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Stock Shoujo Heroine

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A type of protagonist that appears in shoujo manga and anime

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
Pichu-kun on Jun 14th 2016 at 6:24:42 AM
Last Edited By:
Pichu-kun on Dec 26th 2017 at 12:15:18 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

A type of protagonist that appears often in Shōjo (Demographic) works.

They're almost Always Female and a Kid Hero commonly between 10 and 16. Girlish Pigtails or medium length hair are common hairstyles, but just long hair worn down is common as well. Hair colors are usually blonde, red, pink, or brown, while blue eyes or brown eyes are the most common eye colors. They will typically wear brighter colors, such as pink, when in casual attire (especially if they're a magical girl), and it's common for their school uniform to be a Sailor Fuku.

The protagonist will often be an Ordinary High-School Student (or a Junior High school student). She's not the most perfect person, but she tries her best; maybe she's a little Book Dumb, maybe she's passive to a fault, or maybe she tries too hard — either way, she's initially very relatable. Despite this, her personality comes in many flavors (Genki Girl, Plucky Girl, Nave Everygirl, Shrinking Violet, and The Ditz are very common), and she tends to be some degree of clumsy but at least has one traditionally feminine trait that keeps her afloat. She's often (supposedly) average looking in physical appearance, however this might be poor self-esteem and other characters will try and get her to see her beauty. She's usually not a Big Eater unless it comes to sweets.

Her strength, unlike her literary brothers, is often not physical. Rather, what sets her apart is her incredible willpower and loyalty, which inspires friends and potential lovers alike to protect her. And rest assured, this girl will be the emotional rock of the series. The Power of Friendship is aside to The Power of Love in many cases, bringing her most fearsome opponents down with kindness rather than really fighting them. And if she isn't too nice, she'll often make others realize what they've done wrong by appealing to emotion or weaponizing it. They're often The Heart or All-Loving Hero of their Four-Girl Ensemble. Being prone to Tender Tears is common.

Another thing that sets her apart from her literary brothers is that she's usually not the instigator of many arcs; rather, she's at the center through no immediate fault of her own, and everyone wants a chance to grab her. Whether it be for political reasons, for some hidden power, or because she has that special "something" all the boys can't ignore, she won't be pushing the action, but she'll sure react to it.

When it comes to romance she almost always falls in love with someone older than her (usually a Sempai), who is also One Head Taller than her. They will usually bump into each other, especially if the protagonist is Late for School while eating Toast of Tardiness. If the protagonist is tender enough, the duo will often be a Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl combo. If the protagonist favors pink then her love interest will often wear blue (even if female). Being unable to confess, being stuck in a pre-dating stage for most of the series, and being self conscious will often be included. She might have a childhood friend who likes them, but they are Oblivious to Love. Having at least one Romantic Two-Girl Friendship is exceedingly common. If their friendship makes the leap to something more, expect the protagonist to be a uke if that trope is in use.

Usagi from Sailor Moon is a common inspiration for modern Shoujo protagonists, especially in Magical Girl series.

Compare with the Stock Shonen Hero (another Book Dumb All-Loving Hero with The Power of Friendship) and contrast with the Stock Shonen Rival and the Stock Light Novel Hero (who are more seriously-minded cool customers).


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     Anime & Manga 

     Film- Animation 
  • The Disney Princess franchise has many of its heroines display a lot of the characteristics of a shoujo heroine, despite being a bit older than the norm in some cases. It's no surprise that the franchise is huge in Japan as well:
    • Tangled's take on Rapunzel has lives a sheltered life inside her tower up until her 18th birthday, wondering where she came from and what the world outside is like. Sweet, curious, somewhat naive, and with the rough mannerisms of a gentle princess, Rapunzel captures the hearts of most of the people she encounters on her journey to the lanterns.
    • Anna of Frozen fits the bill moreso than Elsa does, being a clumsy, awkward and excitable young woman who wants to be close to her sister again, and attracts the attention of two older boys; handsome, agreeable prince Hans, and fun loyal mountain man Kristoff. She dreams of love in multiple forms, and in the end retroactively saves herself and her sister due to their close bond.


  • The Confession Executive Committee ~Love Series~ takes this up a notch; in showcasing various love stories of the cast with different archetypes, we get at least six as the main focus for their love stories — Natsuki Enomoto (Genki Girl Tomboy), Miou Aida (Shrinking Violet), Akari Hayasaka (Nave Everygirl), Sena Narumi (Uptown Girl), Arisa Takamizawa (Plucky Girl Tsundere), Hina Setoguchi (Sempai/Kohai variant), and Hiyori Suzumi (plain Jane). They all share the same romance heroine characteristics of being romantically oblivious to their own stories, insecure about their love interests, and in love with slightly older boys, but are still very sweet and merely want the object of their affections to look their way.


     Web Original 

     Video Games 

     Visual Novel 
  • Romance Games and video games with a female audience usually have this kind of heroine as the protagonist, which makes for easier self insertion. She'll usually have plain hair colors, be somewhat naive in love, and have insecurities about themselves depending on the game, but be hard working and the support to her potential lovers. Even explicitly non-romance game works like Ensemble Stars! or A3! keep it.

     Western Animation 

Feedback: 22 replies

Jun 14th 2016 at 6:29:23 AM

I actually have no clue what counts as a "stock shoujo protagonist" so I just thought of a bunch of very common cliches. Someone else more knowledgeable about the demographic might explain better.

Jun 14th 2016 at 8:04:05 AM

I am not that familiar with the demographic, either, but I hear that general obliviousness to social cues (particularly romantic ones) is a must.

Jun 14th 2016 at 6:33:17 PM

Any female fan/fujoshi over here?

Oct 8th 2017 at 9:48:23 AM

Oh, man, wondered if this draft existed when working on the Stock Shonen Rival page. Shoujo heroines are actually varied in personality (you've got the clueless crybaby, the strong-willed tomboy, the loner etc), so I wonder if we can get this up and running.

Oct 8th 2017 at 11:19:40 AM

Also, added in the stock: will usually bump into the first guy she meets while running with a slice of toast in her mouth while rushing to the first day of school.

Oct 26th 2017 at 7:33:43 PM

I have a couple of examples, if you still need them.

  • Of course, pioneering many other tropes for post 90s shoujo heroines, Boys Over Flowers' Tsukushi can be seen as one. She is feminine, but she is pluckier than usual, and her empathy and compassion for her friends and others draws the F4 to her. She does eventually get into a relationship with a (very) Troubled But Cute older boy, though.
  • Tohru Honda of Fruits Basket fits the bill pretty well. She somehow makes it to the center (and the end) of the Sohma curse and family problems by merely trying to listen to them and their problems, and is a sweet and gentle young woman. She does have her faults though; her kindness extends to her being an Extreme Doormat for her family, and she's incredibly insecure but bottles it up.
  • The Confession Executive Committee Love Series takes this up a notch; in showcasing various love stories of the cast with different archetypes, we get at least four as the main focus for their love stories— Natsuki Enomoto (Genki Girl Tomboy variant), Miou Aida (Shrinking Violet variant), Arisa Takamizawa (Plucky Girl Tsundere variant), and Hina Setoguchi (Sempai Kohai variant). They all share the same romance heroine characteristics of being romantically oblivious to their own stories, insecure about their love interests, but are still very sweet and merely want the object of their affections to look their way.

Nov 8th 2017 at 8:33:50 PM

The Hollywood Homely pothole in the description ("supposedly") might be better as Generic Cuteness, since most insecure shoujo protags are drawn in the same cutesy style as everyone else. The heroine's clumsy obliviousness also allows the central romance to be drawn out.

Female protagonists in dating sims/light novels tend to be have a similar personality, so that can warrant a mention too.

  • The heroine of the Uta No Prince Sama's anime adaptation rings closer to this than her original game counterpart, who was fairly confident and self-assured. Haruka is clumsier, more insecure, shyer, and sheltered. Nevertheless, she finds herself in the center of ST★RISH and their dealings as their composer; given that it's a dating sim adaptation they are also all potential love interests for her.
  • Fushigi Yuugi's heroine Miaka is a gluttonous Idiot Heroine with average grades who is nonetheless well-meaning and kindhearted. She accidentally finds herself in the middle of a fantastic war and gets two handsome love interests out of the deal.

The description is also suffering from pronoun trouble, likely a leftover from merging the two drafts, but I suggest going with "she/her" - these protagonists are overwhelmingly Always Female, since they're supposed to be relatable to the Shoujo Demographic. The line about insecurity regarding appearance can go in the first paragraph (since it deals with appearances). I'd also widen the age range to at least 18 (age of high school graduation in Japan).

I have to ask; is Steven Universe deliberately influenced by shoujo manga?

EDIT: Speaking of works that were influenced by shoujo...

  • Miraculous Ladybug is heavily influenced by Magical Girl shows, and this is reflected in its heroine. Marinette is a feminine aspiring fashion designer who is sweet, klutzy, self-effacing, and tongue-tied around her crush. But overall, she's a subversion, as her superhero alter-ego Ladybug is far more proactive and assertive than the usual example of this trope.

Nov 7th 2017 at 9:03:09 PM

Nov 9th 2017 at 9:09:03 AM

^^ As someone who watches the show, I can safely say that Steven Universe has a mix of Shonen and Shoujo influences. Steven himself has the determined exuberance of the Shonen lead, and the inspiring tenderheartedness of the Shoujo lead.

Nov 9th 2017 at 9:23:16 AM

Can this be converted to Stock Shoujo Heroine, considering a vast majority of the examples are female, and the description rewritten to accommodate that?

Nov 18th 2017 at 8:58:21 PM

^ I was thinking the same thing.

Nov 14th 2017 at 9:28:57 AM

Are Stock Shojo Protagonists more likely to be Audience Surrogates than their male counterparts? Should that be noted?

Nov 18th 2017 at 9:57:29 PM

They're definitely supposed to be the Audience Surrogate, I don't know about more likely than the shounen hero; he's often also the newcomer/underdog in whatever gimmick the series is about.

Nov 20th 2017 at 12:45:23 PM

Compare with the Stock Light Novel Hero, who often shares so many tropes with the Stock Shoujo Heroine that a leading lady in a Light Novel is probably both.

Nov 26th 2017 at 5:11:34 AM

I also think the line about physical appearance can be removed, since heroines can run the whole gamut of hair colors, hair styles, and eye colors. A line or two about Generic Cuteness will suffice.

Nov 27th 2017 at 8:16:15 AM

^ I don't think so. There's definitely a large amount of pink (because Pink Is Feminine), brown (because it's "normal"), and blonde (because Heart Of Gold Hair Of Gold) hair colours in shoujo works.

Dec 6th 2017 at 11:56:44 AM

It seems launchable. Any complaints?

Dec 17th 2017 at 1:01:40 PM

I'll launch this soon.

Dec 24th 2017 at 8:26:34 PM

I have a few more examples.

Feel free to edit these examples as you see fit.