Along with Shounen Manga, Shoujo Manga also has its share of infamous clichés and a large demographic. Shoujo simply means “young woman” and it usually caters to teenage girls. This type of genre mostly revolves around youth, school life, love, and friendships. Although that may be, Shoujo Manga has been growing over the years and has been tackling various topics not related to romance. These may be the reason why the Shoujo genre is not only famous to young women, but also to other demographics that are not targeted by it.
Shoujo Manga is fun to read, but what makes it more enjoyable are its heroines. There are many types of heroines out there, but the heroines that we tend to remember are the ones who are strong-willed, fierce, independent and have a certain unique personality to them that outshines other characters. They may slip up sometimes and show their softer and weaker side, but nonetheless, these heroines do not give up and find a way to face their obstacles and emerge stronger from it. Love is usually in the back of their mind but that doesn't mean that the manga listed here don’t have romance elements to them.
To make the list as diverse as possible, we made sure to list a few shoujo heroines that were adapted into anime to give way to other shoujo heroines that were not yet adapted into anime. Sit back and enjoy as you scroll down the list... You may even find your favorite heroine as you read through.
10. Nobara Sumiyoshi from Beniiro Hero (Crimson Hero)
- Mangaka: Takanashi, Mitsuba
- Genre: Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo, Sports
- Volumes: 20
- Published Date: Dec. 2002 - Jan. 2011
We’ll start the list with a tomboy who immensely loves volleyball. Like Hinata and Tobio from Haikyuu!!!, Nobara Sumiyoshi only thinks about volleyball day in and day out. In fact, she is willing enough to go against her mother’s wishes to make her a proper lady and let her inherit their old-fashioned Japanese restaurant. In order to fulfill her dream, Nobura moves out of her home and enrolls at Crimson Field High School. Fortunately, her aunt Momoko is there to assist her. But with the disbanded girl’s volleyball team, it seems that Nobara’s dream of playing the sport is too far away.
Nobara is your typical tomboy heroine with a twist! Even though she is hard-headed and determined to get what she wants, she also has a weaker side to her. Nobara is actually full of flaws which make her feel more human to readers. She sometimes commits mistakes because of her naive nature, nonetheless, she faces the consequences of her decisions and tries her hardest to make up for it. She matures a lot as the manga progresses and even becomes the inspiration of many to those who are around her. Nobura is definitely a heroine to check out because she is interesting and very relatable to most readers.
9. Maria Kawai from Akuma to Love Song (A Devil and her Love Song)
- Mangaka: Toumori, Miyoshi
- Genre: Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
- Volumes: 13
- Published Date: Dec. 2006 - Apr. 2011
The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” certainly suits Maria Kawai. She is extremely beautiful and has the voice of an angel, but all of these things do not match her personality as she is rude and mean in the eyes of other people. She came from a well-off girls’ high school after being expelled because she used “violence to hurt a teacher”. She transfers to Totsuka high school to start afresh, however, with her attitude and the suspicions rumors surrounding her, it seems like her high school life will still be hard for her.
Maria is someone you may not get along with. She is cold, aloof, and too blunt to get along with. But even though she is like that, Maria craves human affection. She wants to have friends so she can enjoy her high school life more. She tries to get along with other people, which results in her getting into trouble. All in all, Maria is a very complex character, which makes her intriguing to readers. She is just a misunderstood character and is just honest to a fault. Although it is like that, she will come to realize that she is someone of worth and doesn’t need to change just because others view her as someone different.
8. Sunako Nakahara from Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge♥ (The Wallflower: Yamato Nadeshiko Shichihenge)
- Mangaka: Hayakawa, Tomoko
- Genre: Drama, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
- Volumes: 36
- Published Date: Mar. 2000 - Jan. 2015
First love is certainly a thing that you will never forget, especially in the case of Sunako Nakahara, who is rejected by her first love for being ugly. Traumatized by that event, Sunako embraces her dark side and begins to lock herself in her room with macabre things surrounding her. However, her aunt Mine cannot tolerate her niece’s unusual behavior and is afraid of what the future entails for Sunako. To help her niece, Mine takes in four beautiful boys to live in her mansion for free and help Sunako to become a proper lady. If the four boys do not fulfill their main purpose, they will pay a huge sum of money as rent for living in her mansion.
Out of all the heroines listed here, Sunako may be the most odd and peculiar. Sunako is absolutely an insecure character. She always thinks negatively and believes that someone like her will never be beautiful. Because of this outlook on life, she becomes a shut-in who is afraid of radiant, beautiful people. Even though Sunako acts this way, she is physically strong and is quite a talented young lady. She also has beliefs and convictions to stand for and even fights for them if the other party is truly wrong. Sunako may have problems when it comes to her confidence, but as the manga progresses, she starts to open up a lot more and can at least trust the people who care for her well-being.
7. Nakaba from Reimei no Arcana (Dawn of the Arcana)
- Mangaka: Touma, Rei
- Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 13
- Published Date: Jan. 2009 - Jun. 2013
Senan and Belquat are two neighboring kingdoms that have bad relations. In order to avoid war between the two kingdoms, Nakaba, a Princess from Senan, agrees to marry Prince Caesar of Belquat. On both kingdoms, people of royal blood with black hair are distinguished and are respected. Although Nakaba has royal blood, she has red hair, hence the reason why most of the people around her are weary of her. Despite the harsh treatment she receives, she has her attendant, Loki, by her side to serve and protect her. As she tries to adapt to her new life in Belquat, Nakaba begins to learn the injustices between the two kingdoms and discovers the truth about herself.
Nakaba is seen as someone cold and indifferent most of the time. Although she appears to be like that, Nakaba actually has a big heart and is a strong-willed woman. She always fights for what she believes in and can be very fierce when angered. Nakaba is willing to know the circumstances of other people and even goes as far as helping them in every way she can. Simply put, Nakaba is a simple woman who easily forgives the people who have wronged her, as long as they deserve it. She also avoids allowing hatred to consume her or those who are close to her, making her an amazing heroine to look out for.
6. Teru Kurebayashi from Dengeki Daisy
- Mangaka: Motomi, Kyousuke
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 16
- Published Date: May. 2007 - Dec. 2013
Although Teru Kurebayashi is left alone because of the death of her brother, Soichiro, she has DAISY to comfort her if she is sad and to encourage her when she feels lost. Her only connection to DAISY is a simple cell phone that her brother left her with. It has always been that way, until she becomes the servant of their school’s janitor, Tasuku Kurosaki. As she gets closer to Kurosaki, she comes to realize that there is more to him than meets the eye. Teru even begins to suspect that DAISY might just be closer to her than she thought.
Despite her young age, Teru thinks and acts quite maturely. She is very independent and only relies on others if it is truly needed. Teru has a great sense of justice and is ready to defend herself or other people whom she feels are oppressed. Because she is still young, Teru appears to be too innocent most of the time. She even picks up her older brother’s odd ticks, and of course, her brother’s optimistic way of thinking. Teru is genuinely kind and sees the good in others, which makes her an unforgettable heroine to admire.
5. Kiri Koshiba from Beauty Pop
- Mangaka: Arai, Kiyoko
- Genre: Comedy, Romance, School Life, Shoujo
- Volumes: 10
- Published Date: Sept. 2003 - Feb. 2008
Kiri Koshiba has had a passion for styling hair ever since she was young, proven when she won in a hairstyling competition, beating an equally good contender, Shogo Narumi. After accidentally cutting her mother’s ear while styling her hair, Kiri decides to never make her talent her future career. However, her passion for hairstyling cannot be stopped as she anonymously helps other people look good. Because of this, Kiri is suddenly forced to join the Scissors Project, which aims to do makeovers to selected people.
Kiri is another indifferent character who actually has a caring heart deep down. She is commonly seen with an uninterested facial expression on her face but once she holds a brush and a scissor, she brightens and shines instantly. Like Teru, Kiri is willing to help anyone at anytime. She doesn’t discriminate while sharing her talents with others, proven when she takes it upon herself to accept the people who were rejected by Narumi. Most of the time, people may see her as a rude person, but that is only because Kiri is straightforward and is not afraid to point out the mistakes and wrongdoings of other people. Kiri is indeed a cool heroine to marvel at, fitting to be on the 5th place.
4. Mafuyu Kurosaki from Oresama Teacher
- Mangaka: Tsubaki, Izumi
- Genre: Comedy, School Life, Shoujo
- Volumes: 23+
- Published Date: Jul. 2007 - Ongoing
From the same mangaka who gave us Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun, comes another hilarious piece, which is Oresama Teacher! Like any other shoujo manga clichés, Mafuyu Kurosaki enters a new high school as a transfer student who aims to be a super ultra feminine girl. She intends to fulfill this goal because she is expelled from her former school for being a delinquent. Mafuyu is given another chance to change by her mother as long as she promises never to partake in a fight again. If she does fight again she will be disowned by her family. However, Mafuyu sees a lot of problems with her new school. Being the justice warrior that she is, she enters the public morals club to help the school improve its unruly image.
Mayufu is a former gang leader of her old school, meaning, she can kick other people’s butt in an instant! She is brave and likes to correct everything that is wrong in her surroundings. Because she is like this, she takes on different disguises to avoid getting into trouble. She is absolutely reliable with a simple outlook on life. Mafuyu is absolutely a tomboy, as she is surrounded by boys most of the time. In fact, when she disguises herself as Natsuo, all girls flock to her and even boys tend to follow and idolize her. She does feel insecure about not being girly, but being who she is the cutest side of her. Mafuyu will certainly make your day as she is entertaining and enjoyable to read as a heroine.
3. Kyouko Mogami from Skip Beat!
- Mangaka: Nakamura, Yoshiki
- Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 40+
- Published Date: Feb. 2002 - Ongoing
Kyouko Mogami and Shotaro Fuwa have been childhood friends for the longest time, until she learns that Shotaro has been using her all along. She sacrificed everything for Sho: following him to Tokyo, working multiple jobs to support him, and acting as his “housekeeper” if he is too “busy” being an idol. She is his number one fan... But it all went down the drain when he flirted with his manager and had the guts to call her his personal boring maid. Instead of crying like any other girl with a broken heart, anger is what wells up inside her and she announces to Sho that she will become a bigger star than he is. However, because of her anger towards Sho, she is assigned in the Love Me section where she must learn from scratch what it truly means to become a superstar.
Even though Kyouko is consumed by hatred over Sho, she still retains her friendly and upbeat personality. She is a woman of action and you bet that whatever she tries to do, she will do the best she can to deliver it nicely done. While Kyouko is an intelligent girl, she is also naive to a fault. There have been numerous times that her gullible nature has affected her performance and her decisions, still, she learns from her mistakes thanks to the people who continue to guide her and support her. Kyouko still has a long way to go to be the top idol, nevertheless, with her talent and her hardworking nature, she can be someone that everyone will idolize and appreciate in the future. Actually, readers have been unable to forget about Kyouko because of her amusing and one of a kind personality.
2. Yona from Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Mangaka: Kusanagi, Mizuho
- Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Romance, Shoujo
- Volumes: 24+
- Published Date: Aug. 2009 - Ongoing
Yona is the princess of Kouka Empire and the reincarnation of the red Dragon, King Hiryuu. She is the sole heir of Emperor II who is a pacifist at heart. On her 16th birthday, she sees the murder of her father at the hands of Soo-won, who is her childhood friend as well as her love interest. After knowing the intentions of Soo-won, Yona’s other childhood friend and bodyguard, Son Hak, rescues her and flees from the palace. After much resolution, she decides to gather all four dragon warriors to save the empire from ruin.
From a sheltered princess to a princess warrior, that’s what basically happened to Yona. Her journey is not easy. If you compare her to her older self, the current her seems to be a whole new person. After witnessing the life outside the palace, Yona decides to take her title seriously and help the empire that she grew up in. She has strong convictions which she is ready to fight for. Although she wants what is best for the empire, her views are sometimes far too idealistic. She is still learning in her travels and is willing to listen to the pleas of her people. Yona has to do a lot more before she reclaims her throne, but if the time finally comes, she will be a great queen for sure!
1. Takiko Okuda from Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden
- Mangaka: Watase, Yuu
- Genre: Adventure, Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Shoujo, Gender Bender
- Volumes: 12
- Published Date: Mar. 2003 - Feb. 2013
For shoujo lovers out there, surely you know the Fushigi Yuugi series and its fascinating story about the universe of the four gods. To refresh your memory, the universe of the fours gods is a book which tells the story of a maiden from another world and her quest to gather all of her seven warriors, who are represented by the seven stars that are under a respective god. Once all the stars are gathered, legend says that the maiden can be granted three wishes by the god that she summoned. Genbu Kaiden revolves around the adventures of Takiko Okuda: the priestess of Genbu and the first maiden to get transported inside the book.
Being the first priestess to be inside the book, Takiko had it rougher compared to the other priestesses. Despite her weak and deteriorating body, she knows how to stand alone in a fight and is very intelligent, calm, and perceptive when it comes to turbulent times. Takiko doesn’t rely on others unless it is needed. Usually, others gather around Takiko because she is immensely reliable and trustworthy. Like other heroines on this list, Takiko is selfless and is ready to help those who are in need. She may be dense when it comes to love, but her strong resolve to be a responsible priestess makes her an admirable heroine. Takiko is undeniably the right and perfect heroine to start a whole new legend, and a heroine the that deserves to be in 1st place!
In any other platform, like heroes, heroines can make or break the whole story. That is why it is very important to create a heroine that is worth being remembered and idolized by the fans. We believe that the heroines listed here are loved and appreciated by readers because they are remarkably awesome and great heroines. How about you? Who is your favorite Shoujo manga heroine? Comment on it down below this article! As always, enjoy your stay at Honey’s Anime and we do hope to see you again in the next article. Bye! Now signing off~