Naruto has one of the most extensive casts of characters I’ve seen in manga or anime. It features characters from different backgrounds, villages and, more importantly, genders. There are only a handful of female ninja compared to the male ones; however, their determination and physical and emotional strength can make them inspiring female role models. Despite these qualities, they’re always standing in men’s shadows (for more information on this matter, refer to Lorraine’s Women of Naruto). Here are my favorite female ninja in Naruto:
Hinata is a shy female ninja who graduated from Naruto’s class and who has always been in love with him. During the first half of the series, she stood in her cousin’s shadow and watched Naruto from the sidelines, silently cheering him on and aspiring to be like him. During the second half of the series (in Shippuden), Hinata changed. The promise of strength and determination that was hinted at during the first half of the series began to surface. The qualities she admired the most from Naruto, the ones she didn’t know she had, made an appearance and she defined herself through them. Hinata is inspiring because she strives to be better and to help those she cares for. She strives to be worthy of Naruto’s love and hasn’t realized she’s already worthy of admiration.
Temari is the oldest of the three Sand Siblings (Gaara being the most well-known). She is perhaps the only female ninja who can wipe the floor with any of her adversaries and who is not in the least daunted by the dominating male population in the ninja world. She’s dauntless, methodical and has several tricks up her sleeve. She also possesses the qualities of a leader. She’s one of the few female ninja who doesn’t need a male ninja to come to her rescue; she can stand on her own, as is shown when she comes to Shikamaru’s rescue during the first half of the series. She is both, a terrific female ninja and elder sister, but she hasn’t received much attention in the manga.
Mei Terumi, the Fifth Mizukage
Mei comes in a little later during Shippuden. She is the newest Mizukage and the second of two female Kages. She is lovely and sensual, but she can pack a punch. When Sasuke intrudes upon the Kage Summit, she remarks that it’s a shame she has to kill someone so handsome, and then proceeds to attack him without fear. She is also a unique ninja, possessing two bloodlines instead of one. She is kind, cheerful and prefers to avoid conflict instead of jumping into it like several of the other Kage. While she is preoccupied with her love life, she puts her work first.
The female ninja in Naruto have admirable traits, but are sometimes relegated to the sidelines. They support their male counterparts, rely on them and sometimes can’t do what these can. Still, that doesn’t mean that readers and viewers cannot be inspired by what the female ninja do, because even though they’re supporters most of the time, they shine due to their own merits.
Mara Delgado Sanchez, the Young Adult Reviewer at Girls in Capes, is pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing with a concentration in fiction. She draws inspiration from writers such as Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf and is an avid reader of young adult novels, science fiction, and fantasy.