Marina’s Favorite 5 – Heroines

After watching as much anime as I have, it’s inevitable that favorites will soon emerge.  These are the girls who grabbed my affections and wiggled their ways into my heart.  These are the girls who made me wish I could be their friend and ring them up for some hanging out.  These are the girls who I admire and respect, and at times, who I wish I could be like.  Thank you for your sweetness, mischievousness, courage, and fortitude.

  • Akari in her gondola

    Mizunashi Akari of ARIA
    Pure-hearted joy and kindness manifest themselves in the form of Akari, the main character of the three-season anime, ARIA.  Newly arrived to the planet of Aqua (terra-formed Mars) from her home in Manhome (a parallel Earth), she faces her unknown surroundings with wide-eyed wonder.  Akari shares an equal amount of wonder for her job and the people she encounters.  This friendly curiosity for everything and everyone makes it very difficult for anyone to dislike her, and me least of all.  Like the city of Neo Venezia, I find myself opening my heart and wanting to know more about Mizunashi Akari, the undine with a smile as warm as the most delicious cup of cocoa on a winter evening.

  • Horo loves her apples, and so do I

    Horo (a.k.a. Holo) of Spice & Wolf
    All hail the god of harvest, the wise wolf: Horo.  With her magnificent tail, naughty smile, and never ending beer and apples, she easily nabs her place in my favorites, as well as my loyal votes in the International Saimoe League.  Her many years bring her wisdom garnered from experience, wisdom that often saves the money purses and lives of those who travel with her; unfortunately, that means opposing parties don’t fair so well.  Horo also exhibits a fair amount of raw sexuality tempered with unexpected moments of vulnerability.  This juxtaposition of physicality endears her even more to me since shallowness and predictability are the first characteristics to make me lose interest.  Bring your largest keg of beer, but be careful to not partake too much, as you’ll need your wits about you to parley with she of the magnificent tail!

  • Balsa the spear-wielder

    Balsa of Seirei no Moribito
    Yet again, my favorites include another mature woman, an age bracket that is difficult to find in moe tournaments.  “She’s too old” is a phrase I’ve heard time and time again when nomination results come out, but Balsa proves that age holds no ground on her coolness factor.  Of all my favorites, she’s the one I would love to be like the most–not because of her martial prowess, but because of her utter confidence and strength of character.  From a very young age, she learned to depend only on her own power and intelligence, which over time turned her into an extremely capable and formidable woman.  This dominant force does not detract from her capability for compassion, of which she exhibits to great degrees again and again.

  • Tsukushi, a name that also doubles for a difficult-to-kill weed

    Makino Tsukushi of Hana Yori Dango
    Makino Tsukushi entered into the ring from the very start, as Hana Yori Dango was the 3rd anime series I ever completed.  Much like my previously named favorites, Tsukushi-chan exercises for force of will on a daily basis, not allowing meager funds or prejudices to bring her down.  Just taking a look at the popularity of this show across Asia, you’ll find manga, an anime series, an anime film, a J-drama, a T-drama, and most recently, a K-drama.  Her underdog status, coupled with her pure, weed-like stubbornness, make it very tough to dislike her.  Tsukushi-chan truly understands the meaning of hard work and determination, reflecting this awareness in her studies, love life, and overall life philosophy.  I can proudly say that I’m a fan of all her renditions in animation and live action.

  • Victorique and her mountain of knowledge

    Victorique de Blois (Victorica, Broix, w/e) of GOSICK
    Victorique, or as I used to call her, Victorica, is a recent addition to my list.  GOSICK most definitely isn’t one of m favorite animes, as I find it a little to predictable and irreconcilable with its supposed 1920s time frame, but I still enjoy the overall plot idea and characters.  Victorique is the main reason for this, with her absolute conviction in her mental capacity.  I also have a great weakness for Victorian clothing and ridiculous looking foods, both of which she has in great amounts.  Victorique’s dark consummation, birth, and rearing makes her wary of close contact with outsiders, as she has had little to teach her otherwise of mankind’s capacity for kindness.  However, never ending supplies of literature and news articles raise her intelligence and reasoning far above that of the average citizen.  It is her astuteness that dictates her reason for existence, as well as chains her to her father’s will.  Adversely, it also allows her brief moments of happiness with her closest friend and ally, protagonist Kujo.  Never say “never” to this re-constructor of chaos; no mystery is too great for the Golden Fairy to solve.

Much like my list of favorite anime, this list is subject to change, and most likely will change with the more girls I see.  Feel free to share your thoughts on my favorites, as well as your own preferences!

26 thoughts on “Marina’s Favorite 5 – Heroines

    • Well of course I think that that’s a shame.🙂 I highly encourage you to watch Seirei no Moribito, but the other two I find are a bit more eclectic. ARIA runs the risk of putting many people to sleep, while Hana Yori Dango is a pretty made-for-girls kinda anime (drama, drama, drama). I’m not saying you shouldn’t check them out, though!

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  1. Well never watched Aria but did see the rest. My personal recent favs
    i) Homura (Madoka Magica), she could enter saiGar and saiMoe together and not seem like a freak of nature
    ii) Yui (K-On), yes an airhead but one that exemplifies positivity and a love for life
    iii) Madoka (Madoka Magica), top of the class in terms of being a good normal person (with a dose of courage). The one you wish your daughter would be like.
    iv) Yuri (Angel Beats), High intellect and ruthless (perfect leader if aiming for results) yet puts others ahead of herself but when the burden is put down in the last episode, shows a different side to her.
    v) Enma Ai (Jigoku Shoujo), doing a thankless job for 300 years alone is praise worthy but she still finds the strength to forgive and sacrifice herself for others.

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    • I’m glad to see that I’m familiar with all the girls who are you favorites🙂 I definitely like Homura a lot, but my favorite from MSMM would have to be Kyouko. I love her design and character. Plus, I always have a weak spot for girls who munch a lot on food, particularly apples!

      Thanks for sharing your favorites!

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  2. In no particular order, my top 5 would be Lina Inverse, Naomi Armitage, Haruko Haruhara, Iria (from Iria: Zeiram), and San.

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    • Well, I am most definitely not familiar with at least 3 of those characters. When you say “San,” are you referring to the San from Princess Mononoke? As for Haruhara–I could never really get into FLCL. Maybe I need to re-watch it, since I watched it way back as a beginner to anime and it was a little to out-there at that time for me. I’m also surprised that your top five doesn’t include Chii, since you have talked to me quite a bit about her on here.

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      • Would Chii be considered a heroine? She seemed to passive to fit that role, but you’re right I do like the series. She also doesn’t fit my typical heroine type–short, spunky, badass, and independent but looking for someone.

        The craziness of FLCL is what I adored. San is from Mononoke, and which 3 are you unfamilar with? My guess would be Lina, Armitage, and Iria; if Lina is in that group I’m a bit surrpised, but also expected, if that makes sense.

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      • Hmmm, I would consider Chii a heroine…I see her as a hero in her own kind of way. But I haven’t seen the show in ages and could be remembering the show wrong. And yes, I’m unfamiliar with Lina, Armitage, and Iria.

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  3. Good choices. I’d pass on Makino Tsukushi, but then I was a newcomer to shojo when I tried Hana Yori Dango – maybe I should go back & watch it again, now that I’m a shojo anime 3-dan.
    Unranked:
    Alpha-san of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou,
    Akari of Aria,
    Nausicaa,
    Horo from Spice & Wolf, and
    Miyazawa Yukino of Kare Kano.

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    • I do encourage you to take a look again at HYD; it’s an old favorite shoujo of mine that I can’t recommend enough to shoujo lovers🙂

      I know all the girls you name except for one: Alpha-san of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. I see that it’s an OVA with 2 releases, making for 4 total episodes. It’s amazing that with only 4 episodes that a character has become your favorite; she must be one fascinating girl! I’ll have to check it out some time🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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      • The 4 little OVA episodes were my introduction, but mostly Alpha-san lives in a 140-chapter manga that moves like a slow cloud across the sky. Not much happens, but it’s super peaceful & beautiful. Strictly for those who like it slow. She’s my role mode – I ask myself: what would Alpha-san do?
        http://www.7manga.com/manga/1538.html

        I’ll go back to HYD on your recommendation!

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      • Hmm, this is tough. If it were just female characters in general, I think I could summon up a few in my mind, but ‘heroines’ in particular, eh? The only ones I can think of that I liked are Rin from ‘Blade of the Immortal’ and Nina from ‘Monster’. If Faye from ‘Cowboy Bebop’ counts, then definitely her too. (Although she’s probably more of an anti-hero than a ‘heroine’ in regard to her personality.)

        I’m unfortunately not familiar with any of the ones you listed except for Balsa…and even with her, I only saw one or two episodes of Moribito, so I should really continue that series someday. From what little I saw, I was impressed, though — it’s always nice to see an older, mature character rather than the typical schoolgirl type that Anime/Manga loves so much. Balsa seemed to have a sort of quiet mental strength to her, too — she carried herself with a lot of confidence, but never swaggered around or went overboard.

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      • It’s funny that most people who have commented have noted the differences between heroines and other types of character positions; when I originally thought of this post, I intended for it to include all females in general. Whoops! Coincidentally, however, all my girls/women ended up being “heroines” anyway.

        I’ve never seen Blade of the Immortal, but I definitely agree on liking Nina from Monster (which I find is sort of under appreciated). Faye is a tough case, like you note, since she opposes the main cast at the beginning. As for Balsa, I like that you note her “quiet mental strength,” which I totally think she has mastered. There’s an episode where she even notices how unaccustomed she is to talking to a companion since she’s usually on her own. For the most part, she displays no loud anger, but has more of a cold fury.

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  4. I know all the characters, but I haven’t seen any of those shows. Feels bad man. Looks like I need to watch more anime. xD

    Hmmm… who are my own heroines? I should write a blog post about it…
    It’s weird. The only women that I can think of that I truly respect are Nami (One Piece), Anri (Durarara), Riza Hawkeye (FMA) and Kagura (Gintama).

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    • I’m familiar with all your girls/anime except for Gintama. One Piece I picked up for a bit, then dropped after only 20-some episodes. I absolutely adore Anri and Riza.

      I recommend that you try out some of my anime🙂 I can’t say whether or not you’ll like them at all, but it doesn’t hurt to find out!

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      • Yeah, I should definitely try some of those out! I’m pretty open to all kinds of genres (not so much mecha, though), so there’s a good chance I’ll find something enjoyable in all of them.

        Gintama is extremely hilarious. I got the title of my own blog from Gintama. Well, I already loved strawberry milk, but when I found out that Gintoki loved it just as much, I knew I had to title my blog after it.

        Awww, I know One Piece is long, but I absolutely love it. Along with Brotherhood, it’s my favorite anime of all time. The characters are all developed very well and are incredibly lovable, the powers (devil fruits) and the art are both very unique, the plot is paced perfectly, and after watching 490 episodes of it, the characters all feel like family. I know that’s all my shonen-loving opinion, but I really do recommend it, and if you have some spare time, please try watching it again.

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  5. Unfortunately I don’t know Balsa nor Tsukushi from your list as I never watched the shows they’re from. Have to completely agree with Akari, as she also one of my very top. Horo is also very high for me. Unsure about Victory, as ‘im only up to episode 4 of Gosick (plan to cath up soon…), ans so far she was ok but didn’t strike me as very likeable.

    For my personal list, my favorite one by far is Evangeline from Mahou Sensei Negima. Then after that the girls who I like the most, in no specific order: Hirasawa Yui (K-ON!), Kousaka Kirino (Oreimo), Nagato Yuki (Haruhi), Fate Testarossa (Nanoha), Kagurazaka Asuna (Negima), Kushieda Minori (Toradora), Furude Rika (Higurashi), Mizunashi Akari (Aria), and Hoshino Ruri (Nadesico). A newer one that I also liked a lot, althought not from an anime but from a strategy rpg eroge, is Retia Adolf (Daiteikoku).

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    • I think the further you get into GOSICK, the higher up on your moe list Victorique will climb. She has some horrendously adorable moments in the show, and also moments of vulnerability where you want to swoop in and save her.

      Thanks for sharing the rest of your favorites! You certainly have a lot :p From your list, I agree with Nagato Yuki and Furude Rika as being very high up on my like list. The others are either just regular “like” or “don’t know.”

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  6. The only one I don’t know on this list is Makino as I’ve never even heard of Hana Yori Dango. I don’t think I’d ever be able to make a list of favorites like this because there have been too many female characters in anime that have impressed me. If I did, I’m sure Holo, Victorique, and Balsa would all be on there. As for the girls in ARIA, I think I might have Florence Alicia on the list as opposed to Akari for two very special moments in the OVA and the last episode of Origination.

    Others I might put on there would be Saber from F/SN (the VN, not the anime), Riza Hawkeye from FMA: Brotherhood, and Yoko from Twelve Kingdoms.

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    • Well, Hana Yori Dango is a definite shoujo anime, for girls who love romance. SO, if that’s right up your alley, then I suggest you try it out. The art style is old since it’s an old anime, but the story is great. There are also several adaptations, such as the Japanese, Taiwanese, and Korean live action drama remakes.

      Yoko was very close to getting on my list since I absolutely love her, and that whole anime. Who knows, my favorites are always changing, so maybe in another year I’ll have to update that list.

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  7. Agreed, hands down!!😀

    I just started watching “Seirei” last night, and immediately resonated with Balsa! Not only because she’s also a martial artist (I’m a first dan in Taekwondo), but because she’s 30!! *jawdrop* OMG!! A heroine MY age!! Oh, I love it!!

    And, I could so be her… except I suck with bo staff. Now a pair of sai, on the other hand… (;

    I’ll have to take a look at GOSICK… sounds interesting. Have you seen the live action version of HYD? It’s awesome and re-watchable forever. :3

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    • Ha! Yes, it’s especially interesting when the character are, like you say, close in age to me as the viewer. I’m not quite 30, but it won’t be too long before I’m there! That’s fantastic that you have martial arts experience; I’m none to graceful outside of the music world, and would most likely trip over Balsa’s spear :p

      And I have seen almost every version of HYD: the anime, the J-drama, the K-drama version, and even the T-drama version. I’ve also read the manga and seen the Japanese film adaptation. They’re all wonderful for a viewer who loves the characters and the story🙂

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  8. Hmm…my top 5 heroines in anime…
    Nausicaa definitely strikes a chord…
    I will always have a special place reserved for Aaeru from Simoun…she never ceases to amaze me with her spirit.
    Revy from Black Lagoon…
    this may seem like an odd one, but Kiki from Witch’s Delivery Service! I love her and Jiji so much! Also partially a nostalgia factor, I’m sure…
    aaand Shizuku from Whisper of the Heart…a part of it is that I watched it when I was around the same age group (around 11-13) and aspire(d) to be a writer…and, well, she’s just so…human, y’know?

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    • You know, I have watched most of Simoun, but could never get around to finishing it. But I agree, Aaeru is a great character! I usually appreciate the positive girls who are able to look past the problems to create their own opportunities. Revy is pretty cool too, though I have to watch the second season. I’m just going to go out and buy it I think since I’ve so far been unable to find a good copy elsewhere.

      The two Ghibli leads are really just general great archetypes for Miyazaki’s films. They always seem very similar, not just in face, but also in spirit. Shizuka’s additional writing creativity also strikes a chord with me since I loved making up stories as a little girl. Maybe I’ll do so again someday, and maybe you too!🙂

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