Josei is a term for an audience demographic that targets older women or teenagers in Japan. Unlike shoujo that is targeted towards young girls who may be in elementary or middle school, josei is aimed at women who may be in their last year of high school or college.
The plots are more realistic with their concept of romance and may show adults in the workforce, like teachers or office workers. However, some josei is targeted towards women in general that may be an action series or even comedy. The 2000s was an excellent decade for josei anime. Here are the ten best josei anime of the 2000s.
10 Let’s Go Straight Ahead! (2003)
It is best to suspend thought when watching Let’s Go Straight Ahead! However, that does not make it a bad anime. It centers on a talking crossbred dog named Mametaro, who loves his owner, Ikuko Wakatsuki, and his purebred Kishu Hanako dearly.
No one can hear him besides certain people. The story is told from Mametaro’s point of view and shows his adventures throughout the town, along with his owner, girlfriend, and another dog he cannot stand.
9 The Gokusen (2004)
The yakuza is a topic many foreigners, as well as Japanese people, love to incorporate in their stories. This series mashes together the genres of martial arts and comedy to make The Gokusen.
Kumiko Yamaguchi is the 23-year-old granddaughter of a yakuza boss and works as a teacher at an all-male high school. Despite being the granddaughter of a yakuza boss, Kumiko is a good person at heart and truly wishes for her students to excel.
8 Saiyuki (2000)
Saiyuki is loosely based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West, akin to a lot of Asian stories that are adapted into anime, movies, or live-action dramas. The story centers on four boys who are all a part of the Three Aspects of Buddha to stop the resurrection of the Ox-Demon King, Gyumaoh.
It would be best to set aside some time to watch the series, as there are 50 episodes, as well as a movie, to finish the series.
7 Ristorante Paradiso (2009)
Ristorante Paradiso, or more commonly shortened to Rispara, centers on the lives of the staff of a restaurant in Rome called Casetta dell’Orso. While it focuses on multiple characters, Nicoletta is the female heroine who works as an apprentice and is the only female staff. Although she has a crush on the head waiter, Santo Claudio Paradiso, he wears his wedding ring to stop others from pursuing him.
6 Michiko & Hatchin (2008)
Michiko & Hatchin is a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde story… sans the romance. It follows an escaped convict named Michiko, who is on the run from the officers trying to recapture and even end her life. When an orphan named Hatchin, who has been abused by her foster parents’ child, cannot take it anymore, Hatchin decides to go on the run along with Michiko.
5 Nana (2006)
What happens when two women who have the same name become friends? What happens when they both have horrible love lives and need to learn how to get a better eye for men? Nana is the culmination of mature romance in Josei and was one of the most popular manga series in the early 2000s.
However, since the story has been on hiatus from the author’s poor health, fans can only hope to re-watch the anime and await the conclusion.
4 07 Ghost (2009)
07 Ghost was an acclaimed manga that won the double-first prize at the Zero-Sum Comics Grand-Prix and was loved by both readers and editors, meaning this series is certified gold.
The series centers on a fantasy world where an amnesiac boy named Teito Klein strives to get revenge after his home country was destroyed. The series also features battles against Teito and the enemies, the 07 Ghosts.
3 Honey And Clover (2005)
Honey and Clover, also known as HachiKuro and H&C, centers on romance and drama. Since the characters in the series are becoming adults, it is also a coming-of-age tale. It focuses on a group of art students who live in the same apartment building and forge bonds.
While some bonds remain as friendships, others blossom into romance. There are multiple love triangles and unrequited loves, as well as other mature topics such as searching for jobs and graduating from college.
2 Paradise Kiss (2005)
Paradise Kiss was written and illustrated by the same author behind the mature josei series Nana, and both were broadcast around the same time in the 2000s. While Nana explored in popularity, Paradise Kiss was often the second, underrated choice. However, it was extremely popular in other countries with a presence for fashion, such as Italy.
The story begins when Yukari Hayasaka is scouted to become the model for ParaKiss. It also features the infamous relationship between Yukari and Jouji Koizumi.
1 Nodame Cantabile (2007)
Nodame Cantabile follows two classical musician students who are striving to get better in their profession as well as the romantic relationship between them. While Shinichi Chiaki is a perfectionist who is the top student at the Momogoaka College of Music, Megumi Noda, or more commonly called Nodame, is a student who is talented but prefers to play by ear rather than look at the sheet music.
Unlike shoujo, Josei anime is often geared toward mature female audiences, and here are our favorite releases from two decades ago.