After so many weeks, including a majority of the hours of the last ~12 days, I’ve been working on this while trying to work on a dozen other projects and activities simultaneously. Wow, just wow, I finally got this done. I hope you guys enjoy it and depending how things go, I might do more like this and maybe a “Top 10” for “Baddest Male Characters”? We’ll see.
As usual, if anyone has trouble following along with my vocalization in the video, this blog post is meant to transcribe every word I’m saying. I have pasted my RAW script down below (it’s RAW so expect mistakes, poor formatting, etc.).
RAW Unformatted Transcript Of Video
Hi guys, today I want to share my personal top 10 baddest females in Anime and Gaming. I generally tend to not agree with other people’s lists, mainly for the fact that I have a very different understanding of what makes a, quote on quote, badass. As we all know, it’s pretty much a slang term and people tend to use it very differently since everyone has a different measure for it. Most times though, I think a lot of people just really don’t think that deeply about why they think a character is badass or not.
So, real quick, before we jump into my list let’s talk about what parameters, for me, add up to badassery.
For me, it’s a combination of attributes. First up is Will Power. Parameters like sense of self, psychological stability, and mental endurance all roughly fall under the category of will power.
Second is swagger. This encompasses attributes such as style, confidence, aura of intimidation, and the overall delivery and presentation of all of those.
To a much smaller degree, skill level and the ability to win may or may not be a big deal depending on the other attributes as well.
For added fun, I’ll be displaying a stat meter for each woman in my list. Keep in mind it’s mostly for fun and the stats shown are not directly effecting how I’ve ranked them.
Power Contrast refers to their overall ability level within their literature and how it is treated with respect to relevant variables. The rest is self explanatory.
#10. Erza Scarlett (Fairy Tail)
It’s pretty obvious why Erza’s on this. I personally don’t like her but it’s pretty hard to ignore her when her whole narrative is based around being an all around badass female with very little signs of mental and emotional weaknesses. From the very start of Fairy Tail, Erza is built up to be a stereotype role model female warrior who doesn’t take no for an answer, never gives up no matter how stacked the odds are against her, and the fact she’s feared by most of the main cast is a concept frequently used as comedic relief.
I almost felt like I shouldn’t have put her here and instead leave her out as an honorable mention due to the fact that Fairy Tail heavily relies on broad proposition to convey it’s characters’ traits, mainly because it’s a show written to be that way. Because of this, Erza has been shown to perform feats of will that far surpass what other events in the story suggest. She’ll be as emotionally weak as the story needs her to be, or she can be as mentally strong as the story needs her to be. That is just how Fairy Tail is written. Nevertheless, the overall culmination of all the things she has done, how she carries herself, and her ability to remain mentally stable throughout many tests, I feel still gives her a good argument to be on this list.
#9. Integra Hellsing (Hellsing)
Integra Hellsing is the leader of the Hellsing Organization and master of Alucard, the strongest known vampire in the series. She gets a place here for obvious reasons but mainly because of her ability to stay calm and calculated in situations that would normally scare the shit out of people. As the master of Alucard she’s used to violence and bloodshed. She exudes an intimidating and authoritive aura that she frequently shows when she’s giving orders to the likes of an extremely powerful and violent monstrosity like Alucard. One of the major notable flaw in her “Badass Meter” is the fact she’s known to sometimes enter sudden moments of disproportionate anger, as shown when she gets easily flustered during a phone call with Alucard in which he asks her to re-confirm her orders. This sudden change in mood for a normally calm person, to me, is a sign of some insecurities and the inability to handle it better. Still, when faced by a horde of zombies or even Alexander Andersen, a character arguably as strong as her servant Alucard, she shows no signs of fear.
She gets a place on this list for those qualities that allow her to remain unphased in many situations, but also for her serious yet calm demeanor that sort of reminds you of a battle hardened mafia boss.
While we’re on the topic of literature, the biggest reason I can offer for why she’s ranked really low in this list is that within her own universe and the lore of Fairy Tail, she is written on purpose to be weaker in will power and mental endurance than another character within her own universe. Natsu, whom many consider to be the true main character of the show, has always been written to be the one that is unwavering in will, much like a Naruto or a Gutts, and Erza has leaned on that strength of his on more than one occasion.
#8. Neferpitou (Hunter x Hunter)
The extremely loyal member of the three Royal Guards to the Chimera Ant King in Hunter x Hunter, Neferpitou is a sadistic antagonist that likes to toy with her opponents. As a member of the Royal Guard, she is considered one of the absolute strongest characters in the series. After being struck by the King’s tail, he commented on her strength, slightly surprised at the fact that his attack did not kill her. Even Netero, the Chairman of the Hunter Association who was considered the world’s strongest Hunter during his prime wondered if she was more powerful than himself.
In what was perhaps her most amazing feat of all, she was able to take several Jajanken Rock from a fully grown and extremely angered Gon who had completely abandoned all of his future potential in order to achieve that power in the present to defeat her.
Neferpitou does not shy away from pain, but one of the best examples of what makes her a badass is that when she was faced with the realization that the empowered version of Gon was a legitimate threat to the King, a being accepted to be stronger than herself, she makes the calm and decisive conclusion that she has to take him out right here, right now. She handles risks, pain and life threatening situations with calmness and logic, completely unphased. One of the main elements that, for me, force me to keep her lower than the others on this list, is the fact that despite all her near perfect handling of a wide array of emotional spectrum, at the end of the day, her entire psyche and sense of self are all completely reliant on the existence of the King.
#7. Revy (Black Lagoon)
This should come as no surprise to many. Most people would agree Revy’s entire character was pretty much designed for a list like this. An American-Chinese born in New York City in a poverty-stricken area of Chinatown, she was raised by a very abusive and violent father. She was repeatedly beaten until one day she ran away and was picked up by a cop who ended up beating and raping her. There were apparently assaults similar to that from the cops. After she returned home, she ended up shooting and killing her father. Revy is a violent, skilled, merciless killer who takes great pleasure in what she does with no regard for anyone’s life except for her allies. She is often seen smiling sadistically when in the middle of a shoot out. Due to her ambidexterity with guns, she has earned the nick name “Two-Hands”. Thanks to those volatile characteristics, skills as a combatant, battle-hardened demeanor and classic gangster attitude, she easily cements her legacy as a badass woman and should be included in anyone’s list. It goes without saying that most people would have been broken for going through what she went through. Instead, she stepped to the plate and gained the ferocity and resolve she needed to bury her pain and fight back against the unfairness of the world, going above and beyond what most people that would already be considered relatively strong would have gone. In fact, she would be higher on this list If it weren’t for the fact that her entire personality on the surface wasn’t a product of her conscious mind burying the pain of her past because she’s afraid to face it head on and to avoid empathy from others.
#6. Furude Rika (Higurashi)
Furude Rika would be considered one of the weirdest picks on this list by some since she has the appearance of a tiny little girl in the body of a 10 year old. The art style of Higurashi is also very deceptive, both in comparison to the true personality of Rika and the eeriness and extreme graphic brutality of the series.
Despite Rika’s appearance, she’s actually 110 years old mentally, due to the fact that she has traveled through hundreds of worlds parallel to her own. She has been tormented countless times by the cycle of her friends and family dying, leading her to lack enthusiasm and excitement in worlds she deems as doomed. Nevertheless, it takes an extremely strong sense of self and will power to handle seeing your loved ones die in violent and horrible ways repeatedly. A situation like this can also cause extreme loneliness and despair in a person, but for the most part, Rika manages to maintain her ability to find some enjoyment in her experiences with her friends.
In the video game, Minagoroshi-hen, when she discovers her killer in every parallel world is Miyo Takano, she asks her to kill her without putting her to sleep, despite knowing that she’ll die by way of disembowelment. She does this just for the sole purpose of remembering it when she goes to other worlds.
In one scene in the anime, she decides to kill herself by slamming the side of her head repeatedly into a large knife until she dies in order to bow out of that world.
#5. Akemi Homura (Puella Magi Madoka Magica)
Akemi Homura may not be the first on most people’s minds when thinking of their top 10 baddest females list, so it may come as a surprise to some to see her so high up on my list. If you recall, Homura started out as a timid introverted girl when she first met the others. Through sheer will and out of necessity in order to help her friends, she quickly grew to be a strong willed girl. But that’s not the reason she made this list. The biggest and main reason she made my list is the fact she reset time using her abilities in order to find a way to alter events to prevent Madoka’s death. It’s estimated that she reset the timeline nearly a hundred times before the present timeline in the anime. As a result, she had to experience the horrific deaths of her friends over and over. Any normal person, and I imagine even most strong people, would either have given up at some point or gone insane. To further add to this, it later becomes known that she was captured by the Incubators and had her Soul Gem placed in an Isolation Field prior to the events of The Rebellion movie. Anyone who has watched the show understands how fundamentally crushing it must be for any magical girl to have their Soul Gem in that situation. Any other magical girl would have turned into a Witch from just the repeating of timelines alone, but Homura had to withstand the combined immeasurable stress, anxiety, and torment from doing so on top of the added strain on her Soul Gem being in an Isolation Field towards the end.
In fact, the strain on that enormous will power in the end amounted to her turning into a being beyond the concept of a “Witch”, considering she was able to pull Madoka apart from her Goddess self, a testament to the grandiose love story hidden behind philosophical themes, all facilitated and heavily relying on Homura’s unique mental endurance.
#4. YorHa Unit Model 2B (NieR Automata)
When some people think of badasses in NieR Automata, I assume they might first think of A2 because of her attitude. It resembles a calmer Revy or Kaine from the original NieR. There’s the theory too about A2 and 2B inheriting the artificial memories of Kaine. We can only measure based on events that occurred and for me, between what the two have done throughout the story, 2B easily surpasses her even with me giving A2 the slight upper hand in attitude and swagger points.
Indeed, much like Homura and Rika before her in this list, 2B has had to suffer through an extremely painful and repetitive cycle, except this time, it’s someone she’s in love with. While it’s true that Homura also had to pull the trigger on Madoka in at least one of the timelines, it was already when the fate of that Madoka was already doomed. 2B on the other hand had to kill the person she loved every single time, AGAINST his will. In fact, that was her main task and purpose. That has to be extremely excruciating every single time. Those who read through the stage plays in particular know what I’m talking about.
And it’s not like A2 is alone in the attitude and swagger department between the two either, 2B herself also has a very stoic personality that adds to her overall demeanor and delivery. Even compared to Bayonetta for example, her presentation seems a lot more dangerous and deadly, particularly if you’re listening to the Japanese voice actor. 2B actually follows a line of genuinely strong female characters that’s common in a Yoko Taro universe. He seems to have a knack, I’ll even say talent, in creating truly badass female characters in his stories. And they’re never written that way in a shallow manner only to be rendered helpless just to emphasize a male character’s alpha status either, like how characters like Asuna in Sword Art Online end up. There’s never a catch.
#3 Motoko Kusanagi (Ghost In The Shell)
To have a top 10 baddest female list and not include Motoko is a travesty and an example of some people not really understanding what makes a truly bad ass character. At least this is how I feel.
Motoko easily deserves to be on this list for the way she carries herself. Her calm yet serious demeanor, attitude, fearlessness, and overall strong emotional control is one of the cleanest combinations within this list. Among her colleagues at Section 9, she has a commanding and authoritative presence, and they have high regard for her ability as a leader, strategist, spy, and hacker. She is considered to be the most capable and dangerous member of the elite group, possessing extensive combat experience, expertise in martial arts, and high intelligence.
Some people cite the scene in season 2, 2nd Gig, where she made mistakes in predicting Kuze’s plans and was ultimately out-maneuvered, but the narrative there was more to showcase just how keen and intuitive Kuze’s foresight really was. Kuze was built into the story to be Motoko’s equal. His ideals, planning, and resolve needed to match that. I will although admit that she did show some obvious emotional distress throughout the ending of that arc when she kept making mistakes, albeit it was very feint.
Instead, if I wanted to cite an example of where she truly showed some sort of lack of control, it would be in Episode 21 of Season 1 where she demands a high caliber rifle from Saito just so she can torment an already immobilized enemy who was trapped inside his mech armor. This was completely out of character for her and as such, I consider it a showcasing of a control flaw.
Outside of this, Motoko is well documented to keep her emotions well under control.
#2. Balalaika (Black Lagoon)
Unlike most of the others on this list, Balalaika receives badass points almost exclusively from her attitude, how she carries herself, and the overall atmosphere she exudes. This is not to say that she doesn’t have a long list of feats that elevate her. Before becoming the leader of Hotel Moscow, a branch of the Russian mafia, she was a captain of Russian paratroopers for the USSR and took part in the war between the Soviets and Afghanistan. Due to her skill as a sniper she would later gain the nickname “Balalaika”, a slang term referring to the Dragunov sniper rifle she used. Throughout the show, Balalaika is shown to be unparalleled in her ruthlessness, which is saying a lot considering the Black Lagoon universe houses some of the most brutal and violent characters in Anime. Unlike many of them though, who are very wild and unchained, Balalaika is calm, controlled, and extremely precise in how she handles her business, much like a classic veteran mafia boss. Like Integra Hellsing, Balalaika has the utmost respect from her soldiers and they would follow her to any cause, except like I said before, to me she seems far more relaxed and in control of how to direct her inner violence. Every scene involving her is treated in a way that creates the sense as if everything will always be in complete control due to her presence alone. She gives off the atmosphere that everyone in the room has to be extremely careful and think long and hard about every little action or decision they make.
#1. Teresa (Claymore)
Teresa usually gets overlooked on most people’s radar in favor of Clare, the main protagonist of Claymore. I can’t blame them, taking everything into consideration, Clare is a legitimate badass even within a story that consists of almost nothing but. In fact, if it weren’t for Teresa, I have a long list of arguments as to why Clare is by far the baddest Claymore in the series, and even be somewhere on this list if I wasn’t purposely using the mechanic that characters should also be measured against others within their narrative. But all that just ends up as testament to why Teresa is so high up on this list.
Teresa is considered the strongest Claymore in history, even among other Rank 1s throughout all generations, and by the end of the manga, years of debate by fans in many message boards were answered for who really was the strongest. For me, it was a silly debate considering the countless literary devices and plot points used solely for the purpose of using her specifically as THE literary example for what the pinnacle of a Claymore should be. Admittedly though, a decent amount for her being this high on my list is due to the sheer ridiculousness of her power level placement within her lore. The Anime, and even more so the manga go through great and arduous lengths to make this clear to the audience.
But Teresa wouldn’t be this high up on my list if it were just for that. She has never been shown to lose herself despite emotionally taxing events as a child, such as being sold off by the people she trusted most to The Organization that develops Claymores. Due to never having shown such distress anywhere in the narrative, as well has no other plot device or event used to give us any direction other than upward, we are left to assume that she possesses at least an extremely high sense of self and force of will. In fact, her nickname, “Teresa of the Feint Smile”, refers to the fact her face never distorts when in combat, a result of Claymores accessing their Yoki reserve, no matter the strength or number of adversaries. This concept doubles as a reference to her unrivaled control of her Yoma abilities, which in turn point to her strong will and sense of self, traits that are fundamental for a Claymore in order to avoid losing themselves to their Yoma energy.
Some may argue that Teresa lost her cool when a young Clare was being hurt and being dragged away by one of the bandits, but literally everyone else on this list would have done the same for the one they cherished the most. Furthermore, absolutely nothing in the narrative indicated that Teresa feared punishment from the Organization, nor any other Claymore. Her initial compliance to be executed was completely a decision she agreed on for herself, as shown when she easily took down several of her fellow warriors when she changed her mind at the last second, for the sake of Clare.
The series is a story that utilizes the concept of control and lust, as well as power, and outwardly uses Teresa as a device to showcase the pinnacle of both.
#0. Zero (Drakengard 3)
You guys didn’t really think a list like this was going to end without the baddest woman in all of Drakengard did you? If you’re the baddest bitch in one of the most twisted and fucked up universe like Drakengard, you’ve earned the right as a champion of that title.
Enter Zero, a woman who’s personality and language might be offputting to most people. I’ve read around and I noticed it’s a pretty common thing to totally misunderstand her persona. I can’t help but wonder if it’s partially due to her promiscuousness and loose morals when it comes to sex, because I imagine most who played Drakengard 3 were young men. Another common complaint is that the writing surrounding her personality seems overly “tryhard” due to the intensity of her foul mouthed behavior when in reality, this is merely due to her being straightforward and blunt. I hate to be that woman but I have to say it, I can’t help but feel there’s some sexism there when some people view a woman acting quote on quote overly badass that it’s her being a tryhard, yet totally accept it if a male character behaves that way.
I get that people seem to have this notion that badassery tends to sell easier when there’s some level of subtlety, but not every genuine badass has to be subtle about it. One thing I haven’t seen mentioned in defense of Zero’s over the topness is her past. What kind of subtlety can you expect from someone who was raised by a mother who did not want her, did nothing but whip her back constantly, then sold her to prostitution at a young age. She then attempts an escape from the brothel carrying stolen gold by teaming up with a fellow prostitute who she trusted, only to find that a regular customer of her was waiting for them so that they could attempt to kill Zero, revealing that she was only using her. The ordeal doesn’t end there as she was caught and brought back to the brothel. She eventually kills everyone, carrying as much money as she could, only to be robbed by bandits later on, barely escaping from being sold into prostitution again.
I won’t go into more prologue details but her suffering is far from ending there. When she eventually dies and is revived by a malicious Flower from another world bent on using her as a vessel to destroy humanity, she tries to kill herself, resulting in the Flower creating five sisters splitting Zero’s powers among them. And despite all that happened to her, she had enough understanding to consider them as her own fault, deciding to embark on a journey to kill them herself.
This explains why Zero reacts with yelling and childishly cursing, she grew up with a mother who did nothing but yell at her and every single encounter she’s ever had has been violent and full of hate, so of course all she knows is hate and anger. This is fundamentally different from someone who starts out understanding warmth and companionship, and then has it all taken away. In a lot of ways it’s very similar to Gutts from Berserk. He started life with violence and betrayal before having learned companionship and friendship, which is why he starts out cold and touchy. But everybody has no problems viewing Gutts as one of the baddest male characters of all time.
It’s readily apparent to me that Zero rubs people the wrong way because she’s a beautiful woman who most people will have a very hard time imagining as their waifu or girlfriend. Everybody has an easy time thinking Saber is badass because shes naïve, shows enough girly innocence to make them feel comfortable, and very girly weaknesses. People don’t like the idea that Zero has no problem fucking other men, and she seems like she’d be hard to get along with in ways that most people think they can’t catch up to her extremes. She feels volatile and dangerous, but not in a let me make her into a project that I can manipulate by helping her, like an Asuka, which many love to turn into their waifu. Basically, they need to be convinced of some comfortable level of feminine vulnerability.
I want to be clear that I’m generalizing here. By no means am I saying those are everybody’s reasons, but it sounds like it is for some.
And yet, the very fact she shows none of those specific types of weaknesses is one of the reasons why she’s a badass in my book. And then there’s the way she carries herself. Where Integra Hellsing and Balalaika exude an atmosphere of overwhelming control over a situation that feels like you’re dealing with a demon, Revy being tomboyishly volatile, and Motoko exuding a calm dominance that almost feels like she’s a man if it weren’t for that small touch of motherly aura she also possesses, Zero in contrast feels completely like a woman. When you look at her and watch her be herself, you still feel completely immersed in the idea that you’re dealing with a very very feminine woman. She has somehow achieved her violent and dangerous swagger without hiding a shred of that girliness. It’s like you’re dealing with a violent princess.