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10 Strong Female Characters In Anime Who Stole The Show

Introducing the it girls of anime

Sometimes you’re watching an anime that you feel a little meh about. Sure it’s gorgeously animated, but why won’t the protagonist stop whining about being a Hokage or whatever? You think it might be time to just let it play while you dick around on your phone—and then BAM. WHO IS SHE? You’ve never seen HER before. Her look is ICONIC. Her character is INTERESTING. Her story MATTERS. Dear God in heaven, I think she’s done it! Yes, she’s done it! She’s STOLEN THE SHOW. And you just caught her red handed.

So who are the greatest of the anime it-girls? Let’s find out.

10. Revy – Black Lagoon

(image credit: Madhouse)

Japanese salaryman gets shafted by his company and then gets shanghaied by a bunch of pirates blah blah blah WAIT. WHO IS THAT? Look at her TATTOOS. Her GUNS. Her SHORT SHORTS. THEY AREN’T EVEN BUTTONED. HOW DO THEY STAY UP?

Everyone, meet the it-girl of the Southeast Asian seas: Revy. She’s everything you could ever want. A fierce, sociopathic fighter harboring a tragic backstory that the anime doesn’t dwell on. Why not? Because we’re too busy watching her kill people! What were their names again? We already forgot.

9. Himeno – Chainsaw Man

Himeno wants to hug you
(MAPPA)

You know, Chainsaw Man‘s protagonist is actually interesting. I was rooting for Denji and his cute little puppy when they were in deep with the yakuza, just trying to get by. Then he got his awesome devil powers, and I was even MORE into him. Then he joined the Public Safety Devil Hunters and met his new colleagues, and I forgot about him COMPLETELY. Why? Because I met Chainsaw Man‘s show-stealing it-girl, Himeno.

First off, she’s got blue hair, an eye patch, and wears a suit? ICONIC. She spends her time cracking wise and smoking cigarettes all the time? FLAWLESS. She avoids becoming overly cynical and retains a deep love for her comrades, despite having watched most of them die in the past? YES. (Spoiler ahead!!) She gets HAMMERED and THROWS UP IN DENJI’S MOUTH!? Beautiful, disgusting, legendary.

8. Saber – Fate/Zero

Saber from Fate/Zero looking determined (Ufotable)
(Ufotable)

There are so many good characters in this series, I don’t even know where to begin. We’ve got sword-wielding evil priests, mercenaries with hearts of gold, and some very spooky magical children. But the BEST of them all is Arturia Pendragon, i.e. “King Arthur” of old. Except she isn’t some High Middle Ages beardy-boy. No, she is a FIERCE LADY with a SICK OUTFIT who wields an INVISIBLE SWORD. She is also one of the few characters in the anime with any sort of moral compass. She serves as the conscience of the show without feeling preachy or stale. Also her FIGHT SCENES!? Bravissimo.

7. Sasha Braus – Attack On Titan

(MAPPA)

Mikasa Ackerman might steal the show with her high-flying assaults on human and Titan alike, but no character is able to steal HEARTS quite like Sasha Braus. I know I’m not alone when I say that I was SMITTEN with her ever since she tried to surreptitiously eat an ENTIRE POTATO in front of her DRILL INSTRUCTOR. And when he caught her, she even OFFERED HIM SOME. She’s a simple, sweet, and badass farm girl who is one of the most beloved members of her team, for good reason.

6. Nana Osaki – Nana

Nana Osaki looking goth and glam (image credit Madhouse)
(image credit Madhouse)

This show is about two girls named Nana, but who are we kidding? Only ONE of them matters. I’m talking of course about Nana Osaki, the young punk rock girl with dreams of becoming a musical icon. But little does she know that she already is an icon. First off, her LOOK. The earrings. The punk clothes The perfect makeup. This girl was tailor-made for stardom. And she’s also a really nice person. Gotta love when they stay humble.

Related: Here’s the Best Anime from Each Decade on We Got This Covered

5. Kurisu Makise – Steins;Gate

Makise Kurisu from Steins;Gate looking shy
(White Fox)

The main character of this show is a little bit of a putz. A genius, but a putz nonetheless. He’s an intelligent man who lacks certain social graces. He’s many things, but cool isn’t necessarily one of them. UNLIKE Kurisu. Kurisu is one of the leading scientists in all of Japan—at just 18 years old.

(Spoiler ahead!!) She’s so outstanding in her field, it drives her scientist father to try to murder her out of sheer envy. He knows that he can never steal the show (and by “show” I mean “acclaim of the scientific community”), so her tries to make sure that his daughter never will, either. What a dick. But does it stop Kurisu? Hardly.

4. Tenmari – Naruto

Tenmari from Naruto
(Pierrot)

Everyone loves to shine a spotlight on Sakura or Hinata, but Tenmari was FAR more iconic at the beginning of the series than either of them ever were. She’s a shinobi from the Sand Village and wields a GIANT FAN in combat that she uses to blow her enemies away. She was able to save her future husband Shikamaru in two minutes of episode time. Which is LIGHTENING FAST, considering fight scenes in this series can last four episodes or more. Also the fishnet t-shirt and headband scarf? Iconic fashion choice. One of the best-dressed in the whole series.

3. Haruko Haruhara – FLCL

A character gets slapped dramatically hard in the 'FLCL' anime
(Crunchyroll)

Haruko Haruhara stole the show pretty early on when she drove up on her moped and hit the protagonist in the head with her midnight blue Rickenbacker bass. And she only got cooler from there. (Spoilers ahead!!) Turns out, she’s a space alien on the run from extraterrestrial organization that wants to subject the universe to blanket conformity. Isn’t that quite literally the definition of cool?

2. Nezuko Kamado

Demon-Slayer-Kimetsu-no-Yaiba-Nezukos-Demon-Form
(Ufotable)

Unlike Haruko, Nezuko took a little while to steal the show and reach “it girl” status. But when she did, there was no going back. Nezuko is a demon, meaning that she should have an insatiable desire for human flesh. HOWEVER, Nezuko is one of the first demons in existence to restore her energy by sleeping adorably instead of eating people. But when she wakes up, the demons are in for a world of pain. Nezuko is one of the strongest characters in the series, and perhaps the strongest demon ever. After all, she can withstand the sun, something that other demons cannot. Shine on, Nezuko.

1. Motako Kusanagi

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
(Production IG)

Major Motako Kusanagi stole the show because she is the show. She is the team leader of Section 9, a covert group of government operatives who defend Japan from cyberterrorism both domestic and foreign. She is pragmatic, cool-headed, and woefully efficient at taking out her enemies. She commands the respect of her men and has saved Japan from cyberterrorists countless times. She also has IMPECCABLE style. The purple mullet and a closet full of bodysuits? The other girls on this list could never.

(Featured Image: Wit Studio)

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