10 Best Nostalgic Shojo Anime That Still Hold Up, Ranked

In today’s anime landscape, the most popular shows target male audiences, while the diverse and multifaceted shojo genre often gets unfair bad notoriety. Despite many current shojo titles still providing fans with new and gripping narratives, the genre has lost its once indisputable stardom. The revival of shojo anime happened in the 90s and 80s. Back then, classic shojo titles sparked a massive cultural shift and impacted industry trends.6

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The iconic shojo anime of the past introduced many new fans to the medium. Moreover, they remain universally loved even today. These nostalgic shojo anime continue to bring their gripping stories to life for admirers. From historical dramas to subversive romance, the legacy of shojo has left its indelible mark on anime history.

ten Whisper Of The Heart is an unconventional addition to Studio Ghibli’s working library

Shizuku and Seiji

The classic coming-of-age movie Whisper of the heart was the sole directorial work of Hayao Miyazaki’s supposed successor, Kondo Yoshifumi. Despite Kondo’s untimely passing in 1998, his directorial debut has become a timeless classic of shojo musicals. The film’s protagonist, a bookish girl Shizuku, searches for a mysterious boy who seems to be borrowing the same books as her from their local library.

Determined to meet someone who shares the girl’s passion for literature, Shizuku joins forces with a peculiar cat, who leads her to an unorthodox antique store. There, she reunites with her new friend Seiji, and the relationship between the two helps Shizuku find the confidence to pursue her dreams.

9 Magic Knight Rayearth predicted the rise of the Isekai genre

Magic Knight Rayearth

CLAMP’s epic in 1994 Magic Knight Rayearth was a groundbreaking series for its time. The show combined several genres, some of which only reigned supreme decades later – fantasy isekai, magic girl shojo and mecha. Such an intriguing combination of tropes was enhanced by the show’s impressive character writing.

Magic Knight Rayearth centers on three middle school girls traveling to a magical land, Cephiro, and looking for a way to return to Tokyo. The three heroines of Magic Knight Rayearth are complex and distinctive individuals whose adventures have inspired generations of fans.

8 Kodocha was a situational comedy pioneer in Shojo

sana kurata from kodomo no omocha

Kodomo no Omochamore commonly called kodocha, began its run in 1996 and became an instant romance classic due to the popularity of its original manga. Kodocha’s story revolves around an energetic and eccentric child actress, Sana Kurata, and her trials and tribulations with the main troublemaker in her class, Akito Hayama.

The opposition of ideals results in a bitter rivalry between the two, which carries a substantial part of the show’s quirky comedy. Nonetheless, Akito and Sana continue to learn more about each other as the series progresses, eventually helping each other through the difficulties of adolescence.

7 Perrine’s story is one of the most beloved episodes of the World Masterpiece Theater

Perrin's story

Perrin’s story was the fourth installment of the legendary Japanese World’s Masterpieces Theater production, a series dedicated to animating classic literature stories from 1969 to 1997. The anime was based on a French children’s book With family by Hector Malot. The tragic story of hardship follows Perrine, a daughter of a French father, Edmond, and an Anglo-Indian mother, Marie.

After Edmond passes away, the family travels to his hometown, ruled by Perrine’s unwelcoming grandfather. Unfortunately, Marie falls ill during the trip, forcing Perrine to sell all their possessions and eventually work in her grandfather’s factory after her mother dies.

6 Marmalade Boy is a timeless classic of Shojo’s tender love stories

Bizarre tropes of the romantic shojo genre had been popular for as long as they existed. The heroine of the classic 1994 series marmalade boy Miki, look for something to spice up her monotonous routine. However, she did not expect this change to be her parents’ divorce. More so, after a trip to Hawaii, Miki’s parents decided to swap partners with another couple they met while on vacation.

Meeting her new parents was a challenge for Miki, but the real shock came from laying eyes on the other couple’s son, dreamy boy Yuu. What follows that quirky premise is one of the sweetest shojo romances that still holds up today.

5 Sailor Moon has never lost her dedicated fanbase

Sailor Moon is a shojo title that needs no introduction, as it has permanently influenced anime fans in Japan and around the world. the original Sailor Moon The TV show began airing in 1992, and the franchise has grown tremendously since then, producing countless sequels and reboots.

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The upbeat adventures of Usagi Tsukino and the Sailor Soldiers introduced fans to the shojo genre and made them fall in love with the magical girl subculture. Nowadays, Sailor Moon continues to be a fantastic source of childlike excitement for nostalgic fans, taking them back to when they first encountered anime.

4 Ouran High School Host Club was a cultural phenomenon of the early 2000s

Ouran High School Host Club Cast

Ouran High School Host Club shaped the shojo scene of the early 2000s and was considered an amazing phenomenon in the anime community at the time. The surprisingly clever and heartfelt reverse harem plot follows an androgynous girl Haruhi, a scholarship student studying at a prestigious Ouran academy surrounded by spoiled rich kids.

After accidentally destroying an ancient vase belonging to the school’s famous host club, Haruhi must join their ranks to pay off her debt. The series deserves its global success because it manages to make audiences fall in love with its witty humor and brilliant characters effortlessly.

3 Cardcaptor Sakura has incorporated complex character development into its Monster-Of-The-Week formula

Cardcaptor Sakura Tomoyo and Sakura

The iconic series of magical girls Sakura card sensor is one of the most beloved shojo franchises in anime history. Despite its simplistic premise and rather repetitive episodic storylines, the series triumphs by crafting an authentic, intriguing, and character-driven storyline with careful attention to detail.

Sakura’s Magical Adventures can appeal to almost any viewer. The series managed to break away from conventional kids’ show tropes by incorporating general character arcs into its narrative. As a result, Sakura card sensor became a global hit and a timeless classic of the genre.

2 Kare Kano does realistic romance well

Yukino and Soichiro holding hands

The shojo genre, especially nowadays, is notorious for making love a difficult obstacle for its characters. Between delayed confessions and constant misunderstandings, the protagonists of shojo romance rarely have a realistic, grounded relationship. The iconic creator behind Neon Genesis EvangelionHideaki Anno, decided to break away from boring romantic tropes in his take on the genre, Kare Kano.

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The series follows the authentic development of a relationship between two successful high school rivals, Yukino and Soichiro. Their example proves that the real fights and rewards of a relationship only begin after the initial confession.

1 Breakthrough girl Utena has something different to say with every rewatch

Utena protects Anthy in Revolutionary Girl Utena

Successful deconstructions of familiar genres and tropes are always fascinating to watch and analyze. They strive to say something different about their medium, resulting in a complex commentary that significantly affects how fans and critics view the genre. Revolutionary Gitl Utena was this monumental deconstruction for magical girl shojo, taking all the classic tropes of the genre and turning it on its head.

Utena became a symbolic abstraction from classic shojo themes, reinventing genre norms, conventional tropes, and metaphorical ideas of the genre. As a result, it became the show that revolutionized the medium and made every fan think differently about shojo.

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