While when we typically think about modern weapons, we don’t think of bows and arrows first, for centuries they were the top ranged weapon of choice for the whole human race. Archers still play an important role in many stories, whether they are realistic historical settings or modern ones. Archery in anime shows up in everything from school clubs to dystopian wasteland battles, and everything in between! And of course, we can’t have archery without the talented archers behind the weapons.
So who are the best girls that can wield the difficult bow and arrow? We set out to create or Top 10 Female Anime Archers list to find out! We have archers on our list who are able to turn the tides in battles, support their friends, and impress everyone in the archery club at school. And all of them look pretty badass while they’re doing it! Archery is a really difficult skill to master, but these girls have done a great job. So who are the best female archers in anime? Keep reading to find out what we think!
10. Umi Sonoda from Bokura no Live Kimi to No Life (Love Live! School Idol Project: Bokura no Live Kimi to no Life)
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: Aug. 2010
Love Live! is the idol show that has swept the whole world up and away with it. It tells the story of many different school girls and their journey to become music idols through their talent at singing and dancing. Love Life is strongly centred on the idea of friendship and how it plays out between the girls. Its popularity has led to many OVAs, spin-offs, and other extra content - which is where our next entry, Bokura no Live Kimi to No Life comes in.
After all, Love Live! may not exactly be where you're expecting to see female archers, but you would be surprised! In Bokura no Live Kimi to No Life, we get a glimpse into just how talented with a bow Umi Sonoda is! On top of her talents in areas like kendo and traditional dance, Umi is also a member of the school archery club. Bokura no Live Kimi to No Life highlights her skills and showcases her talent as an archer. Sure, she may not be changing the tides of battle or saving lives like some females on our list, but excelling at her skill within the archery club at her school still shows how talented of an archer she is. You don't have to fight real battles to have real skills, and Umi proves that.
9. Yukano “Amnesia” Dragon from Ninja Slayer From Animation
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Oct. 2015
Ninja Slayer from Animation takes place in dystopian Neo-Saitama, where evil ninja souls from an age long past when ninjas ruled Japan are resurrecting themselves and causing destruction. After his wife and child are killed in a battle between ninjas struggling for territory, salaryman Kenji Fujikido becomes possessed with a ninja soul himself. He transformed into Ninja Slayer, a powerful warrior whose goal becomes to destroy all the evil ninja and try to not only restore order but get vengeance for the death of his family.
One of the characters that help Kenji, who becomes known as Gendoso Dragon, is Yukano Dragon. Yukano is a formidable ninja as well, though she has lost most of her memories of who she is, typically going by the name “Amnesia” instead. As a ninja, one of Yukano’s main weapons of choice is a bow. She is a talented archer on top of having the normal qualities that top ninjas have, like stealth, which makes her pretty cool. After all, what could make a ninja more cool than adding in an unexpected proficiency with a weapon like a bow?
8. Sawa Okita from Tari Tari
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2012 – Sep. 2012
Tari Tari is also a high school anime about music and singing, but this time, not about idols. Instead, Shirahamazaka High School gives its students the chance every year to perform their musical talents in front of actual professionals. Konatsu sadly did a poor job her previous year, and while she wants to try again, the vice principal won't let her sing with the school choir. Rather than be discouraged, however, Konatsu instead forms a singing club with her friends to perform! But making her own club and having it ready in time is proving harder than she had expected...
One of Konatsu's friends is Sawa Okita, a third-year student. Sawa lives at a temple and has a pet horse, and spent most of her like dreaming of becoming a jockey despite her father's discouragement. However, when Sawa learns she is over the weight limit to join the equestrian club at school, she turns her sights and passion toward Japanese archery. Of course, Sawa never gives up riding, either, and even learns to shoot her bow while riding her horse! Her determination and perseverance in the archery club lead to her developing quite a talent for it and make Sawa Okita a great female archer.
7. Natsume Tsuchimikado from Tokyo Ravens
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Mar. 2014
Tokyo Ravens is set in a Japan where a powerful magic called Onmyoudou was used to help the country fight in WWII. However, a master of Onmyoudou called forth the "Great Spiritual Disaster," which caused Japan to lose the war and continues to plague Tokyo with demons until the present day. Onmyoudou continues to exist, but in a modern and more refined way where it is used in fields like technology and medicine. But when another large scale Onmyoudou disaster threatens to destroy Japan again, it is up to a few members of the Onmyou Agency to try to save their country!
Natsume Tsuchimikado is already great at using Onmyoudou despite her young age and holds the position of being the heir to the Tsuchimikado household. Because of her position, she has to present herself as male most of the time, but Natsume is definitely a girl. She can use her Onmyoudou abilities in the form of magical archery, and with her prodigal skill as a magic user, it makes her a very formidable archer indeed. She helps the main character or Tokyo Ravens, Harutora, to overcome the challenges they face and to try to save Japan from a terrible fate - and she wouldn't be able to do it without her magic bow and arrows!
6. Michelle Cheung from R.O.D the TV
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Sep. 2003 – Mar. 2004
R.O.D the TV, also known as Read or Die, is the story of four girls and their journey to save the world from a criminal named Mr. Carpenter. One of the girls is a novelist struggling with writer's block, and the other three are known as the Paper Sisters. They have the unique ability to use paper in incredible ways - perfect for this group of bibliophiles that would rather be reading than anything else. The four girls form a bond when they are brought together, and only that bond will be able to save the world from Mr. Carpenter.
One of these four girls is Michelle Cheung, the leader of the Paper Sisters. While they can all manipulate paper in incredible ways, Michelle chooses to do so by using it in the form of a bow. She's an incredible archer, and with her magical ability, she can do more than average. Her arrows can trap enemies in webs, or split into multiple arrows at once! And Michelle knows how to use her ability not only to support her sisters in battle but how to lead the battle as well. Her strong leadership abilities coupled with her mastery of paper archery makes Michelle an extremely powerful female archer indeed.
5. Kagome Higurashi from InuYasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: Oct. 2000 – Sep. 2004
InuYasha is a classic anime that is a favourite of male and female fans alike. It tells the story of Kagome Higurashi, a teenage girl who finds herself 500 years in Japan's past after she is pulled into a cursed well by a demon looking for the magical jewel reborn within her. When the jewel shatters, Kagome ends up on a journey with a group of unlikely warriors to find the shards of the jewel before the demon does - a journey that takes them all over feudal Japan and through adventure after adventure.
Kagome would never be able to survive in feudal Japan and against demons if she wasn't a warrior, and as you have probably guessed by now, she's an archer! The rest of her party of companions is made up of human/demon hybrids and demon slayers, so Kagome has to have something to keep up with them in battles. And her archery ability lets her do just that! There are plenty of fights throughout the series, and Kagome's skills as an archer help to fight in them and support her friends all the time. She likely wouldn't be able to succeed in their difficult mission without them!
4. Farangis from Arslan Senki (The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Arslan Senki is a story of war, betrayal, and scandal in a fantasy world that seems closely based on Persia or a similar setting. The main character is Arslan, a young prince trying to fight to save his kingdom from the neighbouring country that has invaded it. Throughout the series, he gains a small group of close friends and advisors in addition to the armies and cities that he wins over with an approach and attitude that no previous leader has ever had. One of the main characters who support him throughout his struggle is Farangis.
Farangis is a priestess who invites herself into Arslan's group when she shows up mysteriously in the night, claiming the D'jinn that she follows told her to help him and protect him. She isn't unwelcome, though, and her skill with bow and arrow is matched only by Gieve, another member of their party. Farangis regularly supports both their small group and their larger armies, in battle with her archery prowess. She has saved key characters from death by getting to their would-be killers first and helped change battles in their favour by fighting alongside the army. No one ever underestimates Farangis because she is female, and rightly so. She's not a person you would want on your bad side and has never given anyone a reason to question her skill as an archer.
3. Yona from Akatsuki no Yona (Yona of the Dawn)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct. 2014 – Mar. 2015
Yona begins Akatsuki no Yona as a spoiled princess in the Kingdom of Kouka, a land she doesn't actually know much about. When her father is murdered and her own life placed in danger, Yona has to flee for her life into the dark reality of Kouka, a land of poverty and danger. Yona is forced to grow up fast and face the real world and has a lot of challenges to overcome if she ever wants to take back her throne and restore order. And all the while she is being chased by the new King of Kouka! Yona has to learn fast if she wants to survive, let alone take back her kingdom!
Yona does not begin the series as a strong archer, not by a long shot. As a soft and naive princess, she never had a reason to have that kind of skill set. However, when faced with so many threats, she is forced to learn. While she struggles at first, Yona's relentless practise and dedication help her improve her skills. And over time, Yona does become a strong female archer! Her determination and courage that she develops in the face of danger, and how much she is able to grow as an archer is what makes Yona one of our Top 10 Female Archers.
2. Madoka Kaname from Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2011 – Apr. 2011
Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica is a newer, but no less famous, magical girl anime. As usual with magical girl stories, it centres on the friendship between the girls involved as they transform and use their powers to save the world. Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica has a unique twist, though; the girls and their outfits may still be cute and sweet, but the story is anything but. To become magical girls, the girls basically sell their souls to an alien creature in the form of a cute cat-like animal, and without spoiling too much /if you haven't seen it yet, not everyone gets out of the situations alive. Each girl has a wish that they want to be granted, which is why they are willing to make the deal to become magical girls, but will they regret it in the end?
While Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica is about a group of girls, the main character is Madoka herself. And she also happens to be the next featured female on our list! While in magical girl form, of course, the girls have to fight, and in this story, they fight witches. Madoka's weapon is a bow and arrows, and she becomes extremely proficient at using them. Countless times she is able to support and protect her friends and defeat the witches despite the odds being stacked against them and is able to fight her way out of seemingly hopeless situations. Madoka may be a cute, pink-haired girl, but she is also a powerful female archer that can get the job done (while still looking pretty cute).
1. Rei Hino/Sailor Mars from Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon)
- Episodes: 46
- Aired: Mar. 1992 – Feb. 1993
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon is one of the most famous and beloved anime of all time and remains a top choice for many people. It's a magical girl anime following Usagi and her friends who can transform into sailor scouts or magic users whose names are based on the planets. Each of these girls has unique abilities and fighting skills, and they fight to protect the Earth from many different villains that they face over several seasons - and learn more about themselves and who they actually are at the same time. It's a story of friendship and magic, and how those two things are connected.
One of Usagi's friends is a girl named Rei Hino, who transforms into Sailor Mars. She also happens to be an incredible archer! She attends a private school away from the other girls, but that doesn't make her any less of an important member of the team. Her archery skills are present both in and out of sailor scout form. Rei works as a shrine maiden, giving her the ability to detect and destroy evil spirits - a key ability on the team! And when you add in her skill with bow and arrow, Rei is, of course, indispensable. She's strong and stands up for what she thinks is right, and is a powerful female figure by any standards.
Archery has been a key part of human society’s struggles for a long time and continues to be something that people pursue as a hobby even today. And it adds a unique twist to dystopian and apocalyptic stories as well! People may think of guns first and foremost when they think about ranged weapons these days, but let’s not forget how cool being able to use a bow and arrow really is. And these girls all do a great job!
Were you able to predict some of our choices? Who is your favourite female archer of all time? Is there someone that you think we forgot? Anyone who surprised you? We would love to hear your comments below!