By Alexandra Petrache
Making this list involved a trip down memory lane and showed me that there are some strong female characters that withstood the passing of time. It is by no means a top of the best characters ever created, but merely a top of the ones that influenced my childhood in one way or another.
1. Alex, Sam and Clover (“Totally Spies!”)
This is another high-school heroine story, with an iconic soundtrack, a plethora of pink gadgets disguised as daily objects, in 007 fashion, and a slightly odd boss with a paternal side. “Totally Spies” is a “Powerpuff Girls” meets “Sailor Moon” meets “Kim Possible” combo, with a very glamorous, anime-alluding look. The girls live in Beverly Hills and work for the World Organization of Human Protection (WOOHP).
When not focusing on their heroical actions, the plot shows aspects of their school life- more often than not talking about relationships and school rivalries. While that can be superficial at times, the show is still highly entertaining. The girls’ different personalities represent a big plus: Clover is the glamourous loyal queen of the group, Alex is the big-hearted tomboy, while Sam is wiser and more down-to-earth. While they might have the occasional argument, the girls are in a very cohesive and supportive friendship group and nothing can stand in their way- both as buddies and as crimefighters.
Mulan is the supreme action film female character. She armours up to take her father’s place in battle, goes through gruelling training, saves her army, saves China…while disguising herself as a man. She is beautiful in her convictions, ethics and dedication. Rita Hsiao’s screenplay does justice by the character, and it is refreshing to see a Disney film stripped down of the “magic” so typical of animated films with female leads.
3. The Powerpuff Girls
“Blossom, Bubbles aaaand Buttercup!”. The slightly-older-than-a-todler heroines born from a freak accident defend Townsville from everyday evil. Thug amoebae, ambitious monkeys with an ego problem, dinosaurs- you name it. While the show has many nods to an adult audience, it was inspiring to see the three girls come victorious again and again, proving that they could be smart, fun and empathic, and that female heroines do not have to be superfluously sexualised.
4. Rogue (“X-Men Evolution”)
I have always regarded the “X-Men Evolution”as an excellent series, with great graphics and soundtrack. Rogue was a favourite character with incredible albeit very unfortunate powers- by touching someone’s skin directly, she had access to that person’s entire life, including memories, feelings and powers. While it might sound exciting to be able to have anyone’s powers just by touching them, it all came with a burden. That, added on top of her personal trauma and seeming lack of integration, gives Rogue a certain sadness and rough edge.
5. Mabel Pines (“Gravity Falls”)
Mabel is a special kind of hero. With her charming smile and a happy-go-lucky attitude, her and her brother Dipper defend Gravity Falls from all sorts of mysterious challenges. She is sweet but not ditzy, altruistic and clever and has a soft spot for piglet Waddles. When in need, she does not hesitate to save others, even if it comes at a detriment to her. In the end, Mabel receives the rewards she deserves.
6. The Yellow and Pink Power Rangers
The Power Rangers are absolutely iconic. I remember my little sister dancing to the intro and wanting to be one of them, unable to decide between the Yellow or Pink. The show was not without its faults, and it even came under fire because some of the costume colours appeared to evoke the backgrounds of the characters. However, the Yellow and Pink Rangers deserve a mention in the top, as their unrivalled skill helped the team save the world and showed that girls can fight alongside boys and do it well.
7. Kim Possible
Kim is a teenage schoolgirl by day, crime fighter by night (or whenever necessary). Together with friend Ron Stoppable, his naked-mole pet rat Rufus and webmaster wonder kid Wade, Kim is on a mission to save the world. The show blends supervillain fights in with teenage troubles and a social life. Kim is fun, upbeat and tackles her problems head-on. The show is very likeable as it, at times, resembles a fun sitcom. Kim’s family can also be a bit much at times, as every member has a highly intellectual occupation. Oh, and they know about her heroic actions and fully support them. That’s a great family!
8. Sailor Moon
Extremely popular in the early 2000s, the show tells the story of Usagi Tsukino, a schoolgirl, as she becomes “Sailor Moon” and leads a team of all-female guardians of the solar system as they look for the Silver Crystal, an artifact which will help them prevent the system’s destruction. The characteristic anime graphics are beautiful and the costumes breath-taking. Usagi and her friends turn out to be reincarnated forms of previous royalty and courtiers living on the Moon Kingdom, which had been destroyed. The show bends space and time and the Sailors put up a good fight with the forces of evil, while also being empathetic and humorous.
Elastigirl’s dream of being an excellent superhero is broken down when the US government outlaws the practice and she starts living in witness protection with her husband and three children. Unable to use their powers publicly, her and her husband retort to living a quieter, more mundane life in a suburban home…until the proverbial hits the fan and the whole family suits up to fight villains once again. Elastigirl is fun and determined, she makes her own decisions and fights for what she believes in. Even as she is approaching middle-age she maintains her inspiring kickass heroine status and excels in combat.
10. Raven (“Teen Titans”)
“Azarath Metrion Zinthos” is Raven’s magical chant. A member of the Teen Titans, and half human-half demon, Raven can sense emotions and transport herself away from her physical body as an astral projection. At times, she battles her demon side, which makes her become impulsive or lose control over her emotions, but at the end of the day she values her Titan family and cares for them. Her story isn’t all colourful and pretty, but Raven always manages to come on top and to do right by herself and by those she cares about, in spite of hordes of enemies (some of them demons).