Shoujo manga has always had great art and it’s a genre that is still loved to this day, but some of the art stands out as the best. Shoujo is not a genre but a demographic, and the name comes from the magazines in Japan that publish these romance stories. As long as a manga that can hold young girls’ attention is marketed through gorgeous art and easy-to-understand narratives, it’s a genuine shoujo manga. Shoujo manga covers many other genres as well, so there’s no real barrier to the stories they can tell.
Whether readers are looking for a heartwarming love story or a coming of age story, shoujo manga has something for everyone. The highest-rated shoujo manga tend to be stories that blend beautiful art with an emotional and gripping romance. Manga, being such a visual medium, means the art is just as important as the characters’ dialogue, and it’s an impressive testament to how diverse the Japanese manga industry is.
Wake up, Sleeping Beauty
Tetsu Misato, a shy and crying high school student, starts working at a creepy mansion on the hill, where Shizu, the only child of the Karasawa family, is hidden. Despite their budding friendship, Tetsu overcomes his fear when several ghosts resembling Shizu begin to appear in front of him. Hurt, he must grapple with Shizu’s supernatural state and face the possibility that she may never return.
Especially after 2020, the best shoujo stories tend to have unusual settings to spice up their romance and Wake Up, Sleeping Beauty is no different. Its art stands out for combining a classic shoujo setting with a sophisticated modern style. The dress and hair on the body are specially cared for, giving the characters a genuine appearance.
Love me for who I am
Love Me For Who I Am follows Mogumo, a teenager who is ostracized at school for their non-binary identity. One day, they meet a boy named Tetsu, who takes them to a maid cafe. However, Mogumo became frustrated when they realized the cafe was perceived as a “feminine” establishment and they had the wrong gender. This begins a journey of self-discovery and acceptance as the characters ponder the concept of gender and what it means.
Love Me For Who I Am’s LGTBQ+ rendition is masterfully done here and the author clearly has a deep respect for the community. Art is also representative of this, with each character being able to express who they are to the world by the clothes they wear and the way they present themselves. The manga features beautiful art combined with a rare, easy-to-understand depiction of the LGBTQ+ experience.
A sign of affection
Yuki, a college student born deaf, is isolated in her own silent world. She only interacts with her best friend Rin and lives a reclusive life. However, one day on her way to work, she meets Itsuomi, a multilingual man with silver hair who is Rin’s mutual friend. Unlike the others, Itsuomi is not disheartened by Yuki’s deafness, but on the contrary finds it fascinating. This encounter moves Yuki, and she begins to develop feelings for him.
Reminiscent of shoujo classics of the 90s, the famous image of a meek girl and a confident boy is wonderfully portrayed through the splendidly detailed art of A Sign Of Affection. Yuki relies on her other senses to communicate with the world around her and the art style does a great job of making the tables feel busy, in a subtle way, despite the white background. completely.
The invisible man and his fiancée
Yakou, a soft-hearted woman, works at a detective agency. On the other hand, Tounome is an intelligent and kind invisible man whose abilities make him ideal for detective work. Despite Tounome’s invisibility, Yakou, who was blind, was still able to locate him when he disappeared. As they spend more time together, Yakou and Tounome find themselves growing closer and develop feelings for each other, bound by their special circumstances.
Shoujo is no stranger to the fantasy genre, and The Invisible Man And His Soon-To-Be Wife is a fantasy premise like a manga about life. Ironically, the invisible man opens up a lot of creative scenes and romantic moments. The cyan background also gives a unique minimalist pop feel to the entire manga, making it stand out.
Talk about secret love
Harold, a notorious mafia boss, has a special relationship with the maid Mia. Despite his cold demeanor, he is actually a gentleman who is deeply infatuated with Mia. He goes to great lengths to express his love, give her expensive gifts, and arrange the perfect dates. However, it is uncertain whether he realizes their disparity in social status. This is a slightly dangerous romantic comedy with a flair for absurd comedy.
The premise has a Spy x Family vibe, with the male lead being a super-powered villain who still has a benevolent side. Talk About Love Secretly has a beautiful panel, with roses adorning the edges or regal curtains in place of boring lines. It fits perfectly with the characters themselves, who are cuddled up in beautiful clothes that make every romantic gesture a fancy affair.
Veil follows Aleksander, a police officer who meets a woman named Emma during one of his patrols. Emma walks around with a cane and is a runaway daughter who grew up in a wealthy family in a faraway city. Aleksander offers Emma a job as a telephone operator at the police station, as she now needs a job to take care of herself. This strange situation sets the stage for their daily lives and the delicate balance between work and love.
Veil tells the story of the powerful heroine Emma, a well-off woman who gave up everything to gain her independence. Aleksander is also a wonderful partner, respectful yet surprisingly kind. The art style makes great use of simple colors and charming curvaceous panels to depict the lives of two young people in love. Sometimes it looks more like a haute couture catalog than a comic book series, and that means the best.
Odette is one of the funniest romance manga in recent years. The story follows Tae, an overworked office worker whose only light is her wonderful boyfriend, with whom she has dinner at the end of the day. Even though her boyfriend is a cat fanatic, it’s never explained or acknowledged, which adds a surreal side to the heartwarming romances.
The romance in Odette is gentle and low-risk, mostly spent watching two loving couples comfort each other in difficult times. There is no permanent drama, and the art style is a sugar overdose. Even the characters themselves are lovingly drawn, with rounded strokes and soft expressions. Odette is a lovely manga for those who are looking for a light work with cute art.
The guy she’s interested in isn’t a guy at all
Aya Oosawa, a gyaru-style high school student, regularly visits a small record store and falls in love with the black-haired employee, who wears a hoodie and a mask over her face. The only problem is that the hooded character is actually Aya’s eccentric classmate, Mitsuki Koga. Mitsuki is currently worried about the consequences if Aya finds out the true identity of the boy she likes.
The characters in The Boy She’s Interested in are not a guy at all, providing positive LGTBQ+ representation for a manga series and showing that society’s narrow definition of love really doesn’t fit. How reality. The art style of the manga is beautiful, with a unique green backdrop and a semi-realistic style for everyone. There’s an interesting slouching look to the characters that makes them feel more real, as if they’ve just stepped out of a music store.
A Bride’s Story takes place during the Crimean War in the mid-19th century and is set on the Silk Road in Central Asia. It follows the life of Amir, a skilled archer and a female knight from a nomadic tribe, who is arranged to marry Karluk, a boy from another village, eight years her junior. Despite the age gap, the two quickly develop a strong bond and their relationship matures over time. This is a series that deeply respects historical accuracy while remaining engaging.
As one of the best manga series created by women, Kaoru Mori is an inspiration to women in the industry and as a result her works are enjoyed by people from a wide range of demographics. The most iconic aspect of her style has always been her super-detailed suits and outfits, which are highly sought after when it comes to both authenticity and historic style. It’s a passionate project with a lot of love and care given to each console.
Fragrant flowers bloom solemnly
The Fragrant Flowers Bloom with Dignity tells the classic story of two rival schools. These are Chidori Middle School, an underperforming boys’ school, and Kikyo Girls’ School, a respected girls’ school. Rintaro Tsumugi, a strong and reserved sophomore at Chidori High, meets Kaoruko Wakuri while working at his family’s pastry shop. Rintaro enjoys spending time with Kaoruko, but she is a student of the Kikyo Girls, which have a disdain for Chidori High School.
There’s still a bit of a tsundere aspect due to the rivalry between the schools, but it’s quickly disappearing to make way for some of the top scoundrels. Art style is a subtlety of the classicshoujo style, with light background, light colors and high proportions. Despite that, both characters are very well drawn, showing their delicate emotions and relationships.