I recently did a piece on some of my favourite anime boys and now it’s time for the big one – my favourite anime Best Girls. As I mentioned on the Best Boys piece, this is a list of some of the all-time greatest female characters from numerous different series that I adore. They aren’t in any particular order, as I love all of these characters a tremendous amount.
I’ll be making sure to only have a single girl from each series so that I can keep it varied and include a nice mix of characters. Let us begin!
Ryuko Matoi & Satsuki Kiryuin (Kill La Kill)
I’m breaking the rules immediately (Goddammit, Conor, you had one job that you gave yourself – Ed.) by having these two as a pair, but I’m the one making this list so I can bend the rules okay?! I knew that I wanted to include one of the girls from Kill La Kill, as I absolutely love this anime, but I couldn’t bring myself to choose only one so we’re having both.
Ryuko is one of my favourite ladies in anime for a few reasons, the main being that she is a total badass, which might be a common trend throughout this list. She is thrust into a “battle to survive” situation in which she must overcome her self-consciousness and shame in order to discover the truth about her father’s murder. She hesitates at first, as you would, but after hardening her resolve she pushes forward, no matter what.
Satsuki… Good Lord, do I love everything about her aesthetic. Satsuki starts off in a position of extreme power and without any of the worries or limitations that are currently weighing on Ryuko. She’s powerful, confident, and she has completely overcome the embarrassment that comes with a Kamui uniform. These two characters mirror each other very well, and I love them very much and completely equally.
Love Kill La Kill as well? Check out my piece on how the series does fanservice well!
Misato Katsuragi (Neon Genesis Evangelion)
Evangelion is an incredibly famous and well-loved series that has been discussed time and time again. It’s filled with very complex and interesting characters, the ladies of which are some of the most famous within the world of anime. The lady standing above all the rest, for me personally, is Misato Katsuragi. Best girl.
Misato isn’t a pilot, but she is a key player in the story as a whole and one of the main driving forces behind Shinji’s eventual growth. The main cast of the series are all held down by some form of emotional weight, and this is very much the case for Misato. However, Misato does not allow that to show, and always remains a figure of kindness and positivity.
She’s kind, confident, smart and an amazing strategist that allows the team to win numerous times. Misato is equally as flawed as the rest of the cast, but she makes up for all of that as she develops a genuine platonic love for Shinji and wants to protect him. Everyone has their opinions on EVA, but I am firmly in the Misato camp and I love it here.
Nico Robin (One Piece)
I’ve spoken about my love for Nico Robin once before in my Waifu Review of One Piece — and it’s not just because she’s a beautifully designed character, it’s also due to her backstory, and her main story arc being one of the most memorable and enjoyable of the entire series.
Robin has a very dark past. She grew up on Ohara Island, an island filled with people who learnt the language of the Poneglyphs. These are massive stone tablets containing the secrets of the Void Century — a century-long gap in recorded history, study of which is forbidden. After a military bombardment was called on the island, Robin was left as the only surviving Oharan, meaning that she was also the only remaining person who could uncover the world’s mysteries.
This led to her constantly being on the run from an incredibly young age, and a long period of both being deceived and having to deceive in order to survive. Her encounter with Luffy and the Straw Hats would have been just another page in Robin’s book of deception if not for Luffy’s undying loyalty to those he considers friends.
Throughout this arc we see incredible developments in Robin’s character — and her acceptance of the fact that she truly does want to continue on living in this world if it means she can be with Luffy and the rest of the crew. Since this point she has been told numerous times by many people that strong pirates will want to capture her for her knowledge, but she always simply responds with a confident smile, saying that her friends will protect her.
Yoruichi Shihoin (Bleach)
If this list was based purely on visual design, Yoruichi would be top of the heap with absolutely no contest. I cannot even begin to describe how much this character speaks to me when it comes to her look. Yoruichi is peak Conor. Just imagine watching Bleach and this random talking cat turns out to be your dream anime woman… That sticks with you.
First things first: Yoruichi might be the pinnacle of badass female characters that can hold her own in any fight. Considering that the Zanpakutou swords are the source of power for the Soul Reapers, the fact that Yoruichi could go toe-to-toe with main antagonist Aizen without using one is absolutely nuts.
Something that always stood out to me was the fact that Yoruichi stood her own as a strong character in a series that was quite male-dominated outside of a small group of ladies: Yoruichi herself, Hallibel, and Suì-Fēng. It’s not abnormal for a shounen anime to use certain female characters as an excuse for fanservice, as these are series primarily aimed at boys. Yoruichi is written in a way that her sexuality is something she absolutely owns (similar to what we see with Rangiku) — but it’s somewhat overshadowed by how strong and dependable she is. She flash-stepped right into my heart and never left.
I fanboy over Yoruichi a lot, but you can see the other Bleach girls that I love here.
Hanekawa Tsubasa (Monogatari)
Just like with the best boys, we have to include a best girl from the Monogatari series for the girls. Now in my waifu review I talked about how I think that Oshino Shinobu is the top waifu of the Monogatari series, and I still think that this is the case. Shinobu is an amazing character who also has the insane buff of doubling up as the vampire Kiss-Shot. (Show the lady some respect by speaking her full name Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade, sir! – Ed.)
With that in mind, Hanekawa probably isn’t the character you would expect to be on this list. She has a LOT of flaws; “being flawed” is pretty much her entire character. However, it’s specifically because of this — and the other developments that she undergoes throughout the series — that I grew more and more infatuated with Hanekawa.
Her past is quite the tragic one. Both of her parents passed away, and she is in a bizarre situation where she is living with step-parents that don’t even feel like family to her. She is idolised by not only her fellow students, but the school itself and even protagonist Araragi. She has so many things pushed onto her that she can’t bring herself to refuse. She is constantly putting up such a front and growing in stress that her outward self becomes completely detached from her inner feelings; she ultimately becomes the oddity known as Black Hanekawa or The Meddlecat.
Hanekawa starts off as a character who can be seen as irritating. Her situation is unfortunate, but she isn’t doing anything to change it; she is just putting up with the unfair hand that she has been dealt. Her growth begins when she comes to accept the side of herself that she doesn’t want others to see — the side that wants to say no to others, put her foot down, have impure experiences with someone she loves, and not be put on this idolisation pedestal.
As she accepts these parts of herself and comes to the realisation that this is her true self, she gives Black Hanekawa, the manifestation of her stress, a home inside of herself — and the same can be said for the Tiger Kako, who represents her anger and envy. I understand that some don’t like Hanekawa, as she is a very flawed person. Personally, however, I enjoyed her from the beginning — and my love for the character only grew more pronounced as she slowly began to accept herself.
I am fully prepared for what comes from this opinion. I know that Senjougahara and Shinobu are the obvious choices, and I can completely understand anyone who loves those characters — they are both amazing. But Hanekawa is the one character who just really stood out to me.
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