*This is Part 3 of a 3-Part Post Series. Enjoy!
This is the third and last set of 10 romance manga in this 3-part series that I personally recommend with strong or talented heroines. Please note that the titles in this list are not limited to the shoujo genre. Enjoy!
10 Recommended Romantic Manga With Strong Female Protagonists (Part 3):
10. Grand Sun (グランドサン)
By Emura (絵夢羅). I like the premise: female bodyguard to a hot, rich guy. The art style is nice enough. Asahi, the heroine, is physically strong but nowhere the level of Tsukasa from Tokyo Crazy Paradise. The romance is average and to be honest, it’s a bit too predictable for my taste. Plenty of my fellow shoujo manga fans recommend this manga and shriek that they love it, but for me it’s so-so. Still I’ll recommend this manga because it’s a nice enough one to pass time with.
9. Arakure (アラクレ) / Wild Ones
By Fujiwara Kiyo (藤原規代). The premise is similar to Gokusen but with a lot nicer artwork. Like Yankumi of Gokusen, Sachie is the granddaughter of a yakuza boss and she does her best to hide her yakuza background at school. To be honest, reading this after the awesome Gokusen ruined it for me. I was very excited about the nicer artwork, but the story is a lot weaker compared to Gokusen. However, the romance aspect is definitely stronger and more blatant in Arakure. The ending is a little disappointing, but overall this is an enjoyable read.
8. Matsuri Special (まつりスペシャル)
By Kamio Youko (神尾葉子), author of Hana Yori Dango and Cat Street, just to name a few. This manga is really good, I’m telling you. It’s not as awesome as Hana Yori Dango or even Cat Street, but it’s a fun read with a kick-ass heroine. Matsuri is physically strong—she’s a wrestler for goodness’ sake! Ya go, girl! But even then, I’m not her biggest fan because it seems to me that most of the things she does are predictable and she annoys me sometimes. Nevertheless, the romance is good—not as hot as HYD, but still romantic. Read this!
P.S. To those of you who are wondering, I didn’t include Hana Yori Dango in any of these lists because I only watched the live-action drama. I haven’t read the manga or watched the anime.
7. Beauty Pop (ビューティーポップ)
By Arai Kiyoko (あらい きよこ). This manga is so adorable! I read this when I was in my teens and I loved it! I’m not a fan of its cutesy art style now that I’m an adult, but I still read it now and then just because the story is entertaining. Kiri is a very talented hairstylist, and that’s her main strength. Her other strength is her strong mentality. She’s like Kujou of Last Game in that she’s emotionless and kind of dense when it comes to the romantic tensions with the harem of guys surrounding her. The romance is very teeny-bopper, but it’s so adorable. I recommend this to those looking to read something light and funny.
6. Horimiya (ホリミヤ)
Original story/webtoon by HERO and illustrated by Hagiwara Daisuke (萩原ダイスケ). Oh my gosh. This manga is HOT! Where have you been all my life, Horimiya? It was originally a webtoon published by HERO on his website. I’m so glad that they decided to publish it with a much-much-much better art by Hagiwara Daisuke. The premise is similar to Switch Girl in that the main characters present different appearances and personalities to the public compared to how they really are in private. I really like Hori. She’s smart and confident, but also very responsible especially in the matters of running a household. Miyamura is hot, too, with his bad-ass piercings and tattoos which he does everything to hide from school. The chemistry between them is electric and I love the two of them together. Must-read!
5. Vampire Knight (ヴァンパイア騎士ナイト)
By Hino Matsuri (樋野 まつり). All the characters in this manga are beautiful! I don’t care what others say, I love this manga! The incest element is kinda iffy initially, but the story did a great job in justifying it as a normal occurrence to preserve a pure vampire bloodline instead of something forbidden unlike a lot of other incest romance manga. The anime is also pretty good, and I wish that they adapt the rest of the manga. Crossing my fingers. Yuki is strong but not perfectly. She can fight, yes, and she’s stronger than the average human girl, but she’s also helpless against vampires. . .that is, until her vampire blood is awoken inside her. There are many times that she annoys me, but the hot guys especially Zero and Kaname calm my annoyance with her. I’m with Team Kaname but I’m not happy with the things he did in the end. Poor Zero. He deserves better. The tragic ending is satisfying in a way but it’s still tragic so. . .(sniffs and wipes a tear). Read this!
4. Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (となりの怪物くん) / My Little Monster
By Robico (ろびこ). I love this! So romantic and funny! It’s kind of similar to Special A where the heroines constantly try to compete academically for the #1 spot against the heroes and the heroes effortlessly defeat them. Shizuku is very intelligent but she’s also socially clumsy, her fashion sense questionable—and I like that. It makes her more relateable. The relationship of Shizuku and Haru is a mixture of drama and hilarity, and I just can’t get enough of the two of them. The manga ended perfectly. I love it! Highly recommended!
3. The One (獨領風騷)
Manhua by Nicky Lee. This is the hottest romance title among this list. Whoo! It’s getting hot in here. The art is beautiful. It’s like Skip Beat! in that it’s set in showbiz, well, kind of—at least I consider modelling as show business. But The One is like Skip Beat! on crack. It’s darker, definitely more adult with a lot of sex and booze. The heroine, Lele, is a naturally talented model with both her deceased parents former models. She’s mentally strong but not without vulnerabilities. The romance. . .well, what can I say? It’s freaking hot and I love it! The ending is very satisfying. Highly recommended!
2. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (赤髪の白雪姫) / Snow White With The Red Hair
By Akizuki Sorata (あきづき空太). I’m a bit resentful that this got a second anime season while Akatsuki no Yona fans like myself are left hanging with only a first season to watch. Frankly, I think that Yona is way better than Shirayuki but oh well, I’m not the one who’s making the anime. Now that little rant is out of the way, let me say that I still love Akagami. I’m not the biggest fan of its art style and I find the story just a bit too tame compared to Yona, but there is definitely stronger romance here than in Yona. The heroine, Shirayuki, is a hardworking and a skilled herbalist. I like how she uses her herbal skills to slowly climb the social ladder, but I resent that she has to work so hard to attain a higher social rank to be more acceptable as Prince Zen’s potential marriage partner. But I guess that’s the point of the story so I can’t complain much. Highly recommended.
1. Saiunkoku Monogatari (彩雲国物語) / The Story of Saiunkoku
Story by Yukino Sai (雪乃紗衣) and illustrated by Yura Kairi (由羅カイリ). I can’t remember how many times I’ve recommended this to others. It topped both of my reverse harem lists here: “My Love Affair With Reverse Harem” and “6 Must-Watch Reverse Harem Anime With Beautiful & Meaningful Stories”. The main strength of Shuurei, the heroine, isn’t her combat skills but her intellect, wisdom, compassion, and determination to be the first woman to hold a government office in history. Ya go, girl! The romance is, oh my gosh, so romantic! There are so many hurdles in her romance with Emperor Ryuuki—and additionally there are a lot of other hot guys surrounding her—so you can really feel the serious romantic drama in this series. The political aspect gives the story depth which I love. Highly recommended to the highest level!
And that’s it for this 3-part post series of my Recommended Romantic Manga With Strong Female Protagonists. But this isn’t the end. There are still a lot of amazing romance manga out there with kick-ass heroines, so I’ll continue compiling them. Feel free to help me out by sharing your favourite romance manga that have strong main female characters. You’ve already recommended great titles to me in Parts 1 & 2, so please do so again here in Part 3. I’m always delighted to receive recommendations that sound interesting. When I’ve compiled enough, who knows? Perhaps there’s going to be a Part 4 and so on? Looking forward to that.
Happy reading, my fellow romance manga fans! Cheers!
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