12 great Shoujo Romance manga series to read in 2023

Last updated on April 9th, 2024 at 09:56 am

12 great Shoujo Romance manga series to read in 2023

Are you a manga fan and a sucker for cute romantic storylines?

Then this blog is for you. We’ve compiled a list of 12 of our favourite Shouja (and 1 Shounen) manga series we’ve read in 2023 s0 far. The listed manga covers a range of Shouja romance genres including, Slice of Life, School of Life, Comedy, Drama, College Life, Musicians, Video Games, and Basketball.

Disclaimer: This is based on my own opinion. If you’d be interested in reading the top-rated Shoujo manga of all time then let us know and we’ll do the research! The release date and status are based on the English-released versions.

This blog contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through those links.

What does Shoujo manga mean?

Shoujo manga is a genre of Japanese comic books and graphic novels primarily targeted at a young female audience. It often focuses on themes related to romance, relationships, and personal growth, featuring female protagonists and a more emotional and character-driven narrative style. Shoujo manga covers a wide range of subgenres, including romance, drama, fantasy, and slice-of-life.

Tier ranking all 52 mangas I read last year

Watch me tier rank the mangas featured in this blog, and every shoujo manga I read in 2023. Continue on with this blog here

1. Loving Yamada at LV999!

Loving Yamada at LV999 by Mashiro Vol 1 manga cover

Genre: Comedy, Romance, Slice of Life, Video Games.
Status: Released 2019 – ongoing
Latest: Volume: 7
Buy on: Amazon

This manga follows Akane after she is dumped by her boyfriend. Akane meets Yamada in the online Role playing game (RPG) they both played but Yamada is only interested in the game. When they meet in real life by chance at a game convention, will sparks fly or will frustration take over?

This series explores the world of a social awkward gamer and love, doesn’t hold unnecessary drama and the pacing is spot on.

The Akane and Yamada are so fricken cute and are literal couple goals. Yamada is social awkward and cute and gets hotter as the series continues… chapter 69 comes to mind (this chapter had me screaming).

All guild characters are loveable and fun, adding a lot to the storyline.

2. The Fragrant Flower Blooms With Dignity

Manga recommendations: The Fragrant Flower Blooms With Dignity - Story & Art: Saka Mikami

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life, Drama, (Shounen but had to include).
Status: Released 2021 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 9
Buy on: Search manga volumes on Amazon.

This manga is set in a town with two rival schools, Chidori High (all boys, predominantly attended by low-class students) and Kikyo Girls’ High (female students from wealthy backgrounds). Rintaro Tsumugi, a fierce-looking but gentle-hearted Chidori student, meets Kaoruko Waguri, a Kikyo student, at his family’s patisserie. Despite their schools’ differences, they form a connection.

This is their story of overcoming school rivalry and societal expectations. The manga has the most unique and stunning artwork, excellent character development and realistic characters. 

I’m infatuated with this manga and adore it with all my heart.It’s technically a Shounen(B) but I had to include it within the list because it’s one of the best romantic manga’s around. I’m checking everyday for chapter updates. 

Rintaro is so sweet and it’s so refreshing to have a ML with a different storyline compared to the typical hot popular smart kid being the ML. Kaoruko is adorable.

The intertwining storylines of the romance, friendship and family dynamics is spot on, it is a 10/10 for character development! I honestly never want this to end.

I am obsessed with the artwork, it’s unique and does well to show different kinds of beauty and expressions.

3. Futari de Koi wo suru Riyuu

Manga recommendations: Futari de Koi wo suru Riyuu - Story & Art: Hiro Chihiro

Genre: Romance, Slice of Life, School Life.
Status: Released 2018 – Completed 2022
Latest: Volume: 12

This manga follows the story of Urara’s after she has a chance encounter with a kind boy on a train which leaves her longing for more, but he vanishes. Later, she meets Jun, a difficult classmate, only to discover that the mysterious boy is with him.

The manga follows Urara quest to find him, facing obstacles and uncertainty about love, with Jun becoming a constant challenge. This heartwarming series ticks all the boxes for a simple cute romance mange. 

I cried like a baby when I completed this manga and it ticked all the boxes for a simple cute romance manga. The storyline is so heartwarming and I am just a massive fan of Jun Misono! He is a massive green flag and his character development and journey throughout the series will have you rooting for him throughout.

Even though I liked Urara, her character doesn’t add too much to the storyline and you end up just rooting for her to get with the guy you want.

Eye and facial expression artwork was also very beautiful!

4. Shujinkou Nikki

Manga recommendations: Shujinkou Nikki - Story & Art: Yoshinaga, Yuu

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School Life.
Status: Released 2021 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 6

This manga follows Aoi, a shy quiet girl who grew up feeling inferior due to her famous manga artist mom and popular captain of the basketball club brother. Aoi seeks to boost her self-confidence by learning to love shoujo manga, with the support of her brother Itsuki and his friend Sena.

With funny likeable characters, a ML who is a massive green flag, and has the love language of physical touch, this series is adorable and a must read for Shoujo manga fans.

This manga is so adorable. Good sexual tension, consent, no rushing or pushing from Sena on Aoi (chapter 23!!!). Yes, we love to see it!! Countless times I’ve read manga’s and the ML is forcing the FL into any sort of physical touch and it’s so frustrating. 

Aoi and Senas love language is definitely physical touch. It’s cute reading their inner thoughts, I’m excited to see where the series will go. I also find the relationship between the brother and sister very heartwarming (and it doesn’t get weird).

The only red flag of the manga was that Aoi changes to contact and is deemed ‘prettier’. Is it just me or do manga authors hate women in glasses?

5. A Sign of Affection

A Sign of Affection manga vol 1 cover

Genre: Romance, Drama, College, Slice of Life.
Status: Released 2019 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 9
Buy on: Search manga volumes on Amazon.

This manga is set in Yuki’s world, a college student who’s life centers on friends, social media, and shopping until she meets fellow student Itsuomi-san during a chance train encounter. Their connection grows, but even though Itsuomi-kun can speak three languages, sign language isn’t one of them. Can they bridge it to express their budding romance?

This series navigates the reality of being deaf and managing relationships, and explores themes of trust, compassion and growth love in a realistic and relatable way.

This sets the bar HIGH as one of the best Shoujo mangas. It’s so intriguing and refreshing to get an FL (in this case Yuki) that is forward with their emotions and has a lot to add to the story (usually they’re very copy-paste).

Suu Morishita (author and artist) does well to show sign language and the inner thoughts of someone who is navigating the world and relationships whilst deaf. The artwork and effort to draw the signing is beautiful.

Itsuomi-sun is also hot, carefree and a bit mysterious (but not in a way that makes him a bad guy).

6. Cheeky Brat (Namaikizakari.)

Cheeky Brat (Namaikizakari.) vol 1 manga cover

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School Life, Sports/Basketball.
Status: Released 2013 – 2021
Latest: Volume: 23
Buy on: Search manga volumes on Amazon.

This manga follows the story of the eldest sibling Yuki Machida, who is used to sacrificing her own needs, becomes the basketball club manager to get closer to her crush. She unexpectedly connects with newcomer Shou Naruse, who openly pursues her. Despite her emotionless facade, Naruse’s affection challenges her composure, affecting her dedication to the sport.

With hidden romance and intense competition (on and off the court), this is a must read for fans of sports manga and shoujo manga.

It reminded me of a manga version of One Tree Hill (without murder and cheating scandals). Sometimes the story got a bit repetitive and the romance is a slow burn (some moments agonisingly slow), but I enjoyed reading the journey of the MCs  relationship throughout their high school and college life.

There were moment in the manga where I didn’t know what was going to happen between Machida and Naruse, and whether they would end up together. So it’s definitely worth pushing through to see what happens! Team Naruse all the way, he is a dream and mega childish but I LOVE IT LOL. 

7. My Happy Marriage

My Happy Marriage manga vol 1 cover

Genre: Romance, Drama, Historical, Supernatural.
Status: Released 2018 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 4
Buy on: Amazon

This manga follows the story of Miyo. She’s born into a family of powers and lacks any abilities and is treated as a servant. Seen as nothing more than a hindrance, Miyo is married off to the Kudou family who are known for their coldness. The story follows Miyo seeking ephemeral happiness in a Japanese-style fantasy tale of love through marriage.

Even though Netflix has just released the anime version of My Happy Marriage, the manga adds a lot more to the story, exploring themes of self-acceptance, romance and compassions in more depth.

I want more! Even though Netflix has just released the anime version of My Happy Marriage, the manga adds a lot more to the story. The anime missing certain scenes with some characters which add a lot more depth to their personality and the plot in general.

You will not hate a character more than Mio’s stepmother and sister. On the other hand, Lord Kudou helps Mio get through her trauma. He is so sweet and surprisingly mega-powerful, we get to witness some really good fight scenes!

There’s a lot we don’t know about Mio and a lot more to be revealed about her strength and abilities to come! This is going to be a manga that keeps us on our toes.

8. Choking on Love (Museru Kurai no Ai o Ageru)

Choking on Love (Museru Kurai no Ai o Ageru) vol 1 manga cover

Genre: Romance, College Life, Comedy, Music.
Status: Released 2022 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 3

From Lovesick Alley, this manga follows Hibari, a art student who encounters a rude guy at a ramen place called Gaku, who turns out to be a band member at her art school. Their interactions turn her world upside down, leading to an unusual love story between a talented musician and an aspiring designer. 

It also follows the four band members and there journey to stardom, exploring themes of creativity and light-hearted romance.

This is the first singer/band manga I’ve read. I really enjoyed the art work of when the band is on stage, not only is Gaku hot, the entire bad is dreamy!! I need a manga based of the band’s side stories.

This romance is not a slow burn, and you only have to wait till volume 2 for Hibari and Gaku to get together. Hibari is funny and cute, and Gaku is a bit nuts lol. Not a complex storyline.

9. Stella Next to Me

Stella Next to Me manag vol 1 cover

Genre: Romance, Childhood Friends, Comedy, Drama, School Life, Showbiz, Slice of Life.
Status: Released 2022 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 5

From Lovesick Alley, this manga follows childhood friends Chiaki and Subaru who have always been close. Chiaki’s one-sided feelings for Subaru prompt her to explore new love as he enters the entertainment world. Can she let go of her long-time love, or will it continue to hold her?

It’s a poignant love story between a regular girl and her actor childhood friend. This series explores the world of showbiz, childhood friendship, and jealousy.

I don’t know what it is about Stella Next to Me, but I am obsessed. It’s a nice balance of showbiz and school life drama intertwining. Childhood friends tope ✅, Adorable and lovable FL ✅, Misaligned confessions ✅.

This is one of the few mangas where I really route for Chiaki’s (FL) to be happy no matter who she ends up with. Yes I love the childhood friend romance however her other male friend Takahashi-Kun is so cute and really looks out for her. I just need her to be happy I don’t care about Subaru as much.

Even so, Chiaki and Subaru have some really adorable scenes which makes you smile! At the end of the day they both want to protect each other and you can’t help but route for them in the end.

10. Megane, Tokidoki, Yankee-kun

Megane, Tokidoki, Yankee-kun vol 1 manga cover

Genre: Romance, Delinquents, School Life.
Status: Released 2021 – Ongoing.
Latest: Volume: 3

From Lilac Scans, this manga follows Hiro, who wants a fresh start in high school after dealing with delinquent classmates. However, her plans go awry when she joins the volunteering club led by Ichikura, an ex-delinquent. 

Can she leave her past behind, or will Ichikura become her downfall? This story has likeable hilarious characters and the perfect romcom for shoujo manga fans.

Both MCs are searching for a fresh start, and end up intertwined by chance. They’re both total opposites, but they work so well together. 

This is a funny storyline, with an hilarious protective ML (Ichikura). He has one of the best manga smiles out there!! Potential love triangle situation, though it’s obvious Hiro and Ichikura will be end game. This manga will definitely make you laugh.

11. In the Clear Moonlit Dusk

manga recommendation: In the clear moonlit dusk vol 1 cover by mika yamamori

Genre: Romance, School Life, Slice of Life.
Status: Released 2020 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 6

This manga follows Yoi Takiguchi, a stunningly handsome girl often mistaken for a guy due to her looks and deep voice. Her life changes when she meets Ichimura-senpai, the only person to truly see her as herself. 

As their friendship blossoms, she navigates her feelings for him, especially since he’s a prince too. The story of two high school princes unfolds, a cute story shown through a beautiful artwork style.

This is a proper heartwarming fuzzy manga, where the ML falls harder and the FL is a bit clueless in love (which I’m not a fan off when it’s laid on too thick, I hope this improves throughout the series). Very wholesome and portrays a unique way of love, with the FL and ML both being popular.

I’m living for the Yoi’s style, I am her biggest fan girl!! She is just super cool.

12. Pink to Habanero

Manga recommendations: Pink to habanero - Story & Art: Mika Satonaka

Genre: Romance, Comedy, School Life, Slice of Life
Status: Released 2021 – Ongoing
Latest: Volume: 7
Buy On: Amazon 

From Lovesick Alley, this story follows Miyao Mugi. Her high school journey begins with her encountering the handsome, cool Kurose Kei coldly rejecting a confession. That very same day, Mugi meets him again, but in the most unexpected place and acting completely differently. 

How will knowing his secret change their story? This slow burn romance will have you in stitches due to hilarious Miyao Mugi. It’s very similar to Maid-sama, so if you enjoyed that manga then you must give Pink to Habanero a read.

This manga had me in stitches, prepare for some second hand embarrassment. It’s the reverse of Maid-sama, with the ML (Kurose Kei) secretly working in a cafe compared to the FL. I enjoyed the parallels and differences of the two mangas! 

Our FL Miyao Mugi is hilarious and her expressions always made me laugh. I like how forward she is, but it’s really annoying that shes crazy persistent. It’s get to the point where you feel like saying ‘stop now’ lol.

I enjoyed that both Miyao and Kurose feelings gradually grow for each other throughout the manga compared to one of the MCs instantly liking the other from the start. 

Though Kurose can be a bit of a arse at times (and rude to Miyao), but I liked seeming him soften throughout the volumes.

Closing thoughts

What did you think our picks of Shoujo romantic mangas? Let us know it the comments! Expect more manga content and recommendations to come, and check our YouTube channel for more casual book chats in the future.

Creator of The Book List! Hope you enjoy this journey with me, follow my socials (@ashleighsbooklist) for updates for book memes, my latest book reviews and recommendations.

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*ML = Male Lead, FL = Female Lead

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