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The 19 Best Anime With Female Protagonists

Updated January 21, 2020 18.7k votes 6.2k voters 254.1k views19 items

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It can be difficult to find good anime with female protagonists. Maybe it's because the otaku stereotype is still decidedly male, or maybe it's because women are sorely underrepresented in nearly every form of media on the planet. Whatever the reason, there aren't nearly as many female protagonists as there are male ones. For people of all genders who prefer a realistic representation of humanity, this can be pretty annoying. 

Fortunately, there are some excellent anime that focus on women. In some cases, the protagonist is a strong female anime character that any feminist would be proud of. Sometimes, what's great about the character isn't her physical or emotional strength, but her weaknesses and shortcomings. Sometimes, the story is informed by their gender, and sometimes gender is besides the point.

Which shows will you be watching next?

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  • Photo: Kyoto Animation, Netflix

    Anytime Kyoto Animation is involved, you know you're in for a visual treat. And Violet Evergarden doesn't disappoint with its breathtaking animation. But this anime has more than just beautiful art, it has a deeply moving story as well. Once a child soldier in the war, Violet Evergarden must learn to reintegrate herself into society and find her purpose in life after the war ends. The series follows her journey to become an Auto Memory Doll, people who ghostwrite letters for others, and to discover the true meaning of "I love you," the last words her Major told her. Violet's growth from an emotionless killer to a compassionate human being will have you in tears at the end of each episode. 

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  • Photo: CloverWorks

    It's not everyday you see a popular shonen series with a female protagonist at the helm. Emma is one of the smartest children at the Grace Field House, and it's because of her unrelenting optimism and quick-thinking that helps all the children escape from the horrors that await them at the house. She has all the best qualities needed of a shonen protagonist, and you can't help but love her bright personality and deep empathy for others. 

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  • Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit is one of the best series in the fantasy genre. Balsa Yonsa, the protagonist, is a 30-year-old bodyguard tasked with saving a prince from being sacrificed to the gods to save the nation from a drought.

    Not only is this an excellent premise, but Balsa is a fabulous character. She's a powerful mercenary who wields a spear with great skill. As with all good characters, there's more to her than just how well she can fight. She's also trying to save lives to repay someone who once saved hers.

    Balsa is pragmatic, intelligent, and decisive. Typically, this type of heroic role would be assigned to a male character so it's great to see a female character in such a position. 

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  • Psycho-Pass features Akane Tsunemori, a young woman who joins police organization MWPSB in order to uphold justice. Behind the MWPSB lies the Sybil System, a mysterious order that recognizes criminals before they act, punishing them before they're even guilty.

    As the series progresses, Akane quickly realizes that her world is deeply corrupt. She grows from a naive young woman struggling to understand the requirements of an overwhelming job to a confident professional willing to bend the rules to achieve what she knows to be right.

    In most anime, this kind of professional development is reserved for male characters, so its refreshing to see a woman go through it.

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