10 Most Underrated Shojo Protagonists

Maya Kitajima from Glass Mask, Momo Adachi from Peach Girl, and Daisuke Niwa from DNAngel.

Shojo is a unique demographic within anime that centers around romance, emotion, and a typically female perspective. Though it’s a much smaller category and often doesn’t see the same popularity as shonen, it’s nonetheless introduced many anime fans to some of the most iconic stories and characters of all time. Throughout the years, many shojo protagonists have stolen audiences’ hearts with their kindness and inner strength.

RELATED: 10 Worst Shojo Anime With The Best Characters

However, there are many great shojo leads that fans have all but forgotten over time. They’re just as lovable as the more popular characters but somehow have gotten much less praise. But despite their lack of presence within the demographic, these underrated protagonists are still amazing characters who deserve more love and attention.



10 Kyoko Mogami (Skip Beat!)

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During its initial run, Skip Beat! was one of the big names in shojo. However, with the steady decline in shojo’s popularity over the years, this former anime giant has all but become a memory for most. Likewise, the story’s upbeat and ambitious young heroine has lost much of her popularity.

Kyoko Mogami is Skip Beat!‘s feisty protagonist who enters the exciting world of showbiz after a bad breakup leaves her longing for vengeance. But the more Kyoko involves herself in the dealings of entertainment, the more she realizes she wants so much more than revenge — she wants to be the next big star. Kyoko may not be shojo’s biggest star anymore, but there’s no denying she’s an incredible girlboss and deserves way more attention.

9 Shuichi Shindou (Gravitation)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Shuichi Shindou and Eiri Yuki hugging in front of a shiny pink background in Gravitation.

For most old-school BL fans, Gravitation was most likely their gateway series. But though it helped popularize the genre and bring it to the limelight, this poorly aged classic has mostly fallen out of favor with fans nowadays. However, despite its flaws, Gravitation still has one thing going for it — and that’s its adorable protagonist, Shuichi Shindou.

With his upbeat and innocent personality, Shuichi is easily one of the most lovable characters in Gravitation. It’s hard not to root for his success, and even now, one of the best parts of the story is watching Shuichi grow and learn as he navigates the music industry.

8 Mitsuki Koyama (Full Moon Wo Sagashite)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Mitsuki Kōyama with her

Full Moon wo Sagashite‘s Mitsuki Koyama is a young and frail 12-year-old who dreams of one day becoming a singer. However, due to a terminal illness, this dream may never become a reality. But thanks to the power of Shinigami magic, Mitsuki finally gets the chance to make it as an idol. With her newfound fame, Mitsuki hopes the reach of her songs will help her find her long-lost love and bring them back together.

Mitsuki’s story is one of the most emotional and heartfelt in shojo history, and during its release, the series was a massive success. But despite its initial popularity, Full Moon has largely been forgotten over time. Sadly, as a result, Mitsuki has become an obscure heroine that most anime fans no longer recognize.

7 Himeno Awayuki (Prétear)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sesame, Himeno, and Hayate smiling in Pretear.

For decades, magical girls have been a huge part of shojo anime. With so many amazing titles over the years, it’s no surprise that there are quite a few underrated magical girls that haven’t been given the recognition they rightfully deserve. Among them is Himeno Awayuki, the main protagonist of a lesser-known magical girl series called Prétear.

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After a chance encounter with the seven mysterious Leafé Knights, Himeno is awakened as the new Prétear and gains the ability to use elemental magic to fight off evil. With an array of powers and a striking wardrobe, Himeno has all the traits of an amazing magical girl. Sadly, because Prétear never took off with fans, Himeno has become a forgotten shojo heroine nowadays.

6 Takeo Gouda (My Love Story!!)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Takeo Gouda blushing in My Love Story!!

It isn’t often that shojo anime feature a male protagonist, but when they do, they’re usually some of the most lovable characters around. That said, no protagonist is anywhere near as lovable as Takeo Gouda. This gentle giant is the main hero of the adorably wholesome My Love Story!!, and though he doesn’t get the same hype as most shojo leads, he remains one of the sweetest male protagonists in the demographic.

Takeo’s story centers around his adventures in love, which have mostly been unsuccessful so far. However, all that changes when he meets the beautiful Rinko Yamato, and it’s love at first sight for them both. Thus begins one of the cutest shojo love stories of all time that many fans still adore to this day.

5 Maya Kitajima (Glass Mask)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Maya Kitajima immersing herself in acting, surrounded by glass masks (Glass Mask)

Glass Mask is a decades-old shojo classic that’s had many different adaptations over the years. Though it’s an influential part of shojo history, this obscure series has been criminally underrated for some time. As such, the story’s ambitious young heroine, Maya Kitajima, has nearly been lost to time. Despite this, she’s one of shojo’s strongest and most relatable protagonists.

At her core, Maya is just an ordinary girl with big dreams. What makes her truly special is that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make them come true. Even when everyone around her is against her, Maya’s perseverance and inner strength keep her going, making her an inspirational heroine fans can look up to.

4 Sana Kurata (Kodocha)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Sana Kurata from Kodocha smiling at the audience and waving.

It isn’t too often that shojo strays from its usual high school romance, but Kodocha is one of those rare exceptions. This iconic classic series features the adventures of young Sana Kurata as she goes through various stages of her life, meets new friends, and finds love for the first time.

What makes Sana stand out among most shojo protagonists is when fans first meet her, she’s still just an elementary school student. But despite her young age, she’s got all the spunk and twice the strength of most heroines, her upbeat and carefree attitude helping her through some of life’s toughest challenges.

3 Oscar Francois De Jarjayes (The Rose Of Versailles)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Oscar smirking from her practice battle in The Rose Of Versailles.

At first glance, The Rose of Versailles looks like one of the cheesiest, most stereotypical shojo series of all time. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Despite its old age, dated visuals, and cliché plotline, the series is surprisingly groundbreaking, and its protagonist is one of the most underrated shojo heroines of all time.

RELATED: 10 Amazing Shojo Anime Everyone Forgot Existed

Oscar Francois de Jarjayes is a young androgynous woman who was raised to live as a man. Because of her upbringing, Oscar quickly becomes skilled in military combat, rising through the ranks until she secures a position as Marie Antoinette’s right hand and bodyguard. Though her character is mostly forgotten, her progressive role made waves throughout anime and helped influence many future series.

2 Daisuke Niwa (DNAngel)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>DNAngel's Daisuke, Dark, and Satoshi posing.

Shojo has quite a few phantom thief series to choose from, but none are nearly as unique as DNAngel. This obscure series follows the adventures of Daisuke Niwa, a magical boy whose powers awaken on his 14th birthday. Due to a family curse, Daisuke gains the ability to transform into the mysterious Phantom Thief Dark. In this form, he must steal cursed works of art and use magic to purify them.

While this concept isn’t entirely new, it’s presented in a very different and interesting way that really makes Daisuke stand out among other phantom thief characters. Sadly, DNAngel never really took off with fans, so his story has mostly been forgotten, and his character never got much recognition.

1 Momo Adachi (Peach Girl)

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Momo Adachi and Sae Kashiwagi locking arms in Peach Girl.

Peach Girl is a rather infamous series among shojo fans, mostly thanks to its insufferable characters and overabundance of drama. But despite its flaws, the series is pretty underrated, and so is its beautiful and spunky heroine, Momo Adachi.

Throughout the entire series, Momo goes through some pretty awful treatment. But despite it all, she stays strong and never gives up. Many of her struggles are very relatable, and the complexity of her character makes her feel real. It’s easy to get invested in her journey, and when she becomes a confident heroine in the end, it’s all the more satisfying.

NEXT: 10 Best Shojo Anime With The Worst Characters


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