Christmas has come and gone again but I still keep thinking about it. It is my favorite time of year for various reasons but there is one tradition I’ve stuck to over the past few years: I am reading nothing but shoujo manga. It’s the perfect mix, don’t you think? Christmas is about love, being cozy, and warm and the perfect time to indulge yourself in all the heart-throb shoujo stories that leave you with an irreplaceable happiness. Especially when you are reading a shoujo that has a satisfying end because there’s nothing more disappointing than an ending you didn’t expect.
I’ve been there, fellow shoujo lovers, and that’s why I’m bringing you five cute shoujo titles that will bring all the satisfaction and none of the disappointment.
Kitchen Princess (2004)
Story: Miyuki Kobayashi
Art: Natsumi Ando
Orphan girl Najika Kazami attends Seika Academy to pursue her chef dream and find her ‘flan prince’. In her childhood a young boy saved Najika from almost drowning and the only object she has of this event is a spoon with ‘Seika Academy’ engraved on the back. Nothing comes easy for Najika attending this prestigious academy but things change when she meets brothers Sora and Daichi.
Kitchen Princess is a truly cute series about cooking and romance that follows Najika’s passion for food. Najika in a first glance may look like a weak protagonist but quickly you’ll see she is a total sweetie. The coolest thing about this manga is at the back of each volume: the food recipes that are featured in the story. You can have a go at trying to make the food yourself and that is pretty cool.
What surprised me about Kitchen Princess during my first read were the different twists in the plot. Everything will seem to be going at a good pace in the beginning but then things divert unexpectedly, which left me hooked. Every re-read from the first time has always left me satisfied. It is an adoring shoujo with surprises, cute romance, and great food that leaves you hungry.
Story: Yuu Watase
Yuu Watase, best known for such titles Fushigi Yugi and Ayashi No Ceres, is one of my favorite manga authors. Imadoki is a short 5 volume series focusing on Yamazaki Tanpopo who has just moved to Tokyo to start a fresh life for herself by attending Meio Academy. Tanpopo is not used to things but when meeting Kouki and starting up the planting club, Tanpopo’s life changes vastly.
Imadoki is a quick short read that is cute and satisfying. It’s a title I’ve re-read many times over the years and a personal favorite. For such a short title the characters are really solid and easily likable. Tanpopo is a strong protagonist and holds her own, like Najika from Kitchen Princess. The bond Tanapopo builds with the group she befriends from meeting through the planting club is endearing; it is an odd array of individuals. Chemistry between Tanapopo and Kouki is purely sweet and you’ll be rooting for the pair. This short series does its job right and gives you a fitting ending. It is a dear favorite I always come back to.
Shooting Daytime Star (2011)
Story: Mika Yamamori
Japanese Title: Hirunaka no Ryuusei
Suzume’s parents move to Bangladesh because of work but Suzumε is sent to live with her uncle in Tokyo. Before arriving at her uncle’s, Suzume gets lost and encounters a man who aids her in the right direction. At first day at Suzume’s new school, she finds that the man was her homeroom teacher. First year of highschool for Suzume is full of many new experiences.
Shooting Daytime Star was an unexpected, enjoyable read. It’s a relatable ride following the trials of high school. Suzume is an introvert girl who knows next nothing about love. How the series handles Suzume falling for her homeroom teacher Satsuki was done really well. The whole idea of a relationship between student and teacher is always labeled in a bad light but Satsuki and Suzume’s was put in a positive light, representing the mistakes and things you’ll do in high school. This was a massive surprise to me, how the series handled this, and made me love this manga even more.
The romance element is really sweet and surprisingly fulfilling, even when it came to the love triangle because initially my thoughts were that this series would not end on a satisfying note, but it did. Shooting Daytime Star is an innocent story about youth and the many mistakes that come with it because of love and friendship.
Story: Moe Yukimaru
After an unfortunate accident that led her to miss a whole year of school, Hiyori, an extremely shy girl starts again as a high school freshman. Hiyori goes through the high school motions of dating, friendships and it’s all so new to her. She wants to stay in the background, but she is already catching the attention of a popular hottie, Yuushin.
Hiyoki is a perfect read for any shoujo lover. It was down right sweet and adorable. Main protagonist Hiyori is the shyest girl who has no gumption or backbone; she just wishes to stay invisible. Her slow transformation going from timid to becoming more vocal is so sweet. Hiyori is just such a sweet soul and the experiences she goes through will feel relatable to any reader. The rest of the characters are very likeable, but what’s really great about this series is the pacing of Yusshin (Hiyori’s love interest) and Hiyori’s relationship. Everything flows naturally and is beyond satisfying when it comes to the transition from being friends to dating.
There is nothing more than Hiyokoi will give you is sweetness overload. But, in a good way, shoujo fans!
Kare First Love (2002)
Story & Art By: Kaho Miyasaka
High schooler Karin is a girl with no dreams or aspirations and does nothing but study. Wishing to remain unnoticed in life does not last long when she meets Kiriya, whom she mistakes for a pervert. Kiriya takes an interest in Karin, which eventually pushes the two to start dating, but their relationship has some trials for the two to overcome.
Kare First Love is my favorite shoujo of all time. It’s the one I’ve come back to over the years. Every reread has always left me with the same feeling of satisfaction as the first time. Following Karin and Kiriya’s relationship includes some typical shoujo tropes but everything is staged is well. Tropes such as past loves, new rivals, doesn’t feel like it’s thrown in there for the sake of it, fitting in progression in Kiriya and Karin’s relationship. From the beginning Karin and Kiriya are an imperfect couple which is what made me fall in love with this series.
Both of them have equal flaws: Karin’s lack of confidence, Kiriya’s refusal to get past certain events. How the two help one another overcome their imperfections is so adorable and impactful. The handling of the shoujo tropes we know are dealt with brilliantly in Kare First Love, making for the most satisfying indulging read.
All The Shoujo Love
From one shoujo lover to another, I believe that these 5 shoujo titles will leave with the one satisfaction you possibly have been craving for ages: to have a HAPPY ENDING, which is all we shoujo lovers want all the time practically. Get cozy and indulge yourself into the happiness that is shoujo land and feel all the love from these manga titles.
Let us know in the comments what are some shoujo titles you like to read and don’t forget to check out our other recommendation titles if you need more anime suggestions.