21 Best Josei Anime of All Time [Updated 2021]

Josei Anime

Josei anime, where should we begin? 

This genre is a mature version of shoujo. 

The josei genre is not about sleeving anime in a skirt and having a lot of fun.

It can be more serious and show some character development.

This genre is aimed at adult women and often contains romance, sentimentality, personal development, and little fighting.

These anime have more to offer than just arch-enemies or top bosses to defeat.

They also provide “the feelings!” 

Here are our top ten josei anime picks for 2021.

Anyone can enjoy josei anime!

Imagine a young girl growing up in a Shoujo anime.

This is the anime about love and high school that was created for her. 

Imagine her now, all grown up, looking for a mature outlook on life. That’s josei anime.

What is the Josei anime?

Josei is not a genre but a description for an audience.

This book is for older women in their 30s and 40s who are looking for a mature approach to serious issues. 

Josei often addresses themes that shoujo may only briefly consider (or ignore altogether), such as the realities of relationships and drug abuse, as well as other serious issues. 

The josei anime, on the other hand, focuses more on everyday topics and is more mature.

There are many ways to make money.

There are many josei, but not all of them can be classified…

Because they don’t have female protagonists, some anime are not considered josei. 

Others are considered to be more popular genres, like action/adventure or shoujo.

However, just because an anime has action doesn’t make it a josei. 

The josei tag is only applied to a few anime. This leaves out many other great options. 

You can determine if an anime has a josei tag by looking at the following: Regardless of what anime genre, if it appeals more to women than girls or teens, it is a josei.

No matter your age or gender, you can still enjoy josei anime! These anime are sure to make you laugh.

21. Petshop of Horrors

Petshop of Horrors

We mentioned that josei isn’t a genre. 

It shouldn’t be surprising that we have a horror josei on our list. 

This anime is about an animal shop that isn’t what it appears to be. 

If you look deeper, you will find commentary about the nature of humans and the darkness within each one.

20. Code: Realize – Sousei no Himegimi (Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~)

Code: Realize – Sousei no Himegimi

Cardio Beckford, a lonely woman living in a mansion alone, looks like a doll and is considered a monster. 

One day, the military takes her away and she is escorted out of the house. Cardia is taken from her hostages! 

Arsene Lupin is a famous gentleman thief. Cardia then goes to a home full of handsome men in an attempt to save her from the government. 

But why would they want her? This mystery unravels. 

Cardia’s puzzled memories and fragmented memories make it difficult for her to find her father.

Code: Realize is an animated game based on a popular Otome game.

However, the animators did a fantastic job of bringing it to life! 

Although there is not much humour, the sweet story of Cardia discovering how to live with others and learning that her wish to touch another person without killing herself is quite touching. 

The setting is a steampunk Victorian England. 

Code: Realize is a great place to find a reverse harem, and a woman with a mysterious past!

19. Ristorante Paradiso

Ristorante Paradiso

Beginning as a plot against a family restaurant, it ends in a series of wonderful experiences at Ristorante Paradiso

This anime is different from other animes.

It transcends the typical Japanese or European settings to live in the bustling streets and cities of Italy. 

The setting is just as important as the characters, and the stunning artwork only adds to the unique story. 

The series follows the protagonist as he forms bonds with others and finally finds a place in the world. 

Ristorante Paradiso offers a refreshing break from the usual high school anime cast.

18. Gokusen

Gokusen

This is a familiar story: A teacher who’s new takes on a class full of misfits.

Everyone learns and grows from it. 

Except in Gokusen, the teacher is the granddaughter of a powerful Yakuza leader. 

This series shows what happens when an abusive female teacher tries to teach wild young boys that the pen can be more powerful than the sword. 

You’d expect it to be exactly as you expected, but there is more.

17. ORANGE

ORANGE

Naho Takamiya received a mysterious letter on her first day at high school. It’s by Naho Takamiya, ten years into the future. 

Although Naho isn’t sure if she believes it or not, she feels more inclined to believe it after seeing a few of the things in the letter. 

The note continues to discuss the regret future-Naho feels and recommends keeping an eye on any new transfer students. 

Naho uses this information to help her avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

This includes saving a student who has committed suicide in the future.

The story is beautifully animated and has been a huge hit since its 2016 release.

Movie production was also granted to complete the story. 

The manga that preceded anime is also popular and well worth reading. 

Can Naho change the future by looking back at the past? 

This series is the best way to find out!

16. Omoide Poroporo (Only Yesterday)

Omoide Poroporo

Studio Ghibli is well-known for making family-friendly, whimsical films.

However, the studio also produces mature anime. 

Only yesterday was one of these. 

This film tells the story of a young woman who sees her childhood through her adult eyes. 

It’s as beautiful and touching as one would expect from a Ghibli movie.

15. No. 6

No. 6

An action anime about two boys, Nezumi & Shion, set in a seemingly Utopic future. 

Although some people might find the lack of story development and loose ends in the finale to be disappointing, there are still many good things to be found in this anime. 

Even though the anime plays the entire thing quite detachedly, we are still deeply involved in the fates of the main characters.

The series is only 11 episodes long, so we don’t need to wait too long to see what happens.

14. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Kakuriyo: Bed and Breakfast for Spirits)

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi

Next is Kakuriyo, a Bed and Breakfast for the Spirits. 

Aoi Tsubaki can see ayakashi where others can’t. 

Her grandfather taught her how to cook and get along with people as a child. 

Aoi’s grandfather died years later, and Aoi is now navigating college on her own. Aoi provides her food to an ayakashi who passes by. 

Aoi is then taken to the Hidden Realm, where the passerby, Ayakashi, was an Ogre-God. 

Aoi discovers that her grandfather promised her as collateral. 

Aoi decides to pay the debt off by opening a small restaurant in the Hidden Realm.

Aoi’s warm and heartfelt cooking has a huge impact on everyone who visits her.

She slowly learned that her grandfather was a keen cook and that he always wanted food that was similar to an ayakashi’s taste. 

Aoi also works on personal topics. 

Kakuriyo is bringing back mysterious memories of an ayakashi that she had in her youth. 

The Josei romance is a slice of life and slowly grows on you. 

There are many cute ayakashi boys to enjoy!

13. Michiko to Hatchin

 Michiko to Hatchin

The anime’s unusual plot and unique cast of characters are just part of its charm. 

This is Sayo Yamamoto’s directorial debut.

It gives us a glimpse of her future work and a thesis about how to make great anime. 

Michiko Hatchin is stylish without being distracting and different without losing the fundamentals of great storytelling.

It’s partly about a woman who sets out to find a man she can trust.

12. Hakuouki (Hakuoki Demon of the Fleeting Blossom)

Hakuouki

Chizuru’s father has not returned after months of waiting. 

Chizuru decides she has waited too long and leaves her home to search for him. 

Strangely, her troubles with ronin lead to another danger. 

The Shinsengumi intervene and Chizuru’s life is saved. However, she is also a witness and is taken to their compound by her father, Koudou. 

They are also looking for her father, Koudou. Therefore, it is decided that Chizuru will remain with them during the search.

Although this title is older, who doesn’t like an anime set in Japan’s Edo period? 

Chizuru transforms from being a prisoner bound and gagged whose life can be seen as a liability, to being a single protected woman living in the Shinsengumi compound dressed as a man. 

She is surrounded by Shinsengumi members who are Japanese historical figures of very different personalities. 

An unknown foe has information about Chizuru’s father, and the Shinsengumi that she learns about seem to keep a lot for their own good.

11. Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss

Paradise Kiss, a high school anime, is often overlooked for being a shoujo manga

This series focuses on more serious matters than just a boy and girl falling in love. 

This anime is a strong entry into high school anime.

The conflicts, relationships, and personalities feel more like real life than typical shoujo fare.

10. Aggressive Retsuko (ONA) (Aggretsuko)

Aggressive Retsuko

Are you tired of office politics making it easy to scream at people? 

Retsuko can help you do exactly that with Aggressive Retsuko. 

This overworked office girl has not been whisked away to some magical land, unlike other choices on this list. She couldn’t return. 

Retsuko expresses her office anger by singing along to her favourite karaoke bars.

Retsuko is the main character.

She tries to balance her work life with singing and performing in public. 

The original series was released online but was so popular, Netflix bought it. 

Retsuko, a red panda, is one of the characters. 

Retsuko, Aggrestuko: Rock out and let some metal soothe your soul!

9. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)

Hachimitsu to Clover

Let’s say you have six people who are very different.

Now, imagine them all in one apartment and watch how it unfolds. 

Honey and Clover tell the story of complicated and real relationships between individuals. 

The anime tackles difficult topics head-on.

These include love and loss, finding your way in the world, and when to let it go. 

Rarely is there a romance josei anime without pandering or fan service to please viewers.

8. Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu (The Saint’s Magic Power is Omnipotent)

Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou Desu

Sei is taken to another dimension, which is completely different from her home. 

Overworked desk jockey Sei finds herself in a world that uses magic rather than technology. 

She can’t go back to her homeworld, but the country she lives in will pay for her education and provide a comfortable lifestyle due to the unjust nature of summoning. 

Sei soon discovers that magic is also available in this new world and that her talents extend to many other areas.

The story of Sei, who learns to use her magic to create useful things and then slowly teaches herself what it means to become omnipotent using her magic. 

Sei can use her powers to help others, whether she’s cooking or potion-making. 

Watch The Saint’s Magic Power Is Omnipotent to see a love story with lots of self-discovery and romance in a new setting.

7. Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)

Kuragehime

Tsukimi Kurashita lives in a small community with five other otaku women.

They are all unemployed and somewhat isolated from the rest of society. 

Tsukimi and a more confident woman rescue a jellyfish from a pet shop and become fast friends. 

The “more confident” woman is actually a college student who has excellent cross-dressing skills. 

Tsumiki quickly bonds with her new friend, and Tsumiki begins to break out of her shell to begin taking small steps toward a more social lifestyle.

Princess Jellyfish is a fairy tale about a princess with a unique setting that focuses on a less-known part of Japanese culture. 

Tsumiki’s roommates, NEET otaku who don’t go out often and don’t encourage Tsumiki to get out more, are her NEET roommates. 

Tsumiki’s new friend helps her get out of bed, and she soon becomes a better walker. 

Princess Jellyfish is an adorable series with a quirky main character that you’ll love!

6. Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru! This list includes the heavyweight champion of josei. 

Chihayafuru may be great, but it’s been around for quite some time. 

It is a title that josei fans know well, so it’s not surprising that this title is far from the top.

Chihaya Ayase fell in love with karuta as a child, playing with her friends. 

Although she has lived apart from her friends for many years,

Chihaya still has the desire and drive to create a high school team of karuta players that can compete nationally.

Chihaya will be the character that you cheer for. 

The animation and characters Chihaya faces will be a delight! 

Chihayafuru is a must-see if you haven’t already. You’ll love it.

5. Nana

Nana

Nana, often mislabelled as shoujo, is unquestionably a josei for its realistic view of relationships, heartbreak, and friendship, surrounded by an all-encompassing musical theme. 

Despite their vast differences, the two main characters in this series (both called Nana) are drawn together. 

They navigate their lives, relationships, and all the other challenges that come with being a young woman on her own. 

This josei anime is a hit with both women and men everywhere thanks to its punk/rock musical undertones.

4. Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop)

Usagi Drop

Remember how we said that Josei does not necessarily have to be a star woman? 

Usagi Drop shows this perfectly. 

This anime is about a man in his 30s taking on the responsibility of raising a girl. 

It explores both the joys and the hardships of parenting and the relationship that they share. 

Its raw emotions, mature view of family bonds, and mature outlook make it one of the most popular josei anime.

3. Fruits Basket

Fruits Basket

Tooru Honda is the epitome of happiness.

You would be hard-pressed to believe that she was not happy in her daily life. 

Tooru’s classmate is walking home one day when he notices that she has returned from work to sleep in a tent. 

Tooru is given a place to sleep by his classmates and his cousin, but they also have their own problems. 

In reality, the curse has been placed on the Souma family. 

Although the curse is still in effect.

Josei anime often features characters older than high school. 

However, many more mature themes are addressed, including loss and challenging family structures. 

You are constantly kept guessing by the drama and dark undertones.

And the subtle bonding that occurs in everyday life can lead to significant relationships.

2. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

Shouwa Genroku’s delicate, thoughtful story is a refreshing breath of air for anime fans. 

The story of two friends and their struggles is told against the background of ‘Rakugo,’ a traditional Japanese form of entertainment. 

It is intimate and touching, yet also emotional and ambitious.

The story spans several decades.

1. Yuri!!! on Ice

Yuri!!! on Ice

Amazing animation. 

You can check it out. 

Fan service for females?

Check. 

Simple yet engaging story?

Check. 

Sayo Yamamoto?

Check.

The surprise breakout hit of the Fall 2016 season was about male ice-skating. 

Director Sayo Yamomoto has been quietly kicking ass for a while now, most recently breathing life into the struggling franchise Lupin III. 

She escaped the cheap thrills of Conan crossovers as well as the diminishing returns of uninspiring TV specials and gave Lupin fans the mature and beautiful Mine Fujiko To Iu Onna.

Yuri! On Ice expands her vision and seems destined to become mainstream. 

Fan service is there, but it’s handled with care and takes a backseat to everything else on the show. 

This is a must-see.

The josei genre can provide you with a variety of protagonists. 

We have updated this list a few times and considered that.

However, scroll down for more great recommendations, even though some of the production years are older. 

These titles are worth a look. 

Which title are you looking at? 

Did you think we should have included another title? 

Please let us know what you think in the comments.

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