The shounen genre of both anime and manga has come to be known as one that is synonymous with action and fighting, intense rivalries, and more often than not training arcs that are meant to lead to even more intense fighting. Another quirk of this genre is that most often shounen series are dominated by a male cast, and if a female is written into the series it is most often in a supporting role, one in she can do nothing more than wait to be saved. This topic seeks to talk about the more interesting and badass women to be found in this genre and how they are more developed than some of their counterparts in other series.
The first example that comes to mind for me is Soul Eater. The main protagonist is a woman who is very capable at fighting and has no explicit romance subplot to interfere with her characrer development. She does display some stereotypical personality traits (whining, nagging etc) but is otherwise very strong. There are many other women present in the maon cast, and two of the most powerful villains in the anime are women. The manga probably has more material to work with as well. – Grace Maich6 years ago
It'll be important in this article to stress that strong female characters don't need to become masculine in order to be really "badass". What makes them strong isn't their casting off of femininity to fit another stereotypical tomboy trope, but the integration of their agency and drive that is independent of the (usually) leading male roles. This can happen while still being hyper-aware of femininity. Bishamonten from Noragami comes to mind, or Kirihara of Darker than Black. Both are feminine characters who are in charge of their own destinies, independent of male characters, and are powerful all on their own without resorting to ideals of masculinity. – emiliemedland6 years ago
I'd also like to note that there's nothing preventing a female supporting character to be a damn good supporting character. There can't always be Nami's and Kirihara's, and sometimes, all you really need is a good damsel in distress. Agency doesn't dictate character quality, and character quality isn't confirmed by agency. – Austin6 years ago
Well, it's worthy to note that Shounen's target audience (let alone its very meaning) is boys around the ages of 10-13. It depends what you mean by best women. If you mean women who serve as good role models then you could point to Erza from Fairy Tale. In fact, since Fairy Tale is an insanely popular Anime/manga right now, and is a major Shounen title, she is important to mention. If you mean women who are simply characters with complexities be they good or bad guys, then you can note Yuno Gasai in Mirai Nikki who has psychological problems. Major psychological problems bordering on psychopathy. And you could look at the main female character in Naruto: Gaiden. It's the continuation of a series that was otherwise male dominated, now features a female main character. Perhaps, you could make the case that since this is a new manga but based off an old male-dominated one, things are changing. – SpectreWriter6 years ago