Ah, the sailor suit. While the navies that originated it have toned them down considerably, it’s still the preferred uniform for many a hardcore asskicker. Here are 15 folks who prove that just because you’re wearing a gigantic collar, a neckerchief and/or a skirt, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a badass.
1) Izumi Hoshi, Sailor Suit and Machine Gun
In this 1978 novel turned into a 1981 cult movie, Izumi Hoshi is a delinquent girl who gets put in charge of a yakuza clan when her father is murdered. Really, she doesn’t have innate power as much as she has a machine gun and a bad attitude, but since both of those things end up making her the undisputed head of a great deal of Japan’s criminal underworld — which is its own kind of power — we’re more than willing to allow it.
2) Baby Doll, Sucker Punch
In Zack Snyder’s possibly misogynist, possibly misunderstood ode to hot chicks fighting things, Baby Doll is the sailor-suited protagonist who defeats a giant steampunk Nazi robot, Lord of the Rings-esque orcs, robots, a dragon, and more. Unfortunately, since these fights aren’t real but just fantasies concocted by her mind to ignore the fact she’s performing erotic dances for men — which are in turn a fantasy concocted by her mind while she’s getting a lobotomy — she can only receive an E for effort.
3) Saeko Busujima, Highschool of the Dead
The tall Saeko may be captain of her high school’s kendo club, but that hardly accounts for her incredible skill with the katana, or her martial arts prowess. Even while using a wooden bokken, a practice sword, Saeko is pretty much the sole reason why any of the characters manage to stay alive past the first few chapters of Highschool of the Dead. When she gets her hands on a real sword, she’s even more deadly, able to take on large groups of zombies, by herself, and never breaking a sweat.
4) Saya, Blood: the Last Vampire
I’m pretty sure no Japanese high school has school uniforms that are all black — they do seem a bit gloomy, after all — but since Saya’s over 100 years old and only going to school to hunt down the shape-shifting Chiropterans hiding there, I imagine she gets special dispensation. Saya uses her katana to kill these monsters — well, not with ease, exactly, but as much ease as a young girl fighting giant, anthropomorphic vampire bats could be hoped for. Please note: The Saya of Blood+ and Blood-C don’t wear proper sailor suits, and the Saya of the live-action Blood: The Last Vampire movie is terrible, so don’t watch it.
5) Ami Hyuga, The Machine Girl
Wher brother and her friend are killed by bullies, Ami decides to teach them a lesson. Unfortunately, those bullies have parents who are in some sort of yakuza-ninja-hybrid clan, and Ami gets her arm deep-friend in tempura and cut off for her troubles. What’s a girl to do? Obviously, stick a big-honking gatling gun at the end of her arm. Suffice it to say neither the ninja nor the yakuza — including the mom with the drill bra — stand a chance.
6) Enma Ai, Hell Girl
When the devil has a problem, he gets Enma Ai to solve it. Having been sacrificed by her village 400 years ago, Enma (after rising from the grave and killing said villagers) has been helping ferry souls to the underworld for quite some time, usually by getting vengeance for people who have been similarly wronged. All they have to do is email the Hell Correspondence website (it used to be letters, and before that wooden Shinto prayer plaques) and be prepared to go to hell themselves as the price. Note: Enma isn’t particularly picky, as evidenced by the time she sends a bum to hell for scratching a guy’s car.
7) Kanu Unchou, Ikki Tousen
Whle Ikki Tousen sounds highbrow — high school fighters who are reincarnations of the legendary Chinese warriors of the “romance of the three kingdoms” wars that raged through the second and third centuries — it was titled Battle Vixens during its brief manga release in America, so that should give you some clue to what the series’ real priorities are. That said, Kanu Unchou is the reincarnation of the ridiculously powerful warrior Guan Yu, and she simply doesn’t lose fights, thanks to her Blue Dragon Crescent Blade and Kusanagi sword. Heck, the one time she was even hurt – someone broke her arm – was because she wasn’t paying attention during a fight, and she still won it.
8) Tokiko Tsumura, Buso Renkin
Although Tokiko is 19, she’s still tooling around in her high school sailor suit. This is because she quit high school to focus on killing homunculi; not too surprising since a homunculus killed everybody else at her school, which is the sort of thing that scars a person (mentally as well as physically, in Tokiko’s case). Her Buso Renkin power is the “Valkyrie Skirt,” which consists of four blades that attach to her thighs and which she can control with her mind, which can be used as steps just as easily as they slice monsters apart. But the most badass thing about Tokiko is her battlecry: “I’ll splatter your guts!”
Hey, we never said this list was ladies only. Popeye — at least when shot up full of spinach, can punch a building so hard it collapses. He can punch a hole through a cruise liner. He punched Bluto so hard he turned into bologna. He once punched a tiger into a a leopard skin coat (yes, leopard skin). He can punch someone out of orbit and have his body land on the moon. He punched out his own cartoon once — as in, the actual film his cartoon was running on. Do not get punched by Popeye.
10) Kagome Higurashi, Inuyasha
Kagome might not be the most popular female protagonist in anime, but she’s definitely one of the most powerful. As the reincarnation of the Shinto priestess Kikyo (who died 500 years ago [and then who was resurrected, but evil, and messed with Kagome]), Kagome can purify anything she touches, imbue arrows with her spiritual power making them holy missiles, and can shield herself from almost any spell or magic. Plus, she has total control over Inuyasha, a half-fox-demon who’s no slouch in the ass-kicking department himself. Admittedly, Kagome spends most of her time bickering with Inuyasha instead of kicking ass, but you still can’t deny her powers.
11) A-ko, Project A-Ko
Despite her super-human strength, speed and invulnerability, A-ko would very much like to be a normal high school girl. This is complicated by three things: 1) her insane crybaby best friend C-ko; 2) B-ko, her insanely jealous schoomate who wants to be C-ko’s best friend instead, and is willing to make any umber of giant mecha and power suits to get A-ko out of the way; and 3) the occasional alien invasion. A-ko can toss even the biggest of B-ko mecha around (and she makes them pretty big), leap from missile to missile, and more. In fact, she generally wears bracers that restrict her power; when she takes them off even a flick of her wrist can create shockwaves that rip through the ground. She’s also faster than a speeding bullet, and able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound… probably because her dad is Superman and her mom is Wonder Woman. No foolin’!
12) Sailor Moon, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon
Rather than overload this list with the most famous sailor suit-wearing heroines on the planet, I figured we could sum them all up with their leader and epitome, Sailor Moon. The reincarnation of the moon queen Serenity, Sailor Moon (a.k.a. Usagi) vanquishes many underlings and monsters with a variety of flying tiaras, energy-shooting scepters, supersonic wave-emitting hair-thingies, brainwashing stardust, and more. All the other Sailor Scouts – Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — have equivalent powers, although Sailor Moon is the strongest of the lot. Well, with one exception…
13) Sailor Saturn, Sailor Moon S
Okay, there’s one other Sailor Scout that needs her own entry, and that’s Sailor Saturn, who first appears in Sailor Moon’s third anime season. While subordinate to Sailor Moon in the Sailor Senshi ranks, Saturn is the only Scout with the power to destroy an entire goddamn planet. Yes, she’s the Death Star in a schoolgirl outfit. Sorry, Usagi. Your magic tiara doesn’t quite match up.
14) Shana, Shakugan no Shana
Let’s see, what’s the best way to put this? Let's say there’s a parallel universe that consists mostly of assholes. The few good people over their appoint people called Flame Hazes to kill the assholes who cross into out universe, who are generally here to eat people's souls. Shana is the most powerful Flame Haze, which belies her young age; she can also manipulate fire to the point of giving herself flame wings, create a gigantic flame sword, and has part of her body stuck in another dimension, which basically makes her immortal. She also can “maipulate the power of existence,” which is like the Force on crack. Oh, and she can summon Alastor, the actual god of the parallel universe. When you have a god on speed-dial, you almost don't need any other powers... but Shana has them anyways.
15) Haruhi Suzumiya, The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
So the thing about Haruhi Suzumiya is… she’s god. Well, a god, at least, and one that can still change reality to suit her whims. The problem is that she’s very, very easily bored. The combination of these two things is how she’s managed to start a high school club that includes a time traveler, an alien robot and an esper, although these three happen to believe they’ve been sent to watch over Haruhi to prevent her from destroying the universe and/or future. Haruhi only listens to one person, her classmate Kyon, whose name is not actually Kyon. Point is, if you mess with the other people on this list they’ll probably kill you. Mess with Haruhi and you’ll never have existed in the first place.