Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Manga With Dynamic Female Protagonists

Happy Tuesday to you all!

As always, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish, and this weeks theme is:

January 31: All about the visuals: Top Ten Favorite Graphic Novels/Comics or Ten Comics on My TBR or Top Ten Favorite Picture Books

OK this theme spoke to my heart a little bit because if you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I love manga. Also, with everything that’s been going on recently (re: Trump) I’m feeling the need for a little empowerment, so for this week I’m doing top ten manga series with a female main character.

*(I’m going to do some more research to see if it’s possible to do a version of this with marginalised main characters, because that’s what I would have liked to do for today, but I don’t know how many series there are about marginalised characters.)

1. Yona of the Dawn


Goodreads synopsis: Princess Yona lives an ideal life as the only princess of her kingdom. Doted on by her father, the king, and protected by her faithful guard Hak, she cherishes the time spent with the man she loves, Soo-won. But everything changes on her 16th birthday when she witnesses her father’s murder! Yona reels from the shock of losing her father and having to fight for her life. With Hak’s help, she flees the castle and struggles to survive while evading her enemy’s forces. But where will this displaced princess go with such an uncertain path before her?

Why I would recommend: She teaches herself archery and fighting skills so she can take back her kingdom. She literally becomes a warrior princess, I’m sold.

2. Red Haired Snow White


Goodreads synopsis: Shirayuki was a young girl born with unique apple-red hair. She meets a famous but foolish Prince Raji, who falls in love with her at first sight and orders her to become his concubine. With nowhere else to go, Shirayuki cuts her hair and escapes to a neighboring country. While traversing through the forests, she meets a young man, Zen, who helps her after she boldly cures his wounds, but then gets poisoned by an apple meant for Shirayuki. Meanwhile, Prince Raji sends out henchmen to search for her. What will happen to Shirayuki? What is Zen’s true character? A refreshing fantasy love story between an optimistic heroine and a prince who constantly stays on her watch.

Why I would recommend: A story about a fiery, independent young woman who w0n’t allow any man – not even the prince – to control her. SIGN. ME. UP. Bonus: Zen is a cutie and has silver hair.

3. The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya


Goodreads synopsis: Meet Haruhi – a cute, determined girl, starting high school in a city where nothing exciting happens and absolutely no one understands her. Meet Kyon ­­- the sarcastic guy who sits behind Haruhi in homeroom and the only boy Haruhi has ever opened up to. His fate is now tied to hers. Meet the S.O.S. Brigade – an after-school club organized by Haruhi with a mission to seek out the extraordinary. Oh, and their second mission? Keeping Haruhi happy . . . because even though she doesn’t know it, Haruhi has the power to destroy the universe. Seriously.

Why I would recommend: Haruhi is just full of crazy schemes, and while the plot sometimes doens’t make a lot of sense, the series is really good fun.

4. Sailor Moon

Sailor Moon 1.jpg

Goodreads synopsis: One of the most-beloved of all Japanese manga titles, Naoko Takeuchi’s Sailor Moon has enthralled millions of readers worldwide since its debut in book form in early 1992. When Usagi Tsukino adopts a stray cat, she gets more than she bargains for The talking cat, Luna, informs Usagi that she is actually Sailor Moon, a magical princess from the future and protector of the Solar System. With the help of her new friends, the Sailor Scouts, and the mysterious Tuxedo Mask, Sailor Moon embarks on a quest to save us all from the evil powers of the Negaverse.

Why I would recommend: Literally the matriarch of female empowerment in manga. They’re basically a glorified girl-gang of superheroes with magical solar system powers, WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE?

5. Ouran High School Host Club


Goodreads synopsis: One day, Haruhi, a scholarship student at exclusive Ouran High School, breaks an $80,000 vase that belongs to the ‘Host Club’, a mysterious campus group consisting of six super-rich (and gorgeous) guys. To pay back the damages, she is forced to work for the club, and it’s there that she discovers just how wealthy the boys are and how different they are from everybody else.

Why I would recommend: Deals with issues of gender identity in a fun but thoughtful manner and involves lots of cross dressing from characters of every gender.

6. Fruits Basket


Goodreads synopsis: A family with an ancient curse. And the girl who will change their lives forever. Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home. Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.

Why I would recommend: I’m not going to spoil anything for you if you haven’t read it but the ‘family secret’ is just the best. It’s so funny, enjoyable and cute.

7. The Gentleman’s Alliance Cross


Wiki synopsis: Haine Otomiya, a 15-year-old high school student at the elite private Imperial Academy, was sold to the Otomiya family by her father, Kazuhito Kamiya, for 50 million yen. Disoriented with her place in life, she became a gang member until she met Shizumasa Tōgū, who told her to live life how she wanted to. Recognizing Shizumasa as the author of a treasured picture book given to her from father, Haine reforms herself and enters the Imperial Academy to try and win his love.

Why I would recommend: It’s literally hilarious?? There are scenes in this series that made me cackle/cry with laughter and I don’t think any other manga has managed to do that.

8. Nana


Goodreads synopsis: Nana Komatsu is a young woman who’s endured an unending string of boyfriend problems. Moving to Tokyo, she’s hoping to take control of her life and put all those messy misadventures behind her. She’s looking for love and she’s hoping to find it in the big city. Nana Osaki, on the other hand, is cool, confident and focused. She swaggers into town and proceeds to kick down the doors to Tokyo’s underground punk scene. She’s got a dream and won’t give up until she becomes Japan’s No. 1 rock’n’roll superstar. This is the story of two 20-year-old women who share the same name. Even though they come from completely different backgrounds, they somehow meet and become best friends. The world of Nana is a world exploding with sex, music, fashion, gossip and all-night parties.

Why I would recommend it: *screams to the hilltops* FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS.

9. Claymore


Goodreads synopsis: A Claymore – a female warrior named for the sword she carries – travels from medieval village to village to destroy Yoma, monsters who disguise themselves as humans and who are almost impossible to kill. Claymores are half-humans, half-demons who willingly transformed themselves by mixing their blood with monster’s blood. Claire, nicknamed silver-eyed killer, is such a powerful Claymore, she can slay a Yoma using only one hand. But she must constantly struggle to keep from becoming a monster herself.

Why I would recommend it: Badass female warriors in a fantasy world that deals with existentialism and morality? Yup yup.

10. Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor sakura.jpg

Goodreads synopsis: From Clamp comes the thrilling adventures of Sakura, a fourth-grader who accidentally finds an enchanted book called The Clow. The book once contained a set of magical Clow Cards, but they all escaped while the guardian of the book fell asleep. Now, Sakura is thrust into a mystical journey to capture all the cards before they wreak chaos and destruction!

Why I would recommend it: So cute and fluffy. Will steal your heart. Honestly, I wish I’d read this when I was younger because I think I would have become really addicted to the storyline and characters, and could have benefited from its messages while growing up.

So that’s all for this week! Sorry to spam you with my love of manga again (haha who are we kidding, I’m not sorry). As always let me know if you have read or plan on reading any of these and link me up to your TTTs!


12 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Manga With Dynamic Female Protagonists

  1. Great picks for this week Kate, I haven’t watched any manga myself but it’s great that with everything going on you have this genre to fall back on for a little female empowerment (something that I feel is sorely needed in real life as well).
    A while back when I was in high school a lot of my friends were obsessed with Sailor Moon so even though I haven’t seen it myself I almost feel like I have! 🙂

      1. We can never have too much empowerment in my opinion. 🙂
        Yeah it was definitely fun listening to them talk about it, it made me want to watch it myself just because they were all so enthusiastic about it (I never got around to it in the end though.)

  2. I have watched the two seasons of Red Haired Snow White and adored them! I do plan on picking up the manga some time in the future. I just love the story and the characters. 🙂
    Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket are one of the first manga I ever read (or remember reading that is). I adore both of them! The characters in those stories are simply amazing.
    I love Nana as well and the female friendship is wonderful! I’ll forever be sad that the manga is not being continued. 😦 I seriously need more of it in my life, but I guess that’s not going to happen. I loved the anime of it as well, it was great hearing the songs and Nana sing.
    Great list! 😀

    1. Awesome! I still need to watch season 2! I love Ouran too, I really need to continue with it actually, and same with Nana – when I found out it was ending I stopped reading it to try and prolong it, but now I just feel like I haven’t read any in ages and need to get back into it! And thank you!

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