Anime female protagonist

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20 Best Anime With A Female Lead MC

Quite a few female characters in anime are unfortunately reduced to ecchi fanservice tropes and subservient harem members.

But just as many anime are capable of providing strong females characters, engaging role models with good writing.

A great female main character is beloved for their sex-positive attitude, drive to accomplish something great, relatability, awesomeness, or even a combo of all of this!

Well we’ve selected & ranked some of the best anime that feature developed female MCs (and one nonbinary) in the spotlight.


20. Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt

Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt Screenshot

Here’s the gist: Panty and Stocking have been disqualified from heaven for unbecoming behavior and are put under the liege of the priest, Garterbelt.

They’re given the ability to ascend back to heaven – but it’s taking a while, as the Anarchy Sisters are particularly hedonistic.

Panty is a sex-fueled angel, driven by lust and love. Whereas her sister, Stocking, prioritizes all things tasty and sweet.

Definitely the most risqué on this list, Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt has developed a cult following for its immature humor, Powerpuff girls-esque art style, and top tier Trigger animation.


19. Humanity Has Declined

Humanity Has Declined Watashi female MC - Anime Screenshot

This tragically overlooked fairy tale dark comedy needs more people gushing over it.

From the cutesy, deceiving art style to its stellar dialogue and witty plot points, Humanity Has Declined crafts a completely unique shape for itself in the anime community.

Our unnamed main character (referred to as Watashi) is designated the position of negotiation between fariykind and mankind. And what follows is a hilarious & disturbing series of stories across a colorful yet unusual world.

Watashi is enigmatic, funny, and always determined to help the fairies and people out in her travels.

Philosophical without being condescending, and always able to balance darkness and wholesomeness, Humanity Has Declined deserves your attention.


18. Madoka Magica

Madoka Magica - Anime Screenshot

One day, Madoka Kaname and her best friend Sayaka are given the opportunity of a lifetime: they can have any wish granted, but in return they must become magical girls sworn to protect the world from ‘witches.’

The new transfer student “Homura Akemi” hates this, and tries to convince them to refuse – for she is a magical girl herself, and she knows the gig isn’t as good as it seems.

Hope and despair rattle the foundations of Madoka’s life, as it’s thrown upside down in a way she never expected.

Gen Urobuchi’s deconstruction of the mahou shoujo genre is rife with compelling female characters, all with totally different personalities and ambitions.

Be warned, however, that the cute aesthetic does not entirely match the tone of the narrative…


17. Aggressive Retsuko

Aggressive Retsuko Screenshot

Aggretsuko follows a red panda called Retsuko working in an office environment.

Sexual harassment, gossiping coworkers, sleezy bosses, and deindividuation follow her from day to day. So to let off steam, she screams death metal in a karaoke club. A pastime we can all relate to, I’m sure.

This is her own private corner of the world. And we get to see her slowly let people into it.

Aggretsuko is comfortable with tackling issues that most anime confront. A progressive anime about the woes and pains of living in a capitalist world.

The monotony and aimlessness, and perceivable unimportance of her job, is relatable to so many of us out there, making Retsuko an immediately endearing character.

Short, cutely animated, and funny for sure. Definitely check this one out.


16. Shirobako

Shirobako Screenshot

Aoi Miyamori and her four best friends have dreamed of working in the animation industry since they were in high school.

Aoi and Ema manage to secure promising positions at Musashino Animation, but the other three aren’t having as much luck, stuck in jobs where their ambitions are capped.

Shirobako details the struggles of working in the anime industry, the adversities that come with that dream, and the determination required to collaborate & communicate successfully to overcome hurdles.

Featuring some important members of the industry, Shirobako never shies away from the trauma and tribulations to come with such a hectic work environment.

But it’s the wholesome cast of female main characters that make Shirobako such a joy, as they’re all relatable and driven to achieve their dreams.


15. Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf Anime Screenshot

Holo the Wisewolf is a spiritual deity worshiped for blessing the annual harvest.

However, over time the town of Pasloe have become increasingly non-reliant on her due to industrial developments.

When she meets the travelling merchant Kraft Lawrence, she joins in her countryside travel as they head north to her birthplace.

Along the way they create an unshakable bond and overcome all obstacles – economic and physical – that stand in their path.

Holo is witty, wise, cunning, and noble.

She’s graceful yet fearful, capable of turning into a great wolf without notice.

Seductive and funny, yet not lacking agency, Holo quickly became one of my favorite female anime personalities.


14. Whisper of the Heart

Whisper of the Heart - Anime Screenshot

Shizuku Tsukishima is a 14-year old poet and aspiring writer who ends up meeting a boy named Seiji Amasawa.

He has the dream to create violins abroad and intends to fall under the tutelage of a master of the craft.

This is much to the dismay of Shizuku, who feels as though she’s going nowhere.

Afraid of falling behind, and determined to make something of herself, Shizuku resolves to finish a first draft of her novel alongside her studies.

Whisper of the Heart is a simple story told well with a soft romantic undertone. It’s a story of dreams, goals, and ambitions.

The relatable Shizuku embodies the aspiring creative, and subsequently becomes a source of inspiration for any similar watcher.


13. Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell SAC - Screenshot

I hope every anime fan could see this one coming!

Major Motoko Kusanagi is a female, cybernetically enhanced as a child, and has regularly switched artificial bodies.

As such, her design is in constant fluctuation – but this dissonance between body and soul is a main motif of the series (hint: it’s in the name).

Motoko is constantly developing as a personality striving to understand herself in a world where the line between artificial & real is blurred.

Regardless of her iteration or the narrative she appears in, Motoko is always written proficiently.

She’s a mysterious character difficult to understand – even to herself.


12. Spirited Away

Spirited Away - Anime Screenshot

In the beginning of this incredible film, Chihiro Ogino is a bit of a bratty 10-year-old, unappreciative of her parents and upset that they’re moving to a new house in a new town.

On the way they discover an abandoned amusement park and decide to check it out – much to Chihiro’s chagrin.

But soon, as nighttime approaches, weird spectral apparitions appear. And her parents devolve into grotesque pigs.

Chihiro is now trapped in the spirit world, a place where begging demons, great origami-based dragons, and wicked witches are commonplace.

Spirited Away is a historically important film for the medium, and I’m so glad the protagonist is so realistic.

Capable of great feats of courage for such a young girl striving to find her parents in a world she thought she hated, Chihiro is one of the best female-child main characters to come out of anime.


11. Psycho-Pass

Psycho-Pass - Anime Screenshot

Akane Tsunemori is excited for her first day as a criminal justice inspector.

She’s tasked with investigating criminal activity and reducing the offender to a (usually) bloody mess.

The world is run by the Sibyl System, an algorithm designed to detect latent malefactor capacity to erase the societal threat before it grows.

However, Tsunemori soon comes to realize that the system is flawed in its nature and decides to dig deeper into its machinations.

She’s thorough, incredibly smart, and capable of keeping cool even under moral crisis.

She comes with the brains to climb both the bureaucratic and physical ladder.

Akane is driven to uncovering corruption and bringing it to justice, no matter the source.


10. The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Tale of Princess Kaguya - Anime Screenshot

A well-meaning bamboo cutter, Okina, discovers a miniscule baby inside of a shoot.

He rushes home to show his wife, and the two vow to raise the (unknown to them) little princess themselves.

Though she grows up happy playing with her friends in the forest, Okina feels guilty at the prospect of not providing more for the miracle child.

This changes when he is blessed with a gargantuan fortune, elevating her into high society. Though Kaguya is unhappy about this – and wishes for the simpler times of her childhood.

This is one of Studio Ghibli’s most esoteric offerings, with a simple and rough art style that enhances the charming tale.

It’s based on a 10th-century Japanese folk tale, sprinkled with aspects of Buddhism and tragedy.

Though ultimately morose, Kaguya tells a touching and simple story that nails its execution.


9. Land of the Lustrous

Land of the Lustrous - Anime Screenshot

The crystalline Gems are humanoid defenders of a mysterious world.

Though technically genderless, our protagonist Phos does have a somewhat feminine aesthetic. So we’ll include them as they deserve to be here.

Phos is brilliantly written: insecure and frail, yet yearning to be instrumental in their species’ ongoing conflict with the alien Lunarians, here to harvest their bodies for its beauty.

Studio Orange has produced a unique, aesthetically sublime philosophical nosedive into existentialism and purpose.

Phos is an endearing protagonist to follow, striving for something more in a confusing world where identity is brittle.

Absolutely gorgeous – season two, please?


8. Chihayafuru

Chihayafuru Chihaya female MC - Anime Screenshot

Chihaya’s sister, an up-and-coming professional model, has always overshadowed her.

Having no talents outside of P.E. and running, she’s unsure of herself and what she wants to be.

This changes when she meets Arata, a quiet boy with an unquestionable ability at the game of Karuta (a dying mentally extensive memorization game passed on Japanese poetry).

She promises herself to become the Queen of Karuta someday, as its exclusivity to Japan means that to be the best player, is to be the best in the world.

Chihayafuru follows her struggles to achieve this goal. Including her countless losses and failures along the way.

Driven by some of the best character writing in anime, and a tear-jerking central relationship dynamic that really encourages you to click over to the next episode, Chihayafuru is one of the greatest josei ever made.


7. Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken - Screenshot

Studio Science Saru – founded by the brilliant Masaaki Yuasa – really hit it out of the park with this year’s Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!

This whimsically enthralling anime depicts the passion of art.

Midori Asakusa’s life changed forever the day she saw her first anime, dedicating herself to the art with enthusiasm and adoration.

When she meets the clever Sayaka Kanamori, and the brilliant animator Tsubame Mizusaki, the three decide to create a school club dedicated to animation.

What follows is a love letter to the industry.

It’s filled with lovable characters and jaw-dropping animation techniques. All three of our protagonists are driven girls unashamed of their unwavering passion for a male-dominated industry, and it’s simply wonderful.


6. Kill la Kill

Kill la Kill - Anime Screenshot

Ryuuko Matoi must overcome all shame, fear, and hurdles standing between her and her objective in this (mostly) sex-positive anime that deconstructs the ecchi genre to make it something wholly unique.

After her father dies, she vows to avenge him.

Equipped only with her scissor blade and attitude – and eventually an article of sentient clothing capable of strengthening her – she battles through hundreds of enemies to discover the reason and put an end to the murderer.

What she does not realize is how much deeper the conspiracy runs.

Ryuuko is one of my favorite characters, thanks to her attitude and character design.

Determination and resolve are key to her not losing her way, in a gorgeous Trigger-animated story with ever-escalating and bizarre scenarios.


5. Nana

Nana 2006 Anime Screenshot

Two girls – each named Nana – have their lives intertwined one day when they happen to meet on the same train.

Nana Komatsu is an idealistic, naive woman overly concerned with romance and true love, and driven by her dream of becoming a stronger person.

Nana Osaki is the vocalist of a popular punk rock bands. She’s haunted and traumatized by a previous love and determined to focus on her career.

They end up sharing an apartment together, their lives collide, and heartbreak ensues.

One of the greatest josei / shoujo anime out there.

Melodramatically touching on topics of pregnancy and drug abuse (among many other subjects), Nana does not shy away from the reality of the world.

Our main characters are complex, heartbreaking, and lovable.


4. The Garden of Sinners

Garden of Sinners - Anime Screenshot

Shiki Ryougi prowls the street at night.

She’s out searching for supernatural oddities with her Mystical Eyes of Perception.

Burdened by murderous impulses, she channels them into this task, vowing never to take a human life unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Slick, agile, driven by her own psyche and self-discovery, and troubled by the dark and philosophical, Shiki is an enigma in more ways than one.

Ufotable did an incredible job with the seven-part Garden of Sinners movie franchise (with the fifth, a mind-bending experience with ridiculously good production, being my personal favorite).


3. Serial Experiments Lain

Serial Experiments Lain 90s Anime

Lain Iwakura lives in and out of reality, obsessed and over immersed with the WIRE (the Internet) to the point of alienation.

Weird things keep happening around her, both online and offline. And she’s finding it hard to draw the line between the two.

Lain is very relatable to me.

This brilliantly avant-garde story of depression, depersonalization, egocentrism, and a cyber world, is more relevant in the 2020’s that when it was first released in 1998.

She’s an otaku icon of the neo-internet age of the 21st-century, representing the dark division between our online and physical selves.


2. From the New World

From the New World - Anime Screenshot

Saki Watanabe has finally woken her latent psychokinetic powers. And she’s promptly sent to a school to control them in a dystopic world riddled with secrets.

Her first months go fine, until one day a girl from their class just… disappears. This raises more questions – such as what happened to those children whose powers had not yet awoken; and what the rumored Tainted Cats are, and whether they truly abduct children.

Saki is driven by many things.

Fear, curiosity, compassion, societal justice.

We follow her from childhood through middle-age and watch her evolve as a person. One of my favorite well-written characters in all of anime.


1. Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke Female MC - Screenshot

Tatara, a town of technology and advancement, intends to tear down the neighboring forestry to expand their civilization.

But the wolf-raised Princess of the Forest, San, refuses to go down without a fight.

She’s inspirational, protecting the land she loves from deforestation.

A role model for anyone of any gender. This is one of the best Ghibli movies ever made, telling an incredibly animated parable on industrialization and wildlife at odds with one another.

San is strong, capable, determined, and possesses far loftier goals than romance in this epic anime that everyone should see at least once.

Browse:Japanese CultureAnime

Kafka Champin

Kafka was playing games in utero, and writing lists even longer. He has published numerous books and video essays, and is currently a student at university.


Starting right off the bat with the latest spin-off series from the acclaimed series Inuyasha, Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon features not one, not two, but three iconic girls who are prepared to take down any demon who threatens their mission. Towa and Setsuna are the twin daughters of Sessohomaru, while Moroha is the daughter of Kagome and Inuyasha. Taking lessons from their parents who fought the fearsome Naraku, this balanced trio travel between eras to recover Setsuna’s memories of her older twin sister, Towa. With this series hyping up any long-time fan, including yours truly, we are extremely excited to see the journey the trio will take us on.

9. Haruhi Fujioka - Ouran High School Host Club

Haruhi Fujioka is a character that knows how to roll with the punches. Her excellent grades earned her a place in the prestigious Ouran Academy, but her family’s lower-income background causes her to stick out among her extremely wealthy classmates. After accidentally breaking a vase worth over 8 million yen, she is wrangled into joining Ouran’s Host Club. First, she started as an errand boy, but her charm and easy-going nature showcased her potential as a full-fledged host. It should also be mentioned that at this time, no one knows that Haruhi isn’t a Haru-he. Her short hair and disheveled appearance came out of convenience, and the idea of looking masculine or feminine never crossed her mind. She isn’t an apathetic person, but she knows when to go with the flow. Whether it’s personal expression, handling the host club’s hijinks, or helping those in need, Haruhi is able to tackle anything life throws her way.

8. Ninny Spangcole & Noel Niihashi - Burn the Witch

Burn the Witch is another popular anime from the Fall 2020 Simulcast, next to Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon. Created by the famous Tite Kubo (who also created one of the Big Three, Bleach), Burn the Witch follows two witches, Ninny Spangcol & Noel Niihashi, as they protect the Human World city of London from an onslaught of dragons. Hiding secrets from the people of London through Reverse London, Ninny and Noel fearlessly take on terrifyingly powerful dragons. Another interesting feature of Reverse London is it’s hidden right under the public’s nose. Unless you have a wand to reveal Reverse London, you wouldn’t know about it.

Ninny is illustrated as a very vocal and loud woman who refuses to back down from a challenge. Noel can be described as a calm, stoic woman who has her eye a little more on the reward. Overall, this dynamic duo complements each other very well and are always there for each other.

7. Erza Scarlet - Fairy Tail

Erza Scarlet, also known as Titania, serves as one of the strongest Fairy Tail guild members, rivaling that of Guild Master Markov! Possessing the Requip magic, she is prepared for any and ALL enemies. In a world where everyone controls an infinite variety of magic, this is a useful magic skill to have. Seen as strict and terrifying on the surface, Erza Scarlet has a pure heart full of warmth to her Fairy Tail family. Not only that, she is always reliable and refuses to back down when her back is against the wall. Cater that with an overwhelmingly dark childhood, Erza has become a beacon of hope when times are tough.

6. Utena Tenjo - Revolutionary Girl Utena

Stepping back to the past, Revolutionary Girl Utena is an iconic Nozomi title that features a strong female protagonist. Wanting to be a Prince but born as a female, Utena breaks the mold of gender stereotypes to rescue her beloved Anthy Himemiya. Utena Tenjo is best described as a passionate and intelligent woman who isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in. But she does have her own flaws. She can be impulsive and assume what one is feeling, which can complicate things if you are as complicated as Anthy. Breaking out in 1997, this progressive anime was one of the first female-orientated anime to push the boundaries for the LGBTQ+ communities and unify women alike.

5. Ryuko Matoi - Kill La Kill

Cutting down the middle of our list is the unforgettable Ryuko Matoi from Kill La Kill. Investigating the murder of her father and finding the other half to her red Scissorblade, Ryuko follows the blood-soaked trail to Honnōji Academy. Being the protagonist she is, we watched Ryuko mature as the series progresses. Shown as a stubborn, rowdy teenager on the surface, we see Ryuko break down her walls and become more polite and heartwarming with the Mankanshoku family. Ryuko is a strong female protagonist because she shows that when women are determined, they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

We can’t keep talking about Kill La Kill without mentioning one of the most infamous aspects of the shows, its over-the-top wardrobe and its use of fan service. Ryuko’s abilities come from her Kamui, magical clothes that are as powerful as they are revealing. And surprise surprise, the less she wears the more powerful she becomes. Although she is nervous about her outfit, she comes to both accept the situation she is in and find power in it. On the surface, Kill La Kill can be seen as an over the top fan service anime, but if you look a little deeper you can see that its use of satire is there to poke fun at its predecessors and show that empowerment comes in many forms.

4. Tohru Honda - Fruits Basket

On the surface, Tohru Honda can seem pretty generic. She’s not the smartest kid in class, but she’s not the worst (that title would probably go to her friend Hanajima). She’s clumsy, a complete airhead, but is notably one of the nicest characters in anime. But is that it? How can one of shoujo manga’s household names be famous for just being nice? There’s a complexity to Tohru’s personality that can easily go unnoticed. Selflessness and kindness are still her core traits, but they are fostered out of a place of insecurity and low self-worth that becomes more apparent as the series progresses. She dedicates her life to helping her friends because she believes that’s all she can offer. She would rather live in a tent than even think about asking for help, not out of stubbornness or the desire to be self-reliant, but because she can’t see herself as anything but a burden to those around her. Her unending kindness changes the lives of the Soma clan in ways that they never thought possible, but they aren’t the only ones who begin to change. Tohru shows the Somas that they are worthy of love, and the Somas reciprocate those sentiments back at her. Tohru is here to remind the audience that it’s important to care for others, but to also care for yourself.

3. Emma - The Promised Neverland

The Promised Neverland is a very popular anime that follows one of the most optimistic protagonists you’ll ever meet, next to Gon from Hunter X Hunter. Taking place in a small orphanage with acres of green fields and forestry, the children are able to play and live carefree lives until they are old enough to be adopted into a loving family. As you might have guessed, this facade is quickly broken down within the first episode and the children are actually raised to be food for these demonic monsters.

With the facade faded and the overwhelming danger drawing closer, Emma isn’t beaten. She is determined to help everyone escape what appears to be a hopeless situation. Even with all this negativity surrounding her existence and being deceived by people she trusted, Emma still holds onto hope that she will escape to freedom with all of her family. This overpowering optimism is spread to the rest of her family and friends as she stays resilient in any terrifying situation.

Emma stands out as a character in The Promised Neverland, but also in the anime/manga world as a whole. She is a dynamic, strong, well thought out character and is on a shortlist of female protagonists in modern shonen manga (a genre targeted to adolescent boys) that is never used as eye candy. Although the manga is finished and the anime has been taking some...interesting directions, Emma from The Promised Neverland will leave a lasting impact on the industry.

2. Saber - Fate Series

The Fate series can be very complicated depending on which path you want to follow in the games. With that being said, there is one character who has been a staple in the series, Saber! Battling alongside their masters for the right over the Holy Grail, Saber has unwavering courage to protect the ones close to her. Another defining trait of Saber is her strong will. It is very difficult to steer her off the path of honor and will ignore any underhand tactics. Saber does struggle with being brought down because she is a woman, but holds her head even higher because she possesses even more strength than the male servants.

1. Sailor Moon - Sailor Moon

Whenever a strong female protagonist comes to mind, the one that everyone thinks of is the one named Sailor Moon. Debuting in 1992, Sailor Moon follows the titular protagonist Usagi Tsukino, also known as Serena Tsukino to the English audience, as she fights evil by moonlight and winning love by daylight, she is the one named Sailor Moon. Tsukino begins the story as a loveable, immature teenager, but transforms into a pure-hearted woman who fights for what is right. She does have some flaws, such as being jealous of her love interest Mamoru. But deep down, she is the most caring person in the universe. And this is why we have to place her on top of the list.

There is no cookie-cutter way to write awesome women, and these characters prove that point. They’re strong, they’re flawed, a little hot-headed, goofy, and everything in between. We gave some of our favorite leading ladies, but now we want to hear yours! Let us know who else should be added to the list on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

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10 Best Female Protagonists In Isekai Anime

Much like many anime genres out there, the isekai world is dominated by male characters. Female characters often have little presence and even when they do, they are usually created for two purposes – to serve as a romantic interest for the male lead or to exist for fanservice.

RELATED: 15 Best Isekai Manhwa For Fans Of Manga

This is why female protagonists in isekai who don’t fit into such boxes are a breath of fresh air, especially if they aren’t Rem From Re:Zero or Asuna from Sword Art Online, who have become two of the most recognizable female characters from modern isekai anime.

10 Yui Kusanagi Won The Hearts Of Gods (Kamigami No Asobi)

Yui was brought up in a shrine and is excellent with swords. One day she’s whisked to the world of Gods with the duty of making them more empathic toward humans.

Even though the task ahead of her is tough, her intelligence and loyalty slowly win the hearts of all Gods. She goes above and beyond her duties to not only teach her new students about human emotions but to also help them bond with each other as brothers.

9 Chihiro Ogino Goes From Selfish To Brave (Spirited Away)

Chihiro was introduced as a selfish young brat whose character did a complete 180 when she realized she was stuck in a fantasy world with no way out.

The entire movie focuses on the emotional and psychological growth of this girl who went from throwing childish tantrums to risking her life in order to save the lives of her friends. Within a short span of time, Chihiro emerges as a brave and confident young girl who leaves the fantasy land unharmed, with her smiling parents by her side.

8 Catarina Claes Is Kind & Considerate (My Next Life As A Villainess)

The new Catarina is far removed from the original Catarina who was sadistic and cruel. The current Catarina is a kind and sweet girl who does not mind doing physical labor if it meant making her happy.

RELATED: 10 Best Manhwa With Strong Female Leads

She is incredibly helpful by nature, often going out of her way to help people even when they don’t ask for her help, and is quick to forgive people for their mistakes.

7 Tanya Von Degurechaff Is Sharp On & Off The Battlefield (Saga Of Tanya The Evil)

Tanya is quite a complicated character, with the anime showing a more sadistic and manipulative side of hers than in the manga and light novels. Apart from displaying some rather concerning tendencies, Tanya is calculating and shrewd both on and off the battlefield.

She’s brutal and rarely lets get anything under her skin. Despite that, she can easily play the part of the humble subordinate when in the presence of her superiors.

6 Myne Is Brilliant Enough To Come Up With New Inventions As A 5-Year-Old (Ascendance Of A Bookworm)

Myne is a 5-year-old with the memories of the 22-year-old Urano, and she wastes no time in making use of the resources around her to come up with inventions way ahead of her time. The new Myne was still physically weak, but she did not let that get in her way and could often be seen smiling and cheering for her friends and family.

5 Sei Takanashi Was Reborn As A Saint Who Saved The Life Of A Knight Commander (The Saint's Magic Power Is Omnipotent)

After this 20-year-old Japanese office worker was transported into a fantasy world where she became a Saint, she did her best to hide her identity and live her life as normally as possible.

However, she came into the spotlight after she saved Knight Commander Albert Hawke's life. Her miraculous potions furthered rumors around her that she may indeed be the Saint who’ll rid people of all their worries. But this young girl wasn’t sure if she was up for such a mighty challenge.

4 Kumoko Goes From Being Scared To Hopeful & Caring (So I'm A Spider, So What?)

Kumoko starts off as a scared and unsure young spider in a world where she’s at the bottom of the food change. However, the passage of time and a group of new friends start bringing about changes within her where she ends up genuinely caring for her new friends.

She remains hopeful, learns how to communicate with people, and often resorts to speaking sarcastically in order to hide her insecurities.

3 Emilia Yusa Is A Smart Angel Who Keeps Satan In Check (The Devil Is A Part-Timer)

Touted as the great Hero who is the only person that can defeat Satan, Emilia is successful in pushing back Satan’s army on Ente Isla. However, a certain chain of events ends up with her and Satan traveling to Japan where the two are forced to get a job and find a new home in order to live in this new world.

RELATED: 10 Best Isekai Manhwa Coming Out In 2021

Emilia is smart and always suspicious of Satan, going out of her way to warn all his new friends of his ulterior motives. She’s also part angel, which is why she was able to defeat Satan.

2 Ye Jinxuan "Ye Jiayao" Talks Her Way Out Of Sticky Situations (Meng Qi Shi Shen)

The modern Chinese girl Ye Jiayao suddenly finds herself in the body of Ye Jinxuan in ancient China, who was being kidnapped by bandits. As their prisoner, the spunky Jiayao does not give in to their threats and intimidation, always using her words and wits to get out of sticky situations.

Her defiant and never-give-up attitude wins the heart of the person in charge of her kidnapping, but there’s no way a girl like Jiayao would fall for a criminal.

1 Yuno Gasai Is One Of The Most Well-Known Yandere Ever (The Future Diary)

Fans may be surprised to see Yuno at the top spot, but the truth is that those who’ve watched the entire show know that Yuno traveled to not one but two different worlds and played by the rules of those worlds to be by the side of her beloved Yuki.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Yuno Gasai was the sole reason Future Diary became as famous as it did, and it was her obsessive personality that made her go down as one of the most famous yandere in anime.

NEXT: 10 Sports Anime With An All-Female Cast


Next10 Most Useless Human Heroes In Anime, Ranked

About The Author
Sarika Mittal (294 Articles Published)

Sarika is obsessed with anime-manga and she can't believe she's living her dream of writing about things she's, well, obsessed with!

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Anime is an incredibly diverse media that has something for everyone. Whether you're looking for an action-packed, battle-oriented story with larger than life characters who possess all kinds of cool powers, or a down to Earth, heartwarming tale of everyday life with a relatable cast of characters, there's a whole list of anime you can choose from.

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There's also a lot of great anime with female protagonists. In fact, you can probably find at least five worth your time from any genre. If you're looking for a great anime with a female protagonist at the moment, perhaps our list can be of service.

Updated by Lianna Tedesco on November 29th, 2020: It's not often that anime fans pick a fight with their favorite shows over the fact that the main protagonist is a male rather than a female. Thankfully, in both video game and anime culture, there has been a surge of storylines that credit females as being just as strong - if not stronger - than men. In fact, anime is one of the rare places where feminist power and a woman's independence is displayed in its full glory. For those seeking even more of this genre, the options for anime binge-watching have only grown and include some of the best, and most memorable shows out there right now. 


Kill la Kill certainly isn't everyone's cup of tea. It’s weird – bizarre even. IGN described it as “magical girl anime on speed”, which captures the nature of Kill la Kill perfectly. The non-sensical plot, the over the top character design, the colorful backgrounds and explosions, and the unusual approach it takes to explore important themes are all dead giveaways that you’re watching a Trigger anime.

The story of Kill la Kill is about a Ryuko Matoi who sets out to find the one responsible for her father’s death and exert her revenge. She ends up at the Honnouji Academy – an elite school where clothes are a crucial element of its competitive hierarchy. In fact, Kill la Kill relies heavily on clothes to explore themes like fate, freedom, and sexuality. Hence, the weird costumes. But, it’s also immensely fun and hilarious with tons of stunning action.


If you’re into works like Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, then the 2012 anime titled From the New World might be what you’re looking for. Set in a utopian future society where humans have developed psychic abilities, From the New World is a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of Saki Watanabe, as she narrates the events from her childhood from the future– from this new world.

Saki’s world is an isolated society of psychic humans, bound by complex rules, and shrouded in mystery. From the very first episode, it’s abundantly clear that there’s much more to this supposed utopia than meets the eye. We follow Saki and her group of friends as they unearth the dark truths about the nature of their society. And the truth is surprising, yet completely plausible and will leave you with plenty to think about.


One of the main characters of the infamous Fate franchise, the blonde-haired knight known as Saber is one of the Servants that the Masters can summon in the Holy Grail Wars. For the uninitiated, the Holy Grail Wars are basically secret battle royale-type tournaments between seven Master magicians who summon seven legendary heroes to fight on their behest as their Servants.

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Saber is the reincarnation of King Arthur, who was a woman in this universe. Aside from Saber, there are six other classes – Assassin, Archer, Rider, Berserker, Caster, and Lancer. Each Servant serves their Master, has unique abilities, and their own interesting story. The series is gorgeously animated, has great action scenes, and it even explores great philosophies and themes.


Most romance anime – well, most love stories in general – tend to focus on the pursuit of the relationship rather than giving us the chance to actually see that relationship develop. Luckily, that is not the case with one of the biggest surprises of 2018, Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku.

Wotakoi tells two love stories. There’s the story of two friends who have common interests of the otaku variety and decide to start dating, eventually falling in love with each other in a realistic fashion. And then there’s the already established, sometimes dysfunctional but nevertheless wholesome relationship, of their two friends/co-workers. If you’re sick of classic sappy rom-coms, Wotakoi will feel like a breath of fresh air.


It’s nigh impossible to explain what Madoka Magica is about without spoiling it. However, it did come out almost ten years ago, and if you have any interest in anime you’ve probably heard all about its twist. In short, Puella Magi Madoka Magica is by no means what it appears to be on the surface. Disguised as your typical cute magical girl anime, Madoka Magica is extremely dark and mature.

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The story starts with two normal high school girls who come upon a cat-like Satan's spawn who promises them great power in exchange for becoming magical girls. Not long after taking the offer, they find out that the life of a magical girl isn’t all that it’s hyped up to be. Madoka Magica received wide critical acclaim for its writing and stands as a quintessential anime series.


Nana tells the story of two 20-something girls named Nana. But though they share the same first name, they couldn’t be more different. Where one is helpless and naïve, the other is proud and bold. One boards the train to Tokyo to chase after her boyfriend, while the other boards the very same train in pursuit of her life-long dream to become a professional singer.

They end up sharing an apartment, becoming close friends, and supporting each other through life. Nana’s story is that of friendship, romance, heartbreaks, challenges, and the difficulties of transitioning to adulthood. The way the story is told, however, is where this anime truly shines. Nana relies on realistic dialogue and thought process, relatable characters that act like real people, and believable plotlines that resonate, in order to explore themes relevant to young adults who are stumbling through adulthood.


Based on the eponymous Sanrio character (yes, the same company that created Hello Kitty and Gudetama), Aggretsuko, short for aggressive Retsuko, is a hilarious anime about a 25-year-old anthropomorphic red panda (Retsuko) who works in the accounting department of a Japanese trading firm. Frustrated with her superior and annoying co-workers, this sweet little creature has the habit of blowing off steam by going to a karaoke bar after hours and singing death metal at which point she transforms into a scary demon-like version of herself.

Aggretsuko is a brutally honest and biting satirical take on modern life, which most people can relate to. Retsuko is stuck at a job that she hates, with a chauvinist pig for a boss, and wants nothing more than to simply be happy. However, as we all know, life is complicated and unfair, and sometimes there's nothing we can do about it. So, we might as well grab the mike and scream at the top of our lungs.


A Place Further than the Universe was one of the best anime to come out of 2018. The adventure comedy follows the fascinating journey of four girls traveling from Japan to Antarctica. Kimari, who always had lofty aspirations but no determination to pursue them, meets Shirase, a girl who's fiercely determined to go to Antarctica to search for her mother. Two more girls tag along and the four begin their unforgettable journey. The story of Shirase, Kimari, Hinata, and Yuzuki is so incredibly earnest, inspiring, and heartwarming.

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A Place Further than the Universe is about having the insanity to follow your dreams. It's about conquering the paralyzing fear of living life to the fullest that we all experience. On their journey to a place further than the universe, the four girls support each other in facing their fears, all the while engaging in all kinds of shenanigans which will make you burst into laughter and tears.


Violet Evergarden is, without doubt, one of the most gorgeous anime we’ve seen, but it’s far from being style without substance. Violet Evergarden is a crushing story about war, love, loss, and empathy. It follows the titular hero as she attempts to reintegrate into society after returning from the battlefield.

Violet, who was abandoned as a child and grew up as a soldier, never understood emotions. When her superior officer dies in a decisive battle, Violet failing to save him and losing both her arms in the process, she decides to learn the meaning of his last words to her, “I love you”. To do this she becomes a ghostwriter for people who can’t write but want to convey their emotions in a letter. Over the course of thirteen episodes, we see Violet grow and learn through her interactions with her clients.


Major Mokoto Kusanagi, the lead character of the Ghost in the Shell franchise, is one of anime’s best-known female protagonists. Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex follows the Major and her team, who work for the Public Security Section 9, as they investigate highly sensitive criminal cases in a world where many people have become cyborgs.

But these amazing advancements in technology also have drawbacks. The existence of cyberbrains led to a whole new class of dangerous crimes, as criminals can take control of people’s cyberbrains, alter memories, and manipulate their sensory input. With lots of action and thought-provoking ideas Stand Alone Complex is a must-see anime for any anime fan, especially if you’re looking for a strong female lead – it hardly gets any better. With the third season coming sometime in 2020 now is the perfect time to dive into Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.


Darling in the Franxx was a hit almost as soon as it came out and people weren't binge-watching it just to watch Hiro gain his confidence. Zero Two, a code name given to hybrid-humans such as herself, was captivating and enrapturing during every moment she had on screen.

Her intensity and aggressive impulses are what make this anime so much fun - and emotional - to watch, and it's arguably up there with some of the greatest mecha anime of all time. The soundtrack also helps to boost this show's ratings along with other strong, female characters like Ichigo, Miku, Kokoro, Ikuno, and, of course, their Franxx, which are just as much characters as they are.


Almost nothing needs to be said about the strong feminine energy that's exuded during every episode of Sailor Moon. Not only does Usagi undergo an incredible transformation (literally, several) throughout both the manga and both anime series, but she also saves Tuxedo Mask consistently throughout.

In addition, the rest of the sailor scouts are some of the most epic sidekicks anyone could ask for, each offering their own unique personalities along with a skill they've honed from day one. Teamwork, feminism, and general butt-kicking are all part of the Sailor Moon series and it's iconic in every category.


Sometimes, a good 'slice of life' anime is all one needs in order to make a day better. Fruits Basket is home to an understated character, Tohru. Although her strength might not seem like much at first, as the anime goes on, she gains even more of a confident presence.

Her reputation depended on the fact that she was a hard-working, honest character, and one that - although surrounded by male energy - managed to maintain her sense of self and independence. Time after time, Tohru showed that she was far stronger than many others would be in tragic positions.


All it takes is one look at this anime to know that it's bound to be filled with a similar, Sailor Moon-like energy, but somehow, even more so. Madoka Magicka is far darker, though, bringing to the surface many complex questions that the anime is so well-known for. With each character bringing a dynamic and drastically different personality to the mix, this is a tough anime not to fall in love with.

While there might not be room for character flaws in other anime, these strong individuals go through a process of self-discovery that includes stumbling a little bit before learning how to fly.


There's no arguing that Clare is an incredible character in Claymore. This anime had a unique storyline from the start as it's not every day that humans are infused with demon blood in order to become great warriors, but these ones are.

Despite the fact that it's the women kicking serious demon butt in this anime, it's men who are the ones in power, so to speak, making this even more of an interesting dynamic. Despite that, the power that one woman can display should never be underestimated - especially when it comes to proving oneself just as worthy of living in a one-sided world.

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About The Author
Irina Curovic (93 Articles Published)

Irina Curovic is a freelance writer in love with TV shows, movies, anime, books, and music, in no particular order. She’s somehow had the immense fortune to find a job that actually allows her to spend her days thinking, talking, and writing about the things she loves so much and it’s been an awesome experience. When she’s not working on articles for CBR and Screen Rant, this nerdy alien can usually be found glued to the TV screen with the latest episodes of her favorite shows, re-watching an all-time favorite, playing mediocre guitar, or curled up with a book. If you’d like to reach out to Irina, you can find her on social media @irinacurovic

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10 Strongest Female Shonen Protagonists, Ranked

The shonen genre has a lot of examples of strong female protagonists, especially in recent times. These are the strongest heroic women you'll see.

In recent years, the shonen genre has evolved past what it used to be back in the late 80s and throughout the 90s. Back when anime first started to draw big audiences in the West, many localized animation was very cut and dry. The storytelling was comprised of "dude has to kill the villain to save the world, or everything everyone ever knew would be destroyed or conquered." Luckily, some gems managed to score large swaths of airtime in the States, such as Cowboy Bebop, YuYu Hakusho, Sailor Moon, etc.

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Thanks to the success of those anime, the trend of having strong female characters in future shows was set in stone. Many of these characters have grown to be fan favorites due to their in-depth storylines, character progression, and power, leading to the diverse cast of characters in anime that we have today. Here are some of the strongest female protagonists in anime to grace our televisions.

10 Yona and Her Archery (Yona of the Dawn)

When her father is killed, and her uncle usurps her throne, Yona is forced to leave castle Hiryuu and join up with the Wind Tribe, a group of loyalist warriors, to find the children of the Four Dragon Warriors and save the kingdom. While on the journey, Yona asks Hak, a young warrior from the Wind Tribe, to teach her how to fight. Yona of the Dawn is a great story that shows the main protagonist, Yona, grow from a sheltered young woman in a castle to a strong, capable, and skilled archer and swordswoman; compared to many other ladies on this list; her power cannot take her higher.

9 Rinka Urushiba and Physical Permeantation (Tokyo ESP)

When high school student and part-time waitress Rinka Urushiba wakes up after a strange "dream" of touching a glowing fish in the sky, she is suddenly confronted with the reality that she now has awakened to being an esper and can phase through objects. When another esper, Kyotaro, whom she met the night prior, appears, the two team up to fight crime committed by other espers.

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Rinka is a particular case. While she has strong spatial awareness and reflexes, the only thing that would truly set her apart from others on the list is her esper ability of physical permeation. Permeation allows Rinka to phase herself and whatever she is in contact with (other objects, clothes, and people) through physical objects, such as walls, floors, doors, etc. This could be used to get the upper hand over opponents, as Mirio Togata from My Hero Academia has shown. This could especially be the case if Rinka used CPC( Close Panda Combat) that her father, Rinda Urushiba, taught her in conjunction with Physical Permeation.

8 Rikka Isurugui's Sick Ninja Moves (BLACKFOX)

As future heir to the Isurugui clan, Rikka was trained to be a ninja from a young age. However, after a band of mercenaries killed her father and grandfather, she swore revenge and dawned the persona of Lily to get back at those who killed her family. A skilled fighter, Rikka has extraordinary agility and a strong mastery of swordplay and stealth maneuvers. Coupled with the Black Fox suit, an experimental suit built by her deceased father and grandfather that enhances her strength, speed, and durability, she is a force for many to fear.

7 Maka Albarn Has Serious Skills (Soul Eater)

Soul Eater is loved by many, and the characters are a large part as to why. Maka, the protagonist of the show, is a two-star Meister at Death Meister Academy, who, together with her demon weapon turned death scythe, Soul Evans, reap evil souls.  With extreme agility, fine control over soul wavelengths, and mastery using the scythe, Maka is a versatile fighter who has her bases covered. Her anti-demon wavelength is extremely potent against evil forces and can double as both a defensive and offensive measure making her the bane of villains everywhere.

She can even focus her wavelength into Soul while he is in his demon weapon form and unleash it as a wave of destructive, cleaving energy.

6 Medaka Kurokami Is Almost Perfect (Medaka Box)

Originally the student council president for Hakoniwa Academy and later the active chairwoman, Medaka is one of the most powerful shonen protagonists in history. She has superhuman speed, superhuman strength, transformations that rival Super Saiyan's, an increased healing rate, expertise in close combat, a ridiculous mental acumen, and the ability to control her body down to the nerves. She only loses to an actual half-demon and a lady with freaky esper powers that can move stuff with her mind, which is an incredibly high bar to set and a well-deserved position.

5 Misaka Mikoto Can Pump Out One Billion Volts (A Certain Scientific Railgun)

Misaka upsets this list in a way that most others cannot match. As a fourteen-year-old student of Tokiwadai Middle School, her physical prowess is not as strong as many on this list. However, what she lacks in brawn she more than makes up with brain - or rather, brainpower. In A Certain Scientific Railgun, Misaka is one of the top dogs among espers. As a Level 5 esper, Misaka has incredible power at her disposal because of her esper ability (aptly named Railgun). Not least of which is her ability to shoot over a billion volts of electricity, including from her forehead. Misaka can also manipulate the magnetic properties of items at will and create truly behemoth constructs.

4 Bazett Fraga Always Hits First (Fate/Hollow Ataraxia)

Bazett Fraga entered the Fate universe as a Master and designated seal enforcer during the Holy Grail War of Fuyuki. Unfortunately enough for her, she was caught off guard by the show's primary antagonist, Kirei Kotomine, and left to die. In a world that this did not happen, Bazett would most probably be the favored Master in the 5th Grail War to win as her strength and skill as an enforcer with the Church is second to none.

Being a Fraga, she is one of the few humans in the world to have direct access to a Noble Phantasm without using a Servant summoning ritual by way of the Fragarach, a sword that always strikes first but only after the enemy has used their strongest attack. The sword can manipulate time and causality to stop the enemy's attack and leave them in a vulnerable state where the sword zeroes into the heart for a kill-strike.

3 Ryuko Matoi Is a Cut Above Most (Kill la Kill)

Ryuko Matoi is recognizable far and wide by anime fans everywhere with her signature red and black motif. Just as recognizable is her giant red scissor blade - one half of a full set but no less dangerous when not paired with its sister blade, and Ryuko has shown time and again throughout the series that she knows how to use it.

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Dangerously quick and lethal in her own right, Ryuko's strength and prowess did nothing but increase upon learning that she was not a regular human. Instead, she was a human/life fibers hybrid inadvertently created by her father when he tried to save her after dying shortly after birth. Coming to terms with this fact allowed Ryuko to break past her human limits and continue to get stronger to the point where she, alongside her sister Satsuki, managed to beat Ragyo - another human/life fibers hybrid that was capable of surviving without a head.

2 Clare and Her Half-Awakened State Is Killer (Claymore)

A member of the all-women Organization that manages the Calymores', Clare is a swordswoman of great repute, even if she is originally the lowest-ranked member of her group. Augmented by the blood of monsters that hunt humans, the Yoma, Clare has superhuman strength, superhuman speed, and rapid regeneration. While on paper, this may seem weak compared to some of the other protagonists in this list, Clare also has access to a transformation that partially turns her into a Yoma, further increasing her attributes to ridiculous heights  - being one of the only Partially Awakened claymores in Claymore.

1 Towa Higurashi Takes After Her Father (Yasahime: Princess Half Demon, a Fuedal Fairy Tale)

The primary protagonist of the Yasahime, Towa Higurashi, makes the top of the list by having the innate power of the Beast King himself, Sesshomaru. Even at a young age, Towa has displayed impressive feats of strength that set her apart from not only humans but demons of the Feudal era as well. After an incident occurs, Towa is even able to unleash her rage in the form of two great dragons, Soryuha, Sesshomaru's own ability that he used with InuYasha's Bakuryuha to defeat So'unga.

Like her father, Towa is also able to utilize a whip of demonic power and is immune to poisons. Because she grew up in the modern era and had no one to teach her how to use the full extent of her demonic power, Towa is still learning as she goes along but the sheer benefits of being born a hanyu and having the blood of the Great Dog Demon, Toga, is monumental in and of itself.

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About The Author
Storm Pascual (13 Articles Published)

Storm Pascual is an avid fan of anime, manga, and video games. Prior to writing for CBR, he had experience in hobbyist transcription, writing, copy-editing, and proofreading. Currently a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Storm is attending CSN for Digital Forensics and has a passion for computer electronics and all things "nerdy". Feel free to follow him on his personal Twitter at @PaydayLones

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Top 10 Best Isekai Aniime Where OverPowered MC is an Female lead

And the girls too. And you. - I don't know. No, I like girls, but boys. - But you came, so you are at least interested in finding out.

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From my embrace and, taking my face away from her groin, doomedly said that I had a problem with sex, that I want her to teach me how to kiss really, in an adult, taught me lovemaking and other nonsense. And Zhenya is not lost, already on me lies and the penis is no longer making holes in the sky, but crawling over my stomach. Here I realized that in vain I was ashamed of the dampness in my panties after kissing, the penis is not at all drier, the same is all.

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