The 2019 anime season has already started and we are already seeing plenty of 2-D girls that are seeking our seasonal devotion with names like Raphtalia, Gripen, and Kaguya-sama. Yet, we haven’t let go of the girls who stole our hearts from last year. We are also blessed that anime is filled with interesting female characters. The girls on this list have beauty and brains and range from a cook to courier to a rock-loving red panda. We now count down a Top 10 list of lovelies that left our hearts lovelorn.
10. Hinata Miyake from Sora yori mo Tooi Basho (A Place Further Than The Universe)
A Place Further Than The Universe is a rather down-to-earth tale of four girls who find their way onto an expedition to Antarctica. The girls have various reasons for going, one wants to prove something to herself, one wants to finally have friends, one is searching for closure, and one is just looking for a chance at adventure. We follow the four girls as they raise money and find a practical reason for four high school girls to join a scientific expedition to the southernmost continent. The cast of girls is a pretty even ensemble but one girl really captured the attention of a lot of the viewers; her name is Hinata Miyake. Hinata dislikes the run-of-the-mill. She is always looking for a way to make life more interesting. She spends her days after homeschooling and studying for college entrance exams working in a convenience store to help finance a more interesting life. She decided to go on the trip because she wanted to do something special before going off to college. We get the impression that she is a goofball because of her at times childish behavior but often find that she has some of the sagest advice of our group of heroines. We get the feeling that she has seen more in her young life than the others and is willing to be the adult when one is needed. We put her on this list because she stands out in an already incredible cast on an incredible program.
9.Aoi Tsubaki from Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi (Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits)
Aoi is a young college coed that was raised by her rather eccentric and free-spirited grandfather. Before he passed away, the old man always said that she needed to learn how to cook. He always told her that if she learned how to cook great food the Ayakshi, a kind of yokai, would eat the food instead of her. She knew that Ayakshi existed and would often feed a small kappa that lived in a nearby park. It was on one of her visits to feed the kappa when she is kidnapped to the hidden realm by a handsome ogre named Odanna. He informs her that her grandfather owes him a mountain of debt and promised her hand in marriage as collateral; now he wants to collect. She refuses the offer and the life of luxury that would come with it. She decides that she will work off her grandfather’s debt and finds herself running a small café on the grounds Odanna’s luxury inn. We love Aoi because she is an honest and determined girl. She turns down the easy way out of the problem and decides to take the hard way, relying on her skills and the advice that her grandfather gave her about cooking for her life. The world of the hidden realm is filled with dangers for most humans and she finds herself in over her head more than once. She overcomes the dangers and pitfalls by simply being herself and doing what she knows, cooking excellent meals for the inn's staff and special guests. She also spends almost the entire show wearing a kimono and looks spectacular in it.
8. Mai Sakurajima from Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume wo Minai(Rascal does not dream of bunny girl senpai)
What would you do if you were sitting in the library and a beautiful girl in a sexy bunny girl costume started to walk around the room and it seemed no one but you noticed? If you’re Sakuta, a second-year high school student sitting in that library, you try to figure out why no one is paying attention and then realize that the girl is Mai Sakurajima, a popular teen actress on hiatus, that attends your school. You then find yourself solving problem after problem for other girls in the school afflicted, like Mai, with adolescence syndrome. That’s a supernatural condition brought about by the insecurities of youth. After solving Mai’s problem, you become her boyfriend and consider yourself the luckiest guy in the world. We also agree with that assessment; Mai is an amazing character. She, despite needing to be rescued, isn’t a damsel in distress. The wild bunny girl spent days exploring her condition and trying to determine its cause. She is a smart and determined girl who has a quick wit. She also has many genuine interactions with Sakuta as they spend time together as a couple. She also has trust in her relationship with her boyfriend. She doesn’t question his loyalty even though he has to get deeply involved with other girls in order to solve their problems. We like girls that have a head on their shoulders and are willing to try and solve their own problems. We love girls that understand their worth and don’t sell themselves short. We love girls dressed as bunny girls and that’s enough reason for her to make the list.
7.Retusko from AGGRETSUKO
Retsuko is your average office worker dealing with the average frustrations of corporate life. The 25-year-old red panda works in the accounting department and often feels stuck in life. She, like many of us trying to adult, faces the constant frustration of superiors who abuse their station, coworkers that just don’t realize how annoying they are, and the downward spiral of dissatisfaction with life and career. She has a single outlet for all her frustration. The cute furry red panda sings her heart out at karaoke…. to death metal. We like Retsuko because she is us. She is every one of us who has had a boss dump a pile of work on our desk at 10 minutes til closing. She is every one of us who is so busy with work our social circle is nearly nonexistent. She is every one of us who is lonely just looking for a connection. She is every one of us looking for meaning, not only in our professional life but our personal life as well. We love this little red panda because she vents her rage at a level we all should strive for.
6.Red Blood Cell a.k.a. Sekkekkyuu AE3803 from Hataraku Saibou (Cells at Work)
Do you ever wonder how “you” work? Are you ever amazed at how your body and all its trillions of cells work together to keep you alive? If you do, Cells at Work is the perfect anime for you. You get to know Red Blood Cell AE3803 up close and personal and follow her through her daily tasks of carrying oxygen from the lungs, to the heart, and all over your body. Her life isn’t as simple as you’d think. The body can contain a multitude of hazards from bacteria to cancer to traumatic injuries to the many highways and byways of the circulatory system. Why do we like Red Blood Cell despite there being billions of her doing the exact same job in the exact same way? Because she, despite being directionally challenged, shows up for work every day and tries her best. She could hide under her bed after some of the near-death experiences she’s had but she gains the courage to survive. We really love her for her devotion to us. The final episode has her facing the end of the world, but she doesn’t give up, she pushes forward, she never gives up even when all hope is lost. She perseveres all because she wants to save her world, your body.
5.Takagi from Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san (Teasing Master Takagi-san)
The story of Teasing Master Takagi-san is a simple boy-meets-girl, girl-likes-boy, so girl teases him and he’s not clever enough to tease her back. Nishikata is the boy and he sits across from cute transfer student Takagi. She loves to tease him every day and he, the gullible idiot, falls for her pranks every time. Even when he is trying to turn the tables on her, she is one step ahead. We choose Takagi because we love clever girls. We love the way she leans over during class and whispers “Hey, hey, Nishikata.” We love how she does the simplest things like convincing him to learn how to ride a bike with someone sitting on the back. We know she volunteers to sit on the back of his bike day after day hands around his waist so he can practice. We wonder why he doesn't get what that’s about. We love how she doesn’t get frustrated that he doesn’t get the point of all her teasing. We love that her poker face only cracks once or twice when he says something surprisingly sensitive. We think we can agree that even though we may not have gotten it at the time, having a girl like her constantly tease us and hang around us would have been awesome.
4. Karen Kohiruimaki a.k.a. LLENN from Sword Art Online: Gun Gale Online ALTERNATIVE
The world of Gun Gale Online (GGO) is a VR world filled with the smell of sulfur and gun oil. We are introduced to the world of GGO in the Sword Art Online: Phantom Bullet arc. The game is, for the most part, a deep dive VR game that is filled with teams of people that shoot each other. The death isn’t real, it is just a game (it’s not the death game that the original SAO became) but that doesn’t stop it from attracting some of the fiercest competitors, especially with the added value of actual money being on the line in the tournaments they hold. GGO is also where one of the most badass players in the VR world calls her stomping grounds. She’s a petite girl known as LLENN the Pink Devil: child-sized, pink-camo-wearing, machine gun wielding, and ruthless. In the real world she is a shy, six-foot-tall college student named Karen. We like LLENN because some of us can identify with feeling uncomfortable in our own skin. Her poor self-image is completely relatable. She retreats to the virtual world because she is looking for her ideal self. She is looking for the person she wishes to be. We don’t have full dive VR to escape to and become someone else but for many of us, we can escape into cosplay and conventions. The chance to get away every once in a while and be our other selves at conventions is liberating. LLENN is on the list of great characters because she is us and we are her, people in search of a chance to become our other selves.
3.Zero Two from DARLING in the FranXX
The future is bleak for humanity. We travel the barren earth in massive cities in a constant search for magma energy to power them. We are constantly confronted by giant creatures known as Klaxosaurs who attack our cities and disrupt our mining activities. The assaults by these powerful beasts are pushing humanity to the brink. A very old and very smart man, Dr. Franxx, develops our greatest defense against the threat, large piloted robots called Franxx. The only problem is that the technology is only compatible with the biology of children and it takes both male and female to pilot. Hiro is one of those pilots. He needs a partner and finds the most unusual partner in the most unusual way. Her name is Zero Two. The story is then filled with romance, self-discovery, adventure, and the dark secret of humanity. We love Zero Two. The introduction of her character may be one of the best character introductions we’ve witnessed in that last several years. We meet her and like Hiro we are enraptured. Zero Two is a human-klaxo sapien hybrid. She is confident yet filled with self-doubt, she is beautiful yet considers parts of herself to be ugly, she is mature yet she wants to be a child, she has the powers of a god yet she only wishes to be a girl. Like us, she is a person filled with contradictions. She, despite her abilities, the thing that makes her unique, wants to be normal. She files her horns down so they stand out less, she puts on a brave face because she doesn’t want to be a burden to the people she loves, she says she’s all about her job but we see her have the most fun when she steals everyone’s laundry and is chased through the house. We like her because she is complicated as a character and we love to meet interesting characters.
2.Anzu from Hinamatsuri
The story starts with Yoshifumi Nitta a Yukuza who ends up adopting Hina, a psychokinetic girl from the future that materializes in his apartment one night. The anime is centered around him and his relationship with Hina. We find out quickly that Hina isn’t the only girl from the future with powers in our time, nor is she the best girl on the show. The honors of best girl easily go to Anzu. She faces the most adversity and has the best attitude throughout the whole story. When Anzu materializes in town she isn’t fortunate enough to plop down into a situation that means a roof over her head and a somewhat caring guardian. She arrives in town with no money and no clothes. She steals clothes from a biker a la Terminator, steals food, and lives in a homeless camp. Anzu is taught how to collect cans and junk and make money so she can survive. She grows to care for her mentors in the homeless camp and is eventually placed in a home. Anzu doesn’t sit back, either. She goes to work in her new family’s restaurant and feels happy to give back to the people she now calls mom and dad. She never forgets to include her friends in the homeless camp in her prayers. We love Anzu but we don’t deserve her. She is the perfect child. She is grateful, cheerful, polite, and sincere. We see her smile and it warms our hearts. We simply want to protect her and give her the best.
1.Violet Evergarden from VIOLET EVERGARDEN
The war that ravaged a continent has ended after four long years and the soldiers are going home carrying their triumphs on their sleeves and their burdens on their hearts. Violet Evergarden is the titular veteran in this beautifully conceived and illustrated anime. Violet was raised for the sole purpose of fighting. She spent her entire childhood training to kill and learned how to do it effectively. She had never known true kindness or treated like anything other than a tool until meeting her commander Gilbert Bougainvillea. She was nearly killed in one of the final battles of the war and lost her arms and her commander. The military hospital fitted her with mechanical arms and discharged her. A friend of the commander takes Violet in and offers her a job at the CH Postal Service as an Auto Memory Doll, a typist that not only transcribes but interprets the feelings of the person dictating the message. The service the does well in a world with a high illiteracy rate. Violet, though excellent at typing, must learn to come to terms with her own buried emotions as she learns how to convey their meaning for clients. Violet is our number one female character because she is complex but in a really simple way. She is closed off from her emotions but not in the anime kuudere kind of way that can sometimes make the character feel paper-thin. Violet’s character is well thought out and deep. She may not easily express her emotions but she definitely has them and when they well up they overflow. We witness her break down more than once as she deals with not only her emotional trauma but the weight of the emotional experiences writing soul-filled letters for her clients. We also choose her because she is one of the first characters we’ve seen recently that is a well fleshed out veteran who has lost her limbs struggling to find her place in the post-service world. We hope to see more of Violet one day and hope that she finds that peace she is longing for.
The idea of best of anything is very subjective and when we are dealing with a best female character in anime list it is even more so. We can tell you the list had a lot of editorial staff input and we did our best to come up with some of the most compelling reasons for their places on the list. We’d love to hear what you, the readers, think; add your comments below. We all may not agree with the order or names on the list but we think we can agree that the characters on the list deserve recognition.