But while shoujo manga may not be the most diverse genre of manga, that doesn’t mean they aren’t great stories.
Here are 10 that stand out from the crowd.
Best of "Manga" list
Despite taking a meandering path to its conclusion in recent years, Skip Beat! is one of the most widely enjoyable shoujo manga in history – no matter who you are. Skip Beat! follows the story of Kyoko Mogami and her quest for revenge. Yes, revenge.
Kyoko is absolutely devoted to her childhood friend and boyfriend, Sho Fuwa, who moved to Tokyo to make it in show business. She left her life behind and moved into his apartment at age 15 to make his dinners, clean up, and do whatever else Sho may need.
But a thoughtful attempt to bring him dinner at his workplace one day has her accidentally eavesdrop on Sho, telling a woman he’s flirting with that Kyoko is little more than his maid, and that he’s using her because she’s too stupid to know there’s nothing going on between them.
Kyoko flies into a white-hot rage, swearing revenge on the man who betrayed her. And how is she going to get that revenge? By beating him at his own game: Showbusiness.
Dengeki Daisy opens on a rather dark note. Teru Kurebayashi’s older brother has just died, and she has no family.
The story follows the relationship between Teru and the person her brother said would take care of her: a phone contact listed only as “DAISY.”
Teru never meets Daisy in person, but she gets advice, assistance, and encouragement from the other end of the phone whenever she needs it.
Of course, she eventually meets someone who maybe fits the description, but she doesn’t get along with him at all. So who is Daisy?
Ao Haru Ride
Futaba Yoshioka is just too cute.
She’s the kind of cute that gets her bullied by less-cute girls who wish they were as cute as her. Because teenagers are jerks, am I right?
Problem is, Futaba wants to make friends, and doesn’t really care about being cute. So she gives herself a makeover before starting high school to be as unladylike as possible.
But now Futaba has run back into the boy she liked in middle school… and he’s also different. He’s cold and distant, and says he liked Futaba in middle school, but he’s over it now. So… where does that leave them now?
Boy meets girl. Girls meets boy. Boy and girl want each other to help set them up with other boy and girl.
Are you still with me? Okay, let’s back up. Lovely Complex is about Risa Koizumi, a girl who’s sensitive about being too tall; and Atsushi Otani, a boy who’s sensitive about being too short. They try to set each other up with their respective crushes, and become good friends in the process.
But over time, that friendship becomes something different, and they’re not exactly sure what to do with it. So Lovely Complex is ultimately about two kids trying to pull each other out of the friendzone.
Say “I Love You”
The men in shoujo manga are always pretty hot. But sometimes they can be a bit pushy and belligerent, as well.
That’s where we are in Say “I Love You“, as the antisocial Mei Tachibana has an run-in with Yamato Kurosawa in which she accidentally injures him. Not only is the popular Yamato not angry, he insists they’re friends.
This leads to a situation in which Yamato protects Mei from a stalker (albeit while acting a bit like one himself), by insisting he’s her boyfriend and stealing a kiss from her.
Mei is taken off guard… but doesn’t exactly hate it… or like it. She’s a bit confused, and the manga is about seeing their awkward relationship unfold from there, and Mei slowly come out of the shell that’s surrounded her for 16 years.