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Strongest female character in an anime.


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MrVince



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:30 am Reply with quote
I read a thread a few weeks back which was intended to discuss Moribito - Guardian of the Sacred Spirit Vol. 1, but carried on to a specific discussion about Balsa (the main character) being possibly the strongest female lead. So here are my questions to you guys:

1. Who do you think is the strongest female character, lead or supporting?

2. "Strong" and "strongest" may have different meanings to us all. What qualities make a female character strong? Physical strength? Will power?

3. Does "badass" necessarily equate to strength in the context of a strong female lead? Why?

Please keep in mind I have seen this thread, but it is a more general question asking for a female character which is a great standout and possibly favorite female.

To answer the questions I asked, I also find Balsa from Moribito to be the strongest female character of any anime I've seen. Balsa's strong will and her innate motherly tendencies combine well with her fighting prowess. My only slight reservation is that the story starts with her almost at 30, so she's already developed into that character from episode 1. However, later in the story there are detailed flashbacks showing she was not always that way.

Update: I figured since we're on a roll here, I wanted to throw in an additional question:

4. Are qualities which would describe a female character as strong different than qualities within a strong male character? Must a female be a "tomboy" or a "girl in boy's pants with a sword (or gun)" in order to be considered strong?

I'm sure it'll be necessary to bring up strong male characters into the conversation, but please keep the focus of the conversation on female characters.


Last edited by MrVince on Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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mangalore



Joined: 14 Dec 2006
Posts: 19

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 3:24 pm Reply with quote
MrVince wrote:
To answer the questions I asked, I also find Balsa from Moribito to be the strongest female character of any anime I've seen. Balsa's strong will and her innate motherly tendencies combine well with her fighting prowess. My only slight reservation is that the story starts with her almost at 30, so she's already developed into that character from episode 1. However, later in the story there are detailed flashbacks showing she was not always that way.


I also thought that Balsa was one of the most noteworthy presentations of a female warrior heroine I do remember. Precisely because she was 30 and not an annoying teenage girl overburdened with insecurities she stood out from day/episode one. I also esspecially liked how her character design was deceisively atypical with accentuated muscles and a wellbuilt figure without going over the top in any direction. She was absolutely believeable as a character that excelled in combat because it is what she trained and learnt all her life. She is simply a very mature definition of a warrior, not a parody.

Her psyche was as strong as her body which makes her imho superior to most of those teenagers that are dragged down by their puberty, constant insecurities, self doubt and guilt.

In raw combat strength I currently remember only Claire from Claymore as developing into an inhuman fighting machine of unparalled proportions.

I might have a strange definition of strong but the thing is that often the strong female leads start out as these great, stoic fighters and then break down on a personal level that (because of relationships, loss or whatever) you don't have the impression that their psychological profile holds up to the combat skills they achieved. They usually start out strong and get seemingly weaker over a series. Because of that they do not feel whole.

Much of it might be my patchy memory though.
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Joichiro Nishi



Joined: 21 Jul 2007
Posts: 162

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:27 pm Reply with quote
Saya from Blood: The Last Vampire. She was a badass female character, brave and cold. She was, apparentely, young but she wasn't an airhead. Even their superiors fear her. Unfortanately, Saya was turned into a damsel in distress in Blood+

What about Ran Tsukikage from Ran: The Samurai Girl? She always was strong and confident, even after the inevitable "love interest".
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Kaolin_Yatsura



Joined: 03 Jan 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:40 pm Reply with quote
Oh I wanna get in here early before someone steals mine.

Lina Inverse Is my first choice, because she doesn't have to try or affect confidence. She just is that best at what she does and does it with a sense of humor. I also like her, because she doesn't look perfect. She is short and flat chested and it doesn't do a damn thing to stop her it just makes her a little more realistic. Well at least as realistic as you can be in a fantasy magic wielding anime.

Motoko Kusanagi is my next choice not because she is cold and confident which she is, but because she is always seeking that humanity that is slipping through her fingers. She sacrifices herself again and again and in the end saves the day.
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Mushi-Man



Joined: 17 Nov 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:47 pm Reply with quote
I like this topic idea so far, and I hope that it leads to a good discusion. Anyways, now to answer your questions.
1. I would have to say the the strongest female character would be Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell (I like to refer to her as The Major more). She is strong in all the aspects of the word. She is physically strong, seeing as how she destroys tank like machines by herself! And she has a strong will that is obvious throughout the series.

I would also have to mention, though it may sound strange, Haruko Haruhara from Fooly Cooly. She may not be the conventional "strong female character" but you have to admit that she fits the bill. She has quite a strong will spoiler[Strong enough that she'd be willing to go through all of that just to get to Atomsk]. She is also flat out strong, spoiler[like how she cut bullets in half in episode 5].

I also agree with you mentioning Balsa. She is quite a strong character. In fact she reminds me of Motoko.

2. When I would evaluate a "strong" character I would look for a good balance of both physical strength and a strong will. But I think that a strong will plays a bigger roll then the physical strength dose.
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belindabird
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Joined: 23 Dec 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:10 pm Reply with quote
When I think of strong female characters, I also tend to think of characters who are well-written. I find that all too often the male characters are the more appealing characters in shows because they're the driving force behind all the action and the focus of the show, whereas any girls or women are just underdeveloped and annoying rather than inspiring.

In one sense, I would say that Utena from Revolutionary Girl Utena is a strong character because she's a tomboy and does all the swordfighting and defending of Anthy, who at first appears defenseless. I would argue that it's really Anthy who's the strong character, because as the show goes on the viewer starts to realize that she's manipulating most of what's going on from behind the scenes and might not be quite as demure as she seems at first glance.

I would also nominate Murasaki Kuhouin from Kurenai as a strong character. Even though she's very young, she makes the incredibly brave, difficult decision to spoiler[remain with her screwed-up family in the hopes that she can use what she's learned in the outside world to dismantle the harmful traditions that have kept the women of her family prisoners for generations.]
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frentymon
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:51 pm Reply with quote
I'm just rewatching Twelve Kingdoms, and Yoko is one impressive girl. She defeats her inner demons despite massive pressure and desire to just keep being cynical and give into whatever it tells her, is not afraid to fight for the sake of others, and overcomes her homesickness to fight for a land that needs her.
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animeboy12



Joined: 15 Sep 2008
Posts: 160

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:12 pm Reply with quote
this is a hard one.

Haruka Suzushiro from mai-hime this might seem like a strange one since she wasn't even a hime but we did show a lot of determination, she wasn't willing to show weakness, and she even took out a couple soldiers.

Michiko Malandro from Michiko to Hatchin I've only seen a few episodes of the show but she definitely fits the bill. She strong, independent and is very defiant.

almost the females in Black Lagoon Revy, Balalaika, Roberta, Shenhua and a few others are surprisingly strong
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motaku96



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
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Location: New York

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:48 pm Reply with quote
I'd say Lina Inverse. Lina was ridiculously strong from the start of Slayers and only got stronger. And she doesn't hold back at all. She'll use her strongest spells to beat lowly bandits. Personally one of my favorite female characters in anime(I know that's not what this thread is for, I just wanted to put it out there).
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Boomerang Flash



Joined: 08 Sep 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:49 pm Reply with quote
I should mention that in consideration of strength, one need not only consider the character's output--whether in terms of physical force or in terms of bending others to one's will--but also her endurance--similarly, in both respects. A character that demonstrates only the former--in either category--is known as a glass cannon. Preferably, the order of demonstration starts with the defensive. When shown in the other order, the defensive capability generally falls under one of two categories: a necessary component as a result of one's power level having risen over 9000, or a last minute flaunting of the supposed bad-assness of the character. Both are undesirable methods of character development and do not necessarily result in a character who is stronger than one characterized in the other order. On the other hand, it is easy to consider the power of a character who demonstrates her fortitude first as a natural development of what she has endured. Thus, it is less necessary to invoke the suspension of disbelief.

Take the following character. She has been dead for decades, centuries, or possibly millenia. A group of explorers stumble upon her remains and bring back a well preseved sample of her body, from which a laboratory of biologists make a clone of her. The laboratory is an isolated facility situated on an island far in the middle of an ocean, with no contact with the outside world or any evidence of native life. She is trapped in the dark recesses of the laboratory as the biologists are busy studying her psychic abilities. Not satisfied with what nature's endowment, they proceed to take samples of her DNA and make improved derivatives. Though not shown on the screen, she must have witnessed a parade of biologists enter and take samples to make their improved version. As in any experiment, many failures are to be expected before the final success, and those that are unlucky enough to make it through the--almost certainly in vitro--gestation stage would have a psychic link that she can find, allowing her to be aware of their pain as some error in the improved design lead to their deaths.

Finally, a perfect improvement has been created. Her son--if you can call a creature modified with her DNA that--is physically more imposing and endowed with great psychic abilities. Alas, the biologists are spoiler[neither altruists nor even scientists who pursue knowledge for its own sake.] They are spoiler[hirelings of a criminal organization, which is funding the research for their own gains.] Still trapped in the laboratory, she has to watch as spoiler[her son is bond with psychic restraints and forced to commit crimes directed by the head of the criminal organization.] Eventually, her son spoiler[manages to break from the bonds of the villains, and he proceeds on a rampage that destroyed the laboratory and becomes a supervillain bent on putting humanity on trial and recreating the world according to his designs.]

Eventually, after witnessing unknown atrocities committed spoiler[by her son,] she escapes the ruins of the laboratory and recovers. Far from a broken shell at this point, she has the heroic resolve to spoiler[confront her son in an epic duel of powers, in which she shows herself to be his equal after all.] She has mercy in her heart to not only forgive but actively defend, not through spoiler[feeble pleads with her son's morals but through her powers,] a true combination of strength--to take, to exert, mentally, and physically.

Yes, I don't think you'll find many anime female that's stronger than spoiler[Mew] from spoiler[Pokemon]
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Animastryfe



Joined: 15 Dec 2007
Posts: 152
Location: Vancouver

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 8:55 pm Reply with quote
I'm going to kind of cheat here, and talk only in how strong they would be if they were to "fight" another person.

To me, this would be very easy:

1. Haruhi Suzumiya. She's pretty much spoiler[a god]. I have not read the light novels yet, but judging from the anime it seems that she's practically spoiler[omnipotent].

2. A female character from the Dragon Ball franchise. I'm not sure which female character was the strongest at the end of DBGT, but later on the characters' powers grew to ridiculous, solar system destroying levels.
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HikariNinjaX



Joined: 12 Jul 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:51 pm Reply with quote
My vote is for Tokiko Tsumura, from Buso Renkin. She is strong in character and habilities, but she can also be kind and smart. The characters of the series respect her and see her as an equal and even as a superior.
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sanosuke32



Joined: 19 Dec 2007
Posts: 452

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:55 pm Reply with quote
Revy from Black Lagoon because she kicks a lot of ass and isn't a wuss.

Saber from Fate/Stay Night because she is fearless and goes against the Berserker no problem.
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MrVince



Joined: 23 Aug 2006
Posts: 67

PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:57 pm Reply with quote
I really liked Mushi-Man's suggestion of the Major, and while I'm not a huge fan of the major, I think a separate thread focused on her traits would be totally justified. She is one of the characters where I'm not sure if her lack of feeling normal senses like a human leads to her having qualities which may be mistaken as "strong" when they might actually be "mechanical".

I have added a new question asking about possible comparison points between strong female and strong male characters.

Thanks for all the responses so far, and I hope more can contribute to this thread. New character and quality suggestions are welcome.
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Unit 03.5-ish



Joined: 07 Dec 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 07, 2009 10:33 pm Reply with quote
I have a few picks...

Noir had two intelligent, calculating, and efficient killers for its leads.

Amidst all the fanservice and fluff, Najica from Najica Blitz Tactics is another cool, smart, and capable agent-type.

No mentions for Faye Valentine yet? She's probably the most conniving and sweet-talking member of the Bebop, and she gets in and out of scrapes with equal proficiency.
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