Physical abuse is never funny… except in anime, apparently. There’s a widely used trope of women beating up men in Japanese cartoons that is always played for laughs, no matter how savage the assault may be. Now, these aren’t necessarily the most evil or the most violent women in anime — and some of them may even be justified in their actions. But in hopes of bringing this grave issue to people’s attention, we’ve identified a dozen of the most vicious offenders.
1) Naru Narusegawa, Love Hina
Have you ever seen an anime where someone punches somebody else, and the someone else goes flying into the stratosphere, possibly trailing blood? That’s frequently referred to as the “Naru Punch,” because she frequently employs it on Keitaro, the hapless protagonist of the anime Love Hina. Naru administers these punches after Keitaro cops a feel, catches her naked, or she catches him with any of their other, frequently clothing challenged roommates, and just basically doing anything perverted, which means it happens several times an episode. The tragedy is that every single one of them are accidents, and Naru is beating an innocent (although extremely unlucky) man.
2) Akane Tendo, Ranma 1/2
Akane Tendo is a practicing member of the Tendo Martial Arts Dojo, so she’s got some training in kicking people’s asses. And while she occasionally does need to defend herself from fellow martial artists, she generally uses her skills more to beat her fiancé Ranma Saotome. She does this because he frequently verbally abuses her, calling her ugly, a tomboy, or dumb; by generally making fun of her; or just mocking her cooking, which is admittedly terrible to the point of inducing paralysis. This mocking/beating ritual is actually a form of courtship for Akane and Ranma, while they refuse to admit their true feelings for each other for hundreds and hundreds of episodes, so in a sense, you can say they both abuse their audience, too.
3) Winry Rockbell, Fullmetal Alchemist
There are plenty of evil women in Fullmetal Alchemist, but they’re evil, and hurting people is kind of their job. The heroes Ed and Al Elric are probably hurt most by a woman called Izumi, but she’s their martial arts teacher, so she gets a pass. But Winry Rockbell has no such excuse. This young mechanic is a friend of Ed and Al’s, but when she sees Ed has broken the automail artificial arm she made him, out comes the wrench and the beatings commence. What these attacks lack in frequency they more than make up for in savagery — at one point, Winry literally beat Ed to death, and only Al catching Ed’s departing soul and shoving it back in his body saved him. (Anime, everybody!)
4) Chichi, Dragonball Z
Chichi fell in love with Goku when they were both very young, and at the end of Dragonball she had married him through trickery. And then when Dragonball Z began, Chichi had changed. She yells at Goku constantly for anything — for leaving, for eating, for teaching her precious son Gohan how to fight, but also for 1) running off to save the world on multiple occasions and 2) dying (also on multiple occasions). When your wife is mad at you for essentially saving the world, you know you’re in a dysfunctional marriage. Chichi couldn’t hurt Goku if she tried — and she does try — but her constant shrieking definitely qualifies as abuse.
5) Chidori Kaname, Full Metal Panic
Can physical abuse ever be considered a good thing? What about when it saves the lives of others? Chidori appears to be a regular high school student, but in fact she’s one of the Whispered, a mysterious group of kids who are so brilliant that can create technology way ahead of its time. Sosuke Sagara is a young solider in a secret military organization called Mithril, who has been ordered to protect Chidori from the terrorists who want her skills. This means he’s in disguise as a high school student, despite his complete lack of knowledge of how everyday society works — which also means he’s constantly trying to kill students who merely want to talk with their classmate, bringing guns to school, and putting landmines in the cafeteria. Chidori stops him from hurting anybody mostly through physical force.
6) Asuka Langley Sohryu, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Asuka is probably the most famous abusive women in anime, but it’s not entirely her fault. Explaining this series requires training more extensive than most nuclear physicists receive, but her childhood was a mess. As a young girl, Asuka’s mother lost her mind and committed suicide following an experiment with the Evangelion 02 unit, and Asuka saw the body. That had a profound effect on the rest of her life. Growing pains aside, it’s also worth noting that her job is to pilot a giant death machine against alien angels that often kick the shit out of her (and she feels every injury). To make matters worse she’s quite sexually confused, unaware that her affection for the older Kaji will never be returned. This causes a lot of her frustration, which she takes out almost exclusively on the somewhat wishy-washy main character, Shinji. Unfortunately this causes some difficult to explain metaphysical consequences that maybe results in the death of pretty much every human on the planet. The video is of one of Asuka's more creative attacks on Shinji's fragile psyche.
7) Naomi, Zatch Bell
Zatch is a loveable, naïve demon-child, and it seems like being mean to him would be impossible. And even though pretty much every demon on earth is out to burn his book and beat the hell out of him, it’s usually not personal because the sole reason they’re on Earth is to fight each other to determine who gets to be the king of hell for the next 100 years. But Naomi isn’t a demon child and manages to be more sadistic than anyone else in the show (even the guy that wants to erase everything from existence). She torments Zatch on a constant basis and makes all of his downtime into a veritable nightmare. He has to endure being chased, his toys being damaged, and plenty of verbal abuse – but Naomi may deserve a slight break. She’s only acting that way because she likes him. So I guess that makes it okay?
8) Biscuit Kreuger, Hunter X Hunter
While her intention is to help Gon and Killua develop their abilities and stay safe, she puts them on an intense training regimen that could easily kill them. Biscuit has no qualms with using her deceptive appearance as a young girl to get what she wants, but she doesn’t handle being treated like a child well (her typical reaction involves violence). In the end she does protect Gon and Killua when they would otherwise be killed, she’ll let them learn the hard (and painful) way first.
9) Lum, Urusei Yatsura
A princess from a star called Uru, Lum has fallen in love with the world’s most lecherous teenager, named Ataru Moroboshi, and through a bit of a mix-up, gotten engaged to him. Now, given that Lum is a hot girl who usually wears a tiger-stripe bikini, you’d think Ataru might be okay with this, but he’s not — being trapped in this relationship only makes him want every other woman on the planet more. The other problem is that Lum can generate electricity, so when she’s mad — like when Ataru hits on another woman — which he does almost ceaselessly — Lum pretty much electrocutes him.
10) Dokuro, Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan
Since the series is literally titled “Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-Chan,” that should give you some indication of the violence involved here, but you have no idea. In the future, a man named Sakura Kusakabe stops all women from aging after 12 as a sort of pedophile’s paradise. Dokuro is an assassin angel sent back in time to kill the currently 13-year-old Sakura; but Dokuro thinks Sakura can be changed, so she tries to keep him too busy to make his age-stopping invention by murdering him repeatedly and then bringing him back to life. Her favorite instrument is a large spiked club. Although murdering Sakura is pretty well justified, Dokuro makes the list for refusing to leave the asshole dead.
11) Medusa, Soul Eater
Medusa wins the award for worst mother of all time. She also frequently places high in the worst living thing category because she’s a grotesquely evil monster. For those of you that aren’t familiar with her, she has a child (no one knows its gender…) named Crona who is pivotal to the story thanks to Medusa’s experimentation. As a child Crona was infused with Medusa’s creation, the black blood, which forced Crona to live with an abusive demon weapon for Crona’s whole life (and it would eventually drive Crona bat-shit crazy). What’s more, Medusa frequently broke her child’s mind with such learning experiments as forcing her to kill small animals and then locking her in a pitch-black room for days as punishment when Crona can’t go through with it. Also, Medusa’s greatest goal in life is to drive her child to madness so that Crona ascends to the position of demon god of insanity. This will make the world less static, which is apparently a good thing. There’s also that time she was almost killed and survived by possessing a small child (killing her in the process). She kind of did the same thing to her older sister once, too, but her older sister was evil as well. So, I guess she gets points for helping to stop a villain that’s as bad as she is. Wait, no — she used that body to keep doing horrible things. Yeah, she just sucks as a person.
12) Pretty Much Every Woman in Tenchi Muyo
I think the point of Tenchi Muyo must be to see how long a man can endure being violently pulled in half a dozen directions by women who are always fighting over him. Ayeka can be sweet, but whenever Ryoko shows up to antagonize her, she matches her in terms of crazy, and the real victim of their battles is always Tenchi. Then there’s Washu, who claimed Tenchi as hers (but then again, who didn’t do that?) and made him her pet research project. All of them really do seem to love Tenchi, and they show genuine moments of kindness to him — but their constant hitting, grabbing, screaming and experimenting completely outweighs the good they do. Tenchi’s life is basically a continuous cycle of abuse thanks to them.