Graphic Lists The Top 'Best Girls' Since 1983
posted on by Lynzee Loveridge
The argument of "best girl" or "waifu" is recent lingo within the anime fandom but the concept behind it is nearly as old as the anime medium itself. Tokuma Shoten's Animage magazine has held a vote every year since 1979 asking the ubiquitous question, "Who is this year's 'Best Girl'?" as part of its Anime Grand Prix feature. Fans recently put together a graphic showing the top five winners for each year since 1983. It's an interesting look on how tastes change over time and to note which characters had the most staying power. For instance, earlier years saw fewer repeats until about 2002 when Gundam Seed's Lacus Clyne held the title of #1 for four years (with one slip to #2 thanks to Fullmetal Alchemist's Riza Hawkey).
So what does 40 years of favorite heroine's look like? Get ready to dive way, way back.
In 1983, the top five feature the main ladies of Macross, Rumiko Takahashi's Lum, Minky Momo, and Crusher Joe's Alfin. All these titles remain relevant in most fan's consciousness with perhaps the exception of Crusher Joe. Fans who aren't familiar with Lum are still likely know Takahashi's other heroines (who show up later). Still, the alien in an oni-bikini will remain on the chart until 1986, although she never cracks #1. 1984 marks the debut of Miyazaki's first heroine, the environmental-minded and tough Nausicaa and Gaw Ha Lecee of Heavy Metal L-Gaim. 1985 marks the first Gundam character, antagonist Four Murasame, from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam in the top spot. Both the Dirty Pair characters also make the list that year albeit with Yuri ahead of Kei. Gundam ZZ's Elpeo Ple, Laputa's Sheeta, Maison Ikkoku's Kyoko Otonashi, and the titular Pollyanna from Ai Shōjo Pollyanna Monogatari make up 1986. Kimagure Orange Road's Madoka Ayukawa tops in 1987 only to sub-sequentially disappear. Apple from Zillion and Aramis of The Three Musketeers: Aramis the Adventure are also new additions that year showing how what's popular can quickly become obscure. The 80s finishes out with Anice Farm of Sonic Soldier Borgman, Satsuki of My Neighbor Totoro, Himiko Shinobibe of Mashin Eiyuuden Wataru, Kiki of Kiki's Delivery Service, Noa Izumi from Patlabor, Renge, the Queen Naara of Tenkū Senki Shurato, Ranma Saotome from Ranma 1/2, and City Hunter's Kaori Makimura.
The 1990s are dominated by familiar faces. The original Sailor Guardians, namely Ami Mizuno, Minako Aino, and Usagi Tsukino are present for the first half and even Sailor Uranus comes in #1 in 1994. Belldandy, Rei Ayanami, Asuka Langely, Lina Inverse, Faye Valentine, Ruri Hoshino, Utena Tenjō, Hikaru Shidō, Nadia, and Sakura Kinomoto all make appearances throughout the decade.
The 2000s sees popularity lasting a lot longer. Excluding the previously mentioned favorites is Code Geass' C.C., Inuyasha's Kagome, Fruits Basket's Tohru, and Haruhi Suzumiya. In fact, Code Geass and Gundam Seed characters take a lot spots throughout the decade. Other contenders include Anissina von Karbelnikoff from Kyoh Kara Maou!, Shana from Shakugan no Shana, Sheryl Nome and Ranka Lee, and the K-On! girls rounding out the decade.
The last five years see a mix of kid-focused and otaku heroines. Magi's Morigana, Yona from Yona of the Dawn, Attack on Titan's Mikasa, Seven Deadly Sin's Elizabeth, Free!'s Gou, Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! 's Rikka Takanashi, and Gintama's Kagura are blended with PriPara's Hibiki Shikyōin and Kinako Nanobana, Haruna Otonashi, and Beta from Inazuma Eleven Go Chrono Stone.
Woo, that's a lot of waifus!
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history