7 Best Josei Anime for Beginners

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By L.B. Bryant | More Articles Anime Editor Just a person who enjoys writing about anime.
April 19, 2021  12:36 PM
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While the josei genre of anime doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the bigger genres, including seinen and shoujo, this is still a powerful genre with some all-time classic titles behind it!

Aimed mostly at women in the 18-45 age bracket, the stories you find in josei are oftentimes dramatic and filled with deep emotions. While they do occasionally skew towards the comedic side of things, the bottom line is that if you’re watching a josei, you should be prepared to feel something deep within your soul. 

1Bunny Drop

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Another series about an adult character having to suddenly deal with the curveball that real life has thrown at him. This noitaminA series became a much-beloved instant classic when it aired in 2011 and is one of the few examples of an anime that ended at exactly the right time. 

In this series, the main character is a 30-something office worker named Daikichi who learns one day that his grandfather has died. What no one realizes until they get to his house is that Grandpa had a daughter with his caretaker and now no one knows what to do with this 6-year-old girl named Rin. Disgusted by the behavior of his family, Daikichi takes her in and gets a crash course on what it means to be a father. 

Bunny Drop is one of those wonderful series that you can go back to again and again, thanks to its soft animation style and gentle storytelling. You can watch it now on Crunchyroll

2Wotakoi

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In this 2018 office romance series, there are four main characters (two different man/woman couples) who are all otaku in one way or another. This is a series about them navigating the tricky waters of adult romantic relationships. 

In this story, the main character is an office worker named Narumi who keeps getting dumped because she’s an otaku. While lamenting her bad luck to her childhood friend and fellow otaku, Hirotaka, he comes up with a perfect plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again: date him instead.

Animated by powerhouse studio A-1 Pictures, this series is a fantastic look at everyday life in modern Japan. No flashy effects, no superpowers, no being transported to another world; just normal relations that aren’t always pretty to see and can come with some harsh emotions. It’s available now via Amazon, so be sure to check it out if you’re looking for a straight-up romance.

3Chihayafuru

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If you’re a fan of the series Chihayafuru, then you know what it means to truly suffer. Originally airing in 2011, the first two seasons of Chihayafuru went swimmingly… and then came the waiting. Six long years of waiting for the third season, and now we’re back in that with absolutely no fourth season in sight. Moop.

Regardless, Chihayafuru is a fantastic series about a little-known game called Karuta. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of the game before or have no familiarity with the poems used to play it, this series will give you a crash course while dishing out one of the best teenage romance stories in anime history! 

Chihayafuru is close to a perfect series. Between the heightened drama thanks to the perfect use of internal monologues, and the sudden jolts of expertly timed giggle moments, this series represents the best of the genre. Available now on Crunchyroll and HIDIVE.

4Princess Jellyfish

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This is a series about women, for women. You may enjoy it if you’re not a woman, but the feelings and experiences expressed in this series are aimed squarely at adult women who may not feel like they really belong in general society. 

Animated by studio Brain’s Base, this series follows a young woman named Tsukimi who is an otaku for all things jellyfish. One day by happenstance, she comes across a young woman who helps her out what she doesn’t find out until later, though is that this beautiful “she” is actually a beautiful “he”! Available now on Funimation.

5Polar Bear Cafe

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One of the funniest animal series you’ll ever come across! In this charming slice of life series that ran for 50 episodes from 2012 to 2013, the main setting is a cafe that is run by a polar bear. Serving both people and animals, this cafe is a homey place for people and animals of all walks of life to gather together, get a cup of coffee (or maybe some bamboo), and chat about whatever is on their minds. 

No one expected this series to run for 50 episodes. At most, people expected one or two cour max, but then it just kept going and going and became a juggernaut of hilarity. Housing one of the greatest running gags in anime history (I won’t spoil what it is), Polar Bear Cafe is charming beyond measure. Available now on Crunchyroll. 

6Kids on the Slope

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In this original jazz series, the setting is 1960s Japan and our main character is a navy brat named Kaoru. Coming from an elite background, he finds himself mostly ostracized by his classmates at his latest school… except for by two other people, Sentarou and Ritsuko. From these friendships, Kaoru is able to escape his shell and fall in love with the world of jazz music.

Airing in 2012, Kids on the Slope is one of the series that put studio MAPPA back on the map in the early part of the last decade. Filled with a brilliant story and beautiful animation, this series stands out as one of the highlights of the entire decade. Available now on Crunchyroll. 

7Nodame Cantabile

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Closing things out with another music series, Nodame Cantabile can be difficult to watch at times thanks to a really unlikable main character, but that doesn’t stop it from being a powerful viewing experience. 

In this series, the main character Chiaki is a genius musician who dreams of being a conductor but can’t because he has a fear of flying which won’t allow him to leave Japan. One night while drunk, he meets a young woman named Nodame who is a genius piano player but seems to have no interest in pursuing her talents to the fullest. While the pair are polar opposites in terms of their personalities, they still somehow grow closer and form something that resembles a relationship. 

And there you have it! Seven josei anime to go out and enjoy today! Did we miss any particularly good ones? Feel free to let us know!

Related: The Importance of Anime in Japanese Culture

Author Name
L.B. Bryant