Samurai have come and gone but their triumphant legacy still remains in modern Japan. Dating back to the Sengoku Era, Samurai played an integral role in the military state of feudal Japan as they were the ones out to serve nobility. Following orders from their lord, they committed their lives to the Bushido way which meant they could not leave the side of their leader. During these eras men were predominantly in the position of Samurai, while women were prohibited from practicing such acts. However times have changed and so many anime portray famous samurai as female characters to provide a different look and feel to the history. Honey's Anime is about to bring you the top ten female samurai characters, so sit back and enjoy.
10. Jiyu Nanohara - Jubei-Chan Lovely Gantai no Himitsu
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: April 6, 1999 – June 29, 1999
Slicing its way to our number ten spot is Jiyu Nanohara. Jiyu is your ordinary schoolgirl who doesn't place much of her focus on things of the past. That all changes when she comes face to face with a 300 year old samurai who informs her that she's the reincarnation of legendary swordsman, Yagyu Jubei. Whenever she puts on her lovely eye patch, she transforms into Yagyu giving her the ultimate fighting power to take down her foes. Her newly obtained powers come in handy because Yagyu is under attack by a rival clan out to settle a grudge, so she must put a stop to it all as soon as possible.
Jiyu on the outside is just quite normal and shares a great relationship with her father. Whenever she becomes Yagyu however, it's like her original self never existed. She exhibits power and control whenever she transforms, and commands her unit like it was mere child's play. Seeing a female play a major role like this is great because we get to see two sides of the same coin, that being Jubei Yagyu. We get to see the lifestyle Yagyu had to experience through the eyes of a normal girl trapped in his soul. This is a cool way of explaining the deeper parts of Japanese culture because we can envision ourselves in Jiyu's position, acting out a role that we could never do without the anime being there as encouragement. Let us know what you think of the show after you've watched it!
9. Makie Otono- Tachnibana - Blade of the Immortal
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: July 14, 2008 – December 29, 2008
Blade of the immortal has made its way back onto our lists once again, but this time not as an immortal. The story is mainly set around Manji and his turbulent journey to kill 1000 evil men so that he can return back to normal human form. Prior to his immortality, he killed 100 innocent men under the control of his Daimyo but was then cursed by a mysterious woman sealing his fate.
Makie is one of the main casts of the series, where she and Anotsu share a romantic connection and have known each other since childhood. She was born into a samurai family but unfortunately was disowned and cast away by her father, Harukawa, along with her mother. Due to this disgrace, Makie set out to seek revenge on her father using her double-bladed three section staff as her weapon. Defeating but not killing Manji, she decides to not pursue the path of murder because she couldn't fully commit to the hateful act and so she goes into seclusion, turning her back on Anotsu. Something in her provokes her to continue after witnessing her father's death, and so she continues along her journey to seek out strength within as a true samurai.
8. Chizuru Yukimura - Hakuouki
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 4, 2010 – June 20, 2010
The story of Chizuru takes place in 1860's Edo, Japan where she lives the simple life with her father who is a doctor. Her father decides to leave the household after an opportunity presents itself, and so she is left alone to take care of the home while he's gone while receiving letters from him. After those letters stopped coming in, she grew concerned about her father's condition and so she took off to Kyoto disguised as a man to find out more. Along the way she is attacked by a group of samurai and a strange inhuman looking man, out looking for trouble. Just before she is about to be taken hostage, a mysterious individual from the Shinsengumi clan comes in to save her, but is then taken back to their headquarters for interrogation.
Upon hearing the truth of who her father is, the clan decide to help her along her journey, teaching her the very ways of becoming a samurai. Their intentions to find her father however, are much different than her own, and so her new journey is to uncover the secrets behind why her father is being targeted, and to build better bonds with her newly found friends. Hakuouki is a must watch for anyone who enjoys a deep story with some plot twists around it for zest.
7. Kyuubei Yagyuu-chan - Gintama
- Episodes: 201
- Aired: April 4, 2006 – March 25, 2010
Gintama is a popular jump franchise that follows the life of Sakata Gintoki, a young boy with the heart of a samurai who sets out to find odd jobs in order to keep his stomach full. Aliens called Amanto, have invaded Earth and have taken over feudal Japan. As a result of all of this, swords have been banned and all samurai are treated with disregard as the consequence. This makes living difficult for Gintoki as he's become somewhat of a vagabond, just wandering around with his friends to try to get by. Along the way he comes across a powerful female named Kyuubei Yagyuu who is our top seven anime samurai girl.
Kyuubei Yagyuu's name derives from the legendary samurai Jubei Yagyu who was one of the most famous and romanticized of samurai's in Japan's feudal era. She is the sole heir to the Yagyuu family, and was brought up as a male to follow the strict code of the samurai. She is no slouch either, as her swordsmanship is beyond genius, surpassing even the most skilled in her rank Hijitaka Toujirou and Sakata Gintoki. Her personality when compared to others in the Gintama series is very cold, but that is due simply to her upbringing and the hardships she had to go through to obtain her rank.
6. Nobuna Oda - Oda Nobuna no Yabou [The Ambition of Oda Nobuna]
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 9, 2012 – September 24, 2012
Coming at number six on our list is Nobuna Oda from the series Oda Nobuna no Yabou. The historical comedy follows the life of Sagara Yoshiharu who time travels back to the Sengoku period, where all of the legendary samurai lords are now girls. One of the girls he meets is Nobuna Oda, who is the commander of the military, and the two establish a close relationship after one of her bodyguards was killed. Nobuna is the main female protagonist of the series and is the Daimyo of Owari. Her attitude towards everyone that confronts her is very tsundere, but despite that is extremely intelligent, ambitious, and plans to conquer the entire nation of Japan to make it a strong nation equal to the Europeans. Much of the European culture inspires Nobuna's ambition and so she seeks out to make sure that Japan can attain that same diversity.
Sagara and Nobuna gradually form a somewhat romantic relationship, but always end up arguing with one another over very simple issues. Despite her denials about not liking him, deep down she truly admires his loyalty to her ambition to seek out power to restore Japan. Throughout the show you'll see moments where you see a very hard and cruel Nobuna especially in battle, but when she's around Sagara much of her demeanor changes to a somewhat normal behavior. Check out Nobuna on her adventure as she seeks out more, and let us know what you think!
5. Juubei Yagyuu - Samurai Girls
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: September 24, 2010 – December 20, 2010
Jyubei as you can see has played a very integral part in the popularity of Samurai culture. Samurai Girls takes place in the Tokugawa Era when the shogunate was still in power, and much of Japan was under his control. Those who play the part of legendary samurai lords are actually just erotic scantily clad ladies who attend the Buou Academic School in order to hone their battle skills. The master to all of these girls is Muneakira Yagyu, and only he has the power to take these warriors to the next level, transforming them into master samurai. He must first unlock the hidden powers within Juubei with a kiss, then set his sight on the rest of the cast for them to obtain their skills too. Together with his new group of warriors. Muneakira must now fight against the supreme student's school council, who have made it their goal to oppress students in the hectic world.
Juubei is Muneakira's first master samurai, which can be identified with a contractual mark on her chest. She has the extreme power level of five million whenever she fully transforms, but as a side effect she becomes extremely sadistic in her behaviors. Her weapon in battle is an unusually colored Katana along with a Daisho set for protection. Despite that she is very respectful to those who deserve it, and while in her normal state she adorns her master Muneakira with gifts. She's also an airhead and behaves much like a child when she doesn't get what she wants, but when in battle she is extremely focused on the task at hand ensuring victory.
4. Sakura Shinguji – Sakura Taisen [Sakura Wars]
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: April 8, 2000 – September 23, 2000
Sakura Taisen or Sakura Wars in the west is a popular anime turned video game franchise, which saw great success during its initial release. When the Sega Dreamcast launched back in 1999, Sakura Taisen released a year later selling thousands of copies proving its sheer popularity and great story. It follows the life of Sakura who travels to the main capital of Tokyo with aspirations of defending the city from the demonic forces of the Black Sanctum Council, much like her father did. Coming all the way from Sendai, many people thought of her as the country girl, who never really had anything going for her. Little did they know that she's the master of the Hokushin Itto Ryu Kenjutsu, a power that was bestowed upon her by her father, and the heir to the spiritual power of the Shinguji Family. Throughout her time with the Nishiki unit, she becomes much stronger than the rest of her team, aided by her spiritual powers and her trusted sword named Arataka.
3. Masamune Date (Female) - Sengoku Collection
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: April 6, 2012 – September 28, 2012
Sengoku collection revolves around the many legendary samurai who are accidentally removed from a parallel universe inhabited by popular historical figures. They now find themselves in the modern city of Tokyo, where they have to get accustomed to daily life living in a society that is totally different from their norm. Masamune Date was a very famous feudal lord in the Sengoku Era, who became a nation sensation when he was able to claim victory over his rivals. In this story however, Date is played by an attractive female who often finds herself in trouble. One example is when she arrived to the modern world, she was tricked by the Yakuza into swindling money, but was later arrested for that conduct. Her mission now is to seek out Kojuro to find out more information, but to seek revenge on the Yakuza who got her into trouble.
The anime is a wonderful way to really get a feel for Japanese history but in a more warm hearted manner. Not much violence take place within the series, so you get to see these famous samurai play a softer role in the body of a female. We highly recommend watching this one, but also checking out the Sengoku Basara series if you want to get a real glimpse of how the feudal era really looked like.
2. Chifusa Manyuu - Manyuu Hikenchou
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 11, 2011 – September 26, 2011
In a time where having a voluptuous body was seen as having wealth, power, and respect the story of Manyuu Hiken Chou revolves around the Edo Era of Japan where warriors were given a powerful magic skill. The clan was known as the Manyuu, and the skill was the ability to execute a sword strike that could potentially shrink the size of a women's breasts.
Chifusa has become disgusted by how disgraceful things have become, and so many have showed great concern with regards to her credibility. She decides to abandon the Manyuu clan, taking with her the sacred scroll that details their techniques to growing and detaching breasts. Her fellow comrade Kaede feels the same way towards the new rule as Chifusa, and so the two head on a dangerous journey to undo the damage that many of their clan members have done to their land. Along her arduous journey Chifusa comes to realize that she harbors a power that goes far beyond that of her training, and one that could potentially help bring equality to this unbalanced land. Chifusa is seen as a tomboy within the series, covering up much of her body with samurai styled clothing but hides her true power underneath. Many of her encounters have told her that her breasts are huge and fear her extreme power, but due to her inability to control the breast flow technique, she finds it hard to defeat her well-endowed enemies. She battles her enemies much like any samurai would, with her trusted sword and Kaede's assistance. To grow stronger however, it becomes her new mission to master the technique so that she can ensure all women in Japan can have a decent cup size.
1. Tsukikage Ran - Kazemakase
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: January 26, 2000 – April 19, 2000
Tsukikage Ran has sliced her way through the competition and made her way to the number one spot. The story of Kazemakase takes place in the 1600's where Ran, a wandering female samurai, is joined by a Chinese martial artist named Lady Meow of The Iron Cat Fist. The two set out on an adventure to seek out truth and to know more about each other through their experiences. Ran is extremely skilled with her Katana and is unbeatable in serious battle. The only thing that can put a stop to her is a bottle of sake, which she loves whole heartedly. Much of her past is shrouded in mystery, but a lot of her skills were learned from a samurai named Junzaburo Shiina, whom she had a close relationship with before he disappeared.
We chose Ran for the number one spot because she truly plays the part of a samurai very well. Unlike the other shows where there's a little bit of exaggeration in terms of power and spells, Ran is just as real as you can get for a hardcore samurai. What's great is that in the feudal times of Japan, women were prohibited to engage in the way of the samurai, so seeing Ran portray it with such realism is entertaining. If you haven't had an opportunity to watch this samurai anime classic, be sure to check it out and be amazed at the wonderful short stories it provides, while giving you a better glimpse of a true samurai lifestyle.
Japan will always have its fantastic deep rooted history in the way of the Samurai. It's great that the once feared Bushido clan is now used as a way to promote culture, since so many of us have no recollection of the events that took place during those times. Observing it all from a female's perspective brings more flavor and zest since we never had a chance to experience the lifestyle ourselves. We certainly hope you enjoyed our article on female samurai in anime, and if you have any other great characters that you think should be on the list let us know!
As always, for your sweet anime fill, keep it locked here at Honey's Anime.