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The demographic category of Anime (and Manga) aimed mainly at girls. It tends to have female leads, romantic subplots and resolutions involving personal growth. This doesn't mean Shoujo is devoid of action, though. In addition to more traditional romance stories, Shoujo can include tales of heroines who kick righteous butt — while pursuing romantic subplots and personal growth.

Alternately, Shoujo stories can focus on implied or explicit homosexual relationships between men (see Boys Love for the genre, Yaoi Guys for characters outside of the genre), or the romantic emphasis could also stem from relationships between women. Some feature all of the above, and usually feature a Relationship Ceiling.

Although series with explicit sexuality are more likely to be Josei (aimed at older women), some Shoujo may have considerable sexual content; a subgenre called Teens Love (by analogy to Boys Love) features erotic romance between heterosexual couples, with much the same narrative conventions (abusive boyfriends, sexual coercion, and Angst; or, alternately, shmoopy romance, ecstatic lovemaking, and Happily Ever After). This stuff tends to snuggle up as close to the "Restricted" (18+) category as it can, and so isn't often licensed for translation.

Not all romance series are Shoujo. Shonen romances take the boy's perspective (Magical Girlfriends and Harem Series are both common), and focus on the boy pursuing the girl, or trying to resolve the Love Dodecahedron. If it doesn't have that, a Shonen romance tends to end with a declaration of love and its acceptance. Shoujo romances, by contrast, frequently involve the heroine finding love early in the series, then stick around to watch the couple work through trouble in their relationship.

Historically speaking, stories specifically created for teenage girls were already written in The Roaring Twenties, with the dollmaker and artist Junichi Nakahara codifying the wide-eyed look that is so typical to shoujo stories. They started taking off even more in The Fifties and especially The Sixties, initially thanks to stories like Ribon no Kishi by Osamu Tezuka and Mahoutsukai Sally by Mitsuteru Yokoyama. At the end of The Sixties and start of The Seventies, shoujo manga truly began taking its big jump — female authors started outnumbering male ones, the stories themselves took turns that brought in somewhat older female readers (especially thanks to artists like Hideko Mizuno and Yoshiko Nishitani), and the existence of the Year 24 Group (formed by female authors like Moto Hagio, Keiko Takemiya, Riyoko Ikeda, Ryoko Yamagishi, etc.) ended up setting the definitive basis for what is known as Shoujo now.

Shoujo manga is typically drawn with thinner lines than Shonen Manga, with sparser backgrounds and little (if any) shading — but, contrariwise, it frequently uses screentone patterns to set the emotional tone of a scene, and frames are rarely solely rectangular and borders are often absent. Character-designs with the aforementioned eyes that are even larger than those usually used in Manga and Anime (the infamous dinner plate size) are also usually a giveaway that the work in question is Shoujo — especially when the characters are not children.

Shoujo is a demographic (usually identified by the time slot or magazine a story runs in) and shows so classified can fit into any "standard" genre, up to and including martial arts and Science Fiction. And even this is variable; popular female leads sometimes gain a male fan following, to the degree of the (infamous) older men fanbase. Anything Magical Girl is usually Shoujo by default. But there are exceptions, specifically made for said Lolicon fanbase.

Should not be confused with Bishoujo. Or the Order of the Stick character of the same name.

Note that the word is correctly romanized as "shōjo" or "shoujo".

Examples of Shoujo Demographic include:

Series sometimes mistaken for shoujo: