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11 Best Josei Anime Series Of All Time

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Yuri!!! On Ice

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Yuri!!! On Ice anime series. Image credits.

Yuri on Ice is an anime series centered around Yuri Katsuki, a Japanese figure skater who is disheartened by his poor performance at the Grand Prix Final event. He receives coaching from Victor Nikiforov, a renowned Russian skater. Victor helps Yuri after seeing a video of him attempting to replicate one of his moves from the event.

This anime is a popular josei series that primarily revolves around the sport of figure skating. It focuses on a diverse range of characters, each with their own personalities, backstories, motivations, self-love, and character development throughout the series. The show beautifully portrays the struggles of an artist and features a positive representation of a same-sex relationship between the main characters, Yuuri Katsuki and Victor Nikiforov, a rarity in today’s shows. Its unique art style and graphics make it a refreshing watch.

  • Aired: October 6, 2016 – December 22, 2016
  • Duration: 12 episodes
  • Genre: Sports, Drama, Romance
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū

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Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū anime series.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu is an anime series based on a manga of the same name by Haruko Kumota. The story delves into two generations of rakugo performers known for traditional Japanese comedic storytelling. The first season follows Yotarou, a former yakuza member who becomes the apprentice of Yakumo, a revered rakugo master. Yakumo recounts his past as Kikuhiko and his friendship and rivalry with another rakugo performer, Sukeroku. The second season focuses on Yotarou’s rakugo career and his relationship with Konatsu, Sukeroku’s daughter.

The series explores the art, history, and personal lives of rakugo performers, capturing the changing times and culture of Japan. It beautifully presents complex emotions arising from love, friendship, ambition, and tradition. The show also features nostalgic music that adds to its appeal.

  • Aired: January 9, 2016 – April 2, 2016
  • Duration: 2 seasons, 25 episodes total
  • Genre: Drama
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop)

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Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop) anime series. Image series.

Usagi Drop is an underrated josei anime. The story follows Daikichi Kawachi, a 30-year-old bachelor who decides to adopt Rin, the six-year-old illegitimate daughter of his late grandfather. As they adjust to their new life as a family, they learn to understand each other and grow together.

This heartwarming plot explores the meaning of family, parenthood, and love. The series beautifully portrays the characters’ challenges and how they overcome personal and professional dilemmas as a family. It provides a refreshing slice-of-life experience with aesthetic graphics and pleasing music.

  • Aired: July 8, 2011 – September 16, 2011
  • Duration: 11 episodes
  • Genre: Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Nana

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Nana anime series. Image credits.

Nana is a popular anime series that creatively depicts the josei genre. The story revolves around two young women with the same name, Nana, but with distinct personalities and life goals. They meet by chance on a train to Tokyo and end up sharing an apartment.

Nana skillfully showcases romance, family, work, and social issues relevant to women in their 20s and 30s. It explores the balance between independence and interdependence, individuality and conformity. This anime is a must-watch for josei fans.

  • Aired: April 5, 2006 – March 28, 2007
  • Duration: 47 episodes
  • Genre: Drama, Music, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: R+ – Mild Nudity
    • (Note: This anime may have more mature content and is not suitable for younger viewers)

Chihayafuru

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Chihayafuru anime series. Image credits.

Chihayafuru revolves around the competitive sport of karuta, a card game based on classical Japanese poetry. The protagonist is Chihaya Ayase, determined to become Japan’s best karuta player. Along the way, she befriends Arata Wataya, a prodigy from the countryside, and Taichi Mashima, her childhood friend and rival.

The show focuses on the characters’ emotions and backstories rather than solely on karuta. Its unique subject matter showcases a traditional aspect of Japan rarely seen in anime.

  • Aired: October 5, 2011 – March 28, 2012 (Season 1)
  • Duration: 25 episodes (Season 1)
  • Genre: Drama, Game, Sports
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)

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Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish) anime series. Image credits.

Kuragehime is a delightful and colorful josei anime. The story follows a group of otaku women residing in a female-only apartment building called Amamizukan. These women are passionate about various hobbies, such as jellyfish, trains, dolls, and old men. Their lives take a turn when they meet Kuranosuke Koibuchi, a cross-dressing son of a politician. Kuranosuke helps them embrace their interests and navigate real-life challenges while staying true to themselves.

The show offers moments of humor and features beautiful, vibrant graphics that are a rarity in josei anime. If you’re seeking a heartwarming josei anime with a dose of comedy, “Kuragehime” is an excellent choice.

  • Aired: October 15, 2010 – December 31, 2010
  • Duration: 11 episodes
  • Genre: Comedy, Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)

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Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover) anime series.

Hachimitsu to Clover, also known as Honey and Clover, is a josei anime series adapted from a manga by Haruko Kumota. The story revolves around five college students—Yuuta Takemoto, Takumi Mayama, Hagumi Hanamoto, and Ayumi Yamada—who are studying art and design.

The show combines comedy, drama, romance, and slice-of-life elements into a captivating and emotional plot. The well-rounded characters have their own personalities, goals, and struggles, making “Hachimitsu to Clover” a noteworthy addition to the josei genre.

  • Aired: April 15, 2005 – September 27, 2005 (Season 1)
  • Duration: 24 episodes (Season 1)
  • Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Paradise Kiss

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Paradise Kiss anime series. Image credits.

Paradise Kiss is an anime series adapted from a manga by Ai Yazawa. The story follows Yukari Hayasaka, a high school student whose life takes a turn when she becomes involved with a group of fashion design students known as Paradise Kiss. This group is known for its renowned clothing label.

Yukari becomes their model and is introduced to the world of fashion, passion, and creativity. As she navigates this new world, she also develops feelings for George, the leader and designer of Paradise Kiss. The show offers a unique plot that delves into the art and history of fashion while exploring the characters’ struggles in the fashion industry.

  • Aired: October 13, 2005 – December 29, 2005
  • Duration: 12 episodes
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Michiko to Hatchin

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Michiko to Hatchin anime series. Image credits.

Michiko to Hatchin is a captivating josei anime that stands out for its unique plot and bold characters. The story follows Michiko Malandro, a fearless and free-spirited woman who escapes from a high-security prison on a journey to find her past love. Along the way, she encounters Hatchin, a young girl who becomes her traveling partner.

The series excels with Its gripping narrative, compelling characters, and exploration of socio-economic issues. It tackles themes of family, redemption, and the search for belonging in a way that resonates deeply with audiences. “Michiko to Hatchin” is a must-watch for fans of the josei genre.

  • Aired: October 16, 2008 – March 19, 2009
  • Duration: 22 episodes
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
  • Age Rating: R – 17+
    • (Note: This anime may contain strong violence, profanity, or suggestive themes and is not suitable for children under 17)

No. 6

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No. 6 anime series. Image credits.

No. 6 is an intriguing anime that blends science fiction, mystery, and drama seamlessly, making it a standout in the josei genre. The story is set in a dystopian future where humanity lives in six city-states. The protagonist, Shion, resides in the utopian city No. 6. His life takes a turn when he meets Nezumi, a mysterious boy.

The thought-provoking story, intricate characters, and exploration of societal themes make No. 6 a compelling watch. It offers a unique and engaging viewing experience, solidifying its place as one of the best josei anime to watch.

  • Aired: July 8, 2011 – September 16, 2011
  • Duration: 11 episodes
  • Genre: Action, Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Omoide Poroporo (Only Yesterday)

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Only Yesterday anime. Image credits.

Omoide Poroporo, also known as Only Yesterday, is a renowned josei anime film known for its impressive storytelling and relatable themes. Directed by Isao Takahata and produced by Studio Ghibli, the film delves into adulthood, memories, and self-discovery themes.

The story follows Taeko Okajima, a 27-year-old office worker in Tokyo, who decides to take a break from her urban life and spend her vacation in the countryside. As she helps with the safflower harvest on her relatives’ farm, Taeko’s experiences trigger memories of her childhood. The film seamlessly blends flashbacks with the present, showcasing Taeko’s joys, struggles, and formative experiences.

Omoide Poroporo effectively evokes sentiments and resonates with audiences of all ages. Its portrayal of the struggles and accomplishments of adulthood, as well as the significance of reconnecting with one’s past, strikes a universal chord. The animation style, characteristic of Studio Ghibli’s work, is beautifully rendered, bringing both urban and rural landscapes to life with intricate details.

  • Aired: July 20, 1991
  • Duration: 1 hr 58 min
  • Genre: Drama, Romance, Slice of Life
  • Age Rating: PG-13 – Teens 13 or older

Feature image credits.

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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