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The Katana is a traditional Japanese sword and has been a symbol of the Japanese people for centuries. Characterised by a long, single-edged blade and long handle to accommodate two hands, it is both beautiful and deadly – the weapon of choice for some of the coolest anime characters out there and coupled together with dazzling art, awesome fight choreography and just overall awesomeness, it forms a big part of what we come to expect of certain genres of anime. That being said, we thought it would be fitting to come up with a list of some of our favourite katana-slinging anime girls. Katana girls: forever slashing their way into our hearts.
10. Sakurazaki Setsuna from Mahou Sensei Negima! (Magister Negi Magi Negima!)
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: January 2005 – June 2005
At tenth place, we have the silent but deadly guardian of the granddaughter of Mahora Academy’s Dean, Konoka. Armed with her katana with wooden hilt, she swiftly dispatches any threats to Konoka’s life. Setsuna’s silent and somewhat dismissive demeanour hides her true feelings: Setsuna really loves her childhood friend, Konoka, and would lay down her life to protect her, despite their lack of communication in the beginning of the Negima! series.
Setsuna’s swordsmanship is the best the academy has to offer and, given the nature of the Negima! series, it is an added bonus that she is as good in combat as she is beautiful and her enigmatic personality makes her a memorable katana-wielding, magic-thwarting, granddaughter-protecting female anime character. Careful around her though, Setsuna does NOT hold back and she will hit you where it hurts. Ask Negi, he’ll tell you.
9. Noihara Himari from Omamori Himari (Protective Charm Himari)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – March 2010
Everyone likes cats. Even people who don’t like cats like cats. And those who are reading this must like female anime characters who arm themselves with katana. Himari is both – a catwoman who skilfully dispatches other supernatural creatures with her trusty blade. Due to one of her ancestors being spared by the protagonist’s, Yuuto Amakawa’s family of demon slayers, Himari is loyal to the Amakawa House and acts as a bodyguard, protecting Yuuto from danger.
Himari’s catlike nature, her somewhat alluring demeanour and her excellent fighting ability with her katana in tow make her one of our favourites. Himari cares deeply for her master, Yuuto, and, like many other characters who engage in combat, she is subject to intense fits of rage, making her a formidable opponent. Who says house cats can’t be guard dogs?
8. Natsume Aya from Tenjou Tenge (Heaven and Earth)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: April 2004 – September 2004
Extremely childish and adorable, yet a keen fighter wielding the infamous Reiki, Aya Natsume makes her appearance at 8th on this list. Having had her first blade broken in a fight, Aya decided to borrow one of her sister’s swords. This blade, as fate would have it, was the evil katana which supposedly drove her brother, Shin, to insanity, the Reiki. The sheer length of the blade, technically classifying it as a nodachi, and its ominous dark purple glow gives the adorable Natsume Aya an intimidating aura.
Handed down through the generations of the Natsume family, Aya’s Reiki was intended to be wielded by her sister, Maya. Irrespective of who it was actually meant for, Aya is one of our favourites due to her elite swordsmanship and of course, her beauty. Long, flowing brown hair coupled with a sword longer than life itself, Aya Natsume is a long-term female katana-wielding legend and has found her place on this list faster than she could find a long-term replacement for her broken katana.
7. Todoroki Yachiyo from Working!!(Wagnaria!!)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: April 2010 – June 2010
In a family restaurant, you expect good food and company, and in some cases, a great place to work with friendly service. However, at Wagnaria, you are greeted by a plethora of eccentric servers and one really friendly waitress with a katana strapped to her waist. Wait, what?!
That brings us to our 7th katana-slinger, but in this case, “slinger” is not the correct word. Todoroki Yachiyo is a waitress and Chief-of-Staff at Wagnaria Family Restaurant. Todoroki is known for her katana which is always sheathed at her side. This clashes with her personality: Todoroki is a kind and caring person, a mother figure to some of her colleagues, obsessed with Wagnaria’s manager, Shirafuji Kyouko, and an airhead. An adorable airhead. Despite these qualities, the katana sheathed at Todoroki’s side intimidates her colleagues and customers; however, she only ever draws the blade in extreme cases where she feels that the manager is being taken away from her.
Completely oblivious to the feelings of the intimidated masses, Todoroki continues to serve them with a smile every day. How could you not love her?
6. Busujima Saeko from High School of the Dead
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: July 2010 – September 2010
Captain of the Kendo Club. With long black hair and an old-fashioned yet stylish approach to her school skirts and a knack for utterly pulverising the undead, we bring to you Busujima Saeko. Being the captain of the Kendo Club gave this katana girl a great advantage when the world was overrun by zombies. Busujima’s swordsmanship is beautiful and it is mesmerising watching her dispatching “them” with ease.
Perhaps the main reason why Busujima Saeko is on this list is because of that scene. The scene where she defied all the laws of physics and let a bullet find a small but adequate space between her breasts to firmly lodge itself in the brain of one of “them”. Busujima’s movements are beautiful. Her demeanour is badass. Her swordsmanship allows her to defy physics itself and Busujima is the best at giving the undead a mouthful of steel. Busujima Saeko, there is no risk of friendly fire when she’s around!
5. Mikazuchi Kagura from Fairy Tail
- Episodes: 175 (2009); 102 (2014)
- Aired: October 2009 – March 2013; April 2014 – March 2016
With a personality so cool she could’ve been Erza’s understudy during casting, we have our next katana girl, Kagura. Bearing one of the biggest grudges and roughest exteriors in the Fairy Tail universe, Kagura is without fail, one of our favourites. Her expert swordsmanship and tough lady personality make her instantly likable, but she has a softer side we love as well. Living her life to avenge the death of her brother, Simon, Kagura has honed her fighting ability and gone from a helpless child to a capable and dependable fighter.
Having pledged allegiance to the Mermaid Heel guild, Kagura and her trusty blade have made their mark in Fiore. Fighting isn’t all she’s about; however. Kagura is human just like everyone else and shed tears upon hearing Erza’s explanation about the conditions surrounding her brother’s death. Kagura’s tragic backstory, determination and loyalty to her friends make her a katana girl worth remembering.
4. Togame from Katanagatari (SwordStory)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: January 2010 – December 2010
Armed with the task of obtaining all of Shikizaki Kiki’s legendary swords is our fourth katana-toting dame, from the story all about katana, white-haired Togame. NisioIsin really did a number on us when he came up with this story and a character as entertaining, as frustrating and as likable as Togame. Featuring so high up on a list filled with katana-bearing ladies, it would be just to assume that she is competent in combat. She really isn’t. However, coming into contact with several katana made by a legendary sword maker makes her worthy of the “katana girl” title.
Togame is a shrewd and intelligent yet somewhat innocent and goofy character whose silliness and interactions with her environment make her more than memorable. She’s a complicated character hidden under layers of simplicity. She also threatened to give everyone at Honey’s a “cheerio!” if we didn’t put her on this list.
3. Shana from Shakugan no Shana (Burning-eyed Shana)
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: October 2005 – March 2006
Eyes and hair a bright crimson and blade alight, presented with the task of defeating the Crimson Denizens is our number 3, the Flame Haze, Shana. At first, ironically, she is cold and dismissive, but as she begins to show more of herself, as Shana begins to learn more about humans through the protagonist, Yuuji. Shana is one of our favourite katana girls and on this list because she is the ultimate tsundere – completely going against her very title and the very flames which envelop her during combat, Shana goes from hot to cold in an instant!
Her appearance during combat is one of the most beautiful works of animation and her hot-headed tendencies make her fighting a spectacle. Shana cares deeply for the friends she makes and as the series progresses, she experiences romantic love. Shana is adorable and makes our hearts burn with every swing of her sword and every denizen slain. And stain this sky red…
2. Akame from Akame ga KILL!
- Episodes: 24
- Aired: July 2014 – December 2014
Another red-eyed heroine features at second place on our list and she is nothing to scoff at. Akame is an assassin of the Revolutionary Army and one of Night Raid’s most skilled killers. Her Imperial Arm, Murasame, is a katana worthy of being called a demonic sword. Murasame’s ability allows Akame the ability to kill with only one strike – contact with the blade invokes a curse which kills its victim. So, stay far away and avoid the blade and everything will be fine, right? Wrong. Akame is a trained assassin and one of the most formidable fighters the Empire has ever produced.
Agile with sharp senses and an unbreakable resolve, Akame is one of the most terrifying opponents and a very comforting ally. She appears aloof but cares deeply for her friends and every death tests her very resolve. She also likes meat, a trait which contrasts her very serious and battle-oriented profile. With a terrifying blade and insane movements in combat, Akame is a staple ingredient in any list of this nature. Any list which does not feature Akame, she will gladly “eliminate”. Any last words?
1. Kuchiki Rukia from Bleach
- Episodes: 366
- Aired: October 2004 – March 2012
Topping this list of katana girls is the heroine who started it all for Kurosaki Ichigo, Kuchiki Rukia. As a Shinigami in each, Rukia has the incredible abilities of her Zanpakutou or Soul Slayer at her disposal. Her sword, Sode no Shirayuki or Sleeve of White Snow is said to be the most beautiful in the entire series. Rukia is an expert swordsman and master of the Kidou or Demon Magic, she is incredibly fast and boasts a keen intellect. Her personality is calm and collected, despite this; however, she has a cute side, being completely obsessed with anything rabbit themed.
Rukia is terrible at drawing and she has been told several times. She is a very closed-off individual and keeps to herself, deeming it better to suffer in silence than to let others suffer along with her. Rukia is a selfless character, sacrificing herself to save Ichigo when she barely knew him, allowing him to use her powers to defeat the hollow which threatened his family. Her humble beginnings keep her level-headed despite her adoption into nobility. Rukia carries herself with an air of confidence.
Rukia is the first Bleach character ever conceived and one of the most popular characters of the series. Her cool personality and secret concern she has for the people around her give her great dimension as a character and thus, she is the number one katana anime girl. Her name is Rukia. Kuchiki Rukia.
Armed with their katana, the girls on this list are some of the coolest fighters in anime. The katana’s appearance in anime as a mainstream weapon and it has become a staple weapon for several characters in anime. Needless to say, there are several characters who wield the beautiful blades that we have left out – that’s where you come in! Drop a comment below if you don’t see your favourite katana girl on here and maybe, just maybe, she’ll slash her way onto a list in the future!