Women in anime are predominantly (and unfortunately) measured by one word: oppai (boobs). Or if not, moe. This could be a very biased view on my part, but after observing the latest Anime Festival Asia last weekend, I am convinced that there is nothing more teenage boys and grown single men are after, other than sword and gunfights and mecha-techs.
Predictably, I’ve gone out of my way to avoid such characters who never stick or made any lasting impression. But these women do.
1. Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
This girl has determination and guts. What she lacks in experience, she builds and pushes through and puts her whole heart into it. I don’t know how she’s never been corrupted by the governing system until now, but she never lets it hold her back. She’s obviously convicted by her beliefs and understanding of right and wrong – and stands for it.
2. Natsuki Shinohara, Summer Wars
Frivolous and naive at first. But she had an appeal of a young girl coming of age and maturity. I enjoyed watching her become the heroine she became.
But none of that would’ve happened if not for…
3. Sakae Jinnouchi, Summer Wars
Natsuki’s great-grandmother, and the alpha female of the Jinnouchi household. After living through war, losing her husband to an affair, and taking in the “bastard child” her husband left behind, she has every reason to brag about her achievements and accomplishments. But she’s righteously upheld the family name, and was obviously respected by the community until her death. She instills a sense of value that cuts through time. I’d like her to be my grandma.
4. Chihiro/Sen, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro to Kamikakushi)
Ghibli is famous for the heroinese it produces, with each one embarking on a unique journey of growth and self-discovery and heroism. Chihiro is my favorite because she’s so relatable. I don’t like leaving my comfort zone, but if things get tough, it’s time to get dirty.
I went to Jiufen in Taiwan because of this girl, and when I was there, I pictured her running around the area fixing things, fulfilling Yubaba’s orders, while finding a way to go home.
5. Nausicaa, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Kaze no Tani no Nausicaa)
If you were a princess of a small town on prime real estate, and enemies were encroaching your land, would you surrender? Or make a stand and answer the call to protect it and make sacrifices for the greater good no matter what the risks were?
Nausicaa was such a great and inspiring example of what it means to be a leader. She is fully aware of the lands, has a heart for people, makes friends and not enemies, is well-equipped with both knowledge and skill, asks questions rather than meet the status quo, and makes the most out of a difficult situation. Not many in real life come to mind.