7 Shojo Manga to Read Right Now

Reading Time: 6 minutes

shojo manga

Shojo is a demographic of manga and anime aimed towards younger female audiences, usually identified from the ages of 12 to 18. While there are certain tropes found throughout them, including the frustrating “why won’t they kiss when the covers are so steamy” trope, shojo manga contains, for lack of a better word, multitudes. From slice-of-life romances happening in high schools and European fantasy stories to supernatural stories about awakening powers and more, shojo manga are vibrant even if they don’t get as much recognition in the West as shonen.

To highlight the diversity of genre and storytelling, I wanted to put together this shojo manga list that encapsulates some of my favorite manga. While you could say that all the shojo on this list feature romances of sorts, they also feature different dynamics such as age, class, coming-of-age, PTSD, and, in one case, the weight of carrying the future of a kingdom on your back.

Prince Freya

Prince Freya

Mangaka: Keiko Ishihara
Number of Volumes in English: 3
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)

Freya thinks of herself as a simple village girl, but her idyllic life is shattered when she is caught up in the aftermath of a treacherous Sigurdian plot. She bears a striking resemblance to her country’s beloved Prince Edvard, who lays dying from poison. Without its ruler, all of Tyr will quickly be engulfed by Sigurdian violence. Now Freya must take Prince Edvard’s place and lead his valiant knights in defending the realm.

Prince Freya is a fantasy series that directly deals with grief, anger, and surviving for responsibility when you want to just break down. With action and a hint of romance, it deserves a spot on any list.  Buy here.

Queen’s Quality

Queen's Quality Volume 9 

Mangaka: Kyousuke Motomi
Number of Volumes in English: 10
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)

Fumi Nishioka lives with Kyutaro Horikita and his family of “Sweepers,” people who specialize in cleaning the minds of those overcome by negative energy and harmful spirits. Fumi has always displayed mysterious abilities, but will those powers be used for evil when she begins to truly awaken as a Queen? As Fumi’s dangerous new powers blossom, Kyutaro might be the only one who can help her keep them under control. Then, when Kyutaro tells Fumi that he’ll never leave her side, she unexpectedly starts to fall for him.

Queen’s Quality is a sequel series to QQ Sweeper and features beautiful artwork that leans into darkness and balances that with the wholesome nature of Fumi and Kyutaro’s relationship. Supernatural action and a kiss in volume 9? Make sure to pick it up! Buy here.

Living-Room Matsunaga-san 

shojo manga

Mangaka: Keiko Iwashita
Number of Volumes in English: 8
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA

Living-Room Matsunaga-san is a romantic manga starring a high school girl who learns to live on her own, win at high school, and experience first love—all in a boarding house whose living room is home to the odd (but handsome) Matsunaga-san. After her parents leave to care for her ailing grandmother, high-schooler Miko “Meeko” Sonoda moves into her uncle’s boarding house. There, she meets its rather unusual residents, including the oldest of the bunch: the grumpy mother hen, Matsunaga-san. With the help of her housemates, Meeko begins to adjust to her new life away from her parents. But she soon learns that no matter how far away from home she is, she’s still a young girl at heart, especially when she finds herself falling for Matsunaga-san.

Falling in love with an older guy isn’t always handled well in manga. That said, Living-Room Matsunaga-san does a good job of being cognizant of the problematic nature of age gaps. Buy Here.

Not Your Idol

Not Your Idol Volume 2

Mangaka: Aoi Makino
Number of Volumes in English: 2
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)

Not Your Idol is a psychological suspense series about Nina, a former idol in the group Pure Club. In the wake of an assault, Nina Kamiyama shuns her femininity and starts dressing as a boy. At high school, she keeps to herself but fellow student Hikaru Horiuchi realizes who she is. What secrets is she keeping? The shocking drama starts.

Not Your Idol directly confronts rape culture and leads a tough conversation about the toll sexual assault can take. While this series comes with a trigger warning, it is one that demonstrates nuance in portraying the depth of discussions around harassment, physical boundaries, and how survivors feel after the trauma. Buy Here.

Shortcake Cake

Shortcake Cake Volume 9

Mangaka: Suu Morishita
Number of Volumes in English: 10
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)

When Ten Serizawa moves out of her parents’ home in the mountains to live in a boardinghouse, she finds herself becoming fast friends with her male roommates. But can love and romance be far behind? Ten has a two-hour commute through the mountains to high school every day so she can’t spend much time hanging out with her friends in the afternoon. She decides to move into the local boardinghouse, where one of her friends and three other boys are living. Ten’s friends consider her to be as oblivious as a rock when it comes to noticing boys and falling in love, but will she be able to keep her calm and steady heart in her new living situation?

Shortcake Cake is a slice of life romance that has done a good job of showcasing the uncertainty of young love. But, more importantly, the friendships in this manga hold much of the narrative weight which allows for a dynamic story. Buy here.

You Got Me, Sempai!

shojo manga

Mangaka: Azusa Mase
Number of Volumes in English: 9
Publisher: Kodansha Comics USA

Serina arrives at school one day to discover her desk has been vandalized—someone’s scratched the lyrics to a love song in it… and that someone turns out to be Mizukawa-sempai, a boy who’s one year her senior. She wants to get to know him better, but if his frosty demeanor is any indication, she doesn’t have a chance. But it seems he might be awkward—not simply mean—and before she knows it, she’s asking him out! With each passing day, her heart races a little faster.

You Got Me, Sempai! is one of the most wonderful shojo romances I’ve ever read. We grow up with the characters—with their intimacy, with their insecurities—and we feel the weight of young love in every volume. Buy here.

Snow White with the Red Hair

Snow White With the Red Hair Volume 10

Mangaka: Sorata Akiduki
Number of Volumes in English: 10
Publisher: VIZ Media (Shojo Beat)

Shirayuki is an herbalist famous for her naturally bright-red hair, and the prince of Tanbarun wants her all to himself. Unwilling to become the prince’s possession, she seeks shelter in the woods of the neighboring kingdom where she gains an unlikely ally: the prince of that kingdom. He rescues her from her plight and thus begins the love story between a lovestruck prince and an unusual herbalist.

Snow White with the Red Hair is just fairy-tale fun, with one of my favorite shojo heroines right now. Buy here.

Shojo manga is filled with titles that are definitely worth picking up. While it doesn’t get as much love as shonen, this demographic of manga is filled with stories that offer up romance, growth, and hard conversations. So pick a place to start and jump into shojo.

Summaries for Shojo Manga to Read Right Now are taken from the series’ Amazon Product pages.

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