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Anime especially Shonen Anime seems to be an all-boys club for the most part. Anime culture often garners criticism regarding scarce and poor female representation. However, nuanced female characters have always existed in anime, even though they have been few and far in between. With the recent expansion of anime culture on a global scale, the anime world keeps getting more diverse and inclusive every day.
Let’s take a look at the 7 best female anime characters. In this list, we have only mentioned women who have impacted the plot development significantly.
7 Best Female Anime Characters
#7 Motoko Kusanagi | Ghost in the Shell
Ghost in the Shell is one of the most if not the most iconic cyberpunk anime. Major Motoko Kusanagi or just “Major”, is the main protagonist in Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell manga and anime series. She is a cyborg employed as the squad leader of Public Security Section 9.
Through Kusanagi, Ghost in the Shell explores complex ideas like what is humanity, mankind vs technology, and so on. Being a top-of-the-line cyborg, she is physically exceptional of course. Moreover, she is emotional and witty and she truly cares about her comrades and people in general.
#6 Kagura | Gintama
Kagura is a member of the Yorozuya and one of the main protagonists of Gintama. She belongs to the Yato Tribe, a race known for its superhuman strength and monstrous ferocity. As such, Kagura is exceptionally strong, often scaring her opponent or even Gintama into submission.
What makes her stand out however is her authenticity. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind or insult people even if it’s to strangers. She adopts a lot of Gintoki’s mannerisms and has no qualms picking her nose publicly or behaving unladylike. The best part about Kagura’s characterization is how refreshing she is as a female character without explicitly making some point about being different. She’s just a girl, being herself to the fullest and we’re all here for it.
Also Read: Gintama Characters | 10 Characters We Love!
#5 Tsunade | Naruto
Tsunade is a descendant of the Senju and Uzumaki Clan and is one of Konohagakure’s legendary Sannin. She is known as the best kunoichi and the greatest medical-nin in the world. Tsunade later abandons the life of a shinobi for several years due to the frequent loss of her loved ones. She is finally convinced to return to Konoha and assume the position of Fifth Hokage, where her abilities prove invaluable to the people of Konoha.
When we are introduced to Tsunade she is a cynical adult who had it all and lost it all. From there on it is an upward and complex journey for her. As Tsunade begins to reconcile with who she is and what she wants, we get to see her desire to protect and heal become a central part of Naruto’s overall theme. Lady Tsunade is truly one of the strongest, kindest and inspirational women of shonen history.
#4 Erza Scarlet | Fairy Tail
Erza Scarlet is an S-Class Wizard of the Fairy Tail Guild, wherein she is a member of Team Natsu. The ridiculously powerful, socially awkward, impatient, strict, and short-tempered wizard has many feats to her name. She is famously known as “Titania”, a name that invokes fear in the strongest of her opponents.
Lucy describes her as cool, beautiful, and passionate, and truer words have never been invoked. Erza has a great sense of justice and camaraderie and she will stand up to whomever when it comes to protecting her precious friends. She is very reliable and well respected amongst her peers. What makes Erza truly aspirational is her love for life, she lives through her life feeling everything to its fullest, enjoying every little joy life has to offer. Also, Erza has a sweet tooth and a love for costumes and drama which just adds to her being one of the best female anime characters.
#3 Hange Zoe | Attack on Titan
Attack on Titan has a range of diverse and layered characters to boast about. The manga and show have garnered much praise for giving us some of the most complex and strong female characters. Of these, Hange Zoe isn’t talked about nearly enough. She is the current commander of the survey corps. She owes her position to her capabilities as a fighter, explorer, and opens and clear-minded leader.
Hange embodies the archetypal “mad scientist” trope. Her curiosity drives her to discover and invent great things for Eldians. She is highly intellectually capable and is driven by a desire to protect Paradis island. The core of her character however is her open mind and empathy that she extends even to the Titans. Hange Zoe is compassionate, intelligent, witty, and powerful. This makes her one of the best female anime characters in her own right.
However, for the manga-readers out there, it is important to note that Hange’s gender is kept ambiguous in the manga. The character is referred to with gender-neutral pronouns.
Also Read: Hange Zoe: Facts About the Quirky Commander
#2 Akane Tsunemori | Psycho-Pass
Psycho-pass is a cyberpunk, sci-fi, thriller anime giving us some of the most iconic characters in recent anime history. The show explores complex philosophical concepts like free will through the eyes of its main protagonist, Akane Tsunemori. Akane is a young, intelligent and talented officer. She is able to adapt to her immediate surroundings quickly and make split-second decisions with ease.
What solidifies her as a character is a capability of being able to do what needs to be done. Akane is acutely aware of the flaws of the world around her. However, through her rational and compassionate self, she is able to make decisions that amount to the most good for the most number of people.
Also Read: Akane Tsunemori | The Weight Of Free Will
#1 Kugisaki Nobara | Jujutsu Kaisen
Kugisaki Nobara is the latest addition to the relatively short list of female protagonists in shonen who stand out. Jujutsu Kaisen has taken the world of shonen by surprise and Kugisaki is one of the most refreshing and dynamic female characters written in recent history. She is extremely capable in terms of combat and curse manipulation. Additionally, her Straw Doll technique is very interesting and fits her personality quite well.
She believes in being true to herself and has an unshakable character. Kugisaki owns her feminine side as well and takes great offense to anyone insulting her physical appearance. She’s also a chatty fighter who belittles and verbally taunts her opponents on the verge of death! However, Kugisaki cares deeply about her friends and loved ones and goes to great lengths to aid and protect them.
Nezuko from Demon Slayer; Riza Hawkeye from Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood; Shihouin Yoruichi from Bleach; Mikasa Ackerman and Annie Leonhardt from Attack on Titan; Violet Evergarden from Violet Evergarden.
That concludes our list of the best female anime characters. If you think we missed any badass female anime characters, let us know in the comments below.
Also Read: Attack on Titan: 7 Remarkable Characters