Shoujo-ai may be a less popular genre than shounen-ai these days, but that doesn’t make it any less important! And of course, it still had its own fan following as well. So what is shoujo-ai? Basically, it’s a girls-love genre that focuses on relationships between two females. Unlike yuri anime, it doesn’t have any hardcore sex or hentai scenes, though it may have ecchi ones. Instead, it focuses more on the relationship and story itself rather than just on the sex. You’re more likely to find sentimental, sweet, and cute stories - but you can find darker ones as well.
Shoujo-ai has a lot of manga, but what about light novels? Are there many shoujo-ai light novels for people to enjoy? The good news is - yes! For fans that would rather read a more normal book than a comic, there are quite a few shoujo-ai light novels out there. So to save you some time on sorting through them and figuring out which are the best and which are what you want to read, we have made a list. So without further ado, on to the Top 10 Shoujo-Ai Light Novels!
10. Hollywood Secret Garden
- Authors: N/A
- Genres: Comedy, Fantasy, Gender Bender, Romance, Shoujo-Ai
- Chapters: 800
- Published: 2009
Hollywood Secret Garden is set in, well, Hollywood of course! It follows a 30-year old NEET who brings a lot of scandals and drama to the Hollywood scene. And of course, it’s an easy place to do just that considering the number of scandals that already exist in the movie industry. What is unique about this story is that this NEET writes amazing Hollywood scripts that are nominated for Oscars every year, but never shows up at the awards ceremony. In fact, they never leave their home! So how are they involved in so many scandals? Who is this mysterious person that is corrupting Hollywood from behind closed doors? What other secrets do they hide?
Hollywood Secret Garden is a shoujo-ai light novel full of surprises and secrets. These include gender-bending, reincarnation, and more! The setting is such a glamorous too being based on Hollywood, full of rich and beautiful characters. And of course, girl on girl romance stories amongst all the scandals that are breeding just below the surface! Hollywood Secret Garden is unique in that it’s originally a Chinese light novel whereas the others on our list are all Japanese. It is also not completely translated into English yet. But if you don’t mind waiting for the secrets being revealed and are intrigued by reading a Chinese story, check out Hollywood Secret Garden.
9. Eiyuu no Musume Toshite Umarekawatta Eiyuu wa Futatabi Eiyuu wo Mezasu
- Author: Kaburagi, Haruka
- Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Gender Bender, School Life, Shoujo-Ai, Slice of Life
- Chapters: 391 (ongoing)
- Published: 2016
Eiyuu no Musume Toshite Umarekawatta Eiyuu wa Futatabi Eiyuu wo Mezasu begins with a brave hero named Raid, who went up against the Devil in a fight alone. However, he lost the fight and paid for it with his life. Death was not the end for Raid, though, and he was born again. This time, his reincarnated form is quite different from what he used to be; this time, he’s a girl! And not just any girl, but the daughter of his previous companions. Now, Nicole, she must fight to restore the power that she had before she died, and learn how to live her new life as a woman.
A gender bender shoujo-ai, Eiyuu no Musume Toshite Umarekawatta Eiyuu wa Futatabi Eiyuu wo Mezasu is a fun fantasy story to read. It’s a story about someone who used to be strong but is now the underdog and has to train and fight to be powerful again. It’s also a coming of age sort of narrative despite Nicole technically being reincarnated, so it has all the struggles that go along with growing up. So, of course, that includes romance! And because Nicole used to be a straight man, her interest this time around is still in girls. Eiyuu no Musume Toshite Umarekawatta Eiyuu wa Futatabi Eiyuu wo Mezasu is great for fantasy, gender bender, and reincarnation fans who prefer shoujo-ai romance stories. It’s not entirely translated into English yet though, so be a patient reader!
8. Yotogi no Kuni no Gekkouhime
- Author: Umidori, Aono
- Genres: Comedy, Gender Bender, Romance, Shoujo-Ai
- Chapters: 5
- Published: 2015
Originally, Selene was a beautiful man from modern Japan in Yotogi no Kuni no Gekkouhime. But everything changed when he was reincarnated as a girl in another land. Now, Princess Serene, she is determined to fight an evil prince to protect her sister - but it’s all a big misunderstanding! That doesn’t stop Serene from becoming the powerful Princess Moonlight, coming to grips with who she is and what she has to do in her new world.
Yotogi no Kuni no Gekkouhime is a gender-bender shoujo-ai light novel that focuses on the idea of a man being reincarnated as a woman. The themes in the light novel are him, or rather her, coming to understand who she is now and what that means for her life. Yotogi no Kuni no Gekkouhime has no shortage of comedy moments amongst the romance story, and the romance is a light and pure one rather than something super serious. It’s an easy story to read full of magic and good laughs. However, it’s not entirely translated from Japanese at this time, so be patient waiting if you decide to pick up Yotogi no Kuni no Gekkouhime!
7. The Reincarnated Vampire Wants an Afternoon Nap
- Author: Chokingyomaru
- Genres: Adventure. Comedy. Fantasy. Gender Bender. Shoujo-Ai. Slice of Life
- Chapters: 4 (ongoing)
- Published: 2015
The Reincarnated Vampire Wants an Afternoon Nap is the story of a boy who is reincarnated as a beautiful female vampire in another world. Fully embracing her new life, she goes from a lazy boy to a lazy vampire. All she wants is three meals a day, a snack in the afternoon, and the chance to nap any time she wants. Is that really so much for a beautiful vampire to want? Of course, maintaining that kind of lifestyle is never easy, but she is up to the challenge if it means she can reach her eventual goal of an ideal relaxing life at the end.
If a title like The Reincarnated Vampire Wants an Afternoon Nap doesn’t already have you interested in this light novel, keep reading. It’s a fun shoujo-ai story that is hilarious to read. Just the base concept of a lazy vampire wanting to mooch off of other people is intriguing enough. Add in some comedic romances between girls and this beautiful lady vampire and you’ve got quite an interesting read. Perfect for fans of comedy and even more for fans of vampires (though not very serious ones), The Reincarnated Vampire Wants an Afternoon Nap is a fun shoujo-ai light novel to read. It is a gender bender as well though, so know that going into it depending on how it affects your feelings!
6. Being Recognised as an Evil God, I Changed My Job to Guardian Deity of the Beastmen Country
- Author: Morita, Kisetsu
- Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo-Ai, Slice of Life
- Chapters: 61
- Published: 2016
Faltina used to be a powerful goodness in Being Recognised as an Evil God, I Changed My Job to Guardian Deity of the Beastmen Country, but when her country was destroyed, she was labelled an evil god. As people stopped worshipping her, her powers decreased to nearly nothing. Then one day, a beastman with cat ears found her statue and took it back to his village. Becoming the guardian deity of that beastman village, Faltina’s powers began to return! And now the one desolate village is booming with new life as a whole nation, and both cat and dog-eared beastmen live there together prosperously under Faltina.
Being Recognised as an Evil God, I Changed My Job to Guardian Deity of the Beastmen Country is a mouthful of a title for a light novel, but it does tell you exactly what you’re getting. Faltina is an interesting main heroine for a shoujo-ai because she is a goddess, and with the other characters being beast-kin it definitely makes this light novel stand apart from others. It’s a very fantasy style of a story about a nation rising from nothing, with slice of life romances blossoming on the side. It’s easy to read and an enjoyable story, nothing too heavy, with fluffy shoujo-ai goodness. It’s still being translated from Japanese, but always worth waiting for!
5. Alice Tale in Phantasmagoria
- Author: Seto, Yuuichi
- Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Gender Bender, Harem, Shoujo-Ai
- Chapters: 5 (ongoing)
- Published: 2014
Akito Arisugawa begins Alice Tale in Phantasmagoria as an average young man. Everything in his life changes when he creates a female character for himself in an online game one day....and the unexpected happens. He finds himself changed into that character, which means he is now a girl! Akito has to face the struggles of dealing with a new body and a new life, none of which he could ever have predicted or planned for. And the longer he is in this new body, the further away from being male he feels. He always wanted to be the strongest, but now, maybe he can find a new dream.
Alice Tale in Phantasmagoria is a gender bender shoujo-ai story. Thus the narrative does focus on Akito exploring himself as a newly awakened female. Whether that adds to the appeal or draws from it is up to you as a shoujo-ai fan. Alice Tale in Phantasmagoria is a fun fantasy story complete with elves, magic, and more! It makes a great setting for some harem-style shoujo-ai elements with Akito at the centre learning all about his new body. Great for fans of the popular trope of normal people going into video game worlds or fans of fantasy in general, Alice Tale in Phantasmagoria is a fun read.
4. Strawberry Panic!
- Author: Kimino, Sakurako
- Genres: Drama, School Life, Shoujo-Ai, Yuri
- Chapters: 3
- Published: 2006
Strawberry Panic! is set in North America at a place called Astrea Hill. It is here that three major all-girls’ schools collide and share a set of strawberry-shaped dormitories. The story follows Nagisa, a student at St. Miator Girls’ Academy. Astrea Hill is known to be a place where lesbian romances start, and Nagisa finds that to be true for herself, too. When she meets the school’s top student, Shizuma, Nagisa is overwhelmed by her beauty. And then when Shizuma returns her feelings, well. It’s going to be a good year at Astrea Hill.
Strawberry Panic! is a well-known shoujo-ai story because it became a popular manga and anime eventually. But did you know it is also a light novel? It tells a classic romance story between two classmates at a boarding school; it just happens to be that they’re both girls at an all-girls’ school. It’s a perfect setting to tell a love story! Strawberry Panic! is light-hearted, fun, and even funny at times. And you’re sure to love Nagisa and Shizuma a lot. If you’re looking for a very classic romance story with no risks, Strawberry Panic! is the safest choice on our list.
3. The Pseudo-Kunoichi from Another World
- Author: Aoe
- Genres: Action. Adventure. Fantasy. Shoujo-Ai
- Chapters: 34
- Published: N/A
The Pseudo-Kunoichi from Another World is about Shino Kagura, a girl whose whole life seems to revolve around historical role-playing. Her job is to portray a ninja in a ninja show, and her free time is spent playing a historical online game called Sengoku Online. She’s happy with her lifestyle, satisfied being immersed in history all the time. One day her role-playing comes to life though, and Shino is transported into the world of Falyias. The caretaker of the world allows her to have all the abilities her Sengoku Online character has, and she begins her new life in Falyias unstoppable even by the demon king.
The Pseudo-Kunoichi from Another World is a fun and exciting shoujo-ai light novel. It also follows the trope of a normal person getting pulled into a video game world, but instead of the usual fantasy story, this one is more historical Japanese as a setting. That means you can count on ninjas! And also beast-kin, for people that like that kind of story. Shino is a strong woman and is strong right from the start of the novel, making her a protagonist that is hard not to fall for a bit yourself. But remember, this light novel is shoujo-ai, so sadly she’s going to be taken by someone else. For a story with strong female characters and a cool historic setting, The Pseudo-Kunoichi from Another World is a great choice.
2. Maria-sama ga Miteru
- Author: Konno, Oyuki
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, School Life, Shoujo-Ai, Slice of Life
- Chapters: 39
- Published: 1998
Maria-sama ga Miteru is set at a fictional Catholic girls school in Tokyo called Lillian Girls’ Academy. It’s a pristine, prestigious, and pure place of education. The story follows a girl named Yumi through her years as the academy, but she is not the only character Maria-sama ga Miteru has. The series does not focus solely on any one character or overarching story, but rather on the ongoing relationships and daily lives of the students at the school. Mostly, it revolves around the Yamayuri Council, which is the student council at Lillian Girls’ Academy, and it’s activities.
A key part of the development of relationships is the existence of the sœur system, which lets older girls choose a younger girl as her “sister” to care for. They share a rosary, which is symbolic of their relationship as “sisters.” Many of these sister pairings are alluded to being in romantic relationships together. While only one is explicitly shown in a flashback, the others are very obviously hinted to. This means that Maria-sama ga Miteru doesn’t revolve around the idea of a love story between girls, but it does have those relationships adding to the overall story and emphasising the environment at the school.
1. Qualia the Purple
- Author: Hisamitsu, Ueo
- Genres: Drama, Mecha, Mystery, Psychological, Sci-fi, Shoujo-Ai, Tragedy
- Chapters: 1
- Published: 2009
Manabu Hatou and Yukari Marii are classmates in Qualia the Purple. While Manabu is an average girl, her friend Yukari is anything but. For starters, Yukari has unique purple eyes that set her apart from the crowd. Secondly, she sees everyone around her as robots, which doesn’t always go over so well with people. However, it turns out that Yukari really does see the world differently through her unique eyes. Even the police begin to come to her for insight due to her innate abilities to read people. But when her eyes get herself and Manabu wrapped up in danger as well, Manabu has to step up her role as a friend and find her own purpose in life, too.
Qualia the Purple is a story about friendship that develops into a shoujo-ai romance. Manabu and Yukari have a special friendship throughout the story, with Manabu happy to deal with Yukari’s traits that have driven away other friends in the past. Instead of seeing Yukari has a freak, she sees her as an interesting and unique person. Qualia the Purple has a fun science fiction narrative complete with androids, murders, time travel and more. It’s great for shoujo-ai fans that also like action stories and especially sci-fi, neither of which are very common in the shoujo-ai genre.
Whether you want a sentimental love story, a hilarious comedy, or something with twists turns and gender bends, there’s plenty of shoujo-ai light novels out there for you. All you have to do now is choose where to start and take the plunge! For fans of shoujo-ai, light novels might be unexplored territory, so we implore you to give it a try. The same goes for light novel fans that have never tried shoujo-ai! And as for fans of both the genre and the medium, well. We hope you enjoyed our list of the Top 10 Shoujo-Ai Light Novels!
Did we miss your favourite shoujo-ai light novel on our list? Do you think we should have ranked them in a different order? Are you going to try one of these, or have you read one before? Why do you like shoujo-ai light novels? Let us know all your feelings in the comments!