The popular Twitter account @MangaMoguraRE, known for expertise regarding Japanese comics and cartoons, recently publicized the top 10 highest-selling manga titles aimed at women readers this year.
The source of the data is Ameba Manga, an online manga store and website that tracks sales figures and rankings. For context, manga specially targeted at female audiences falls under the genre classification of “shoujo.” Common themes explore romantic relationships and emotions.
Some famous shoujo manga magazines like Ribon, Nakayoshi, and Ciao publish titles for young teen girls, exploring topics like first crushes.
Meanwhile, the magazine Margaret publishes more mature shoujo stories involving love triangles or office romances for older readers. The best-selling shoujo manga this year covered the whole range, from middle-school nostalgia to more grown-up workplace entanglements.
While the specifics differed, at its core, shoujo manga builds an emotional connection between the female reader and the characters navigating intricate relationships.
Complete List of Top 10 Bestselling Manga for Women in 2023 According to Ameba Manga
The number one bestselling manga aimed at women this year is Akatsuki no Yona, known to English readers as Yona of the Dawn.
This popular fantasy adventure title has resonated strongly with female readers. In second place is Kusuriya no Hitorigoto, or The Apothecary Diaries, a historical drama about a female pharmacist applying her skills amid palace intrigue?
Additional top sellers rounding out the top five shoujo manga titles are the school romance My Love Story with Yamada-kun at Lv999, the nostalgic coming-of-age story Honey Lemon Soda, and other diverse works spanning the spectrum from lighthearted slice-of-life to suspenseful sci-fi.
While their plots and settings range widely, from feudal kingdoms to futuristic space operas, these manga share elements that have clearly captivated women readers this year.
Complex interpersonal relationships, high emotional stakes, and resilient female leads drive the drama in these bestselling titles.
The continued popularity of both classic series and new hits highlights the expanding diversity of stories and art styles within the flourishing shoujo manga genre.
10. Shujinkou Nikki
Shujinkou Nikki, known to English readers as Heroine’s Love Diary, has an adorable shoujo manga storyline centered around Aoi Tsujimura, a self-conscious high school girl lacking confidence.
Feeling overlooked compared to her high-achieving mother and brother, Aoi yearns for a leading role or a captivating love story of her own.
Enter Aoi’s popular older brother Itsuki and his dashing friend Sena Mizusawa. Recognizing Aoi’s shy nature and need for a change, the boys make it their personal mission to transform her into a main character worthy of attention and romance.
Their strategy involves pushing Aoi out of her comfort zone to take bold risks in her quest for self-discovery and first love.
As Aoi tentatively tries to gain life experience and understand what she truly wants, humorous misadventures and tender moments ensue. Can she successfully upgrade from a wallflower background role to a heroine controlling her own destiny?
This fish-out-of-water premise puts an endearing spin on classic shoujo themes of school life, friendships, crushes, and coming of age. Readers will be charmed, rooting for underdog Aoi’s reinvention.
9. Uruwashi no tsuki no yoi
In this lighthearted shoujo manga, protagonist Yoi Takiguchi seems destined for the role of a princely heartthrob at school.
With her boyish good looks and laidback demeanor, female classmates regularly fawn over the aloof Yoi, crowning her an honorary prince.
However, Yoi pays little mind to all the attention, preferring to simply coast through uneventful days. This all changes with the flashy transfer arrival of Kohaku Ichimura, a playboy reputation preceding him.
In contrast to Yoi’s cultured airs, Kohaku acts completely unrefined, doing whatever he wants whenever he wants. Yet when Kohaku plainly calls Yoi “beautiful,” she finds herself flustered by his straightforward praise.
Something about his earnest gazes and compliments makes her nervous in a new way.
For Yoi, Kohaku represents a first – the first boy to truly see her as a girl behind her princely facade.
Try as she might to keep her distance with dismissive indifference, Yoi struggles to ignore the quickening beat of her heart now whenever Kohaku looks her way.
Could this be the start of an enduring romance…or just a passing fling with a flirtatious bad boy? Shoujo manga fans will eagerly turn the pages to find out!
8. Ashita wa watashi dareka no kanojo
This poignant shoujo manga follows Yuki, a young woman struggling to pay her way through college after an accident left her scarred, both physically and emotionally.
Though self-conscious of the burn marks marring her face, Yuki discovers she can cover them with makeup and fashionable clothes to pass for an average girl.
Desperate to earn money for tuition and medical bills, Yuki takes on an unusual job – becoming a “rental girlfriend.”
The role involves accompanying male clients out on faux dates, dining at restaurants, attending events, and walking hand-in-hand giving the appearance of a romantic couple to curious outsiders.
For love-lorn men or shy boys lacking confidence, Yuki provides the simulation of an attentive, doting girlfriend experience.
Behind her painted smile though, Yuki grapples with her own insecurities and complicated past. Can she keep up the charade of confidence and intimacy despite inner wounds?
This poignant premise explores the facade of perceived perfection in looks and relationships. While giving men the fantasy girlfriend encounter, Yuki struggles to see her own worth and beauty beneath her physical and emotional scars.
7. Namaiki Zakari
This lighthearted shoujo manga centers around Yuki Machida, a high school girl managing the boys’ basketball team at Ryuhoku High.
Though surrounded by potential suitors, Yuki’s attention is focused squarely on the team captain Kido, her long-time secret crush. However, her hopes are crushed when Kido starts dating another girl from school.
Seeking solitude to nurse her broken heart one day, Yuki is stumbled upon while crying alone in an empty classroom by Shou Naruse.
As a brazen first-year member of the basketball team, Shou has always admired the kind and pretty Yuki from afar. Throwing caution to the wind, he abruptly confesses his feelings directly to a shocked Yuki.
But despite Shou’s aggressive pursuit for her affection, a wary Yuki remains firmly reluctant to engage in any rebound romance so soon after her disappointment with Kido.
This sets up a classic shoujo scenario rife with complications of unrequited love, meddling friends, and a splashy new admirer trying every trick imaginable to win over the girl of his dreams.
Will Shou’s zealous antics finally thaw Yuki’s hard stance against romance and open her wounded heart to love again? Fans of high school drama will race to uncover the answer!
6. Yubisaki to Renren – A Sign of Affection
Our heroine Yuki lives the life of an ordinary modern college student – chatting with friends, scrolling social media, and hitting the mall sales.
Her comfortable routine gets disrupted when a serendipitous meet-cute on the train introduces her to Itsuomi-san, an acquaintance of a friend who attends the same university.
Though they travel in different social circles, Yuki finds herself intrigued by soft-spoken Itsuomi-kun.
However, a significant barrier lies between the two potential lovebirds – while the multilingual Itsuomi can speak three languages fluently, sign language unfortunately doesn’t make the list.
You see, Itsuomi-kun is deaf and dependent on cochlear implants and lip reading to interact in the hearing world.
As the pair continue crossing paths on campus, a sweet courtship blooms, from stolen glances to blushing smiles. But doubts plague Yuki on whether genuine communication can bridge their differences.
Can she overcome her insecurities to take a chance on love? Will mutual understanding lead to confidence in conveying her budding feelings across the sound barrier between them?
This heartwarming shoujo tale reminds us that affection can speak volumes in any language.
5. Mystery to iu nakare
Messy-haired sleuth Totonou cuts an eccentric figure with his unique talent for hyper-attentive observation and deduction skills. He’s content living a low-key existence until suddenly falsely accused of murder.
Leveraging his aptitude for piecing together insights about people, Totonou investigates the detectives on his own case, managing to pinpoint the real criminal mastermind.
Though exonerated, Totonou’s reputation for unraveling mysteries against all odds is cemented. While yearning to regain his peaceful anonymity, his brilliant mind for investigation can’t resist puzzling out clues behind the endless scandals, schemes, and misfortunes around him.
Totonou has an uncanny knack for following subtle evidence trails to expose buried truths.
Driven by an earnest desire for justice and order beneath the world’s chaos, Totonou finds himself reluctantly cast as an unconventional sleuth.
With logical precision in untangling complex crimes, this brainy, odd-ball hero provides a soothing voice of reason contrasting society’s madness.
His blunt but thoughtful approach gives hope that even the most cruel and baffling mysteries can be solved by simply carefully observing human nature.
4. Honey Lemon Soda
Our heroine Uka Ishimori has gone through life relatively unnoticed, her introverted nature earning her the nickname “Stone” in middle school for being cold and opaque.
Entering high school, the withdrawn Uka resigns herself to more lonely years blending into the background.
However, fate intervenes in the form of Kai Miura, an upbeat classmate whose bright smile and natural charisma evoke associations with Uka’s favorite drink – sparkling, sweet honey lemon soda.
Despite their differences, Uka finds herself inexplicably befriended by the cheerful Kai, who seems delighted by the prospect of cracking through her rocky exterior.
As the two start spending more time together, Uka slowly lowers her guard, buoyed by Kai’s infectious optimism.
In teaching Uka to open up and engage with the world around her, Kai lives up to his soda namesake, adding bubbly new flavors to her life.
Bit by bit, Uka discovers confidence she never knew she possessed. This heartwarming shoujo story promises that even wallflowers can bloom when given the right nourishment of kindness, courage, and connection
3. Loving Yamada-kun at LV999!
Our heroine Akane Kinoshita is a college student reeling after her gamer boyfriend unexpectedly dumps her.
Seeking nostalgic comfort, Akane immerses herself in playing the fantasy MMORPG Forest of Savior (FoS) that the former couple enjoyed together.
When she attends an offline FoS fan event, Akane crosses paths with an aloof yet oddly magnetic high schooler, Akito Yamada.
As it happens, Yamada belongs to the very same online FoS guild as Akane. Behind his avatar, however, she discovers an extremely reserved loner boy.
Their online-to-real-life acquaintance sparks Akane to connect more actively with other guild members in the aftermath of her breakup.
She and Yamada in particular gradually build a rapport through their shared love of gaming as Akane guides the socially awkward Yamada to open up.
Blossoming from gamer buddies to something more, this sweet shoujo story suggests love can be found in unexpected places – including within online communities or fantasy realms.
Bonds formed while virtually adventuring can inspire real courage that translates to real-life relationships.
2. Kusuriya no Hitorigoto – The Apothecary Diaries
In this historical fiction manga, we’re transported back to a kingdom reminiscent of Imperial China. Our heroine is Maomao, a plucky teenage apprentice to an apothecary, well-versed in herbal remedies from years of shadowing her father.
However, when she’s suddenly kidnapped from her family home in the red-light district and conscripted as an anonymous palace servant, Maomao resolves to endure the long sentence quietly without standing out.
Yet when troubling rumors spread of the Emperor’s children falling critically ill, Maomao feels compelled to discreetly investigate by tapping into her wealth of pharmacological knowledge.
After secretly diagnosing the root cause, she’s able to anonymously provide the cure, saving the heirs’ lives. However, in the shadows, her skillful forensic feats capture the attention of an influential court eunuch.
Soon, against her intentions, Maomao finds herself forced to lend her talents to solving mysteries around the imperial court alongside this intimidating new master.
Each thrilling case requires her to deftly combine science, politics, and old-fashioned cunning to uncover vital truths while navigating the complex agendas of powerful warlords, consorts, and officials running the kingdom. Will one misstep spell the clever girl’s doom?
1. Akatsuki no Yona
This fantasy saga opens by recounting legends from two millennia past when the fictional Kingdom of Kouka was founded by an actual Dragon God who descended from the heavens in human form – the first Crimson Dragon King.
Recognizing humanity’s capacity for evil and power-hungry corruption in that era, the benevolent Dragon King was forced to battle tyrannical warlords.
As defeat loomed, four fellow Dragon Gods took on human warrior form to come to his aid, their bloodline bestowing them with dragon-shifting abilities.
Together, this band of five legendary fighters, led by the Crimson Dragon King, were finally able to end the wars plaguing ancient Kouka.
With peace restored, the warriors went their separate ways, and the Dragon King passed away. Over long years, Kouka progressed into a nation of five tribes – Sky, Earth, Wind, Fire, and Water – with the Dragon Warriors’ tale fading into myth.
In the present day, two millennia after its fantastical founding, the opening scene centers on the lone princess Yona, blissfully naive to brewing unrest outside castle walls.
Sheltered within the Sky Tribe’s Crimson Dragon palace, Yona seems ignorant of tensions that threaten to plunge Kouka into upheaval once more.
However, storm clouds gather as history seems poised to repeat in an epic new struggle between good and evil.