This past year, I finally sat down and watched what is considered the greatest shoujo anime of all time: Rose of Versailles...and I agree with them. It is awesome. Even more so when you look at its history. Back in the 60s-70s, it was believed that little girls couldn't handle serious stuff on TV such as violence, evil characters, etc., which is considered a very misogynistic view today, whether it was magical girl shows or plain shoujo, some eras weren't kind to women in any country. But that all changed for the better when Riyoko Ikeda penned her masterpiece, The Rose of Versailles. Oscar is hailed as not just a great main character for her three-dimensional personality, her flaws, strengths, charisma, and for being awesome, but as a feminist icon showing that women don't need to be bound by strict gender roles and can be whatever the heck they want.
Many anime have been inspired by Rose of Versailles, such as Revolutionary Girl Utena, and its influence continues to pepper other shows, even today. However, there aren't many shows with strong female characters with plenty of weaknesses to balance them out, and many radical fans feel women absolutely need to be nothing but strong and emotionless in order to be liked, which isn't true. I'm not a feminist, but there are plenty of cartoons that show females being strong and that have well rounded personalities that can resonate with everyone if given the chance. (My Little Pony's not gonna be on here because everyone knows what it's done and I love MLP no matter what)
Snow White with the Red Hair is one of the more recent fantasy shoujo anime to come out in the last year or so. The red haired girl, Shirayuki, isn't a damsel in distress like the original Snow White fairytale. She's mentally strong despite lack of physical strength, she works a job that she loves and knows a lot about (medicine, namely herbal remedies), works to earn her privileges in her new surroundings, doesn't get everything handed to her on a silver platter, and does all she can to help others, even though she has her own issues regarding her future and her past.
Yona of the Dawn has seen decent popularity as of late, and is much more of an action show. Yona was a spoiled, fallen princess whose world is thrown in upheaval when her cousin, Soo Won, kills her father and kicks her out of her kingdom for reasons she doesn't understand. Feeling terrible for being so unaware of what the world is like outside the castle, Yona vows to become a stronger person, take back her kingdom, and reclaim her place as the future ruler, this time with the help of new friends who will stand by her side. I don't think I need to explain much more than that.
Moment #2: The shoujo genre's glorious return and the growing popularity of well rounded female characters in cartoons.
(more to come soon)