TOP 10 GIRLS OF ANIME (SPECIAL MENTION) – CULT & PULP
I’ve revised my Top 10 Girls of Anime (Special Mention – Cult & Pulp) entries to add in a few entries shuffled from former honorable mention.
Essentially, I round out my Top 10 Girls of Anime with my roll call of cult and pulp favorites that fall short of the ongoing interest (typically as in more prolific art or cosplay) of my honorable mentions or the iconic (or idiosyncratic) status of my special mentions.
(1) LUST – FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST (2003)
Mmm… slinky! But also, ah…spiky?
Lust is one of the personifications of the Seven Deadly Sins in Fullmetal Alchemist. Or rather, ah, homunculifications?
You see, Fullmetal Alchemist is set in a fantasy world ruled by alchemy, typically by official State Alchemists (who automatically earn the rank of major in military forces). Alchemy is capable of producing almost anything through Transmutation Circles, although it is governed by the Law of Equivalent Exchange – in which you have to give up something equivalent in exchange for what you want. Almost anything, that is but for gold and humans – I’m not sure of the reasons for the former (which after all was the point of medieval alchemy transmuting lead into gold) but there’s a heavy exchange for the latter and success has proved elusive. That includes the two protagonist brothers of the series, who attempted to use alchemy to resurrect their mother – literally costing an arm and leg for the one and his whole body for the other. (He gets better – his brother sacrificed his arm to restore his soul to a suit of armor).
Anyway, it is possible to use legendary Philosopher’s Stones to short circuit the Law of Equivalent Exchange – and also to create (and ‘power’) homunculi, artificial humans with superhuman abilities. That includes the main antagonistic force in the series, the homunculi created from and named for the Seven Deadly Sins by the primary antagonist of the series known as Father. Each homunculi is identified by their bearing of the mark of the Ouroboros somewhere on their body (guess where on Lust) and possesses a heightened regenerative ability, rendering them nigh indestructible, though not invincible.
Which brings us to the homunculi Lust the Lascivious – and with a name and personification like that, it’s not hard to see why she’s one of my fantasy girl entries. That and, well, vavoom! Or in other words, a statuesque figure (the author has admitted that she likes drawing buxom women) poured into a slinky black dress to match her own dark brunette red-eyed beauty.
Just don’t get too attached – although she does evoke the usual definition of her namesake, her primary lust is blood lust and she can extend her fingers into absurdly long and sharp femme fatalons. You know, like Wolverine’s adamantium claws. Only sexier.
Of course, she has been a favorite with cosplay models, including two of my favorites featured here – Vampy Bit Me and Katyuska Moonfox.
(2) KAN’U UNCHOU – IKKI TOUSEN / BATTLE VIXENS (2003)
Well you can’t go past that English title of Battle Vixens!
But seriously, it was essentially the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with Japanese schoolgirls.
No, seriously. The majority of anime or manga seem to be set in school – or with schoolgirls – in any event, no matter how incongruously, so it’s not too much of a leap.
After all, there’s an anime with schoolgirls to evoke every arm of service in the Second World War:
There’s Girls und Panzer, which depicts a competition between girls’ high schools practising tank warfare with Second World War tanks as a sport, or more precisely, martial art – sensha-do or the Way of the Tank. Actually, that sounds so wild as to be awesome. Then there’s Strike Witches – an alternate history in which an invasion by a mysterious alien force diverts all nations on the eve of the Second World War to resist the invasion, naturally using animal-themed schoolgirl witches named after ace pilots in aerial combat, which admittedly sounds even more wild (and more awesome). And then there’s my favorite one of them all, Kantai Collection or Combined Fleet Girls Collection, which apparently originated as some sort of game – in which schoolgirls personify or incarnate Second World War naval vessels against an abyssal opponent.
And for the fangirls, there’s Axis Powers Hetalia – in which nations, particularly the Axis Powers of the Second World War, are inexplicably (and possibly offensively) anthropomorphized as handsome young men and in which Germany seems to have some sort of crush on hopeless but cute Italy. Anime…is weird.
So the Romance of the Three Kingdoms as high schools battling for turf supremacy seems positively normal by comparison.
And the fan favorite as well as one of the strongest warriors was Kan’u Unchou, a third year student at Seito Academy (apparently corresponding to the Shu Kingdom). Her signature appearance was a school uniform with a dangerously short skirt, equally dangerous short shirt that extended only to midriff and the baggy socks that are common aspects of style among Japanese schoolgirls.
More relevantly to her battle prowess, she carries the nearly invincible Blue Dragon Crescent Blade as well as the legendary sword Kusanagi.
(3) REIKA SHIMOHIRA – GANTZ (2004)
I do like posthumous fantasy – and Gantz is apparently a posthumous fantasy, in which students killed in a train accident find themselves part of some weird game in which they and other recently deceased people are equipped with advanced technology and directed by the titular spherical entity to fight aliens. And vampires later on. In the words of TV Tropes, imagine wanton gore and nudity “with Doom’s disturbing nature and Neon Genesis Evangelion’s outright insanity” and then “put that on crack and toss it in a septic tank”.
That’s pretty much all I know – Reika Shimohira, a pop idol from high school who is killed and also finds herself in the game, came to my attention through cosplay by Vampy Bit Me
And Katyuska Moonfox
(4) WITCH BLAIR – SOUL EATER (2008)
Soul Eater is another weird (and particularly cartoonish) anime – in which the Grim Reaper himself trains human warriors or ‘Meisters’ and their ‘Weapons’ (other humans that bond with the Meisters and shapeshift into weapons) to hunt down corrupted human souls and Witches. Yeah, I didn’t really follow that either – and I’ve seen it.
Witch Blair – and yes, she’s named in tribute to the Blair Witch Project – initially presents as one of the Witches that are the primary antagonists, but is benevolent and her status as a Witch is deceptive. She’s actually just a cat with magical powers, including the ability to transform herself into human form – or perhaps more precisely, catgirl form (since she retains her ears and tail while her eyes remain somewhat feline).
She seems to prefer her human form – and I mean human form, given that she has little concept of modesty. Indeed, she’s introduced in the bath, and remains prone to wardrobe malfunctions (losing her towel and so forth) thereafter. Her character does seem to capture the essence of what a cat would be in human form – if that cat was equal parts mischievous and incredibly flirty. But is there any scene that Blair can’t make better just by showing up. No. No, there is not – she is fun personified.
(5) BLUE ROSE – TIGER & BUNNY (2011)
“My ice is a little bit cold but your crime has been put completely on hold”
Yeah, she’s required to say that as her catchphrase (to her distaste). She’s also required to wear that costume (which she also dislikes). And advertise her sponsor’s product, Pepsi NEX (although her advertisement is something to see).
She’s Blue Rose, celebrity corporate sponsored superhero – her sponsor company took part in producing the first true blue rose through genetic engineering, hence her alias and impractical rose-themed costume- and she is from the anime series Tiger & Bunny. The series is set in an alternate history – with the focus on a fictional and futuristic version of New York City called Stern Bild City – in which superpowered humans known as NEXT (Noted Entities with eXtraordinary Talents) have emerged over the last 45 years, some of which becoming superheroes. Corporate sponsored superheroes that is, sporting logos or advertising on their suits – and their profile depends on the popular reality TV show HERO TV, through which they are awarded ‘hero points’. Of course, the focus of the series are the titular heroes, veteran Kotetsu Kaburagi (or Wild Tiger) and rookie Barnaby “Bunny” (as he is nicknamed by Tiger) Brooks Jr, who are forced to team up by their respective sponsors to improve their profiles (in essentially an anime superhero spin on the buddy cop storyline).
Blue Rose is the superhero identity of Karina Lyle, a young NEXT with freezing powers (who adds blue color to her natural brown eyes and blonde hair as well as other feature for her superhero appearance). Although she is quite competitive with other heroes, she forms something of a bond with the eponymous pair, namely because she has a crush on Tiger. However, she’s not as effective as she might be, at least initially, as she has a habit of comically retreating from fights if they get too difficult for her, a move Hero TV dubs as the Cutie Escape. In fairness, much of it is prompted by her ridiculously impractical costume and stiletto heels – she genuinely wants to save people and improves her abilities as an action hero as the series develops (particularly as the series develops in a darker direction), even as her sponsor pushes for a skimpier costume (“a thong and masking tape” as she complains).
(6) RIAS GREMORY – HIGH SCHOOL DXD (2012)
“My name is Rias Gremory, and I’m a devil….Not only that, but I’m your master too. You’re mine now”
Need I say more?
It would be remiss of me not to award special mention to Rias Gremory, literally queen of the devils in…school. Yes, where else? It’s anime after all. Unknown to its human students, the prestigious Kuoh Academy actually also hosts warring supernatural beings – primarily devils, angels and fallen angels. Despite being a devil, she’s actually quite nice. It’s the fallen angels you have to watch out for…
(7) LUCOA – MISS KOYABASHI’S DRAGON MAID 2017
Behold the Aztec feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl! Or Lucoa for short. And to paraphrase the old joke about God, she’s blonde.
Yes – something was changed from Aztec mythology in this anime, Miss Koyabashi’s Dragon Maid.
As for the anime itself, TV Tropes summarizes the plot:
“Kobayashi was just a hard-working, otaku software programmer living in Tokyo until one night she got drunk. In her drunken stupor, she climbed a mountain, came across a wounded dragon named Tohru, and pulled a giant, divine sword out of her, saving her life. Before going home, Kobayashi told Tohru she could come live with her if she wanted. When she wakes up the next day, remembering nothing, she rushes off to work and runs into Tohru outside her apartment door. Having heard Kobayashi’s drunken rants about maids, Tohru magically transforms into a mostly-human maid and devotes her life to being Kobayashi’s maid. Knowing nothing about maids or human society, of course.”
So in other words, your standard anime. Additionally, Tohru’s presence attracts other dragons, gods and mythical beings to her new home – which is where Lucoa comes in.
Of course, there’s Tohru herself, a female dragon of the Chaos faction (whatever that is). Like all dragons, she changes to human form, although retaining her horns (which seems to be common throughout dragon shapeshifting) and her literally big-ass tail (less common). In a maid’s uniform, which she conveniently explains away as cosplay.
However, the titular dragon maid Tohru is overshadowed by the divinely voluptuous Lucoa – Aztec dragon goddess, who lost her divine status centuries ago after getting drunk and causing a scandal (much like the Quetzalcoatl of the original mythology). Needless to say, she’s a favorite with fans and cosplayers – with her standard outfit of cap, tank top, shorts, thigh-high socks and shoes.
Of course, this being anime, there’s the ubiquitous beach episode – in which Lucoa wears barely there swimwear and is bounced (literally) from the beach. Twice.
Her most striking feature is her heterochromia – differently colored eyes (although it is hard to notice as she mostly has both eyes or one eye shut), right eye with a blue iris and large yellow pupil, and her left eye with a black-bordered, dark-green iris. What can I say – I’m a sucker for mismatched eyes, in fiction at least.
In the anime, she lives with a boy convinced that she is a succubus after she interrupted his summoning spell to prevent him from summoning a dangerous demon. Mind you, her appearance and behavior doesn’t do much to dispel this belief. A running gag involves him scolding her as “bad demon” whenever he bumps into her bust, which in fairness, seems hard to avoid.
Hmm – now there’s a Meso-American deity I can get behind!