As all of you already know, the word “shoujo” means “girl” in Japanese, so it goes without saying that this is a genre aimed to young ladies, but mostly enjoyable by adult women, as well. Usually, shoujo shows feature young girls struggling with teenage troubles, but since shoujo can have a lot of sub-genres, the themes can vary a lot. In fact, shoujo anime can feature Sailor Guardians struggling to save the Earth from fearsome enemies or girls surrounded by handsome boys craving for her attention.
However, while the female leads in shoujo anime initially were depicted as shy girls craving for a boy's attention, cute and with a small stature, as this genre gained popularity, shoujo heroines evolved and became strong girls able to stand up for themselves. The purpose of this ranking is to mention 10 of the most amazing female leads in shoujo anime. Fans of the genre, stick with us until the end to discover our picks!
10. Nanako Yukishiro from Senryuu Shoujo (Senryuu Girl)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Apr 2019 – ongoing
Senryuu Shoujo revolves around Nanako Yukishiro, a peculiar high school girl. Her peculiarity lies in the fact that she doesn't like verbal communication, instead she writes senryu: poems, thanks to which, she can express her thoughts. Nanako has a crush on Eiji Busujima, and the two of them are part of the school's Literature Club. Even while talking through senryu, Nanako and Eiji enjoy their high school life together, surrounded by amazing friends!
We really couldn't leave out of this ranking a cute, and non-conventional personality such as Nanako Yukishiro. She is kind, caring, and cheerful, and her peculiarity is that she is so outgoing that through poems she manages to express her feelings toward Eiji naturally, leaving him feeling embarrassed. If you wish to meet a sweet female lead such as Nanako, you just need to catch Senryuu Shoujo up!
9. Kae Serinuma from Watashi ga Motete Dousunda (Kiss Him, Not Me!)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Oct 2016 – Dec 2016
When Kae Serinuma was a chubby high school girl, no one ever looked at her intently, and she just followed her biggest passion: Boys Love! She spent time shipping her cool classmates, watching her favorite anime, reading BL comics, and daydreaming boy-on-boy actions between two hotties. When due to some circumstances she lost weight, and became a popular teenager, drawing unwanted attention by the same cool classmates she used to ship in the past, her mind stays filled with BL stuff!
We needed Kae Serinuma in this list, because she is the funniest, and most carefree out of the ten female leads in this ranking! In fact, she is constantly surrounded by hot boys who only have eyes for her, but she just doesn't care because, as a fujoshi to the core, she'd rather wish for some live boy-on-boy action. Kae Serinuma is kind, friendly, and able to drag all her friends into her passion, even when it's Boys Love. We really love a shoujo heroine like her!
8. Mei Tachibana from Sukitte Ii na yo. (Say “I Love You”.)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Oct 2012 – Dec 2012
Due to an accident that happened in the past which led her to lose all her friends, Mei Tachibana stays away from people even in high school, in order to avoid being hurt again. Even though Mei prefers living as she was invisible, due to a misunderstanding she catches the attention of the most popular boy of the school, Yamato Kurosawa. Mei doesn't want to get involved with Yamato, but he finds her intriguing...
Mei Tachibana totally deserved a mention here! She is like a feral cat, as she believes that people are quick to betray each other, so she doesn't want to get close to anyone. Thanks to Yamato, Mei finally opens up, and we eventually get to know her true character. She gains confidence, smiles more, and her honesty is the reason why people surrounding her keep growing. Give Sukitte Ii na yo a chance to see her evolution!
7. Futaba Yoshioka from Ao Haru Ride (Blue Spring Ride)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Jul 2014 – Sep 2014
Labeled an outcast by her female classmates during junior high because the boys found her cute, Futaba Yoshioka wanted to reset her image to survive high school, so she turned into a tomboy. Yet, when she meets the boy she liked during junior high – Tanaka-kun – not only does she find out that he is a different person now, but he confesses that he liked her, as well. It feels like destiny, until Tanaka-kun states that things can't be the same again. But what if Futaba still harbors feelings for him?!
Futaba Yoshioka is not your typical shoujo heroine; in fact, she is stubborn, and strong-willed, yet she is a caring girl. When she meets Tanaka-kun once again, she finally learns to live for herself honestly, and stops being a tomboy only to please her female classmates. She becomes the real Futaba, cute, easily irritated by Tanaka's behaviors, and flustered when he gets near her. Futaba Yoshioka is a relatable shoujo heroine, and that's why we thought to mention her in this ranking!
6. Shirayuki from Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair)
- Episodes: 12
- Air Date: Jul 2015 – Sep 2015
Shirayuki is a girl working as an apothecary at the herbal shop, in the country of Tanbarun. One day, Prince Raji notices her, and forces her to become his concubine. Shirayuki doesn't want to lose her freedom, so she cuts her hair and escapes into the forest. Then, she gets rescued by Zen Wistalia, the prince of another country. Shirayuki becomes an herbalist in Clarines, Zen's country. What if Prince Zen falls in love with her, though?
We really couldn't avoid putting Shirayuki in this ranking! After all, she preferred escaping alone into the forest, instead of giving up her freedom. Shirayuki wanted to choose for herself, that's why she cut her hair and began a new life elsewhere. Determined, kind, and compassionate, she's independent and hardworking. Shirayuki is an example to be followed!
5. Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket (2019)
- Episodes: Unknown
- Air Date: Apr 2019 – ongoing
Fruits Basket revolves around Tohru Honda, an orphaned high school girl who lived in a tent, and was then rescued by Shigure Souma, who offered to Tohru a roof on her head. Living with the members of the Souma family, Tohru immediately realizes how they are almost impossible to approach. What's more, Yuki and Kyo Souma happen to be Tohru's classmates, and they hardly speak, nor let the girls get near them. It takes a while, but Tohru understands that the Souma family hides a secret, and step by step she will get to the heart of the matter...
Here's to another shoujo heroine who really needed to be mentioned in this ranking. In spite of all what happened to her, Torhu Honda is overly optimistic, cheerful, and kind. She's a shoujo heroine to look up to, as she is so empathetic to put others' needs before her own. Tohru is sweet, and her naivete is often perceived as a weakness, but it's untrue: thanks to her kind disposition, Tohru manages to befriend everyone around her, even those Souma family members who seemed impossible to please.
4. Sawako Kuronuma from Kimi ni Todoke (From Me To You)
- Episodes: 25
- Air Date: Oct 2009 – Mar 2010
Sawako Kuronuma is a shy girl who just wishes to make friends and live a wonderful high school life. Yet, her behavior is easily misunderstood by her classmates, who think she is scary like the protagonist of a horror movie. Sawako gets hurt by the rumors going on about her, but her high school life changes when Kazehaya – the bright classmate she looks up to – talks to her for the first time, and Sawako's personality eventually pops up...
Sawako Kuronuma is another very relatable shoujo heroine. In fact, she lacks self-esteem, and is very insecure. What we like about this girl is how she manages to grow up throughout the series, step by step. From being shy and lonely, to being surrounded by friends, smiling, and finally conscious of her own value, thanks to Kazehaya's presence who she really admires. If you still even watched Kimi ni Todoke, it's time for you to catch it up!
3. Yona from Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Air Date: Oct 2014 – Mar 2015
Yona is the princess of Kouka, and she lived a comfortable life, surrounded by people who kept spoiling her. As a princess, she grew up completely unaware of what the real world was like outside the palace walls. Yona spent her time fawning over her cousin Soo-won, toward whom she has a crush. Son Hak is Yona's “guardian”, and he's been in love with her for years, so when Yona's father gets killed by an unsuspecting person, Yona runs away, watched over by Son Hak.
Throughout the entire show, we see a spoiled princess turn from a naive girl, to a strong woman able to stand up for herself. Being deprived of all what was hers, Yona didn't waste time wallowing in self-pity. On the contrary, she showed to be willing to learn, and very adaptable to new situations. Basically, she became the brave princess she was destined to be. And since we love her sweet demeanor, and strong-willed attitude, she deserved our 3rd position!
2. Misaki Ayuzawa from Kaichou wa Maid-sama! (Maid Sama!)
- Episodes: 26
- Air Date: Apr 2010 – Sep 2010
As the first female student council president, Misaki Ayuzawa has a lot of responsibilities. The boys at school call her “Demon President”, since she's an Aikido master and uses her skills on misbehaving boys. But, she hides a secret: as her family is broke, she works part-time as a maid, at a maid cafe. The most popular boy of the Seika High School, Usui Takumi, discovers her secret and begins threatening her!
Here we are with our 2nd position and a hardworking shoujo heroine. Misaki Ayuzawa is overly appreciated by the girls, as she is independent, strong, and hot-headed. Some circumstances led Misaki to think of men as unreliable and untrustworthy, so it's funny to see her act gently toward them when she works as a maid, and that's why Takumi makes fun of her. The two of them bicker constantly, but it's thanks to Takumi that we eventually get to see Misaki's softer side!
1. Nanami Momozono from Kamisama Hajimemashita (Kamisama Kiss)
- Episodes: 13
- Air Date: Oct 2012 – Dec 2012
With a gambler father who left her full of debts, homeless, and broke, Nanami Momozono wanders around lonely and desperate, not knowing exactly what to do. When she meets a man harassed by a dog, she doesn't hesitate: Nanami rescues the man, and seeing her situation, he offers in exchange his own house. It seems too good to be true; in fact, the house turns out to be a shrine, she's just become the new Land God, and Tomoe – Mikage's former familiar – is unwilling to accept her! Has Nanami just gone from bad to worse?!
Our first position had to be Nanami Momozono, the most incredible shoujo heroine out there! Nanami is strong, determined, and willing to give her best whatever she does, even when she turns to a Land God. In spite her adverse situation – what with classmates bullying her, her father leaving, her mother who passed away – she never lost faith in people, nor wallowed in self-pity. She fought for herself, managed to adapt to the new situation, and demonstrated to be a valuable, and trustworthy person. She even managed to befriend Tomoe in the end, not without efforts. We really love a female lead like her!
Nanami Momozono and her sparkly personality close our ranking of 10 female leads in shoujo anime! What do you think about these ten amazing girls? We know that the shoujo universe is full of other wonderful female leads, but having to choose only ten, these were our picks! These ten girls caught our attention thanks to their strong personalities, or non-conventional way of thinking! Now please, let us know what you think in the comments below, and see you next time!