5 Trashy Shojo Manga for When You Crave the Drama

Usually, the shojo genre is known for its sweet, light-hearted romantic storylines. However, there are shojo series that take the romance to the next level, transforming the story into a melodrama filled with family trauma, backstabbing friends and personal turmoil.

Here are five dramatic, page-turning shojo series worthy of a read. In fact, you might be glad that you're just reading the series rather than living these protagonists' drama-filled lives.

Marmalade Boy

Wataru Yoshizumi’s Marmalade Boy is a popular rom-com manga adapted into an anime and several live-action series. The story begins when Miki Koishikawa finds out that her parents are getting divorced and swapping partners with a couple they met in Hawaii. Miki agrees with the arrangement after meeting the other couple and their teenage son, Yuu Matsura. As Yuu and Miki slowly learn more about each other, the two become best friends, and eventually, Miki starts to have feelings for Yuu. Yet, things get complicated when others start to interfere and interrupt Miki and Yuu’s relationship.

Continue scrolling to keep reading Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
marmalade boy a devil and her love song hana yori dango
Start now

Marmalade Boy begins with a bizarre family situation. Our main characters’ parents reveal how fickle romantic feelings are by easily switching marriage partners. Their strange family situation leads to Yuu and Miki seeing romance in a different light and their relationship is influenced by outside forces, complicating their feelings for one another. This series also has a scandalous student-teacher relationship involving Miki’s friend, Meiko Akizuki, and the English teacher, Shin'ichi Namura.

Boys Over Flowers

This is the manga art for Hana Yori Dango.

Boys Over Flowers is a classic shojo manga written and illustrated by Yoko Kamio. It has countless live-action remakes, including the most recent Chinese adaptation on Netflix Meteor Garden, which aired in 2018. Although she comes from an underprivileged background, Tsukushi Makino attends an elite high school, Eitoku Academy. She gets bullied by the famous F4 (Flower Four), a group of four guy friends who come from Japan’s wealthiest families. The group’s leader is the hot-headed and arrogant Tsukasa Domyouji, who falls in love with Tsukushi. However, Tsukushi despises him, and instead, she slowly develops a crush on Rui Hanazawa.

Boys Over Flowers gives readers a classic, Cinderella-like reverse harem story. However, the melodrama doesn’t come from the love triangle, but rather Tsukasa’s controlling mother, who tries to separate Tsukushi and Tsukasa because they come from different socio-economic backgrounds.

Hot Gimmick

This is the manga art for Hot Gimmick.

Hot Gimmick is an absolutely scandalous shojo series by Miki Aihara. Hatsumi Narita lives in a company housing complex that is strictly run by Mrs. Tachibana, the vice president's of the company's wife. While living in the complex, every family must behave appropriately or the respective employee’s reputation will be tarnished. One day, Hatsumi’s promiscuous younger sister, Akane, asks Hatsumi to get her a pregnancy test. Ryoki Tachibana, the son of the powerful and wealthy Tachibana family, sees Hatsumi buying the pregnancy test and decides to blackmail her into being his slave, and in exchange, he will keep Hatsumi’s sister’s situation a secret.

Aside from the melodramatic love triangle, this series focuses on the psychological issues that each character must overcome, such as abandonment, abuse and depression. Their inner demons are what prevent each character from having healthy relationships. However, what makes this series trashy is the characterization of Hatsumi. She has severely low self-esteem, which makes her more sympathetic, but also frustrating because of the immature decisions it causes Hatsumi to make in her love life.

Peach Girl

Another classic shojo series is Miwa Ueda’s Peach Girl. Peach Girl is about the life of a tanned and bleach-haired high school girl named Momo Adachi. Because of her looks, Momo is the center of schoolyard drama and gossip, which is constantly spread by her only "friend," Sae, who is jealous of her. Both Momo and Sae have a crush on the quiet and athletic Kazuya "Toji" Tojigamori, and so Sae spreads a rumor about Momo making out with the playboy campus heartthrob, Kairi Okayasu. Soon after, Momo falls for Kairi, forcing her to choose between him and Toji.

The “trashy” aspect of this series is from the endless drama between Momo and Sae. Momo is a sweet girl, but she is unfortunately bullied and mistreated by her, Sae. Momo and Sae’s “fake” friendship is a solid portrayal of how complicated and competitive female friendships can be and how rumors can change someone's whole social situation.

A Devil and Her Love Song

This is a picture of Maria.

A Devil and Her Love Song is a coming-of-age, romance series created by Miyoshi Tomori. Maria Kawai transfers to Totsuka High School after being expelled from St. Katria, an all-girls catholic school for violence against a teacher. Maria’s sharp-tongue and attitude make her an outcast and the center of gossip at her new school. However, she befriends Yusuke Kanda and Shin Meguro after they hear her sing. With the help of her friends and her assertive attitude, Maria slowly changes people’s perception of her, and she begins to get along with others.

Similarly, this shojo series focuses on bullying and overcoming one’s demons. However, unlike the other female protagonists, Maria is quite assertive and knows how to handle people who try to hurt her, making her a likable character in a very unexpected way.

About The Author