Top 10 Female Anime Characters of 2011

As promised, here’s the next part in my three-part 2011 Anime Year in Review series. From the Top 10 Male Anime Characters of 2011 we now move on to the fairer sex, as we count down the Top 10 Female Anime Characters of 2011. As for why I’m promoting this with a Madoka Magica group picture, it’s because no fewer than 3 of these 5 girls made my Top 10 list, and the other 2 could be considered ‘honorable mentions’. To find out which three made it, and precisely where they finished, please read on! 😉

While keeping in mind that the same disclaimers I made for the Top 10 Male Anime Characters of 2011 also applies here, let’s kick off this triumphant tribute to girl power! I give to you my personal listing of the Top 10 Female Anime Characters of 2011!

 

10. Potte, Fu Sawatari (Tamayura ~Hitotose~)

Tamayura ~Hitotose~ is definitely one of the unsung hero titles of the anime world of 2011. It sadly generated little discussion, even relative to other less noticed gems like Usagi Drop and Ikoku Meiro no Croisée. Still, in spite of this, I found that Tamayura ~Hitotose~ represented the hearty Heavenly heights that ‘healing anime’ can reach when it presents itself with smooth subtle sincerity and good execution. While these heights were reached primarily due to a strong ensemble cast performance, I do think that Potte was ultimately the character that had the most to do with that rise. Her personal story lay at the core of the narrative, and it was a story that managed to bring me to tears in the very first episode, that was how instantly beautiful and touching I found it to be. Keep in mind here that I am not a person easily moved by anime, as I can count on my fingers the number of times an anime has left me teary eyed. However, Potte’s intensely illuminating innocence, in spite of personal tragedy in the form of losing her beloved father at a young age, was truly a sight to behold and a welcomed reminder of how people can overcome lost without becoming very bitter or jaded. Instead, Potte eventually came to terms with her loss, and carried on the legacy of her father, by adopting both his old-fashioned camera as well as his love for photography. If I ever have a daughter, I’d be very proud if she was like Fu Sawatari (Potte being her nickname).

 

9. Minami Kawashima (Moshidora)

Another female anime character that could do a father proud is Minami Kawashima. Minami is also similar to Potte in that she to came from one of the lesser known anime shows of 2011, Moshidora. Moshidora had a decidedly ‘edutainment’ feel to it, being explicitly inspired by the business management philosophies of Peter Drucker. Minami took those philosophies, and applied them comprehensively to the business of managing a high school baseball team. It made for intellectually intriguing insights into how one can adapt business strategies for helpful use in different contexts. While Moshidora was admittedly never perfectly clear on how this all worked, the earnestness and temperance of its lead character Minami went a long way to adding weight and credibility to what Moshidora was trying to achieve. Also, while Moshidora did start somewhat slowly, it did end up being a very enjoyable watch for me personally. So due in large part to Minami, I think we saw how the modern anime world can be used to convey and develop practical ideas and themes, while still being a pleasantly entertaining watch. It also helped that Minami did have her highly emotional moments, where she became unglued and hence more human in a way. On a personal note, Minami made me think of a more realistic and saner Haruhi Suzumiya, and being a big Haruhi fan myself, this admittedly went a long way to me liking Minami’s character.

 

8. Himari Takakura, Princess of the Crystal (Mawaru Penguindrum)

While Himari wasn’t one of my favorite anime characters of 2011, she did end up being one of the more fascinating anime characters of 2011, due in part to the nebulous relationship between the human Himari and the Princess of the Crystal persona that takes over her body during the scintillating “Survival Strategy!” sequences. Given that the exact nature of the Princess of the Crystal has been left in question a bit, it’s hard for me to separate that persona from Himari herself, and so ‘both’ of them share this spot on my Top 10 list. Also, I found that the two personae complimented one another. Himari tended to be meek, mild, milquetoast. She was certainly likable, but she could lack presence. As the PotC, though, Himari was bold, brash, brazen even. The contrast between the two was breathtaking to behold, precisely because they occupied the same body. Another factor that helped Himari’s character appeal a lot was a steady stream of flashbacks for her, starting in Episode 10. Through these flashbacks we slowly but steadily learned more and more about Himari, rounding her character into shape, and showing that there was actually a lot of depth to her beneath the sugary sweet surface. Also, Himari’s challenge was a difficult one: Making viewers believe that this was a person that Kanba, Shouma, and Ringo would all be willing to sacrifice themselves for. In the end, I think Himari met that challenge, and that’s a big reason why she’s on this list.

 

7. Chihaya (Chihayafuru)

From a character of brilliant contrasts we shift to a character of compelling consistency. We see Chihaya as a child, and we see her as a young adult, and we see that through it all, she remains the same socially awkward but superbly strong-spirited girl. Chihaya’s penultimately powerful passions permeate the work that fittingly bears her name, and since Chihayafuru has been one of the fantastically finest Fall 2011 anime shows, it’s only fair to give Chihaya due credit for the major role she plays in making that anime be as good as it is. While other characters, most notable Kanade and Taichi, add a great deal of needed nuance and color to the work, it is Chihaya that is the heart and soul of Chihayafuru. More than any other character, she pushes the plot forward, and she represents the themes of the work. Nowhere is this more clear than how young Chihaya stood up for young Arata in the face of bullying, even against her own good friend Taichi in the process. This gave Chihaya lasting moral credentials, and speaks to Chihayafuru’s theme that just because a person is different or unusual doesn’t mean that he or she should be condemned and ostracized. Chihaya is a modern day heroic figure, in this regard. A lovely young woman, but one who’s greatest beauty is of the inner sort.

 

6. Madoka Kaname (Madoka Magica)

Ah, but there is perhaps no female anime character of 2011 with more inner beauty than what Madoka boasts. Or, rather, she could boast about it if she was not such a humble sort who tends to see herself as less than what she actually is. As the titular character of the best-selling TV series anime of 2011 (thus far, at least), there is no question that Madoka has been an impressively influential anime character this year. Furthermore, her character design is magical girl aesthetics in its purest form. Madoka represents the spirit of the magical girl genre itself, and she hence plays an essential role in what Gen Urobuchi attempted to do in Madoka Magica. Madoka has a mixture of humility, femininity, altruism, and guarded hopefulness that I think exemplifies what the magical girl genre is all about. And so in her we see both the best, and the worst, inherent qualities of the genre. It is her successes, and her failures, that most clearly tell the tale of deconstruction and reconstruction that I think Madoka Magica was all about. In a more basic sense, this makes Madoka very likable, but also mildly exasperating in some ways. On the whole, I think she was a wonderful character, and she’s one of my favorites of all-time, but I can see why some found her overly inactive during most of the narrative that bears her name.

 

5. Sayaka Miki (Madoka Magica)

 

When it comes to degree of activity, Sayaka is the ying to Madoka’s yang. The two best friends are similar in many ways, but one way that they differ markedly is in how quick and eager they are to take decisive action. While Madoka is quite cautious, arguably to a fault, Sayaka can at times be downright impulsive. And yet, even when she is impulsive, Sayaka’s actions and choices are always informed by what I would call a slightly idealized form of conventional morality. What I mean by this is that Sayaka is more or less a normal girl of conventional moral values that I think are pretty reflective of common human values in general, but Sayaka always takes these values to their logical ends. This makes Sayaka, in my view, a bit of a “Everyman Hero”. She’s simply a good young woman, who’s strengths and flaws are reflective of many people. This makes her very likable to me, as she adds a great deal to the immersion value of Madoka Magica. It also makes Sayaka’s eventual descent so magnificently effective when it comes to what I think Gen was aiming for with her. Basically, Sayaka shows as well as any character could how deeply flawed and corrupted the Puella Magi system of Madoka Magica is. If it can so cruelly victimize her, then that speaks profoundly to how horrible the system is, and to its potential for victimizing countless innocent teenage girls. Sayaka’s descent, though very tragic and sad, is probably essential for fully displaying the great evil that Madoka must confront and overcome. So Sayaka’s role in the narrative is much more indispensable than I think many viewers realize. Not only does Sayaka carry the middle portions of the narrative, she also plays a central role in framing Madoka’s final act, and showing why that act was both necessary and the right way for the anime to end. On a personal note, I also completely love Sayaka’s character design, as its a glorious fusion of so many different character types I love: Magical Girl, Super Hero (Sayaka’s Cape), and Chivalrous Knight/Paladin.

 

4. Ringo Oginome (Mawaru Penguindrum)

 

Ah, but one character with a notably normal “girl next door” character design is Ringo Oginome. Yet this normalcy not only does not limit Ringo’s effectiveness as a main cast character, I think it may even aid it. Over the course of Mawaru Penguindrum, Ringo goes from a ‘crazy stalker girl’ to the most normal and sane character in the cast. What is quite remarkable about this is that the anime achieves this completely seamlessly, with her characterization never feeling uneven because of it. While the Takakura brothers grow ever more mentally disturbed, Ringo regains her faculties and becomes increasingly stable.  As such, the “straight man” and the “crazy fun” characters become juxtaposed. Ringo now becomes the viewer “touch-point” character, a role once played by the Takakura brothers, while the Takakura brothers descend into demented self-loathing and crazy terrorist activities respectively. As the viewer touch-point character, I found Ringo exquisitely elegantly effective. She is truly a sweet, caring girl who’s relentlessness in the face of adversity is to be admired. A fearlessly faithful friend, who in some ways combines the best of Sayaka Miki and Madoka Kaname. Perhaps for that reason, Ringo achieved a happy end. However, if there’s one word that I think sums up what made Ringo so great a character, I think it’s this word: Soulful. For all of her normal looks, Ringo is simply overflowing with emotion, zeal, charm, and style. She is truly the soulful girl next door.

 

3. Ohana Matsumae (Hanasaku Iroha)

 

Another girl who is soulful in her own right, though, is Hanasaku Iroha’s Ohana. Ohana, I would argue, took that swashbuckling shonen spirit, and put it inside of a teenage girl character in a slice of life anime. This made for a remarkable combination of popular anime elements, even when much of the rest of the cast was unremarkable (or even remarkably bad, in some cases). Ohana definitely deserves no less than the No. 3 spot on this list for one very simple reason: More than any other character on this list, she carried the anime that she was in, through good times and bad. There’s no character that was more valuable to the anime that they starred in than what Ohana was to her’s. While Minami and Chihaya are definitely the heart of their respective anime shows, both of them were well-supported by a strong and diverse supporting cast. I typically couldn’t say the same for Ohana, though I will admit that Hanasaku Iroha’s supporting cast ended up being better than I first thought. Still, if not for Ohana, I wonder if I would have even made it through Hanasaku Iroha. The irony there is that Hanasaku Iroha ultimately ended up being one of my favorite anime shows of the year, as it’s final arc was outstandingly excellent. But I never would have managed to get there if not for the spectacularly sparkling shounen heroine with the marvelously moe mannerisms. Ohana was simply a joy to watch, and she was why I had the patience necessary in order to fully enjoy Hanasaku Iroha. I hope we see more of Ohana in the future, because nobody fests it up like she does. 😉

 

2. Akemi Homura (Madoka Magica)

Still, Akemi Homura is also quite good at festing it up. Just ask Walpurgisnacht. Homura is probably the most popular new anime character of 2011. For me personally, I like her, Madoka, and Sayaka, all about equally well, albeit for significantly different reasons in each case. However, popularity itself can be important, and may show if a character is having the desired effect of the individual who first wrote her. By that measure, Homura has been incredibly effective. I do think that Homura is very “cool”, and that she added a lot of that commercially important “cool” factor to Madoka Magica. The more famous Dark Magical Girls (Fate Testarossa being a good example here) tend to be well-beloved due to that “cool” factor. But Homura put a welcomed new spin on that old Dark Magical Girl idea. Typically, you see, the Dark Magical Girl starts out as genuinely antagonistic and needs to be reformed/”saved” by the titular magical girl. Conventionally, the Dark Magical Girl has a sympathetic, passionate cause that overrides everything else for her, but that cause runs contrary to the titular magical girl. However, Homura puts an interesting twist on this in that, for her, the passionate overriding cause is… the titular magical girl herself. Madoka herself is why Homura does what she does. When you really think about it, this is a pretty mind-blowing twist on a magical girl genre convention. The reason being is that it’s usually through the titular magical girl reaching out to the dark magical girl and befriending her that the dark magical girl becomes reformed. In this case, the dark magical girl is a dark magical girl precisely because of such “reaching out”. You could even say that Madoka inspired Homura to become a “dark magical girl”. As with Madoka and Sayaka before her, I think that Homura also has a great character design that suits her personality and character role beautifully.

Now, given the mammoth impact that Homura had on the anime world in 2011, some may wonder who could possibly finish ahead of her,and why? Well, let me now answer that question.

 

I give to you the Top Female Anime Character of 2011. As with the Top Male Anime Character of 2011, I think it calls for a drum roll and an imperial tuturu

 

1. Kurisu Makise (Steins;Gate)

Kurisu shares some similar strengths with Homura, but she has a couple key advantages over her for me. While Homura puts a nice new spin on a popular anime archetype, Kurisu doesn’t merely spin the tsundere character type, she revolutionized it. Also, Kurisuo frankly made that anime archetype relatable and relevant again. Finally, while Dark Magical Girls aren’t rare, they’re also nowhere near as common (and hence predominant/influential) within the anime industry as the tsundere archetype is. Tsunderes are found everywhere in the anime world, and the future of that archetype will have a lot to say about the future of anime as a whole. This is why Kurisu being the perfect tsundere was such important and welcomed news to me, as I delved into before on this site. Since I already covered a lot of ground there in that post, I’m not going to waste the time of regular readers of this blog by restating it all anew.

So let me instead focus on the second key advantage that Kurisu holds over Homura. While I think that both characters are great representations of “strong character (female)”, I think that Kurisu is a bit more down-to-Earth and realistic overall. There’s a few key reasons here. Kurisu kept her wits about her when faced with personal tragedy. She favored cooperation over “going it alone”. As awesome as Homura’s independent stands were to behold, they weren’t necessarily the smartest or shrewdest courses of action. In sharp contrast, Kurisu always pushed herself in when she could sense that Okabe was in deep, serious trouble and that he shouldn’t “go it alone” either. While Homura relied on keeping Madoka uninformed of the wider situation, Kurisu relied on forcing Okabe to inform her of the situation so that the two of them could deal with it together. I think that there’s a positive message there, of the importance of not “going it alone” when you or a loved one are in deep trouble.

One other notable strength of Kurisu’s is how I think she’s a more modern and realistic anime female character. What I mean by that is that Kurisu wouldn’t seem out of place at a modern real world University, whereas many anime female characters frankly would. As much as I love some Yamato Nadeshikos, and many magical moe girls, and many of the other quirky and unusual female anime characters of renown, a lot of them are pretty starkly divorced form the modern female. Here I think Kurisu really shines. I suspect, but don’t know, that she’s a character that many female anime viewers would like, because she’s like them. She has her own personal goals, separate from those of the male lead. She’s strong, assertive, independent. However, she’s not constantly uptight and serious, as she’s able to let her hair down at times and be a bit silly (see the picture I’ve chosen for her spot on this list 😉 ). She can match Okabe’s “Mad Scientist” persona when the need arises, as such an approach is sometimes for the best for both him and her. Long story short, she’s a very sophisticated character, that represents a meeting of the anime world with the world of the modern female. If anime is to ever hit it big in North America again, it will need characters like Kurisu Makise to lead the way. As such her character, more than any other female anime character in 2011, gives me reason to hope for where anime may go to in the future.

 

That does it for this Top 10 list, but know that there will one more to come later this week. Steins;Gate has taken top spot on the two Character lists, and so the question now is if it will go 3-for-3 by taking the top spot on the Top 10 Anime Shows of 2011 list. To know the answer to that question, check back here in a day or two. 😉

In the interim, please let me know what you think of my list here, and your thoughts on those characters who made it. Any comments on the basic format of this post is also welcomed, of course. All images featured in this post came from a simple Google Image search; I lay no claim to either of them and I give full credit to their respective creators/owners.

 

19 Replies to “Top 10 Female Anime Characters of 2011”

  1. Well you have included my top 3: Kurisu, Ringo & Homura (and Kurisu was also my number 1, although it was close because I love all of these girls very much). But I think you hit the nail on the head with the reason why I like Kurisu so much is she is supportive as a friend to Okabe but also has her own story separate from him. She was intelligent, funny, and compassionate. There is not really much else I can ask for in a female character.

    Although I do think Ringo had the best development of female characters this year.

    I didn’t get as far as thinking of a top 10 but I think Chihaya would also be on there (although come to think of it Kana has also grown on me a lot over the course of the series and now I might even like her a little more than Chihaya).

    Finally the only character I might add to your list is Yune from Ikoku no Meiro Croisee. She’s just sort of charmed her way into my heart.

    1. Nice to see that 3 of my Top 4 are also your top 3. 🙂 Good points on Kurisu, but I do agree with you that Ringo is probably the best developed female character of the year.

      Good point on Yune. She was very charming.

  2. Lol, I knew there was a reason Okabe and Makise are runaway first place on the character poll.

    I’m with you on Kurisu being a very rounded character with wide audience appeal, but frankly though the force of Ohana’s personality leaves a strong impression for me.

    But sheesh I can’t escape from the Madoka hype (still waiting for all of it to get R1’d before I watch).

    1. Sorry for being a bit of a Madoka Magica fanboy, lol (alas, it doesn’t get any better in my most recent blog post. 😉 ).

      Good point on the force of Ohana’s personality.

  3. Interesting List! Some characters I didn’t expect to be ranked or were ranked differently than I suspected.

    Potte and Minami – I can’t comment on these two because I never watched past the pilot episodes of Tamayura and Moshidora.

    Himari/Penguin of the Crystal – Himari would have been a bit of a Mary Sue if it wasn’t for her alternative ego, but that alternative ego did make me laugh at times. The star trio of characters of Penguindrum were definitely the penguins + the Penguin herslef for me.

    Chihaya – Nothing more to add. Fantastic lead for a solid show.

    Madoka – I already knew before hand that you liked her, but to me she was by far the weakest Madoka Magica character. It wasn’t until the second last episode she decided to get off her ass, stop emoing and perform her “Main character” duties. Prior to that, she was quite frustrating to watch.

    Sayaka – Not a bad character per se, but I thought she was way too naive for her own good trying to force her values and judgment onto others… which unfortunately didn’t work.

    Ringo – I found her extremely annoying at the start of the series, but by the end of it was less annoying. Still, not sure if I liked her by the end of Penguindrum. I do admire her selflessness to save Himari though.

    Ohana – Nothing more to add. Like Chihaya, fantastic lead for a solid show.

    Homura – Best character of Madoka Magica alongside Kyoko imo. Your analysis of the “dark magical girl” is a good one too, and you nailed the reasons why such characters tend to be popular.

    Kurisu – I’m actually surprised. I knew that you liked her, but didn’t know she was your favorite character of the year. I’ll admit she’s a pretty good tsundere though – of the Type B type which I have problems with. Not as good as someone like Horo from Spice and Wolf or Rin from Fate/Stay Night. I’ll place her the same tier as Anjou from Ano Hana.

    1. Glad you found the list interesting!

      Madoka is that sort of archetypal character that says a lot symbolically, but can lose viewers since her actions are a bit out of step from what you’d expect from a real person. I guess that for me her symbolic strength was enough to make up for her personal weaknesses.

      With Sayaka, I think it’s important to remember that it’s not like she was arguing with Homura and Kyouko over some vague legalism or not doing one’s homework or tardiness or something really minor like that. She was arguing over starkly serious life and death issues. If that familiar gets away, it will hurt people, if not kill them. Of course Sayaka wants to stop that. If was Kyouko’s stand there that I found ghastly, as understandable as it might be.

      No doubt Sayaka could have handled things better, but I think her heart was almost always in the right place, it’s just that she’s not a good diplomat (like Mashiro-iro Symphony’s Shingo, say).

  4. Nice list, just like your “male character” post. I would quibble with the thought that Ohana was the only Hanusaka Iroha character worth watching. For me that show had a boatload of great female characters, from Madame Manager on down. It was a showcase for female personas.

    One more thing about Chihaya, and one of the reasons I like her so much. She’s beautiful, she takes a stand for what is right, etc, but also she’s a complete NERD! A magnificent, unabashed karuta-nerd!

    1. Really nice points, especially on Chihaya.

      With HSI, I agree that by the end of the show, a lot of the characters had become very good ones for me. But I had initial dislike for a lot of characters that I later liked (Minchi being a good example here), and so it was Ohana that saw me through the first half or so of the anime. After that, though, the cast as a whole really came into its own, and helped make HSI one of the best anime shows of 2011, imo.

  5. I took special interest in why Sayaka was in your Top 10, and your reasoning kind of makes me feel a little more for her than I did.

    Kurisu’s a great #1, Ringo could be my personal favorite, and that first pic of the mahou shoujos is great! They look so much better moe-fied versus Shaft-ed. 🙂

    1. I’m really glad that my Sayaka selection reasoning worked well for you, as Sayaka is a character that I’ve come to care about a lot since she does take a lot of heat on some sites.

      I also agree with you on Kurisu and Ringo. If my teenage self had to pick a girlfriend out of all the girls on this list, it would probably be Ringo. 😉

      And yeah, Madoka Magica looks best moe-fied! 😀

  6. As with the male list, a very interesting list, and I’m glad you’re making them and not me. As good as I am at the kind of character evaluation I do, I think my list would end up being too moe centric. One look at my five favourite female characters of 2011 list should convince you of that.

    One actually did appear on your list – Ohana. And I think you nailed most of what makes her great. She’ loosely fits the stereotypical energetic, enthusiastic moe girl archetype, but unlike many of those characters, she has the insecurity and temperament – she does get annoyed with people – you’d expect a real teenage girl to have. As such, she comes across as a more realistic character, and also a very unique one.

    Two of my picks are probably too minor to really belong on a list for 2011. The first is Kuroneko. This year’s OreImo episodes (the webcast/Bluray specials)contained some of her finest moments. On the flipside – she just did not have enough screentime this year. The other – Hanasaku Iroha’s Tomoe Wajima – suffers from a similar problem. I think Tomoe is a great character – a mature woman who manages to be a bit moe, and one of the few portrayals of a “Christmas cake” character who managed to be more than just a running gag. But as much as I’d like to see her have some influence, she just isn’t that well known a character.

    Which leaves Charlotte Dunois and Yune. Charlotte proved that an action girl need not be aggressive or tsundere, and a quiet, gentle girl need not be passive or a yamato nadeshiko. I’d love to see more girls like her in action roles – “tsundere with yamato nadeshiko rival” is a bit too common, I think. Yune, puts the “character” in “moe character” – her personality and thought processes are quite unique, I think. And she’s freaking adorable.

    As to your list, I have to say I’m glad that someone else likes Minami a lot – she was never one of my top few, but I did feel she was underappreciated. Seeing Ringo on there is great, and you make quite a good case for Sayaka. About the only one I have an issue with is Homura being at #2 – you make a good case, but I still would have ranked her behind Ringo, Ohana, and Sayaka.

    And finally, as I said in the best male characters posting, I want to talk about Okabe and Kurisu as a couple. Namely, because the pairing of the two reminds me an awful lot of the much loved pairing of Takeshi Kuranari and Tsugumi Komachi from the classic VN Ever 17: The Out of Infinity. And I can’t help but think that those two actually did influence Okabe and Kurisu, because it is not the only notable parallel between the two works. Which isn’t to say that Steins;Gate is a copy of Ever 17 – it’s very distinct, actually – but I very much doubt the similarities were mere coincidence.

    Both couples are adults (Takeshi and Tsugumi are 20 and 23, Okabe and Kurisu are both 18 if I remember right). Both pair a goofball with a tsundere that initially wants little to do with him. And the two tsunderes have somewhat similar ways of verbally sparring with others.

    There are, of course, differences too. While much loved by Ever 17 fans, Takeshi is an ordinary goofball with nothing quite like Okabe’s mad scientist routine. And Kurisu only really parallels Tsugumi at her warmest – at her coldest, Tsugumi is a lot closer to Hitagi Senjougahara than Kurisu, and about as mentally stable.

    You say Kurisu revolutionizes the tsundere and I don’t disagree. But for me personally, Tsugumi did that three years ago (I played Ever 17 in 2008), by showing that a tsundere can be a warm, loving character and not just a shrill PITA. It changed my outlook on the character type completely. Also, I can’t help but think that some older tsundere characters like School Rumble’s Eri Sachikawa and FSN’s Rin demonstrates some of Kurisu’s better qualities, leading me to think that s Kurisu’s “revolution” is in reviving an older conception of the archetype, not reinventing it.

    There is one other major difference between Tsugumi and Kurisu, and it really deserves its own paragraph. Kurisu is, as you noted, quite professional – logical, perhaps. Tsugumi, by contrast, can be a very raw and emotional character at times. I compared her cold side to Hitagi earlier, but even that doesn’t really get the point across because unlike either Kurisu or Hitagi, Tsugumi is prone to losing her composure. It makes sense given her backstory and how it makes her relate to other people, but it does mean she probably isn’t quite as good a “touchpoint” character for female viewers as Kurisu is. On the flip side, partly as a result of this I found Tsugumi’s backstory extremely powerful and seeing her hook up with Takeshi was immensely satisfying. And I think this is why I haven’t liked Okabe and Kurisu as much as some others despite thinking they’re both great characters (and I should note I have no issue with their ranking). I’d even go as far as to say that individually, they’re perhaps better characters than their Ever 17 counterparts. I just personally don’t find them as effective as a couple.

    1. Your Top 5 girls are all good choices. 🙂 However, I decided to be a bit strict with my own list, by cutting out relatively minor supporting cast characters and/or characters that were only featured in a couple episodes this year (like Kuroneko). Admittedly, I did this to make it a bit easier to finalize this list, lol.

      Charlotte and Yune are definitely two of the anime stars of the year. With Charlotte, I wasn’t really pleased enough with how the situation between her and Ichika resolved itself in order to want to put her on this list.

      Yune, I think, is one of those “Healing Anime” stars of the year (along with Potte, and Usagi Drop’s Rin). Ultimately, I think that with these “Healing” types of characters it’s about how well they emotionally click for you. For me, Potte clicked with me the best of them all, but I can definitely understand how it could be Yune or Rin for other people. Given how I was totally set on my Top 7 or so girls, I could only devote so many “slots” to “Healing” anime stars.

      Your take on Homura is quite interesting. To a large degree, my heart is with you there. As I wrote, character popularity factored into Homura finishing where she did. I think it says something about a character that’s able to so completely resonate with so many viewers like Homura was able to. Still, I will say that Ringo, Ohana, and Sayaka are all characters that I found a bit more easy to like, at least early on, than Homura.

      And yes, by “revolution”, I mean Kurisu reviving an older concept rather than totally reinventing it. Rin Tohsaka’s tsundere characterization is pretty close to that of Kurisu, and that’s why I also like Rin a lot. 🙂

      Anyway, thanks a lot for the very detailed and informative reply! One of these days I’ll have to play Ever 17 in order to have a good conversation with you about it.

    1. LOL! I never PMed you about this list because I figured three Madoka Magica girls on it would really piss you off. Glad to see Kurisu alone made up for that though. 😉

  7. Great list. As much of a Sayaka fanboy as you know I am, I have to admit that I agree with you on the points you made for Kurisu being in the #1 spot for your female 2011 list. I found her a refreshingly realistic, level-headed character and a memorable, rare kind of tsundere. Overall, I think she’s a great character, so I hand it to her for deserving the top spot.

    I strongly agree with you on your description of Ohana. Though Hanasaku Iroha had a diverse cast of characters, some of whom were interesting in their own right, I really agree that it was Ohana who carried the show almost entirely. I saw her as this bright girl with the indomitable spirit who was truly the star of her show. She’s the most memorable character of the show to me, and a good character who’s rightfully deserving of the high spot you placed her in (not saying the others are undeserving of their spots ^^;).

    I like how you make your case so convincing for Sayaka (not that I need any more convincing), those are good points for why she’s undeserving of all the bitter hate she sometimes gets in certain places. What a few others don’t realize is that this “Everyman Hero” (or “Everygirl Heroine” as a few might put it), would have succeeded in any other universe where such a twisted system didn’t exist. As you pointed out, she’s essentially the martyr of the show, tragically sacrificed to expose the evil distortions in the system. The problem isn’t with her ideals of justice, rather, there is no justice in the Puella Magi system. What the magical girls there needed wasn’t to bend and twist themselves to fit into the system, but a revolution to overthrow the corrupt system, something that Madoka the Divine Liberator delivered with the help of Sayaka’s sacrifice, among other important things. Her getting a place among the top 5 of your Top 10 is enough to make me happy.

    Before I go off rambling on a tangent further, I’d like to say that your list also made me realize that since I only know 6 out the 10 characters in it (Kurisu, Homura, Ohana, Sayaka, Madoka, Minami), I still have some of 2011’s hidden gems left to discover.

  8. hey. i was looking for the most popular female anime characters last year and i saw your blog. i’m not really a fanatic of anime(i think they’re called otaku?) but i loved your review. my friend invited me to attend a cosplay convention this summer. would you help me name some characters with black hair that were played recently cause i’m not really fond of wigs. thanks so much. 🙂

  9. chihayafuru was drawn by my relative and so its just awesome!i love kauta but the naniwa zu-ni really is draggy.see 4 urslf:
    naniwa zu-ni
    sakuya kono hana
    furu gomori
    ima wo haru be to
    sakuya kono hana
    (it takes about 3mins)
    if u ask if that is my real name,i would say yes because i m japanese)

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