Anime has brought us lots of colourful heroines over the years, but usually when a magazine publishes a list of great anime heroines, the results are full of ass-kicking, gun-toting, frequently undressed action chicks. That’s because most of these lists are written by men.
So since S FX recently took on an intern, Isobel Roach , who deeply loved her anime, we thought it was a great opportunity let her redress the balance.
So here’s Isobel’s pick of the most unique and individual anime heroines… With no Major Kusanagi in sight.
And don’t miss out on the new SFX Anime Special, in the shops next Friday. More details soon…
10 Nagi Sanzenin
Series: Hayate The Combat Butler
First Appearance: 2007
Memorable Quote: “This is why I hate, hate going outside…”
Lazy through and through, nerdy rich girl Nagi Sanzenin is the lead heroine of Hayate The Combat Butler and the rightful heiress of the Sanzenin family’s colossal fortune. With an aptitude for gaming and a lazy personality, Nagi is a heroine who brings us all the action. Not unlike Konata (of Lucky Star), name dropping and referencing are second nature to Nagi, often likening the world to Gundam and losing her temper when she meets those who are uneducated in the world of anime. Being used to a life of luxury, it’s no surprise that Nagi has no clue when it comes to living the humdrum life of “the commoner”, causing her to under-value money and shy away from public transport (why bother taking the train, when you can just travel by helicopter?) She is often misunderstood and always prefers to stay inside her mansion than to venture out into the world, re-watching all her anime box sets instead of partaking in conversation. Either way, Nagi’s an original heroine with a unique sense of humour and personality.
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9 Rei Miyamoto
Series: High School Of The Dead
First Appearance: 2010
Memorable Quote: “He’s not even worth killing…”
Even during a zombie apocalypse, Rei keeps her cool and appoints herself as a reliable group member, wielding, first, a homemade spear and then a rifle, complete with a bayonet. Although she’s a valued asset to the group she is quick to lose her temper and is often judgemental. Nevertheless, Rei’s a girl to be reckoned with and joins the group of strong female leads with no problem. Despite being in a life threatening situation, Rei is still unable to give up on love and carries on courting her childhood friend Takashi, showing that she is strong both physically and emotionally and proving she will remain resilient, no matter what.
Series: Fate/stay night and Fate/ Zero
First Appearance: 2006
Age: Unknown (physically 16)
Memorable Quote: “Only warriors can find glory in destruction! Of what worth is a king who fails to protect the powerless? A just rule, with just laws… Those are the true duties of a king!”
An ancient warrior knight, reincarnated as a sword-wielding servant. Not your average run-of-the-mill heroine, at all. Saber pledged her allegiance to her master, Shirou Emiya and fought in the legendary Holy Grail War against magic-wielding opponents for eternal glory and honour. Aside from being a legendary mercenary, Saber has many other traits and her determination is often mistaken as cold behaviour. However, she is extremely loyal to her allies. As Fate/stay night became more popular, so did Saber, her unique character design inspiring many scale figures and bits of memorabilia from the series; eventually she become popular enough for a video game and anime to be produced. Saber has become an iconic character in the anime universe and is truly deserving of a place in the top ten.(opens in new tab)
7 Konata Izumi
Series: Lucky Star
First Appearace: 2007
Memorable Quote: “Bleh! Sounds like a lotta work to me. I think I’ll pass, I’d rather play, and I’ll ask for help when I get stuck.”
Konata Izumi is your average cute and peppy high school student, with one difference – she’s a huge anime geek. She loves everything from manga to dating Sims and prefers online gaming to school work, even if her teacher’s online. She’s a dedicated fan of anime and manga, so much so that she works at a cosplay café, where she serves customers whilst dressed as her favourite character – taking fandom to another level. Her straight-to-the-point, sarcastic humour is part of her appeal, as well as her constant anime and manga referencing. Although she is a character in an extremely light-hearted anime, Konata is surprisingly complex and has a tragic history, stemming from the loss of her mother. All this attention to detail and first-rate writing is what causes us to love her.(opens in new tab)
6 Haruhi Fujioka
Series: Ouran High School Host Club
First Appearance: 2006
Memorable Quote: “A person can change, at the moment when the person wishes to change.”
Due to a huge misunderstanding, mild-mannered and serious Haruhi Fujioka ends up being mistaken for a boy, and even worse, is made to join the boys’ “Host” club, a group of pedigreed rich boys who entertain bored female students like true gentlemen. Haruhi is then able to form close relationships with host club boys after being forced to work off a debt, and takes it upon herself to play the straight man to their constant tomfoolery. Haruhi is a refreshing character to see in a romantic comedy anime as she remains unshaken and serious throughout the series and does not succumb to the foolishness of the host club at all… well, maybe a little. As the series progresses, she realises the differences between herself and her fellow hosts; Haruhi has no need for material possessions, nor does she care about how she looks and is happy to be mistaken for a boy; this differentiates her from the stereotypical rom-com heroine
and makes her an original female lead.
5 Maka Albarn
Series: Soul Eater
First Appearance: 2008
Age: 14 (estimated)
Memorable Quote: “People need fear to survive. We experience it so we can grow stronger.”
From the bizarre and sinister manga and anime by Atsushi Okubo comes the scythe-wielding heroine Maka Albarn. She doesn’t just use any ordinary scythe, oh no – Maka’s scythe can take another form, that of a human. Together with her weapon, Soul, Maka collects the souls of those tainted with evil for Death himself in the extraordinary Death City. Maka is a hard-working, studious young girl with a short temper and severe daddy issues. She’s an outstanding fighter and strong female lead, capable of taking on almost any opponent she faces with unrivalled bravery and determination.(opens in new tab)
4 Misaka Mikoto
Series: A Certain Scientific Railgun and A Certain Magical Index
First Appearance: 2008
Memorable Quote: “But this time, you aren’t alone.”
A formidable level five psychic, Misaka Mikoto is looked up to by everyone in the futuristic Academy City (a technologically advanced school, built to cater for students with unique, psychic abilities). She only needs an arcade token or coin to land a fatal blow of electricity on her opponents. Misaka’s tough persona, coupled with her love for all things cute, makes her a memorable character. In fact, Misaka’s so popular, she’s even been cloned. She’s always quick to resort to violence and is not afraid of using her powers as an Electromaster to win an argument, no matter who she’s fighting. Her stubborn temperament and extraordinary skill has made her one of the most popular heroines to date.(opens in new tab)
3 Tohru Honda
Series: Fruits Basket
First Appearance: 2001
Memorable Quote: “People aren’t born with kindness, it grows with them…”
The polite and charming heroine of one of the most popular shoujo mangas ever written and be adapted into an anime, Tohru brings a very different kind of strength to the colourful cast of Fruits Basket . She is a kind-hearted girl, who unknowingly helps her fellow characters break out of the emotional shackles they have worn their whole lives. This heart-warming heroine has a few issues of her own, however, and we watch her struggle through the good times and the bad. Whether it’s breaking curses or mending broken hearts, Tohru is surely one of the most loveable anime heroines that have ever been created.(opens in new tab)
2 Homura Akemi
Series: Puella magi madoka magica
First Appearance: 2011
Memorable quote: “No matter how many times I have to repeat all of this, I’ll protect you!”
The ultimate warrior with a sharp fighting style and tongue to match, Homura Akemi is everyone’s favourite time-travelling magical girl. Anime fans everywhere fell in love with Homura when her desperately tragic back-story with the series’ main protagonist, Madoka was revealed throughout an episode-long flash back, showing how she reversed time again and again, in order to save her best friend-even if she has to forfeit her own life to do so. And if that’s not enough, she’s had some of the most epic fight scenes in anime history, wielding bazooka guns and land mines. You just can’t help but love her cool-headed attitude and lone-wolf personality.(opens in new tab)
1 Haruhi Suzumiya
Series: The Melancholy Of Haruhi Suzumiya
First Appearance: 2006
Age: 17 (estimated)
Memorable Quote: “If any of you are aliens, time-travellers, or espers, please come see me. That is all.”
It’s no surprise that the bright, energetic and often uncontrollable Haruhi would steal first place – what’s not to like? She’s got energy, charisma and (unbeknownst to her) extremely formidable god-like powers. Haruhi has more than her fare share of outlandish adventures with the SOS brigade (the school club that allows its members to search for the unknown wonders of the universe, here on Earth). Although Haruhi sometimes has difficulty relating to others and gets caught up in her own insane world, she still manages to stay lively and excitable. Whether it’s stealing a computer or forming a rock band, Haruhi’s adventures have become timeless. Haruhi’s pure determination and often times, insane logic landed her a place in the hearts of every anime fan across the world.