Strange Love: Shojo Manga's Weirdest Romances

10 Odd Couples and Unlikely Love Stories

Ah, love sweet love. Boy meets girl and sparks fly — but in shojo manga, sometimes things aren't as simple as that. A masochist falls for a narcissist. A dog turns into a girl who falls for the neighborhood hunk. A shy girl discovers that her young neighbor was her lover in a past life… on the moon? And that's just for starters with these gender-bending and species-crossing odd couples and their quirky but endearing love stories.

Portrait of M & N

Portrait of M & N cover

Photo from Amazon

  • Author / Artist: Higuchi Tachibana
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • US Publication Date: February 2009

Pretty and delicate Mitsuru immediately attracts attention on the first day of school, but she turns down all her would-be suitors. Few would think that she would be attracted to studious and serious Natsuhiko — but this unlikely pair discovers that they each have a secret that they dare not reveal to their classmates. Mitsuru is an extreme masochist who swoons at the thought of being hurt by someone else. Meanwhile, Natsuhiko is an extreme narcissist who can lose himself in ecstasy whenever he sees himself in a mirror.

Guru Guru Pon-Chan

Guru Guru Pon-Chan Vol. 1 cover

Satomi Ikezawa / KODANSHA

  • Author / Artist: Satomi Ikezawa
  • Publisher: Del Rey Manga​
  • US Publication Date: July 2005

Ponta is a mischievous Labrador retriever puppy who loves to play. She's just like any other dog until an eccentric inventor creates a magical bone that turns Pon-chan into a very cute teenage girl. Things only get weirder from there when this girl/dog falls in love with her handsome next door neighbor. Can this mismatched couple overcome their inter-species differences?

Beast Master

Beast Master Volume 1 cover

Kyousuke MOTOMI / Shogakukan

Yuiko loves animals... but her overzealous enthusiasm for hugging critters tends to scare off most creatures big and small. That is until she meets Leo, a teenage wild child who was raised in the wilderness. Yuiko has seen Leo's savage side and is a bit frightened by his ferocity, but she also seems to be the only person who can soothe this beast boy when he is overcome by his animal instincts.

Your and My Secret

Your and My Secret Volume 1 cover

Ai Morinaga

  • Author / Artist: Ai Morinaga
  • Publisher: TokyoPop
  • US Publication Date: March 2008

Talk about your odd couple! Nanako is a pretty girl who would probably have her pick of male sweethearts if she wasn't so crass and crude. Akira is smart, handsome and sensitive - but he's such a wuss, no girl takes him seriously. When a strange device invented by her grandfather transfers Nanako's personality into Akira's body and Akira's consciousness into Nanako's body, the results seem to make everyone happy, except Akira and Nanako. Akira is especially skeeved out when his best friend Senbongi is attracted to him while he's in Nanako's body.


Otomen Volume 1 cover

Aya Kanno / HAKUSENSHA, Inc.

It ain't easy being a manly man nowadays. Just ask Asuka Masamune – all the guys and gals at school admire his athleticism, his suave good looks, and his cool, manly demeanor. But what they don't know is that beneath his macho exterior beats the heart of a "women" – a guy who loves girly hobbies. Asuka manages to keep up his macho façade until he meets Ryo – a pretty girl who comes from a martial arts-focused family, who is also an absolute disaster in the kitchen.

Black Bird

Black Bird Volume 1 cover by Kanako Sakurakouji

Kanoko SAKURAKOUJI / Shogakukan Inc.

Since she was a child, Misao could see yokai and demons. But since turning 16, Misao notices that these mischievous spirits are acting increasingly menacing. With the return of her childhood friend Kyo, Misao comes to understand why — now that she's grown, she's a special delicacy for demons: the scent of her blood drives demons mad with desire to eat her. Kyo comes to her rescue, but Misao discovers why: Kyo is a demon himself who wants to marry Misao to gain power for his clan.

Absolute Boyfriend

Absolute Boyfriend Vol. 1 cover

ZETTAI KARESHI Yuu Watase/Shogakukan Inc.

Tired of being rejected by good looking guys, Riiko goes online and signs up for a free trial of a "Nightly Lover" figure. What arrives at her front door is much more than she imagined: a life-sized android male who's super hot and uh, naked too. As she gets to know Night, Riiko finds herself falling for this "perfect" lover – but will Night get in the way of her finding real love with a real guy?

Please Save My Earth

Please Save My Earth Vol. 1 cover


  • Author / Artist: Saki Hiwatari
  • Publisher: VIZ Media
  • US Publication Date: October 2003

Shy and gentle Alice Sakaguchi discovers that she and her classmates Jinpachi and Issei have been having similar recurring dreams. Strangely enough, these dreams take place on the moon, where Alice, Jinpachi, and Issei are scientists from another world, along with four other people. As more is revealed about their past lives, Alice and her friends learn that their destinies are also intertwined with Alice's 7-year old neighbor Rin Kobayashi, a boy who claims to have loved Alice in their past life together.

Moon Child

Moon Child Vol. 1 cover

1988 Reiko Shimizu / HAKUSENSHA, INC.

  • Author / Artist: Reiko Shimizu
  • Publisher: CMX Manga
  • US Publication Date: December 2005

Hoh boy. How does one begin to explain how weird and addictive Moon Child is? There's a boy named Jimmy who may or may not be just a boy, a merman named Shonach who needs to mate with a mermaid to continue his species, a dancer in the middle of a love triangle between this mer-people that sets off a bizarre chain of events that just might destroy the world. It's almost impossible to describe Moon Child without giving away the surprising twists that make it such a compelling read. But trust me, it's truly bizarre.

Pig Bride

Pig Bride Vol. 1 cover

KookHwa Huh, SuJin Kim / Haksan Publishing Co., Ltd.

  • Author: KookHwa Huh
  • Artist: SuJin Kim
  • Publisher: Yen Press
  • US Publication Date: April 2009

As a young boy, Si-Joon Lee gets lost in the forest and through a series of odd circumstances, agrees to an arranged marriage. Fast forward several years and Si-Joon is a high school student who has his eye on the prettiest girl in school, Doe-Doe. But Si-Joon's past promise comes back to haunt him when a mysterious girl wearing a pig mask arrives at his home telling him that she's his bride-to-be.