To piggyback on the theme Mel started this week, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite animated women. I hope these picks bring back some feels from the past. Let’s go!
Oh, Anastasia, how do I list all the ways I love you? I’m having a hard time trying to figure out how to even describe Anya. I loved the way she carried herself. I loved her rundown clothes, but she was never rundown, no matter what happened. She left the orphanage determined to uncover the mystery of her past and when the chance arose to take a risk and follow a leap of faith, she did.
I loved how she and Dimitri could take turns being the hero. Anastasia is a beautiful film that I will never forget. She got to have flaws and be biased and then have to overcome them to see the real person. She could be afraid and cry and then also be a badass that took out Rasputin.
The Powerpuff Girls—The Powerpuff Girls
This cartoon was one of my favorites. How perfect was it? Three amazing girls kicking ass with sugar, spice, and everything nice. Girls could be physically strong and also be feminine. Girls could be anything they wanted. Blossom was my favorite since she was the leader and I was obsessed with being the leader as a kid (yes, I was called bossy).
3 guesses and the first two don’t count 🙂
Everything that needs to be said about this show is right here.
Sabrina—Sabrina the Animated Series
I wanted to be Sabrina so much as a little girl. She had awesome hair, a great family, and magical powers! She was the coolest ever. Like the Powerpuff Girls, Sabrina was strong and also feminine, frequently sporting pink unabashedly.
We’re gonna stick with TV shows a tad longer. Reggie was also one of my personal heroes. She was the only girl in a squad of boys and just as awesome as them. Her purple hair was just amazing. She was the oldest and the smartest and in control and cool. “It’s not worth winning if you have to cheat,” she once said. Reggie was spouting wisdom and being awesome on a surf board or rollerblades or skateboard with her sunglasses and baggy pants like a boss.
Esmeralda—The Hunchback of Notre Dame
I feel like we’re following a trend of highlighting women that are both powerful, vulnerable, feminine, and flawed. Esmeralda, like the other women I’ve talked about, is brave and courageous and like Anya, initially lets her prejudice get the best of her. She also has to strip back the layers and look at people in new ways. But on the other hand, she also sees clearly that which others vilify.
She misjudged Phoebus, the handsome man most people probably flocked to, but not Quasi, the different looking and mistreated boy. Her song God Help the Outcasts just tells you everything you need to know about.
She cares for others above herself and she’s caught in a world that is supposed to be equal and claims it is, but isn’t. And she fights to make it a reality.
As a comment pointed out on Mel’s post, Mulan deserves to be on this list. We adore Mulan here at Animated Meta and once I knew Mel left her off her list, I knew she would be on mine. I’ve talked about Mulan before and I could talk about her for all eternity. Just… perfect movie. Mulan is fierce. Mulan shares many qualities with all the women we’ve talked about. I just love that symbolism at the end of the film when she fights the leader of the Huns as a woman, with the fan, uses both her brains and her fighting skills and wins.
Marina and Eris—Sinbad and the Legend of the Seven Seas
I want to switch gears a little bit and talk about the film Sinbad and the Legend of the Seven Seas. Now, Sinbad is very much about Sinbad and also his buddy Proteus. Proteus and Sinbad were friends, but their relationship suddenly ended when Marina arrived as Proteus’ betrothed. Sinbad took one look at her, fell in love, and fled to a life of piracy to avoid screwing anything up. Marina eventually ends up traveling with Sinbad to save Proteus’ life after Eris causes trouble. Everything make sense? I hope so.
So, Marina? Awesome.
She’s this princess that, like most of our well-known Disney ladies, wants way more. Before I get into that, I just want to talk about her physically. She’s got short hair and wears pants. How awesome is that? I think basically every princess except like Snow White and Cinderella have had long, luscious locks. And pants on a female character? Like, that’s sadly pretty rare. So right away, Marina’s design pawns all, I think.
She holds her own against a crew of pirates and saves their butts numerous times.
She also gets them into some sticky situations, but she’s not dead weight on this mission. She also acts as Sinbad’s conscience, generally just being smart and amazing and telling him he’s being a cowardly asshole.
On the flip side, we have Eris, the goddess of chaos and discord.
I was thinking about my favorite female villains and knew I wanted one on this list. My first thought was Maleficent and she and Eris actually do have some stuff in common. They’re both evil just for the pleasure of it. Eris loves causing trouble. She’s just so wicked and voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer, so yeah, chills.
I loved her design as a kid, her sleek, dark long hair. I loved how she could grow really tall and then be human size and she was so twisted.
Just look at her movements, I can’t get enough of it. She’s so creepy.
And really, I think the climax of Sinbad is like no other. Eris could not go down easy and she doesn’t. I don’t want to spoil because it’s just a great fun film and really should be seen by more people. Anyway, Sinbad loses, Eris wins and there’s actually a legit amount of time that passes where Sinbad tries to atone for what he’s done. What leads to Eris’ downfall is unexpected.
Did I sell this movie enough for you?
A shout out to Dreamworks for giving us Fiona, Astrid, Chel and the great crop of different female characters we’ve gotten. Really, great work.
Liberty’s Kids was the bomb! Sarah was my favorite because she was really the only woman on the show and had awesome hair (and I had a thing for animated hair, clearly). She went through such a great journey on the show, going from a firm English loyalist to supporting the plight of the colonists. She was such an amazing character, a woman with a voice, and the freedom to explore the world and be shaped by it. She was a reporter and always spoke her mind and was amazing.
Pokemon! Ah, my favorite. Misty, following another trend, was pretty much the one woman among a group of men and was fabulous. Between the original trio, each had a specialization and Misty’s was water pokemon.
Like, she first saves Ash’s life and then follows him around demanding he fix her bike that his pokemon ruined. Misty is not here for your crap.
And clearly she has a temper, as Mel put it to me, which may feed into the redhead stereotype if we want to look closely at that.
Misty also suffered from a lack of confidence in regard to her older sisters and feeling left out but their synchronized swimming group. But the show also had a nice arc for her where we saw her overcome that she felt more secure in her relationships with Ash and Brock and bonds with her sisters. And who can forget the epic ear pulling whenever Brock whenever he got all OMG I LURVE YOU about girls. Best ever.
Spring Sprite—Fantasia 2000
Perhaps an unconventional pick, but I could talk for hours about this film and the final selection, Firebird Suite, changed my life. I legit used to run around with a shawl as my wings to be the Spring Sprite and bring the forest back to life.
I loved her because she was naive and vulnerable and became depressed when the volcano destroyed the forest,
but then found the power to restore the beauty, to create life again. I loved her strength and her curiosity. She’s a bit like Ariel, now that I think about it. The way she goes to explore the volcano and awakens it.
She shares that spirit, the excitement to discover something new. The Spring Sprite was so important to me on so many levels.
Who are your favorite animated women? Do you agree with my list? Who would be on your list? What makes an animated woman “epic?” What qualities do you admire in a character?