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One of the amazing things about anime is that there’s such a variety of ways to interpret certain aspects of it. Certain genres branch into more detailed stories within the genre, certain anime take unique takes on the very drawing style that defines anime, and certain character tropes are exaggerated upon and parodied at the same time. Even when it comes to certain character roles, certain anime will take a different approach as to how that type of character will move the story forward. Having a ghost like character is just one of many character types that this happens for.
Ghosts themselves allows anime to vastly expand the creative opportunities for these kinds of characters. They can be adapted to many different genres, and they can be interpreted differently depending on the characters interacting with said ghosts characters. Gender difference especially increases those changes, with both male and female ghosts leading to different types of anime. Keeping all that in mind, here are the top 10 ghost girls.
10. Alma, MAR
- Episodes: 102
- Aired: Apr 3, 2005 – Mar 25, 2007
Something to keep in mind when it comes to ghosts is that only very people if not a single person may see them, and Alma’s role is the best definition of that. A former Vestrian soldier, Alma was in a relationship with Phantom until he adopted the Zombie Tattoo from Queen Diana, causing a rift due to his appreciation for immortality. Alma left him and fought with her crew in the 1st Mar Heaven War only to be killed and cursed by the King to remain as ghosts and forever haunt Vestry’s underground cave, the place Alma left Phantom. However, Alma is able to escape this fate years later thanks to Ginta, and as a reward gives him not only a Magic Stone, but also the Holy ÄRM Purific Avea, the only ARM that can undo Phantom’s Zombie Tattoo and defeat Phantom as a result. In addition to appearing to Ginta, Alma also makes one last appearance to Phantom to help him reach salvation before his death. Even though her appearances are brief and she only appears to a few characters, Alma’s impact on the events of the series cannot be ignored.
9. Perona, One Piece
- Episodes: 737 (as of now)
- Aired: Oct 20, 1999 - present
Even though she’s technically not a ghost, you’d be hard-pressed to find characters that use ghost like powers as well as ghosts as their method for fighting, and “Ghost Princess” Perona comes through in spades in this category. Eating the Hollow-Hollow Fruit allows Perona all kinds of ghost-like abilities, from creating multiple types of Hollows that can fight for her to creating an astral image of herself that can fly and change sizes. Perona can also hear and see whatever her ghosts can hear and see, allowing her to pick up information in a variety of ways. Perona’s abilities definitely make her stand out among those related to the ghost genre.
8. Mayoi Hachikuji, Bakemonogatari
- Episodes: 15
- Aired: Jul 3, 2009 – Jun 25, 2010
Most people tend to think of ghosts as terrifying, not cheerful, but Mayoi is one of many that has helped to break that way of thinking. A fifth grade girl that was run over by a truck while looking for her mother’s home, Mayoi is definitely the complete opposite when it comes to being scared by ghosts. Constantly cheerful, curious, and just full of energy, Mayoi is quite a lot to handle, and it’s a surprise that someone so happy actually has a sad past. Yet despite her past as well as her extremely youthful appearance, Mayoi is actually pretty mature, and as the story progresses, her character is developed a lot more, especially when she and Koyomi end up going back in time. Mayoi certainly turns the tables on the typical ghost character in traditional stories by setting a new standard definition for ghost girls when it comes to anime.
7. Enma Ai, Hell Girl
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Oct 5, 2005 – Apr 5, 2006
Not all ghost are good, and Enma Ai, or Hell Girl, is the go to example for that. Ai’s main responsibility is to carry out the grudges on behalf of the people who choose to request her services. By giving the requester a special doll, they can pull a red string around the neck of said doll if they choose to have Ai carry out their grievances over the person of their choosing, where Ai will take that person directly to Hell. The condition, however, is that once the requester die, they too will go to Hell. Ai carries herself in a way where expressing little emotion, no matter what the circumstances are, is normal for her, making her that much more of an antihero as opposed to the good guy. As the series progresses, we get a much better understanding of why Ai chooses to be this way, especially based on the things she’s seen as well as the length of time she has been performing these services. Certainly a much scarier ghost girl than most.
6. Misao Minakami, Asura Cryin
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 2, 2009 – Jun 25, 2009
Misao Minakami is a great example of the ghost girl that is the best friend of the main character. The childhood friend of Tomoharu Natsume, Misao died in a plane accident that Tomoharu barely survived. However, Misao returns as a ghost that only Tomoharu can see and remains as devoted as ever to him. As the series progresses, Misao begins to develop strong feelings for Tomoharu, which only complicates their relationship even more as their adventures get more dangerous. Definitely a solid example of a ghost girl that is 100% devoted to their best friend
5. Eliza Faust, Shaman King
- Episodes: 64
- Aired: Jul 4, 2001 – Sep 25, 2002
Not all romances occur without their share of bumps in the road, and Eliza’s story very much reflects that. Born with a fatal disease, Eliza’s life seemed to be bleak until her meeting with Faust XIII. Because of her devotion to him, Faust worked on and eventually found a cure for her, leading to their marriage and opening a clinic together. Unfortunately, Eliza ended up losing her life to a burglar that shoots her point blank in the head, leading to Faust’s obsession with necromancy as a way to bring her back. Although Faust succeeds, the Eliza he brings back is only an image as opposed to her true spirit, raising an important question of whether we’re really seeing Eliza or not. Eliza’s story luckily as a happy ending due to Anna summoning her back for Faust and Faust finally becoming a strong enough shaman to bring back her true spirit herself. Eliza’s story really calls into question about who someone’s true self really is, something that can be applied to any of the ghosts on this list.
4. Sayoko Arashiyama, Natsu no Arashi
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr 6, 2009 – Jun 29, 2009
One of the unique aspects explored when it comes to ghosts in general is their connection to time, especially since the ghost character in turn usually remains the age they died throughout the length of their respective series. Sayoko Arashiyama’s story is unique in the sense that it goes 1 step further by involving time travel. A beautiful 16 year old girl during the time of World War 2 that later becomes a ghost, Sayoko’s mission is to rescue the people in her community from the air raids done by American fighter planes. Sayoko discovers that by making a connection with a living person in the present day, she can achieve her goal, leading to the events of the series. Despite her simple mindedness, Sayoko is a good person at heart, and her purity of trying to save her community shines through and through.
3. Mavis Vermillion, Fairy Tale
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: Oct 12, 2009 – Mar 30, 2013
The 1st Guild Master as well as a cofounder of the Fairy Tail Guild, Mavis Vermillion is over 100 years old despite having the appearance of someone barely in their teens. Even though Mavis’ body is sealed in Lacrima, Mavis herself exists in a ghostlike form that interacts with the current members of the Guild. Despite acting like a child at times and having unique quirks (such as wanting to be barefoot all the time), Mavis has had a traumatic past that not only causes her to be serious at crucial moments, but has also made her quite powerful. When it comes to creating a complex backstory for how a ghost girl came to be, Mavis’ backstory is certainly worth putting in the time to get to know.
2. Elaine, Seven Deadly Sins
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 5, 2014 – Mar 29, 2015
The Guardian Saint of the Fountain of Youth, Elaine definitely serves as a great example of a ghost girl with a classic romantic story. Tasked with protecting the Fountain of Youth, Elaine grows to distrust humans due to the number of them that attempted to take control of the Fountain. It was only after meeting Bandit Ban and learning his intentions for wanting immortality that Elaine began to open herself up again after hundreds of years of guarding the Fountain. However, Elaine loses her life to a demon that attacks them and saves Ban by giving him the water from the Fountain at the cost of her life. Elaine is eventually resurrected later in the story and appears as a ghost before that happens, and the events that take place between her, Ban, and her brother King stand out in a romantic sense, serving as a model romance for ghost girls in general.
1. Menma, The Flower We Saw That Day
- Episodes: 11
- Aired: Apr 15, 2011 – Jun 24, 2011
In addition to the happy stories and scary stories we’ve seen with ghost characters, there are also sad ones that cause some deep thinking about those who have died too early, and Menma in The Flower We Saw That Day nails that feeling on the head. Six childhood friends drift apart after one of them, Menma, dies in a tragic accident; 10 years later, the leader, Jinta, is living as a recluse until Menma appears to him saying that she can’t pass on until her wish is granted. Since she can’t remember what it is, it’s up to Jinta to find the rest of their friends and work together to discover what that wish is. A lot of feelings are experienced mainly due to the strong connections people can make with each of the characters based on how each of them dealt with what happened. In Menma’s case, the pain of not being able to communicate with most of her friends because she’s a ghost as well as not being present for 10 years takes an incredible toll on her despite her selflessness and childlike innocence. Even though none of us can technically never directly relate to this, how we imagine how those who have passed on would act in certain situations is one of the hardest things to overcome if we were close to that person. In a way, we can forever be haunted by their ghost until we find inner peace and the strength to move forward. Menma stands as a ghost character who can have quite the impact if the storytelling is masterfully done as this one is.
Each of these characters on this list either represent a different take on how ghosts can be used in anime or different directions within the same genre. One thing is certain: they certainly make each of their respective stories more entertaining whether they’re making you laugh or making you think. Anybody missing from this list you feel should be on here? Let us know in the comments!