Top Ten All-Time Favourite Shoujo Manga

top-ten-all-time-favourite-shoujo-manga

Happy Top Ten Tuesday, you guys! This week’s theme is all about the visuals, so anything to do with graphic novels, comics, etc. Now, along with books and games, manga is actually my other big love, and I’ve wanted to make a list like this since forever. 🙌

I actually read a mix of shounen (boys’) and shoujo (girls’) manga, but decided to narrow it down to just shoujo manga for this list, especially because I think shounen is more popular and people tend to hear about them more (Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, Attack on Titan, etc.).

I’ve also included some keywords so you’ll have a better idea about the manga and whether or not it’s your kind of thing. Even if you’re anti-manga, I hope that you give this list a chance. 💖

1) Last Game – Amano Shinobu

last-game-amano-shinobuHe’s rich, he’s smart, girls gather around him all the time, and he has always gotten first place on his exams… well, until Kujou transferred in his primary school class. She was quiet, plain, and poor, yet not once has she failed at beating Yanagi, both in academics and sports!

Yanagi has made it his life goal to defeat this girl Kujou, and ten years later, as they enter high school, he just might finally win! This is the story of their last game.

STATUS: Completed, 11 volumes.

KEYWORDS: friends-to-lovers, rivals, childhood romance, age progression, college.

WHAT I LIKE: It’s funny, it’s light-hearted, it’s sweet, and all the characters are three-dimensional. Sure, there’s a ‘mean girl’ that makes an appearance a bit later in the series, but even she is given depth. And the romance? 100% squee-worthy. 😘

2) Skip Beat! – Yoshiki Nakamura

skip-beat-yoshiki-nakamuraKyouko Mogami lived solely for her childhood friend Shoutaro “Shou” Fuwa. She follows Shou to Tokyo so that he may realize his dream of becoming a famous singer. When his dream is realized, Kyouko overhears the truth behind his decision to bringing her with him: he was using her as a maid.

Shocked and enraged, Kyouko swears to take revenge by outdoing him in show business. With a new look and a new attitude, she joins LME, the agency where Ren Tsuruga (Shou’s rival and the #1 actor of LME) works, in the hopes of achieving her goal of destroying Shou’s pride.

Along the way, she discovers her true self, makes new friends (and enemies), and finds herself at the heart of some interesting situations that will change her life, and the lives of all others involved, forever.

STATUS: Ongoing, 38 volumes out.

KEYWORDS: show business, acting, revenge, slow romance.

WHAT I LIKE: Kyoko is probably my favourite protagonist ever thanks to her crazy determination, hard work, and absolute focus on herself. The romance is a slow burn and the series, overall, is much more about Kyoko’s career than her love life. The updates are super slow and can be frustrating, but it is so, so worth it. This is probably my favourite manga out of all the ones on this list. 😊

3) Blue Spring Ride – Io Sakisaka

blue-spring-ride-io-sakisakaYoshioka Futaba has a few reasons why she wants to “reset” her image and life as a new high-school student. Because she’s cute and had a demure personality she was ostracized by her female friends in junior high, and because of a series of misunderstandings and mishaps, she couldn’t get her feeling across to the one boy she has always liked, Tanaka Kou.

Now in high school, she is determined to be as unladylike as possible so that her friends won’t be jealous of her. While living her life this way contentedly, she meets Tanaka-kun again, but he now goes under the name of Mabuchi Kou. He tells her that he felt the same way as she did when they were younger, but that they cannot go back. Will Futaba be able to continue her love that never even started from three years ago?

STATUS: Completed, 13 volumes.

KEYWORDS: childhood friends, love triangle, first love, high school.

WHAT I LIKE: I actually enjoyed the beginning volumes a little bit more, but that’s just because nearing the end, I was much more in love with The Guy Who Did Not Win the Love Triangle than The Guy Who Did. Still, the art style is cute, there’s a focus on friendship, and overall it’s a heart-warming, innocent read. 💕

4) Daytime Shooting Star – Mika Yamamori

daytime-shooting-star-mika-yamamori15-year-old country girl, Suzume Yosano, has to move to Tokyo to live with her uncle due to her father’s transfer. She bumps into a mysterious man who ends up taking her to her uncle’s place after she gets lost.

Turns out, Suzume will be seeing him a lot more often once she starts school because… he’s her homeroom teacher!?

STATUS: Completed, 12 volumes.

KEYWORDS: high school, age gap relationship, student-teacher relationship, first love, love triangle.

WHAT I LIKE: The art style is beautiful, and the age-gap relationship is explored very, very well. I have to admit though that I was also rooting for The Guy Who Did Not Win the Love Triangle in this one, so it broke my heart a couple of times. 😅

5) Fruits Basket – Natsuki Takaya

fruits-basket-natsuki-takayaTohru Honda, an orphaned high-school girl, is taken in by the wealthy Shigure Sohma when he realizes she has nowhere else to go. However, the Sohma family shares a secret, and it isn’t long before Tohru discovers that there’s a reason why her classmates, Yuki and Kyo Sohma, never let girls get near them, and never talk about their lives before they lived with Shigure. And before she knows it, Tohru has become so tangled up in the lives of each member of the Sohma family that she couldn’t leave even if she wanted to.

As she learns more and more about the truth of the Sohma family and the nature of their secrets, she desperately searches for a way that she can save them. But what can one girl do, especially when it seems that she may have been part of someone’s plan all along . . .

Fruits Basket received the 2001 Kodansha Manga Award in the shoujo manga category and the “Best Manga” award at the 2007 American Anime Awards.

STATUS: Completed, 23 volumes.

KEYWORDS: curse, animal transformation, family, slow romance, tragedy.

WHAT I LIKE: The art style isn’t 100% my liking and neither is the protagonist, but Fruits Basket is super sad and emotional and just wonderful. It’s also very unique and doesn’t rely on the usual romance tropes, which makes it extra special. ❤️

6) Lovely Complex – Aya Nakahara

lovely-complex-aya-nakaharaRisa Koizumi is the tallest girl in class, and the last thing she wants is the humiliation of standing next to Atsushi Otani, the shortest guy.

Fate and the whole school have other ideas, and the two find themselves cast as the unwilling stars of a bizarre romantic comedy duo.

STATUS: Completed, 17 volumes.

KEYWORDS: enemies-to-lovers, high school, comedy.

WHAT I LIKE: I’ve actually only reread this one twice (believe me, this is a small number because most others I’ve reread certain chapters at least four times), but I like that it’s a bit of a ball-buster with the whole ‘men have to be taller than women’ thing. It’s also funny and light-hearted, so good for a ‘I don’t want to be emotional’ read. 🙏

7) Horimiya – Daisuke Hagiwara, HERO

horimiya-hero-daisuke-hagiwaraHori is your average teenage girl… who has a side she wants no one else to ever find out about. Then there’s her classmate Miyamura, your average glasses-wearing boy in school and a totally different person out.

When the two meet unexpectedly, they discover each others’ secrets and develop an unexpected friendship.

STATUS: Ongoing, 10 volumes out.

KEYWORDS: friends-to-lovers, outcast, high school, couple growth.

WHAT I LIKE: It’s actually not 100% right to call this manga a shoujo manga as it is (I think?) listed as shounen, but since it’s essentially a love story between two characters, I’m including it here. Horimiya is funny, light-hearted and occasionally sad, and the development of the two leads — both their character and their relationships — is worth the read. 😉

8) High School Debut – Kazune Kawahara

high-school-debut-kawahara-kazuneWhen Haruna Nagashima was in junior high her life consisted of playing softball and reading comics. But now that she’s going to high school, Haruna decides to put all of her energy towards getting a boyfriend and having the high school romance of a lifetime.

To help in her quest, she enlists cute upperclassman Yoh Komiyama to coach her as she eschews her tomboy tendencies and turns herself into the kind of girl who can catch a guy. Yoh agrees, with one catch: Haruna had better not fall for him!

STATUS: Completed, 13 volumes.

KEYWORDS: high school, comedy, couple growth.

WHAT I LIKE: The two leads get together relatively early in the series, and we get to see how they solve problems and arguments in their relationship, something of a rarity in both novels and manga! It’s also ridiculously funny and has managed to make me laugh out loud quite a few times. 😂

9) Kamisama Kiss – Julietta Suzuki

kamisama-kiss-julietta-suzukiMomozono Nanami’s dad, a man with a penchant for gambling, disappeared after accumulating a huge amount of debt. Thus, she was chased out of her house by the debt collectors.

When she met a timid guy being chased by a dog, he told her that he’d give her his house. She believed his persuasive talk, but when she went to his house… it turned out to be a shrine. Moreover, a guy with fox ears appeared, which made Nanami even more confused. What will become of homeless and confused Nanami?

STATUS: Completed, 25 volumes.

KEYWORDS: master-servant relationship, slow romance, fox spirit.

WHAT I LIKE: This manga is not the only manga where the lead girl is abandoned and now must live with shrine guardians/temple spirits/mythical gods, but it’s one of the only ones I know of that really took its time to develop the characters and their relationships. The art style is a bit jarring and somewhat inconsistent at first, but the story gave me quite a few ~feels~. ✨

10) Orange – Ichigo Takano

orange-ichigo-takanoIn the Spring she was 16, Takamiya Naho receives a strange, but detailed letter from herself, ten years in the future. At first she thinks the letter is a prank, but then the things written in the letter actually happen, including the new transfer student that sits next to her in class, Naruse Kakeru. The letter reads just like her diary entries, down to the same characters.

It is not till two weeks later, when Kakeru shows back up at school, that Naho finishes the letter. In the letter, her 27-year-old self tells her 16-year-old self that her biggest regret is that Kakeru is no longer with them in the future, and asks her to watch him closely.

STATUS: Completed, 5 volumes.

KEYWORDS: tragedy, high school, time travel, suicide.

WHAT I LIKE: Orange packs an emotional punch, and it’s not afraid to tug on your heartstrings. The premise is intriguing too and while mental health is never explicitly mentioned, the story does explore it a little bit.

What’s on your TTT this week? Leave me a link or let me know in the comments! 💗

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79 thoughts on “Top Ten All-Time Favourite Shoujo Manga

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve read any manga and you just made me want to binge read some. The only one I’ve read on your list is Fruits Basket and I absolutely adore that series. It probably one that I’ve reread so many times. I will definitely have to go through and look up the ones you’ve included in your post because I’m curious about them. Especially Last Game, it sounds like one I would love. Did you ever read Ultra Maniac or Kodocha? They’re two of my favorites as far as shoujo goes and Kodocha, in particular, is so cute. It has that whole hate to love trope. Anyway! Great picks for this week and thanks for the recommendations, Reg!! 😁💕

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    • Haha, I’m so glad! Making this list made me feel like binging all the manga too – I kind of miss those days when reading it is all I do. I hope you give some of these titles a chance.

      And yes! I actually really enjoyed Ultra Maniac – I thought it was short, sweet and simple and I really love the characters, and that mangaka’s art style is very consistent from panel to panel. Kodocha I think I’ve only read once so I don’t remember much about it, but I think I enjoyed it too. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I miss those days too! I would literally spend hours scouring the web in search of new manga to read. I can’t even remember half of the ones I read now though, which makes me a little sad. I’ll definitely be checking some of these out. 😊
        Awww yay! I’m glad you enjoyed Ultra Maniac too. It really was a sweet and simple manga. I might need to reread it sometime soon.

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  2. You summed up my relationship with Skip Beat perfectly: I NEED MORE IMMEDIATELY. Some of the short arcs fall a little flat for me, and I do get aggravated by Kyouko’s unwavering belief in fairies, but the story is just wonderful. Have you read Tokyo Crazy Paradise by the same mangaka? I’d actually read that before Skip Beat, and I reread it at least once a year (despite its often cringe-worthy art).

    And three cheers for Daytime Shooting Star! I’m in the same boat as you; I wanted The Guy Who Didn’t Win to win, and felt really let down by the ending. But I reread it recently (while waiting for Tsubaki-Chou Lonely Planet to be updated), and decided I really loved the ending after all. I’m glad I gave it a second shot, and I’ll definitely be buying it when (please god when) it’s given an official English release. (That said, if TCLP doesn’t end the way I want it to end, I will die.)

    And Kamisama Kiss, oh man, I’m obsessed—even though I haven’t finished it yet (I’m maybe three chapters behind, whoops). I’ll admit I haven’t enjoyed the second half as much as I did the first half (the time-travel storyline is THE BEST, holy crap I just can’t even; I want it as a novel, and I want it immediately), but I’m hopeful that it’ll have a strong ending.

    I’ve read a few of the others you listed, and added the others to my (already too long) manga-TBR. Thanks for the recommendations!

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    • I agree with you re: Skip Beat – some of the shorter arcs felt a bit unnecessary to me, but I really, REALLY love whenever there’s clear character development. The latest arc has Kyoko being really, really cool and I love her audition scenes so much. I’ve tried reading Tokyo Crazy Paradise but admittedly the art style is such a turn-off, I couldn’t get through it. I’m sure one day I will, though.

      Daytime Shooting Star made me feel so, so sad. I haven’t ever reread it from the start – only some of my favourite scenes – but it’s one of those things where I can 100% see why the decisions that she made were the right decisions for her and the situation, even though it wasn’t the ending that I would’ve wanted. (But like you I will also DIE if TCLP doesn’t end the way I want to. It just gives me such ~feels~ 😭)

      Kamisama Kiss I need to reread from the start. I love the relationship between the protagonists but must admit that I don’t “get” the later arcs as well as I did the earlier ones… but yes, I also have hope.

      Anyway, YOU’RE KILLING ME, LIAM. I’m so glad you enjoy manga as well. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, this latest arc is fantastic. I hope she doesn’t regress much afterward. And god damn I’m ready for some solid advancement in the romance already. I greatly appreciate that Ren’s not pushing anything—that the manga is waiting on Kyoko to mature (and heal) enough to be ready for a real relationship—but I hope she’s ready relatively soon. I need their relationship, and I need it hard.

        Honestly, every time I start rereading Tokyo Crazy Paradise, I recoil from the artwork. It takes me a while to sink back into the story because of it. But it’s the type of story I’m a sucker for, so I think it’s worth cringing through the artwork for. (Though I’d kill for a novelization, or at least a novel loosely based on it.)

        Aw, yay, I’m so glad to know someone else who’s all over TCLP! If things go horribly, I know who to come cry with.

        Kamisama Kiss does feel kind of rushed in the second half; even the art was less detailed leading up to the conclusion. Oh, well. Here’s hoping you enjoy rereading it!

        Manga is the best. ❤

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        • I hope so! Kyoko’s actually been moving forward but she’s sooooo freakin’ slow, haha. At least now she can admit that she feels love… all that’s left is for the two of them to get together (really wishful thinking here). But speaking of Ren, I can’t believe he’s only 4 years older than Kyoko. He’s just drawn so… maturely, if that makes sense. 😛

          I think I’ll give Tokyo Crazy Paradise another chance, now that you’ve spoken so highly of it. The mangaka’s really great with female characters and that’s always awesome to see.

          AND YES PLEASE. I think I will cry as well if TCLP didn’t go the way I wish it will… there’s just something about the art style/storyline/atmosphere of the story that makes me fall into it HARD. ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Honestly, I forgot that Ren was only four years older; I keep thinking he’s at least six years older. Well, four is less creepy, so that’s good!

            Keep me posted on your next TCP attempt! I hope it goes well. (I find that, when the artwork gets too hilariously weird to ignore, sending friends snarky Snapchats about it helps.)

            I second that, for sure.

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  3. OOOhhh! I’ve wanted to venture into manga for so long. I always end up looking up for suggestions through Goodreads and not finding anything. Now I have this whole list! Thank you ❤ I remember watching the anime series for Kamisama Kiss but I never finished it. Now that you reminded me, I swear I have the sudden urge to go finish that series lol 😂

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  4. Great list! Fruit’s Basket and Kamisama Kiss are two of my favorite manga. there are others on your list that i have thought of checking out and am more likely to now.

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  5. I saw Blue Spring Ride and Kamisama Kiss and just HAD to check this list out. Those two are definitely in my top ten all time-favorite shoujo mangas/anime. Granted, I haven’t read any of the manga versions (only watched the anime), but I absolutely love how their relationships were built over time. I’ve heard of some of the other ones (Orange and Lovely Complex) and I’ve watched Fruits Basket (loved it!) but I’ll have to check out the other ones. They sound really cute! Some of my other favorites are My Little Monster and Snow White With the Red Hair! 😀 And I’m not sure if this one counts, but also Princess Jellyfish! I’ll try to watch/read the other ones on your list. I’m always looking for new shoujos 😀

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    • Ahhh YES FOR SIMILAR TASTES! I love both so much, although I’m still really sad about the end couple in Blue Spring Ride, haha. But yes… these two titles are really good about building the romance and the connection over time, aren’t they? 😛

      Also YES FOR PRINCESS JELLYFISH! That manga is so underrated and I love that the characters are the farthest from being cliched as can be. I don’t think I’ve read My Little Monster, but I also enjoy Snow White with the Red Hair. 🙂

      Oooh, do let me know if you find new favourites! I’m also always looking for new shoujo.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s only one season of Blue Spring Ride and no couples were formed by the end of it, so I’m not sure who the end couple is. Spoil me. Wait…don’t. I’ll read it instead lol.
        YAAAAS. Princess Jellyfish is seriously one of my favorite animes (gotta read the manga), but not many ppl seem to know about it! Its got such great themes and characters. And I highly recommend My Little Monster. It kind of reminds me of Blue Spring Ride!
        And I sure will! ;D

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  6. I think the only series I ever finished was Marmalade Boy (so charming). I never even made it through the Sailormoon books, although I’d still consider them incredible!

    I never read Fruits Basket, but I did watch the anime, which was kind of perfect. Also, I kind of want to start reading Orange even though I haven’t picked up a manga in well over a decade.

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  7. I loved reading all those but I still have other favorites.Read my blog too please and give it a like, although our opinions are a bit different but I think we r fellow Shoujo fans. Thanks a lot

    Like

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