was once the spoiled, coddled princess of the kingdom of Kouka whose only concerns in life revolved around her crush on Su-won and her unruly red hair. Her life was a fleeting film of fun and happy moments with her father, The King, and her childhood friend and guard Hak. However, her tide of events took a sharp turn when a coup d’état resulted in The King’s death and her banishment from the palace. Now, as an exiled princess, Yona vows to reclaim her rightful place on the throne of Kouka and protect her people.

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