Tia Harribel (Bleach)
It is no secret that Anime as a medium of entertainment where anything can be made possible, is often prone to depicting its characters (male and female) in ways that appeal to the more primal instincts of its viewers. One such common trope is the ‘busty’ female. She comes in many forms and is not always even human; however the one thing all such endowed beauties possess is the ultimate weapon, cleavage.
The common misconception is that this is an exploitation of the female form to satiate the lustful desires of men and women. I put to the Honey’s Anime community that rather than a reinforcing of gender inequality and subjugation, cleavage is in fact the epitome of female empowerment. Many a dazzling buxom creature understands the allure of their physique and rather than hiding it, they embrace it and often use their cleavage as a weapon to achieve their own desires.
Cleavage can be defined as ‘the area between a woman’s breasts when supported, especially when revealed by a low-cut neckline’. However, a more accurate description of anime cleavage would be ‘the most powerful weapon known to womankind causes frequent nosebleeds to others and has been known to hypnotize unsuspecting friends and foes alike’. Here we will examine some of the finest female anime exponents of the mighty cleavage and how it is more than a physical characteristic.
10. Rika Aragami from Shikabane Hime (Corpse Princess)
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Oct 2008 - Dec 2008
Shikabane Hime tells the tragic tale of young girls, who have been taken from this world prematurely and henceforth resurrected to fight the demons and monsters of the world alongside warrior priests. These defiled young women who are referred to as either ‘Shikabane’ or as ‘contractors’ are forever in the knowledge that they are no longer of this world and fight for a place they can never belong.
One such ‘contractor’ is Rika Aragami, whose combat ability is to attach her nerves as thread onto the enemy. With that, she is able to control the enemy at will and manipulate them as her puppet. Rika, therefore, has the amazing ability to physically control her enemies through her unique powers. Due to her ample ‘assets’ and a choices of attire that fully expose her breasts and cleavage she also has the power to influence those around her through her visage alone. This is especially empowering for a character that is ostensibly a walking corpse who can no longer have physical relationships or love. At least in this one regard, she is still 100% human and 100% woman.
9. Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell
- Episodes: OVA
- Aired: Nov 1995
The year 2029, the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking. When a highly-wanted hacker known as 'The Puppet-master' begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppet-master. Major Kusanagi is the leader of these cyber cops, and has been the receiver of cybernetic enhancements since a child. This has caused her to adopt many forms and bodies over the years, but she seems to feel most comfortable in the curvaceous figure seen in the film.
Major Kusanagi’s sexual connotations are immediate to see from the semi naked cleavage shot present on the original films cover art and promotional material. Major Kusanagi is often wearing revealing clothing throughout, and is aware of the distraction this can cause for her opponents, underestimating her ability due to focusing on her body and breasts. While she may emotionally seem more machine than human, the use of her body in a sexually provocative way reminds viewers that she was once human, and her desirability only heightens her symbolism as a feminine powerhouse.
8. Lady Farangis from Arslan Senki
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Apr 2015 - Sep 2015
Aloof, defiant, strong, and cool; Farangis is both a dedicated cleric to the goddess Misra, and the most-skilled female fighter on the planet. She maintains her mystique throughout the course of the story, so that little is known of her personally. According to her own account, she was the most beautiful, intelligent and capable member of her order; when a prediction was made that a servant of Misra must protect Prince Arslan, the other clerics selected her to go, out of jealousy.
It’s little surprise other members of her order are jealous of Farangis, her combat abilities are unmatched in her order. She also has the coveted power of anti gravity breasts, with only a small tunic holding everything in place during battle; Lady Farangis wields a cleavage that is almost unmatched. She also fully understands the effect that her appearance has on both her enemies and also her allies. Gieve makes no mistake in declaring his longing for the warrior priestess Farangis, something she knocks back with minimal effort. Her confidence as a woman and of her freedom to display her body in any way she wishes makes her the most attractive and powerful female in the world of Arslan.
7. Mito Ikumi from Shokugeki no Sooma (Food Wars)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Apr 2015 - Sep 2015
Mito Ikumi is one of the students of Tootsuki Culinary Academy who is also a former rival to Souma Yukihira. As the sole successor of the Mito family for her abundance of knowledge about the the culinary meat field (especially beef and donburi), Ikumi is the pride of her family's name. Like many other students in Tootsuki Culinary Academy, Ikumi is extremely prejudice upon societal classes and uses high class ingredients to make a high standard gourmet dishes.
Mito Ikumi only ever cooks wearing any number of her signature bikinis which leave little to the imagination when exposing her rather ample cleavage. This may not seem the most practical attire during cooking showdowns but her ability to distract her opponents using her voluptuous traits shouldn’t be discounted. Ikumi actually reveals during flashbacks that her choice of clothing is reflective of her childhood and a father who told her to reject her feminine side as the family needed a strong figure to lead. This lead to ‘Nikumi’ choosing to fully display her feminine side and show her cleavage so that even though she is tough, everyone will remember she is all woman.
6. Suguha Kirigaya (Leafa) from Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul 8, 2012 - Dec 23, 2012
Suguha (often referred to as her avatar Leafa) originally disliked VRMMO games for it hid peoples' nature and reality, as it did with Kazuto. She took up ALO in order to understand Kazuto better when he was trapped in SAO. She won the Sylph tournament, earning the title as the strongest Sylph before the events of the Fairy Dance Arc. She learned how to play ALO from her classmate, Nagata Shinichi. It is in her avatar fairy form that Leafa’s physical attributes are most on display and are inevitably a contributing factor to the male characters around her willing to teach and often save her when necessary.
Leafa unlike many other characters on this list seems blissfully unaware of the effect her cleavage has on many of the male characters around her, in particular on the main protagonist Kirito (her real life cousin) and on Nagata her nerdy classmate. Her revealing battle armour leaves very little to the imagination and she has undoubtedly been responsible for many a virtual nosebleed in the world of ALO. What is most interesting about Leafa’s revealing appearance is that in the real world Suguha dresses very demurely and tries to cover up her breasts at every opportunity, especially during some bikini scenes found on end of seasons specials. Perhaps for Suguha, the persona of Leafa is her chance to revel in her sexuality and not be afraid to expose her cleavage to the world where she is a strong and confident warrior.
5. Saeko Busujima from Highschool of the Dead
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2010 - Sep 2010
A high school senior and president of the school's kendo club, she is extremely skilled with a bokken and close combat. Calm and collected with a sense of pride in her skills and those that she's with, Saeko is among the most reliable of the group. Everyone can count on her combat skills to pull them through a tough spot if need be. Four years prior to the start of the story, a man had attempted to assault her. Armed with her bokken, she easily disposed of the would-be assailant, breaking several of his bones before the police came. This experience revealed her sadistic tendencies; she enjoyed holding the power to inflict pain on another human being.
Saeko could quite easily have let this attempted sexual assault sway her into hiding her body away from the world forever but in true feminist warrior fashion she instead embraces her physical form and often wears minimal clothing, exposing her shockingly ample cleavage. Saeko is the perfect example of a strong female anime character than can kick zombie ass and look incredibly sexy while doing so. This is not lost on her fellow surviving classmates and the males and females alike idolize her for her power and her femininity.
4. Satsuki Kiryuuin from Kill La Kill
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2013 - Mar 2014
Satsuki Kiryuuin is an 18-year-old woman and the Student Council President of Honnouji Academy. She rules the school with an iron fist and assesses the students' abilities, holding the position/authority to assign the powerful Goku Uniforms. She does not wear a Goku Uniform, stating that her sword, "Bakuzan" is more than enough power and protection. However when confronted with her true blood sister Ryuko, Satsuki dons her own powerful symbiotic uniform Junketsu. It is in this form that Satsuki is her most hyper sexualised, with an outfit that reveals more skin that it hides and accentuates her domineering breasts and provides her with another common anime trope: the anti gravity cleavage.
Satsuki’s transformation is more than just mere fan service however as it is this form that she is most powerful as is her sister Ryuko in her own similar attire. She is more powerful than any of the male figures in the series and shows no embarrassment at wearing her super powered seifuku. It is alluded to in the anime that in order for both girls to reach their full power potential they must embrace their revealing uniforms and enjoy the way it makes them look rather than hide away and feel ashamed which makes Satsuki’s one of the most empowering cleavages in anime.
3. Fujiko Mine from Lupin III (2015)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: Oct 2015 - ongoing
Fujiko Mine is a foxy, daring and untrustworthy master burglar and is the Catwoman to Lupins Batman. A long running will they won’t they romantic aquaintance from the now 40 year running show, Fujiko Mine is a master of weapons and manipulation. Fujiko is the definition of a man eater and is always prepared to use every method of persuasion in her arsenal to get the best of the male dominated world around her.
Fujiko Mine’s appearance is typically characterized by wearing incredibly low cut tops to draw attention to her cleavage. This is not merely a fashion choice for Fujiko as she understands all too well the effect it has on the men around her. Fujiko is an expert at embracing her feminine figure and knowing how she can use men’s weakness to her advantage as a master thief. Throughout the long history of Lupin III, Fujiko has always been portrayed as a skilled and crafty burglar and her appearance is just one of the many tools at her disposal she uses to get what she wants.
2. Boa Hancock from One Piece
- Episodes: 700+
- Aired: Oct 1999 - ongoing
She is one of the Shichibukai and captain of the Kuja Pirates. She is the Empress of the Amazon Tribe on the Isle of Woman. She detests the World Government, but wants to keep her Shichibukai title. Her immense beauty belies her cruel personality, as shown when she kicks a kitten in her way, however she does reveal softer sides to her personality, in particular in her love for Straw Hats captain Luffy. She ate "mero-mero" fruit when she was a slave and gained the ability to turn anyone who thinks she is beautiful into stone. She is also one of the few characters who possesses "Haoshoku Haki (or King's Disposition/Will)."
Boa Hancock possesses one of the most enormous chests to grace this list and only ever wears the lowest of low cut tops. However for Boa, displaying her cleavage in this way is not merely for fan service. In order to protect the isle of women and compete with the largely male dominated pirate lords of the Grand Line and those of the Marines and World Government, Boa relies on her mero mero fruit powers to turn those who lust for her to stone. Possessing such large and shapely breasts obviously appeals to the fickle minded male pirates who do not see beyond her looks to the malicious intent behind it.
1. Meiko Shiraki from Prison School
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jul 2015 - Sep 2015
Fukukaichou-sama! The venerable underground student council vice president Meiko Shiraki is a strict, military disciplinarian and the primary cause of the majority of the 4 male prisoners misery and even joy. With a hyper sexualised appearance contrasted with iron morals and a blind devotion to eradicating men from the academy, Meiko is one of the sole reasons why this lit exists. boasting a cleavage that is capable of causing catastrophe to any who dare fixate upon it and underestimate her brutality. Meiko is incapable of fitting into the academies standard uniforms meaning she can only wear them with half the buttons fastened, revealing the mother of anti gravity cleavages.
Meiko’s appearance is used as a punishment to the 4 boys held prisoner by the student council, it is a constant reminder that their perversions and objectification of women is the reason they are held in contempt both figuratively and literally. Meiko’s hyper sexualised appearance also brings with it s measure of comedy and is almost a self deprecating examination of the way female characters are often portrayed in manga and anime. One the funniest scenes in the show has Meiko engaging in her routine workout which includes press ups which are entirely impractical for someone with such a large chest. Meiko is the number one cleavage in anime for being outrageous, hilarious, self referential and empowering to the female characters.
Prison School Trailer
Diane (Seven Deadly Sins)
So there we have it, a deep study into the portrayal of the female cleavage in anime. Or perhaps all of the fancy words and insight into deeper meaning is just an excuse to talk about and look at anime girls cleavages?
Did you think this was an interesting examination of females in anime? Or would you prefer us to talk less and show more? Leave a comment and let us know your opinions and also your own favourite pair of big ‘personalities’ from anime old and new.