While audiences are familiar with shonen and shojo anime, the josei genre, which caters to older female audiences, is lesser known. In Japanese, the word josei means woman, and these anime are aimed at a mature female audience. The adult rating allows authors to experiment with darker themes.
Josei is basically a deconstruction of the shojo and magic girl genres, offering a mature perspective on childhood idealism. Josei also aims to break down barriers by promoting women’s empowerment and expression. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a complete departure from other female genders. Similar to shojo, josei often incorporates aesthetics such as large, beautiful eyes, floral designs, detailed fashions, and amazing hair.
ten Dear Brother’s teenage girls deal with adult issues
Although Dear brother is a lesser-known title, fans of cel animation will recognize its striking visuals. Screenshots of the 1987 anime have been circulating social media for quite some time, and it’s easy to see why. Mangaka Riyoko Ikeda’s style blends well-known manga aesthetics while creating something completely unique.
While Dear brother Explores girl culture, this drama departs from the shojo genre by tackling adult themes such as addiction, violence, abuse, family dysfunction, and illness. Dear brother explores the sexualities and mental illnesses of its characters, which were considered taboo subjects at the time of its creation. Its largely female cast explores gender roles, especially those previously reserved for men.
9 Glass ceilings shatter in revolutionary girl Utena
Revolutionary Girl Utena is a great example of 90s anime. This series is a joy to watch with its bright colors and angular patterns. Its core of characters, with their different shades of candy-colored hair and fun outfits, provide a nice aesthetic.
Revolutionary Girl Utena challenges gender stereotypes with the titular character Utena, a tomboyish schoolgirl who fights for another girl. Her strong sense of self and courage in the face of adversity spark a global revolution. In addition to a beautiful narration, revolutionary girl UtenaThe surreal elements of use metaphor and symbolism to good effect.
8 The character and costume designs make Yuri!!! Stand out on the ice
Most anime fans know Yuri!!! on the ice, the sports anime phenomenon that has a movie on the way. This anime features a likeable protagonist who also happens to be a world-class figure skater. Yuri is relatable, with his self-esteem issues and weight issues. Moreover, her romance with Victor captured the hearts of viewers, making her a ship to cheer on.
Yuri!!! on Ice’s the visuals are also stunning. The character designs, elaborate outfits, and skating routines are brought to life to perfection.
7 Princess Jellyfish is a modern and enchanting fairy tale
Princess Medusa leans into princess imagery with its pastel color palette and delicate patterns. The anime takes place in an apartment complex reserved for female otaku. Each character has their own obsession, and Tsukimi Kurashita, the protagonist, has a preoccupation with jellyfish. Tsukumi’s fascination with jellyfish stems from a childhood visit to an aquarium with her mother and she compares the lace-like tendrils of jellyfish to princess dresses.
Tsukimi soon meets Kurako who, with her big, beautiful curls and expensive style, seems like a real princess. Tsukimi has no idea that this girl is actually Kuranosuke Koibuchi, the illegitimate son of a high profile politician. Kuranosuke dresses as a girl to avoid political obligations and to feel closer to his mother, whom he seeks throughout. Princess Medusa.
6 Tomie’s Surreal Horror Is Eternal
Adapted from the critically acclaimed manga by Junji Ito, Tomie has the same dark vibe as its source material. Its understated color palette and gothic designs make this anime a must-have. The aesthetic pairs well with its dark storyline that takes place after the death of titular character Tomie Kawakami.
As Tomie’s peers work through this trauma and try to find peace, they are surprised when a familiar face reappears. Their slain friend appears to have risen from the dead, but all is not as it seems. On the contrary, Tomie’s beauty is an undying power that stalks and drives her admirers mad.
5 Awaken your competitive spirit with Chihayafuru
With its bright pastel colors, Chihayafuru Smells like spring. Fittingly, this series is all about growth. The anime begins with a flashback to Chihaya Ayase’s elementary school days. She is not interested in life and does not feel important compared to her older sister. When she meets transfer student Arata Wataya, who introduces her to the karuta card game, everything changes.
Nowadays, Chihaya is a high school student who strives to become the best karuta player in Japan. Chihayafuru brings adult realism to its teenage setting. His characters struggle with an uncertain future, romantic disappointments and boredom.
4 The dramatic world of Loveless is not-so-guilty pleasure
Without love is a visually unique series using symbolism that viewers, especially cat lovers, will appreciate. Every person in the world of Without love was born with cat ears and a tail, which only disappear when the person loses their virginity. It’s a twist on the cat-girl trope, which seems innocent, but often isn’t.
Ritsuka Aoyagi is a boy struggling with the recent death of his brother. Without love kicks off when a stranger named Agatsuma Soubi approaches him. Agatsuma and his brother were a fighting duo, and now that his brother is dead, Agatsuma has inherited Ritsuka as his new partner. They work together to uncover the truth behind his brother’s death, causing Ritsuka and Agatsuma to grow closer than they ever expected.
3 The charming animals of Shirokuma cafe will warm your heart
Shirokuma Cafe is an anthropomorphic anime about a cafe located outside the city zoo. Run by a charismatic polar bear named Shirokuma, this cafe attracts both humans and animals. From making a drink to chatting with the locals, Shirokuma is the perfect host who enjoys all the antics of the service industry. He is accompanied by many other charming characters like Grizzly, a bear bartender, and Sasako, a human cafe employee. Shirokuma Cafe mixes its fantastic storyline with realistic imagery for a truly surreal experience.
2 xxxHolic is an addictive visual treat from CLAMP
The talented all-female collective CLAMP created this addictive and esoteric manga turned anime. xxxHolic follows the story of Kimihiro Watanuki, a high school student haunted by spirits. Watanuki is unable to lead a normal life due to this scenario, which is a metaphor for social anxiety.
Kimihiro then meets a witch whose business grants wishes and she promises to exorcise ghosts for a fee. For fans of all things mysterious as well as CLAMP’s sleek style, xxxHolic is a must-have.
1 Michiko To Hatchin is a Non-Stop Thrill Ride
Michiko in Hatchin is a late 2000s anime created by Sayo Yamamoto (Yuri!!! On the ice) features a protagonist on the loose. The beautiful and cunning Michiko Malandro proves to be a dangerous fugitive as she escapes from prison for the fourth time. She is looking for a man from her past who has surprising connections to a variety of people. Michiko in Hatchin, which is set in South America, transports viewers to exotic locations and features stunning visuals. Viewers can feel the heat and sense the danger as these fugitives pursue their dreams, relying on adrenaline and inertia.
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