From comedies, to romance, to action, there’s great female characters all around the anime-sphere. As always with my list I had to limit myself with silly guidelines that would make it possible for me to write this without spontaneously combusting from the stress of choosing the fantastic women on this list.
So the two guidelines of this list are as follows: Movie characters won’t be in this list. This list is for characters in anime shows (just trust me if I had to go through all the Studio Ghibli movies, Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, Ghost in the Shell, and Kara No Kyoukai the whole list would be made of movie characters and I would explode trying to choose them). The next and last guideline is that there will be one character per show because some shows just have too may amazing women in it. Also, remember this is my personal list so don’t be surprised if a crowd favorite might not be on here. There’ll also be another part to this list sometime soon because 10 characters are never enough am I right folks? Alright that’s it for the introduction let’s get this going.
Starting off the list is Celty the “Headless Rider” from Durarara!! Her appearance and her motorcycle was a main selling point for me and the mystery surrounding her kept me coming back. She sets up the world of Durarara!! by being a sort of supernatural being in a natural environment. She doesn’t have a voice so she communicates by texting which can make for some great funny moments. She starts off as an extremely dark, mysterious, and sometimes scary being, but as the show goes on more of her personality is on display and she makes for a interesting character. She’s an excellent fighter and one of the most powerful characters in the show. Celty also takes the award for being the cutest girl in the anime universe without a face.
Up next we have a curve ball. While Seras Victoria is the main female in the Hellsing anime, Integra Hellsing or “Sir Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing” was who I enjoyed the most in that show when it came to females. She is the head of the Hellsing organization and is also the only one who can talk to Alucard in any tone she wants to without the risk of immediate death. The Hellsing Organization has made it their mission to search for and destroy the undead and other supernatural forces of evil that threaten the queen and the country by any means necessary.
Integra inherited the organization at age 13 and has been bossing it up ever since. Her charisma and the style that she carries herself with is only rivaled by her own elegance. She is more than willing to take full responsibility for things no matter how harsh the consequences are. The way she handles her emotions in the face of the most horrible scenes will blow your mind. It may also scare you if you’re easily spookable.
Did you think I wouldn’t have the best girl from Naruto on this list? Hinata Hyuga probably had the most development when it comes to the Kunoichi of Naruto. Hinata starts as an unbelievably shy girl who has a crush on Naruto. That’s it, that was her whole character for a while. We learn a little bit more about her during the chunin exam when she had to fight Neji who was part of a different class of Hyuga. Hinata hadn’t been training and Neji was hitting her with his antagonistic trash talk and even though Hinata lost in that fight (which was almost the best fight from the chunin exams) she showed that there was much more to her than just having a major crush on Naruto.
Fast Forward to Shippuden and she’s a full fledged ninja. Her development was more subtle than I thought it would be and she goes from just having a crush on Naruto to actually fighting to protect him and her friends even if it means giving up her life, as she was willing to do on more than one occasion. She stepped up to one of the biggest baddies of the series… (until he had a change of heart) and had no fear. I love Hinata because she goes from a shy girl to being a character that Naruto can rely on and she even keeps him on the right path to becoming Hokage.
Ah Lina Inverse, master of the Dragon Slave, the self-proclaimed “Magical Genius.” So Lina Inverse is one of the best females in anime history and if you haven’t seen Slayers then consider this my recommendation. She trained to be a sorceress because she was kinda sorta afraid of her sister…well she was terrified of her (in a comical way not an abusive way). She had major self-esteem and inferiority issues towards her sister so she trained and trained hard. After she grew up she became one of the most powerful human magic users in the entire world and mastered black magic.
Lina loves to eat a lot and says it’s because of her extremely high magic usage but most people just think she loves to eat. She also likes to steal money from the bad guys she stops. Lina has many nicknames like “The Enemy of All Who Live”, sounds ominous right? She just has that nickname because of all the collateral damage she causes with her magic. I love to gush about this character because she has so much to her. Layers upon layers, and she’s also basically the most powerful person in the world. Her outfit is also on point.
Honestly, any girl from School Rumble could be on this list because they’re all amazing and you have no idea how hard it was to just choose one. On the surface, Eri Sawachika is your stereotypical shallow rich girl. She has the looks and she has the money. She was born in Japan and then raised in England before going back to Japan. Her father is English/Japanese and her mother is Japanese. She’s amazing at sports and is also extremely smart. Her Father is a businessman and is usually away on business trips leaving her at home with her butler. At school most of the girls hate her and the guys only see her as a girl they want to get with, which makes her feel isolated and causes her to cherish her friends a lot more than she lets on.
She gets confessions from guys all the time and usually doesn’t have feeling for anyone other than her friends. She has the money but her parents are never there and it really gets to her sometimes and the vulnerable moments that she has is what makes her a great character. She’s prideful, and emotional but does everything she can to make sure no one sees her cry. Her interaction with other characters(especially Harima) is hilarious and more often than not, extremely cute. Eri is my favorite girl from School Rumble and one of my favorite females in anime. Oh yeah go watch School Rumble!
Akane steps in from one of the best anime shows in recent years, Psycho Pass. I can’t go into her character as much because her development is also entangled in key plot points in the first season so rather than risk spoiling such a great show I’ll just be brief. Akane had the highest grades in her exam to join the Public Safety Bureau’s Criminal Investigation Unit. She originally joins to find her purpose in life and thought she would find it there.
Akane starts as a naive girl who questions things and is basically an extremely relatable person. She starts off as a typical new cop on the scene and develops into one of the best characters in anime. Oh, I wish I could gush about her but alas, I shall contain myself. Just trust me when I say she’s worthy of a spot on my personal list.
Alright, so if you don’t watch One Piece then maybe this character will change your mind. Nico Robin was abused by her uncle as a child after her mother set sail to find “The True History.” She was left in the care of her uncle and his wife who would tell her to stay out of sight and not let her be involved in any family activities. Her devil fruit power would cause everyone to shun her away even as a little girl and she was called a demon by everyone on the island.
Sadly, saying more about her childhood would spoil a lot about her and also make me cry which would make it harder for me to write this. Needless to say, it was pretty tragic. This is another one you have to take my word for because talking about her in any way is basically spoiling a huge piece of One Piece. Nico Robin’s outfit is also on point.
If you know me then you know that Gintama is my favorite show, which means that you should’ve been expecting a girl from Gintama on this list. Kagura is a teenage girl from a race of extremely powerful humanoid aliens called Yato. They hate sunlight, or should I say sunlight can inflict extreme pain on them so she carries an umbrella, which also happens to be a machine gun. She wants to live on Earth as a normal girl without her Yato legacy controlling her and she does so by being the most non-stereotypical girl on the planet. Kagura’s sense of humor usually involves using her strength to throw someone or…you know for a character like this it’s probably best for me to show you.
Kagura has the supremely funny side to her and a surprisingly vulnerable/badass side as well which allows her to connect with everyone in town. There’s more I could say about her but that would also spoil things, just know that she’s one of the reasons why Gintama is my favorite show right now.
Now if you don’t know what this show is then you’re really missing out. Revolutionary Girl Utena is an amazing show full of symbolism and substance and there’s no other girl that should be in this spot other than Utena Tenjou. Utena’s parents died when she was 6 years old. After they died she basically felt like there was nothing more to life because all humans eventually die so she went into a coffin herself to wait until her death. She was saved by Dios and told to never give up her nobility. Fast forward to middle school and she is basically admired by everyone because of her cool “Prince-Like” persona.
She doesn’t wear the typical girl’s uniform and she’s always quick to help someone, and doesn’t conform to typical female stereotypes. She starts off as “perfect” with no real flaws but as the show goes on and she finds someone to protect, she becomes one of the best female characters of all time. She duels other characters in the show for the right to protect Anthy, which coincidentally means they’re engaged to each other. Oh I forgot to mention that Anthy becomes engaged with the “Champion Duelist.” The story of Utena and her development takes many twists and turns and causes her to question herself and what she stands for. Her story really is revolutionary and I love her and every second of it.
We’re finally here, my number one female anime character (of this list) Revy from Black Lagoon. This is another one where I can’t go into her story as much because I can’t really talk about her past without a major spoiler but I’ll do my best. Revy is part of the Lagoon Company which is a company for hire, usually by criminals. She does most of the fighting for the company and is arguably the strongest character in the show. She was born in the Chinese district of New York and was raised by an alcoholic and abusive father.
Going to the police only brought more pain and suffering as they treated her like “another ghetto rat” and this treatment caused her to lose faith in God among other things. She says that she’s spent time in prison and ends up in Ronapur where the Lagoon Company operates out of. She’s a brutal hand to hand fighter and a deadly duel pistol wielder. She is able to move at superhuman speeds and even dodge bullets. She’s the most badass person on the planet. She loves to kill while on jobs and seems to enjoy it in an almost demon-like fashion.
Slowly and very subtly she develops and her development is still my favorite of not only female characters, but anime characters in general. Revy is badass and complicated, someone you can’t take at face value and that’s why she’s my favorite most amazing female anime character (of this list).
Whew, so there you have it. 10 amazing female anime characters that will make you wish there were more female led shows out there. There will be more female anime characters coming at you from me next week so stay tuned and make sure you check out all of these shows if you haven’t already!
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Great list! Many of my favorite Women of Anime are on here, but I’d like to mention two of my own.
Balsa the Spearwoman from MORIBITO, a vastly underappreciated fantasy show, and one of the most quietly feminist anime every produced. Balsa is a traveling mercenary known for her strength with a spear, who is hired by a desperate Queen to protect her young son, Chagram, from being assassinated under orders from his own father when an old prophecy predicts that Chagram will bring about a devastating drought that will choke the kingdom.
Balsa is a fantastic character to me in that she’s not shown as being a stereotypical “Strong Female Character”, but one of nuance and intelligence. While her fighting prowess is undeniable, she’s able to see the bigger picture, and does not engage in fights she cannot win. When she accepts the Queen’s request to protect Chagram, she looks well down the road thinking in the long term, faking Chagram’s death so that the assassins will not pursue them, and then teaching Chagram how to fend for himself.
My other favorite Woman of Anime is Princess Kaguya of THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA by Isao Takahata. Based on THE BAMBOO CUTTER’S TALE, in which Kaguya held a small role, her story is expanded here to weave a tale about the burden of expectation our society forces unto women. Kaguya yearns for such simple happiness, while powerful men force her to be a Princess. She is clever and quietly strong, outwitting her unwanted suitors, but also feeling the burden of guilt as they rush recklessly towards self destruction for the right to own her. In the end Kaguya is taken away and silenced…it’s a sad and powerful tale of a woman who never manages to claim her own agency…a cautionary tale.
Psycho Pass 1 & 2 is deep and a must watch. The social commentary is nothing short of profound, the action and pacing is stellar. Is it just me or is anime getting deep(er) and upping the ante? See Requiem for the Phantom, Dimension W, Welcome to the NHK, Black Lagoon wasn’t slacking either.
great list. revy is my most favorite female character in anime too. *—*
Good list. I disagree with Hinata but you justify it well, and the only one I seriously disagree with is Akane. I thought her character arc was good, really her male co star was the real hero of the show, and I thought considering she’s meant to be a professional she was OTT clueless at the beginning (her ob is exceedingly simple and they didn’t even tell her how to use the weapon at police school? That’s like a cop being surprised they have to use hand cuffs). My personal list would be:
1) Oscar Dejarjes – Rose of Versailles
2) Lady Eboshi- Princess Mononoke OR Akemi Homura (if films don’t count)
3) Revy/ Balalaika- Black Lagoon
4) Utena and Anthy- RGU
5) Nana O- Nana
6) Michiko- Michiko and Hatchin
7) Celty Sturluson- Durarara
8) Sailor Uranus/ Haruka- Sailor Moon
9) Hollo the wise- Spice and Wolf
10) Olivier Armstrong- FMA: Brotherhood
GREAT! More shows for my list!
Fantastic info! It makes me reconsider my top 10 list of badass female anime characters.