Good female leads in anime sound unusual when even just a strong supporting female character seems rare. Anime girls that do appear as sidekicks are usually portrayed as the protagonist’s love interest. It’s always the guys that are the heroes, since the female leads have much more to do with fanservice, right? Not at all, Here are some of the best female protagonists that are awesome and need recognition. This is the top 10 list of anime female leads you need to know about!
10. Ran Tsukikage from “Carried by the Wind”
From the classic anime of 2000, this wise ronin lady is so badass she uses her sword with a single hand! As laid back as she might be, when it comes to justice she’s not someone to argue with. Ran also seems distant and uncaring at first but she’s pretty upfront about protecting her friends and the people she loves.
9. Lain Iwakura from “Serial Experiments Lain”
Fourteen-year-old Lain Iwakura might be shy and introverted, but her character development is astounding. Although insecure and paranoid, Lain cares very much about her loved ones. She is also very loyal to them. In the beginning she’s concerned about what people think of her. Lain constantly worries about being abandoned and lonely, but after discovering who she really is, she becomes bolder and more assertive.
8. Akane Tsunemori from “Psycho-Pass”
Tsunemori is the idealistic inspector in Psycho-Pass. Her views seem unrealistic and stubborn at first which make her seem incompetent. Having graduated as the only rank A student from the Public Safety Bureau, Tsunemori is very naive. She believes that she can find a purpose in life and validate her existence, which she often agonizes over. As the series progresses though, she gains experience and insight. Along with her unwavering sense of justice, she becomes a resilient detective.
7. Ai Enma from “Hell Girl”
Ai Enma, known as the Hell Girl, sometimes also poses as the anti-heroine of the anime. Her actions might lack morality and ethics but she can still be considered one of the best female leads because she does her job very well. Having a past of tragedy and sadness Ai works sending “targets” to hell. Interested people reach out to Ai, to send somebody, i.e. the target, to Hell as a form of revenge.
Ai comes off as very cold and stops at no cost to carry out her duty that is to send people to hell. She is close to being expressionless, however all this is justified and explained as we are shown the unfair tragedy she had to go through.
6. Kino from “Kino no Tabi”
Kino is a young traveler and probably the only female lead in anime to own a talking motorbike! Kino discovers many lands in her travels with her bike Hermes. But she only spends three days and two nights wherever she goes because she is afraid she will settle down, preventing her from future travelling. Sometimes she comes off as stoic and apathetic but in nature she’s very understanding. Kino is also very skilled when it comes using guns. Her agility and speed make her a very capable hunter.
5. Robin Sena from “Witch Hunter Robin”
A craft-user specializing in fire raised by the Roman Catholic Church, Robin is trained to capture and hunt down Witches. Robin also poses as an undercover agent for the secret organization Solomon, which exterminates Witches. Robin beings to question the purpose of Solomon and the way the organization has been treating the Witches. Robin is very empathetic which enables her to feel the sadness caused by the fight between Witches and humans. Through this, Robin works find a way to annul the conflict between the two parties so they can co-exist.
4. Madoka Kaname from “Puella Magi Madoka Magica”
One of the most praiseworthy female leads in the anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica, an unconventional take on the magical girl genre.
A timid but kind girl, Madoka Kaname is a high-schooler who becomes a magical girl. Madoka genuinely cares for everybody around her and tries to help them in any way possible. Even if it means going out of her way and putting herself in danger, Madoka will do anything to help. Initially she is very naive and her view on magical girls is limited, but later on she gains confidence in herself as a magical girl and makes a big sacrifice for the greater good of everybody.
3. Motoko Kusanagi from “Ghost in the Shell”
Major Motoko Kusanagi, the cyborg officer from Ghost in the Shell is strong both physically and intellectually. After an accident as a child, Kusanagi underwent a transplant that made her a cyborg. Often referred to as “the major”, she is shown as very mysterious. Kusanagi’s military and martial arts background make her much more capable and stronger than an average human. She also possesses great hacking skills. She is a capable leader who is competent and believes in independence.
2. Ryuko Matoi from “Kill la Kill”
Although her transformation with her god-robe leaves her in a skimpy armor, it doesn’t make her any less strong! Wielding one half of the Life-fiber Rending Scissors, Ryuko is on the search for her father’s killer. Hot-headed and impulsive at first, Ryuko becomes much more mature towards the end of the series. At first she’s very embarrassed to fight wearing her revealing outfit Senketsu, but she learns to accept him. The reason Ryuko is one of the coolest female leads is because she realizes that how you look like is not what counts, but what you feel is. She’s also very loyal and caring towards the people she loves.
1. Sakura Kinomoto from “Cardcaptor Sakura”
And finally, probably one of the greatest and most adorable female leads in anime: Cardcaptor Sakura. This energetic and cute schoolgirl-slash-magical girl should not be underestimated! Although young, clumsy and clueless, Sakura has proven herself to be a very strong, protective and perceptive magical girl. She might have her flaws, but her optimism and friendliness make her very likeable. She’s also very trustworthy and outgoing and puts a lot of emphasis on friendships and relationships.
So there you go! There's plenty of other female leads out there but this is all for now. If you haven't seen or heard of these anime then do check them out!