My Top Six Female Characters in Anime

6.    Bulma (Dragon Ball, Dragonball Z, Dragonball GT)Bulma

Bulma’s influence on one of the most popular series of all time entitles her to be part of this list.

It’s great to see characters develop, and as the longest-serving character next to Goku, we watch Bulma grow from a tomboyish, at times coquettish, damsel in distress, to able scientist and loving mother, whose inventions help her friends to save Earth from their enemies.

In Akira Toriyama’s most recent Dragon Ball spin-off, it is revealed that a five-year-old Bulma helped repair Jaco the Galactic Patrolman’s spacecraft (not bad for a five-year-old.) In Dragon Ball, Bulma teaches Goku about technology and personal hygiene, and invents the Dragon Radar, which retains a continued importance throughout the series.

Bulma’s role is reduced over time, but she still manages to repair a Namekian space ship and fly to Namek, use the Android blueprints to create a deactivation remote, design a new type of battle armour for the Z Fighters, and invents the Blutz Wave Generator to enable Vegeta to transform into a Super Saiyan 4 (even though I’m not convinced of GTs legitimacy.)

Standout Moments:

Bulma Dragon Radar
Bulma explains the use of the Dragon Radar
Bulma Panties Roshi
Bulma does not know that Goku has removed her underwear, and then she shows Master Roshi her underwear (which is of course missing) – cue laughter
Bulma Cheering
Bulma cheers for Trunks at the World Martial Arts Tournament, much to Oolong’s detriment

5.    Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan)Mikasa

As far as badass female leads go, Mikasa is up there with the best of them. Initially one of the strongest soldiers in the 104th Trainee Squad, she joins the Survey Corps in order to protect Eren Yeager, and later, Levi Ackerman chooses her for the new Special Operations Squad.

Mikasa’s strength is displayed throughout the series, including a flashback where she kills one of her parents’ murderers, in order to protect herself and Eren. Although her Titan-fighting prowess is not at Levi Ackerman’s level (I’m told that they are not related,) she is one of the most highly skilled fighters in the series.

Mikasa’s other assets are her sense of loyalty and willingness to help her friends, which propels her determination to succeed. Although, this makes her at times, emotion-driven, such as the time she disobeys Levi’s instruction to avoid the Female-Titan when it swallows Eren, her level-headedness make her a survivor.

Standout Moments:

Mikasa Child
Mikasa as a child witnesses her parents being murdered. This incident is the making of Mikasa
Mikasa Defending Eren
Mikasa defends Eren from the soldiers who have just witnessed his transformation into a Titan
Mikasa Female Titan
Mikasa and Levi chase the Female Titan in order to rescue Eren

4.    Sinon (Sword Art Online)5

The determined gunslinger with a troubled past makes it into the Top 6 for her vulnerabilities as well as her strengths.

Like Akame, Sinon possesses great strength, and even has her own unique weapon in the game, the PGM Ultima Ratio Hecate II.

As a toddler, Sinon lost her father in a car accident. A few years later, she shot a bank robber, in order to protect her mother. These events gave Sinon a fear of guns, but when she hears about Gun Gale Online, she joins the game as a form of therapy.

In the virtual reality world, Sinon is well-respected for her prowess with her Hecate, and it seems that the only players stronger than her are survivors from SAO (Death Gun and Kirito) – players who have been levelling up for many years.

She is also a formidable player in ALfheim Online, using her expertise with the sniper to choose her longbow weapon for long range attacks. She forms close bonds with the group, especially Kirito and Yui.

Standout Moments:Sinon Gun Bank

Sinon Home Attack
Sinon has to face a lot of violence and near death experiences in her life
Sinon Sniper
Sinon in action, about to kick ass

3.    Asuna (Sword Art Online)4

The beautiful and formidable Asuna, and heroine of SAO, beats the others in this list for her abilities with the sword, as well as her personality.

In Aincrad, Asuna becomes one of the most powerful players in the game. She is a match for Kirito physically and mentally, often challenging and outwitting him in conversation. She is fearless in combat and confident in her abilities.

She desires to help others, and is loyal to her friends. Her devotion to Kirito is shown when she uses her body to block Heathcliff’s attack.

I was initially skeptical of Asuna’s changed role in the original ALfheim Online where she had become a standard damsel in distress. I have since changed this view because her imprisonment is out-with her own control, and when she gets the opportunity, she tries to escape.

In the Mother’s Rosario story arc, Asuna questions her own abilities and struggles to remember the ‘old,’ powerful Asuna of Aincrad. Asuna is forced to confront her waning self-esteem by challenging Zekken to a duel. In this arc, Her friendship with the Sleeping Knights brings out her former strength. Here, she fights for her friends, and thrives without Kirito’s protection.

Standout Moments:

Asuna Yui Kirito
Happy Family Portrait with Asuna, Kirito and Yui
Asuna Fighting
Asuna and Kirito take on a boss
Asuna Dying
Asuna sacrifices herself by coming between Kirito, and Heathcliff’s blade

2.    Akame (Akame ga Kill!)3

Continuing in the realm of fighting prowess, we come to the next in the list, Akame. With her katana called Murasame, this young assassin shows no mercy in the face of her enemies. She is one of the strongest members of the rebel army Night Raid, and is one of the only survivors after the Final Battle.

Her cold persona is the result of the brutal training she faced as a child, and the rigours of being an assassin, but deep down, Akame is a vulnerable character, who is sensitive, and considerate (often cooking for her friends.) Her strength comes from taking responsibility for the deaths she has inflicted, showing her to be empathetic and moralistic.

It is easy to imagine that someone with her difficult upbringing would find socialising within a group more difficult. Nevertheless, Akame remains a lovable person, and her depth of character makes her a fan favourite.

Standout Moments:

Akame Feeds Mine
Akame displays her softer side by feeding the injured Mine
Akame Trump Card
In the final episode of the anime, Akame reveals, for the first time, her trump card
Akame kills Esdeath during the epic final battle, overcoming her trump card
Akame kills Esdeath during the epic final battle, overcoming her trump card

1.    Sakura Kinomoto (Cardcaptor Sakura)2

I grew up watching the Cardcaptor Sakura anime, and for nostalgia purposes, Sakura tops my list.

Sakura is a resilient character, like the others in the list, and similarly, she discovers her strength over time.

Sakura is an accidental heroine, who grows with the responsibility that has been thrust upon her.

Syaoran Li and Meiling Li are the first to belittle her magical powers, and Kero and Tomoyo Daidouji have to defend her. Over time, Sakura becomes more confident, but is then confronted by Clow Reed in the form of Eriol Hiiragizawa (Eli Moon in the English adaption.) She passes his tests, and earns his respect, giving her complete control over the Sakura Cards.

Sakura is pure of heart, and strong of spirit. Her charming nature gains her many allies, and her growing magical powers, earns her the respect of Syaoran, Meiling and Eriol.

Standout Moments:

Sakura Flying
Sakura flying using the fly card, wearing one of Tomoyo’s custom battle outfits
Sakura Li
Sakura and Syaoran – one of the most memorable pairings in anime, are reimagined in the worlds of xxxHolic and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle
Sakura Transform
Sakura using her growing powers to transform the Clow Cards into Sakura Cards

Who are your favourite female characters in anime?

14 comments

  1. Wow, very interesting list. I totally forgot just how strong Sakura really was. When you watch as a kid you don’t really notice it.

    Looking forward to reading more of your posts! :3

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    • Thank you. Reading my post back, I think I may have even underplayed Sakura’s strength haha – but it’s always a good feeling to realise something about a character that you didn’t see before 😊

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  2. Great list. My list would have to include some of the Studio Ghibli protagonists, namely and San from Princess Mononoke and Nausicaa…from Nausicaa.. I’m part of the Anime Happy Hour podcast and we did an episode about strong female characters. If you want to you can check it out on Youtube at: https://youtu.be/LD8Mf40FduM

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    • I’m actually thinking about branching out into animated film, because I really want to write about the strong female Studio Ghibli protagonists too ^^

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  3. For me there’s Queen Kei of the Twelve Kingdoms, who is a Japanese high school student dropped into a land of kung fu fantasy. I particularly like how her story is basically that of a weak and frightened girl learning to stand on her own.

    On the more realistic side is Hatsumi from Princess Jellyfish, who’s an awkward shut-in but a brilliant fashion designer. The show is just hilarious, plus I’ve got to give props for the opening.

    Anyway, I’m one of the podcasters of PodCastle in the Sky and I also wanted to say thanks for following us. Our remit is anime that’s a little off the beaten path and we’ve got a bunch more shows we’re going to cover.

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  4. I like Hanji Zoe from Attack on Titan. She has a unique way of looking at situations; for example, she was the only one to act excited when an “abnormal” titan showed up during battle. She is curious, intelligent and one of the very few characters to show scientific interest in the titans. I also like that she can be unpredictable and crazy.

    I grew up watching Sailor Moon and Raye/Rei Hino (aka Sailor Mars) was my favourite. I liked that she had layers. In the anime she was outspoken and aggressive, yet in some episodes we can see that underneath it all she acts that way because she cares about people and doesn’t know how to express it. Also, she gets visions which is cool.

    My other favourite anime is D Gray Man, which unfortunately does not seem to have any strong female characters except for maybe Road. I didn’t like her at first, but by the end of the manga (which is now on hiatus) her character became more complex. I’m not sure if she’s still a villain or not.

    Anyway, nice post and thanks for following my blog!

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  5. Wowh, Im happy to that someone feels exactly the same way as I about Sakura. I grew up watching her too, her charming nature and innocence. I’m in my 20’s and I still love her to the core 😀 .Her best moments should have involved few more with kero and syoaran

    Liked by 1 person

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