I think I did this list a long time ago, when I first joined Fanpop, but since then my opinion on things has slightly differed. Some female characters have stayed on their permanent spot, while others have been dropped off the line. Some new have been added.
What is consistent in this list, though, is that in general i love female characters, especially the animated ones. When well written, I often find them to be very interesting and appealing characters (that may be due to me being a woman, but I don't want to follow cliched gendered stereotypes).
This list may go into personal territories at times, so I warn you beforehand of this If you see me starting to speak about off-topic matters. But these female characters also in a way remind me of aspects of my personal life and passions so I think it's reasonable for me to speak about it.
It's based on this poll of mine:
This list will be very varied, and won't feature many Disney characters. I have eclectic tastes in media, and I like my personal lists and other things of mine to reflect that, so don't be surprised to see heroines from all over the field of animation to appear on this list.
So, without further ado, let's start this list!
15. Blue (Wolf's Rain)
I'll admit it, i'm not that much into anime, *Le collective gasp* Yes, I know it sounds strange, but I've rarely been particularly attracted to most of mainstream anime (which is often geared towards a more juvenile crowd/), so I often had a hard time finding an anime that stuck with me. Either they were too long, too stupid, or just not my thing.
In 2012 I began to diverge; and found different new things in media that attracted me, and in particular I found most joy in smaller anime. Shows that lasted for 30 or so episodes (at the most, 40 or 60 I could give it). I found the shorter they were the better they could tell their story without boring the audiences. And while being shorter, they could also showcase their characters more in a tighter pacing (therefore they could avoid the dreadful filler).
In particular, I fell in love with Wolf's Rain, a small anime that dealt with the story of a group of metamorphosing wolves in a dystopian future, trying their hardest to survive in a harsh world. The story was interesting, it had likable characters and showcased a few unpredictable twists here and there.
One of the show's main female characters, Blue, was a character that I instantly liked. Originally the pet dog of a hunter, Blue joins the wolves once she discovers her secret parentage (she's a half-wolf herself), and swears to help them and protect them in their quest to get to the safe lands, the Paradise.
Blue is an interesting character in that she's a mix (pun aside): she's a fighter as well as a lover, she's often fearless but also very compassionate. She gets to fight and kick butt but outside of the battlefield she is actually someone very calm, comforting and pleasant to talk to. She cares deeply, based on the affection she has for her owner/"father" Quent the hunter and for her eventual lover Hige.
I would watch Wolf's Rain again, just to analyze the characters once more, especially Blue.
14) Toothiana (Rise of the Guardians)
Coming from the beautifully drawn but shamefully overlooked Rise of the Guardians, Toothiana is the main female character of the story. While watching at first the film, one would get the impression that she could easily fall into the "Token Chick" cliche, but it's refreshingly averted as the movie plays out.
Toothiana, instead of being looked down or underestimated by the other characters of the film, is treated as an equal throughout the story; the other Guardians always acknowledge her and the young inexperienced Jack looks up to her for counsel as he does with the other Guardians (and the Man in the moon).
Toothiana is very likable and appealing due to her cheerful, friendly and positive attitude that she always tries to display; but she knows when to be quiet and serious, and respectively adopts such a pose as in the scenes where Pitch took her fairies, or when Sandy permanently died. She also fights when the situation calls for it, and thankfully the movie positions her as being as powerful as the other Guardians, and doesn't give her lame powers or weakens her to drive the story forward as other "superhero" movies do.
She's honestly a very sweet, brave, helpful and smart character who's often overlooked because she isn't as "tough" as smurfette principles in superhero teams should be nowadays (Marvel, I'm looking at you). And yet, in her cheeriness and friendliness, she comes out as being more unique and memorable than many other smurfettes out there.
13) Lucille (A Monster in Paris)
A spin-off of the Beauty character from Beauty and the Beast, Lucille may come off a little imposing at first; driving some viewers off due to her constant snark and slight finger-waving attitude (something that isn't featured that prominently in other Beauty-like characters like Belle or Christine Daaé).
And yet, she has a heart underneath all that attitude; based on the kindness she showed to Francoeur, the Beast of this story, as she took him in and gave him a home. She genuinely shows to have a caring heart throughout the film, as she constantly worries about Francoeur and Raoul (whom she may have a crush on...Even though she won't admit it at first).
Lucille is a fairly interesting character, and adds a lot of flavor to a character trope that would've ended up being stale if not for her uniqueness.
12) Rukia Kuchiki (Bleach)
Bleach is the only long anime that I'll tolerate, and even then I'll admit i grow bored of it at times, due to the repetitive nature of the story. Still, the characters are engaging, which is what makes the show enjoyable.
One of the most enjoyable characters is Rukia, the second main character of the series. I like how she's both cold and hot-blooded, calm and romantic, brave and sad. I like her lady of war stance, and I enjoy her quarrels with Ichigo.
I like how we see so many different aspects of her personality (how her life on the streets has hardened her in a certain way, how she appreciates cute girly imagery like plush toys and bunnies, how she seems to seek death at first after the death of her mentor), making her a very complex character. She's certainly enjoyable and memorable, and I for one can't get enough of her.
11) Princess Yum-Yum (The Thief and the Cobbler)
This is a funny little movie. It's very surreal and abstract in its animation, and I like how (at least in the original cut) it's a strange movie instead of a traditional Disney-esque movie, but that's where the charm lies, of course.
Princess Yum-Yum is interesting in that she's not much of a feisty princess, one like Jasmine to run away and cry to her father. Instead, she's very calm and subdued about the matter of being a princess. She's certainly not dumb, though, and will often comment on anything strange or unfair (in a rather subtle and intelligent manner).
Still, while we do see her enjoy her princess life, it's obvious she's worried about the state of the Kingdom and about the fact that the obvious villain Zig-Zag is her father's advisor. She wishes to help him, but even the king spends more time distracted by food and whores to pay attention to his daughter's warnings.
Yet, she's usually the one with the most common sense around; usually knowing what to do or offering a solution to a problem. Her relationship with Tack is rather sweet, as well, consisting mostly of hand-holding and staring at one another instead of over the top love proclamations. I like the calmness and quietness of their love, it's certainly unique.
10) Miriam (The Prince of Egypt)
I have to have this girl. When talking about this movie people usually roll to Tzipporah, and that's alright, but I often think Miriam is quite underestimated. Which is strange, considering she contributes much more to the story than Tzipporah (telling Moses the truth of his parentage, helping the baby land safely to the Queen's pool), and yet she receives less attention.
But it would be fitting, since Miriam tends to work like that. She doesn't bring much attention to herself, but she does help and contribute a lot. She's the help you don't notice at first, but then recognize how important her part was.
It's also brave and inspiring how she endured all those years of slavery and oppression and still managed to give hope and courage to others. She has a big heart, and she's not afraid of sharing her love with others.
She's a definitive inspiring heroine that needs more attention.
9) Renamon (from Digimon Tamers)
A strange choice no doubt, but understand that to me she is a very important character. Digimon is the anime I watched growing up, and to this day I still love it (yes, it's for kiddies, and yes, some parts are very silly, but other parts are still very good).
Renamon impressed me come the third season. While most people flocked to her tamer, Ruki, I was more drawn to the mysterious vixen. Something about her attitude just appealed to me. It must have been her silent strength, or how she managed to be both feminine and an powerful warrior at the same time. She was calm, motherly, independent, lonely, caring, elegant and mature. She spoke rarely but she often said the truth. While Ruki was cold and rash, Renamon was reflective and loving. She didn't show it openly, but her love was something silent and subtle. (even when Ruki mistreated her, which made me feel so sad for Rena).
There's just something about her that's very appealing. I don't know what. Might be that I'm a sucker for strong, elegant mature lady characters (base on my other faves, you could say so). Might be how despite not appearing as much as the other characters she did display a lot of personality. Not to mention she's got a gorgeous design (I'm such a sucker for her Mega...).
It's a shame she's got one of the worst fandoms around, though, because if it wasn't for all those crazy furries she'd have a better reputation. Still, the original character herself is a badass, and one that I wouldn't kick out of my list.
8) Aisling (The Secret of Kells)
My little Irish faire. <3 I love this movie on a whole, and Aisling's character is a particularly interesting one.
She's mysterious, and wary of humans; but she's also very friendly towards Brendan once she knows he means no harm to her, taking him on a trip throughout her forest and showing him all the beauty around.
I kinda like her soft mischievous attitude, that she seems to like causing a bit of trouble here and there, but she also knows when to be cautious (often when Brendan takes the helm). Her friendship and loyalty to Brendan is also a very sweet aspect of her, especially how she comes to his aid whenever he's in need (and often in situations where she could die, as well). I love their friendship, tbh, they're adorable.
7) Harley Quinn (Batman)
Perhaps the most engaging character out of the Batman mythos, she's also one of the most fun, complex, and realistic ones. Okay, so clown girls aren't that realistic, but how many girls exist that fall in love with cruel or abusive men? Unfortunately the count is way too many, but thankfully the show showcases the truth about these relationships instead of romanticizing them.
I like how polarizing her character in particular can be; one moment she's cute, the other moment she's dangerous, the next moment she'll be crying your eyes out. Whatever it is, the writers were certainly determined to make you feel something about her, be it positive, negative or both.
I like her; I like her cheery attitude and the personal demons she has to deal with on a daily basis. I like that she's more than a sexy villainess unlike the other women in Batman, there's certainly more of a character in her than "hot chick in spandex".
6) Pocahontas (from, well, Pocahontas)
One of my favorite princesses. I know many people take issue with her movie, and I understand the concerns, but I still can't help liking her character.
For one, I like the development she goes through in her movie. I like how she starts as a playful but then grows into a selfless woman ready to guide her people. I like her calmness, her elegant demeanor whenever she moves, her relationship with nature...
I also like and somewhat relate to the feeling of not knowing what to do with your life or where to go, if's often something that everyone goes through at an early stage of life, and i like how it's reflected in the movie (Pocahontas often doing other things to distract herself from thinking of it, asking counsel from everyone else...). It's downplayed so it doesn't become a big thing, but it's also well-handled to not pass off as a simple headcanon.
Her bravery, her quiet strength, her preference for peace over war...Those are just some of the things that I like about her.
5) Rogue (X Men)
There's nothing like some Southern comfort. <3 Here we have another flawed tomboy (my favorite type of female character after the responsible feminine lady); Rogue is loud, brash, ready to get into fights, a bit flirty...But she also has some massive demons to deal with. Namely, the fact that she can't touch anyone without leaving that person in her coma of her powers seriously affecting her mental sanity, what with absorbing the memories of others, they interlope with hers and create an ugly mish-mash in her head.
Sometimes it's too hard for her, and she just wishes she could lead a normal life...Until she realizes that she just has to deal with it, that the fate of mutant kind is more important than her personal wishes. As she gets more confident in her abilities, she can also control her powers better. It's not easy, but it's something.
Rogue just carries this message of perseverance "just keep going, just keep going...", to endure when life gives you shit. Sure, at times she may be too harsh, and not too pleasant, but she knows how real things are, and knows how to deal with them.
4) Mary Jane Watson (Spider-man)
Oooh, MJ...Easily Marvel's new punching bag. Which I don't get, at all. For being a non-superhero, MJ is easily one of superhero comics' best characters (not just of Marvel, but DC as well).
For starters, that party girl persona she shows in public? It's just a disguise. Mary Jane comes from an abusive home, and in order to deal with it, she tries her best to be distracted by it by adopting a different personality when going out with friends. The abuse has affected her deeply, which is why she initially comes off as careless and a little selfish; she doesn't want to trust again due to being hurt before. It's a big part of her character to deal with her trauma as she moves forward in life.
And then there's Peter...Oh Peter. They're easily one of the best superhero couples, due to how they balance each other out. He's the introvert to her extrovert, the goofball to her responsible figure, the rock to support each other with...When well written, they end up being a loving, funny, enjoyable, loyal, supportive couple Though MJ is not a super heroine, she's learned over the years to fight and defend herself, so she can stand her own in a fight (and has often beaten many of Spidey's rogues gallery). And even if she can't swing around like Peter, she often offers him help and counsel when he's in need (she tells him of Venom's weaknesses so he can defeat him, evacuates places where Spidey is fighting so no civilian gets hurt...).
Not to mention that she's fun
. Have I said that again? She likes hanging out, partying, working at the theater/movies, having a fun time, telling jokes (almost as much as Peter)... Whenever she's on page it's always a blast to see, because you're always guaranteed to have a good time reading about her.
I don't get why Marvel has suddenly began to hate her in the later years and instead has started obsessing over Spider-Mary Sue characters (Carlie Cooper, Silk, new Gwen Stacy), but no matter what; the best and most complex character out of all of them is MJ. One day she will be back, one way or another.
3) Merida (Brave)
My favorite Disney Princess. <3 At first I didn't like Merida, I thought she was very selfish and bratty and kinda unpleasant (not to mention the way tumblr reacted to her ruined her for me for some time).
But time passed, and I watched Brave again, and then I realized actually how likable Merida was, by being so realistic
. I liked her youthful rebellion, her funny and adventurous side, and I liked her difficulty with admitting she was wrong in her acts (I seem to like flawed tomboys- check out Rogue again).
I'll tell you a secret: I have a certain difficulty getting along with parental figures. More often than not we'll end up disagreeing on many things. And that's kinda what I liked about Merida/Brave as a whole, I liked how it showed the difficulty of parent/daughter relationships (yes, I know it's been done to death, but I kinda felt it worked in this movie than in other things, especially since neither the figure of the rebellious daughter or the stern parent was romanticized or idealized- they were both shown with good aspects but also with flaws).
Besides that, she goes through a lot of change in her movie, and I like that. I like that she left her spoiled stubborn past self behind and turned into a smart girl who knows when to use peace and when to fight. Of all the princesses, I would like to see her grow and develop more, maybe into her adulthood.
2) Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch (Marvel)
One of Marvel's most complex characters (and certainly its best female character). Wanda is an interesting character no matter in what angle you look at her. She has so many different things that make up her character, that deserve their own exploration: her relationship with her father, her Roma ancestry, her relationship with her brother, her problem with her powers...
Yet, despite all the hardships she endures, she still comes out as strong and very compassionate. Even after she screws up, she wants to do better, to help others who may be in a similar position as her. She never stops being brave or being kind or helping others, and that's very nice to see.
She's also a bit of the quiet, sophisticated lady trope, which I like. Marvel (particularly the MCU) is littered with "strong female characters" everywhere, but I like seeing one like Wanda, who's powerful but also vulnerable and openly displays her emotions without any problem. I feel the other girls are too boring because they're similar personality wise (they're all either quirky scientists or snarky unemotional fighters).
And her relationship with Pietro is very tender. <3 they will fight and quarrel and disagree on things, but eventually they'll always stand together. I hope Marvel doesn't reconsider splitting them apart and keep them having adventures together.
Now, before we get to our number one, I'll like to talk of a few honorable mentions (whom I still like, but couldn't make it to the list):
-Aurora- Princess classic, I like her calm demeanor and elegant personality
-Tiana- An inspiring princess. She reminds me a lot of many loved ones I have IRL who always wanted the best for me, so maybe that's why I like her.
-Misa Amane- She's another Harley, but she's got the same type of charm.
And others...And others...
Now, the moment you've all been waiting for...
And the number one favorite animated female character is...
1) The Unicorn/the Lady Amalthea (The Last Unicorn)
MY QUEEN. Agh, no matter what, she'll always be my favorite fictional character ever. I began appreciating her around 2012, and since then I never stopped adoring her.
Why do I like her so much? I'm not sure why, it's just that her character appeals massively to me. I like her aloofness, her coldness, her initial pride/vanity, her emotional vulnerability when she's a woman, her elegant and feminine nature, her wisdom, her short-handed comments, how she notices things from others that may not be pleasant to hear, but they're right...
In a way I like this character, I like how she showcases different aspects of her personality without ending up as a cliche (neither princess nor angry bitch). I like how in a way she kinda stands out with her quiet, cold and thoughtful personality against the sweet heroines and sassy action girls from other animated movies.
in a way I admire this character. In a way I wish to be more like this character (more graceful, more feminine, more able to keep calm in tough situations or hide my emotions well...), I find her that inspiring.
That, and I think she has a beautiful design. I may be soft on the whole "fantasy" look, but overall she pulls off the "magical white hair" look the best, with her soft features and tall figure. The way her hair is drawn is mezmering, and her eyes have the loveliest shade of purple...She's easily one of the most beautiful animated characters ever created.
She's a beautiful character and my only critique is that I wish she was more well-known (but in a weird way, I kinda like that she's a little unknown, makes her a little more unique to me). I just hope to see her book turn into a live action movie eventually.
With all that said and done, i hope you guys enjoyed this article. It was certainly fun writing it!