The world of anime has a diverse audience and is not restricted to children. There are several anime that caters to an older audience and Josei anime is one such category. The target audience of Josei anime is women who are in their 20s and 30s. Thus, the storyline of such anime is based upon mature content. They deal with serious subjects such as sexuality, drug abuse, social issues, and other adult concerns. The protagonist or the central characters of Josei anime are females on many occasions although it would be wrong to omit the ones which do not star female protagonists from this category as they might still be catering to such an audience. Here, we present to you a list of some of the best Josei anime of all time and these have managed to make a deep impact with the audiences.
List of Best Josei Anime:
1. Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
There is good reason for this anime featuring at the top of our list. This is loved by the women for the rich emotional content that it has on offer. The story revolves around two friends and their struggles and life. The storyline is further enhanced with a detailing of the history of the Shouwa era and the involvement of Rakugo which is a very traditional form of Japanese entertainment.
2. Yuri!!! On Ice
One might be surprised at this entry because it deals with Men’s Ice Skating which might not seem like the kind of content for Josei anime. But in reality, it has some emotional moments and the storyline definitely requires an adult woman to comprehend the narrative. This is comparatively a new anime and has been popular among the fans ever since it first hit the markets. This anime takes care to please the fans and score high on the popularity quotient.
With the perfect tale of heartbreaks, love, and relationships, this anime features among the best of Josei anime. While many make the mistake of tagging this Shoujo, it does in fact from the Josei genre. The two central characters in the story jostle through life and relationships and the story develops around them as they navigate through the troubles of life.
4. Usagi Drop (Bunny Drop)
The story of Usagi Drop is possibly the most heart-warming tale in the world of anime. It deals with a young man raising a little girl and taking full responsibility. It is also one of the examples that Josei anime does not necessarily need to have a female protagonist. The reality behind parenting and the amazing relationship that brews between the two is like a breath of fresh air in the world of anime.
One could say that Chihayafuru is somewhat between a sports anime and a Josei anime. We categorize it under the Josei category because somewhere the focus of the story is more on the emotional quotient than on the sport. A girl navigates through competitive karuta which is a card-game and the show is about self-confidence and character development that takes place.
6. Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey and Clover)
The storyline is interesting in this anime with six different individuals put together in an apartment and observing the struggles and emotions they go through. This is a tale of friendship, emotions, and adult feelings such as learning the art of letting go of things when it is time.
7. Kuragehime (Princess Jellyfish)
We often encounter people who are socially awkward during their schooldays. They make it past school with little acquaintances and we often wonder what becomes of them when they are adults. That is precisely the concept of Kuragehime and the story deals with some of these characters.
8. Paradise Kiss
The general plot of this anime may seem simple like many others where the protagonists go through their high school crush. But here, there are mature emotions involved the anime teaches a lot about adult relationships and some of its complicated aspects.
9. Omoide Poroporo (Only Yesterday)
The maker of this anime is Studio Ghilbi and that is known for some people-pleasing content in general. They make an exception with this anime and show an adult reliving her childhood from the perspective of her adult mind. It is sure to leave an impact after you are done watching.
10. Michiko to Hatchin
When a woman sets out in search of a man who was once important in her life, the story of this anime gets interesting. It is in fact among the popular Josei anime and women have loved this show ever since it came out.
11. NO 6
This anime is relatively short with just 11 episodes but in this time, they do manage to weave a magical tale surrounding the protagonists and mainly the characters Nezumi and Shion.
12. Ristorante Paradiso
The story of Ristorante Paradiso starts with vengeance but ends with maturity as the protagonist develops as the story progresses. From trying to destroy a family restaurant, the anime goes on to focus on the experiences of meeting new people and happy events.
13. Petshop of Horrors
This is one of the horror entrants in the list and it is a must-watch for the Josei audience. The story revolves around a pet-shop which has some dark elements lurking behind the garb of regularity.
The story of Saiyuki might seem a little distant from a Josei anime courtesy of its fictional content. But the anime does explore the relationship brewing between a priest and three demons and the underlying factor behind a fictional tale is the emotional content which makes it a great Josei anime.
Realize Guardian of Rebirth: This portrays a beautiful story of Cardia Beckford who has been given a beautiful and powerful heart by her father. Her struggles to protect the Horologium which is the reason for her goodness and power from terrorists and her emotional journey makes this anime a must-watch for those willing to feast on some great Josei anime.
Servamp tells us an intriguing story of a young man Mahiru Shirota who lands up in big trouble while trying to avoid it all the time. From the time he provided shelter to a stray cat, his life had been topsy-turvy and he realized that the cat was not an ordinary animal but a shut-in vampire. The story has some elements of friendship which are indeed very touching and appreciated by the audiences.
Bromance can be said to be the theme of this Josei anime. Karneval is a story about a thief named Gareki who attempts to rescue a boy named Nai who had been trapped by a woman who is a dangerous monster. Later they also join the government defense agency and much of their friendship and adventure make this a delightful watch for the anime-loving audiences.
This anime will remind you about that one good friend whom you love despite his or her rudeness and anti-social nature. It deals with one such friendship between the characters Teito Klein and Mikage Celestine. This show is also a great example of the diversity in Josei anime and that not all of such shows have to be about love and relationships. O7-Ghost does have a gripping and thrilling story to offer the audiences.
19. Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope)
When a loner makes a friend and is introduced to jazz, his life turns for the better. The teenage struggles become easier to handle and he moves along with his life and relationships. That is pretty much the story of Kids on the Slope in a nutshell and it is regarded as a popular Josei anime for the kind of content it has on offer.
20. Nodame Cantabile
This has a simplistic story of an aspiring Japanese musician who wishes to brush up his skills in Europe. The hindrance to his ambition is his fear of flying which is alleviated by the arrival of the female protagonist. Their emotional development and mutual help are what make Nodame Cantabile such an amazing watch for the audiences.
21. Emma-A Victorian Romance
This is a touching love story that brews between Emma who is a maid and William who is a son from a rich family. The social traditions and norms are against their union but their love for each other is overwhelming. The consequences that unfold form the crux of this story and it is a beautiful narrative that has the viewers hooked on to their seats. It is surely an amazing find in the world of Josei Anime.
22. Arakawa Under the Bridge
This is Josei anime at its best as the protagonist is saved by Nino who is a homeless girl. She saves him from drowning and then when the protagonist wishes to pay back her dues, she requests him to be her boyfriend and to live with her under the bridge. The story is intriguing and has the deft emotional quotient to tug at your heart.