The Anime-Manga world is vast, with an array of genres laying down a feast for Otakus, existing since no one knows! But the love and obsession just keep growing. I don’t think there is a generation that is not familiar with Anime and is not obsessed with it.
Unfortunately, the present generation is far behind the 90’s generation’s fancy for anime. The 90’s generation had a vivid mood for anime, and thanks to Toonami and Animax for generating the “mood”.
As I write, I can feel the nostalgia diving into me. One cannot choose not to remember the classic 90’s anime, especially the ’90s shoujo anime. What original epic anime they were!
We can still feel the excitement of watching the best 90s shoujo anime thanks to online streaming platforms. But first, allow me to take you on a trip down memory lane. Here is the list of the best ’90s shoujo anime that I personally feel must be recalled and relived.
Top 20 90s Shoujo Anime Worth Watching!
20. Yume no Crayon Oukoku (Crayon Kingdom of Dreams)
Welcome to the kingdom of colours, where you meet the 12-year-old Princess of Crayon Kingdom, Silver. However, as Princesses are meant to be spoiled girls, so is Silver. She has 12 terrible habits that are intentionally hidden from the civilians of the Crayon Kingdom because they know Silver as a little girl with a beautiful smile.
When it’s the Birthday of the Princess, the main plot of this 70-episode saga comes alive.
While trying to find a suitable dance partner for herself, Silver forgets to conceal her true nature and eventually quarrels with the boy she assumes to be her perfect match. The boy on the verge of revenge turns her parents, the King and the Queen, into stones.
The devastated princess discovers, assisted by her pals Stonston, a pig, and Araessa, a rooster, that only the Grim Reaper has the magical power to cast the spell that would resurrect her parents.
This 90’s shoujo anime is full of drama and twists, including the Grim Reaper being the villain, the boy who is in fact a prince turning out to be a saviour, and the princess needing to give up all 12 of her bad habits to save her parents.
Princess Silver’s character emerges flawlessly as she sets out on an adventure to save her parents by conquering her bad characteristics, from being a picky eater to blaming others but herself.
This classic 90s anime shoujo does not skip a single beat in immersing you in a crayon-filled fantasy world.
19. The Rose of Versailles
Are you a lover of historical drama? Now think of a historical anime with a background set in the Castle of Versailles depicting the French Royal Court that takes you to the epoch of the French Revolution, among young noblemen with swords, politics, and royal costumes.
If this sounds enticing to you, then this 90s anime is for you.
This historical anime, created by Riyoko Ikeda, portrays the life story of Oscar François de Jarjayes, a noblewoman, who is raised as a boy with the expectation of inheriting her title as The Commander. Amidst her father’s choices for her, she always desires to live like a woman.
The anime sets in when Oscar is made head of the Royal Guards of Versailles, and her first assignment is to protect and chaperon the new Crown Princess Marie Antoinette.
This anime became the major landmark for the 90’s shoujo anime demographic; when most of the shoujo animes were simple tales of elementary school girls, The Rose of Versailles came as a breakthrough!
Its captivating plot about French politics and swords, its strong character build for Lady Oscar, and its clever animation style, which captures the French Revolution period, proved that anime with politically complex plots and teenage girls and young women could marvellously be a successful hit.
18. Kyuuketsuhime Miyu (Vampire Princess Miyu)
Meet the Vampire Princess Miyu from the 90’s anime, a teenage girl, the daughter of a human being and Shinma (a god-demon), who is stranded between the human world and the demon world. Unlike other vampires, Miyu doesn’t kill humans to feed herself; instead, she offers humans their greatest wish of being with their lost loved ones in their dreams in exchange for their blood.
Born as a vampire and awakened as the guardian princess of the dark world, she is given the charge of hunting down all stray Shinma and sending them back to “the Darkness” before she is 15 years old.
This 90’s anime shoujo is a 4-episode spooky horror story with the central characters of Princess Miyu, her Shinma friend Larva, and a mysterious woman who is on a mission to hunt down Miyu. Though, it gives a fresh and unique point of view to the gothic and horror vampire genres, it is one of the most underground 90’s shoujo anime.
Fabulously detailed animation of mysterious elements and demons gives it a deserving spotlight. The engaging and interesting story-telling art makes each episode unique. I personally give it a thumbs-up! Watch this unique and surreal short anime and delight yourself.
17. Legend of Basara
If you’re fond of prophecy-centric plots, then this one is for you! Well, the storyline is quite simple. In the small village of Basara, twins are born: Sarasa, the girl (the main character), and Tatara, the boy (the destined child).
Tatara, as prophesied, takes on the battle with the villain, The Red King, and his four sons to free Japan from their dictatorial rule. When the cruel Red King kills Tatara, heartbroken Sarasa is left with no choice but to take her brother’s identity as the “child of destiny” while continuing on the quest to free Japan and avenge her brother.
This 90’s Shoujo anime has made the list because of its remarkable setting. Although it was written in 1990–1998, the narrative of the anime is set in the futuristic 21st century after Japan was hit by the catastrophe. Isn’t it amazing to watch a 90’s anime about the 21st century in the 21st century?
The animation in the anime is neither good nor bad, just way too old to watch in the 21st Century, so do watch it if you are an old art fan. The character build of Sarasa could be said to be progressively the best part of this shoujo anime. How she matures into the lead character is fantastic to watch.
16. Kingyo Chuuihou! (Goldfish Warning)
The tale of 14-year-old snobbish girl Chitose Fujinomiya, who swings from riches to poverty and back again. Chitose is impoverished after the death of her father, left with nothing but her clothes and a pink Goldfish named Gyopi-chan as a memento of her father.
After being kicked out of her elite private school, she is sent to a rural school where the needy and even chickens and pigs study.
Every episode of this 90’s anime shoujo is entertaining in its own way while emitting cuteness from every visual of this show. The pink-haired friend of Chitose, Wapiko, can be best described as the closest thing to a true heroine of the show. She is meticulously depicted in a comical style as a happy-go-lucky girl, and that’s why she is my personal favourite in the show.
This anime is typically a comical saga with much brighter-coloured animation to emphasize the comedic aspect. The Comic timing of the anime is rooted in the interactions, personalities, animation, and vocal performances of the shoujo.
It is a heartwarming and extremely comic 90’s anime that is worthwhile.
15. Magic Knight Rayearth & Magic Knight Rayearth II
Who doesn’t like trios in anime and cartoons? This anime is the trio tale of the Trio of three girls: Hikaru, Unni, and Fuu, with a trio of action, adventure, and girls. The plot of this 90’s Shoujo anime revolves around three elementary school girls who, while on a field trip, are swept away to another dimension by a giant flying fish.
Where they discover the magical world of Cephiro while unveiling the fact that their lives are intertwined. They also discover that they are destined to be the Magic Knights of Cephiro and save Princess Emeraude, whose willpower keeps Cephiro safe.
Protected and guided by the Master Mage Clef, the trio sets out on an adventure full of danger.
In the second part of the MKR, the girls are back home but are called again to save Cephiro once more, but this time there are no pillars and the realm of Cephiro has fallen into chaos with monsters multiplying.
In addition to this, Cephiro is being invaded by the other three kingdoms, and as if this were not enough, there is a mysterious lady who claims to be the rightful heir of the realm. Oof! Too much to handle for the girls. Will the trio win or lose?
This 90’s anime and its successor are worthwhile to watch. With little elements of comedy, friendship, action, and heart-rushing moments, this anime impeccably creates the strong characters of the three main characters.
With the way the magic knights fight in the battle of Cephiro with their swordplay and magical powers, one cannot stop fangirling over them.
14. Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne
Kusakabe Maron is a high school girl in the morning and a thief as the night falls. “Kamikaze Kaitou Jeanne” popularly known as “Phantom Thief Jeanne”, gives an exceptionally unique approach to the genres of fantasy and shoujo collectively.
The story portrays the life of a simple high school student who happens to be an aesthetically pleasing personified animation of the reincarnation of Jeanne d’Arc.
In the eyes of the people around her, she is an art thief, but her secret is that she exorcises the demons living inside the art, which results in the art vanishing. But the twist doesn’t stop here; her best friend is the detective’s daughter, who wants to catch her.
Maron’s job is not at all easy, but with the help of her sidekicks, the small and tiny angels Finn Fish and Access Time, Maron leaves no demon behind.
The strongest aspect of the anime is the character of Kusakabe Maron, who is strongly built and has a punch so strong that it can break a chalkboard. There is also a romantic side to this 90’s anime amidst all the horror and thrills.
The highlight of the show is the love triangle: Chiaki Nagoya, a new boy in her school, loves Kusakabe; Noin Claude, the antagonist, also loves Kusakabe; And Kusakabe is not sure about love. Surprisingly, all three characters engage you so much that you cannot stop loving this show.
This 90’s shoujo anime is undoubtedly your everyday shoujo anime, with bright and colourful animation, a somewhat predictable love story, and loads of drama and action.
13. Kaikan Phrase ( Sensual Phrase)
A musical anime has made the list, and if you are a rock band fan, you must watch it because it will take you to the sensual world of rock bands.
Inevitably, new and better things begin after breaking up with old ones, the same goes for this 90’s anime. Guitarist Yuki and drummer Santa, along with vocalist Sakuya and lyricist Aine, start a new band named Lucifer.
This 90’s shoujo anime simultaneously highlights three major intertwining elements: how the band struggles to make it in the music business, the love relationship between Sakuya and Aine, and how the band members face personal issues, objections, and rejections by staying together.
Although the anime emerges slowly, it catches pace only when Sakuya and Aine meet at the halfway point of the series. The best part is that it’s captivating, as every episode concludes with a climax, and you cannot stop yourself from watching the next one.
The character development is commendable as it personally attaches to each band member—each character is relatable with their own personal background and struggles.
The art and music are both dated as it is a 90’s anime, but one gets used to it as the anime progresses. In and out, the anime is enjoyable, romantic, and primarily focused on music creation and the band’s struggle to reach the top. This anime is really fun to watch!
12. Hime-chan No Ribbon
The best collaboration of two distinct facets: tomboy girl and magical girl! This is one of the most brilliantly designed anime for me and a must-watch.
The distinctive style of this 90s shoujo anime comes from the way it tells a pretty conventional story about a tomboy girl called Himeko Nonohara attempting to woo her hidden admirer.
Erika is a princess from the magical parallel universe who looks similar to Himeko and gives Himeko a magical ribbon to test for one year. The magical ribbon can change anyone into anyone as per their desire, but only for one hour.
What more could a tomboy girl like Himeko ask for? But there is a twist: no one must know about the ribbon; otherwise, Himeko’s memory will be erased, and she must turn back into her original form before the time is up. Erika gives the ribbon so as to prove her worth as the next successor to the crown.
This 90’s anime shoujo follows an adventuresome, dramatic, and humorous narrative with a touch of romance with Daichi, her best friend, who discovers her secret.
This anime keeps you hooked all the way till the end with lots of anxiety. Her enthusiastic character and the way she changes her appearance are exciting to see. The art and animation are fully loaded with cute elements, especially the lion soft toy, Pokota. You can’t get over this cutie.
11. Gokinjo Monogatari (Neighbourhood Stories)
You may call it a simple slice of life with a plain story 90’s anime. Mikako Kōda and Tsutomu Yamaguchi are childhood friends who together attend Yazawa Art Academy, a special high school for the arts in Tokyo. Mikako’s aim is to be a fashion designer and open her own clothing brand in Tokyo, whereas Tsutomu, at the age of 16, still doesn’t know what to do in life.
The plot develops when the people around them assume their closeness and constant bickering are effects of budding love. But both Mikako and Tsutomu continuously deny it until Tsutoma starts to gain popularity among the girls at the art school.
This makes childhood friends question their feelings for each other and the true nature of their relationship.
This 90’s shoujo anime is okay-ish, in the context of entertainment. The art and animation remind you of the 70’s style is plain and flat. It builds an intimate bond between the viewer and the anime by portraying the lives of the two 16-year-olds with genuineness and a relatable approach.
In fact, sometimes the show hits you with the same guilt and anxiety as the characters while encouraging you to strive for self-improvement. In the end, it is an enjoyable anime with a lasting impact!
10. Fushigi Yuugi (Mysterious Play)
If you think libraries have a mysterious edge to them, with books in all the corners, then you certainly need to watch this anime, where two high school girls face an encounter with a strange book that changes their whole lives.
Miaka and Yui come across The Universe of the Four Gods while browsing the library one day. While reading this strange book, a red light appears that transports them to the world of the story, which is set in ancient China.
Yui is returned to the actual world very quickly, but Miaka realizes that she is destined to be the Priestess of Suzaku, to assemble the deity Suzaku’s seven Celestial Warriors in order to summon Suzaku and grant three wishes. With the assistance of Tamahome, the celestial warrior, she takes on the task.
But the anime gets twisted and more exciting when Yui returns to take Miaka back to the real world, but instead, she becomes the Priestess of Seiryuu, working against Miaka.
In this 90’s anime each episode is full of bombs of emotions, from sweetness to jealousy. The animation and narrative are very intriguing for those who love fantasy anime. The action sequels in the battles are just iconic to watch from the 1990s era.
9. Clamp Gakuen Tanteidan (CLAMP School Detectives)
This 90’s anime is enjoyable. Yes, all you do while watching this anime is enjoy it. Portraying the story of three 11-year-old boys, this shoujo is different yet very simple. Now why, was it added to the list of the best 90’s shoujo anime?
The three boys, Nokoru, Suoh, and Akira, are self-proclaimed detectives with an aim to save and help all the Damsels in distress out there. So yes, in a very unique manner, female flair is there.
The boys get into every sort of situation: funny ones, troublesome ones, and even dangerous ones. In addition to the great narrative, it also has cool action scenes of kids beating the bad guys. All the kids have unique personalities, which strengthens the anime.
Nokoru is the youngest son of the founders of the Clamp School and is a genius in every sense of the word. Suoh is nearly as sharp as Nokoru, who is an expert in martial arts but lacks the powers of observation.
Akira is the youngest of the three. He’s a little naïve, a good cook, and sees things more optimistically than his friends. Their chemistry is nice right from the very first episode, which easily carries the weight of 26 episodes.
If you are a clamp lover, then this anime is for you. For others, this anime from the 1990s is a great way to pass the time with old-school art.
8. Anime Himitsu no Hanazono (The Secret Garden)
This anime is a childhood memory for many. A magnificent adaptation of the children’s book “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Mary Lennox, orphaned at a very young age, travels to England to live with her cousin Uncle, who has taken her guardianship.
She is grateful for everything she has—food to eat and a big mansion to live in.
However, her uncle is a very quiet person, because of which she sometimes cries out of boredom and remembers her horrible past. But her uncle is full of secrets, one of which is The Secret Garden.
After, discovering the secret garden, joined by her new friends and a disabled cousin, she embarks on a journey to make her life a brighter one.
The art and characters are the show stoppers compared to the animation of other 90’s anime. Though a slow starter, this 90’s anime creates an impactful memory by including the elements of tolerance and patience in the character of Mary Lennox.
This narrative presents a very deep moral: Every child deserves a carefree and happy childhood. And I personally like only this fact about it. It is a great learning and entertaining watch for adults as well as for kids.
7. Brother, Dear Brother
This 90’s shoujo anime can be called a precise adaptation of Mean Girls. The majority of the storyline is similar, with all the bullying and jealousy-inspired elements, including a mediocre girl joining an elite clique.
The anime unfolds with a series of letters sent by the main protagonists to their Cram School instructor, Henmi Takehiko, who is like an older brother figure to her. Nanako Misonoo, the story’s main character, despite being an average girl, is picked to join The Sorority, an elite group at her new high school, arousing the fury and resentment of her peers.
Nanako, similar to many shoujo heroines, is innocent, and kind but always driven to do what is right. She starts by expecting to be loved by her peers, but she quickly finds herself sucked into the lives and secrets of Seiran Academy’s most prestigious pupils.
She falls in love with Rei “Saint-Juste” Asaka, and their relationship is one of the anime’s main themes. In her letters to Takehiko, she shares her struggling and difficult life at the school.
Dear Brother deals with a wide range of unpleasant topics, including severe bullying, divorce, people trying suicide, extramarital affairs, and a non-stop drama to take in. But why does it stand out?
Dear Brother stands out from others that use the exact same premise due to its marvellous usage of animation techniques and specific directorial choices, It emerges with such style, grace, and elegance that it actually helps every element mentioned above fit like puzzle pieces.
According to me, this 90’s anime in the Shoujo genre can be either a great anime or way too much for some.
6. Akachan to Boku (Baby and Me)
Here is another slice-of-life anime in the shoujo demographic telling a quite emotional tale of siblings, Takuya Enoki, the elder brother, and Minoru Enoki, the younger one.
Due to the tragic demise of the mother of the siblings, Takuya is left with no choice but to take care of his 2-year-old younger brother, who needs much care as his father is a typical Japanese salaryman and needs to work countless hours.
Takuya, a 10-year-old, starts to feel a sense of powerlessness among his buddies, who have fun every day after school as a result of his chores and caring for his newborn brother. As if this were not enough, neighbours also blame Takuya for Minoru’s constant crying.
This 90’s anime is everything about sibling love, care, drama, emotion, and sweetness, with a layer of cuteness all over. Depicted so eloquently, it is impossible that the anime does not touch your heart and make you shed a tear. It is undeniably pleasurable to witness the sibling’s emotional closeness blossom as the anime unfolds.
The sensitive and touching story of a sibling and the family as a whole, without any fantasy or magic elements, is much more relatable to real life. With the best combination of simplicity and cuteness, the art and characters are both nicely built with the soft touch of calm background music.
I cannot stop myself from saying that this story is a real classic gem of 90’s anime! It is really a must-watch!
90’s anime Kodocha precisely fits into the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover”. The tale is a classic one, narrating the life of child TV star Sana Kurata, who lives a normal life despite being famous with her mom and her manager.
She attends a private school that is in chaos, because of a troublemaker boy named Akita Hayama, who is the so-called “boss monkey” of her classroom.
Akito has hidden blackmail on two of the teachers, allowing him to get away with a lot of misbehaviour, which bothers Sana, especially when it disrupts the class. She swears to vanquish Akito and bring peace back to the school.
But as Sana learns about Akito and how to stop him, she realizes that there is more to what is seen on the surface.
Kodocha is a chibi comedy of 90’s anime shoujo, with the vibrant and hyperactive characters of Sana and Akito. The character of Sana is portrayed as a lively girl who is annoying too. While she is energetic with a smiling face, she is also short-tempered, just like a typical 11-year-old.
On the other hand, Akito is a sullen boy who lost his mother while birthing him, resulting in his father and sister always resenting him. Through the course of 102 episodes, both characters develop emotional maturity by facing real-life struggles of pain, loss, and growing up.
The art and animation are things I love; they are actually impressive for the 1990s era. There is a reason why this 90s shoujo anime series has fans.
Eventually, it does evolve into an emotionally touching series with some well-done romance elements of cute childish/puppy love. The show is far more enjoyable than anticipated, with fun and sad moments doing justice to the show.
4. Hana Yori Dango (Boys Over Flowers)
One of the most replayable, and gripping 90’s anime of all time. With a lot of adaptations in different languages, this series is one to be obsessed with.
Story of a middle-class girl, Makino Tsukushi, who enters an elite school in Japan to complete her last two years of schooling with joy. But less she knows, what awaits her in this elite school is the “F4”.
However, as she makes herself known to the F4, the four most popular, powerful, and wealthy lads Tsukasa Domyoji, Rui Hanazawa, Sojirou Nishikado, and Akira Mimasaka at the school, she gets the red card: the F4’s version of a “Declaration of War.”
But she chooses to become one of the F4’s victims and starts to fall for one of the boys, she starts to dwell more into the lives of the boys.
Hana Yori Dango is captivating from its start, prominently based on the romance genre with the elements of friendship, jealousy, and bullying, this 90’s anime in the shoujo demographic turns out to have a lasting impact on the viewers.
The narrative of the anime is powerful and intense with some disturbing scenes of bullying. The anime is full of emotions from cringes to cheerfulness.
Makino is one of the best shoujo heroines of 90’s anime, with a strong, cheerful and will-powered character, she wins many hearts.
F4 boys have independent and distinct character attributes which actually can be said is a gem to the anime. Though the animation is not as expected thanks to the story and characters, you get used to it.
The bottom line: Hana Yori Danjo, is one such anime that must not be missed by the die-hard fans of anime!
3. Chibi Maruko Chan
One of the best children’s anime of from the demographic of 90’s anime shoujo, just makes our hearts happy always. It is just another everyday anime for kids, written by the creator Momoko Sakura (author), which is inspired by her own life incidents and childhood memories.
The anime has the same characters as her family. Chibi Maruko Chan is a simple comedy and slice-of-life 90’s anime portraying the childhood adventures of Momoko Sakura, a 9-year-old, elementary school student, who lives together with her grandparents, parents and elder sister in a small town.
Favourite and childhood memory of the masses, this premier shoujo anime, still warms our hearts whenever watched. A funny, enjoyable and simple anime to enjoy anytime and anywhere.
Every episode showcases the different adventures of Momoko Sakura in her daily life with her school friends. The bond shown between Momoko and her grandparents is amazing, they always pamper her and just sometimes go overboard which is fun to watch.
Additionally, this 90’s shoujo anime is a picturesque comical sketch of the everyday life of Japanese people (back in the 90’s), while also wonderfully telling us about Japanese culture.
The nostalgic tone, honest, thoughtful tone with lots of relatability made this anime loved and adored by the wider audience.
2. Cardcaptor Sakura
Unquestionably, the anime is proclaimed as the best of the 90’s anime shoujo era.
The story centres on cheerful and lovely Sakura Kinomoto, an elementary school student who discovers magical powers from a mysterious book lying in her father’s library, after accidentally releasing a set of magical cards into the world.
Now, she must retrieve the cards to avoid the disaster. The accident awakens the Beast of the Seal, (a cute lion with wings), Keroberos, who gives Sakura the task of retrieving all the cards before welcoming a disaster.
Sakura must learn to reconcile her new hidden role as Cardcaptor Sakura with her closest friend Tomoyo Daidouji and Kero’s advice as she takes flight on her magical adventures as Cardcaptor Sakura.
What I like most about this anime, is how the title resonates with the narrative, which most anime fail to do. Also, there is neither a transformation sequence nor an outfit change for Sakura when she uses her magic.
Rather, she is allowed to do magic in her nightdress. The ending of each episode gives you a hook-on which enhances the magnetism of the anime. Animation, art, and music all go hand in hand, building a great anime to be remembered for ages.
Though the adult version of you will find this anime a bit dull, the inner child will unexpectedly love it
1. Sailor Moon
This one is an iconic 90’s anime that sailed the ship for empowering female protagonists in the 90’s era.
The 90’s shoujo anime follows the story of a 14-year-old young schoolgirl named Usagi Tsukino, who is given magical powers upon saving a mysterious cat and becomes a pretty sailor to defend the Earth from dark villains while hunting for the reincarnation of the Moon Kingdom’s princess.
Usagi evolves as the Magical Girl Sailor Moon over the course of 46 episodes, assembling a squad of four other reincarnated warriors and realising her ultimate potential as both a fighter and a maturing young woman.
The anime is commendable 90’s shoujo anime for highlighting strong friendships as well as its wide combination of strikingly different characters that have varied depths and characteristics as the tale progresses. All the characters together make this anime a gem of its era and a flagbearer for popularizing female protagonists.
The elements in the anime regarding emphasis on feelings of friendship and relationships, the romance between Usagi and Mamoru being a typical archetype of “together forever,” and strongly directed fighting, rescue, and other action sequences precisely influence the anime into making it a successful international hit.
Even in the 90’s era, it does not fail in portraying some social issues like a representation of LGBTQ+ communities. Also, it’s monster of the week formula for the villains and fighting sequels effortlessly enhance the anime engagement.
This anime just takes my heart away every time I watch it. It is just so mysteriously fulfilling!
If you feel there is anime from the 90s shoujo genre, then don’t hesitate! Comment your thoughts below and feel free to enlighten us by telling us your favourite anime from the list.