Let’s come out and say it, men and boys make up the vast majority of action/war shows, and it’s refreshing to see a women in there. It’s said a woman’s war is the ‘birthing bed’, but there are so many great characters who show that that they can be great warriors as well, sexism be damned. These are some great female leads who can fight with the best of them, and are leaders of men AND women.
10. Sango - Inuyasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: Oct 16, 2000 to Sep 13, 2004
Sango is one of the only one of Inuyasha’s gang to have no spiritual or supernatural ability. She succeeds just on her own physical skills, and that’s pretty inspiring. She comes from a village that are trained in fighting Youkai, so Sango’s pretty well experienced when it comes to combat. Probably the best thing about her is her unusual weapon, the Hiraikotsu, a giant boomerang made out of the bones of Youkai.
Sango doesn’t really have any special attacks that she can conjure with magic, just a host of abilities, and skills that she’s pretty much mastered at a young age, and I think that’s pretty damn cool.
9. Maka Albarn – Soul Eater
- Episodes: 51
- Aired: Apr 7, 2008 to Mar 30, 2009
Maka Albarn is one of the main character’s of Soul Eater, and is arguably, the face of the series. The weapon she uses obviously is the soul of another sentient being, and one of the coolest things about her is her relationship with her weapon. It also helps that her weapon is a giant Sycthe, which is as cool as just about anything you can bring to a fight.
Maka’s so endearing, because despite being so young, she takes an approach to everything that’s more serious and focused on thinking out of a solution or strategy, where other characters might just focus on brawns. All of these, plus her awesome design, make her a stand-out in Soul Eater.
8. Mikasa Ackerman – Shingeki no Kyojin(Attack on Titan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 7, 2013 to Sep 29, 2013
Mikasa is regarded as one of Humanity’s strongest soldiers, second only to Levi, who was already a seasoned veteran before Mikasa even entered training. Even as a child, she was already strong, often getting into fights alongside Eren to protect their friend Armin. As a soldier, she has elite reflexes, speed, and the physicality to use the 3D Maneuver gear with such mastery.
She’s one of the few soldiers capable of those spinning, Beyblade style attacks which Levi uses. She’s also a great character, full of drive, determination and love, as well as a desire to protect her friends, especially Eren. If titan’s can feel anything, they definitely don’t feel anything remotely good when they see Mikasa coming there way.
7. Balsa Yonsa – Seirei no Moribito(Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr 7, 2007 to Sep 29, 2007
It’s sad how unknown this anime and this character is, because they’re equally tremendous. Balsa Yonsa is one of the great female lead characters of anime history. As a character, she’s stern, but not unfeeling, she’s strong, but averse to violence and she’s quiet, but not sorely lacking expression. She has depth and balance that make her feel like a fully fleshed out and realized adult character.
As more is revealed about her, we see how much she’s changed as a character already, while already going through the hurdles that Moribito’s own narrative takes her. As a fighter, she can wield a spear like no other, and is capable of taking on multiple, elite-level foes all on at once. If you haven’t, make sure to give this show a watch and give Balsa the attention she deserves.
6. Casca – Berserk
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct 7, 1997 to Mar 31, 1998
Sometimes, considering how Berserk plays out, it feels like Casca is seemingly a pawn in events too big for her, or almost any other human being, to comprehend, much less control. But despite this, she really is an admirable leader for the Band of the Hawks when it needs it. When Griffith is out of the picture, Casca steps up and is really the only thing which keeps it from splitting apart.
Berserk is a tough, tough world, and not one that’s easy for a female mercenary to garner much respect in, but Casca earns it. At full strength, she can even go toe to toe with Guts, at least for a little while, and even that’s a major feat in itself.
5. Yuuki/Zekken – Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 16, 2000 to Sep 13, 2004
There are many, let’s just say ‘mixed’ feelings to be had about Sword Art Online, but I think by far, Yuuki’s arc is easily it’s best part. One of the best things about it is seeing how the main character of the show, easily one of the most OP in recent Anime History, is actually revealed to be less skilled with the sword than Yuuki, which put’s her, in my mind, as the strongest in the whole world of SAO.
Aside from her power-level, there’s so much to love about Yuuki. She’s sweet, she has a wonderful character design. I loved how when, she sought out challengers, claiming to be the best swordsman in the land, instead of a brolic, serious looking guy which the other characters were expecting, she was revealed to be a cute girl who was as tough as anyone.
4. Kiryuin Satsuki - Kill la Kill
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 4, 2013 – Mar 28, 2014
Kiryuin Satsuki comes from an immense pedigree, as the daughter of Ragyo Kiryuin, that’s matched with an immense dedication, work ethic, and fighting spirit. She worked tirelessly to build her own strength and gather allies for a purpose she’s given herself so early in life. Though her methods are totalitarian, her intention is a noble one. She’s an incredibly strong fighter who can only be matched by Ryuko and Ragyo.
Satsuki’s one of the few who can don a Kamui, and she’s an incredible opponent when she wears Junketsu. She’s the face of human excellence and her statement ‘ask not the sparrow how the eagle soars’ echo’s her own greatness.
3. Erza Scarlet – Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: Oct 12, 2009 to Mar 30, 2013
Erza is the strongest and most intimidating in all of the Fairy Tail guild, much of it due to her serious and fearsome demeanor. She’s cunning, incredibly strong, exceptionally capable with a sword and is also an extremely strong mage. Her magic, re-equip magic, allows her to switch armor and weapons which fit the situation she’s in.
For example, through the re-equip magic, the black wing armor she uses enables her to fly, or the adamantine armor gives her immense defense and armor. She has over 100 armor sets and 200 weapons under her command, and an amazing mahout-shoujo inspired transformation sequence!
2. Claire –Claymore
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 04, 2007 to Sep 26, 2007
Claire Started off as the weakest of the Claymores, but utilized her talents to far surpass her original strength. Her one initial strength is her excellent senses, which enable her to feel the presence of Yoma, the ghoulish enemies in the world of claymore, far before her compatriots.
This sense enables her to read the attacks of Yoma before they even happen, and when she concentrates on this ability, she can defeat Yoma which outclass higher-ranked claymores, including the awakened beings. The further along in the series, the stronger she becomes and the more abilities she masters.
1. Saber – Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: October 12 2014 to Dec 28, 2014
Saber is one of the most powerful Heroic Spirits in the Fate-Verse. As Artoria Pendragon, Saber was a fabled leader of men, who commanded brilliantly and always fought in the vanguard of a battle. As a servant, she’s near unparalleled at full strength. Unmatched in swordplay, she wields Excalibur, the famous blade of Arthurian Legend, which boasts extreme power.
Saber has insane reflexes, lightning speed, resistance to magic and, though hindered in both the 4th and 5th Holy Grail war due to injuries or an incompetent master, she still is capable of going toe to toe against any other servant.
Female action characters always drive me to check out a series, and I hope you liked some of the ones in this list! What are some other women warriors that you think should be in the spotlight?
How do you feel about the selections we made in the list? We want to hear your opinion, so be sure to make your voice heard in the comments below and get a conversation going!