10 Clichés In Shoujo Anime That You Must Know About

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shoujo anime
shoujo anime

Shoujo genre refers to anime, manga, and series targeting teen girls. The stories usually follow a romantic story between the main leads, and things often become repetitive. The more you watch, the more you notice how often some things have happened in every single anime. Whenever I watch a shoujo anime, I play a game called “Spot the cliche,” and it’s funny how there are tons of them in every single anime.

These anime are mostly enjoyable till it comes to these cliches. While some things are unique in the story, some overused concepts almost irritate the viewer. I’m not a Shoujo fan myself, but I do know that every single Shoujo manga has some elements that make the entire plot predictable and boring to some point. It ruins the whole point of the story. So today, we’ll take a look at 10 of these cliches in Shōjo anime.

1. Weak Female Protagonist

Even while the whole anime is targeted at teen girls, the main female protagonist is usually weak, which is a big issue that every fan has. They tend to have weak minds and will. They often find themselves in weird situations, trapped or accused of things. Which then leads to the male protagonist standing up for her or rescuing her from the situation. Either way, they’ll just find a method to get in trouble so that they can be saved by their man and fall in love.

The situation varies, but the outcome remains the same in most of the stories, like being Bullied by another female rival character like Orange, warning off to some sketchy neighborhood for some reason, and encountering some creep thereon that needs to be saved again, this happened in Blue Spring Ride. This sends a wrong message to the entire female audience worldwide, and honestly, it needs to change. Always showing a weak, fragile, and dumb female protagonist is wrong, yet so overused that it became a cliche.

2. That one Childhood/New friend

There are always these Childhood friends (male or female) or some new friend who is way too gentle and trusting. Our main characters always enjoy spending their time with them other than their relationship. However, they always turn out to be people who try to steal the lead from the person they love. Or maybe always loved the main character and now poses a challenge as their love rival.  Most of the shoujo anime have this cliche to create a situation of conflict and jealousy. Every single story needs to have a love rival, and this whole concept has been used multiple times to intrigue the viewers. The same scenario is applied to both the protagonists at times. The introduction of a new love rival is almost constant in some anime.

Renai Shijou Shugi -Shoujo anime
Renai Shijou Shugi

Renai Shijou Shugi is one of the examples of such elements. Several guys challenge Tamaki as Seri’s boyfriend. The entire plot has people being jealous and fighting for the position of being Seri’s boyfriend. Another example would be Watashi ni XX Shinasai! where the character named Akira challenges Shigure, boyfriend of Yukina. The whole situation was based on Akira’s one-sided love for Yukina and him being jealous because Yukina was already in a relationship with Akira.

3. Misunderstandings are the Plot armor

One of the most irritating cliches of shoujo is that tons of misunderstandings only grow over time. At times there are several misunderstandings, just in a single series. This continues to the point where misunderstandings become the whole plot. It’s a way to lead the viewers to the Drama-land.  It’s so annoying to see the characters fighting or doing dumb stuff just because their communication was bad.

The biggest example of this scenario would be “Black Prince and Wolf Girl.” The main couple seems happy and dates each other throughout the series. However, the main source of conflicts as well as drama is miscommunication and misunderstandings. These are the main reasons that led them to be upset or confused.

4. Either one of the characters has to be extremely good looking

This cliche is the most Unrealistic thing in this article. One of the protagonists has to be perfect, and no, not just “good looking” but more of a “God/goddess-like” person. He/she will become the dream boy/girl for the protagonist. Instead of creating interesting characters with unique personalities, it’s usually about how good-looking they are. They make one of them seem like a perfect robot meant for the main lead. Regardless of their gender, their love interest will be simply perfect with zero flaws are known. At times in some anime, the main character has good looks but no other good qualities whatsoever.

5. Kabe-don

Kabe-don is the biggest cliche move in the history of anime. It became such a cliche that other anime creators started mocking this move in some anime as well as manga. Kabe-Don is the sound made by a character’s hand when they slam it against the wall—usually done while pinning someone to the wall. This became such a popular move that they even made a kabedon cafe in Japan.


Naming every anime/manga that features Kabedon would be impossible as there are Kabedon scenes in every Shoujo anime. It’s extremely rare to see romantic stories without a Kabedon scene. Ookami Shoujo to Kuro Ouji, Kaichou wa Maid -sama, Fruit basket,Shinshi Doumei cross and many more. While it’s all fun and games in anime but this happening, in reality, would mean sexual harassment for sure. But in the Shoujo world, it’s approved and often shows how dominating and awesome the character is.

6. School Festival

Japanese Schools hold many cultural festivals throughout the year. And these festivals always become the center of attention in the progress of the couples. The students in shoujo anime/manga usually put great effort into these festivals and arrange some artistic and innovative events like a maid cafe, a ghost house, and many other things. This event ends up becoming the main character’s opportunity to take a step closer to the person they love.

The main character “accidentally” finds the love of their life in a classroom or some other place where they are all alone. This scenario becomes the victim of super dramatic scenes. Some might include kissing, watching fireworks, or simply fighting about something small. They’ll either grow their relationship during the school festival Or they’d get close while they work together for the culture festival.

7. Crappy friend

This becomes more of a life lesson, I guess, but it’s an obvious cliche in shoujo anime and manga. In most of the shoujo manga, the best friend of the main protagonist is usually responsible for spreading rumors about the protagonists, trying to win over their boyfriend/girlfriend, and always hanging out with the main character.

Fushigi Yuugi -Shoujo anime
Fushigi Yuugi

From Fushigi Yuugi to Zettai Kareshi, all the works by Watase Yuu feature a best friend that turns out to be evil and is obsessed with the fact the main character’s boyfriend is. The worst-case scenario was that in the anime Alice 19th, the evil boyfriend snatcher was the main character’s sister.

8. The Second Guy Is Always Better

Shoujo anime also has an overused concept of having a bad boyfriend. The male protagonist of the story might look handsome, but their thinking is quite troubling and disrespectful. The most used cliche is usually that his heart has turned to stone for some reason, or they’ve never been sure about how they feel about the female protagonist. Some of them are even emotionally abusive as well as toxic. Their emotional abuse is usually written off as a misunderstanding. A suiting example would be the Main lead from Black Prince and Wolf Girl.

This brings us to the second point that there’s always another man in a love story. They need to introduce someone to create more drama. Now this second guy is often the opposite of the male protagonist. The main character is usually a rude, self-absorbed person, while the second dude is always calm, caring, and every other thing a person needs from others. This guy would be a combo of “goodness.” Thus whenever she gets into a fight with a male protagonist, she’ll run back to the second guy and tell him everything. While he has feelings for her, he’ll try to be supportive.

9. Opposites

The two main protagonists are always from two different dynamics. For example, a rich boy falls for a poor/middle-class girl. Or a Good looking girl falls for an average-looking guy and so on. The characters are never on an equal footing with normal or similar scenarios. No matter how weak, dumb, or mean the main girl is, she will most certainly land a perfect guy who will become obsessed with her, insisting that she is the only one for him.

Ouran Host Club
Ouran Host Club

10. It’s always the first guy

Almost every shoujo anime follows this pattern as per which the male protagonist is always the first guy that the female protagonist bumps into in the hallway or the first guy the girl met standing near the vending machine. The first guy who picked up her scale, the first guy who accidentally saw her naked, and many other instances. The conclusion is that the female protagonist always ends up with the first guy, which honestly doesn’t make sense, and yet the same thing is marked as the “First encounter.”

About The Author

  • Aditi Mishra

    I'm Aditi Mishra and I'm a huge anime fan, all thanks to OtakuKart I can spend my time doing what I love.

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