Now this is a tough one. Technically, my single favorite female in anime is also my anime crush, but that’s another day’s challenge, so… who, then, is my second favorite female anime character, and why?
As I’ve been thinking about it, I have to ask, for which characters is it important that they are female? Is it a peripheral fact, or does it matter? Is there something inspiring about the fact that they are like such-and-such and a female? Or do they just happen to be female?
As a guy, I admire men who possess certain qualities, such as I elaborated on, but there are things I don’t necessarily want to pursue myself, because I am a different person from those admirable men. For instance, Zoro is strong and has his own sort of intelligence, and foibles, but I prefer to think I am more crafty than brutish. Yet he is selfless, honorable, and dedicated to becoming greater than he is, and that I wish to emulate.
In truth, I believe that is something women can admire too.
So, should my favorite female be someone admirable who happens to be a woman? Or should her gender, combined with what I admire about her, make a point?
Namely, that women, that people, can be better and stronger than some people believe possible.
It’s not really a contest. I’m going with the “it makes a point” idea.
This female character is someone I admire, someone I believe girls and women can and should admire, and someone I believe we can all admire.
From Fairy Tail: Erza Scarlet!
With the title of “Titania,” the Fairy Queen, Erza is easily one of the most powerful wizards in her guild, not to mention the world. From the moment we first meet her, she’s an imposing, dominating force, such that even Gray and Natsu must refrain from their usual bickering, lest she lay them both out flat. While the guild master, Makarov, tends to be more easy-going, Erza is a strict disciplinarian keeping her guild-mates in line. Yet, there is more to her than a steel-clad fist (even if that is her primary tool of instruction, heh).
While many characters win their fights with overwhelming power, Erza, who is “overwhelming power” personified, wins by using her wits. My favorite example of this is when she faces an enemy, named Midnight, whose mysterious abilities make him seem invincible. Where others have panicked and lost, she keeps calm. She is rational, observant, analytical, putting it all together to understand what is happening, even while fighting for her life. With this understanding, she discovers and exploits her enemy’s weaknesses. A terrifying foe suddenly becomes far less frightening, just another enemy she overcomes with her great strength, guided by a clear mind.
There’s also when she battles one hundred monsters simultaneously, and totally destroys them! That was so cool! She was powerful, disciplined, and precise, wasting not one movement, analyzing, adapting, and overcoming, pushing through fatigue and injury, calm, graceful, poised. Unstoppable!
Most of all, what makes or breaks a character in how admirable I find them: Erza is compassionate. Granted, she often displays her affection in unconventional ways, such as punching Natsu in the gut so he sleeps through a train ride, spared from his motion sickness. She protects her comrades without hesitation, no matter the risk to herself, such as when she took a magical cannon blast head-on, or when she endured about two hundred lightning blasts, or when she does not hesitate to save her friends even as she believes it will cost her very life (they intimate that she had a certain unseen helper).
Erza Scarlet has strong principles and cares deeply for her friends. She has endured slavery, loss, betrayal, and exile, and still, in time, she finds the strength to open up to her comrades. When an old friend, who has been a villain and done real harm to her and her loved ones, is ready to give his life in atonement or his actions, she is able to forgive him, even aid him in his quest for redemption. It is she who makes the hard decisions, she who leads her guild when the master cannot, and she who defends her friends and innocent bystanders with all of her power, cunning, and compassion.
What’s not to admire about this woman?