Anime and manga are gaining popularity all over the world and more and more fans over time, as it should be. Although some people may still think of children’s cartoons when they hear the word anime, they are slowly realizing the full potential of the media. Through anime, a creator can talk about any kind of topic they want. And with new technology always coming, new anime these days have amazing visuals and storytelling to boast about. The possibilities are endless when it comes to anime, which is why there are so many genres.
Shoujo Anime or anime for girls is one of the most popular anime genres, ranking only for shounen these days. These animes usually tell the story of a young girl, her dream and her struggles, her romances or her journey to make new friends and discover more about the world around her. Even though computer graphics over the years have evolved so much, the 90s and 70s had some of the most epic shoujo anime that are nothing but classics. Obviously, these are classics because their original art design, storytelling, and concept have left their mark on the anime industry so much that it would be hard not to give them that status. So, here in this article, we are counting down all the 1990s shoujo anime that any anime fan should never miss!
1. Sailor Moon (1992)
Sailor Moon or Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is a 1992 Japanese superheroine anime. It is based on the theme of several powerful heroines from the Super Sentai series. The anime revolves around Usagi Tsukino, a middle schooler who gets the superpower to be a pretty sailor soldier. She is joined by other Sailor Soldiers, and with them she protects Earth from mass destruction. Sailor Moon was originally supposed to run for only 6 months, but it became so popular that it only ended after 5 years of running. It revolutionized shoujo anime with the concept of the magic soldier and proved once again that good storytelling always wins.
Watch Sailor Moon on Hulu or Amazon.
2. Marmalade Boy (1994)
Miki Koishikawa is a second year in high school and wants to lead a simple life. But her life is turned upside down when her parents decide to divorce and change partners with the Matsuura family. Although at first she doesn’t like the other family’s son Yuu, later the two get along. Now she’s stuck between Yuu and his old crush Ginta Suou while Yuu’s ex-girlfriend becomes his rival. This is a shoujo anime that deals with the emotions of all those people stuck in this situation.
Marmalade Boy has 76 episodes. Watch it on Crunchyroll.
3. Magic Knight Rayearth (1994)
Three eighth-grade girls, Hikaru Shidou, Umi Ryuuzaki, and Fuu Hououji, go on a field trip to Tokyo Tower with their respective ones when they find themselves drawn to another world called Cephiro. Cephiro is influenced by his will, and he is held together by the prayers of the Pillar. The current mainstay is Princess Emerald. And the girls’ task is to rescue her from her captor and high priest, Zagato. The girls then awaken their respective element-based Magical and Runic Gods, who also transform into massive mecha robots.
Magic Knight Rayearth is a unique anime that combines the genres of Issekai, shoujo, and Mecha. There’s action as well as comedy as the three girls complete their missions and discover more about their powers. And the sparkling and vibrant visuals of the anime are to die for. Magic Knight Rayearth has 2 seasons with 49 episodes. Watch it here.
4. Fushigi Yugi (1995)
Here we have another Isekai shoujo anime, Fushigi Yugi, which translates to The Mysterious Game in English. The manga series it is based on is written and illustrated by Yuu Watase. The series revolves around two girls, Miaka and Yui, who are somehow drawn into the world of a novel called “The Universe of the Four Gods” by reading it at the National Diet Library. The book is based on ancient China, but it contains mythological creatures. Yui is brought back almost immediately, but Miaka becomes Suzaku’s priestess there and has to live in this new world. Miaka must gather the Seven Celestial Warriors of the God Suzaku in order to summon Suzaku and obtain the 3 wishes. There’s also the subplot of her falling in love with the warrior Tamahome and having to compete with Yui, who returns to save her but becomes her rival for Tamahome.
Fushigi Yugi has 52 episodes in its original anime adaptation. Watch it on Amazon.
5. Kodomo No Omocha (1996)
Sana is a sixth-grade student with a perfectly happy life. Her mother is a successful author and she is behind a children’s TV show called “Kodomo No Omocha”. The only thing that bothers her is Akito Hayama, a hyperactive boy in her class who is always ready to cause trouble. After seeing Akito’s example, the other boys in his class also start acting. Sana can’t go back anymore. She decides to find out more about him and learns that he’s not just a mean troublemaker. Over time, Sana helps Akito’s family and Akito helps her in her career. This is a good girl meets bad boy shoujo anime that everyone must watch.
Kodomo No Omocha has 102 episodes. Give him a watch.
6. Cardcaptor Sakura (1998)
This can’t be a list of 90s shoujo anime without the mention of Cardcaptor Sakura. The show is extremely adorable, with several action scenes as well. The story revolves around Sakura Kinomoto, who finds magic powers after accidentally setting free magic cards that her father had hidden in his personal library in the real world. Now she must embark on a dangerous but magical journey to collect all those cards in order to save the world she knew. Cardcaptor Sakura has captured the hearts of so many fans from different communities around the world that it is making it a must-watch anime.
The original anime has 70 episodes. Catch it on Netflix.
7. The Boys on the Flowers (1996)
Now, it is a name that is popular not only among anime fans but also among K-drama fans. The anime was based on Yoko Kamio’s “Hana Yori Dango” manga. This is a lighthearted romantic comedy series about Makino Tsukushi, a working-class girl with strong ideals. She gets a scholarship to go to a school for the elite. She wants to lead a simple and hassle-free life. But all of that is turned upside down when she meets Tsukasa Domyoji, the leader of the F4 boys at her school. They’re a bunch of elites among elites, and they’ve put a target on his back.
Boys over Flowers is a story of perseverance and struggle as Tsukushi must constantly struggle against the discriminations and constraints of high society. Over the years, it has generated such excitement that one can find a different version of this anime everywhere one looks.
Watch the original anime on Crunchyroll.
8. Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Any book lover will love watching “Whisper of the Heart.” It is a light-hearted, coming-of-age musical shoujo anime film that revolves around Shizuku Tsukishima, an ardent reader and aspiring author. One summer evening, she goes to check out some books in the library, where she notices that all of her books were last checked by the same boy, Seiji Amasawa. When she first sees him, he makes fun of her self-written song, which puts her in a bad mood. But they later become friends when they both sympathize because of their dreams. Shizuku wants to be a writer, while Seiji wants to become a master luthier. He also has an alter ego that will surely surprise you.
Whisper of the Heart is a romantic comedy movie with a typical boy-meets-girl trope but done so beautifully. Watch the movie on Netflix.
9. Gokinjo Monogatari (1995)
Gokinjo Monogatari is a slice of life, romance anime based on the manga by Ai Yazawa. As respected with Yazawa’s designs, this is the story of Kouda Mikako, a young fashion student with big goals. Yamaguchi Tsutomu is a very handsome boy, and he lives right next to Mikako. The two are childhood friends who grow up together, from adolescence to adulthood. She falls in love with him as he slowly matures. Gokinjo Monogatari is the story of their romance as well as Koudo’s daily struggles as a student.
10. Escaflowne’s Vision (1996)
Escaflowne’s Vision is a fantasy, Isekai, mecha, romance series created by Shōji Kawamori. The plot centers on Hitomi Kanzaki, a 15-year-old girl who practices tarot card reading. But when a boy named Van appears at her high school fighting a dragon, she is dragged to another planet called Gaea. Van turns out to be the king of the country of Fanelia. Her life is forever changed when she is caught up in a war in this new world. Zaibach’s evil empire wants to take over the planet. Hitomi must now use her powers of divination to awaken Escaflowne in order to defeat the Zaibach Empire.
The anime has 26 episodes, and it has everything a shoujo fan or a mecha fan can love. Definitely give him a watch.
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