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The Shoujo Anime that Stole Hearts in the 90s

There’s no doubt about it, some of the best anime of all time are shoujo. And the 90s saw some of the best shojo anime of all time.

So if you enjoy the 90s anime aesthetic with a bit of sweetness, you’re in luck!

Below is a list of some of the best shojo anime released in the 90s along with a little extra info for those wondering what shoujo anime even is.

What is Shoujo Anime?

Shoujo is a demographic that includes pre-teen and young teenage girls. So shoujo anime or manga is specifically written or created in a way that appeals to a young female demographic.

To further clarify, there are five total general anime and manga demographics:

  • Kodomo – children under 10
  • Shoujo – teenage girls
  • Shounen – teenage boys
  • Josei – young adult women
  • Seinen – young adult men

Various anime genres cover these demographics, which can confuse things.

So shojo anime can include fantasy, action, adventure, sports, slice of life, and just about any other genre you can imagine. The key variable is that shojo anime typically centers around the life and interpersonal relationships of a young female protagonist.

And if you are not a young girl, that doesn’t mean you can’t watch and enjoy shoujo anime. Because plenty of shojo options are enjoyable for people of all ages.

If you’d like to read more on this, be sure to read our ultimate guide on anime demographics and genres!

Best Shoujo Anime of the 90s

“Best” is always subjective and often conflated with “popular.” But, in any case, if you’re looking to scratch the surface of 90s shojo anime, then this is a good place to start!

11. Please Save My Earth

Alice spies through the flowers
Boku no Chikyuu wo Mamotte – 1993 to 1994

High Schooler Alice Sakaguchi has been having dreams of another life as a scientist on the moon. She is not alone, however, as her 7-year-old neighbor and a handful of classmates have similar dreams.

As the show progresses, Alice and the others begin to unravel the secret of these alternate lives through the discovery of tragedy and inner struggle.

10. Chibi Maruko-Chan

momoko smiles
Chibi Maruko-chan – 1990 to 1992

Small-town elementary student Momoko Sakura enjoys spending her days with her family, friends, and classmates. If you’re looking for a heart-warming and episodic experience, this is where you should start!

9. Mysterious Play (Fushigi Yuugi)

mysterious play
Fushigi Yuugi – 1995 to 1996

Fushigi Yuugi is a 90s isekai with a mix of romance and adventure. This show is about a couple of friends who are transported to a mysterious world after opening a book found in a library.

One of the friends is eventually transported back and can only read of her friend’s travels as she searches for her way home.

8. Boys Over Flowers

Makino 90s aesthetic
Hana yori Dango – 1996 to 1997

Boys Over Flowers has been adapted into multiple live-action series in Japan, Korea, China, and Indonesia. The story is incredibly popular, and the anime does not disappoint.

Makino Tsukushi is a girl from a poor family who finds herself at odds with the notorious group of handsome rich boys known as F4. After a while, she finds herself in a love triangle that will forever change her life.

Boys Over Flowers is also one of the top romantic anime of the 90s!

7. My Daddy Long Legs

Sad Judy Abbott
Watashi no Ashinaga Ojisan – 1990

Based on a classic American novel, My Daddy Long Legs tells the story of a poor orphan girl who is blessed with a scholarship to a prestigious school by a mysterious benefactor.

In exchange, the girl writes letters detailing her school experience to this generous donor who she affectionately refers to as “Daddy Long Legs.”

6. Brother, Dear Brother

Nanako cries
Oniisama e… – 1990 to 1991

Nanako Misonoo begins life at the prestigious all-girls Seiran Academy, and soon after she finds herself at odds with jealous classmates who bully and sabotage her social standing with cruel rumors.

To cope with the difficulties of school life, Nanako writes letters to an old teacher.

Dear Brother is one of the only yuri anime of the 90s.

5. Kodocha

Kadocha in the car
Kodomo no Omocha – 1996 to 1998

Kodocha weighs in at a heft 102 episodes; a long run for any series. However, sitting through an entire viewing is totally worth it.

The show follows Kodocha as she balances her life as a child actress with an attempt to maintain a normal life by attending a regular school.

4. Cardcaptor Sakura

sakura discovers her powers
Cardcaptor Sakura – 1998 to 2000

Cardcaptor Sakura is one of the top magical girl anime of the 90s and released late in the decade. This was the peak of traditional cel animation, and the beautiful visuals and quality art style reflect the best of the era.

Sakura is a 10-year-old girl who unwittingly releases magical cards throughout the world. After unlocking her secret abilities, she sets out to collect the cards and restore order.

3. Revolutionary Girl Utena

utena at the gates
Shoujo Kakumei Utena – 1997

Revolutionary Girl Utena is an avant-garde magical girl anime with a protagonist who has vowed to become a prince.

At her new school, she soon finds herself at odds with a member of the school council which ultimately leads to a duel. After Utena secures her victory, she discovers that she has only started to unravel the secrets of the “End of the World.”

2. Sailor Moon

sailor moon
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon – 1992 to 1993

Sailor Moon being on this list is no surprise. This is perhaps the definitive shoujo anime of the era. And the show has maintained a level of popularity throughout the decades that cemented it as a fixture of pop culture.

1. Whisper of the Heart

The baron and shizuku
Mimi wo Sumaseba – 1995

This is a classic Studio Ghibli coming of age story about a young girl dealing with the complexities of family, school, and a blossoming romance.

The Baron, as he is known, was later featured in another Ghibli classic, The Cat Returns.

One last note; is it shoujo or shojo? The answer is, that they mean the same thing and are both correct.


Rowegn became an anime fan in the early 90s after renting Akira on VHS. The experience completely changed how he viewed animation as a medium and he has since logged thousands of hours watching anime. Despite his love for all anime both classic and modern, 90s anime will always be near and dear.

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