Shojo Anime that puts the big three to shame

Some shonen and seinen manga fans have criticized the shojo anime for being too stereotypically “girly” without ever diving in to see what the demographic has to offer. However, there are plenty of anime and manga out there that top even the most iconic shonen titles.

There are plenty of great shojo anime out there that have interesting plots and characters with much better narratives than the iconic “Big Three”. Here are three shojo anime that are arguably better than the sensational shonen titans.

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The Big Three and how they won their title

The Big Three refers to three very popular anime — naruto, A play, and Bleach. These series fall within the shonen demographic – a title given to series aimed at appealing to teenagers and young men – but capture a much wider audience. naruto and Bleach have already concluded, and A play will soon enter the final story arc. A play, narutoand Bleach are also partly responsible for popularizing anime in the West and making anime as well-known as it is today.

The Big Three is known due to its immense popularity among anime and manga fans. naruto, A playand Bleach all started as manga series and were soon adapted into three separate anime television series. The Big Three are also well known for the length of their storylines. The naruto finished manga at 72 volumes, Bleach with 74 volumes and A play currently has over 100 volumes. While these series are great and have their own unique characters and storylines, some anime fans think the Big Three are grossly overrated.

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Sailor Moon (1992 – 1997)

The Big Three have strong characters and monstrous fanbases, but, Sailor Moon trumps the Big Three in various areas. The Sailor Moon manga has been completed for many years, starting in 1991 and ending in 1997 with 18 volumes. The anime aired a year later in 1991, lasting just under a decade before reaching its satisfying conclusion in 1997. Much like the Big Three, Sailor Moon has a large and complex plot. It also contains numerous movies, video games, and other types of media, creating additional lore for the beloved shojo series.

The characters of Sailor Moon sets him apart from the Big Three in many ways. The protagonist, Usagi Tsukino is an average teenager like many well-known shonen heroes. Where Usagi differs, however, is in her role as a magical girl and the responsibilities that come with it.

Despite their many differences, Sailor Moon shares many of the same qualities that popularized the Big Three. Sailor Moon focuses heavily on the power of friendship and has a protagonist that some fans may consider overpowered. Sailor Moon is also very popular among young girls and women, so it would not be an exaggeration to say that this is one of the reasons why the anime has become so popular among Western fans.

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Banana Fish (2018)

Despite a male lead and an almost all-male cast, Banana Fish was published in a shojo magazine. It may come as a surprise to some fans, but the gender of the protagonist or characters doesn’t matter when it comes to demographics. Banana Fish doesn’t have much in common with any of the big three, but a series doesn’t have to have fantastic action and otherworldly powers to tell an amazing and thought-provoking story. The Banana Fish manga was written by Akimi Yoshida in 1985 and completed in 1994. More than two decades later, animation studio MAPPA released an anime adaptation for Banana Fishattracting old and new fans.

Banana Fish presents a story people can relate to and explores deep-rooted, emotionally-provoking trauma and grief with far more care and nuance than any of the big three. That’s not to say the Big Three don’t talk about trauma at all throughout their stories. The naruto the series deals with isolation and loneliness much differently than Banana Fishnaruto was isolated from his peers because he was “boring” and adults thought he was a freak. Ash had his childhood ripped off by almost every adult man in his life and was pressured into doing sexual favors to much older men.

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Blue Spring Ride (2014)

The Blue spring walk manga was first published in 2011 and the series ended in 2015 with 13 volumes. Blue spring walk Couldn’t be further from the Big Three, but it still has better narrative themes and a more concise plot that keeps the reader interested from start to finish. One of the Big Three’s biggest downfalls was that each series was way too long. Many people who grew up with naruto Where Bleach ended up dropping it after the first few seasons because it went on with no end in sight, both series were bogged down with filler episodes, which many fans also didn’t like. This issue is less likely to occur with a much shorter completed series like Blue spring walk. That said, the Big Three still have a dedicated fan base that is or was willing to wait for the latest release.

Blue spring walk may not be as popular or as well-known as the Big Three, but the series also didn’t last more than a decade. Blue spring walk deserves recognition for its distinct characters who don’t need superpowers to set them apart from the rest. And came to an acceptable and succinct conclusion within a reasonable time. Blue spring walk proves that mangaka don’t have to create a convoluted series with countless characters to keep fans interested and wanting more.

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The Big Three earned their title for a reason and are great anime in their own right. But, there are definitely shojo anime that provide fans with rewarding experiences with stories that explore deep and emotional aspects of their character. Sailor Moon, Banana Fishand Blue spring walk are shojo anime with far better pacing and character development than the Big Three.