Awesome Lady Leads

Awesome lady leads in manga for girls!

So there I was in my one of my film theory classes day after the Oscars aired and my teacher showed us this video on youtube that talked about something called the “Bechdel test.” I highly suggest watching the youtube video through the link but to sum up, it's a test that determines whether a movie or tv show has use of female characters. It requires that two women talk to each other for 60secs about something other than a man.
I started thinking about this test and the manga I read, (I read a lot of shounen) and started thinking about which women are strong characters in series that are aimed at girls. (ie shoujo and josei manga)
Then I started hunting and… Graaah! It’s difficult! Even calling up Wallie and asking for help got the “Oooh that's hard” response!

And yes I do realize that girls read shounen and sienen and that there are plenty strong girls and women in them to be found as well, but that does not change the fact that these series ARE aimed and advertised at boys and men. And I wanted to see what strong ladies were in manga aimed at us females.

(Sorry Kaoru from Rurouni Kenshin, I love you, but you only fight in the first book and need to be saved even then) And also (sorry Ouran fans) I am not counting reverse harem manga or (sorry Harada twins from DN Angel) not counting it unless they are a main character with a good portion of the story seen through their eyes.
Also another kind of random criteria, but to be on the list I have to respect the character. In other words if they were a person I’d go “I respect them.” (terrible explanation I know. XD) Also this is JUST manga! NO anime. (other wise this list would be filled with Miyazaki movies)

So I am going to count down my favorite strong female characters in manga aimed at girls and women!
Read these and feel free to share your own favs, or thoughts about the Bechdel test in the comments!!!
Special thanks goes out to Wallpaperotaku who helped me keep my sanity making this list and gave me some great suggestions!


First some Honorable mentions!
Princess Primula from Apothecarious Argentum, sadly doesn’t make the list since not enough of the manga is from her point of view. However her character growth is fun to read and she makes one choice in particular towards the end where (MILD SPOILERS) she picks her country over the man she loves and I give her mad props for that. Its something I don’t think I could do.
Tohru from Fruits Basket. I still haven’t decided how I feel about her and whether I can over look some plot issues I have, despite my love for the series. From the people I talked to about Tohru, everyone seems to be split on whether she is or isn’t, (half say yay the other neigh) but Wallpaperotaku made a strong case for her so I am giving her a nod as she is a tough cookie if a passive person.
All shoujo that CLAMP has written. Pretty much all their girls are well written. But I didn’t want this to be a Clamp list so I’ll be talking about them in a later review. It felt unfair to the other series to include them since they do such a good job. ^-^

Ok now to the main attraction! In my personal opinion of the shoujo and Josei I’ve read the ones I feel have strong female characters!

Yuki from Vampire Knight
First off I would like to say that Vampire Knight is not my favorite shoujo and I don’t even particularly like Yuki or a lot of the characters. So why does she make this list? Because, though begrudgingly, I do respect her. I think that her character goes through a lot of things and she grows and changes with them. I really feel like the choices she makes regarding Zero and Kaname shows a lot of guts. Even though she’s stuck in a pretty typical love triangle her problems aren’t magically solved and the manga does a great job of showing her struggles and emotions especially towards the end. Even though this manga isn’t completed yet I feel she deserves a mention on this list. (though we’ll see how I feel once the last chapter comes out! ^-^)

Kazura from Platinum Garden
Another incomplete series with a pretty typical “girl ends up living with guy she barely knows but doesn’t like on first impression” manga. However I personally believe this series has quite a bit of bite and gives not just Kazura but the other girls she meets a lot of attention. She also makes a lot of difficult choices and sticks to her guns a lot. Once again her problems aren’t quickly solved and I really buy the budding romance and drama.

Ririko from Helter Skelter
This is a MATURE josei manga that follows the story of a model striving for perfect and coming to the realization that the world of modeling is slowly throwing her away. This manga is a worth while read that consists of EVERY main character being female. Even Ririko’s plastic surgeon is a woman. Not only is it very female focused it also deals with image issues that all girls experience in a very creative way. I suggest this only to those who feel they are mature enough to handle it and to read my full review on the series on Beloved Blood’s Rein of Darkness world here.

Machika from Immortal Rain
I will almost assuredly do a full review of this series at some point since it is one of my all time favorites. For now though lets look at Machika! She could be written of as weak on first glance but once again its in her determination and growth as a person throughout the series that makes her a strong character. A perfect expample is when she meets the villain she’s been searching for (not Rain) and realizes the classic confrontation she’s imagined is far from the truth and the worlds more complex than she thought. This series also features several other fantastic female characters including the villain Sheriam, and a friend of Machika she meets along the way. Sheriam in particular is a favorite character of mine! You know why she’s doing what she’s doing and even that she knows it’s wrong, and why she doesn’t care anymore. The only short fall is this series splits the focus between male and female characters although the majority is from Machika. Despite that it is still a great manga with some great girls!

Once agian feel free to share your own opinions and favorites in the comments!!!
Thank you for reading!

External Image