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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Who are your favourite female characters in anime?