Ah, Shojo. My most beloved style of manga, my one solace in this dreary life. Okay no, I’m being dramatic. But I can not deny how much I adore a good romance in any manga, period. I’ve never made it a secret that I love shipping characters and seeing cute storylines about couples meeting always gets me in a very happy mood. What can I say? Reading an adorable wholesome romance manga is my absolute vibe! so I naturally gravitate toward the Shojo genre.
Over the years I’ve read so many mangas with that exact feeling that I was obsessed, at one point. The manga that got me started on the wholesome love kick was Ouran High School Host Club, with its roster of colorful characters, a very deadpan heroine, and a male lead who was head over heels for her. And, well, who wouldn’t be entranced by a story like that? Don’t we all crave that same cozy relationship that comes from getting to know someone, quirks, and all?
I always talk about Isekai being a very particular type of wish fulfillment, one that can get easily toxic. But I’ll be honest, that’s what Shojou ends up being for a lot of people too. The difference here is that it spends way more time building up the character dynamics with their flaws and everything, instead of shoe-horning a forced romance subplot. Which, sadly, a lot of Isekai are guilty of doing. However, they have the excuse of romance not being the main focus of their plots, whereas Shojou is always romantically forward.
Nevertheless, wholesome Shojou without any angst lives rent-free in my head. I’m someone that enjoys a cute opening and a happy ending, filled with tons of high jinks in the middle. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit and only the warmest and fuzziest of happy manga romances will do! So, if you’re like me, here are my top 7 favorite Shojo manga that is chock full of wholesome loveliness. Let’s dive in!
7. Kumika No Mikaku
I’ve always talked about how much I love it when a story can find beauty in the mundane. There is something so satisfying about enjoying simple household chores, or the joy of food, and how that’s depicted in manga.
This means I was on board for Kumika No Mikaku, a manga series about one alien who learns to discover the unbridled happiness that trying different cuisines can bring. And all of this happens thanks to one kind person at her workplace who sees her exhausting herself and brings her a bowl of hot Udon. From there, romance and a new zest for life emerge, with Kumika trying out everything Earth has to offer with her coworker, Chihiro, being her helpful guide through it all.
I know it seems like this is a plain old cooking manga, but that’s not true. It showcases that feeling you get when your belly is warm with a delicious meal, relating it to how food truly is a love language between humans. The story is just as hearty as some of the food in it!
6. Ganbare! Nakamura-Kun!
Have you ever wanted a romance free from drama, featuring the most adorable couple and nostalgic at the same time? Ganbare! Nakamura-Kun! might just be up your alley!
Okuto Nakamura may be shy and a little uncertain at times, but he knows what he cherishes. The first is his pet octopus, and the second happens to Aiki Hirose, his compassionate classmate on whom he harbors a serious crush. But Okuto is so nervous around him, thanks to Aiki’s personality being much more outgoing than his own. However, he steels his nerves and tries to be brave as he confesses to his favorite person. But, of course, a tiny slip-up and his intent get heavily misconstrued, leading to Aiki having a different reaction.
But, as time goes on, the two find themselves paired up for a bunch of different scenarios and spending much more time together. Could the extra interactions help Okuto become comfortable enough to give the confession a second try? It’s more likely than you think!
The best part about this manga is just how stereotype-free it is; plus it’s a pretty wholesome manga – with lots of romance. It’s just an adorable little romance between two classmates, free of any angst. It’s innocent, fluffy, and very entertaining. Honestly, a hidden gem!
5. Komi Can’t Communicate
As someone who happens to be neurodivergent, I never expected any form of representation on that front from anime. I mean, it would’ve been nice, but I also know that mental health isn’t a huge conversation locally.
So, when Komi Can’t Communicate burst on the scene, I was ecstatic but wary. What if it does something weird, like make her speech impediment some sort of huge issue she’ll miraculously recover from, and drastically change her personality in the process? Thankfully, nothing of the sort happened. This manga is a very sweet but comedic Shojou about Komi Shoko, a girl with a communication disorder, and her friendship with Hitohito Tadano, who is the first person to discover this fact. And he vows to both adapt to her comfort level while simultaneously helping her make 100 new friends!
I didn’t expect much from this story but there is such a genuine camaraderie between the two leads that go beyond a romance. Each relationship gets its focus and it’s heartwarming to see. Cute, compassionate, and almost a legitimate depiction of severe anxiety, the manga is a treat!
Now, what do I say about this bombastic number in the wholesome romance manga list? If you are a Shojou fan, you’ve already probably watched the anime for this one. But I highly implore you to try the manga!
Meet Ryuuji Takasi, he looks a little intimidating but he’s actually just a soft kid, who likes doing housework and keeps his feelings just as neat. So, when his lines cross with Taiga Aisaka, his school’s resident hothead and the best friend of his crush, Minori Kushieda, well. Things get turned upside down, especially when it is revealed that the doll-like Tsundere harbors a crush of her own – on Ryuuji’s best friend, Yuusaku Kitamura! And so, the ‘mock’ delinquent and the Palm-Top tiger devise a scheme where they can both get their crushes to notice them. However, do they even know who they want? Because, turns out, admiring someone from afar, and getting to know someone through their best and worst, are two completely different things.
From then on, it’s a lot of mixed signals, shenanigans, and a truly heartwarming journey of two opposites attracting. This is a little more chaotic than I’m used to, but still very comforting when the pace slows down.
3. Hori-san To Miyamura-kun!
Reading Hori-san to Miyamura-Kun! for the first time felt like a revelation. A romance between two very unlikely people – yet it was a fateful meeting where the two realize that maybe they both have hidden sides that they can only reveal to the other.
Horimiya is a portmanteau of the two leads’ names, Kyouko Hori and Izumi Miyamura. And it is the story of their personalities and how they work in tandem with each other. On the surface, they are very different from each other, but their compassion leads them to be vulnerable with each other, something they can’t do with the others around them. High-strung Hori can let herself loose around the meek Miyamura, who hides his insecurities behind a placated façade. Meanwhile, Miyamura can trust himself with Hori, tattoos, piercings, and all.
It’s a very realistic depiction of a high school relationship, in the best way possible – pretty neat for a wholesome romance manga don’t you think?
2. Ouran High School Host Club
This is a classic that has earned its place in every ‘top ranked’ list because it is just utter perfection. I will hear no slander about the Host Club!
Okay, I’m being dramatic again, but Ouran High School Host Club happens to be one of those mangas from the early 2000s that, somehow, still hold up miraculously well. Every time I read about commoner Haruhi Fujioka and how she reacts to the luxurious and excessive lifestyle of those at the prestigious Ouran Academy? It’s hilarious, even now. And yet, there is something earnest about the Host Club itself, headed by the extremely sincere and flamboyant Tamaki Suou, that makes you feel right at home with the gang.
This wholesome romance manga is extremely well-rounded, with comedy, romance, and class disparity, of all things, mashing together in a story that is still evergreen and enjoyable. Kiss Kiss Fall In Love, indeed!
1. Sasaki To Miyano-Kun
This has been a very recent entry into my roster, going from a general curiosity to me inhaling the entire manga collection in less than a week. And it has quickly become my favorite Shojou manga of all time.
Miyano Yoshikazu is a Fudanshi – a boy who enjoys BL (Boy Love) manga. When he stumbles upon Sasaki Shuumei protecting his friend from a scuffle in school, he starts noticing his odd upperclassmen hanging out with him everywhere. And when Sasaki, upon learning of Miyano’s eccentric hobby, doesn’t seem to judge him and instead shows a healthy interest? Well, Miyano wasn’t prepared for that one. From there, a friendship starts blooming into something more.
Sasaki To Miyano-Kun is one of those rare stories that subvert toxic tropes, becoming something softer. The way Miyano handles Sasaki’s love with respect and care, while Sasaki gives him the time and space he needs. The two discuss consent, budding emotions, and expectations candidly. And that open communication is so refreshing to see.
It’s such a gradual, beautiful depiction of love, that’s simultaneously mature and magical. It’s one of the most wholesome and well-handled romances I’ve ever read.
So, have you tried any of these fluffy romances? And if so, which wholesome romance manga did you like best? Sound off below on your recommendations, and let us know!