For a very long time in gaming, and entertainment in general, women were usually treated as damsels in distress. They were the ones that always needed saving from the villain. They also tended to have no personality whatsoever and were essentially just something for the hero to save and fall in love with. In recent years, games have started to feature realistic, strong women. Today, I’ll be dedicating a list to some of those very women. I’m not going to be limiting myself to just otome game heroines, although a lot of the list will be filled with them.
5) Saki Inafune from Sweet Fuse: At Your Side
The first but not the last otome heroine to appear on this list. Saki Inafune reflects a lot of of the otome fanbase: women who love video games but still won’t take anyone’s crap, even if it’s from the man they like. With her and other people’s lives on the line, Saki has to rely on her intuition to get her out of a theme park that’s been taken over by an evil pig. She’s also one of the first otome heroines to be willing to speak up and call out someone’s bullcrap. She was a nice change from the usual timid, needed-saving heroines that we got before.
She’s also the first heroine that I saw that looks like a tomboy. She has a short, almost bowl-like haircut, a hoodie, short denim shorts, long black stockings, and sneakers. Her look is unique and she stands out among her fellow heroines in a good way!
4) Kurisu Makise from Steins;Gate
Kurisu Makise is a genius who managed to graduate from university at the age of 17. At 18, she’s featured in scientific magazines and is giving lectures to people in the field of science. If her intelligence isn’t enough, her personality is incredibly likable. Unlike the eccentric main character Okabe, Kurisu is much more sensible and mature. Even when she finds herself in a dangerous situation, Kurisu keeps a cool head and tries to figure out how to solve the issue at hand. She’s essentially Okabe’s equal. Thanks to Kurisu, Okabe is able to go back into the past while keeping his memory of past events.
However, that’s not all there is to Kurisu. While she can be serious most of the time, she’s not immune to teasing. She shows a soft, even timid side to Okabe that’s realistic for a girl her age. Deep down, she cares about those around her, even Okabe, whose behavior is…questionable at times. Overall, Kurisu is a well-rounded young woman who can outsmart any one of us any day, and you know what? I welcome that!
3) Ichika Hoshino from Collar x Malice
It’s hard not to put Ichika on this list because of what she does. In Collar x Malice, Ichika is a rookie police officer whose world gets turned upside down. One day after receiving a phone call, she’s kidnapped, and when she wakes up, she finds herself with a brand new accessory around her neck: a collar that will inject her with lethal poison. She becomes involved with the X-Day Incident and has to get to the bottom of it as well as learn the truth of those behind that grisly incident.
Ichika is strong-willed and willing to do anything to help someone, even if it means putting her own well-being in danger. She doesn’t want to even be recognized or rewarded for helping someone. She just wants to see people happy, which to her is the best thing she can get.
2) Tama from 428: Shibuya Scramble
Where do I begin with Tama? Tama is my favorite character from my favorite game, 428: Shibuya Scramble. She’s a amnesiac girl stuck in a cat costume. She can’t remember her name, where she’s from, or anything else. The only recollection she has is seeing a necklace in the window of a knickknack store. For whatever reason, she’s drawn to it. She feels like she’s seen it somewhere before, but can’t quite place it. Willing to do anything to get that necklace, she works for a scam artist selling a bogus health drink.
Despite her strange situation, Tama is incredibly self-aware of the mess she’s in. Every little thing that can go wrong does, and Tama comments on it, which always gets a laugh out of me. Just like the strange situation she finds herself in, she often makes a big deal out of small things, like finding a cockroach. She stares at it, assessing the situation as if she’s in a horror movie. (Which is honestly relatable, as someone who absolutely hates bugs.)
However, my favorite thing about Tama is just how outgoing and determined she is. She isn’t afraid to talk to people despite wearing a cat costume. She’s willing to help out a poor, socially awkward journalist who is struggling to get an interview with someone off the street. She’s also willing to lie to customers who are curious about the bogus drink she’s forced to sell because she wants to get that necklace, which she sees as a key to unlocking her memories.
Overall, Tama is an incredibly fun character that I had the utmost pleasure of playing as in the wacky visual novel 428: Shibuya Scramble.
1) Cardia Beckford from Code: Realize
Cardia is my favorite otome game heroine. The story of Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ is really about Cardia. At first, Cardia is a shell of a human. She’s trapped in an abandoned mansion by herself because she was told she was a monster. Out of context, you may think that her father is a jerk—and you’d be right, he is. However, Cardia’s body is filled with poison. If anyone touches her skin, they will die. If someone is stuck in a room with her, they’ll die due to the poison filling in the air. Cardia hates herself and locks herself away because she believes that’s what’s best for everyone. As the game progresses, you see her come out of her shell and allow people to trust her. She begins to form platonic or romantic bonds with the men around her, who all just want to help her get rid of the poison in her body.
Cardia transforms into a strong heroine who’s willing to do anything to keep living. She’ll find a way out of a locked room, and she’ll fight anyone who tries to harm her or the ones she loves. Her transformation is something so great to see that it brings a tear to my eye just writing about it.