I was inspired to write this list after watching My Hero Academia episode 22 on the weekend and then seeing this tweet:
It got me thinking about all the female characters in shonen anime and how usually they get sidelined or end up in support roles (healer, archer, etc). So I started thinking about my favourite female characters in these shows who defy the odds and actual get to be a front line fighter (even if only in the lead ups to final battles where the male protagonist of course steals back the show – it is shonen afterall). My other criteria for a spot on the list was I actually had to like them as a character. Just being a crazy fighter didn’t quite cut it if I couldn’t stand them whenever they were on screen.
Anyway, this is my list and I’d love for you to tell me who you would have included on yours.
Please Note – There will be spoilers below.
Honourable Mentions: Mikasa from Attack on Titan and Morgiana from Magi.
Number 5: Lenalee from D Gray Man
I really wondered about Lenalee and whether to include her or not. Mikasa was looking fairly tempting given she’s undeniably a better fighter, but Lenalee wins in terms of mostly having an actual personality other than save Eren. So what makes Lenalee awesome? During the early half of D Gray Man, she’s a very active fighter. She shows Allan the ropes of being part of the order and she holds her own in some pretty horrific fights. The first battle Lenalee and Allan have against Road Camelot takes a massive toll on both Lenalee and Allan but Lenalee is in that fight all the way. The second half of the original 103 episodes Lenalee gets a couple of exceedingly cool moments with a fight that literally destroys her innocence and ends up encasing her in crystal. She’s pretty much out of active combat at that point until we get to the final battle of that particular run of episodes where Lenalee’s innocence evolves and she gets a brand new power up just in time to help Allan win the fight. Admittedly though, you are just as often going to see Lenalee serving various characters cups of tea.
Number 4: Rukia from Bleach
Rukia is another strong female character that suffers from having her power broken/stolen/whatever in order to allow the male character a chance to actual grow and catch up. It would be lovely if we could just a female character strong and not need to be crippled for a good chunk of the plot for narrative convenience but apparently that is asking for a little too much (back to Mikasa, she hasn’t been crippled physically but emotionally she’s pretty stunted). Anyway, Rukia doesn’t get to show us how amazing she is for pretty much the entire first three seasons given Ichigo takes her power at the end of episode 1. Still, if you make it past that point, when Rukia comes back into the show you see the very capable shinigami that she is and her sword definitely does have one of the prettiest attacks in the show, if freezing your enemies solid can be considered pretty. What I really like about Rukia is her versatility. She uses her sword but she also uses a range of other attacks and thinks through her fights.
Number 3: Uraraka from My Hero Academia
Okay, one tournament fight does not make her an awesome fighter but seriously, Uraraka has been hanging in there right from the beginning. Despite a pretty timid personality she has stepped up to every challenge so far. She’s also a nice person. We’ve recently learned how fierce her desire to be a hero is and yet she still tried to give away her spot to Midoriya after the entrance exam. That’s a pretty impressive move for someone who is desperate to succeed. However, nice or not, hanging in there through every challenge including villains attacking the school, none of that is the reason for her place on the list. That one tournament fight is enough to show us that this girl is deadly serious about becoming a hero one day. She may not be there yet but her tenacity, skill, and focus were amazing and this girl really needs more attention on her.
Number 2: Akari from Hitsugi no Chaika
This one might be a weird choice and I will admit her weird brother focus does kind of make her a weird character at times, but Akari is fantastic. As a saboteur she’s got a fair range of skills at her disposal. I know most of the focus is on Toru, but Akari is in pretty much every fight and the majority of them wouldn’t have succeeded without her presence given the two siblings plan and one acts as bait or a distraction while the other usually either sets up the trap or pulls off whatever goal they are currently working towards. Also, there are two occasions where Akari turns on Toru (once for fun and once after brain washing). Both times, Akari pushes Toru hard. If you think Akari is just there for comic relief or rival love interest, think again. She’s a cold fighter and you better not be her opponent.
Number 1: Maka from Soul Eater
Okay, this was a given from the get go. Maka is not only an awesome fighter, hard worker, and academic, she’s also one of the few girls on the list who doesn’t lose her powers midway through a series and gets to be the main character and doesn’t lose out to the main guy in the show. Admittedly, she does go a little mad during one of the story arcs, but crazy Maka is kind of fun too (and a significantly stronger fighter due to a lack of care for personal safety). Actually, Soul Eater gets a double hit here because I’d love to also add Tsuabaki (Black Star’s weapon) to the list. She doesn’t get the spot light much but when she does, she really shines (plus she deserves a medal for putting up with Black Star).
So that’s my list this week with my top 5 girls in shonen anime (okay, technically 6). I’d love to know who would have been on your list and which girls stand out to you.
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18 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Top 5: Girls in a Shonen Anime”
Uraraka is the best 🙂
Well I’m going for Mikasa because I just think she is an awesome character. And lists like these keep reminding me that I still have way too much anime that I need to catch up with lol 😂
Fair enough. Mikasa is definitely a great front line fighter. I just wish she had a bit more personality.
I’d pick Erza from Fairy Tail. No others come to mind since I’m terrible at making lists.
I figured Erza would be a popular choice for this list. I really do need to actually watch more of Fairy Tail at some point.
I do too. I never caught up to it.
I watched maybe 60 – 80 episodes. I don’t remember. I just know I took a break and never got back to it because I had to restart due to the long break.
I still need to watch Soul Eater, it is on my plan to watch list for so long and I hear so many positive things about Maka that I’m dying to finally sit down to watch it. I even own the bluray version…
That sad state of my watching aside, this is a great list. A lot of love for Ochako though, finally getting her spot in the sun these days. I would probably add Riza Hawkeye (FMAB) or Izumi Curtis (FMAB). Too many good female characters from that show.
Riza would have been a great choice. Thanks the the suggestion.
Hmm … Mikasa (AoT) and Erza (Fairy Tail) fit the list for me. Yorichi from Bleach too.
I really debated whether to go with Yorichi or Rukia when looking at the Bleach characters. I ultimately went with Rukia because Yorichi just doesn’t have as much time on screen (though whenever she is there she steals the show).
I passed on Erza because I just haven’t watched enough Fairy Tail. She’s very cool in the bits I’ve seen but I’ve only seen her in combat a handful of times.
Aye, to be fair, Rukia us an excellent choice. I’m actually way behind on Fairy Tail now, though Erza has remained proficient in everything I’ve seen.
Akame from Akame ga Kill could be on the list. Also, Mikasa from Attack on Titan 🙂
Mikasa got an honourable mention. Akame I just didn’t like as a character. I found her incredibly bland and not as interesting as many of the other characters in her own show. Still, she is a pretty tough fighter.
Got to agree that Akame didnt really have any major moment to make her very interesting
I called Maka as soon as I saw the title of this post 😛
Good list! I like these choices, and reading about some of the ones I’m not familiar with was fun.
It had to be Maka. Admittedly, I don’t watch a huge amount of pure Shonen but even then, the ones I watch don’t tend to feature girls that are tough but not crazy. So there weren’t all that many options for this list.