Winner: Maria (Maria The Virgin Witch)
- Yukinoshita Yukino (My Teenage Romantic Comedy Is Wrong As Expected TOO!)
- Ginko (Yuri Kuma Arashi)
- Bishamon (Noragami Aragoto)
- Hanekawa (Owarimonogatari)
Yukinoshita and Bishamon were utilised much more effectively this year than the taster of them we were given last time. The former had her view of the world and friends shaken through verbal confrontations with both Hachiman and her older sister, Haruno, leading to her icy façade from the first season slowly melting away in a stream of satisfying character development. Yui improved far more than Yukinoshita, but given Yukinoshita had such a head start and Saori Hayami brought her to life with such grace and nuance, Yukinoshita deserves a mention. Bishamon’s considerably promising cameo in the first season of Noragami was certainly lived up to here, with her layered history and deep flaws adding to her strong personality and morals to make her the most compelling and powerful action-oriented femme fatales in 2015. Her relationship with Kazuma, the consequences she suffered and even her design lend her an epic yet intimae quality that few can match.
Ginko was the best character in Yuri Kuma, with a complex backstory engrained in the series’ themes and Kureha, and her internal and external conflicts stemming from her shortcomings and jealousy made her a very sympathetic and simultaneously likeable and dislikeable character. She’s more than tomboy Kureha, more than airheaded Lulu, and her interactions make them better as well. She may well be the emotional core of Yuri Kuma Arashi, and certainly shan’t be forgotten by me soon. Hanekawa will likely have appeared on this list several times in the past, but her stance against the snake-fiend Ougi and patience with Araragi are no less impressive. The proverbial perfect woman once again asserts her wisdom by showing her devotion and skill through actions rather than words, and like with every character (except maybe for Nadeko) Monogatari would not be nearly as good without her. I look forward to more of her later in my eventual Monogatari Marathon.
Maria the Virgin Witch was sadly overlooked this year in spite of its smart criticism of the actions of the church, human intervention and forcing one’s ideals onto others, and Maria embodies all the good of this series. She’s kind and brave, though also stubborn and hard-headed, making her the perfect lead for this kind of series. Her naivety works well in the comedic scenes, her strength of character and intelligence makes her conversations with the priests very thought-provoking and justifying, and her childhood makes it all feel justified. She’s a character to get behind, but her faults also leave the viewer wanting her to see the error of her ways. Her story arc and character growth is pitch-perfect, with each episode introducing new doubts and regrets alongside renewed strength, and the end of her story is both emotionally and intellectually satisfying, making her my pick for the best female character of 2015.