Truth be told, a lot of female anime characters are actually quite cool, but for one reason or another, they often end up getting "special treatment" from creators in the way of fan service.
Fan service is when a creator includes scenes, plots, and developments that primarily exist to please the audience, even if those decisions end up being detrimental to the overall quality of the story.
For example, filler episodes at the beach or scenes in a sauna are often used to show characters in scantily-clad outfits. Yet while fan service is often sexual in nature, it doesn't have to be—giving a popular character an unearned happy ending is another form of fan service.
A little bit can be fine, but many creators end up including more and more fan service over time, to the point where it can seriously detract from a character's uniqueness. Gratuitous mini skirts, enlarged breasts, and panty shots can ruin otherwise awesome characters.
From deadly warriors to powerful demons, here are some of the greatest female anime characters who ended up being tarnished by excessive fan service and hypersexualization.
15. Vanessa Enoteca (Black Clover)
The Black Bulls are a Magic Knight Squad composed of very peculiar yet extraordinary mages, and Vanessa Enoteca is one of them.
Her character is a witch, but she isn't dressed in black, witchy robes. Instead, she's always seen in her undergarments, even when they're in their home base's common area.
Only during missions does she wear her "normal attire" (and even that's only slightly longer than her usual undergarments). She's also a bit of an alcoholic, which makes the sexualization of her character even worse.
14. Tamaki Kotatsu (Fire Force)
If Fairy Tail has Gray Fullbuster, who intentionally (and unintentionally) gets naked in every scene, then Fire Force has Tamaki Kotatsu. With her bad luck, she always ends up naked somehow.
While her unluckiness is an intentional part of the story, it's so much for the character that it ruins her badassery and her scenes.
13. Alisa Amiella (God Eater)
In God Eater, Alisa Amiella is a New-Type God Arc wielder and is one of the best in her field. From the game to the anime series, she sports a daring attire that shows off most of her skin.
As with many female anime characters, fashion and attire are up to the creative freedom of creators—and when it's done poorly, it can shift the attention of viewers from the character's development to the character's appearance, placing a line between them.
It can be hard to focus on dialogue, fight scenes, and story points when the scene obviously wants to draw your attention a certain way.
12. Erza Scarlet (Fairy Tail)
Erza Scarlet is one of the strongest female wizards in Fairy Tail, with her Requip Magic that allows her to change armor and weapon sets suited to every situation. Despite some of her armors being "magically" functional, they seem a bit too short on materials.
Armor should primarily serve as protection, but most of her outfits look like gowns that leave too much skin vulnerable. Certain tweaks to her design would make her more badass and terrifying, given that she really is a mage to be reckoned with when it comes to battle.
11. Mirajane Strauss (Fairy Tail)
Mirajane Strauss is another high-caliber mage of the Fairy Tail guild who has the power to become a demon with her Take Over magic, which allows her to inherit the attributes of the demon she transforms into.
One of her transformations, however, lacks coverage of a few intimate parts and shows most of her skin, making it look more like a swimsuit than a demonic body. The design doesn't fit the power she possesses, unlike other demonic transformations in the anime.
10. Zero Two (Darling in the Franxx)
In Darling in the Franxx, Franxx units are biomechanical suits that are known for their bizarre cockpits that put their pilots in awkward positions. That alone is fan service, right there!
Zero Two's character gave piloting a whole new dimension, not only in riding the giant robot as a sexy pilot but also by being a badass fighter who perfectly eliminates monsters. Despite that, female Franxx pilots are unnecessarily sexualized in this series even without showing skin.
9. Nezuko Kamado (Demon Slayer)
Nezuko Kamado—the girl-turned-demon—is the apple of our eye in Demon Slayer, flooding every single one of her out-of-box scenes with cuteness, despite being a threatening demon-killer.
During the Entertainment District Arc, she was given a more mature form that allowed her to toy with Daki during their fight. Unfortunately, our cute and cool Nezuko was ruined by her wildly sexualized form.
8. Stella Vermillion (Chivalry of a Failed Knight)
Stella Vermillion is a powerful Blazer who owns a sword that can incinerate anything with its flames. Her character, however, was dropped into a supporting role when paired with Ikki, giving us a few scenes with her only in her undergarments.
And because the show focused mainly on Ikki, Stella was given fewer important developments and eventually only served as eye candy, aside from being the character who accepts Ikki when no one else does.
Sure, we know that the show is a bit harem-style and targeted at mature viewers, but it's still rude to not give her the developments she deserves after having a solid background and backstory.
7. Lucy Heartfilia (Fairy Tail)
Lucy Heartfilia will be our last entry from the Fairy Tail series. She's a great mage who owns the most number of Celestial Spirit Keys, which she uses to summon Celestial Spirits to aid her in battle.
The more you dig into the lore of Fairy Tail, the more you realize that Lucy is an important character. But due to the way she's depicted by the series—daring outfits that are short and expose a lot of skin—many viewers only see her as eye candy.
She actually has several dramatic moments of character development, but since she isn't a wild and badass fighter like Erza and Mirajane, she's mainly remembered for her fan service.
6. Boa Hancock (One Piece)
There are a lot of overly sexualized characters in One Piece, both main characters and side characters. But Boa Hancock's design and narrative are "intentionally" made for fan service.
Between her physical beauty and her Mero Mero no Mi Devil Fruit ability, she can make any man drool over her—and eventually turn into stone. She always gives off a seductive look that no man around her can resist, thus they become victim to the Snake Princess's frightening power.
But even if she's "meant" to be a sexy and seductive character, there's no doubt that a large part of her existence is rooted in fan service.
5. Nami (One Piece)
There's nothing really wrong with Nami's character design in the early parts of One Piece. But later, after the timeskip, she appears in the Sabaody Archipelago wearing nothing but a bikini top.
In the years that passed, Nami became more of a woman like Nico Robin—but for viewers who don't value hypersexualization, it feels like Nami has been wronged by her creators.
Sure, her attire constantly changes post-timeskip, but most of them are variations on bikini tops or otherwise short and revealing garments.
4. Revy (Black Lagoon)
Rebecca Lee, or just Revy for short, is a badass mercenary-type character in Black Lagoon. She's a skilled gunner, a merciless killer, and she's insanely cool when she's in action.
However, she isn't clad in full battle gear like soldiers ought to be, nor is she outfitted in black gear like spies and assassins would be. Revy just wears a tank top and short shorts, which are obviously only there to flaunt her curves and sex appeal.
Lore-wise, she deserves an outfit that suits her reckless fighting style, not just revealing clothes. Sadly, this is common in seinen anime where sexualization is used to draw in its target demographic.
3. Elizabeth Liones (The Seven Deadly Sins)
At first, we all thought the same thing about Elizabeth: she's only in The Seven Deadly Sins for fan service. In the early parts of the series, she was always groped and touched by Meliodas without resistance.
But later on, we finally learned that she has a deeper character backstory: she was a goddess who stood against both the Supreme Deity and the Demon King and was cursed to die over and over again.
As such, most fans feel sorry for her being overly sexualized in the early episodes. In hindsight, her mistreatment could've ruined her.
2. Marin Kitagawa (My Dress-Up Darling)
My Dress-Up Darling is a seinen anime that focuses on two main characters who work to overcome seclusion and show their true selves. In that sense, it's not a bad series.
However, the premise involves a female cosplayer named Marin Kitagawa, who employs the help of a male classmate named Wakana Gojo to make her costumes. The result? Lots of undressing moments.
Yes, these "dress-up" scenes are important plot points in the story, and it's not unusual for seinen anime to dip into risque territory. But when you think about Marin Kitagawa being a high schooler, it's... weird.
Maybe if she were older, it'd be easier to let her sexualization slide, especially given the premise of the show. But with her canonical age in the main storyline? The fan service feels pretty wrong.
1. Everyone (Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma)
We have no specific character or name for this spot because fan service is so prominent throughout Food Wars!.
You'll find lots of short skirts and big-breasted students in this anime, but that isn't even the main fan service at play. In Food Wars!, when characters take bites of delicious food... well, their clothes blow off their bodies as they revel in culinary ecstasy.
To be fair, the story of Food Wars! is incredibly well-written. But the characters' moans and reactions are quite awkward and controversial. It tries to blend hypersexualization into its plot by hiding it in plain sight, but we all know that it's ultimately fan service.