The 22 Best Anime With Female Protagonists

Voting Rules
Vote up the anime that you're excited to binge.

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?

Photo: Lerche / Manglobe

  • 1
    1,747 VOTES
    Violet Evergarden
    Photo: Violet Evergarden / Kyoto Animation

    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. 

    1,747 votes
  • 2
    1,481 VOTES

    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.

    1,481 votes
  • 3
    520 VOTES
    Black Lagoon
    Photo: Madhouse

    In Black Lagoon, there's no shortage of strong, capable female characters as pretty much all of them can kick some serious butt. The main protagonist, Revy, is a Chinese-American woman who is lovingly nicknamed "Two Hands" for her ablility to wield two guns. She's got a short fuse which makes for hilarious antics anytime she argues with her fellow colleagues at the Lagoon Company or her rival, Eda, the local gun-wielding nun. Whether its Roberta, the assassin maid, or Balalaika, the Russian mafia boss, this anime is a refreshing action series where women are dominating the battlefields. 

    520 votes
  • 4
    1,325 VOTES

    Ghost in the Shell is a highly-rated series that focuses on Major Motoko Kusanagi, an augmented cybernetic-human tasked with solving cyber crimes. The major is a hacker with unparalleled skills and the the squad leader of Public Security Section 9, a fictional division of the Japanese National Public Safety Commission. Her personality varies depending on which iteration of the Ghost in the Shell universe is being discussed. In the manga, for example, she's vivacious and sexy but in the movie, she's quite serious.

    All versions of Ghost in the Shell depict a nuanced character engaged in a high-stakes cyber battle; it's a classic for a reason.

    1,325 votes
  • The Promised Neverland
    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. 

    1,177 votes
  • Once a pampered princess who knew little of the world outside her home, Yona's life is turned upside-down when her cousin assassinates her father. When she's forced to flee with her childhood friend and bodyguard Son Hak, she soon discovers that her father has been doing a terrible job of ruling the Kingdom of Kouka. She decides that she can no longer sit back and let her people suffer from inequality and other hardships - she has to step up and become the leader that her people need. 

    199 votes