Anime has come a long way in the past decade, with more and more shows featuring strong, compelling, and well-rounded female protagonists. In the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of fantastic anime that centers around major themes of loss, self-discovery, adventure, and more. Each of these anime showcases beloved and inspirational female characters, and sometimes even an entire cast of complex and endearing female protagonists. So, let’s take a look at the best anime with compelling female roles from the past few years. These shows are all available with subtitles or dubbed into English and just waiting to be binge-watched.
1. Golden Kamuy
Set in the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese war, "Golden Kamuy" follows a veteran on his search for a whispered-about Ainu gold. Early in his adventure, he meets Asirpa, a young Ainu huntress. This anime, and the manga which it is adapted from, not only gives its female character a leading role, makes her smarter, craftier, and more capable than her male veteran soldier counterpart—but it also gives center stage to a young Ainu. Asirpa is a girl from Hokkaido’s native people, a group that has been marginalized for a hundred years.
It’s a series that proves why representation matters. It teaches viewers about a culture and history they might know nothing about. It broadens our perspectives on Japanese history and culture, especially that of Hokkaido’s indigenous Ainu people.
Where to watch
2. Laid-Back Camp
Some of the most charming anime to have come out of recent years has revolved around the tight friendships of a group of young girls. Watching them grow, discover their own strengths and weaknesses, and work as a team to become stronger together is an absolute delight. "Laid Back Camp" (also called "Yuru Camp") is one of the best examples. It follows the story of Rin, a girl who loves to camp in seclusion as she enjoys nature by herself. During one trip, she meets and helps the lost Nadeshiko, and the two become unlikely friends. At school, they join the Outdoor Activities Circle, and the member of this club all work together to take trips out into the Japanese wilderness.
Where "Laid Back Camp" sets itself apart is in its depiction of personalities that are usually embodied by men. Especially Rin, the aloof loner who enjoys her own quiet company over that of others. It’s an anime that shows the deeper complexities of friendship between young girls as opposed to the tired trope of kawaii girls and their carefree games.
Where to watch
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