In recent years, anime has offered excellent female characters who need no assistance keeping themselves safe. More than defend themselves, these women are pretty scary all by themselves. We looked at characters whose looks invite you in but whose skills are not to be tested. In order of cutest to most cut-throat, here are Les Femmes Fatales: Women Who Slay in Anime!
"Slay it, girl!"
Nezuko Kamado from Kimetsu no Yaiba (Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba)
Nezuko is the sister of Demon Slayer’s main character, Tanjirou Kamado. She spends her days sleeping in her chibi form while she rides around in the box on Tanjirou’s back. Though this bamboo-chomping cutie usually stays away from the fighting, it is not because she can’t handle it. Nezuko is a full-fledged demon and very dangerous without the help of others. With her superhuman strength, she can kick a demon’s head off their shoulder or keep up in a limb-crushing game of Temari.
She has Demon Blood Art that does not harm humans and superhuman strength that seems much stronger than most other demons. If you haven’t seen Nezuko fight enough to make this list in your mind, we would like to draw your attention to the next season of Kimetsu no Yaiba: Yuukaku-hen, where Nezuko’s powers push the next level and she has to fight to keep her humanity!
Nobara Kugisaki from Jujustu Kaisen
With a hammer and resounding nails, Nobara aims for her prey. She is the newest member of the current Gojo students, and like other up-and-coming Jujustu Sorcerers, she has seen plenty of death in her life thus far. She is brash, bold, and has an ego because she knows she can kick ass. Even in over her head, Nobara always figures out a way to succeed. Nobara does not have the monster strength of Yuuji or the generational passed-down powers of Fushiguro. Instead, she has her own set of skills and a psyche that borders on addled when she is backed into a corner.
Though Jujutsu Kaisen has other great female characters, Nobara slays with style. As long as she is still breathing, she doesn’t count herself as defeated yet. Nobara is delightfully crazy and doesn’t mind a little self-mutilation if it gets the job done. If you haven’t paid attention to her yet, definitely look again.
Mikasa Ackerman from Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)
In Attack on Titan, it’s kill or be killed. The lifestyle is unforgiving, and the Titans are even less so. Mikasa was assigned to the elites right out of training and had prodigious fighting skills, even when she was a child. Mikasa is only nineteen but is fearless and lives a life where she often has to demonstrate it. She is Eren’s childhood friend, and she places his well-being at the top of her list of concerns.
This next-level fighter goes up against Titans personally, using cables to swing from building to building and using fighting implements that put any machete or sword to shame. Of everyone on this list, she is the most agile and proficient in hand-to-hand combat. She lives a life of survival and has no room in her life for traitors.
Nico Robin from One Piece
Nico, Robin, is the Straw Hat Pirates’ archeologist. She has knowledge of the history of the world, and her personal goal is to uncover the “hundred-year void” where no records of history or the world at that time exist. In the world of One Piece, looking into that information is expressly forbidden. As such, she has lived since her childhood as a criminal in the eyes of the World Government. She has had to survive for her whole life, and infiltration and assassination are her strong suits.
Her signature move is “clutch,” where she causes arms to grow from another person and then cracks their neck instantly. Robin has been the head of a crime syndicate before her time with the Straw Hat Pirates, but she has proven that the Straw Hat Pirates are the people she calls Nakama. Even in the newest arc, Wano, Robin’s first job was to learn geisha performance to gain access to people and information. Robin is not often underestimated in One Piece, but it is always a shame for the enemy when it happens.
Merlin from Nanatsu no Taizai (The Seven Deadly Sins)
Of the seven deadly sins we know and love, here is the Boar sin of Gluttony, Merlin! As her famous name might suggest, she aides the young king of a neighboring country, Arthur, as he goes on adventures and learns what it is to be king. At some point, Merlin joins up with the rest of the sins again to achieve common goals. Merlin has a broad knowledge of the world as well as current and ancient magics. Just how old is she? Why, you don’t ask a lady that question! But we know she has been around for a long time. She is always one step ahead and always seems to have a contingency plan.
Merlin looks out for her fellow Sins and finds herself as the counsel of King Arthur. In the first season, we see an old apprentice of hers cause all kinds of trouble until Merlin steps in and quashes the young mage’s revolt. Though her actions are only noble, you can’t help but wonder if she will ever be a traitor because there is no way she has told you everything she knows.
Though their personalities and methods are different, all of the anime girls featured here are dangerous in their own right. They don’t need you to protect them, and it is unfortunate for the individuals who become their next target. Who is your favorite on this list? Was there someone else we should have included? Let us know in the comments!