It’s a sad unspoken rule that most anime in the world is created with men in mind. If it’s battle shonen or mecha, expect a lot women with large ‘assets’ standing around screaming the protagonist’s name while he fights, and she stays on the side lines. For girls, unless you’re into yaoi or shoujo romance, there aren’t many options. Thankfully, there are a few a few anime out there with great leading female roles that girls of all ages can enjoy! Here’s a list of 10 anime with great stories that are all targeted at a female audience.
1. Ouran Highschool Host Club
An anime list for girls wouldn’t be complete without mentioning this one. Ouran Highschool host club was something new when it first came out. It actively made fun of old romantic shoujo tropes and presented its audience with a heroine that’s completely relatable. She tough, without the muscle and sweet with it being unbearable. This anime definitely had a message or two you want to be giving girls everywhere. I’m just sad there was only 26 episodes!
2. Kiki’s Delivery Service
You’ve probably heard of this Ghibli anime classic. Though it’s from 1989, that doesn’t make Kiki’s story any less relevant or relatable to young girls today. The coming of age story of the young witch Kiki who has to venture out into the world alone for the very first time as part of her witch’s training. Kiki is gullible, optimistic, brave and ambitious as she tries to start up her own delivery business. Though, Kiki isn’t the only strong female character in this anime. Osono, the baker and Ursula the reclusive painter were terrific role models for Kiki and any girl watching.
3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
The second heroine named Haruhi to be on this list! The story of Haruhi Suzumiya is strange and mysterious with dashes of sci-fi and fantasy- and Haruhi has something to say about always being yourself. Do it. ALL the time. For Haruhi, life is too short to be anything other than the best you you can be, and if that means roping a few people into forming an after school club with you then so be it!
4. Azumanga Daioh
I’ll be honest, Azumanga Daioh doesn’t have much in the ways of plot. It’s a true blue episodic comedy anime through and through, with an all-female cast and barely any romance. Because that’s no what this anime is about. Instead the show’s main focus is on the cast, how the interact, and what quirky comedies they can bring out of each scene. First airing in 2002, Azumanga Daioh was well ahead of its time!
5. Fruits Basket
When Fruits Basket first aired, its popularity went through the roof. Which is why, this year, they have re-released a 2019 version of the original story! Out of all the anime on this list, Fruits Basket is the most romance based, with the lovely Tohru suddenly finding herself sharing a house with a bunch of handsome boys. Ok, so it sounds mediocre when it’s put like that, but Fruits Basket is far from your average shoujo romance. As we find out more about the characters, the anime turns into a deep emotional tale full of angsty manipulation and fighting against old family traditions. Trust me. It gets deep. Bring tissues.
6. Sailor Moon
Sailor Moon stands out as the reigning queen of what it means to be a girl’s anime. As the pioneer of what is now known as the magical girl genre, there are hundred of anime today that wouldn’t have been created if it weren’t for Sailor Moon. And what’s not to like? Cool girls in cool costumes fighting monsters? Yes please! Sailor Moon has something that might be called the ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ appeal- for once, the blonde girl doesn’t run to a guy to solve her problems, but defeats the bad guys on her own with the help of her friends.
7. Yuri!! On Ice
This is the only anime on this list that doesn’t have a female protagonist. And for good reason. Recently Yuri! On Ice won an award for being the most influential sports anime of all time because of its homosexual undertones (more like overtones) and incredibly feminine take on what has been an incredibly shounen/male dominated genre. It bent the rules and stepped out of the box to produce something spectacular. That can’t go unrewarded.
8. Card Captor Sakura
Card Captor Sakura was an anime that came out in the 90s, and remained popular nearly two decades later. Enough to provoke the creation of an updated series! And there’s a good reason. Just like Sailor Moon, Sakura was born during the rise of the magical girl genre in anime. And while she was capturing her cards, she managed to capture everyone’s hearts with her sweet school girl lifestyle that was so real and believable.
9. The Cat Returns
The Ghibli anime movie to make this list, the Cat Returns tells the story of an teenage girl called Haru who suddenly gets thrown out of her normal life an whisked away to the Kingdom of Cats. The story holds strong to the wonderful theme of believing in yourself, but the real gem of this anime is that Haru is so unbelievably normal! It might not sound like much of a compliment, but seeing a normal girl get to be the heroine of the story really is a breath of fresh air!
10. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
Both an inspiring coming of age story and a time travel story rolled into one! When Satoko discovers she has the ability to time travel, she tries to use for her own benefits, but realises it can have disastrous consequences. The anime has a strong message about taking things slow and loving and living every minute as they come which is a message that nearly everyone can take something away from.