Although it is a very diverse media, finding anime with strong and well-written female characters can be extremely challenging. Even in shoujo, traditionally intended for a female audience, quality female characters are a rarity. Is the reason for this the stereotypical opinion that anime is for a male audience or are toxic gender norms present here as well? Whatever the reason, the fact is that male characters are far ahead of female ones by all criteria, which for most viewers looking for realistic and exciting characters can be very annoying.
However, even if they are rare, anime with amazing female characters still exist, and with the progress of the anime industry, there are more and more of them every day! Today, we will present to you 10 anime whose female characters are among the best in the industry.
10. Yona of the Dawn
- Number of episodes: 24 episodes + OVA
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Drama, Romance, Comedy
Princess Yona lived peacefully and carefree, sheltered from all dangers. But on her sixteenth birthday, everything falls apart when her father is killed and her right to rule is taken away from her. She is forced to leave the palace, and can only trust her guard and childhood friend Hak. Forced to survive in the wild and confronted with reality, Yona will try everything in her power to save a kingdom that is no longer as peaceful as it once was.
Even though she is the only main female character, Yona is reason enough for this anime to make it to this list. Her development must be one of the most revolutionary things in shoujo history. From a fragile princess who has no idea about the real world and harsh reality, she has become a strong young woman who is aware of her weaknesses and works to overcome them.
While romance is present in the story, it doesn’t make Yona a boys-obsessed girl who needs to be saved every time something happens. She is proof that falling in love doesn’t mean weakness or stupidity, as well as that a female character can be in love and have interests and ambitions other than the male lead.
Yona of the Dawn is a must-watch anime that, other than a great female protagonist, will also offer you a great story and supporting characters.
- Number of episodes: 6 episodes
- Genres: Action, Avant Garde, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Sixth-grader Naota Nandaba is an ordinary student who lives in a city where nothing extraordinary ever appears to occur. Naota takes it upon himself to take care of everything his brother Tasuku left behind when he went to play baseball in America. This included Mamimi Samejima, Tasuku’s ex-girlfriend, who hasn’t stopped clinging to Naota ever since he left.
His life drastically changes when Haruko Haruhara randomly shows up with her bass guitar and takes Naota’s peace away. Now, he has to put up with her behavior and live life as best as he could.
This anime is defined as strange in terms of the way the story is written, and the very way the whole plot is presented is the reason why both Mamimi and Haruko are great characters whose influence is crucial for the further development of the plot. Both characters’ main purpose is their contribution to Naota’s development and without them and their personal problems, Naota wouldn’t be the character he was in the end which makes their role even more important than his.
If you are a fan of abstract anime with weird but likable main characters, this one is for you!
8. Attack on Titan
- Number of episodes: 75 episodes + 2 Movies + 3 OVA + Special
- Genres: Action, Drama
For centuries, humanity has been hunted by giant, mysterious predators known as the Titans. Three mighty walls provided peace and protection for humanity for over a hundred years. That peace, however, was shattered when the Colossal Titan and Armored Titan appeared and destroyed the outermost wall, Wall Maria. In this terrible event, the protagonist of the story, Eren, lost his mother. He vowed to join the Survey Corps and destroy all the titans.
Attack on Titan is one of the most popular anime of this time and with good reason. Among all these qualities that make this story one of the best in the modern anime world, there are also excellent female characters. What makes them so special is probably the way Isayama portrayed them in the role of soldiers equal to their male counterparts.
From the female lead of the story Mikasa who is constantly in conflict with herself trying to find the balance between her feelings for Eren and her duties as one of the strongest soldiers to a simple girl like Sasha who represents commoners that enjoy in smallest things and are visibly scared for their future, all the female characters are written almost perfectly. They all have their purposes that go beyond stereotypical female interests.
Chances that you haven’t watched Attack on Titan are almost zero, but if that’s the case, this anime is a must especially if you are just starting to watch anime.
7. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0
- Number of episodes: 11 episodes + Special
- Genres: Drama
When summer vacation begins, Mirai takes her younger brother Yuuki to Odaiba, where he has been wanting to see a robot exhibition. But while they are there, the Kanto region is shaken by a powerful earthquake. Now that the kids must make their way home, Mari, a single mother who rides a motorcycle, assists them.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is probably one of the most underrated anime out there. Saying it’s heartbreaking would be an understatement. While its story is something worth talking about, female characters like Mirai and Mari don’t have a problem stealing attention. Through them, we see how two different people react in the same situation while having the same goal. Their different points of view are explained by their age difference which is another important thing for their relationship.
Mirai is a young teenager who has family issues and feels like no one understands her. Mari, on the other hand, is an adult who went through a lot and thanks to that can see through the walls that Mirai set around herself. The whole set of unfortunate events that occur them, helped these two to develop a bond that at a certain point saved them both.
Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is a real jam and is more than worth your time. Its female characters are just one among numerous qualities that make this anime great.
6. Jujutsu Kaisen
- Number of episodes: 24 episodes + Movie
- Genres: Action, Fantasy
Itadori Yuuji is a high school student who spends his days either at the hospital, where he visits his grandfather or at school with his friends from Occult Club. His life takes a turn when his friends find a cursed item that draws curses toward them. When it looked like the end, he was saved by sorcerers. But not before he ate a cursed item that ended up being a finger that belongs to the demon, Sukuna Ryomen, also known as the “King of curses”. After that event, Yuuji had no choice but to become a Jujutsu sorcerer.
Jujutsu Kaisen has become a hit almost instantly. One of its most praised aspects is the female characters who really bring honor to shounen’s demography. Diverse characters, especially female ones, are rare in this type of anime, which makes Jujutsu Kaisen’s women a real refreshment.
Unlike characters from similar anime, these women don’t choose between their femininity and ability to fight. While they mostly have interests traditionally associated with feminine behavior, it doesn’t stop them from being badass and independent individuals with complex stories behind them.
Apart from these two, there are so many amazing female characters here. But of course, Jujutsu Kaisen has other qualities that make it the perfect anime to watch.
5. Kill la Kill
- Number of episodes: 24 episodes + Special (2 episodes)
- Genres: Action, Comedy, Ecchi
After the murder of her father, Ryuuko Matoi wanders the country in search of his killer. Following her only clue—the missing half of the scissor blade— she arrives at the Honnouji Academy. The academy is ruled by the cold-hearted president of the student council, Satsuki Kiryuuin, and her powerful subordinates, the Elite Four.
In the brutally competitive hierarchy of the school, Satsuki gives those at the top special clothes called “Goku Uniforms”. This gives the wearer unique superhuman abilities. Beaten in a fight against one of the students in uniform, Ryuko retreats to her home where she finds Senketsu. Senketsu is a rare and conscious “Kamui” or God’s clothing. After coming in contact with Ryuuko’s blood, Senketsu wakes up and gives her enormous power. Now, armed with Senketsu and a scissor blade, Ryuko fights the Elite Four. She is hoping to reach Satsuki and find her father’s murderer.
This is again a strange anime with a deeper message and is absolutely ruled by women. Each has a unique personality and goals that vary from simple needs like food and family to achieving peace in the universe. Of course, the main focus is on Ryuuko and Satsuki. Their dynamic is probably the most intriguing part of the plot. The development of that relationship eventually represents the crown of the whole anime.
This may not be everyone’s cup of tea But for those who are willing to give this anime the chance, fun and good characters are guaranteed!
4. Snow White with the Red Hair
- Number of episodes: 24 episodes + OVA
- Genres: Drama, Fantasy, Romance
In the country of Tanbarun, Shirayuki, a bubbly young woman with red hair, works as an apothecary in her herbal store. Her life is changed when Prince Raji, the prince of Tanbarun, notices her and attempts to coerce her into becoming his concubine. Shirayuki, who is unwilling to give up her freedom, cuts her long red hair and runs away into the forest. There, she is rescued from Raji by Zen Wistalia, the second prince of a neighboring country, and his two aides. Hoping to repay her debt to the trio someday, Shirayuki sets her sights on pursuing a career as a court herbalist in Zen’s country.
If the word beautiful was an anime it would be Snow White with the Red Hair. From the animation, through the story to the characters, everything is simply unreal. The highlight of it is the protagonist, Shirayuki. It is fascinating how someone as sweet and nice as she is, can be so determined and inspiring. Her will to fulfill her dreams and repay her debt to Zen and his friends makes Shirayuki one of the most lovable shoujo heroines.
If you are looking for anime that will bring you comfort and a great anime female protagonist, this is an ideal choice!
- Number of episodes: 47 episodes
- Genres: Drama, Romance, Slice of life
Leaving their hometowns, two young women of the same name and age meet on their way to Tokyo. Nana Komatsu dreams of blissful love, while Nana Osaki strives for a successful music career.
Nana is a complicated story about love, friendship, trust, and music. It provides many complex characters who most of the time are neither good nor bad, but morally gray. This also applies to the heroines of the story whose bizarre differences and unusual relationships make this anime what it is.
Their complex relationship is the heart of this anime. Aside from representing two amazingly written female characters, it also shows a true friendship between two women which viewers don’t have a chance to see often in media.
Everything that a person can ask from shoujo anime, Nana can offer. Watching this is one of the best choices you can make.
2. Black Lagoon
- Number of episodes: 24 episodes + OVA (5 episodes) + Special (7 episodes)
- Genres: Action
Rokurou Okajima lived a boring office life, until one day the business negotiations went awry. During the negotiations, he becomes a hostage of the Lagoon company—a group of ruthless mercenary pirates. Left on his own after his managers refused to pay him a ransom, Rokurou does something unexpected: instead of begging for his life, he joins the crew that kidnapped him and continues to do dirty work with them under the new nickname “Rock”.
The fact that Black Lagoon is on this list should not surprise anyone. Its female characters are really one of a kind. Crazy is a weak word to describe these women who constantly make male characters look funny. But of course, their rough personalities aren’t the only thing that defines them. Complex relationships, personal goals, and reasons for their behavior are just some of the things that make all of them great characters.
Black Lagoon is a top-tier action with no censure that you can not miss.
- Number of episodes: 26 episodes
- Genres: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
When a shapeshifting demon, known as “youma,” arrives in Raki’s village, a lone woman with silver eyes walks into town with only a sword upon her back. She is a “Claymore”, half-human and half-youma, whose purpose is to kill these monsters. Raki is saved by the Claymore after his family is slaughtered, but he is banished from his village as a result. With nowhere else to go, Raki finds the Claymore, known as Clare, and decides to follow her on her journey.
Claymore simply has to be at the top of the list of anime with amazing female characters. Most of the characters are women, so, normally, they are all more than well-written. It doesn’t matter if it is a protagonist or an episodic character, all the girls in this anime have more to offer than the whole plots of some other stories.
Claymore’s story is dark, full of plot twists, heartbreaking moments, and of course good fights. All the characters meet expectations and are at the top of this list for a reason. Every fan of dark fantasy and action should give this piece a chance.