The Bechdel Test is a feminist examination of media. To pass the test, a film or show must have two or more named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man. Many anime meet most of these criteria, for example, harem anime usually has three or more named main female characters, but very rarely do they speak to each other about something other than the protagonist.
16 Studio Ghibli movies pass the Bechdel Test, and the studio clearly puts in the effort to make their films diverse and accessible for different audiences. Recent anime such as Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid and My Next Life as a Villainess pass the test, but there are other great anime that pass it with flying colors.
One of the best anime about zombies, School-Live! follows four high-schoolers that find themselves trapped at school in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. The adorable characters – including their dog, Taromaru – try to survive and deal with the ever-increasing hordes surrounding the school.
Every character has a distinct personality and the audience is encouraged to root for all of them, which is easy as they are all extremely likable. The main character Yuki is especially cute, her interactions with the other girls prompting them to protect her at all costs.
9 Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken is an anime that gets the animation industry right, much like the fellow female-led Shirobako. The main characters, Asakusa, Kanamori, and Mizusaki, try to create short animated films, facing opposition from their schoolmates and families along the way.
Each character has their own quirk: Asakusa loves designing and creating entire landscapes for her work, Kanamori loves money and thinks up hilarious money-making strategies, and Mizusaki desperately wants to be an animator, despite her rich parents’ objections. The characters gel together well, with their arguments and victories seeming realistic and relatable throughout the show.
8 A Place Further Than The Universe
This adventure anime is at once joyful and heartwarming, featuring characters that are so full of life the audience would believe they were real. The main group of girls ventures to Antarctica, each having their own reasons for going on such a dangerous trip, and bond along the way while overcoming their personal challenges.
The characters often talk about their personal hurdles, but most importantly, they stand up for each other, proving via their actions that they have each others’ backs. Female characters are also in positions of power in this anime, including the Commander of the Antarctic expedition.
7 Puella Magi Madoka Magica
Many magical girl anime, such as Tokyo Mew Mew and Sailor Moon. easily pass the Bechdel Test with their colorful and lovable cast of characters, but Puella Magi Madoka Magica surpasses its peers by putting a twist on the beloved genre. Young student Madoka is visited by an alien creature that offers her one wish in return for becoming a magical girl and fighting witches. However, Madoka’s choice is swayed by the mysterious Homura, who seems determined to stop Madoka’s transformation at all costs.
This anime totally deserves a live-action adaptation, but best of all, its amazing cast of characters contains straight-up heroes and twisted anti-heroes, bringing variety to the cast and making their interactions have drama and weight to them.
6 The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!
A break-out hit of the 2021 summer season and a hilarious show, The Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated! follows a demon lord’s second-in-command as her evil world is shattered and she is evicted to Earth. Jahy loses most of her magical power and spends her days collecting Mana Crystals and working in a pub to earn money. Many fans liken this show to The Devil Is A Part-Timer, another brilliant reverse-Isekai anime.
This show has many male and female characters with distinct personalities, though they are viewed through the lens of Jahy, who sees everyone as inferior to her, despite her lack of power. The characters fight in many episodes, but Jahy often sees the softer side of each of them when they genuinely reach out to her and try to help in times of need.
A classic musical anime, K-On! follows the band “After-School Tea Time,” as they practice music, put on performances, and go on trips together. The characters overcome challenges together, such as Yui not being able to pay for or play her guitar and forgetting her guitar on the day of a performance.
The show is super sweet and develops its characters well, creating different personalities for each of them to play off each other nicely. The simple concept of the anime is much like other female-led musical shows, such as Sound! Euphonium, and idol shows, such as Love Live!
4 Laid-Back Camp
One of the most chill anime ever made, this series follows Nadeshiko as she develops a hobby for camping, meeting fellow camper Rin, who often travels alone to camping spots around Japan. Nadeshiko is cheerful and outgoing, balancing out Rin, who is quite introverted and comes out of her shell while camping.
Over the course of the series, they meet more fellow campers and take group camping trips, chatting about their lives and sitting around inviting campfires. This series has a lot of humor and not too much conflict, so it is the perfect show to settle down with and simply enjoy the adorable characters.
3 Bofuri: I Don’t Want To Get Hurt So I’ll Max Out My Defense
One of the funniest Isekai anime, with incredible animation, Bofuri follows Maple as she navigates the VR game NewWorld Online, unintentionally cheating and breaking the game by putting all of her points into defense. Maple is a funny and adorable character, collecting guild members as she becomes a near-unstoppable player in the game she was initially wary of.
Maple’s interactions with her best friend Sally are realistic and enjoyable to watch, with both characters balancing each other out in ability, as well as personality. They often travel together and chat about themselves as well as the game, enjoying the game together outside of combat.
2 Zombie Land Saga
Famous performers from various time periods are resurrected as zombies and turned into a modern Japanese idol group. This wacky and hilarious anime has so many brilliant characters, each with their own insecurities about performing and suddenly becoming part of a team. The characters fight a lot, at one point having a rap battle when usually soft-spoken Sakura gets sick of Saki’s brash attitude.
Over the course of the series, the girls come together as an unlikely family, supporting each other even in the strangest of circumstances. Tae is one notable character that can’t talk and is full of personality, endearing audiences to her via her physical comedy and zany adventures.
1 Little Witch Academia
Akko Kagari attends Luna Nova Magical Academy, training to become a witch despite her low magical ability. The cast is made up of all-female witches, but the cast is diverse, with many characters coming from places outside of Japan, such as Finland and the Philippines. Every character is bursting with personality and rich in humor.
Akko and her friends go on wacky adventures like going into each others’ dreams and dealing with Sucy’s chaotic potion-making. This comedic anime also knows when to take things seriously, for example, Akko’s interactions with her mysterious teachers, who try to advise Akko, but may not have their hearts in the right place.