One complaint shonen anime always gets is the lack of well-written female characters.
As hard as it is to admit, often female characters in shonen anime are there just for the development of male characters…
The age-old “hero saves the poor girl” moments are pretty standard in shonen anime.
While this cliché is not necessarily a bad thing, it hurts when the female characters don’t have their personalities/character arcs independent of the male characters.
This stereotype is common in shonen anime because, after all, the shonen comics are marketed towards young teen males.
But in the search for good female characters in shonen, I’ve realized that we might have exaggerated the lack of good shonen females because there are plenty.
Let’s take a look at more than 20 of these ladies who break the stereotype.
Great Shonen Female Characters:
1. Morgiana (Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic)
The female lead to one of the most underrated shonen anime of all time, Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic.
Morgiana is a multidimensional character who is strong physically, and empathetic in nature but also has various insecurities that she tries to overcome in the series.
While she does have her cute anime girl moments, anyone who has seen Magi can tell you those moments only add to the greatness of Morgiana.
Shinobu Ohtaka (the Mangaka of Magi) has done a great job establishing the backstory and character motives of Morgiana, making everything she does seem natural.
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2. Mereoleona Vermillion (Black Clover)
Mareoleona has to be one of the most, if not the most badass female character in all of shonen anime.
Mareoleona is the first daughter of the House Vermillion, she acted as the temporary captain of the Crimson Lion squad and is currently the captain of the Royal Knights squad.
Every shonen anime has some of those overpowered side characters, whose entire character is for creating hype “flex” moments.
Mareoleona is the overpowered side character of Black Clover.
3. Maki Zenin (Jujutsu Kaisen)
One thing new-gen shonen have going for them is decent female characters.
Like other forms of media it seems like shonen anime is progressing too. One of the best examples when it comes to this is Maki Zenin from Jujutsu Kaisen.
In the world where cursed energy is the source of power for most sorcerers, Maki lacks it and so she was discriminated against by her clan.
But she has a strong will so she practices cursed tools and has raw human strength to survive the cruel world of Jujutsu Kaisen.
You can figure that she, not only is extremely bad-ass but her character arc of overcoming the stereotypes of the Jujutsu Kaisen world is interesting and inspiring.
4. Big Mom (
If a female character being an ugly villain, who is also one of the strongest characters in the verse doesn’t break the stereotype, I don’t know what will.
Charlotte Linlin, better known as Big Mom, is the captain of the Big Mom Pirates and one of the Four Emperors ruling over the New World.
She’s the only female member.
She is one of the main antagonists of the current ongoing saga in
5. Kagura (Gintama)
Putting a character from Gintama in this list feels like I’m cheating. Gintama as a show breaks all the stereotypes, but it’s still a shonen anime, hence putting Kagura on this list is fair.
Kagura, without a doubt, is the funniest female character in all of shonen anime. From picking her nose to suffering from constipation, there’s no stereotype Kagura doesn’t break.
But that’s not all, she is also one of the strongest characters in the series and even gets her arc, making her a fleshed-out character.
6. Riza Hawkeye (
Fullmetal Alchemist & FMA: Brotherhood)
While men are indeed capable of creating good female characters, a series created by a female is more likely to have good female characters & Riza Hawkeye is a perfect example.
While Hawkeye is just a normal army officer who can’t use any alchemy, her character strength doesn’t come from literal strength.
She plays an important role in the series despite being “powerless”.
Her chemistry with Roy Mustang is great too, in fact, they are one of the best couples in shonen, in my opinion.
7. Himiko Toga (
My Hero Academia)
What many might not have realized is sh’s one of the most unique female characters.
I mean can you name any other shonen female whose most important character trait is taking pleasure from sucking other people’s blood?
I don’t think so.
Toga’s character is not limited to her just being a sadistic villain.
Her character goes deeper into the concepts of mental instability, twisted sense of friendship and much more which makes her one of the most intriguing villains in
8. Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach)
Most of the times the deuteragonist (second protagonist) is either the rival of the protagonist (Vegeta, Sasuke, etc..) or they are a close friend of the protagonist (Zoro, Killua, etc).
Other times they are both friend & rival. But they are also mostly males.
Here’s when Rukia comes in, the deuteragonist of Bleach, a female.
Rukia was the first character to appear at the beginning of the story, she was the one who gave Ichigo his powers and kickstarted Bleach.
While her role in later arcs of the series is not the best, it doesn’t change the fact that Rukia breaks many stereotypes.
9. Emma (The Promised Neverland)
If you put a typical high energy protagonist in a horror show, you get Emma.
The Promised Neverland is not your typical shounen,
It’s a horror anime, but Emma, the protagonist of the show is cheerful and extroverted. She is the ray of hope in the brutal world of The Promised Neverland.
This doesn’t mean that she remains unaffected by the horrors of the world.
Her whole character arc revolves around overcoming fear and sadness to lead the people who can’t survive on their own.
10. Biscuit Krueger (
Hunter x Hunter)
Biscuit Krueger or Bisky for short is a mentor figure for Gon & Killua (2 of the main characters of
She plays a pivotal role in the character arcs of both.
Bisky is a 57-year-old massive and muscular woman but remains in the form of a little girl for the most part because she doesn’t like her original looks.
She becomes extremely powerful in her muscular form.
In conclusion Bisky is a badass muscular woman who can turn into a little girl.
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11. Nico Robin (
So the first recurring anime on our list is
Robin was introduced in the series as the secondary antagonist of Arabasta Saga, but she eventually became the archaeologist of the Straw Hat Pirates.
Her backstory is amongst the best backstories in
It’s a pretty big deal considering the number of good characters in
12. Mikasa Ackerman (Attack on Titan)
Mentioning Attack on Titan characters in this list may seem unfair but Attack on Titan’s
And who better to mention first other than one of the main characters of the series: Mikasa Ackerman.
Mikasa has always been one of the fan-favourite characters in the series because of her being extremely tough.
Her back story made her an even better character because it gave meaning to her character and established future character arcs for her.
13. Olivier Mira Armstrong (
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood)
Olivier Mira Armstrong, also known as Major General Armstrong, also known as Ice Queen.
She’s one of the strongest protagonist side characters in the series, charged with protecting the country from the neighbouring country of Drachma.
Olivier is a competent character, a perfect example of how a leader should be.
While she is strict in her own ways, she gets a lot of respect from her subordinates because she cares for them and eventually gets the job done.
14. Tsukuyo (Gintama)
Tsukuyo is a ninja and the leader of an all-female para-military force that enforces the laws of Yoshiwara (a red-light district) and protects its women.
Tsukuyo’s character is a shonen tsundere trope done right.
She’s lovable and has a lot of quirkiness to her character.
Her chemistry with Gintoki is great and makes for one of the best character dynamics in the entire show.
15. Komugi (
Hunter x Hunter)
I’ll admit that Komugi’s character exists just for the development of Chimera Ant arc’s villain Meruem. But her role is still really pivotal.
Komugi is a genius Gungi player (a board game in
Meruem loses to her in Gungi, making her the first being to outdo Meruem in something.
Her interactions with Meruem changes his character, eventually making him one of the best villains in anime history. But that wouldn’t have been possible without Komugi.
16. Tsunade Senju (
The fifth Hokage of the Hidden Leaf Village, one of The Legendary Sannin and the most competent female in
Her being the strongest female character in the series was made pretty clear from the start of the series.
What viewers didn’t know was how she’d turn out to be such a tragic character in the series.
Tsunade lost her little brother, her boyfriend and her closest friend, but she was still able to move forward overcoming her sufferings for the benefit of her village.
It’s what made her a truly inspiring character.
17. Noelle Silva (Black Clover)
Noelle is one of those characters who get better and better as the series progresses.
In her introduction, she appeared to be your regular tsundere female lead but we soon discovered she was far from regular.
The series dove deeper into her character and we found out the things she had to go through despite being a noblewoman.
She got a character arc to overcome her insecurities, but the series didn’t stop there.
We are still progressively finding out more about her back story and Noelle is still developing, arc by arc.
18. Yoruichi Shihouin (Bleach)
Whenever there is a discussion about black characters in anime, Yoruichi is the one you can never ignore.
She is one of the most charismatic characters in Bleach and plays a pivotal supporting role.
Yoruichi Shihōin is the former captain of the 2nd Division of the Gotei 13, as well as the former commander of the Onmitsukidō.
Having abandoned her command of both, she works with Kisuke Urahara and Tessai Tsukabishi. It’s based out of the Urahara Shop in the Human World.
19. Trish Una (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind)
While boys protecting girls create hype moments in anime, girls protecting boys is equally impactful.
Trish is a prime example of that.
The daughter of the main villain of the show started as a character who never opened up to anyone but developed to be a useful ally to our protagonist, as she joined Bruno’s gang.
The best thing about her character development was that the moment she confronted her insecurities.
She also got her stand powers, creating not only a beautiful character arc but also creating a powerful moment when she saved the other boys.
20. Nobara Kugisaki (Jujutsu Kaisen)
Nobara is one of the best female anime leads, her being equally competent as the guys of the protagonist group is why she makes this list.
One of the best character traits of Nobara is her being self-confident. Be it her power or looks, she is extremely confident about herself in both divisions.
Additionally, her self confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Her back story gives her enough reasons to have the ideology she currently has.
She is also caring about other protagonists making her a likeable character.
21. Hange Zoë (Attack on Titan)
Hange was introduced in the series as a weird, strange, and funny character. A “mad scientist” to be precise.
Like many attack on titan characters, her character grew as she faced more deaths and was given more responsibilities.
Hange is a genius scientist and above average when it comes to 3D manoeuvre combat.
She is extremely passionate about her research and one of the only characters in the series who doesn’t work based on emotions.It’s more science and logic.
That doesn’t mean she is an emotionless cold-hearted person.
She does have her strong ideologies which get more apparent as the series progresses, but in spite of what happens she always manages to make us laugh.
22. Android 18 (
Dragon Ball Z & Dragon Ball Super)
We are ending this list with one of the first badass shonen females: Android 18.
While she might not be as “deep” as other characters in this list, she’s still deserving of this list thanks to her character.
Android 18 was introduced in the series as a cold-blooded villain, but it didn’t take long for her to join the good guys.
Her character dynamics with Krillin has been amazing since the start of their relationship.
She manages to be a badass character in the series while also being a competent housewife.
Feaured image: source
Can you add more female characters?