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Anime is filled with powerful guys. But what about girls in anime?
If you think female characters are only there to look cute and be rescued, think again, because female characters are easily as strong (if not even stronger) as male characters in anime. A while ago, we introduced you to some of our favorite strong female characters. But one list isn’t enough to cover the whole anime universe, and that is why today we have a brand new line-up of strong anime girls for you.
To mix things up, we have decided not to include any women from the original list, so head on over there if you need more recommendations. That being said, let’s jump right into our Top 10 Strong Female Characters in Anime - enjoy!
10. Kagura from Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 2006 - March 2010
First up on our list is a lady from one of the most ridiculous comedy shows out there: Kagura from Gintama.
For those of you that don’t know, Gintama is a parody that makes fun of everything related to Japanese pop culture. Set in an alternate reality where aliens have invaded feudal Japan, the story focuses on Gintoki Sakata. Once a samurai, he is now without a job and takes on any task in order to get by. He isn’t alone on his journey and together with his friends (if you want to call them that) he encounters more than just a few eccentric characters.
Kagura is the main female protagonist of Gintama and usually by Gintoki’s side. The young girl might look petite and helpless, but she is actually one of the strongest characters in the show. As part of a special race, she has superhuman strength and can take on almost anyone in a fight. Not only does she have great physical strength, but Kagura isn’t afraid to speak her mind or do things considered “unladylike”. As a strong, fearless and brave character, she deserves the first spot on our list.
9. Kagome Higurashi from Inuyasha
- Episodes: 167
- Aired: October 2000 - September 2004
Next up is a heroine from a show that many of you probably grew up with: Kagome from Inuyasha.
Kagome’s life changes when she is dragged into a cursed well belonging to her family’s shrine and lands in an alternate reality inhabited by demons. She meets Inuyasha, half-demon/half-human, and despite her initial shock she soon becomes close to him as well as his friends. Together they embark on a journey Kagome could have never dreamed of and face new challenges on a daily basis.
Kagome’s strength isn’t a physical, but a mental one. Not only does she get thrown into a different world filled with demons and monsters, but she also encounters more than just a few situations that greatly endanger her. Nevertheless, she doesn’t give up and keeps going. On top of that, she tries to be there for Inuyasha and her other friends and supports them in any way she can. Kagome teaches us that you don’t have to be strong to be brave, and that is why we included her on our list.
8. Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175
- Aired: October 2009 - March 2013
Many of you were surprised that we didn’t include Erza Scarlet from Fairy Tail on our original list, and we agree that the powerful Titania deserves a quick shout out.
Fiore is a mythical country filled with all forms of magic and in order to control and organize this form of power, magic guilds are formed all throughout the country. One of these guilds is Fairy Tail. Its members love each other like family and embark on all kinds of adventures together. This anime tells the story of Natsu, Lucy, Gray, and Erza as well as all the people they encounter on their journeys.
Erza Scarlet is often seen as one of the most powerful magicians of the show. Even her looks are intimidating, starting from her fierce eyes and ending in her metal armor and dangerous weapons. Not only is Erza physically powerful, but she is also courageous, committed and would never leave someone close to her behind. She has come a long way in order to become the loyal and brave character she is today - reason enough for us to include her on our updated list.
7. Saya Kisaragi from Blood-C
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2011 - September 2011
Moving on we have another girl who knows how to handle dangerous weapons: Saya Kisaragi from Blood-C.
Saya might look and act like an innocent schoolgirl, but she has a dark secret. Once the sun sets, she takes on her role as a demon slayer and gets rid of evil spirits threatening her village. Her task is an important one and has been handed over to her by her father. Now she has to not only protect her loved ones but also hold onto her sanity before her actions get the best of her.
Blood-C is a (you might have guessed it) bloody show that is not for the faint-hearted. What better show to include a powerful female as the lead? In the very first episode already you can watch Saya wielding a katana like it’s no big deal and slicing through one enemy after the other. What makes her truly powerful, however, is her sense of duty as well as her ability to handle two identities at the same time. She is strong enough to not only fight demons but also to keep a sense of reality and continue her life as a normal schoolgirl. Saya is an admirable character and easily deserves the seventh spot on this list.
6. Shiro from Deadman Wonderland
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2011 - July 2011
Talking about bloody shows, let’s keep this theme going and talk about Shiro from Deadman Wonderland next.
Ganta Igarashi’s life changes from one day to the other. What should have been a normal school day turns into the worst day of his life when his classmates are brutally murdered in front of his eyes. Even worse, Ganta is convicted of the crime and sent to a prison of the special kind. Deadman Wonderland turns criminal activities into amusement as it forces prisoners to participate in deadly games to entertain the population. Will Ganta be able to survive and get revenge on the man who killed his friends?
What a perfect setting for a strong female to appear. Shiro is a unique character that first surprises viewers with her childlike mentality. She doesn’t seem to care that she’s trapped in a deadly amusement park and is only interested in playing games with her new friend Ganta. It seems like Shiro wouldn’t be able to harm a fly, but the moment you push her too far she turns into a killing machine. If you follow the story of Deadman Wonderland you’ll also get to find out more about Shiro’s past and understand just how strong she really is. Shiro is an easy choice for our sixth recommendation.
5. Esdeath from Akame ga Kill!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2014 - December 2014
Coming in at number five we have a character who is beautiful yet strong, committed yet cold-hearted. It’s Esdeath from Akame ga Kill!
The setting of Akame ga Kill is a country suffering from uprisings and political unrest. To save the population from a malicious leader, an assassination group called Night Raid sets out to eliminate anyone standing in their way. While trying to keep the greater good in mind, they have to face moral dilemmas on a daily basis and decide whether killing people can really return peace and safety to their country.
The strong character in question, Esdeath, is a general working for the Empire and leader of a special police squad named the Jaegers. What makes her so suitable for this role is her sadistic and cold-hearted nature. Esdeath doesn’t feel any sympathy for her enemies and doesn’t mind hunting or torturing them if it gets the job done. She is a born leader who isn’t afraid of stepping up for what she believes in. Being able to use her sadistic side to her full advantage makes Esdeath truly powerful and there was no way we couldn’t include her on today’s list.
4. Touka Kirishima from Tokyo Ghoul
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2014 - September 2014
You haven’t forgotten about Tokyo Ghoul, the hit show of summer 2014 yet, have you? If so, allow us to refresh your mind real quick.
Life in Tokyo is already stressful enough, but imagine how it would be like if you also had to be afraid of bloodthirsty ghouls attacking and eating you. This scenario becomes reality in Tokyo Ghoul where ghouls and humans live side by side. But while some ghouls are nothing more than monsters, others are forced to live in the underground in fear of being killed by humans. In the middle of this war between two races stands Kaneki, a human/ghoul hybrid who has to find a place for himself.
Our powerful female character is Touka, a ghoul waitress who helps Kaneki get used to his new life. Touka has been through great hardships herself but still, manages to keep going somehow. And while she might seem cold and distanced at first, deep inside her there is still a caring and loving side. Being able to not become completely detached or cold-hearted after facing so much tragedy is a true strength in our eyes. This fact combined with her physical strength earns Touka the fourth spot on our list.
3. Madoka Kaname from Mahou Shoujo Madoka★Magica (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2011 - April 2011
If you haven’t watched Madoka Magica, you might be confused to see such a cute magical girl as our next recommendation. But if you know what this show is about, you will understand when we say that Madoka is one tough girl.
Madoka’s life is like that of any regular middle school girl: she loves her family, cares about her friends and her biggest problems are related to school and boys. But this is about to change when she encounters a mythical being named Kyuubey. Kyuubey teaches Madoka about a world she wasn’t aware of. If she promises to fight witches and protect innocent people as a magical girl, Kyuubey can grant her any wish her heart desires. Will Madoka agree to this trade?
Madoka Magica is a show that turns from adorable to sinister real quick. What starts out as a cute show soon shows the dark side of being a magical girl. Similarly, innocent Madoka has to face a whole new world and make decisions she could have never expected. She might have been a helpless girl at the beginning of the anime, but by the end of it, Madoka shows her true strength. A combination of courage, determination, and love, makes Madoka powerful and that is why she deserves the first spot in our Top 3.
2. Mikoto Misaka from Toaru Majutsu no Index (A Certain Magical Index)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2008 - March 2009
Only two characters are left on our updated list; who could they be? First up on our final spurt is Mikoto Misaka from the action show Toaru Majutsu no Index.
Academy City is a futuristic city filled with both technology and supernatural powers. Students in this city have psychic abilities that they train in order to become the strongest versions of themselves. Touma Kamijou is one of those students, but he seems to be a black sheep. He has a psychic rank of zero, and his only ability is to negate supernatural abilities of his opponents. That doesn’t stop him from stepping into action when a peculiar girl named Index requires his help. How will his story continue?
Mikoto is the main heroine of the series and protagonist of Toaru Kagaku no Railgun, her own side story. Unlike Touma, she is a skilled psychic user and one of the strongest students in Academy City. She might seem like any other girl at first glance, but Touma is strong in every way imaginable. Not only are her psychic abilities impressive, but she also has a strong sense of justice and isn’t afraid to step up and start a fight. Mikoto is an inspiring character and we couldn’t end this list without including her.
1. Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
- Episodes: 1
- Aired: November 1995
Last, but definitely not least on our list, is a powerful woman who has been with us for a while and will soon make a comeback on Hollywood’s screens. Our final spot belongs to Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell!
In the universe of Ghost in the Shell, humanity has progressed enough to allow humans to replace any body part with modern technology. Now, humans, cyborgs and everything in between, have to learn to coexist. That this doesn’t always work out is to expect and it’s up to Motoko Kusanagi and her team of special forces to investigate and end crimes on the streets of the future.
Despite being the protagonist of Ghost in the Shell, not much is known about Motoko at first. Her body has been replaced by a cybernetic body, leaving only her mind completely human, she doesn’t talk much about herself, but never fails to perform her job. We didn’t necessarily include Motoko because of her physical strength - after all her body is basically a cyborg - but because of her great mental strength. Nothing seems to be able to derail her and she tackles any problem with her sharp mind and great intellect. Motoko is strong while also making us question our humanity and that is why she deserves the final spot in this line-up.
That concludes our list! Thanks for sticking through until the end.
If you’re not that much into anime, it’s easy to believe that female characters are always portrayed as weak and helpless. And while it’s true that those characters exist, there are so many others out there that are not afraid to speak their mind and step into action. The girls we have presented above are such women and if you’re looking for empowering shows to watch we’d suggest you give their shows a try.
No list is ever perfect and there are so many other strong female characters out there. Let us know who we missed out on and what you think of our updated recommendations. Leave a comment down below!