Hellooo, people! I've wanted to do this for awhile, but I finally got around to it (thank you, snow!). So, I'll get right to it - as of this writing, these are my ten favorite girls in anime.
[potential SPOILERS for: Clannad, Spice & Wolf, Angel Beats, Full Metal Panic, Toradora!, Shuffle!, TTGL, Zero no Tsukaima, Steins;Gate, Disappearance of Haruhi, and ef: A Tale of Memories]
10: Kaname Chidori - Full Metal Panic Series
There's something about your first few anime series that sticks with you. While a solid character in her own right, on paper, there isn't too much to make Kaname stand out. She's classic tsundere with hidden abilities/military knowledge, which sounds more than a little cliché. However, whether it was due to FMP being my fifth anime series ever or just the quality of her character, Kaname always had a certain charm to her. Her presence was almost radiant - from both her demanding personality and great looks - and from early on in the series, I found myself caring about her more than I expected to. Plus, she is absolutely amazing in her...<div style="text-align: center;"></div>
Best Scene, where she is chased by an assassin without Sousuke to protect her, and on the rainy hotel rooftop tricks the bitch with her shirt as a decoy before shocking her ass with a taser, topless. In fact, just typing that makes me wonder why she isn't higher on this list.
9: Miyako Miyamura - ef: A Tale of Memories
First of all, this is a fantastic series. Watch it. If you haven't, skip to number 8. Moving on...in some romance series, it's hard to decide which girl is the best. In others, there's no question about it. Miyako belongs to the latter category. Her flirty, carefree personality that first draws Hirono in is attractive enough in itself, but her background makes the real impact. Behind her fun-loving eyes, she harbored crippling insecurity and fear of abandonment, which, when revealed, made for one of the most powerfully emotional moments in anime.
Best Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3YlL40Lrlo
8: Kyou Fujibayashi - Clannad/Louise - Zero No Tsukaima
Yup, tie. Kyou was my first tsundere (with Clannad being my first anime), so she left quite the impression on me, and was always my favorite of the Clannad girls. Nagisa may have had the best story, but Kyou was the most interesting character. She was so devoted to her sister that she was willing to go to endless lengths to hook her up with Tomoya, despite loving him herself. When that boiled over, the results were fantastic to watch. Louise, on the other hand, I just can't help but love. ZnT is a simple series, but sometimes that works. Her relationship with Saito is relentlessly entertaining to watch, and can be surprisingly endearing when it isn't hilarious. There's something incredibly adorable and sincere about her, and it's stuck with me.
Best Scene(s): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GTnu4uFBlE
After being betrayed by Waldo, Louise and Saito fly back towards the school on Tabitha's Sylpheed. As she lies fading in and out of consciousness in Saito's arms, she hears him say the same words Waldo used to comfort her when she was a child, just before realizing that he's kissing her. Her eyes open with shock, but happily close after a few seconds, and it's god damn adorable.
7: Asa Shigure - Shuffle!
Well, this may be a bit of the recency bias taking effect (I finished Shuffle! last night), but really, Asa is incredible. I have to draw a parallel to Clannad, as she is essentially an especially flirty combination of Kyou and Nagisa, and she's just as loveable as you'd expect from that combo. From the first few episodes on, Asa was my favorite of the (numerous) girls of Shuffle!, and I couldn't have been more happily surprised that Rin ended up choosing her. The better (worse?) surprise was that her story grew so intense...when two of the last 4 episodes ended with her collapsing in Rin's arms, I swore I felt an ulcer start to form in my stomach. She's fun-loving, considerate, and incredibly level-headed during the constant battle for Rin's affections, and no one deserved them more than she did.
Best Scene: This is difficult to choose, but when Rin takes her on a date to the lover's park, their confrontation at the end is priceless. Asa calls out the whole group for tailing them, and proceeds to ask Rin why he took her out. When he fumbles for words and says that it was since Sia and Nerine asked him to, and he felt bad, she gives him a glorious slap of reality across the face. Luckily, it was that which led them to become a couple.
6: Yoko Littner - Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Oh, Yoko. Sometimes, a girl needs a seriously awesome personality and an interesting background to stand out, but sometimes, all she needs is raw sex appeal. TTGL's main lady has the latter in spades, and the series is damn well aware of it. Does ecchi shots of the same girl over a 26 episode series get boring, you may ask? Not if it's Yoko.
Now, it's not that her personality is bad. In fact, she's quite likeable as a character. However, when just her kiss is enough to spell death for two of the most badass men of the show, you know she's special.
Best Scene (Possibly NSFW...): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_N-uqytkluQ
GO AHEAD AND JUDGE ME, IT'S HER BEST SCENE.
5: Masami Iwasawa - Angel Beats!
Well, after drooling over Yoko, I'm about to bring the tone in a sharp 180 degree turn. Despite being a minor character, Iwasawa's story hit me like a ton of bricks. Sure, it was a pretty sad tale to begin with, but it has a special significance to me. I played guitar for about six years when I was younger, and I absolutely adored it. By the time I was a senior in high school, it had become one of my biggest passions. Just after I'd formed a band with my friends, I developed a medical condition that weakened my hands to the point where I can never play again. So, when I saw Iwasawa have her own life in music brought to an abrupt end, and then find true happiness by bringing music to the afterlife, it hit home. My eyes are watering just typing this, in fact.
Best Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6FvM11eg60
Makes me cry, every time.
4: Yuki Nagato - The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya
You may notice that I put Disappearance, and not Melancholy. That's not because I'm a fool who hasn't seen the show, but because Nagato's character doesn't truly shine until her role in the film. It's one thing that we got to see the stoic Nagato become a shy, lonely member of an actual Literature Club, and it's another that we got to see her smile, as well as cry. But what took the cake was the realization that her "true" self, the one that supposedly lacked emotions, and consciously experienced Summer break some 50,000-odd times, changed the whole world for Kyon, and was willing to change it back, even if it meant taking her emotions away once again.
Best Scene: The hospital rooftop scene pictured above. Words cannot describe it.
3: Taiga Aisaka - Toradora!
I find it hard to put my finger on what exactly it is that I love about Taiga. Maybe it's her painfully adorable voice (that's probably what got Louise on this list). Maybe her wonderfully tsundere attitude. But no, I think it's the utter sincerity of her character. Not once in Toradora did I not get where she was coming from. From the beginning, she had a reputation that she felt like she couldn't get out of: that, in turn, angered her, and led to more trouble. I could list much more, but I'll focus on the obvious factor, that being her relationship with Ryuuji. I won't say it's the best, but those two have the most satisfying romance I've seen in any show, paying off with the best kissing scene in anime (yes, I'll vouch that even in shows I haven't seen, it hasn't been topped). Many people cry foul at the choice she makes towards the end, but if you pay attention to her and Ryuuji through the last two episodes, you'll get it. It makes sense.
Best Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLjSUTdII7c
2: Holo - Spice and Wolf
I need to get this out of the way: yes, it's Holo. Not Horo. I realize some people watched fansubs where it was written that way, just please don't try to "correct" me. Okay, mini-rant over.
Anyway, Holo is a masterpiece of a character. Possibly my favorite thing about her is that she takes a character template that - let's be honest - had the potential to be a tasteless furry's wet-dream, and classes it up beyond the expectations of human anime women. The romance between Holo and Lawrence is incredibly subtle, complex, and rewarding, but most of all it has a maturity to it that's truly rare to find in anime (and media in general, honestly). It's a treat to watch the love blossom between these two, and their rather unique situation means that their story is far from something you've seen before. Holo herself is a real gem, too. She loves to get drunk and eat herself some f--kin' apples, but she has a crazy amount of depth to her. As the "wise wolf", she possesses an intelligence that rivals and usually trumps that of her master merchant travelling companion. Watching their skills play off of each other is absolutely fascinating to behold, and when the shit hits the fan plot-wise, there's never a dull moment with her. At the core, though, she's a girl who just wants to go home, and even when she realizes that her original home might not be there to return to, we can see her gradually accepting that she might have found what she was looking for in Lawrence.
Best Scene: The way Spice and Wolf is as a series, this is very hard to choose. I'm gonna take the cheater's way out and say the entire Pyrite arc in Season 2 is her high point in my book.
and my Number One is...
Makise Kurisu - Steins;Gate
Where to begin? Kurisu is (nearly) every anime fan's ideal woman. A perfect tsundere attitude. Beautiful without being too slutty (or even at all, in her case). Has a hidden otaku side. Curious enough to make things exciting, but level-headed enough to calm you down when things go overboard. In Steins;Gate, her developing relationship with Okabe contains some of the best character development and interaction I've ever seen in a show. Every single scene between them was an absolute joy to behold. I felt significant pangs of sadness every time they had a touching moment, only to see Okabe forced to erase it through a time-leap. I can't remember feeling as much dread as I did when Okabe realized that going back to the original world line would mean the death of the girl he loved. Characters like Kurisu are the reason I watch anime. They seem perfect; in my jaded little mind, I can't possibly imagine someone like her existing in the real world. Yet, at the same time, she seems like a genuine, real personality, one that you could fall in love with if you weren't careful.
Best Scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znGyrxu_fbo
"Close your eyes."